Sunday, September 29, 2013

Ten celebrities I'd choose for my desert island (Monday Listicles)

This week's Monday Listicles is "10 celebrities I'd choose to be stuck on a desert island with," after choosing my top 10 male crushes a few weeks ago. Here goes!

1. One of my celebrity crushes, that is if I won't have my #1 crush with me (since he is not a celebrity!)

2. Jon I can laugh each day!

3. Oprah Winfrey...she does everything well. She'd probably be able to help me build a boat to sail home on.

4. Tina Fey...I think she would be fun to hang with.

5. Amy Poehler...I love the way she inspires young women to be all they can be.

6. Hillary Clinton...she's scary smart and I figure I might as well learn something while I'm there...and she's going to be the next president, right?

7. Maya Angelou...maybe she can be my writing mentor!

8. Stephen Jon Stewart, he always makes me laugh.

9. Ellen Degeneres...because she is just amazing...kind, talented, and funny.

10. Queen Latifah...she can sing and she seems like she would be great fun.

Well, that was easier to do than I thought it would be. Three men and seven women; given the fact that nearly every list of top books or most influential people is usually heavily weighted toward men, this is fair play.

Read the other celebrity island listicles at The Good Life hosted by Stasha!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

10 things I'm looking forward to

This week's Monday Listicles is "10 things I'm looking forward to." I'm the kind of person who loves to have several items on my list to look forward to--it's probably why I love to plan vacations so much. Here goes!

1. Having my parents come home from their trip to England and Ireland. They've been having a wonderful time, including staying with Mike's sister and mum in Cambridge, but I do miss them! (And I'm just the tiniest bit envious!)

2. Celebrating my 49th birthday in a couple of weeks by going to Hood River to hear one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Dar Williams, perform on the actual day of my birthday. And my birthday in general!

3. The next girls' night away I'm planning with a close friend, in November. Love those times!

4. Seeing Chris graduate from high school (in a year and a half) and head off to college. The other day Mike and I met with a transitions specialist at his high school to start talking about the SAT, colleges, etc. It will all be happening before we know it!

With my dad and Kieran after "Hillbilly Heaven" last spring
5. Seeing my kids perform onstage, anytime, anywhere...I'm especially looking forward to the first time Kieran gets a role on the main stage at one of the children's theaters in town (his short-term dream).

6. Traveling more with my family...we need to return to England (haven't been there since 2007!), and I would love to take them to Japan someday, too, and Australia where Mike's brother and family live.

7. Seeing my kids grow up and continue to achieve milestones--high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, career accomplishments, and becoming parents themselves.

8. Seeing my husband achieve commercial success as a writer...not only fulfilling his lifelong dream but also hopefully contributing to my greater chances of #9!!

Retirement brunch with work buddies
 (the two on the left are now retired;
 the two of us on the right are still working!)
9. Retirement--this year I helped celebrate the retirement of two of the women who hired and mentored me in 1990. I feel incredibly young--and old--at work nowadays. I'm not in a hurry to grow old, but retirement does sound attractive. I'm guessing, given the late start I had in having children, that I will be retiring at a much older age than my colleagues, though. I hope we can retire at a young enough age that we can travel far and wide...returning to Asia and exploring Europe, and perhaps Africa and South America too.

10. Continued blessings, unexpected and planned for, which happen every single day...every day is a miracle waiting for us to pay attention.

Join in the fun at Monday Listicles over at Stasha's The Good Life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Monday Listicles: Ten Men I Have/Had a Crush On

This week's Monday Listicles is "Ten Things Men I Have a Crush On"! Of course, my dear husband is always #1 in my book, and the others are purely for fun!

1. My husband

Together for 26 years; married for 23!
2. David Cassidy
Loved "The Partridge Family" when I was a girl,
and I had a big poster of him in my bedroom!

3. Michael Lembeck

Julie's boyfriend Max on "One Day at a Time,"
 one of my fave shows as a teenager
4. Terao

When we lived in Japan, Terao was my favorite sumo wrestler! He wasn't humongous like the rest of them--a great underdog who used his strength and agility to battle the others' huge sizes

5. Scott Bakula

Loved him from the days of "Murphy Brown"!

6. Kevin Kline

Have always loved him and his work!
7. Hugh Grant

Yes, I know he's not displayed much integrity,
but he's cute--AND he has an English accent!
8. George Clooney
No explanation needed--right?
9. Tie between Jake Gyllenhaal

And Colin Firth!

Weakness for those English accents!
10. And last but not least, the men of Grimm--Russell Hornsby and David Guintoli...
who we were amazingly lucky to run into last night outside of the theater! Such advantages of living in Portland!! I saw them coming our way, and Chris jumped up and asked them if he could take a photo with them. I would have asked them for a photo with me, too, but I didn't want to take too much of their time. They were very nice! Sadly, Kieran (who was inside the theater at the time and is a diehard Grimm fan!) was devastated to miss this photo op!

The handsome Hank and Nick with my 17-year-old son Chris!
Want to read about other crushes? Visit The Good Life, where Stasha sponsors Monday Listicles! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 Road Trip Adventure: Viewing the Bay by Water

The last post about our road trip featured our visits to three museums in three days. In addition to spending time inside, we also were out and about near or on the water:

In the swimming pool and hot tub:

Five out of six of the kids wanted to be in the pool constantly (which was not heated)
I enjoyed the hot tub!
This seems to be the only photo I have of the great house we stayed at!
 In Monterey:
Cannery Row

The aquarium, at the end (in an old cannery building)

Our family in Monterey

Kieran decided to spend his $ on a caricature of himself,
 a good choice for a souvenir!

