Friday, January 30, 2009

case of the crazies -an interlude

well, i'm not sure how this fits into my travel blog, but for all you momma's out there you might be able to relate... oh and just to warn - some might call it a bit morbid, others might just call me one crazy esa.
so if you're leaving your kids for the first time- like really leaving- on an airplane to another country leaving- it can be a bit intense. and to add to my intesity, my mother in law was all up in my grill to get an updated living will worked up... nothing like makin a will before a big trip to get you all psyched out about death...
so after answering painful questions like who you gonna leave all your cd's too, to who's the luckies who get your kids when you kick it -i decided i might as well go there.
yeah, there.
after i was pretty sure my kids were going to be allright without us, and i wouldn't go crazy missing them (crazy is def subjective), i decided that i needed to start exploring the fact that i could die in a plane crash.

ok, bear with me. i know the statistics - i've a better chance of crashing my car in the scolari's parking lot than dying an airplane crash. yet, i just couldn't shake it. about a week before d day, i started having thoughts like...
"well, i guess this is the last time i'll see christmas lights... aren't they something!"
"this is the last hike i'll go on in MDO, oh how i'll miss it."
or (the day before we left)
"just think, that person will say, 'she can't be dead, i just saw her at trader joe's yesterday!'"
"i'll never smell ozzy's curious scent of burts bees shampoo and maple syrup again."
and the worst
"its crazy to think that my kids will likely not have one memory of me"

i know, i'm one sick puppy, but seriously i just went there- i couldn't help it.

needless to say, i survived the plane. yet everytime it even slightly shook i woke abruptly ready to turn to b and say, "well, i guess this is it, i can't believe its gonna end like this. i love you." then searing images of oceanic flight 815 came crashing through my brain.

then we land.


then we have to leave...
and it all comes tumbling back. yet this time, i think- if i would've known i was going to die i wouldn't have spent my last 5 days in oaxaca...
in any event i weesled, manipulated and begged b to drive us back from SFO at 11 pm tuesday night. he conceeded, barely.
i even managed to stay awake till paso, pretty much a record for me.
all i can say is when we walked in our door that night, and slid into our bed, all that escaped from my lips was, "thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you..."
cause i knew that in exactly 4 hours i would have in my arms, everyone that ever mattered, everyone that brings me out of bed each morning, everyone that makes me weep, that makes me love recklessley, and everyone that can bring unadultered joy this side of heaven.
so naturally, i had only one person to thank.


Friday, January 23, 2009

why oaxaca? part 2

so i know i left you some pretty serious cliffhangers with that last blog (and based on the multitude of comments, i'm pretty sure you're dying for more). yet as i sit down to write, i'm realizing that i kinda summed it all up with those phrases.. as time wanes on, and i realize i have to be a mom again, its getting harder to remember all those incredibly funny, witty details that defined our trip. so bear with me, as i try to recount some good, interesting times...

1) "wow, latin men really know how to move their hips... a night of salsa dancing, i mean watching."

i'm kind of not sure what else to say about this. watching the salseros was truly something else. its no secret latinos like the ladies. i'm not trying to stereotype, but i'm gonna anyway (seeing as how i am a chicana- its okay). from the whistling while you get your car washed, to the groping you experience at your 7th grade dance... i've known my fair share of them. so its pretty cool to see what they just well might be made to do. when they said salsa club, i had flashes of me and b as polly and reuben just shredding the dance floor. but what happened was i pretty much sat at the table and marveled at these people's amazing god given ability to drop it like its hot!

2) "you just flew to the sun!" my encounter with a oaxacan medicine man.

so when everyone was going on and on about how we had to go see monte alban i was like, boring! i was thinking, i'm on vacation in mexico, why am i not in my bikini with a pina coloda on the beach? if i wanted to learn some history i would've gone to a museum. but fearing that i was acting like shannon from lost, i sucked it up and consented to go look at these breathtaking ruins. for those of you that don't know, ruins to mexico are like pyramids to egypt. they are kind of everywhere, and for the most part are pretty trippy. when we finally arrived at the top of the mountain that thousands of years ago was literally leveled (like with their hands) to build a city, our tour guide kind of just handed us off to some dude that was hanging around. this 'dude' had a pretty thick accent, so every time he paused i had to bug the people around me to explain further, cause i suddenly found myself totally entranced by the history of the place. i had like a million questions and our guide just kept going on and on about all the plants. seeing as how i have a B.S. in horticulture, one would think i would be interested, but all i really caught was him telling us that 'that plant is stronger than marijuana.' as we neared the end our tour we found ourselves in the middle of the ruins checking out this massive staircase. while i was tripping out on some of the hieroglyphs, our guide suddenly pulled my hand and told me he would now perform a ritual. hmmm. this is what i remember.
guide (in severely broken english): "now i want you to stare at the sky. take deep breaths. relax. deep breath." (me trying not to laugh- focus holly).
me: "ok"
g: "now close your eyes. what color do you see?"
me: (panicking- i don't want to get this wrong, but don't you only see one color- red- when you close your eyes cause you are looking at the back of your eye lids?) "ummm, i see red."
g: "uh-uh. (turns me to the side) what color do you see now?"
me: (did i get that last one wrong, maybe i should say another color) "uhhh, red."
g: (turns me again) "what color now?"
me: (i am so blowing it right now) "uhh, light red??"
g: "now blink real hard. open your eyes! everyone come look, see her eyes! see how red they are? they red, cause she just flew to the sun."
me: (flew to the sun? you gotta be kidding me)
g: "now i will make you cry. (what??) close your eyes. think of someone you love, someone close to you (how could he possibly know this!) now put your hand on your womb."
me: (tears stream down.) sniffle.

