March 30, 2016

Fiji- A second day of Fiji Life

Our second day in Fiji started with another amazing breakfast. Man, there is something to be said for these giant resort breakfasts. And because of where we're situated, there are a lot of Indian and East Asian breakfast items to try along with my made to order eggs and fresh yogurt. But, I digress. There are important things to report.

Yesterday, while out in a taxi, Beerman arranged for a taxi driver to take us around for the day. We didn't want to do the usual tour with the usual Australian tourists and be on their timetable, but wanted to see the sights. So we started at Viseisei, Fiji's original village, which still has people living in it today. We learned of the cannibalism and patriarchal society. And also learned that there is a lot of Christian evangalization here, too. I'm not sure if it's all that repenting for eating peoples' brains, but it's been a little surprising. Anyhow, it was great to see the village and learn some Fiji cultural stuff.

Next, we moved on to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. It's a pretty garden in a mountain (Sleeping Giant) that was started by Raymond Burr. There were loads of orchids and beautiful plants and honey bees!

It was hot and humid, and we were sweaty, so after a bit, we got our fruit punch and moved on.

This time, to the Sabeto mud baths and hot springs. It's a local thing to do - you slather yourself in mud, wait for it to dry off, and then start rinsing off in 4 pools - getting slightly cooler and cleaner in each one.

It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Interesting and funny, but once may have been good enough for all of us.

We then had lunch at a traditional Fiji place. Children are extremely important here, and it's been fascinating to see that C-man gets served first. Always. But our food came, too, and Beerman's lunch was the most interesting - taro balls covered in coconut milk, alongside yucca and marlin.

After lunch, we relaxed with some cribbage by the beach and drinks and pool time, until it was time to see the Cultural Ceremony - the Meke Lovo. It's kind of a Fiji Luau, but these people were way bad asser.

Because at the end, we saw each man of the tribe walk on top of a burning hot fire of rocks. And we were next to this fire - it was no joke. I'd really wanted to see this part of things, so was pretty excited about it, even if Beerman declared they only walked on the cool rocks.

Unfortunately, C-man caught some crud, and wasn't feeling well at all. He has a cough and general crappiness. The past couple weeks of going plus plane crud seem to have gotten him a bit. I'm hoping he is able to fight it, because it's never fun to be sick on vacation and we're heading out to the sailboat today.

March 29, 2016

Fiji- Bula

After 3 separate, yet on-time, flights, totaling 17 hours plus over 5 hours of layovers, C-man thinking he was going to barf in the plane (but thankfully did not), and a hot, slow trip through customs, we made it to Fiji. Our taxi driver informed us we are 3 days away from winter, and we could probably tell because it was getting cool. Today was 86 degrees and completely humid. We admitted this was not something we were accustomed to calling winter.

But we celebrated our arrival with beers and smoothies. C-man couldn't believe how 'fancy' the place we're staying is. It really is quite beautiful - all hard wood and infinity pools and giant chess boards and gorgeous views and tropical air that smells like humid, black earth. Due to C-man being quite tired, we spent a large portion of the day in the pool getting our burn on. We had a small side trip to the marina shops to have lunch and get him a Fiji Rugby jersey (at which point, people started cheering for Fiji Rugby when they saw him). If it had been just Beerman and me, we would have tackled some adventure today. But knowing what a busy couple of weeks this child had, plus the toll of this travel change, we made a conscious effort to let him dictate the pace. Plus, it is vacation.

It really is a lovely place, although where we're staying now isn't the best of Fiji. (You'll remember we were the first Survivors to get kicked off the island when that show decided to take over our resort) This stretch of resorts seems to be a bit like the Riveria Maya for the Australians - where they come to lay around and eat and drink and not do much else. We're here to see a bit of Nadi before heading out on the sailboat.

The food has been excellent. I about died over the breakfast we had while we waited for our room to be ready. (Seriously, I can hardly wait until tomorrow when we get to do it again!) And everything is quite... Fiji. Even the torches that are throughout the resort are intricately carved.

We had an early dinner on the water and watched a spectacular sunset. C-man was begging to go to sleep, but we made him stay up a bit. He took a shower and lasted until 7:30. This 18 hour time difference has hit him hard. I'm sure he'll adjust quickly, though. He always does. Tomorrow, we are heading to the Sleeping Giant - a mountain with an orchid garden and some waterfalls. And then in the evening, we're going to the 'cultural show', which should have some beautiful fire dancers. Beerman is convinced it's just a cheesy Fiji luau. I think we're both right. Overally, I'm hoping for some good photos. (As long as this humidity stops fogging up my lenses!)

