Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kitty is smug

So Sticky was gone all of about 1 hour when Kitty began to gloat. Prancing around, purring, rolling on the carpet. Happy as a pig in... well, you know what. I'm missing Sticky and Kitty is rubbing in how she won and how Sticky was the ugliest, most obnoxious cat she'd ever seen. To top it all off, Ron was all non-sneezy and like, "ooh, I can breathe." Bastards.

The good news about Sticky is that when Ron took her back to the Barking Lot, she was super excited and happy to see all her friends! I was so glad to hear that. Plus, she goes home with the facility's owner every night and will hopefully get the best forever home soon.

We went out for breakfast this morning and I had the biggest blueberry pancake ever. Its called the "Man Hole." mmm...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog-less in Blog-attle

I've been off the blog a bit this week. I am seemingly always short on time. Every single day I am shocked when 4 o'clock rolls around and its time to wrap up my work. I don't know how people who actually go to work manage. I've also been trying to deal with the Sticky situation. Vacuuming every 10 seconds and dusting like a mad man can really eat into your day!

Anyhow, Ron is currently taking Sticky back for me. I just couldn't bare to do it myself. I was hoping to keep her here, while placing her up for adoption again, so that she could stay until she had a new home to go to. But, the Barking Lot figures she will get a home much quicker if she is actually at the shelter. She was/is one of the doggy greeters there, so she is out front and ready to visit when peeps come in. Sigh. I am really sad she is gone.

But, I am trying to keep happy. And on the brighter side, I just downed a Sprinkles cupcake (banana dark chocolate), and have a pretty sweet sugar buzz going. Plus, I have another cupcake for later (double dark chocolate with sprinkles), which along with some prosecco, will make for an excellent dinner.

Here I am all happy on the Ferris wheel in Santa Monica.

Happy Saturday to all!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Juice fast

By overwhelming demand (or one request from a family member), today, I will detail the juice fast I did over the last 10 days.

Normally, I am not into stuff like this. I believe that if you have a healthy, balanced diet, you don't need to take vitamins or supplements, and you sure as heck don't need to be doing any wacky "cleanses."

BUT, I was interested in this juice business for a couple of reasons. First, I had a couple of mineral deficiencies while I was in Madagascar (likely because of Parasite X) and liked the idea of getting a butt-load of micronutrients from food. Second, I have a real sugar problem. I've been pounding $10 candy bars like nobody's business and needed to break up with sweets. Honey was no longer tasting sweet to me. Uh oh.

The idea behind sticking to only juice is that you get all the micronutrients, but not the fiber, and therefore can actually most of those nutrients. Plus, you get to "reboot" your habits and taste perceptions over the ten day period. You don't get all the protein you need, but given that the time period is short, you aren't in any danger of a protein deficiency. I also added just a kiss of good olive oil to my juice. Many micronutrients are fat-soluble, and thus, you need oil to use them.

Here is the list (from "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead") of OK and NOT OK foods to have during your juicing:

All fruits and veggies, including avocado
Sweet potatoes are preferred over white potato
Small amounts of:
extra virgin, cold pressed olive oil/flax oil/
expeller or cold pressed canola oil
sea, Celtic or Himalayan salt
low sodium soy sauce
agave nectar
dried fruit (sulfur free)
Decaf green tea and other herbal teas

Nuts & Nut butters
Alcohol (including extracts)

The first three days, I felt hungry. REALLY hungry. And since I've gotten used to stuffing my gob nearly every time I think of it, it was hard to resist eating. Day four was the worst. I was really hungry and really miserable. Headache, tired, cranky, and craving everything. I was desperate. So, at around 4pm I roasted two carrots and chowed down. Those two carrots saved me and I felt like a new person afterwards. From then on, I made roasted carrots if I was feeling ridiculously hungry. Oh, and I ate raspberries at night. They are my favorite made me feel more satisfied.

