Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hurricane Elgy

Yesterday, Johnny and I were in the kitchen preparing dinner. As usual the kitties, Havi and Elgy, were playing on the kitchen floor, exploring the pantry and jumping off the chairs at the dining table in the breakfast nook. They are happy as long as they are hanging around near us.

One of their favorite play spots is underneath a built in desk at the end of the kitchen counter where we store our bulk sodas and recycling bins. I had used one of those large heavy-duty plastic bags with spaghetti handles (that you get as a take-home doggy bag at Steaks or Tillerman) as a catch-all for our aluminum and plastic recyclables. The cats love to play in and around the bag probably because of the crunching noise it makes.

This time the bag happened to be empty but for an empty can of Dr. Pepper and so Elgy jumped into the bag and was playing in it. I guess when she jumped out, she went through one of the handles of the bag and, if you can't tell, Elgy has a belly on her so she got stuck.

The sound of the bag and the can rattling inside startled her as she tried to run away from it--right into the garbage can near the exit of the kitchen with a CRASH-BANG!!

From that point, she ran into the adjacent living room (bag still attached to her) ricocheted off one wall, to bounce off the other wall near the t.v. by my laptop and back into the kitchen.

If you had seen what I had seen, you would have been laughing your head off like I was. She was moving SO fast and her little paws were moving even faster beneath her as she dashed around like a mad little pinball.

Johnny had also noticed her frenzy but he wasn't as amused as I was. The nurturing part of him had some foresight that Elgy might injure herself and said, "Honey--stop her! She's gonna hurt herself." as he quickly caught her when she came flailing back into the kitchen.

I held her up as he cut the handle to the bag that was the ball-and-chain to her terrorizer. I could feel Elgy's heart race but she remained calm as she must have realized we were trying to free her. There was no way she would have been able to release herself from that bag. The strap was stuck around her like a zip tie.

After Johnny had cut the strap, I comforted Elgy by carrying her on my shoulder like a little baby--the way she likes to be held. She rested her little sweet head on my shoulder for the longest time, relieved to be free from the unrelenting grasp of the bag.

When her poor little heart had settled and I was sure she was no longer traumatized by her experience, I set her down in the living room--away from the kitchen and the now broken bag which still serves its purpose as a collector for our recyclables.

I don't think she will ever play in and around that bag ever again. Lesson learned I am sure.

Soon after that incident, I spotted Havi cautiously approaching said evil bag. She moved ever so slowly towards it, like a chameleon after its dinner. The hair on her back raised all along her spine, she was determined to check out the bag that attacked Elgy. Havi would not let that poor bag to rest until she was certain that it would no longer be a threat. Satisfied, she eventually wandered back into the living to play with Elgy.

I still laugh when I think about yesterday. Not at what must have been a stressful event for Elgy and her humiliation but at how fast she tried to run away from that bag. It was like a video playback at four times the speed--I have NEVER seen her move so fast but now I am confident that if she were ever in trouble, she can outrun anything. Anything.

So long as it was not a take-home doggy bag.
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Our Memorial Weekend

This weekend has got to be the best weekend ever! I know I say that about every weekend but it really was a lot of fun. From meeting the coolest people, to the boat we rode on, and the new spot where we beached for the day to an evening BBQ on the quiet waters, and finally a night out at the Red Room Nightclub--our day in Havasu will be one that Johnny and I will always remember.

A friend that my husband met off of HotBoat.com invited us to join him on his 30-foot deck boat for the Memorial Weekend and so we headed to Lake Havasu early on Sunday morning.

The day was absolutely perfect. Sunny with a slight breeze. We met Phat Matt at the Islander where we launched. Talk about being spoiled at the launch. Instead of launching at our usual spot at the Lake Havasu Marina, where I imagined it would be complete chaos and lines of boats waiting to launch (and parking nightmare) on this holiday weekend, we had the launch area all to ourselves. No one before us, no one waiting to launch after us. Completely stress-free.

