Monday, June 30, 2008

Cirque Du Soliel

Good evening. I thought you might enjoy a picture of my bitchy kitten after a long day of doing nothing. Actually this was taken about 8:30am in the morning and she had been sleeping with me till about 7am so really it is an hour and a half of doing not much to get this tired.

So yesterday (Sunday) I went to my 19th Cirque Du Soliel show. It is the newest touring show called Kooza. There is always some symbolistic meaning behind all the shows. It is not like I can ever figure out what the hell it is. This was something about a kid flying a kite and still being a king. Oh hell, I have no idea. But it was totally cool and I loved it. Like all 18 before. Here is a picture of the tent that it was in. This was set up in the parking lot of the United Center in Chicago.
That is the one thing I did not like. I go to Chicago just enough so that when I am reading directions I am all cocky that I know were I am going but when I am driving I start to doubt myself and second guess which road to take and that is when I get messed up. It does not help that there is a Hwy 90, Hwy 94, Hwy 294, and Hwy 290. Who the hell names these roads anyway, pick a different freaken number already!! I pulled off only once and had to look at a map to be sure I was going the right way. I had to go almost all the way to downtown to get here so traffic is always bad. Here is a photo of the bumper to bumper as I made my way out. It does not really show how many cars there were but I was driving so you have to excuse the bad photo.

Back to Kooza, the show was amazing and the music great. They do some scary stuff and 1 guy almost fell from really high. I was so scared for him and he happily caught himself at the last second. That is the closest I have seen at any of the shows someone get seriously hurt. For whatever reason during the last half of the show I started to get a pounding headache. I am not sure if it was from looking up so much cause I was in the front row and they do alot of stuff high above the stage or if it was because of all the flashing lights. Either way the drive home was awful. And of course it was RAINING!!! AGAIN!!! I swear I am going to start building an ark cause it is the end of the world.
I had my 2nd most frightening highway experience on my way home. The 1st was several years ago when my car spun out after I braked to avoid an accident when some asshole pulled out in front of me. I was going 70 mph and spun through the median ending up sideways in uncoming traffic about 2 seconds from being crushed by a semi when I had the presents of mind to backup just in time. I can still see that truck drivers face, he knew there was nothing he could have done and me being in a ford focus I would have been killed, no question. Anyway back to this one.
On the way out of Chicago there is a ton of construction. As the saying goes there are 2 seasons for car travel in the north, Snow and Construction. The lanes split so that there was an express lane (meaning you can't get off at the exits) then 2 lanes of "normal" traffic. So I am in the express and there are concrete barriers on 1 side and construction barrels on the other. Well, there is a semi (do you see a theme, always a semi) on the other side of the barriers and it has rained so it splashes up this huge amount of water onto my windshild. So that was sort of scary but I could see again in a second so not to bad. Then he hits a bigger one and water comes at me over and over...I can't see anything in front or sides for between 5-8 seconds at least. And when you are going 70 MPH on the highway with concrete on one side, construction equipment on the other and a car not far behind that is freakin scary. I was so worried I was not keeping the wheel straight enough or that the road would curve. I am happy to report that when I could see again I slammed on the gas and raced past the Semi before it happened again. It was really frightening, I had visions of them peeling me off the barriers.
After that nothing much happened till I got home, with my splitting headache getting worse by the second. I made it into bed about 8pm and flipped on the tv, next thing I knew it was 9pm so I just called it a day and went to bed. I could not lay down it hurt too much so I slept leaning against 2 pillows. I woke a few times, still with the headache but am happy to report that when I woke up at 5:15am the headache was almost all gone. Thank goodness cause I am not sure I could have made it through work otherwise. I have not slept that long in I could not tell you when. So that was my exciting Sunday...good show, scared as hell, and sick as a dog.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vacation Part 4-the final chapter

I am back for an update and will hopefully finish talking about my vacation on this one. Although with me one never knows. So lets start today's blog with a lovely photo of my dad feeding a big lizard. This was taken in Aruba where the lizards are nice and big. My parents just love seeing them and my dad just can't get close enough.

Ok, back to my vacation. I left off on Wednesday of my trip while I was in Phillipsburg the Dutch Capitol. I had lunch at the Holland House which is totally expensive but the food was good and they have a nice patio outside with a great view. After that I wandered around to the stores I like to visit and picked up my few gifts and a couple of things for me before taking the long walk back to my car and thankfully it was right were I left it. St Maarten has a small problem with car theft.