Surprisingly, from day 5 on, I was fine. Not super hungry, not miserable, not tired. I felt fine. At first, I was worried that the juice would be yucky, but I actually really liked it. I played around with ingredients, but my favorite was:

1/2 bunch kale
1 cucumber
1 apple
1 pear
2 celery sticks
1/2 a lime
thumb size chunk of ginger

Since you may be wondering, neither Ron or I had any gut issues during this. The biggest problem was keeping enough produce in the house! Here is what we were going through in a day:

3 bunches kale
6 cucumbers
8 apples
8 pears
1 bunch celery
1 bag spinach
3 limes
a bunch of ginger

With only one day worth of food, you look like a freak and get all kinds of eyeballs leaving the grocery store. But, whatever, at least I wasn't leaving with 75 bags of Doritos or something.

Here is one day of kale.

Ron has his own reasons for doing juice, and is going to continue to have juice for 18 meals per week. I am going to continue, but only for 7 meals per week. Oh, and I lost 9.5lbs in 10 days. I am sure 1/2 of that will come right back simply from having food in my gullet, but my pants (which were getting pretty snug) certainly fit better!

Friday, July 22, 2011

-Bleeping- Sticky situation, update

Alright, so yesterday I had a -bleeping- meltdown. I seem to have a problem parting with animals, which as I previously mentioned, all started with hamsters when I was 4 years old. Bastards die. That's not -bleeping- cool.

Anyhow, this has been a bit of a rough week. I'm worried about Kitty. I'm worried about Ron. I'm worried about Sticky. Ron is super busy at work and a touch LOT stressed- I think he may be developing a facial tick. His allergies are giving him swollen squishy eyelids and his skin has been "on fire." Also, we've been surviving on -bleeping- juice for now the 9th day. Which, trust me, is not as -bleeping- fun as it sounds.

Ron has kindly agreed to give Sticky another week. Perhaps without some of the other stressors and a bit more time, his allergies will diminish. Additionally, I am trying to find us a new casa LaFleur, as we need a place without carpet. Carpets are gross and they hang onto all those allergens.

So, we'll have Sticky another week, and I promise not to -bleeping- loose it, if she can't stay. I'll plan on a good ol' fashion cupcake binge and a bottle of wine instead. Cause that's a healthy coping mechanism.

Thanks for all the kind messages. Sending virtual hugs.

Post Script: these photos have nothing to do with the -bleeping- Sticky situation, they are just a few that I like.

A flower at Torrey Pines.

World's smallest banana.

Rainy day in Costa Rica.

Flowers at the Farmer's Market in La Jolla.

And here I am in 2008 being creepy with an anesthetized lemur. I gotta sneak in hugs when I can!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sticky situation, update

It is with great regret that we have decided Sticky can't stay. Ron's allergies are just too bad to live with. I've only had Sticky a week, but I'm amazingly attached to her and am very sad. In an effort to aid in her next and hopefully forever adoption, I am going to detail my time with her and what a lovely little dog she is. If you are in the San Diego vicinity and are even remotely thinking of adopting a small dog (14lbs), take Sticky- She's is one in a million!

Here is Sticky, mid blink, taking a rest in the grass.

Sticky is about 3 years old, and was picked up as a stray in LA county. She was nearly starving and given a euthanasia date. The Barking Lot ( saved her from being euthanized and took her to their San Diego shelter to fatten her up, and get her spayed and healthy again.

I saw her goofy picture on Craigslist and said "I think I love that dog." She is a Corgi/Chihuahua mix. I went and meet Sticky and knew I wanted to take her home. When I was leaving she got a bit upset because she didn't want to go back into the shelter, which I can understand. She is pretty chill and it is really chaotic in the shelter. Loose dogs, barking, running around, etc.

A very nice volunteer from the Barking Lot came to our apartment last Saturday. They always do a home check before adopting dogs out and after that, Sticky was mine.

She was a bit timid that day. Not so much with me, but with Ron the environment in general. The next morning though, she was completely different and totally chill. Sitting on our laps, wanting a tummy rub!

Sticky completely house trained and is also crate trained. She treats her crate like her own little apartment. She knew the crate I had was for her from the get go, and happily goes in for a nap, or when I put her in. She is also leash trained and walks really well. I got her a harness, instead of a collar, because her neck is bigger than her head and her collar would come off. She is good in the car, and likes to go for a walk, but not too far. I took her about 2 miles and she was way too tired by the end. I felt so bad when I realized she was wiped out, that I carried her the rest of the way. She took herself to bed that night at 7pm. Poor thing!

