Saturday, May 30, 2009

Estes the Ninja Horse Slays Ghosties

Yesterday, Estee and I went out with Mom, Bill, and a friend of theirs, Dawn, for a three-hour tour...well, ride around Olive Ridge. Estee was super excited to get to go out and play and was her usual spitfire self for the first hour or so, then she calmed right down.

Just after an hour into our ride, I was riding, typically, with my feet out of the stirrups (they just get in the way, really), enjoying the ride, looking at the scenery and having a grand ole time in the sunshine. Not Estes the Ninja Horse, though. Out of nowhere she half-reared and struck out with her left foreleg. Then it was over. She didn't spook or shy away from anything. She just kicked the shit out of some imaginary ghostie. In the process of her being an equine BA (bad a**), I managed to slam both thighs down on the pommel of the saddle. Ouch. Glad she killed whatever it was she set out to kill and didn't feel the need to go after the ghostie any more.

The rest of the ride was uneventful, including the picnic at one of the meadows on Olive Ridge, but I have to tell you, I am S-O-R-E today from the long ride without stirrups and I'm waiting for the colors to develop on my thighs from the pommel.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I love being married!

So, at O'God thirty this morning, RockCrawlinChef discovered that one of the cats (Gizmo) had killed a bird, brought it into our bedroom and was noisily eating it (I didn't hear a thing until he woke me up). When I was single I would have been the one to have to clean up the rest of the bird, but now I'm married, I said the first thing that popped into my head..."You're the man, you get to clean it up." And he did, after allowing Gizmo to continue to chomp on it for a few more minutes. When I got up this morning, there was no sign of the devoured bird. Yay, me!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Hawai'i Honeymoon

We worked non-stop from Wednesday the 13th until late in the evening on Saturday the 16th doing little things like getting married and getting ready for our reception, so leaving on Sunday for Hawai'i was even sweeter than I'd anticipated. We paid for our 5-day, 4-night trip to O'ahu long before we paid for the wedding and reception, so come hell or high water we were going. Neither of us had ever been to Hawai'i before, nor had we traveled together just the two of us, a fact that escaped our notice until we were on the plane. I guess that's a good thing, that we weren't stressed out about traveling together for the first time.

It was later in the evening when we finally arrived in Hawai'i, so we didn't do a whole lot other than get dinner and orient ourselves to the area. Our hotel, the Waikiki Circle Hotel, was one of the older, more established hotels and located directly across the street from Waikiki beach. And I mean directly across the street. The hotel has an open-air lobby, so when the elevator doors open up, the view is of the beach.

On Monday morning we went to a breakfast buffet in the Pacific Beach Hotel, at a restaruant called the Oceanarium. It was pretty cool, with a two-story saltwater pool stocked with all sorts of marine life, including a stingray that had a wing-span bigger than me (no lie!). However, even with a 25% discount, it was still $15 each. Ouch. The rest of the morning was spent browsing in the International Marketplace. Lunch was pretty darn good (take it with a grain of salt, this is coming from a Parrot Head) at Jimmy Buffett's Beachcomber restaurant ( We'd gotten a tip that the Volcano Nachos were pretty darn good and they were. Since we were there during Happy Hour, we also ordered a plate of mini-cheeseburgers. Talk about over-ordering! Our eyes were definitely bigger than our stomachs, but it was worth it. And RockCrawlinChef was such a good sport about me dragging him along since he's so NOT a Parrot Head (so far, it's his only fault - but a forgivable one).

We finished up our first full day in Hawai'i sitting on the beach watching the sun set. It's a past-time I could get used to. While sitting on the beach I had the brilliant idea to buy our breakfast from the ABC store, along with a couple of cheap beach mats, and have our remaining breakfasts on the beach for a ton less than a breakfast buffet. So on our way back up to our room for the night, we bought a single serving of cereal and milk each for the morning. Probably my best idea of the trip; we had breakfast on the beach for the remainder of the trip.

Tuesday was spent at the Polynesian Cultural Center (, where we learned a lot. I didn't know that the PCC is 75-80% staffed and run by students from BYU-Hawai'i. In addition to educating tourists about the Polynesian Culture, it also gives students practical experience and helps fund scholarships for the students. Each student who works there works 19 hours a week. The students who work in the villages must have either come from that Polynesian island or have a certain percentage of island blood. Our tour guide was from Tahiti and was hilarious; he kept us laughing throughout the day. Many of the students from the islands will return to their home island. The presenters for Somoa, for example, are both next in line to be their tribes' leaders, so once they've finished at BYU-Hawai'i, they'll return to Somoa to take their leadership spot among their villages.

After spending the day in the hot sun with our delightful tour guide, we attended a luau complete with roasted pig. Although the fruit drink was served in a real pineapple, it was alcohol-free (remember, the PCC is run by the Mormons) and absolutely delicious. At $10 a pop, though, I'm glad we chose to share one. We may not have spent the day at the beach soaking up the sun, but we certainly got our share while out at the PCC. I ended up "crispified" as Ashee-buttwould say. RCC fared a bit better in the sun department. Go figure. Guess my Mexican blood took a siesta that day.