Then it was back to the hotel for more reading, swimming in the pool or the ocean, the choices were overwhelming. One of the evenings, I can't remember if it was Wed or Thur I had just showered and hopped into bed to read when I hear someone yelling my name. Considering I went on vacation alone it sort of freaked me out. Turned out it was Marvyln, the manager of the hotel. A giant leatherback turtle had come onto the beach right down from the hotel to lay it's eggs. I followed her outside and their was the largest turtle I think I have ever seen in real life, it had to be 4 feet long at least and 2-3 feet wide. They said the eggs were the size of golf balls, by the time I got there she was covering them up with sand. There were some tense moments when we thought she was confused cause she could not seem to make it back to the ocean but after about 20-30 min she found her way back and we all cheered, it was so cool.
Nothing much more exciting happened until Saturday. Now we move back to my friends Anne and Hans. So remember I told you that I asked them to make my mom a pendant. Well, here it is.

How cool is that????? I love it, I told mom that if she hated it I would keep it, I was really hoping that she hated it, no such luck. She loved it too. Anne designed it after I fumbled around trying to tell her what my mom would like, my description was basically small but unique. Not alot to go on but they did a damn fine job. It is about the size of a quarter. The tanzinite is from some earrings I picked up several years ago but always hated, don't ask me why I bought them, why the hell would I know? I was totally bummed that I could not afford to buy/have anything made this year. Now everyone needs to go check out their website to see all the other cool stuff they made. If you go to Hans' blog you can see the totally awesome spinning ring he made, he started it while I was there. It is so cool to watch him turn what looks to me like a chuck of ugly metal into some beautiful work of art. So neat.

To side track from my story one more time I made Anne and Hans a quilt that I brought with me and I thought you might enjoy a glance at it. It was small and made to be a wall hanging or a throw for over a chair since in St Maarten there is not a real need for quilts or blankets of any kind. I am not sure this picture is very good. I took it on the bed of the hotel and the light blue background does not really do much for it. If you have not noticed I have self esteem issues and was wigged out about giving it to them. I kept waiting to hear the tense, "isn't that nice", with the underlying "how fast can I get rid of it once she is gone". Happily they seemed to like it so either my radar was off or they really did like it. I got the same way when I gave my mom her quilt at Christmas. I had visions of her throwing it at me telling me it was the ugliest thing she had ever seen....did I mention the self esteem issues?

Ok, back to my vacation. So on Saturday night Anne made fondue for my birthday and invited over Claire and Barry. God, I hope that is his name, my brain turned off and I can't remember. Anyway they are good friends and we met the last time I visited. They are great fun to talk too, Claire makes my sides hurt from laughing so much. We all sat around the table trying to figure out how to get the food in and out of the pot cooked, still attached to the fork, and hopefully ours since we all had a bunch going at once. It was too funny. Anne had covered the table with tin foil which was a brilliant idea so then we just had food everywhere. Anne also remembered that my favorite dish is Tomato & Mozzarella salad so we had some of that too. I swear I could just eat that everyday for breakfast and never get sick of it. We talked and laughed and had a real nice time, I so look forward to it every trip.
Sunday morning I was back to my reading, swimming, and walking the beach. All in all I read 13 1/2 books on vacation. Now keep in mind that I am a really fast reader and one of the books I skipped alot of pages, she just went on and on about feelings and images, bored me to tears but I was already too involved and wanted to know what happened to the people. It was like a 450-500 page book and I bet I read only 300 pages or so and of course the ending sucked. One other book I read about 50 pages then trashed but other than that all the ones I brought were good.

So the days past quick and before I knew it, it was time to come home again. I left on Saturday at about 2pm. My flight was supposed to leave about 4:45pm and of course it was delayed but only by about 30 min. When I got to Charlotte I was so busy rushing to get to my gate I failed to notice that flight had also been delayed. Once I really looked at it I saw that my 10:20 flight to Chicago was now 1:45 am in the morning. When I made it to Chicago I still had a 2 hour drive home to make so I was less than thrilled. At least for once the airline did something about it and managed to pull another plane out of the hanger and we managed to get up in the air about 12am.