Sticky LOVES food. She is really easy to motivate or train, because she will do anything for a treat! Yet, she doesn't seem to beg for food. She likes chewing on a bone and really likes gobbling down pigs ears.

Sticky listens really well when you tell her "NO." She chased Kitty once and Kitty was totally traumatized, so in order to give Kitty her own space, I have been blocking off the bedroom door with Sticky's crate. Ron and I were watching tv in the bedroom and Kitty was on the bed with us. Sticky could see all of us and decided to climb the crate and come on in. And why wouldn't she? I got up, put her back on the other side and said "NO." She never tried it again and now just lays down if we are in the bedroom. She doesn't whine or scratch or anything. She is a really good dog.

One last plug for Sticky- she's the happiest dog I've ever known. She will stand or lay down in a place where she can see me, and just happily wag her tail. Completely content looking at me. So sweet!

I really really wish I could keep Sticky. When I adopt and animal, I consider myself responsible for them for the duration of their lives, and this is incredibly hard for me. The thought of taking her back to or leaving her in the crazy shelter breaks my heart. That being said, she will have to be adopted again through the Barking Lot, which will hopefully happen lickitey split.

Ok, I am going to go back to moping and being sad. Thanks for reading about my sweet little friend.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sticky situation

Sticky is a lovely, well-behaved, happy dog. Lots of times through the day she will just stand and stare at Ron or I and wag her tail. She's good on a leash, good with other dogs, and would likely be good with Kitty, eventually. Kitty is still cranky, but is much better than a couple of days ago.

Look how cute.

But now Ron is miserable with allergies. How horrible! He is stuffed up and itchy all over, and he has asthma, all of which are a bad combination. I, obviously, want Sticky to stick around, but don't want my husband to be sick and snotty for the next 10 years. Ron likes Sticky too, and likes nothing more than when I am happy, so he is conflicted. He feels bad. I feel bad. We feel bad.

So what to do? I wonder if his allergies will get better? I hear that there are desensitization shots, but would they actually work? If Ron were to get treatment, we will grow more and more attached to Sticky, making the inevitable much worse.

It seems like the best thing to do would be to take her back, and chalk it up to a learning experience, but that really sucks. Sigh.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Uh oh...

So, things are not going so great at casa LaFleur. Sticky is so sweet and completely loves me, but Kitty is traumatized and miserable. Also, I think Ron might be allergic to dogs. Wonderful.

Here is Sticky getting ready for a nap.
Note how her ears and legs are nearly the same length.

And look, here is the "Petrait" I had done of Kitty!
Isn't it adorable?

Hopefully the next 24hrs at casa LaFleur will go better than the last...

Saturday, July 16, 2011



Isn't she sweet?
She is a corgi/chihuahua mix. She was rescued by the "Barking Lot" after being picked up by LA Animal Control. She was a stray and was nearly starving. Poor thing!

Kitty is pissed, but behaving.

I am sure that there will be a few squabbles, but hopefully they will get on ok. The Barking Lot takes animals back, but I would hate to have to do that.

Some Ron quotes from the day:

"So, do you think she is a Blood or a Crip?" ~ To the doggie adoption lady about Sticky's LA past.

"Imagine if I wanted to move and someone took me to a stange house, took my clothes away, and left me with strangers." ~ Again to the doggie adoption lady, on Sticky's being left with up without her collar.

"I fart on your status" ~ On my facebook status.

Uh huh.

Happy weekending!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Well, ok, its not really bad enough to be called 'misery' but I am feeling quite sorry for myself.


First, I had to go to the dentist today, which is always miserable. AND I am now the mayor of my dentist's office, meaning I visit the dentist more than anyone else. Ok, ok, I just visit the dentist more than anyone else who goes to my dentist and uses fourquare, but still. I was supposed to be having the two temporary crowns replaced with permanent ones, but one of them just wouldn't fit right. They kept jamming it on off for like a half hour, when finally the stupid thing broke. My teeth are so bad that even my crowns fall apart. Phh. Brutal. Now I have to go back next week for the crown, and the week after for cavities. Phh.