i honestly half expected ashton kutcher to jump out saying, "you got punk'd!" i mean why me? how could he even know i was pining for my babies?
he didn't, it was just another day in the life of a oaxacan medicine man.

3) "you are beating me with a bunch of herbs, is this really therapeutic" temazcal 101 (oaxaca's idea of a relaxing massage)

so when i think of vacation, the second word that comes to my mind (after bronze) is massage. sensual or not, its a necessary event for this latina. so having experienced a few mexican massage's in my day (hot rocks in los cabos), i kind of had an idea what to expect. when i saw the brochure for temazcal (yeah so i spelled it wrong in my last post... whoops), i thought, this is kind of like a massage, right? after booking the 'event' with our concierge (b&b lady), we got the scoop from the bride and groom who had already done it. their response, "most amazing thing ever, you have to do it!" so when the taxi came at 8:30 am to take us, we couldn't help but bubble with anticipation. our first clue should've been when the taxi driver was studying the map on the brochure furiously.. we start thinking, "has he really never been there before?" the answer would be no, he has not. so when the taxi pulled onto a dirt road in the heart of the barrio, we weren't sure good would come of this. we drove around these dirt roads for like 20 minutes stopping every 5 to ask every which child, mule, and beggar where this joint was. he finally seemed like he got the right answer, and we pulled up to this ...

how does this place not scream massage? no sign, no nothin. so we walk in... the lady truly does not speak any english. what we gather is take off all your clothes.
she leads us into a room where we see the sweat lodge. she disappears, so we think maybe we should just go in. bad idea. we suffered 5 or so minutes basically just inhaling some nasty smelling smoke, not to mention possibly soiling the place by early entry. she comes in, leads us out and has us stand at the entrance. she then brings out some sort of nice smelling incense and wafts our entire body with it. then she grabs a handful of herbs and starts beating us with it. with not much time to process... we just kind of went with it. before we knew it we were creeping backwards into a little hut, totally naked, with just one tiny light. she asked us if we wanted it on and we said, "yes on!" she says okay, then turns around and turns out the light.
so then we just start steaming it up. "its getting hot in here, (so hot), i'm gonna take my clothes off!" b just kept pouring water on the rocks and we are roasting! it actually felt really good and before we knew it she opens the door and has us douse under a freezing shower. we closed the experience out with a decent massage, paid her $100 bucks and left the barrio like a bat outta hell.

4) "this stuff is really hallucinogenic? it tastes like tequila, cheap whiskey, and charcoal." why mezcal is not a friend of mine.

i mean are words even necessary right now? i kinda feel like this picture sums it up.
but for those of you that don't know... mezcal is to oaxaca, as tequila is to the cabo wabo grill. all the oaxacans kept telling us we had to try it.. so sunday night, we went to dinner with two other couples from SLO to kind of a fancy dinner. we all agreed it would be necessary to at least try the stuff. we were prepared to order a round of a median priced mezcal (they say that you should sip/pound a shot before your meal, cause apparently it helps eliminate all the grease you'll be ingesting with your meal). however when we told the waiter, he graciously offered to let us try it first. and gracious it was, cause seriously, when that stuff hit my lips, i knew that it was quite possible that i wouldn't come back from it. thankfully i wasn't alone in my sediments, and saved us all 70 pesos- and thus ended our fleeting affair with the drink of the gods...

i hope you enjoyed this segment of why oaxaca... its my intention in part 3 to tell you about the reason we were actually there.. we'll see if that actually happens.

