Sunday, July 22, 2007

To the other side of the world...

So it's just about 4:45 a.m. as I start writing this blog entry. Heidi and I leave for the the airport in about an hour and a half. We have been up all night and I just barely finished packing. That leaves just enough time to shower and straighten things up for our dog sitters (thanks Aline and Mom Merryweather!) We have been up all night...which thing I am too old for now I might add...originally thinking it would be a good way to start trying to adjust to the time change (India is 11 1/2 hours ahead of us.) But as fate would have it, staying up all night turned out to be necessary in order to get everything done.

I apologize for being absent from my blog for the past week or so...things have been beyond busy. Last weekend I drove my family home and went to my cousin's wedding and flew back on my birthday (don't ask how old!) I was here for a few days and then had to take off to Mexico for my clinic and got back late on Friday night. I also had to put in 7 hours at work to leave stuff organized there and get the picture.

Anyway, I just wanted to say goodbye to everyone for now. Wish us luck in still seems so unreal! I know we'll have plenty of good stories and pictures to share when we get back. So until then...keep on keepin' on!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

My first hula lesson...

Every year my singles ward has a service auction to raise money for our ward campout. Just about anything and everything you can imagine is up for bid--from house cleaning to computer services to gourmet meals to private airplane tours of the Salt Lake valley to hula lessons. Yes, let's stop with that last one as it happens to relate to the title of my blog.

My first purchase at this year's auction was a hula lesson from my friend Tara who served a mission in Hawai'i. Why would I purchase such a thing you ask? Is it because I am a wonderfully skilled dancer who needs a new genre to conquer? Definitely not!! Let's just say if I found a magic lamp and could have 3 wishes from a genie, one of those would be to be able to cut a rug with the best of them. Not that I am completely without rhythm mind's that I am a much better dancer in my own head than what my body chooses to do. I think something is lost in translation between my brain and my appendages.

The real reason I bought the hula lesson is two-fold. First, I went to Hawai'i in November of last year and ever since then I have thought about Hawai'i at least every other day if not every day. I used to wonder what the big fuss was all about but after having been there I must have been hit with the spirit of Aloha or something. I'd give anything to be there right now in fact. Second, I thought it would be fun to share this lesson with my sister during the annual family trip to Utah. Megan is by far a better dancer than I am and has taken a number of different types of dance classes so I thought she might enjoy this as well.

So a couple of nights ago Tara came over armed with some cd's and even some lavalavas (which I somewhat reluctantly put on I might add). Since Heidi was around as well, we made it a lesson for three. Tara began demonstrating her mad skills and throwing out Hawaiian words that I honestly cannot now remember. We learned the different steps and then started to put them together as choreography for a specific song.

I did much better with some steps than others. I have rediscovered that I am not very good at trying to get different parts of my body to do different things at the same time. I know I looked pretty ridiculous attempting some of the stuff although I think I pretty much nailed the "vamp" (which is just about the most simple step which is kind of used as a break during the instrumental portion before the next verse of the song starts).

Anyway, we learned a whole song in my cramped living room and it was really fun!! In the past I have been discouraged trying to learn other forms of dance. But I must say I really enjoyed learning a little bit of hula and although I am nowhere near as graceful as Tara or other real hula dancers, I wasn't a complete loss. Megan and Heidi really enjoyed themselves as well and I'm pretty sure Tara got a kick out of my lack of coordination. I tried to switch places to be out of her peripheral vision but my coordination problems were so widespread there was nowhere to hide! Here we are with our kumu (teacher) after the lesson (l-r Heidi, Tara, Megan, me):

Mahalo Tara! It was a blast!! I videotaped her showing us what the dance is supposed to look like so I can practice on my own until I get it down. So next time you see me, feel free to ask for a demonstration of my new skills...and until then...A-LO-HA!!!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The men in my life...

Ok, before you get all excited let me preface this blog with the following dislcaimer: this entry has nothing to do with my romantic endeavors, or more appropriately the lack thereof. Now that we have that out of the way I can proceed....