Next, I watched this movie called "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" last week. Its good- essentially the opposite of "Super size Me." The dude in it is overweight, has some kinda autoimmune skin disorder, and decides he wants to get off meds and get healthy. And he does it all with juice. So, I watched the movie and then was all jacked up and ordered a juicer, pledging to do the 10-day "reboot" juice diet. Its been 24-hours since I started my juice-only life, and I feel like I am going to die. BTW- juice only means no caffeine, no chocolate, and no freakin real food. Seriously, 10 days on kale juice (among other things) is not as fun as it sounds. Phh.

Here is my pre-juicer dinner.
I must admit that it is quite tasty. Phh.

So, that's why I am miserable and feeling quite sorry for poor little me.

On the bright side, I got to meet Sticky (possibly LaFleur) yesterday and I love her! Have a look at her, if you haven't already: She is 14lbs and likes to be carried around like a baby. Plus, her ears are way to big for her body. If she wasn't Sticky, I'd definitely call her Winky. She is really docile and totally lazy, which is my kind of dog. The last thing I want is either a dog that is smarter than me or a dog that will eat the wall if you don't take it running all day. The shelter she is at insists on a house visit before they will let you adopt, so that is the next step, and is scheduled for Saturday. Hmm, I wonder if Dead Guy LaFleur will be a problem?

Alright, back to feeling miserable. Phh.

Monday, July 11, 2011

La Jolla Children's Pool/ Seal Beach

There is a very contentious 10m of beach in La Jolla. Why? Because seals want to use it...

Back in the 1930s a breakwater was built to shelter this small strip of beach. Ellen Browning Scripps, a philanthropist, had the structure built and donated the land to the city (along with adjacent coastline and lots of other great spots), such that children could frolic while being protected from large waves. Hence the name, "Children's Pool."

This area is populated by numerous harbor seals and much of the area was deemed a Marine Mammal Reserve in 1992. Around that time, the seals started to use the Children's Pool. Over the years it had become a sandy beach, and the calm waters make for a great place for pups to refine their swimming skills. Hence the name, "Seal Beach."

Here is a pup on Seal Beach.

The seals now pup here annually, and as a result the sand/inlet is polluted by their waste. The fecal coliform levels are dangerous to humans and the entire beach would have to be dredged, and the sand replaced, in order for it to be safe. People come to the breakwater walk way to watch the seals, and perhaps needless to say, there aren't any children on Seal Beach. Or, there weren't.

The fate of the Children's Pool/Seal Beach has now been in court for years. The Children's Pool People say, dredge the beach and create a barrier so the seals can't get back on it. This is a "Children's Pool", after all. The Seal Beach People say, leave the f*&%ing seals alone. La Jolla cove is a 2 min walk from Seal Beach. It has an underwater breakwater and NO seal pollution.

A rope, of all things, lies at the heart of this controversy. When the rope is up, people cannot go on the beach, and the seals occupy it continuously. This rope was mandated for the last pup season. The judge noted that when startled or stressed, seal moms may flee, abandoning their pups' in the process. And, people coming onto the beach, is stressful for them. However, now that pup season is over, the rope is down and people occupy the beach.

The seals, however, want their beach back. So, they constantly monitor the water's edge, waiting for the coast to be clear, so to speak. The seals park themselves on a rock 30m away, but like to use beach sand as sunscreen, and this one beach is the only spot around were they have/had access to sand.

Meanwhile, parents (who must be geniuses) allow their kids to swim in the highly polluted water. And the kids, love seeing the seals. Below is a short video I took on my phone last week. Watch for the seal bobbing its head out and look at the beach, but more importantly, the kids trying to get close to the seal. I watched it happen dozens of times.

What is wrong with these parents?! Sure, the beach is much less crowded than those nearby, but the water is literally full of seal s*&t (and harmful bacteria!). Childless thought I am, I'm pretty sure its not a good idea to let your 3 year old try to play with a wild seal, which has 3 inch canine teeth.