And with that, Day 1 of Spring Break is in the books.

March 27, 2016

State Wrestling and Beyond

Yesterday was the big day C-man had worked so hard for - State wrestling. He was nervous, as expected, but had a great attitude about the entire experience.

Unfortunately, he lost two and was out. He was upset, of course - more about being worried that he'd never have the experience than anything.

But today, things are back into perspective. He made it there. He got the champions jacket. He walked the floor. And he wrestled on the floor. And now he knows what to expect and work on next year.

And now, Fiji. See you on Tuesday. Or somewhere in the future.

March 25, 2016

And it begins

Weigh ins are this afternoon. He wrestles tomorrow. Grand march at 8:10, with matches at 8:30. He has really appropriate expectations, and is very proud to have gotten the ticket in. And yet, I'm still nervous - I really just want him to make it through 6 periods. Ack! I don't know if I'm cut out for this motherhood thing!

March 24, 2016

Thursday Thirteen

  1. I am packed and C-man is packed. I got us both into smaller suitcases to fit on the boat and in the RV. I was pretty impressed with myself.
  2. It was hard to try to think through what we'd need for 65 degree weather, since it's so far out of my range of comprehension right now.
  3. Fiji and New Zealand, here we come!
  4. Except for the extra socks and underwear and toiletries I need to do at the last minute.
  5. Tonight we'll be packing for the weekend trip to Madison.
  6. After my trip to get a pedicure.
  7. Last night I picked up my rental lens for the weekend. It's such a pretty lens.
  8. C-man's coach is trying to get me a press pass so I can be down on the floor for all the kids. That would be amazing.
  9. When I woke C-man up for school, I informed him it was his last day for 3 weeks. How crazy is that?
  10. Almost as crazy as him having no homework for the 2 weeks he's missing. I sure am glad I worried about how much school he was going to miss.
  11. I think I've written my bio for the Jingle Bell Walk champion for the Arthritis Foundation. I had a draft on the counter, and C-man found and read it. He told me he is going to grow up and become a scientist to cure arthritis. I guess that means it's done.
  12. Mentally, I'm totally past work. Which is hard considering I'm delivering performance reviews. At least I have a really good team.
  13. Almost there, people. Almost there!

March 23, 2016

A pot of crazy

I am packed for the trip. I am packing up C-man tonight. Well, except for the clothes we need to wear this week, things we need for the wrestling tournament this weekend, and toiletries. But close enough. I'm packed, damnit!

Beasley has his dog walker all set. I just need to get his food ready for while we're away, because I'm assuming my mom doesn't want to cook him up his liver every day. Not positive, just a hunch.

And we all have passports. Dear Lord, we all have passports. On that note, if you go to the passport office, be sure to A) Have an appointment, because it puts you earlier in the line when it's pickup time and B) Check what time they start printing passports. Because regardless as to your appointment time, they do not print until a certain time (3 pm in Chicago), and you have to wait until then.

I have to pick up my lens for the weekend tonight. (At least this year I'll be able to get down on the floor with C-man to take photos.) I'm sort of nervous for him. Which is okay, because he's taking this in complete stride. Last night he declared he won't even cry if he loses 2 in a row and is out - he's just thrilled to have made it. So there's that - my 11 year old is more practical than I am.

In other news, I've got one more day of work this week. Wahooo!

March 22, 2016

Another day of stuff

  • I've recently discovered that there's something insanely satisfying about using a swear word as your corporate password.
  • I've been printing out itineraries and making lists. We're getting close...
  • But, of course, I've also been figuring out accommodations in Madison for State Wrestling. Ahh, this is craziness.
  • I've also been writing my bio for the Arthritis Foundation. It's been really, really hard. I don't want to whine, but don't want to minimize the impact it has on my life and the life of my family.
  • C-man's first words to me this morning were, "It's not my birthday anymore." Ah, the hardships of having a Monday birthday.
  • I'm vacillating between wanting it to be Friday and for the week to go really slowly.
  • But then it'll be vacation... Ahhhhh...

March 21, 2016

11 things I love about my 11 year old

  1. His passion for everything he does. If he takes the time to do it, you can guarantee it'll be done with serious gusto.
  2. That smile.
  3. That no matter how bad my day has been, I know there will be snuggles the end of it.
  4. That wit.
  5. His ability to make a friend everywhere he goes.
  6. The natural curiosity to figure out everything.
  7. How honest and transparent he is about what he feels.
  8. That he's never short of an opinion or desire or knowing what it is he wants.
  9. That work ethic that is so far beyond his mere 11 years.
  10. How fun everything can be when he's involved. Oh, that laugh...
  11. The size of that heart. It has room enough for babies and animals and anyone who needs it.
Happy birthday, sweet baby. May it be the best one yet.