And to make my already long day longer by the time I got to Chicago they were having thunderstorms. So I got off the flight, made my way the 2 mile walk to call the hotel to come pick me up and take me too my car. It is now 1:30 am in the morning and I am so tired I am in pain. I get in my car and of course it has to make a funny noise so the whole drive home I am worried that the wheel is going to fall off and I am going to flip over on the highway. I crossed into Wisconsin and the fog was so thick you could only see a few yards in front of you, by this time I just did not care, it was 2:30 am and I hauled ass home. I was 2 exits from my house when the cops start directing everyone off the highway so of course I had to take the long way home, added at least 10 min to my trip and at 3:20 in the morning that is alot of time. Happily for me Jody was awake so I just called and talked to her so that I would not fall asleep.

3:30 am in the morning I finally, and I mean finally made it home sweet home. My kitty was thrilled to see me so I played with her for about 15 min, showered and fell into bed. Managed to wake up every 1/2 hour or so till 7am, I guess I was just too damn tired to sleep. Finally at 7am I crashed till 11am. So that is the story of my latest trip to St Maarten.....not sure I will make it back next year, especially with gas and food costs going up so fast but I am already planning for my return in 2010....I already have a few books picked out.
Forgive any errors on this, I proof read it and fixed it but it did not save right so I lost that and I am too tired to read it again so it is what it is....see you later, Amy

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vacation Part 3

You realize of course, if I have a mind too I can drag this vacation theme out till we hit at least part 75. So I woke up Sunday morning to the sound of waves breaking right outside my bedroom. That is the sound I miss most when I am here. I wish I could live closer to the ocean so I could here it more often. Sunday was a tough day of deciding things like do I swim in the pool or the ocean? Do I walk up the beach to the left or to the right? Which book do I begin reading next? Life decisions like this should not be made lightly. So I pretty much did both, had a little time in the ocean, then hung by the pool for a while, read a book, and got a little sunburn, after that I was more careful about putting suntan lotion on right when I got up then again around lunch time. The picture below is a full frontal view of my hotel room, I will grant you that this view is not the greatest but if you turn around it rocks. I was standing in the waves when I took this shot.

The picture below is of the pool, although I think that goes without saying. There were only 2 things that I did not like about this hotel. The first was that on the side of the pool I am standing, just a few hundred yards from that is the main airport landing strip so there were times when I had to cover my ears however it was generally for just a short time. You could hear it some in the rooms but it was loudest at the pool. The other thing that was annoying is they have a small ant problem in the kitchen so I was always killing them. I suppose if those are the only 2 complaints they can be overlooked.

Being that this was my 5th time on the island I was not really that interested in going to town to shop. The Island is split into 2 parts, the French side and the Dutch side. There is a capital on both sides, the French capital used to be the "nicer" side however Anne and Hans had told me that it was not in such good shape anymore and quite frankly I really had no desire to go. I mean why would I want to leave the beach to go to a small town to see how run down it had gotten?

I did go into Phillisburg on Wed, that is the Dutch capital. Finding parking over there is a HUGE pain in the ass. I must have circled for 20-30 min cause everything is one way and I was trying to find a public parking area they had shown on the map, I think they lied cause I could not find it anywhere.

So I parked hell and gone from where I wanted to be and started the long walk to Front Street. That is the place were most of the shops and resturants for the tourists are. They have also built in boardwalk that faces the ocean so that is nice to walk. Sorry I have no pictures of that, I just forgot to bring my camera that day. So after almost getting attacked by a stray dog (that is a problem on the island however it is not as bad as it used to be and I am scared to ask how they fixed it). I walked along front street but I really only wanted to go in a few stores that I have been to before. I only got a few magnets and some things like that for a couple of people. How many Sarongs, shot glasses, nick nacks, and t-shirts does a person need anyway? They have alot of Jewelry stores, but now that I met Hans why would I want anything from anywhere else? There are alot of cosmetic and perfume stores, since I am ugly, nothing more can be done so that rules out the cosmetics and I am allergic to all the perfumes so what is the point in that?

Ok, I am leaving you hanging cause I have some other stuff to do tonight. I will pick up were I left off tomorrow after I get home from my hair cut, I have an exciting life let me tell you!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Vacation Part 2

So when last we spoke I was telling you all the wonderful perks that I got with my new hotel room. Did I mention that you get your own grill, not that I know how to use it but it was nice to have the option. Below is a picture of the chair that was my home for a decent part of my vacation.

From that chair the below picture shows the view that I had the whole timeNot a bad way to spend the afternoon was it....anyway I got to the hotel on Saturday sometime around 4pm. I would like to note that I took a taxi from the airport and everytime I get in a taxi in St Maarten with a woman taxi driver they are blarring the religious channel, so I have to listen to stories of God striking me dead all the way to my destination.....everytime.