As you may have guessed, I am a Seal Beach Person. Haven't we humans taken enough of this planet? We really can't spare this one little beach? Brutal.

On another note, the skeleton that resides in my living room officially has a name. DEAD GUY LaFleur.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sid, the sweet lemur, Part 2

Phew, my trepan-like headache is subsiding. JUST in time for the weekend, which is good, because I need to put in some serious ocean time. I may even get out the cooler.

Back to Sid, the sweet lemur...

What I figured I'd do was keep tabs on Sid for the next three-ish weeks, after which time I would be leaving. When the car arrived to take me back to the city, I would also pick up the female lemur living in Behelok, and drive them 1/2 way across the country to a rescue facility. There aren't many, but there are a couple of good places where confiscated or abandoned captive lemurs can go (e.g.,

But that didn't work out. Poor Sid was miserable. All the things that drove me nuts at the park, also drove him nuts. The heat, the flies, the mosquitoes. Plus, he was infested with and tormented by fleas. And, the rope around his waist was a constant annoyance.

The next day was hell. Sid was really really unhappy. If a lemur could be hysterical, he was. I just wanted to keep him either in view or tied nearby. But he wanted to run. He would run to the end of his short rope and nearly yank his legs off, about every 10 seconds. He just could not understand the leash and got himself all worked up. I tried going wherever he wanted and then sitting there with him, but he wasn't happy anywhere. I even pulled out the little tent he slept in and tried to get him to calm down in there, but he wasn't having any of it. None of my animal chill-out tactics worked.

That morning, I wrote the following:

March 21, 2011. 8:38am. Camp.
Poor Sid. He knows he is a lemur but doesn't know how to act like one. An adult male came through camp as we were on our way out of the tent. Sid figures that this male would be his new BF, but the male was of course having no part of that. The male was doing square head and stinking and Sid was just trying to go right up to him. The male was totally spooked by this odd behavior, called to Ilove, and then ran up the hill, as did Sid. As did I. Again, I had to catch Sid in my lamba. He is now tied up and miserable about it. Its really sad. He wants to just go out into the forest with the other lemurs but he has no idea how to behave, feed himself, or stay clear of predators.

It was incredibly stressful to have this poor little miserable beast. The only thing I've experienced like this was one time when Ron and I babysat our nephew, Cooper. He was only a few months old and screamed for like 3 hours straight. We had no idea what to do, but did try everything we could think of. We thought we broke him and considered calling 911. For shiz. He really was hysterical and I nearly had a heart attack. That was 11 years ago and I am still traumatized.

The day progressed and we all (Sid, Meghan and I) grew increasingly frazzled. I tried feeding Sid 'lemur foods' and he did eat some, but had no idea that leaves were food. I also fed him whole garlic cloves, as garlic is supposed to deter fleas. A little before dark, I was at my wits end. So, I mixed up a little rum cocktail and fed it to Sid. I am not proud of this. And for the record, I did not feed my nephew booze 11 years ago.

I don't think the wee bit of rum affected Sid much (apparently he drank beer at home), but the dark did. Dark was his cue to hunker right down. And since he refused to go into the little tent inside my tent, I let him crawl into bed with me. He was such a love bug. Purring and perfectly happy snuggling with me. I woke up a number of times to the smell of his garlic breath. He was attempting to groom my face with his tooth comb and getting me all garlic-spit-y in the process. OMG, what a sweet little lemur.

Bright and early the next day, Sid was rearing to go. I was just trying to change out of my pjs and get some shoes on, but he couldn't wait, and was trying to jump through the tent. OK OK, I said to him, and unzipped the door while tying my boots. Sid saw that as his chance and ran. Straight into the forest. And I never saw him again.

I looked for days. Realistically, since it was 50 degrees Celsius that day, he likely died within 24 hours of dehydration. And it breaks my heart every single time I think of it. Even if he found water, he still had that stupid rope around his waist and I kept picturing him stuck half way up a tree. Even if he found water and didn't get stuck, he didn't know how to find food or stay away from predators. He had no chance.