We ended the night watching the "Horizons" show. Each island presented a story told in their traditional dance. It was amazing. The firedancers were impressive and a lot of fun. RCC mused that it's a shame that people in the U.S. don't have the sense of culture and history that other countries do. Part of it is that the U.S. is so young and the other part is that we're such a melting pot; we've lost touch with the heritage(s) that were brought to the U.S.

We were dog-ass tired by the time we got back to the hotel and fell into bed. I'm pretty sure that RCC didn't move at all, which surprised me. We had plans to take a Hummer Movie tour on Wednesday and I figured he'd be tossing and turning like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Hmmm...the Hummer tour. What a blast! The tour (only four of us and the guide) started off on the old Pali Highway (I thought the guide was saying "Poly" as in "Polynesian" - my bad) through the jungle. It's mind-boggling to be on the shores of Waikiki one minute and in the jungle twenty minutes later. The Pali Highway is definitely the way to travel - barely any traffic and lush vegetation all around. We took a short picture break, then piled back into the Hummer to head to the Macadamia Nut Plantation. The meadow at the Plantation has appeared in multiple movies like "Tears of the Sun," "50 First Dates," and "You, Me and Dupree." We stood in the spot where Drew Barrymoore built her waffle house. We couldn't go into the cafe because it was just a facade and was long gone by the time we got to the meadow. From the meadow, we could see the pier where a lot of the filming for "50 First Dates" was done and where a lot of the filming for "Lost" is done.

I can't even name all of the movies that were filmed at Kualoa Ranch (, but a few of the more famous ones: "Jurassic Park I", "50 First Dates", "Godzilla", "Wind Talkers", and "Pearl Harbor". The ranch has also appeared in TV shows; "Magnum PI", "ER" (posed as Africa when Dr. Carter left), and, of course, "Lost". Kualoa ranch is the primary filming site for "Lost", so a great deal of the tour was devoted to Lost fans. Since we don't watch it, the Lost trivia didn't hold our interest for long. I found it more disturbing that Hurley's golf course has taken over the hill that the little dinosaurs (the Galli-what-its) flocked over in "Jurassic Park", but "Lost" makes the owners of the ranch a lot of money.

For our last day, we rented a Jeep to drive around the island, which worked out perfectly since we had to check out of our room and our flight out wasn't until 10:30 pm. We had the whole day to go exploring! We just got in the Jeep and drove, stopping when and where we wanted to. Really, the only things we had planned when we started out were a stop at the Dole Plantation and Malaekahana State park (on the recommendation of one of my adjunct instructors, who taught in Hawai'i for twenty years). We got to see the vibrant blue waters along the coast; watch surfers at Sunset Beach; eat the "island's best shave ice"; hike to the Waimea waterfall; meet the nicest people in the world at the Macadamia Nut Plantation; walk on beach at Malaekahana; and take a peek at the Dole Plantation. It was the perfect ending for our Honeymoon. And it wore us out enough that the six-plus hour flight to Phoenix wasn't so bad.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 16th - Reception Day

After the relative calm of our Wedding Day, the real work began. RockCrawlinChef and I knew that we wanted a small wedding, just our family, but that we wanted to have one hell of a party with our friends to celebrate. Let me tell you, throwing a party for the 160+ RSVPs we had was WORK. But it was well worth it! RCC and Scott headed into the kitchen first thing Friday morning to begin cooking, while the grunts (me, Bill, and Not A GunDiva) started the physical labor. Friday was pretty much just prep work - a lot of the stuff couldn't be done until Saturday, but we did as much stuff as absolutely possible. We (the grunts) moved the grill (I'd still have it's babies), the smoker, a horse trailer full of chairs and a ton of propane to Kai and Annie's house so that all we'd have to do on Saturday was set everything up.

We managed to get everything done that we could and headed back up to the mountain, where Estee and I had plans to ride hard for a little bit to blow off some steam. She's wonderful for just that. Deejo and his family had finally arrived from Arizona and were asleep when we got back up the hill, which worked out perfectly. Since they were asleep, I didn't feel at all guilty about running away on my horse for an hour. Well, I felt a little guilty, since RCC and Scott were still slaving away in the kitchen, but I got over it.

Saturday morning dawned over-cast, which bummed me out a bit. But I got over that, too. I mean, everyone who had RSVP'd was from Colorado and knew how to layer for a BBQ. Turns out, I didn't need to worry - the clouds went away and it got down-right hot! I managed to get myself a little bit of a sunburn doing more grunt labor.

