Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Dominican Republic: An Overview, Part I



I have always promised myself that I would someday remember to keep a travel journal when I go away. Nothing fancy, just a paragraph or two to document the events that transpire during my time away from home; something to look back on in fondness and laughter, days and then years after the trip has taken place.

I recalled this vow that I had taken in my own mind as my husband and I touched down at JFK, worn and exhausted from our week-long vacation in the Dominican Republic.

Though my memories are already a bit hazy (it has been almost 16 hours since we got back), I will try to recall some of the things that went down during our trip. I will call it: What Happens in the DR stays in the DR, Unless there is Photo Documentation of Everything That Occurred AND You're Writing About it on a Publicly-Viewed Blog... Oh- and Nothing That Happened was Actually Bad enough to Keep From Anyone, Anyway

What? Too lengthy? I think it's just right.

Part I:
The Arrival
I arose from my slumber at 3:30 am to find Kyle already up- showered, dressed, and having a full breakfast in the kitchen. Not normal. When the car came to pick us up an hour later, he had prepared his anti-anxiety cocktail and expressed his concern about 18 different, yet equally unrealistic, scenarios. He's super-fun to travel with.

One hour and several car-sickness-induced dry heaves later, we met up with our friends at the airport, ready to board the Jet Blue flight to paradise. Everything went off without a hitch, and the nail marks on my skin from Kyle gripping my arm during take-off healed quite nicely.

The four of us traveled to our resort from the chaotic and congested DR airport in a shuttle, passing many a disease-ridden cow, wild horse (which, contrary to the song, just kind of stood in the middle of the road and ate garbage), and mopeds ridden by what I could only assume were suicidal lunatics with a penchant for speeding on uneven pavement. Additionally, we were privy to a native being escorted by the policia into a tiny station in cuffs. Whatever his crime, something tells me it didn't have anything to do with traffic laws. Apparently they don't have any there.
If you'll notice I'm still nice and pasty in this photo, thus proving that it was, in fact, the beginning of the vacay

The hotel was gorgeous- palm trees swayed in the warm breeze, dancing to the melody of waves crashing up against the shore... a vast difference from creepily naked branches that shudder in the cold and the sound of cars buzzing along the wet, snow-covered Expressway.
View of the pool outside our door.  I know... I hate me too.


We spent the rest of our afternoon exploring our home for the next week, sitting on lounge chairs at the ocean, and drinking fun rum drinks with our feet in the sand.
You should have seen the elderly workers that they forced to shimmy up the swaying palm trees to retrieve these coconuts


Stay tuned for more installments (as I remember them) of our vacation...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Random Utterances and a Dazzling Button- All for You!



There were two major bloggy (what? It's a word...) items that I have wanted to accomplish (and did!) recently.

First of all, I changed my blog's address (you can now see that when you go to dinnerwithkir.blogspot.com you are automatically redirected to random-utterances.com). At risk of sounding a bit like Dora, I did it, I did it, I did it! Hooray! I then changed the name of my blog to go with my new, beautiful address. I decided to go with “Random Utterances” since my posts no longer focus on meal plans and recipes, rather they take a more introspected look at the nonsensical lunacy that goes on in my brain. As I did this (and only cried twice), I felt like a computer programmer, with all the crazy lingo and acronyms that I was trying to decipher. But it's done now, and as long as I don't touch anything...

The second thing that I did was to make a button (over there ~>) for my site with its code underneath, so it is free for the taking!
BWS tips button

All I can say is thank goodness for sites such as bloggingwithsuccess.net, musingsofahousewife.com, and any others that defined what a “C NAME” was for me, because I have truly never been so baffled as I have been for the last couple of days.

So, don't make all this work for naught; notice my new address- tell everyone you know how amazing it is! Grab my button to put on your blog, or print it out and tape it to your forehead (please don't forget to send pictures of that last one)!

Drop me a line and tell me about your adventures creating new bloggy (see?) items.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Both a Blessing and a Curse: Going Away AND Some Dinners that Incorporate the Good Stuff



I hate to be “one of those people” who complains about something that is truly fantastic, but the fact that I'm going to be donning a bikini in less then a week is a very daunting notion.

