Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The reason we were all in Aruba together was to celebrate my mother-in-law, Candy's, 60th birthday. She is the kind of lady that it is impossible to buy anything for, so we agreed with Steven's sister and her husband that we would all take Mom out for a really nice dinner and that Mom was not allowed to pay! Easier said than done. When the check came, Mom tried to get it before we did. Nice try, but this is our treat!

We had taken them to Ruinas del Mar at the Hyatt hotel. The pool and surrounding gardens area are just gorgeous.

The weather was not the best all week and we only had one really nice sunset to photograph. So here are a couple of different views of that lovely evening.

Like I said, our birthday girl is a hard person to buy anything for. My father-in-law, David, arranged for a nice surprise. The national newspapers of Aruba love to do human interest stories. So David arranged for The News to come and interview the whole family. This is a picture of all of us that was on the front page of the paper. Back row, left to right, Me, Steven, David, brother-in-law Pablo. Front row, Jonathan, Candy, sister-in-law (Steven's only and younger sister) Sue who is holding her daughter Sophia.

Grandpa and Jonathan early one morning. Both of them were early risers while the rest of us were lay-abouts!

Grammy bought Jonathan this very cool t-shirt. Indoors it is just a black & white shirt. Once exposed to the UV outside, it turns fun colors. So here is our little scurvy dog pirate. We had brought his pirate eye patch with us, but he had forgotten to bring it outside with us when we took this picture of him!

Footprints: Mine, Jonathan & Steven

On the Monday, we abandoned the family to go out exploring on our own. Here we are at the California Lighthouse. After that, we drove out to where the Natural Bridge used to be before it collapsed.

We were also fascinated as we drove out to the Natural Bridge that there were little rocks stacked on the ones that Mother Nature had left behind. So I made Steven stop so Jonathan and I could find our own rocks to stack.

One of the things that we worked on while on vacation was teaching our 11-month-old niece, Sophia the concept of SO BIG! She looked at us like we were insane early in the week, but by mid-week she had it down pat. The day after this photo was taken she was looking around, noticing that no one was paying attention to her. So she threw her hands up in the air and of course, several of us responded with "Sophia is SO BIG!" I'm wondering who got trained with this accomplishment.

Here we are, somewhere under the rainbow.

Our little sweet pea!

Me and a Tree Nymph butterfly. This freshly hatched little lady was placed on my hand by Anna from
The Butterfly Farm. She took her very first flight off my fingers after Anna was kind enough to take "our" photo.

Jonathan took advantage of a sleeping Daddy to store his toys so that Sophia wouldn't get them while they were on the floor.

The last time we were in Aruba, the lizards, geckos and iguanas totally freaked me out. This time I approached them with a photographers eye. Steven teased me that I finally embraced my inner iguana. Either way, this guy was way cool.

Like sands through the hourglass, these were the days of my life for a whole week.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Quick Update

Will write more in depth this week--and post the much promised Aruba pictures--but for those who are awaiting my karate test news:

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Just Plugging Along

Lots of stuff going on lately. Trying to get caught up--still--from vacation. Steve is under my gun to finish editing photos. Really, I promise they will get posted here before J graduates college! I think I finally got all the laundry put away from vacation. Oy vey, my boys go through clothes worse than any girl I know.

Karate. J passed his Orange Minor Stripe belt test on Monday. I am testing for my Orange belt this coming Saturday. If I wasn't nervous enough, I found out in class the other night that I have to break a board--with my hand--holy crap Batman! I'm trying to be very Zen about it. I've been sitting with my Ipod listening to the Memoirs of a Geisha soundtrack and meditating, picturing myself breaking the board. No problem!

J also finally got elevated from being an Eel to a Stingray for swim lessons. He's been an Eel for ages. But the time spent swimming in the pool and ocean on vacation really paid off and his endurance is there to elevate him. He's very proud of that.

What else? My rubber stamping class for the town's continuing education department never got more than 1 registration, so that was a bust for this time around. We're going to try again later in the spring and I have been brainstorming how to promote the program more. But my Stampin' Up! business has been going really well and there is the potential for this to be my best quarter ever!

In general, tides are turning and shifting for the better as far as life in Casa Owen. It just seems like things are much brighter and a tad easier. Guess the addage, "Everything happens for a reason," is really true and what doesn't kill you definitely makes you stronger.

I'm just plugging along and very happy about that! Peace out.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Yeah, I'm officially freaking out

My last post showed me in my karate gi with my beginners white belt. Now I started this session a couple of weeks in, so I figured I would not be testing next week since I didn't complete the full course. Tonight was J's first night back and he was given his testing paper. So I ask Sensei what is the fee for J's test and he replies that it is $35. He sees me with my checkbook then adds, "But you need to write the check to include your test fee for next week." Gulp! What? "I'm testing?" I ask innocently. "Of course you are." "But Sensei, I wasn't here for the full session." "Yes you were, between class and working with the kids during J's class, you're ready." I'm ready. Yeah, I'm officially freaking out and will be practicing Taikyoku Shodan repeatedly every day between now and the 18th (with the exception of the 11th when I'm cropping with my girls up in NH). If I pass my test, I will earn my first color belt, orange. If J passes his test, he will earn his orange minor stripe--yes, he will still rank higher than I will. Oh good grief! Give me strength!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mighty Warrior, Hear Me Kiai!

Some of you have wanted to see me in my karate gi. Your wish is my command. Here I am in two poses. The first is Jodan Age Uke. This is a rising block position. The second image is Oi Zuki, which is a lunge punch. Since being on vacation, I'm itching to get back to class. Yesterday should have been my first day back, but J's got a nasty Swimmers Ear Infection from being such an Aruban Water Rat in the pool and the ocean. Will post some of my vacation photos later!
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