I have two main men in my life. One has been around for just a little over a year and the other is a more recent addition of about two months or so. In their own respective sphere (one human, one canine), each is just about the cutest thing I have ever seen and I can't help but love them, play with them and want to spoil them. Some of you may know them, but for those who don't....let me introduce you to my boys (from L-R, Hurley & Ian):

We'll start with Ian first as he has been my main squeeze for a little over a year. Despite the fact that my friend April (Ian's mom) and I were convinced that he was a girl before the ultrasound confirmed otherwise, I couldn't be happier with my little guy. And he is definitely all boy...he's rough and tumble and likes to get into everything and play hard. For those of you who know me, I have been afraid of small children (specifically infants) for quite a while. They say that babies and dogs smell fear so I think the feeling was mutual. However, sweet little Ian has been so good putting up with his crazy "tia" and his mom has also been brave enough to allow me to get my feet wet and overcome my baby-phobia. I cherish every chance I get to hold him or play with him or spoil him rotten (my checking account has been suffering I must admit!) But how could you not love this?

Now on to the more recent addition in my life. My friend and roommate Heidi and I are both dog people and fortunately my condo is pet-friendly. Therefore we decided that we wanted to try our hands at raising a puppy. For anyone who has not gone through this experience I must say it can be quite frustrating at times and gives you many opportunities to feel like a complete failure. I also now realize why I don't have any children yet (besides not having a husband of course)...if I can't even handle raising an animal, why on earth would I ever be trusted with a human?

Anyway, at the end of May we found a classified ad and went out to look at some toy poodle puppies. It didn't take long for us to fall in love with one of the puppies and for him to fall in love with us. He practically hurled himself out of the box trying to get to us. Our little Hurley has been mostly a delight ever since. Were it not for the chewing/biting and potty-training issues he'd be a complete delight! Anyway, I am really proud of him because he really has learned a lot and is becoming a well-trained dog at his young age. Not to mention that he is the darn cutest thing you've ever seen. Everywhere we go with him people ooohhh and aaahhh over him. And he just LOVES people...he's great with everyone. You should come and play with him sometime...he's a real hoot! Here's his mug shot when he gets in trouble. But with a face like that you can imagine he never stays in trouble for too long!!

So that's the long and the short of it. These are the men in my life for now...but trust me, there is plenty of love to go around so if you know of a decent guy out there that might want to have a place in my heart along with these two, please drop me a line **shameless plug for getting set up with someone** :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Road trippin' it!!

Ahhh, one of the great American traditions...well at least it used to be before gas got so darn expensive. In today's fast-paced world it may have become somewhat of a lost art as well. Who wants to spend 12 hours in a car when you can get there by plane in about 2? I, however, am still a big fan of the occasional road trip.

I, however, am still a big fan of the occasional road trip. I went on an awesome roadtrip last summer with Heidi as we hit 4 National Parks in 11 days (Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Glacier and Waterton Lakes in Alberta Canada). I think we covered over 2.000 miles that trip and that was only what we did by car. Who knows how many miles we hiked...probably not in the thousands although by the end of the trip it felt that way. But who could pass up seeing views as beautiful as this? I would definitely recommend a visit to Glacier and Waterton (which is basically the Canadian side of Glacier) for those of you who haven't been there. It truly is heaven on earth!

Every year for the past 5 or 6 years I have had an annual road trip to look forward to. For those of you who don't know, my mom and little sis live in Simi Valley, CA (between the San Fernando Valley and Thousand Oaks). Every summer they come up to spend a couple of weeks with me here in SLC and also have a chance to reconnect with friends and family in the area. This annual emigration usually goes like this:

  1. I fly down to California, usually on a Friday.
  2. Saturday and Sunday I drive the family van back to Utah.
  3. We party it up and have a grand old time for 2 weeks, give or take.
  4. We load up the van & retrace our steps back through the desert over 2 days.
  5. I fly back to Utah and collapse for a couple of days.

Anyway, this past weekend was the first part of the annual emigration and so I am now enjoying the company of my family. However, I am completely convinced that they are far more excited to be spending time with my new puppy than they are me. I guess I can't fault them though...he is definitely much cuter and fun than I am. Here's to road trips and being together with friends and family!

Mama Donna and Meg-a-roo