Also with us was Phat Matt's girlfriend, Jen, and their dog, Buddy, their friends, Wes, and his wife, Audrey, and their dog, Izzy. (Whew!) All six of us and two of the sweetest canines sped through the lake, cruising at 70 m.p.h. past the Sand Bar (and other boaters), through Devil's Elbow all the way to Moabi Park near Topock. THAT was one of the wildest rides I have ever been on. I wish I knew more about boats than v-bottoms and cats because I would go into detail about Phat Matt's boat. All I can say about that experience is WOW! We sliced through the wakes that other boats and jet skis made like nothing where we would have felt a little turbulence on our boat.
We were soon at the spot where we would beach for the day. As we rounded the curve to Topock, you could see a row of boats after boats all along the coast of Moabi Park. This was a place that Johnny and I had never been to before and you bet we will visit that place more often. It was different from the Sand Bar (or the boat channel) in that we weren't in the middle where the waves from boats passing by didn't beat upon us or we were inhaling exhaust fumes and standing in stagnant greasy water. There were tons of people, families and pets soaking in the sun and BBQ's going at on Moabi.


We hung out there, meeting other Hot Boaters and drinking Jungle Juice and Wes, another HotBoat.com member's margarita concoction: a mixture of orange juice, margarita mix, and Tres Generations tequila (the smoothest tasting tequila) can be too easy to drink.

Then we sped back through the river to a cove where we tied up to couple other boats and BBQ'd hamburgers into the sunset. The water was calm as the sunlight disappeared and the lights on the homes along the shores lit up the lake--casting their reflections in the water. The evening could not have been better.

When we finally pulled the boat out of the water (I don't know how they do it with such a big boat but it was neat to be part of the process) and parked it in the RV lot (I don't know how Wes backed the boat up drunk but he did it better than I could have sober. I do remember him saying something about the irrelevance drunkenness and competency.)

After Johnny and I left the Islander, we went back to our friend's house where we were staying and got ready for a night out at the Red Room. (By the way, Tavis was out of town for a friend's wedding and he is so generous to let us stay at his place for the weekend).

Soon we were inside the Red Room, a small nightclub along the restaurant row that runs along the boat channel. It was amazing how many people were waiting in line but Phat Matt got us into the V.I.P. line and right into the door to where we were seated--the best seat in the house right next to the dance floor. There were so many weekend partiers there--some looked awfully young but I am sure it is my perception because I am getting older. Even as we left for the night, there was a long line of people still waiting to get inside. I can still hear the music, see the lights and feel mist that shot out into the hot crowd.


Needless to say we slept like a rock after a full day of fun before heading home early the next morning with our boat in tow (we had left at Tavis' the weekend before). It was good to be home and see our girls.

We spent Monday having our own little BBQ in the backyard and reminiscing over the awesome weekend that we had...



Friday, May 25, 2007

Graffiti

Yesterday, my husband and I went for a long walk after dinner. We strolled along the trail behind our neighborhood and weaved through the sidewalks all the way to the next major block and then back along another walking/bike trail which ran between the freeway and the homes overlooking the city. We must have walked at least 4 to 5 miles by the time we were home an hour and a half and two pairs of sore feet later.

Throughout our walk, we talked about our day, we saw a white-tail rabbit, we observed the houses, and even joking about how this brick patio set we saw had not been stolen off the new development yet...it could not have been a better evening. The weather absolutely perfect and warm with a soft breeze. The best part was when we were walking along the paved trail. It was so serene and the landscaping along the path was just beautiful. Even the solar landscape lighting that lit the pathway was romantic and full of graffiti.

Wait...what?! Yes, graffiti. Now who the heck would want to graffiti some poor little lights?! That was so sad.

My husband and I were surprised that the lights have not been kicked down yet. Seeing the defaced lights innocently grounded amongst the rocks just ircked me.

True, teenagers sometimes do not know better for doing the stupid things that they do but I truly believe it is up to their parents to teach them the difference between right and wrong, and having values and respect for others and their property.

There are laws governing graffiti but they obviously do not have any effect. They only fine and sentence the offender to probation time but, in my opinion, those punishments have little effect on changing the behavior of the delinquent. I should know, not from the same personal experience, but the threat of being spanked by my parents were never enough to deter me from having done things that a normal teenager would do under a strict household.

I think that someone, such as the probation officer, should say to the delinquent that they are part of the reason why the poor stay poor. The county spent $2.5 million in 2005 and 2006 cleaning up graffiti according to the Las Vegas Sun. The only way to budget this expense is either increase taxes or cut public programs (which hurts those in need of those programs and the poor moreso than the affluent). Legislators have amended the bill to stiffen penalties for graffiti.

