Archive for September, 2010

The World is Back in the Correct Shape

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Blonde Mom is home and doing well, rolling right along.  I expect she’ll be able to dispense with the walker in another week or so.  I know she’s anxious to vroom in the ‘Stang.  Thanks to all for your well wishes.

My Gators put the Vols in their place for the sixth time in a row, yesterday, in their house.  Joy!  Urban is 6-0 against Tennessee….what a lovely statistic. 

The Gators played relentless defense, sputtered a bit on offense…but ultimately ruled the day.  Urban, once again, showed us why he’s so brilliant.  A gutsy fake punt call that worked spectacularly for a gain of 39 yards, and which totally deflated the 90,000 Vols & their “power towels” at Neyland (yes, I know, there were 102K plus there…but the Gators get somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 seats).  Beautiful stadium…I was hoping to make the trip this year, but stuff happened.

This makes me very happy:

Sacked Again

GO GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~ Blonde Gator

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

As of today, we’re about 2/3 of the way through the “mean season”…I always figure if we can make it to October 1st without a major hassle, we’re home free.  Although every once in a while we get a “bad” storm after October 1st (Wilma on October 26, 2005 rolled us at Cat 3).

There are currently 3 hurricanes out there….the fierce and “classic” looking Igor, which is spinning harmlessly in the middle of nowhere, but headed, possibly, toward Bermuda.  I hope it misses.  And Hurricane Julia, a storm which will apparently never bother a living soul.

And, unfortunately, between the Yucatan and Mexico proper, is Hurricane Karl, which looks like it will impact the Mexican mainland sometime Saturday.  It’s forecast to come ashore somewhere between Pozo Rico and Veracruz….an area which we travelled both on the outbound and homeward bound legs of our trip.

If you look at Weather Underground’s “WunderMap” (not sure how long this link will be good), and zoom in, you can see the map of the area.

On our trip down, we drove from Tampico with the idea of staying in Pozo Rico….alas, there were no rooms in town as it was a festival weekend…so we drove on down the coast.  And ended up along the “Emerald Coast”…as this stretch is known (in a tiny family hotel called, oddly enough, the “Hotel California”). 

Currently, it appears that the entire Emerald Coast is in the cone.  Bummer.

It is a beautiful stretch of coast, where the road is within sight of the beach for many miles.  The lots along the beach are very large, and there are many old vacation homes and small, family hotels, mixed in with agricultural pursuits.  It’s a vacation spot for the locals, not a big resort area like Cancun.  In fact, it really reminded me of the Atlantic coast of Florida years ago, before we were overrun by a zillion snowbirds. 

Flat land, smelly (and full of cool marine life) little mangrove brackish water estuaries, a couple of big rivers emptying into the Gulf of Mexico, a multitude of towering palm trees (Jamaican Talls, which all died off in Florida years ago from lethal yellowing)….and really cool shack-like beach restaurants.  Beautiful turquoise water.  Numerous roadside stands…we jumped off the road at one point to buy coconut cookies from one of the roadside vendors.  (These didn’t make it past Houston….where we were summarily relieved of said cookie/candy confections by a certain greedy young lady). 

Crossing a River, Southbound on the Emerald Coast, Looking Inland

Lucky calves...under a Pink Tabebuia Tree (apparently native)

Coastal Highway on the Emerald Coast of Mexico

Coastal Highway on the Emerald Coast of Mexico

As you can see from the pictures, the land is very flat for a few miles right along the coast, then the mountains rise up to the west.  It is an absolutely beautiful place (although that particular road was one of the worst in Mexico….but it was being repaired and was much better on the return trip).  As I recall, on the trip down it was citrus harvest, we saw hundreds of trucks full of fruit, and a zillion stands selling jugo de naranjo (orange juice), as well as many trucks full of harvested sugar cane.

I am pained by the thought of this beautiful place being directly in the path of a hurricane…it’s almost as if it’s headed right for me.  Let us hope that it’s a minor hurricane, and that the residents are well prepared and stay safe. 

I hate hurricane season.

~ Blonde Gator

Have you ever heard of a Surprise Wedding?

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

Thanks Blonde for allowing me to do a guest post.  

My family recently took a little vacation to Hawaii  (we live in Japan).

My wife wanted to do something special for her parents, so we conspired to have them do a vow renewal ceremony on the beach.  Well, as anyone who has ever thrown a surprise party can tell you, problems WILL happen.  Fortunately for me, the lucky couple doesn’t speak English, so they didn’t catch any of the slips.

Getting ready for this little shindig, was a little adventure in itself.  I didn’t want the wedding company to call the house, so we had to do everything by e-mail.  But for the Reverend to make a good ceremony, they need to know lots of information such as honeymoon site, original wedding date, place, and so on.  Hmmmmm, how do you get this information?   That’s where my teaching English training came in.  Bring up a subject with some one and then casually ask the victim for information!

As the lucky day approached, I was in the car with my sister (who lives in Hawaii)  and as soon as we dropped off my FIL she turned to me and said “OK what the HELL?  Are you guys nuts?  How are you pulling this off? ”  She was very intrigued about this.  As she explained she has a very morbid fascination about it.

The Day starts.

With a nice little rainstorm.  Arghhh!

We told the victims, I mean lucky couple, to dress nicely and come with us.  They had no clue.  But walking through the park in nice clothes, and in the rain, was making them very testy.  They had no idea what was going on, they thought maybe we were going on a lunch cruise, but where was the boat?  As the time approached, it was still raining, I met the reverend and we started wandering to the spot.  Confusion!  What’s going on?  Who is this weird lady?  A few minutes later, the sun came out, the rain stopped, a beautiful rainbow grew above the mountains, and we could begin!  (If you don’t like the weather in Hawaii, wait 5 minutes it will change).

Next we put some leis on them and told them to go stand next to the reverend.  They still didn’t know what was going on!  As we started filming and taking pictures, they finally figured it out.

They must have been the most surprised couple ever to get married, again.

It was a beautiful little ceremony, and the lucky couple is very happy to be celebrating 39 years of happiness.

~ Toneyuki (Blonde’s pal & guest blogger from Japan)