He likely died a rather unpleasant, lonely death and it is my fault. Of course I didn't mean for this to happen, but that poor little boy was gone on my clock. It just makes me sick to think about. I cried a lot over the following days and was terrified of finding his little corpse, but I never did.

Ok, I can’t take thinking about this anymore today. Tomorrow I will talk a bit about the political crap that ensued. Sniff, sniff.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sid, the sweet lemur

Uh. I am still nursing my skull-splitting headache, but have started the "Sid" story. Be warned, this one's a tear jerker.

Back in March, while I was still living at Tsimanampetsotsa National Park, in Madagascar, the park director (the director who shall not be named) showed up. Whenever authorities came around, I got nervous, because there would inevitably be some sort of issue that I needed to deal with. More money, do this, don't do that, etc. Anyhow, this director and I were chatting when he asked me what I would think about a lemur being brought to the park. What? He said there was a man with a "bad" pet lemur and this man wanted to release his bad lemur at the park. What did I think? Absolutely not, I said.

You might ask, why not release a pet lemur into a National Park? Isn't this exactly where this lemur should be?

1. Disease transition. Who knows where this pet has been and what it has been exposed to. If it brought a disease, that disease could spread through the entire wild population, which would have obvious negative effects.

2. Forest knowledge. Has this lemur ever spent time in a forest? If not, it will have no idea of what to eat, or drink, or how to behave with other lemurs. Plus, I had heard whisperings about there being 1 or 2 lemurs in Behelok, which were friends with village cats. If they brought a cat- friendly lemur to the forest, it would be free dinner for an ampaha (wild forest cat) within days. Forest skills (feeding, ranging, predator avoidance, species appropriate behavior) are learned, and without those skills, no lemur would have a chance.

In sum, you cannot just return an animal to the wild. Rehabilitation is possible with some animals, but more often than not, forest life will not work for captive animals. Sad but true.

So I raised these points, at which time the director said that he had to be going, and that I could expect the pet lemur to arrive at around noon the next day. FML.

As promised, the director returned the next day, on a motorbike, with another man (Patrick, a French expat), and a lemur (Sid) on a rope. And thirty minutes later, I was left with Sid and his rope.

Patrick said that 3 years prior he was in Anakoa and some kids had a baby lemur on a rope. Incidentally, Anakoa is the town where I saw fishermen dragging a huge adult critically endangered green sea turtle up the beach, where it was surely butchered. Breaks my heart. Anyhow, Patrick said the kids were being very cruel to the lemur and that it was near death. He felt sorry for the little thing and bought it from the kids*. So, he had this one lemur, whom he nursed back to health, and then two years later in Behelok some kids brought him a yet another baby lemur. He didn't know who/how/where/when/why he was presented with this second lemur, but it latched on to the first, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Except that the villagers of Behelok don't like that he has these lemurs. Imagine if your neighbor took in some maniac raccoon, who terrorized your children, bit your dog, and ransacked your kitchen daily AND left a turd on its way out. That would suck, right? Now separately imagine trying to tell your cat how to behave. Not gonna work, right? Well, that's what happened. The lemurs, particularly Sid, were getting into lots of trouble and there wasn't really anything Patrick could do about it. And then the lemurs started to come home with mysterious injuries. Limping, sore, whimpering, etc., until one day when the female (who's name I never got) returned with a badly fractured back leg, and Sid, less two and a half of his fingers. Someone had had enough, and these poor lemurs were going to pay.

Ok, back to Sid arriving at my forest home. So he'd been living in a house, eating human food, playing with cats, and had never before seen a forest.

What the heck was I supposed to do with him???

Here is Sid, shortly after Patrick left. He ran into the food tent and peered out for an hour or so.


*PLEASE never ever buy an animal under circumstances such as this. Paying for a wild animal only proliferates capturing and selling wild animals. Its kinda like you don't negotiate with hostage takers. You just don't. And you don't buy wild animals from anyone.