As I am sitting here on our couch watching some random channel on t.v., it just so happens that the 2007 Legislative Session is airing and the bill was in discussion (ways to punish convicted offenders). I guess there is no easy solution to the problem.

Graffiti originated hundreds of years ago and it seems it will be here to stay. But that won't stop us from going on long walks again and enjoying the trail. We will just have to overlook the minor imperfections and only see the beauty the surrounds us. The beautiful weather and our spirits are things that graffiti can never touch.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Mother of All Posts

The weeks have flown by like hours in a day for us. We have been so busy the past few weeks that I have not had a chance to post about the milestones in our lives such as our first wedding anniversary and my commencement at UNLV. But now that I have had an entire three-day weekend to relax at Lake Havasu, I feel like I can finally write about all the events that have happened in our lives.

This post alone could be the start of another entire blog if I were to write in detail so I will keep it brief or I may be here all night.

The end of April marked our first wedding anniversary where we spent the day out on Lake Mead on the most perfect, sunny, and calm Sunday. The weather was just like what we had on the day of our wedding a year ago. This time, we were without the presence of our friends and family. It was just the two of us on our boat. We rode out to Sandy Cove, Wishing Well, and way out in the open where the lake was so wide it appeared endless, it felt like we were out in the middle of the ocean but without the waves. The lake was so glassy and still--without another soul around but ours. It was the perfect time to twist open a bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade and enjoy its sweet taste while soaking in the sun.

A couple of weekends ago, I finally graduated from UNLV and so I was fortunate to have my family from afar (MN, WA, CA) and near (Boulder City, Henderson, and Las Vegas (NV)) join me on that day. Johnny and I did not want to fight the crowd in the parking lot of the Thomas & Mack Center so we rode to the ceremony on a 2007 Harley Davidson Streetglide and got to the venue in no time flat! The one thing that I will always remember about commencement was that I broke one of my heels while I was waiting with the other graduates to enter the ceremony but luckily I had a pair of converse that I wore to ride on the bike. My sweetheart saved the day when he ran to the bike and back to where I was waiting with my shoes in his hand.

After that, everything was a breeze.



I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have my lunch hour at work to ALL to myself and not sitting in one class or another throughout the week. I have taken long, quiet walks exploring the campus and a wonderful nap in the grass. It is absolutely AWESOME to not have assignments, group projects, papers, exams, readings or any deadlines for a while. I have so many things I want to do with my lunch hours, evenings, and weekends--I felt like I have won the lottery of time.
So it was finally time for my husband and I to spend a weekend away together but this time, I was textbook (and laptop) free. The day before we had planned to leave for Arizona, Havi went missing. Somehow she got outside though we didn't know when. Johnny was getting the boat ready and we had later helped a friend move her trail bike.

It was late when we realized she was gone and searched our neighborhood and the path behind our house calling her name into the dark but there was no response. Not one "meow" or sign of Havi. Surely if someone found her, they would have called our phone number on her name tag but there was no call. And so we finally went to bed and slept with the patio lights on in hopes that she may cry to us in the middle of the night. Or at the least we hoped she was safe and not somewhere out there with the coyotes in our backyard.

The next morning, as I woke up to get ready for work I peeked through the patio door from our bedroom but there was still no sign of Havi. I then wandered into the living room and peered out that patio door but still no sign of Havi. Only the neighbor's cat sitting on our wall looking out onto the undeveloped land in our back yard. That cat has somehow managed to avoid being coyote dinner for the past two years.

I sadly turned away but I wasn't ready to give up on Havi just yet and decided to take one more hopeful look outside. There in the garden of our backyard was Havi cautiously stepping through the plants. I called to her and she whipped her head around to see me. I think she was in disbelief, wondering if she was at the right house and it was me indeed that she was seeing. She dashed to me and right into our house. The best thing was when I carried her into the bedroom and when Johnny woke up, he was so surprised and happy that she was home. We don't know how Havi got outside but I am sure she does not ever want to be outside again (at least for a while).
So we were off to Havasu and our friend, Tavis, joined us out on the lake. He had never been out on a boat before so it was a real treat to be able to take him out through the boat channel, past the London Bridge and to the Sand Bar. It was the least we could do since he was so generous in letting us stay with him at his home in Havasu.