Glorious azure skies, warm Caribbean air, salty sapphire waters... I look forward to every moment of my quickly-approaching vacation, and yet I can't help acknowledging my pasty winter skin and the “extra layer” that I'm holding on to, protecting me from an incredibly frigid winter in New York.

I, therefore, decided that over the course of this week I will try to incorporate as many “super-foods” as possible into my diet, including quinoa, kale, and kidney beans. I was motivated in part (okay, entirely) by an article in this month's issue of Real Simple magazine, entitled “The 30 Healthiest Foods... and how to Eat More of Them” (106).
Mmmm... edamame.  I could get used to eating better!


Last night, for example, I whipped up the yogurt-marinated chicken with mushrooms and sweet potatoes. After consuming the delicious (and easy!) concoction, I actually felt really GOOD- and full!


Up for the remainder of the week? Roasted broccoli, salad with kidney beans, and Giada's turkey meatloaf tonight, tomorrow I'll be dusting off the slow cooker to make chicken adobo with bok choy, then chili-glazed pork with spinach salad and lentils on Thursday, and a meal of whole-grain pasta with sauteed chard and raisins on Friday. Saturday? I'm getting some much-deserved take-out; but don't worry- something light (you all looked very concerned).



The magazine also had some great ideas for smoothies, so I'm going to make the strawberry-flax one for a snack this week. We'll see how it goes (somehow I think it would be better if I put a little rum in it, but I think I'm getting a little ahead of myself).





So I'm off to go do some sit-ups in anticipation of next week's festivities. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 7, 2011

First Day



Blog Dare: First day of high school

Close-up on a girl: blond hair, blue and frightened eyes, nervous grin. About five feet tall, small-boned (weak) frame, fourteen years old.

Pan out: a sea of teenagers, all of which walk hastily in groups of friends and other cohorts, talking excitedly about summer adventures spent vacationing in Europe, lazy days at the beach, and night-time keg parties at what's-his-name's place.

When the bus had pulled up to her new high school for the first time, it seemed surreal. Though she had passed the immense building a million times, she had never thought this day would actually come.
But here it was.

The girl looks up at her peers. How did they all get so tall? She decides that more milk was the only solution. Looking quizzically at the numbers emblazoned on the classroom doors, she quickens her pace. She wouldn't want to be tardy for class on the first day.

After climbing the stairs, then going back down again in a fruitless attempt to locate Global Studies I, she bumps into a tall, dark-haired girl with large, unblinking eyes and an out-going disposition that seems the exact opposite of our protagonist.

Hi! I'm Jackie! Are you a new tenth grader too?”
Umm, yeah. I'm Kirsten,” she says hesitantly to the new girl.
I totally don't know my way around this place yet, but I'll help you out if you need it- you look a little lost.”
Is it that obvious? I'm looking for room 223. Sorry, I don't recognize anyone right now and I just don't know where I'm going and...”
Hey! Global? I'm going there too! I think it's up stairs!”

So the two girls, unmatched in appearance, stature, and personality, made their way back up the stairs and enter the history classroom just as the bell rings. The teacher slams the door.

Take your seats immediately. I don't take well to late-comers, you should know that about me. We're here to learn about history, a history that is augmented exponentially with each passing day. It is vital that you come to class each day prepared to learn, to complete your readings, and to finish all homework and projects on time. Are there any questions at this juncture?” Barely pausing to catch his breath he goes on, “Great. Let's begin.”

Kirsten looked about at the other students scribbling furiously in their new notebooks, remembering instantly that she has yet to pull hers out of her backpack.

Is there a problem?” Mr. H questions her as she unzips the bag and grabs the red spiral notebook out.
Uh... no... I...umm...”
He promptly ignors her attempt at a response and continues on with his lecture.
Horrifying.

The remainder of the morning classes move more rapidly- math (where Kirsten forgets her scientific calculator at home and has to borrow from the teacher's supply), English (where she drops her text on the floor creating a booming slam, resulting in the stifled giggles of the other kids), then lunch.

Thankfully, most of her grade level were also in the cafeteria at this time. Recognizing Jackie right away, she exhales. “Hi. Is anyone sitting here?” Kirsten motions toward an empty seat at the table.