Oh, on similar note- PLEASE don't ever pay to have your picture taken with wild animals. Monkeys, parrots, reptiles, etc. These animals are also likely taken from the wild and paying their owners to pose with them only proliferates wild captures. They are not domesticated animals and are not content as pets. Its cruel to take highly intelligent, often endangered critters, from their homes/families/lives, so that they can live on a rope and do tricks for tourists.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Ug. I've been out-of-commish for a couple days with a brutal headache. Alas, I am a bit better today...

Recall the Name Game? Its the ever growing list of names that have been written on the side of my coffee cup. I say "Marni", agree with whatever the barista says, and then wait to see what I've been called.

The Name Game list includes:
-Barfi (my personal favorite)


AHH! Is the Name Game over now? Food for thought.

Here are a few phone pics, from the now distant weekend:

The long table and lots of mustard at Wurstkuche.

Ron's rattlesnake sausage and my fries. Curried ketchup is amazing!

OMG. We stumbled upon a fantastic Spanish tapas place. Here is the grilled onion, crimini mushroom and squash blossom flatbread. Bar Pintxo.

mmm. Brut at Bar Pintxo.

Keeping it real with a Tecate at Big Dean's Muscle In Cafe. We didn't see Skateboard Mama this time, but you can check out her FB fan page (Skateboard Mama Liz Bevington Official Fan Club).

That's it for me. Happy Wednesday!

*Bert and Meat were really just a mix up, as a result of poor penmanship, but I'm keeping them anyhow.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Car ride from H-E-double-hockey-stick, FINALE

I can't stand this story anymore. Good thing this is the last of it.

Here I am on day 3 of being stuck in the car, looking a wee bit creepy.

And Meghan, looking rather cute.

After the potato meal, the cyclone swung into higher gear. That night it rained. HARD. And it was so windy. As if its not hard enough to sleep upright in a car seat, without the wind swaying the vehicle, and water pouring in on your feet. Did I mention that? The passenger side had a leak, so every couple of hours (for days) the floor was flooded and had to be emptied. What actually bothered me more was the smell in that car. Ugh. Put 5 very dirty people in a small wet space for a few days, and it becomes rather unpleasant.

The next morning, I woke to the sounds of Lanto (my super great feild cook) barfing outside of the car. Poor thing. And, she'd had enough of this car crap. We couldn't move the car and had no idea when help would arrive. Jacky was enroute with another car, but once he left town I had no way to communicate with him. For all I knew, Jacky could get stuck somewhere too. We knew we were close-ish to Behelok, but didn't know if it was a 6hr or 20hr walk there. Lanto decided she was going to risk the walk, rather than spend another day in that miserable car. Given how I like to worry, I thought this was a really bad idea. It wasn't raining, but those scary black clouds were still hanging overhead. The weather was going from heat-stoke temperatures to hypothermia in a matter of hours. AND we had no more fresh water, AND she was vomiting.

Lauren (that poor French dude that was getting a ride with us), kindly agreed to accompany Lanto. So they left and we waited. I was really really hoping help would arrive that afternoon, but it didn't. My ipod was dead and there was nothing to do other than allow the flies to drive my f*$%ing crazy. Pardon my 'french'. Oh, but a did discover a couple of interesting facts. Unbeknownst to me, all this time I had been traveling with a) the body of Christ, and b) pornography. Yes, that's right folks, the sacramental bread and porn.

The blue bag on the dash if full of the Eucharist. I don't have any x-rated pics, but trust me, the DVDs were there.

I built a little pathway to the "clean" water, for rinsing my hands and feet, before getting back into the car. FYI- The plant is Kapaipoty and it smells like pepper.

That was a long day. I kept hoping that help would arrive and had about 3000 mood swings, think that we would surely be rescued, or we would surely die in that cyclone, somewhat ironically of dehydration. Finally, when it started to get dark, I gave up hope for the day and cracked one of the three bottles of wine I purchased in Toliara. Sick or not, it was drinking time. The next morning, I decided, Meghan and I would start walking towards Behelok too. We had too little water to wait anylonger.

Then, sometime after dark, OMG, an SUV arrived straight out of my dreams! Jacky had somehow convinced 5 mechanics, one of which had vehicle, to TRY to drive out to the middle of nowhere to rescue us. And they made it. Hall-e-freakin-lujah!