March 20, 2016

State bound

Friday, after our crazy run to Chicago for a renewed passport, we drove to Sheboygan where C-man weighed in, we went out to dinner, and we went to bed. Because Saturday morning, we had to be at the State Qualifier tournament by 8:30.

C-man drew a bye in the first round. Lucky in that he'd skip a round, but unlucky in that the longer this kid waits to wrestle, the worse his nerves get. And he does not wrestle well with raw nerves. But he learned he'd be wrestling a kid whom he'd beaten once and got beaten by twice, and somehow that "known" wrestler made things better. Well, that, and a poop, apparently. Ah, wrestling life.

As it has been in the past, it was an incredibly good match. They traded takedowns and reversals, tied at 7-7 with 4 seconds left. They reset their positions, with C-man on the bottom. Beerman shouted, "You HAVE to get free and get the escape." The whistle blew, and C-man escaped so hard, the other kid went flying to the ground and C-man was on his feet, turned around, and the ref's hand up for one point. The stands erupted. We went out of our minds. He won 8-7.

So hard fought. So deserved. And C-man was beyond thrilled.

I always get nervous, but didn't realize until I stood that I was shaking. This wrestling thing really gets to me.

His second round, he started well, but then got beat 10-3.

C-man was in tears, because he had to go in the consolation, or wrestle-back, round of things. It's a longer, harder road to get back to 2nd, but was his route.

And then we realized that the kid he'd beaten his first match had wrestled back for 3rd. Since you don't have to beat the guy you've already beaten, C-man got the 2nd place spot. He sobbed. He got his medal. He stood on the podium. He declared he was never taking that medal off.

At the start of the year, he set a goal of getting 4 pins (one more than last year). Once he got those, he upped his goals. Then Beerman and C-man sat down and wrote out a plan of goals and how to achieve those goals, which included working out and jumping rope and learning new moves. The last goal was 'Make it to State'. I felt it was a little far fetched for him, but was glad he was setting goals, so kept my mouth shut. Well, buddy, you and your hard work proved me wrong once again. And I couldn't be happier for him.

March 17, 2016

Thursday Thirteen

  1. It's the end of the week. Well, close enough, anyway. Tomorrow begins the last bits of wrestling and the beginning of trip planning execution.
  2. Tomorrow is our day from Chicago to Sheboygan, or Passports to Weigh-in if you will.
  3. I feel like I'm getting sick. This cannot be happening right now.
  4. I'm hoping it's Spring allergies.
  5. I was asked to be the Jingle Bell Run Champion this year. Essentially, be one of the faces of the event. Kind of cool, since I think I actually have to do very little.
  6. Spring Break is officially in the 10 day forecast. Fiji is 88 degrees. God bless it.
  7. Staying away from sweets for the entirety of Lent has been really good for me. I wish I could keep this up forever.
  8. Beerman needs a new vehicle. I suppose it's time to start shopping. I really hate vehicle shopping.
  9. I ordered the bottom boards and top boards for my three new beehives that I'll be putting up this year. I have enough boxes already thanks to some pretty bad counting in previous years.
  10. Every time I think about my bees making the winter, I smile. It's so gratifying.
  11. I've been sleeping with a sticky hot patch on my lower back lately, and it's been working out well. Subscribe and Save by the case it is!
  12. I got my hair cut last night, and C-man gets his cut tonight. I went with a trim. C-man is talking getting it super short. What a difference a year makes.
  13. Tonight is about laundry and packing. Shit's getting real.

March 15, 2016

Another day

Another day, trying to pull my shit together. I don't think I'm very successful. But at least I have a hair appointment tonight, so I won't look like a roaring lion anymore. So there's that.

March 14, 2016


  • C-man had a wrestling tournament this weekend. He only wrestled one match. The ref was the worst we'd ever experienced, C-man's shoulder was hurting, and Beerman pulled him from the rest of the tournament after telling the ref he'd never let him ref his kid again. Never ever again will go to Port Washington to wrestle.
  • I looked at C-man's passport on Friday only to realize it expired in February of 2016, not 2017. Shit. So we'll be spending our Friday morning and a small fortune in Chicago at the Passport Agency. We have our wi-fi in the RV, but no passport for our kid. What the hell...
  • Beerman is going to have to travel the week prior to us leaving on our vacation. Again. What the hell...
  • At least I have bees. There's that.