Monday, January 19, 2009

why oaxaca? part 1

way back in april when b and i got word that devin would be getting married in mexico, we were like, 'we are so there.' we just assumed they'd be getting married at some bomb ass resort on the coast... after all, where else do you go in mexico? b was stoked cause he knew he would get some surfing in, and i knew i'd be able to get my bronze on. so when we received word that oaxaca was the destination, we figured there must be water close by (even though we hadn't heard of it). however after a bit of research (google) we realized that its nowhere near the water and is legitimately mainland mexico. hmmm.
so what do you do in mexico when you aren't on the coast?
to be honest i hadn't really thought much about it- mostly because i was completely obsessed, ahem i mean preoccupied with the mere thought of leaving my kids for 5 days.
so when the plane landed at 7 am, and we boarded a taxi with 17 other people, i got my first real look at oaxaca. and well, i still was asking...
why oaxaca?
at first glance, it looked a lot like every other town i'd been to in mexico. colorful, bustling, a bit dirty, and some scary ass drivers. when the van rolled up to an iron green gate crammed between two other drab structures, i thought really, this is our b&b? but when the gate opened, there was a beautiful courtyard atrium like thing and some abueala cooking up some wicked good looking eggs. b asked me if i was hungry and i said, is the pope catholic, and he promptly went up to the lady and said " blah blah blah comida juevos yummy in my tummy porfavor" and i was like, whoa homey speaks spanish! now i'd heard him speak before (like at our annual cabo trips), but he never ceased to amaze me at how quickly he got back into it. a fellow gringo at the table was also surprised (she was fluent) and asked b how he knew spanish. b, man of mystery, humbly replies, "oh, i took spanish in high school." high school? i took 3 years in high school and 1 in college, and its pretty obvious what i have to show for it (above breakfast reenactment). and did i mention high school was like 10 yrs ago! needless to say, i was impressed and thankful that we would be able to navigate our way through oaxaca - seeing as how thus far nobody seemed to speak a lick of english. after some breakfast (and a quick, tearful call home) we headed up to our room.
since we had the red eye and it was only 9 am oaxacan time, we thought we should shower and nap.
yeah right. its a lot harder than i thought it would be to just do nothing. even sleep- an area i really am gifted in. so after a futile attempt at a nap ( i kept hearing a baby cooing- and woke up ready to nurse) we got up and hit the town.
so oaxaca is mainly known for 2 things... marketplaces and food. off we wandered into town- and found ourselves at the zocolo. its kind of like a huge town square where everyone just kicks it, and tries to sell stuff. we decided we were kind of hungry. all of the restaurants around the zocolo seemed to typical- i wanted the real deal. since b was the only blond person in 7 square miles, the tourist police came up to us and asked us if we wanted help. once again b and him conversed with ease as he directed us to some "typical" oaxacan cuisine. typical is so relative. he sent us to a marketplace. can i just say when we walked in i was almost knocked over by the horrible stench of dead animals (raw meat)- i mean there was like huge slabs hanging from the ceiling, if i wanted to see beaks and antlers, i would've just gone to chinatown in SF right? there was no way i was gonna eat there. desperate for some food by now, we found a quaint little restaurant. we walked in and to our delight (we thought) we had the place to ourselves. the waiter walks up and promptly launches into a lengthy string of spanish words. yeah, so apparently he was the menu. no paper, just him talking us through what was on the menu. i thought, no worries- b's got this. he walks away and i ask excitedly, "so, what didya order us?"b says, "i have no idea."
the waiter walks up with the first course: oranges dipped in chili powder.

second course: water, chicken and rice (soup i guess)

third course: shrimp cocktail.
shrimp cocktail? did i mention that we are a looong way from the coast. think nebraska people. needless to say our first attempt at oaxacan cuisine was a bust.

after our lame o lunch we wandered around some of the markets. the cool thing about the oaxacan markets is that all the hammocks, pottery, and textiles that you see in other parts of mexico are actually made in oaxaca. they are some handy latinos. i came away with half of lily's summer wardrobe... the cutest dresses EVER.
after our first day in oaxaca, i def could see the charm. the people were delightful, probably cause i couldn't understand a word they said. there were kids everywhere which wasn't exactly helping. however nothing could prepare me for what greeted us when we got back to the b & b.

all in all it was a decent day, besides our botched meal, i was really starting to see the lure oaxaca could have. however, i was def feeling the separation from my kids. when we got back we decided to hang out by the pool, where i saw the baby that i had heard earlier. he was only 6 months old so despite his blond hair, i could handle being around him. but then i heard the sweet chatter of little girls, and in bounces two sisters, 5 and 3. blond hair, super cute dresses, and really just fun as can be. it seriously felt like a dagger to the heart. i tried to make small talk with the mom (they were also there for the wedding) but had a hard time getting into it. needless to say i did my best to avoid them the next three days... i couldn't believe how hard it was to be around them.