No, go right ahead. Global was crazy, huh?”
Yeah.” Kirsten sighs as she takes her seat next to her new friend.
Mr. H seems like he's all business, but I heard he's only like that the first couple weeks, then he calms down a bit. I heard that from some buddies of mine that I know from theatre.”
Oh- you're in the theatre arts program?”
Well, not here... yet. But I do some community stuff where I met some people. You should join the Players Club here. I heard it's pretty great.”
Cool. I think I will.”

The afternoon seems to fly by in a haze of Kirsten's clumsy blunders, strict teachers, and racing to classes. Though Jackie isn't in any more of her classes, Kirsten feels more confident in herself now that she's made a new friend.

When the day is over, she walks into her house with a bit more pep than she'd left with.
So, how was your first day of school?” Her mom asked, smiling.

Great,” Kirsten responded. “I'm going to be an actress.”


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The First Day of Mommidom

Blog Dare: The day I found out I was pregnant

You really did it this time,” I stormed into the bedroom at 5:30 in the morning.
Kyle awoke with a start. “What? What'd I do?”
I couldn't stifle the giggles that erupted as I tried to maintain a serious disposition.
I'm pregnant!” I jumped up and down, crying and laughing and blubbering. He popped out of bed excitedly, and I grabbed the EPT from the bathroom for proof. “See!”

The date that stands out in my mind (though I could definitely be wrong, “mommy-brain,” you know) is September 9, 2008... a few days after my 28th birthday and the first day of school. A few days prior, I had taken a pregnancy test, the results of which were negative, but I knew something was up. I felt... different.

Later that afternoon when I returned home from work, I called the obstetrician's office to set up an appointment. “I have to come in to see the doctor. I'm... pregnant!”
The secretary did not seem as excited. “Okay. We typically don't see pregnant patients for about ten weeks. How's November for you?”
I stared, dumbfounded, at the receiver. November? “That's the earliest she can see me?” I inquired.

The remainder of the conversation was a complete blur, if a little disappointing. For some reason I figured that everyone would be as excited as my husband and I, but that was not the case.

Thankfully, this incident seemed pretty isolated; as more and more people found out, I got plenty of hugs, kisses, and pats on the belly (which is very strange early on- “Umm, that's just my regular stomach, please stop touching me...”)

Though the exact date may not be as clear, the events of that day are etched into my memory, much like the events that have transpired since my little Avery has been with us!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Within the Archive that is my Brain

Blog Dare:  What first prompted you to blog?


Blogging is a documentation of the goings-on in my life; I am able to look back, much like a diary, at the thoughts I was experiencing at different points during my time writing.

It also allows me to post photos of some of the things that I have found important during certain moments- notice, if you will, the quantity of pictures that show my daughter's smiling face!

Blogging is also an outlet for me; a place where I can write anything I please, and gain ideas to expand upon at a later time if I so wish. It lets me see what works and what doesn't- the varieties of writing that audiences respond to, and the types that should be banished to the world of dissolution.

It tells me, through your comments and personal statistics, what you, the reader, enjoy. So, keep the comments coming- it limitlessly fuels my passion!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Habit



Most of us are creatures of habit in some way: we ALWAYS have a cup (or nine) of coffee each morning, or we have to listen to the same fuzzy radio station in the car, or perhaps dinner just isn't the same without ice cream at the end. The point is, the majority of people have a few things that they HAVE to do in order for the universe to be aligned and the day to go smoothly.

For me, this “habit” is making the bed.

As my husband has proclaimed (and an argument that I've heard before- usually from a guy), “What's the point of tidying up the sheets, smoothing out the comforter, and placing the shams neatly at the headboard if it's only going to be messed up again that night?” Well, I DO have my reasons.

First of all, when I walk into the bedroom and pillows cover the floor, a blanket is crumpled up in the corner, and the quilt clings to a corner of the mattress for dear life, the entire room looks messy and small. I have to hop from the entryway to the closet door just to get to my jeans and sweater.

Second, I am an adult. My husband is an adult. We live in a house. I just feel that this is one of the things that we can do to show how responsible we've become. “Look Ma, we're all growned up!”

Additionally, we have a child who, at her tender age, is extremely impressionable. How else can we show her that it is important to be neurotic enough to have your entire day shaped by a rather menial detail.

So, that leads me to the question, what are some of the daily habits that you can't live without?  
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