Now this trip was the first time that I rented a car in St Maarten. This hotel is far enough away from everything that you really have to. I was nervous about driving, but I am happy to report that I had not problems other than getting car sick going over the 8,000 speed bumps.

Once I got the keys to my new little, and I mean LITTLE rental car I made my way over to visit my friends Anne and Hans. I met them 5 years ago, they own a jewelry store that I passed when walking from the old hotel to the grocery store. I stopped in on that trip, started chatting with them and much to their dismay keep returning year after year, for both their company and there beautiful jewelry creations. Also, Anne makes me dinner everytime I come for my Birthday and feed me once and you really will never get rid of me. Ask my parents.

Since I did not get to go to St Maarten in 2006, went to Disney instead. It is always a mistake to think you can have a better time someplace without a beach and the sound of the ocean. I was very excited to see Anne and Hans again, of course I had been traveling all day long since 4 am in the morning and since the hotel manager had chit chatted with me for over a half and hour and the car rental took forever I did not even make it to visit them till at least 5:45pm. So I was a bit droppy and pressed for time since I wanted to make it to the grocery store by 7:30pm so that I did not have to leave the hotel till Monday. Some stores are not open on Sunday or have odd hours. That is one thing that I did miss about the other hotel, they would supply you with grocery's if you asked so you did not have to run to the store right away.

Anyway back to Anne and Hans....when I arrived Hans was out on a mission to find a new cabinet for the kitchen, they had suffered some water damage. On the island you are hard pressed to find anything even close to what you really want and the cost is always 2-3 times what you would pay in the states. That is pretty much the reason I could not live their year round, well that and there is no Barnes and Noble. If I win the lotto then I am there!!

Anne and I had a nice chat and I was thrilled to nose around the shop drolling over all the beautiful jewelry...what can I say I am my father's daughter. This year I planned to make my dad surprise my mom with a nice pendant that Anne designed. That was all fine and good except for the fact that any of you who know my father know that he could not keep a secret to save his life. Thank God he never tried to become a spy. So of course he blabbed all to my mom a few weeks before I left. I still had something made for her and I will post a picture of it soon.

I made it to the grocery store before it closed, they have alot of american brands but you have to be real careful about expiration dates and since they don't color the meat it all looks sort of gray and the veggies are a bit droppy. It is a long way from the states by cargo ship after all.

Made it back to the hotel that first night and fell into bed, a really comfy bed and listened to the ocean as I drifted off to sleep. So how much do you hate me now? Stop back tomorrow for the continuing saga of Amy on Vacation.......

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Finally an update-Vacation Part 1

Ok, so my blog did not hit the ground running but I am going to try and get it up and running finally. Not sure how many folks will view it but what the heck.
So I just returned on May 4th from my vacation to St Maarten. Here are some pictures from my trip. Once I know that those uploaded I will add more pictures. I am new at this after all.

So I left on vacation on May 23rd. I worked from home for a bit in the morning then I said goodbye to my kitty cat and headed for Chicago. I timed it really well so that I did not hit too much traffic even with the construction.

I went over to Woodfield mall and ate at one of my favorite places, PF Changs...yummy. Then I did a little shopping before I headed over to the hotel. It is a pretty nice place with great underground parking for my car while I am gone.

My parents stay at the same place so they were parked there too. They left for Aruba the week before I left. Dad took this photo of the hotel that they stayed at.
Saturday morning I was up bright and early to leave the hotel. I was thrilled to make it to the airport and find there was no delay. I will regret gloating about that later in my trip but at the time I was a happy camper. I had a layover in Charlotte NC....funny thing about that airport, they have a ton of rocking chairs in the terminals. I guess they trying to make you think you are at home.

Made it to St Maarten right on time and took a taxi over to the new hotel. I switched from the place I normally stay at. There were a few reasons, first I really wanted a pool. Sometimes the ocean on that side is to rough to get in so it was nice to sit in the pool on those days and just read my book. Actually I went in the pool most of the time cause then I could just lean against the side and read. The other 2 main reasons for the change is I wanted better air conditioning at night. This new place had really nice air and I need that to sleep. Also the beds are not so comfortable at the other place.

One other perk was they had a TV (with a dvd player) at this hotel and since I do not have cable anymore I did watch a some in the evenings.

Here is the link to the hotel website, when I return I will stay here again they were so nice.

Part 2 of vacation will be coming soon to a blog near you....