My sister Nadine and her husband David

With Mike

Then Nicholas decided to join in on the fun

John Steinbeck looks like he has hair growing out of his ears!
As English majors, we enjoyed being in Cannery Row and in this part of the world,
which inspired so much of Steinbeck's writing
We had dinner that evening (one of the few times we went to a sit-down dinner with 10 people!) at a great Hawaiian place in Monterey, Hula's Island Grill. Mike and Ryan were happy because they had a gluten-free menu! (Our nephew Ryan is newly gluten and dairy free, like Mike, but he's vegetarian too, so it makes it even more complicated.)

After dinner, the boys decided to dance on the sidewalk--supposedly, for money, but no one passed by! I was really surprised to see my very shy (with strangers) nephew Garrett dancing so freely! So cute.

Dance party in Monterey
Santa Cruz:

We hadn't intended to go to Santa Cruz (it didn't fit into our busy schedule with the CityPASS stuff), but we ended up there anyway, on a day that started out to be very disappointing. We had purchased tickets to go to California's Great America, a theme park near San Jose. I bought them online and got a good deal, but they were still $35 per person. Our kids, in addition to our nephew Daniel, were really excited to go to the theme park and had been talking about it all week.

So imagine our disappointment when we drove up to the gates to discover that it was CLOSED! Oh, it was not a happy sight at all! (California schools were back in session, so they were closed on week days. And no, we haven't been able to get our money back. Not happy.) 

Our family regrouped and we decided to head to Santa Cruz for the day. My friend Shelia had been suggesting we go there, and now we had the opportunity. Nadine and family decided to do their own thing, so off we went.

We enjoyed the laid-back vibe of Santa Cruz and ate our picnic lunch on the beach. My favorite part of the day: seeing dolphins frolic in the ocean, in addition to sea lions! I tried to take photos, but it was hard to catch them at the right time. SO COOL. I loved it! I was also happy to put my feet in the water in the California Pacific, which was just slightly warmer than in Oregon.

You can just barely see them in this photo!
You'll just have to trust me in how amazing it was...

My wonderful boys on the beach in Santa Cruz

View of the lighthouse from the beach

Washing off the sand 
Then we headed for the Santa Fe boardwalk, where we went on some great thrill rides.

I loved some of the rides that took us up high, especially, because we were right next to the ocean, making them so much more fun! Kieran and I went on the Double Shot twice (this video gives you an idea of what it's like):
On the Double Shot
Nicholas went on a few tamer rides, but he did go on the log flume with all of us...unfortunately, he was in the front and got SOAKED. He was not too happy about that! But the log flume had an amazing view of the ocean.

Logger's Revenge (log flume)

With his vanilla milkshake
Haunted CastleHe also loved the Haunted Castle.

With my ride buddy--hang gliding over the ocean, sort of!

Kieran and I on the pirate boat, which went really high!

Chris on the bumper cars
And they had a version of my favorite, the Screaming Eagle (called the Fireball), but it was even more exciting than the one at Oaks Park--it seemed to go on longer, and it was thrilling being able to see the ocean UPSIDE DOWN! We went on it twice, and both times I was by far the oldest one on the ride. The second time they had to reject two men, because they were too big for the seats. I felt bad for them!

Hurrican Roller Coaster at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Kieran and Mike enjoyed the wooden roller coaster, the Giant Dipper, but it gave me a massive headache--it was far too jerky for me! Kieran even went on it once by himself.

Giant Dipper Roller Coaster
Giant Dipper
Nicholas enjoyed driving a truck, which had a place for parents to ride on the top:
We could have stayed even longer at Santa Cruz--so much fun!

San Francisco Bay Cruise:

On our last day in the Bay Area, we went into San Francisco to visit Fishermen's Wharf/Pier 39, take a bay cruise, and celebrate Chris' birthday. It was the first time I'd been out on the bay since I was a kid, when family friends we were staying with took us out on an incredibly tiny, rickety sailboat (it was terrifying!!). The dad didn't really know how to sail, or maybe you're meant to be feeling like you're going to capsize constantly?? It was kind of like this:

Terrifying for a child, much less several of them!
(I think we had 3 adults and 5 kids on the boat, way too much weight)
This sailing voyage was way more fun and gave us some great views of the bay and the city.
My handsome oldest nephew, Ryan

The birthday boy

This seagull flew right overhead in the boat's tailwinds--
apparently they always do this to the tour boats, and only the tourists take photos! 

Beautiful bridge!

Sailing under the bridge

Gorgeous views!

With my miracle boy!

Daniel and Kieran at the front of the boat

With Mike

Goodbye, bridge!

With Chris and Nick
Nadine and Chris in front of Alcatraz

That sailboat is way more upright than ours was!

Nadine with Garrett, who was initially anxious about the boat, but he got more used to it

Sailing back to the city

And the docks

Great view of Pier 39's loud sea lions!
I think I have one more post in me about our road trip, with all the miscellaneous stuff left--most important, spending time with family!