All available hands got put to work on Saturday. My friends, Matt and Angie, who drove down from WY late Friday night, got put to work hauling me, Ashee-butt, and her "bestie" all over Northern Colorado doing last minute stuff. Ash and her bestie worked their skinny little butts off setting up all of the tables and chairs. Matt and Angie were indispensable helping with all of the odds and ends. Annie, God bless her, put together 120 champagne flutes for the toast. Mom and my friend Cindy decorated what had to seem like a million cakes. Digger got stuck being a "go-fer" and Monster got put to work where ever we needed him. It was really heartwarming to have so many friends and family pull together to see the reception go off without a hitch.

We got everything set up with time to spare. It was amazing.

We had a great turn-out; somewhere just over a hundred people turned up to help us celebrate our wedding. It was great to finally get to meet some of RCC's friends, whom I've heard a lot about, but had never gotten to meet. And it was even better to see some of my friends who I haven't seen in forever. I'm sure every couple feels badly that they don't get to spend much time with each person at their reception, and we're no exception. There were so many people that I wanted to just sit and talk with, but we only had a few hours, and it would have taken me days to spend the amount of time with each person that I wanted to.

RCC and Scott got the party started with an "Appetizer Showdown". Each prepared an appetizer (approximately one hundred each) and the guests got to vote for their favorite appetizer by placing a blue ribbon next to their favorite chef's name. RCC won first place with his Pina Colada Meatballs and Scott won first loser with his Firecracker Shrimp and Chicken. It was a great time, and what a way to jump start everyone's appetites.

I'm pretty sure that Scott and RCC managed to prep enough food for everyone to have thirds and fourths. Scott, having run his own catering business in the past, told us that they'd prepared enough food to feed between 400-500 people. No one should have left hungry.

The kids ended the night with a slideshow that they put together that had everyone in happy tears. For the few people with dry eyes, Digger finished them off by playing "The Man He Didn't Have To Be" (at least I think that's the name of it) and welcoming RCC with, "welcome to the family, Dad."

May 14th - Wedding Day

I can't think of a more perfect Wedding Day than ours! The sun came out and stayed out all day, which made it perfect for our "play day". Monster flew up from Arizona (God, I miss that kid) and we spent the morning at Fort Fun ( racing Go-karts and playing arcade games. I had a blast watching RockCrawlinChef and the kids race around the track - seems like all I got to do was watch because I always managed to get the "Sunday driver" P.O.S. car. I'm pretty sure I got lapped in every race despite the fact that I had the pedal floored! We could have stayed and raced all day, but our rumbling tummies finally won and we headed off to SmashBurger for lunch before heading up to Mom's for the actual wedding.

Spending the morning playing around certainly helped lower the stress level for all involved in the wedding. RCC had picked up his friend, Scott, on Wednesday and had given Scott the menu for dinner, so we knew that would be taken care of. My friend, Oonah, just happens to be a Reverend, and had agreed to do the Ceremony, which also decreased a lot of stress. Really, the only thing we had to worry about was getting our butts up to the Lodge and getting ready. Not so bad.

We had decided to have a small, family-only wedding, but our families are fair-sized, so we ended up with twenty people, all of whom were immediate family. RCC and I wrote our own vows and managed to stumble through them without too many tears. The only complaint that we heard later was that we'd "whispered" our vows and that no one else could hear them. Oops. Guess I forgot to project from the diaphragm. But RCC heard them and that's all that mattered.

The Ceremony was short, sweet, and to the point. All of the pictures that followed took much longer than the Ceremony itself. Yes, I did wear boots with my dress, but not my obnoxious blue boots, instead, I wore my very old boots that fit like a glove. Heck, I would have killed myself in heels and I at least wore a dress.

After all was said and done, I did have to go get a picture with the other love of my life, Estes. And, of course, the best way into the pen was to climb the fence rather than go under in my white dress, so up and over this cowgirl went. Estes deigned to have her picture taken with me, but literally turned her nose up at RCC when we tried to get a picture of the three of us. She posed with us for about three seconds and Ashee-butt wasn't quick enough with the camera, so Estes was done. Brat. But I love her anyway.
Scott (and RCC - couldn't keep him out of the kitchen) prepared an amazing dinner to finish off our perfect day. As with most brides, I'm pretty sure my wedding was the best one of all!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

We're down to the wire now; just two days left of work and then it's the final push to the wedding and reception. Yesterday was very much a "hurry up and wait" kind of day; we've done pretty much everything we can in preparation for the reception and now we have to wait. There will be a ton of stuff to do starting Wednesday, but not a thing that we could have done yesterday. For someone who just wants to wade in and get her sh*t done, it was a long day. So instead of working on wedding/reception stuff I washed dishes, did laundry, changed sheets, did more laundry, packed (as much as I could) for Hawai'i, and did more laundry. We watched three movies yesterday - bedtime couldn't come soon enough just so I could get up today and do something that will help while away the time until the party begins.

I know a lot of brides are at the panic stage right about now, but we've managed to pace ourselves pretty well and things are looking good. Now, if Wednesday would just get here so we could get started...