It then took a number of hours to get both of the cars out of the mud and we backtracked to a fork such that we could try a different route. The drive that ensued was the most frightening I've ever endured (and for the record, I had Rivo as a driver back in 2005). We came so very close to disastrous crashes many many times. We actually did hit one of the mechanics, but he was ok. Dark, wet, raining, muddy, only one gear, high speed, and bald tires are a really bad combination.

But, we did finally make it to Behelok. We got a room in the weirdest hotel-ish ever, and at around 1am I took a very cold, yet extremely satisfying, bucket shower on the beach, in the moonlight.

The next morning, I also had the pleasure of barfing. Yippee! But I popped some dramamine (gravol, for my Canadian peeps) and we were off to the park. Or so I thought...

Ok, I seriously can't stand to write about this much longer, but here is what happened. We were in the new car and made it through all the villages going south, and then turned to head inland to Tsimanampetsostsa. We had been on the road maybe 3hrs total, when, I s*%t you not, the NEW car got stuck in mud. We had no option other than to get out and WALK back to the village. I was sick as a dog, it was sunny and +40 degrees Celcius, and we had to get out and walk for over 2hrs. Can you even believe that? I couldn't.

But we made it. I collapsed into sleep once we got to the village, and decided to stay the night there. Lanto, who also made it back, graciously let me stay at her house. I simply didn't have the energy for anymore shenanigans that day. Oh, and we made it to the village just in time for me to get fairly severe diarrhea, which is terribly unpleasant to have to deal with in a town without sanitation, or even a pit latrine.

The next morning, which for the record was DAY 5 of a journey that should take 10 hours, I hired two ox carts. One was to take people and the other was to take luggage and food. It was about a 3hr ride, during which time one of the cows had near-constant airbourne diarrhea. There is a certain sound that a cow makes when it is a) jogging, b) has liquid diarrhea, and c) its back end is half hanging open. That, my friends, is a noise I won’t ever forget.

Here is my view of the non-diarheal laden cow.

The second cart with my supplies. And Valentino, the 4-year old that is all ears.

We did make it. Exhausted. Covered in speckles of cow excrement, and just in time to find out that a 2ft deep flash flood had come through with the cyclone. Not great news when your house is a tent. None-the-less, I was happy to be back at park home-sweet-home, and spend the better part of the next week sleeping it all away...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hair-brained Idea

Guess what we are thinking of doing? Traveling. For one whole year. Four years from now. You know I'll do it. I just have to get Ron to come along.

Here I am all greasy and jet-lagged out, in Singapore. Ah, travel.

The idea is 12 places in 12 months, including:

1. Where: Spain. Why: Ron has desperately wanted to go to the San Sebastian region of Northern Spain forever.

2. Where: Morocco. Why: Photographing spice markets is on my "bucket list."

3. Where: Uganda. Why: Mountain gorilla trek.

4. Where: South Africa. Why: Safaris and wine. What could be better?

5. Where: Australia. Why: The Great Barrier Reef, of course.

6. Where: Palau. Why: JELLY FISH LAKE!

7. Where: China. Why: Sichuan snub-nosed monkeys and Sichuan cooking (the former is not related to the latter, to be clear) in the North.

8. Where: Thailand. Why: We liked it the first time, so why not? And, we had to leave early because of the whole testicular rash thing. Poor Ron.

9. Where: India. Why: Goa looks amazing.

10. Where: Brazil. Why: The Amazon.

11. Where: Ecuador. Why: The Galapagos.

12. Where: Canada. Why: Gotta see the fam now and then.

Doesn't that sound awesome? When we get to each new place, we could set up shop (like get an apartment and coffee maker), sightsee, relax, eat, drink, read, write, whatever. Then move on a month or so later, and do it all over again. Twelve times.

I like to do things that when I am 90-years-old and looking back on, I will be happy I did. Watch more 90210 re-runs? I probably won't pat myself on the back for all the tv I've watched, or will have plenty of time for doing exactly that when I am 90. Round the world trip? That's the kind of thing you are glad you did.

As for this weekend, we are going only as far as LA. Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian peeps, wherever you might be!