Thursday, February 23, 2006


During a normal week, I generally only watch television on Friday night. That's my tv night. Monk, House, and one or more episodes of Law & Order, SVU. Except for that one night, I might catch an episode or two of Stargate while Bob's watching, or something like that, but for the most part, I don't pay any attention.

But this is an Olympics year! So every night for two weeks I'm sitting in front of the television, watching speed skating and figure skating and ski jumping, and I couldn't honestly tell you why. I don't care anything about sports at any other time, and I don't really care about these sports, either. I think it's more that I feel like I should participate in the event, or honor it in some way. And as Bob pointed out, I enjoy the soap opera quality of learning about the athletes' lives as much as anything, probably.

Anyway, whatever the reason, I've been in the living room watching television every night this week, and the kitties are right there with me.

I love the one little white paw.

Sometime late in the evening Bob came down and sat with me for a few minutes, and Dinah took advantage of him and climbed up into his arms, settled down, and went to sleep, effectively trapping him there for about a half hour.

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Monday, February 20, 2006

The strength of the sea

I don't know if I mentioned Bob being almost carried out to sea.

Well, not really, of course, but he did get surprised by the strong tide one morning. He, Craig, and I went down to the beach; I think the other girls were still sleeping, and I don't remember where John was.

Bob and Craig waded out a little way; the tide started to come in, and Craig turned back, but Bob stayed out.

He tried to hold his shorts up to keep from getting wet, but he was too slow.

Craig, in the meantime, had climbed a rock.

Bob gave up and accepted that he was going to get wet.

It was pretty funny, actually. Fortunately, he didn't have his wallet in his pockets, just a lighter and a pack of cigarettes, which he laid out on a lounge chair to dry out.

I kept forgetting to take a picture of the flip-flops that Kelly made me. She brought three pair with her--pink, green, and blue--and let Leslie and me pick which ones we wanted. I chose the pink, of course. Leslie took the green, I think. I suppose wearing them with my flannel duck pajamas takes away from the mood a little . . .

Aren't they cute?? In this photo you can also see my new toenail polish--Sally Hansen "Sapphire Chrome," which I bought at the Dollar Store for, well, a dollar.

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Sunday, February 19, 2006


  • The hotel where we stayed in Pto. Vallarta was on a public beach. There were hotel-employed security guards standing at the steps down to the beach so that the beach vendors couldn't come up to the pool area. We went down to the beach a few times, but I didn't spend any significant amount of time there, sadly. Bob went swimming in the ocean a couple of times, and the guys rented boogie boards; Bob wore sandals the first time and tore his feet up a bit. The second time, he wore water shoes, and the tide ripped one of them right off his foot. He never found it.
  • Our room was on the street side, and I don't think we passed one whole night without hearing a car alarm go off. One night I didn't think it would ever go off. That was the night that I jumped out of bed with a cramp in my calf and had to walk it off. I had just gotten back to sleep when the alarm went off.
  • There were a couple of small convenience stores across the street from the hotel. We visited them several times during the week, to buy postcards, and ice cream bars after dinner, and cigarettes. One night, walking back to the hotel, the guys were stopped by a man who offered them, "young, clean, fresh girls." When they declined, he said, "How about some weed?"
  • Breakfast for me every morning was juice, yogurt, granola, and fruit, with a sweet roll on the side. One morning they had what looked like thick slices of bread with a layer of white icing on top. I tried one, and it was simple and wonderful. I looked for them the rest of the week, but they only served it that one day.
  • I spent the entire day, every day, in a swimsuit. I really did pretty well with the packing. I wore one swimsuit pretty much all week--a white, pink and green one-piece. I wore a really pretty blue one one day, but the tags in it drove me nuts. I also took a two piece, but didn't wear it until after I got the sunburn, so I kept pretty covered up that day. I was actually grateful that I hadn't worn it earlier in the week, or the sunburn would probably have been worse!
  • "Mexican Night" at the buffet was the best meal we had. I guess it's nice to have different things during the week, but I definitely would have been happy to have the same thing every night if it was that good. "Oriental Night" was kind of weird; "Italian Night" wasn't bad. I think we skipped International and Caribbean--those nights, we ate at the barbeque around the pool.
  • Bob wants us to learn Spanish before we go back next year. I think that's an excellent idea. It feels strange not being able to speak the language. I've found quite a few resources online (this BBC site looks like an excellent one). I'll look and see if there are any classes going on nearby, but I imagine we'll end up working on it by ourselves. We already know a few Spanish phrases--how to ask how much something costs, and how to find the bathroom, and, of course, how to buy a beer. But it would be nice to know more.