the day ended with some tears up in my room. yet i was able to bounce back for the rooftop terrace wedding meet and greet. with a marg in my hand, i overcame... knowing that one day was down, and just 3 to go.

look forward to my next installment including highlights such as...
"wow, latin men really know how to move their hips... a night of salsa dancing, i mean watching."
"you just flew to the sun!" my encounter with a oaxacan medicine man.
"you are beating me with a bunch of herbs, is this really therapeutic" tezmacal 101 (oaxaca's idea of a relaxing massage)
"this stuff is really hallucinogenic? it tastes like tequila, cheap whiskey, and charcoal." why mezcal is not a friend of mine.

until then, enjoy some pictures*

yes i am drinking a beer in bed fully clothed.

*so for all you photo buffs out there, we took all these pictures in a mad dash the last day once we realized we hadn't taken any! not that they'd be any better had we been more on it, but it sure sounds like a good excuse. and in case it wasn't clear... yes they skate in oaxaca, and apparantly there are alcoholics as well...

Friday, January 16, 2009


this is how happy we could be without our kids.

so for those of you who don't know, we are back!!!!
and all i can say is thank you god!
big ol props to mi madre y mi in-laws. wow. i'm not sure i'd wish 5 days with my kids on anyone... yet they weathered the storm surprisingly well.
we got back at a scorching 2:30 am tuesday evening, thanks to my amazing husband. the trip was so many things, one of them actually being fun.
so thus my inclination to introduce you to the seduction of oaxaca in a 3-7 part series. (apparently now i'm a travel blogger)
but seriously if you're ever feeling uninspired, or unmoved - just go on a trip.

without your kids.

cause you can actually think.

and boy did i think. about everything (95% of the time the kids) but that other 5% i think you might enjoy.

so fasten your seatbelt and do not attempt to put someone else's oxygen mask on until yours is safely secure and get ready for oaxaca 09.

Friday, January 2, 2009

who needs a blog when you have a husband?

gosh after a full months break of blogging you'd think i'd be posting some crazy cool pictures, or the little film i created with my new christmas present. but unfortunately the pictures have been usurped by the film, and the film is lost somewhere in between my hard drive and cyberspace. so much for that.

much has happened. i'll start with the basics. christmas eve at the madonna inn-always a good time for all. christmas day at our house with my parents, my in laws, the kids, great grandma and uncle dustin proved to be delightful. besides the mountains of presents (we actually had to take a break from opening) and then not even opening all of them (which proved to be strategically genius when you realize your sons birthday really is a week after christmas) we all made out with some good shiz. so what if oz's bday presents were wrapped in santa wrapping right? tis the season.
so after the inlaws, uncle d, and great grandma left we welcomed my brother. even though he was without his better halfs (wife, and super cute daughter) we managed to have some real quality time with him and my dad. most of it was spent drooling over b's new rc helicopter (which you would've seen in the film). it's proved to be hours of entertainment for my little engineer- and he hasn't even taken it apart yet!
the kids seriously made out on christmas, between both sets of grandparents we pretty much tackled the aisle of toys at costco, plus an 8ft trampoline (no its not awkward in our tiny backyard), a new skuut, and a train table that we haven't even opened. from my little pony, to barbie, to tonka helicopters we are pretty much ready to open a daycare. its scary, but i think i'm starting to rival this toy mama.

the sunday after christmas i was dreading b going back to work.. but then i remembered he had the whole week off! i realized that b and i have never been home together longer than 3 days in a long time. whenever he has time off, we go on vacation, or up to his folks house- but a whole week at home with my husband... it was too good to be true! i went off on lily's room- got it totally organized, cleaned the hall closet, b tackled the pantry, i got my 3 real estate tests passed! we ran, we hiked, we ate sees candy. it was dreamy to say the least.

saw marley and me on new years day, fell back in love with our dog (for the day at least). movie was great- how can you go wrong with owen and jen- they're like the dream team. i'd read the book, it was cute, but i thought the movie was better. its def more of a story about a family- and seriously the part where she takes the second baby home was so crazy right- it was almost as if they'd gotten the script by being in my house the last year. lets just say i'm looking forward to the bit that takes place in the snow!

and of course we can't forget today- the boss turned 2! we had a little party for him at the kids museum. super mellow, just some cupcakes and playing- was a blast. i'll expound more on that later...

so now i've got just 2 more days till b goes back to work.. sniff sniff. but then he's off again thurs and we leave friday for our trip eeeeeeeek!
i'm kinda freaking out. i'll leave it at that.

well, it was short but sweet- wanted to get this out so y'all knew i was still around. will update more soon! but wanna know, what was your favorite christmas present this year?