March 13, 2016

March Bees

Yesterday, Great Grandma texted to let me know the bees were taking over the bird seed (looking for a protein source). I was overjoyed, but cautiously hopeful that it was my bees. I drove north today and confirmed it. I was even more thrilled to discover that both hives made it.

Abigail's hive was the one I'd left the honey super on, in addition to a layer of sugar. I didn't go deeply into the hive, because it was cool and windy, but there were lots of bees. Their emergency sugar was almost gone, but they were docile, so not too concerned.

Caroline's hive had no additional super of honey, and only the two brood boxes. Their emergency sugar was barely touched. Although, it was clear, both hives needed the extra sugar. (Something I'm hoping to avoid needing too much of next year.)

I'm unsure why the difference - whether Abigail's hive was bigger in size with the super, so they needed larger numbers overall, or if they have started brood rearing earlier. Or if it is even something else. But it's fascinating to see the difference in their needs.

I put 2 gallons of liquid sugar syrup on each of the hives, because I won't be back to see them before our Spring Break trip. I am hopeful that will get them through to the Spring buds, when they'll be able to forage on their own. My overall goal is to minimize sugar as much as possible, but would rather have live bees than dead ones. It's definitely a balance!

In other words, all is well in the apiary so far. I had ordered 3 more packages for Spring, thinking I'd lose at least one of them. Which means it looks like I'm heading into the land of 5 hives this Spring. I wonder if the Crazy Cat Lady rules apply, and more than 3 hives makes me the Crazy Bee Lady...

March 11, 2016

Another Friday

It's birthday party day. Which means a visit to the churrascaria followed by a sleepover with what I'm assuming will be lots of XBox in between. Mr. Pickles thinks that is a fine plan.

March 10, 2016

Thursday 13

  1. I went to the chiropractor yesterday. I kept putting it off because I had so many work meetings, but was in more and more pain. I still hurt, but man, that's the only thing that even remotely gives me relief.
  2. I'm definitely scheduling a few more sessions before the long trip across the Pacific.
  3. C-man's birthday sleepover is tomorrow night. 4, 11 year old boys for the night. Every year I question why I do this.
  4. Who am I kidding? I do it because it's cheaper than a giant laser tag, that's why.
  5. I'm officially down 17 pounds since the beginning of the year. Another 5 would be nice.
  6. I'd really like a nap. Napping is entirely underrated.
  7. I have been mentally packing for our trip. Current temps in New Zealand are in the 70s, which is higher than the 60s I'd been expecting.
  8. If that holds, my mental packing may have to turn a hard right away from sweatshirts and into shorts! Although the nights are in the 40s, so maybe I'll keep some sweatshirts in the mix.
  9. I'm hoping to check to see whether my bees made it on Sunday. But we'll see how tired I am post-sleepover and wrestling tournament combo.
  10. I ordered my rental lens for the trip. I figured with those landscapes, I'm going to need something sweet.
  11. I spent two hours of my day in a meeting with a woman who had an upswing at the end of every sentence. She also used a lot of buzzwords. And ate stinky yogurt in an enclosed room. Not. Cool.
  12. Beerman is home from Denver. It's nice to have him back.
  13. Is it naptime yet?

March 8, 2016

This, that, and the other stuff

  • C-man is signed up for summer camp. I'm completely jealous of the class options he has. Despite that, he's all tournament kickball, flag football, bowling, and survival skills.
  • I've been feeling entirely crappy. This whole arthritis thing is winning its battle with me lately, I fear.
  • C-man has his birthday party this weekend. But since he 'needs' to wrestle, we're kicking the kids out by 9:30 so we can head to the afternoon time slot in Port Washington.
  • Up to 3 more weekends. And then it's vacation, people!
  • Ah, vacation. I can hardly stand it, I'm so excited. Getting away from it all, not worrying about my desperately awful mind fog in a meeting, not worrying if I'm going to be able to sit long enough without needing to stand... It'll be fantastic.
  • Beasley is just excited the Treat Grandpa will be here. I'm just hoping he isn't back to 118 when we get back.
  • In other news, the birds are chirping and the snow is gone. Spring may be almost here...

March 7, 2016

It was a good day

C-man wrestled yesterday. Of course. It's nearing the end of his second season. He's dropped over 3 pounds this past month without trying. He's learned a lot of new moves he's starting to try with some success. He's found a real love for wrestling. And last week's crushing really lit a fire in him this week. It was a formula for success. And it felt good.

Not to mention, Team C-man was mat side, "actively" cheering him on. But the quote of the day: "When I hip threw him and heard the thud, I knew he was done." Indeed.

And then, he ran straight from wrestling in Gym 1 to baseball practice in Gym 2. It really was a good day.