Bob made lobster in champagne sauce for us for dinner tonight. While he was cooking, I went upstairs to take a hot bath--it's become a ritual over the past few days when it's been so cold; I just can't get warm any other way. After I'd run the bath and been up there a little while, he came up with a glass of champagne for me. I said, "this is so decadent!" and he said, "Oh, wait a minute," and lefft, and came back with two chocolate kisses.

I made some desktop wallpaper out of my favorite photos of the bronzes. If you would like them, just click on the thumbnails to get the full-size version, and then right-click (or control-click on a Mac) to download the large images to your desktop.

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Saturday, February 18, 2006

El Malecon, 2006

When we went to Puerto Vallarta in 2002, the thing that I absolutely loved the most was El Malecon, the Boardwalk downtown on Playa Los Muertos, or "Beach of the Dead," the scene of a famous battle between gold and silver smugglers and villagers who tried take their stolen bounty from them, leaving the beach strewn with bodies.

The current Malecon is lined with huge bronze sculptures by several artists, both local and international. This one is called "La Nostalgia," and is by Ramiz Barquet:

This one is "Naturaleza como Madre," or "Nature as Mother," by Tapatio Adrian Reynoso:

My favorites, though, are the fantastical bronze chairs created by Alejandro Colunga. One of them was lost in Hurricane Kenna in the fall of 2002 after we were there, and was replaced by a different one. The name of the collection is "La Rotunda del Mar."

We found a bar/restaurant upstairs with a balcony and a beautiful view, and we had drinks and chips and guacamole, and I took more pictures.

And someone took one of me:

I loved this picture of Kelly and Craig, walking away down the Boardwalk:

We went shopping while we were there, and I bought a silver bracelet, and Bob bought me this beautiful terra cotta sun/moon sculpture for my "moon wall:"

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Friday, February 17, 2006

More flies with honey

I laid on the couch last night with Dinah and the laptop, and watched the Olympics and picked out more vacation pictures to show. Dinah is so clingy that she's driving me nuts, but I know it's understandable after being away for a week; hopefully she'll calm down a little in a few days. Right now she has to be either on me or as close as possible. Last night she alternated between lying on me and lying on the back of the couch right above my head--this latter position made it possible for me to type, so that was my preference. Not that she paid any attention to my preference.

When we checked into the hotel in Puerto Vallarta, there was a woman absolutely screaming at one of the checkin clerks, saying that she didn't like her room, and she wanted something done about it RIGHT NOW. The clerk would try to speak quietly to her, and, I believe, would have tried to work something out for her, but she was having none of it. She wanted something DONE and she wanted it DONE RIGHT NOW. She had obviously never learned the concept of catching more flies with honey than with vinegar or, in this case, the concept that a well-placed $20 bill might just get you exactly what you wanted, and not send your blood pressure into the stratosphere.

Although I felt quite sorry for the clerks, and the whole situation was making me very uncomfortable, I'm actually sort of grateful to her, because I believe it was because of her tantrum that we were upgraded to a suite (perhaps to save them from having to give one to her).

We had a bedroom:

and a living room:

and a kitchen:

We didn't cook anything, of course (although Bob and John went to WalMart and bought avacados and made guacamole, since the resort didn't serve it), but it was lovely to have a couch and chairs (and a tiny balcony that opened off the living area); it was nice to have a separate room where Bob could stay up late and watch television if he wanted, while I could sleep. On Friday night, after we packed, Leslie and Kelly and I played cards in Leslie and John's room while the guys watched Battlestar Gallactica in ours.

I've never been a big card player, but Leslie and Kelly taught me Phase 10, which turned out to be fairly addictive, and I think we played it every day.