We had listed our boat on eBay and thought we would be giving up our boat by the time we went to Lake Havasu but the buyer flaked so it turned out to be for the better. We have a deposit on a new boat which will be in production in mid-June and so we have to sell this one to make room for the new boat. It is a 21' catamaran built by Trick Powerboats and can go over 100 mph. The builder has a spotless reputation and builds only 8-12 boats per year because he takes great care in his craftsmanship.

Saturday was just a beautiful day. Sunny with a slight breeze and so we spent the entire day on the water. When evening came, Johnny and I rode one of Tavis' bikes followed by him and his date, Sarah, to Shugrue's for dinner overlooking the boat channel and London Bridge.

I can't tell you how much fun all of us had riding to dinner and back. My hair flying in the warm wind of the night, my arms hugging Johnny. In Arizona, there is no helmet law so even though it was scary to be on an iron machine without a seatbelt and helmet--it was so freeing to hear the rumble of the engine beneath us as we sped through the neighborhoods of Lake Havasu.

The next day, Tavis, Johnny, and I had breakfast at the Black Bear Diner before we drove to Parker, AZ, passing the Bill Williams River to scope out the launch ramps and an even bigger mission--in search of the Roadrunner floating restaurant and bar. When we had finally reached the Parker strip, we found the bar and seated ourselves right next to the river. And so we sipped Bloody Mary's and Corona's while watching the boats and jet skis fly by. Some of the boaters even docked at the restaurant for lunch.

Parker will definitely be one of the places we will take our boat on our next trip. There are plenty of parks and the houses along the river with their own boat slip was just neat to see all these different places along our adventure. You'll have to see pictures from our weekend on my Picasa Web Album as there are too many to post here.

Then we headed back to Lake Havasu to have lunch at El Cantina. This time, we had a view of the boat channel during the day from the patio where we sat. Nothing like margaritas, shrimp ceviche and shrimp fajitas to complete my day!

Later, Sarah invited us to her parents' house for a swim in the pool overlooking a golf course. We had so much fun chatting on the patio watching the ducks, quails, and white-tailed rabbits dash through the yard and around the citrus trees.

Finally, we finished our night watching "You, Me & Duprie", a movie we rented and watched together with Tavis at his house.

The next day, Tavis went back to work and it was just Johnny and me. We got coffee and visited a couple boat builders in Havasu (Johnny has a friend at Magic who gave us a tour of their production). Magic doesn't build boats smaller than 28'; in other words, something small enough to fit in our garage. Until we can get a house with a full-size boat garage, the Scepter will just have to wait ;)

So Johnny and I had lunch at Barley Brother's before we headed back to Vegas for home. But not before we shared a 23 oz. glass of their Trippleberry Wheat Beer (has cranberries, raspberries, and blueberry flavors)...YUMMM!!! We like it so much, we brought back a half gallon to enjoy once we got home.

One final note before I end this post--I finally finished my swimming lessons and so no more diaper life vests for me!! I admit though, it sure was nice to be able to drink beer while floating effortlessly.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

My Best Foot Forward

WARNING: Graphic image in this post.


So "the week" is here where I take my finals.

With my best foot forward, I took an exam yesterday evening. I have another tonight, one tomorrow afternoon, and the last exam Thursday morning.

Then I will be done with my undergrad in Finance and this foot will join the other to march down the aisle of Thomas & Mack for commencement.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Love is...

My husband has his own special way to show his love for me--and sometimes it's by accident.

I made some sautéed spinach with our dinner last night and when my husband had finished his dinner, he said, "Isn't it weird how spinach makes your tongue feel...", my husband paused, trying to find the words to describe the sensation he felt.

I knew what he meant but I was also at a loss for words and so I told him there's a word for that in my native language of Lao.

"Futh", I said (it sounds more like saying "food" but with a lisp and while intoxicated).

"Futh--wha??" He tried to mimick me. I have been teaching him a few Lao words here and there.

There are some things for which there are words in Lao that I have yet to find words for in English. Futh would be similar to squeeky like the sensation from rubbing your thumb across a clean plastic container.

Later in the evening while we were resting on the couch watching t.v., he said that he use to think Lao sounded weird and he didn't use to like it but now he finds it interesting and wants to learn.

I smiled and said, "That's love, babe."