The bathroom was lovely, too:

We're completely spoiled for next time now, of course.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And later, resting

Bob got a little annoyed with me because of all the pictures I was taking, although he didn't actually tell me that until the last day. I started getting the "low battery" light on the camera while I was documenting the beach for the last time--I had taken over 300 pictures, after all, but he very sweetly found me a working outlet off the hotel lobby so I could at least charge the battery long enough to review the pictures that were in the camera.

I could hardly stand not taking any pictures in the Puerto Vallarta airport, but I thought it probably wouldn't be a good idea--I was just slightly intimidated by being in an airport in a foreign country--and we were warned that we wouldn't be allowed to take any pictures in the immigration area of the Kansas City airport, either, and, in fact, cameras and cell phones were in danger of being confiscated if we used them, or failed to turn them off.

Of course, I did turn mine off, but I was fairly twitching to pull out the phone and take a picture, or call someone . . .

Bob and I on El Malecon, the boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta:

A sunset at the beach:

A night view of the pool complex -- so much more mysterious at night!

Bob, John and Craig went deep sea fishing one day, while the girls and I lazed away the day alternately lying by the pool and playing cards. John took these pictures of Bob fighting for his fish:

And with the fish he landed:

And later, resting:

The kitties were very glad to see us! Bob's dad came over every day to check on them, and sometimes twice a day, I believe. He said that every day when he came over, they would be in the basement on the bed, and Dinah never did come up and visit, but Pyewacket would, once he came to the basement door and called her. He said that he didn't see Dinah at all until Wednesday, but she finally showed her face.

She's been following me around like a puppy dog since we got home, lying on my lap if I'm in a chair, lying on the back of the sofa if I'm watching television, lying pressed up against me when I'm in bed. And if I'm not at home, and Bob is, she's demanding cuddle time with him, even if Pyewacket is already on his lap. Not quite as independent as she would like you to believe, apparently.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Home again, home again

What a lovely week! We had an absolutely perfect week in Puerto Vallarta, spent every day outside in the sun and fresh air, and just had a blast. So relaxing.

Flying in over Mexico was absolutely beautiful. When we came down last time, in 2002, it was the middle of the night, so I couldn't see anything. So flying in in daylight and seeing the mountains was breathtaking. I didn't dig out the camera and try to take any pictures, because I figured I'd probably get reflection from the glass anyway, but I tried to burn it into my memory, because it was so amazing.

We stayed at Canto del Sol in Puerto Vallarta, an all-inclusive resort. We were with Bob's best friend John and his wife Leslie, and John's cousin Craig and his wife Kelly.

Tres amigos (John, Bob, and Craig):

This was taken right after we arrived--or it might even have been at the airport. Bob has his travel documents holder around his neck. This one (Kelly, Leslie, and Willa):

was taken much later in the week, probably Thursday, after I'd gotten sunburned and we'd spent the week drinking and relaxing.

The pool was lovely. This was my view for most of the week:

This was the baby pool, just a few inches deep, on the shady side. I thought I was being very careful, and I stayed in this shady spot most of the time, but in the afternoon we would move over to the tables by the snackbar and play cards, and while I was careful to stay under the shade of the umbrellas, they apparently weren't really shading me. You could see the sun through little holes in the mesh of the umbrellas, and I guess the sun came through them because I got a pretty bad sunburn on Wednesday. Not so bad that it made me sick, but bad enough that it made me feel really stupid.

On Thursday we went downtown and ate in a restaurant, but every other meal we ate at the resort. I thought the food was pretty good; it's always kind of a gamble, and always kind of strange, but I was pretty careful what I ate, and no one got sick. Leslie got sick, but it seemed to be the flu, and not from the water or anything that she had eaten.

There were a lot of pigeons around the snackbar area of the pool, and we noticed one pretty little brown pigeon whose leg was swollen. It wouldn't have occurred to me to try to do anything about it, but one afternoon Bob and John captured her and took a look at her leg. John said it looked like her leg had been broken, and there was gauze wrapped around it that wasn't going to come off by itself.

So Bob held her while John clipped the gauze off with a nail clipper. We saw her later in the week, and she was limping a little, but her leg was no longer swollen--if they hadn't intervened, she probably would have lost it. We saw a couple of other birds who had gotten caught in fishing line, but they couldn't save them all.

More later.

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