June: camping, wedding invitations, bridal shower, anniversary, meeting Charles' mom
During the first part of June, we got in our last camping trip before the oh-so-much-too-hot summer. We met some friends up on Mt. Lemmon, and had an AMAZING and relaxing weekend of birdwatching, hiking, roasting marshmallows, and eating corn on the cob and baked potatoes. I could live like that. The best part, though, was how Charles chopped our firewood. We hadn't brought an axe or a machete, so he picked up a tree and beat it against a rock over and over until we had a bundle of perfect firewood. Talk about a woodsman. haha.
Em also threw me my first bridal shower, consisting of her wonderful neighbor ladies. They were all full of advice and life experience, and I really enjoyed hearing what they had to say- and the stories that had to tell cannot be repeated on here. It was so funny.
Charles and I also realized that we'd been together for a whole year. We're not so big on dates and celebrations, but it's pretty cool that one year had passed and we were still as happy and amazed by each other as ever. Also, it felt like much longer than that.
I finally got to meet Sharon, Charles' mom. She came out to visit us in Tucson for 4 or 5 days. I had no idea what to expect because everyone tells me horror stories about mothers-in-law. Turns out she is super amazing, and we had a great time. She is one hell of a lady. I couldn't ask for a better mother-in-law. She told me the story of her life, stories about Charles and his siblings, and it was so interesting seeing how he and his mom are alike in mannerisms, expressions, and even thoughts sometimes. We took her down to Tubac, this cool artsy town, and also to Tumacacori, which are the ruins of a Spanish mission, and also a museum explaining the entire history of the native tribes and the conquerers. It was so informative, and sad. Later we went to play bingo with her (her favorite pastime). I'd never played bingo other than in school, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Turns out, it's really fun and addicting. Anyway, I'm so glad I got to meet and spend time with Sharon. It was wonderful. She also sent me a cookbook, that I'm now obsessed with. I've already made so many things from it!
Finally by the end of June, Charles and I managed to make all of our wedding invites. We did it all ourselves- bought cardstock and envelopes in bulk at Michael's, velum paper from Office Depot, printed photographs at costco, bought brads, and assembled them all one weekend. He worked just as hard as I did making them, and they turned out perfectly. Whew. If only people had RSVP'd with such dedication....
July: monsoons, dance, costuming, tea ceremony, meeting Charles' brother and sister-in-law, and Minnesota
Monsoon season hasn't been quite as wet or intense this year as it was last year. At least, though, there've been a couple really good downpours/thunderstorms/ lightning shows. Oh, and a TON of rainbows. The sky is always changing this time of year, and every sunset is breathtaking.
I had to weeks of unpaid :( vacation from work because they were out of town. I put the time to good use however, dancing, sewing, scrapbooking, cooking, and I even got to take part in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Satomi's friend Yuki came to visit from Japan, and she studies the tea ceremony (as well as calligraphy). She invited me to take part, and it was so beautiful. I love the Japanese lifestyle, and feel so fortunate to be able to learn so much about it first hand. They also fed me some amazing food. Then, Yuki showed me how to prepare the tea, and let me serve her. She even had me try on her kimono. I loved it. I can't wait to visit Japan.
Come July, Christa and I decided to accept the invitation to dance in a huge bellydance show in Pittsburgh happening August 22. Since she lives in SD, and I'm 6 hours away, this decision meant a lot of hard work. We are both incredibly excited, though. We've dubbed ourselves Saguaro Belly Co, and we've been working hard on choreographing and costuming. We met half way between us one weekend and spent 2 days dancing in a hotel room, moving the bed up against the wall to make more room. We even did a performance in San Diego on her birthday weekend as sort of a test run for our dances. The videos are all on youtube under Saguaro Belly Co. It's been so much fun and so much work, and now the show is next weekend. I'm ready.
When we were in San Diego that weekend, I had one of the more traumatic events of my life (no, not ripping my toe nail off my big toe during the performance). We were on this party boat-- it just goes back and forth between bays all night, there's a bar, a dance floor, and a deck on top... people can get on or off anytime. We were on there for Xta's birthday, and Charles and I were on the top deck- when we heard some commotion. A group of friends was waving to two guys swimming in the bay- guys who had just jumped from the third story of the boat. We walked over to where they were, watching the guys swim to shore. Then a third guy got up on the rail right in front of us--- literally we were 2 feet behind him--- intending to jump in and swim after his friends. His girlfriend was there and all his friends where cheering him on. He took of his shirt, emptied his pockets, and in he went, to the cheers of his friends--- he did a sort of flip into the water... and we were all looking over the edge to see him swim away. Only-- we never saw him surface. Everyone just stared, expecting him to come up any minute, and then his girlfriend ran down to tell the captain- or whoever was on the boat. The boat was still moving, and figures could be seen swimming in the distance. No alarms were sounded; I saw no life preservers being thrown out, no sign of an emergency.... We got off the boat at the next stop, and the boat people told everyone that all 3 jumpers had made it to shore and been arrested immediately. So, I thought no more of it. About 30 minutes later, though, we were walking down the street and a car pulled up-- I recognized the girl in the passenger seat as the girlfriend- the driver was asking if we'd seen anyone come out of the ocean.. (wtf?!?!?!?). I walked over and asked if he was talking about the guy who jumped. Yes, he said. I informed him that they'd been arrested. No, he said, I was one of the guys who jumped first, and our buddy never came to shore. We don't know where he is. At this point, these people are drunk, and driving around, instead of calling for help or something. So I told them to go back to the boat and call the coast guard or the police. They didn't even know how to get back, so I pointed them. It was so freaky. The next day we saw copters all over the bay, and later on the news learned that they had recovered the guy's body 20 yards from shore in 15 feet of water. We think that's the exact spot where he jumped. This is SOOOOO sad because the guy was drunk- as were his friends- and they thought it'd be fun. Who knew. And I literally watched him take his last breath. I can't believe he actually died, may his soul rest in peace. He was only 28. I feel for his friends and especially his girlfriend. I could think of nothing else for a week after this happened- I was so traumatized. I know everyone dies, but to be that close is crazy. I've accepted it now, and I just hope his friends and family can find the support they need to cope with this.
On a lighter note...
During the 2nd week of my time off, Greg and Marleny (Charles' brother and sister-in-law) visited Tucson. I'm so glad I got to meet more of his family. We were so busy that week I can't even remember what we did: Tombstone, Titan Missile Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum, Sonoran Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon, lots of eating, and not much sleeping. It was a really fun week.
The next week I left for Minnesota for work. It was very cold. I mean way too cold for July. Pretty. But cold. Did I mention that it was cold? I think I'm spoiled. Anyway, the highlights involved talking to an amazing energy healer, seeing her in action on Em's preggo sister, and eating some delicious dinners. G was a champ on the plane ride home, no crying at all, and he was on my lap the whole time!! He's really growing up.
August: dancing, sewing, cooking, and dabbling in essential oils
So I've finally come to the present. Last weekend Xta came to Tucson (since we had been there the previous weekend). We danced and ate and swam and sewed.
And every spare moment of mine has been dedicated to finishing and practicing dances, finishing costuming, and cooking from my adored recipe book whenever I have enough time. Today I made the most amazing pumpkin bars, which I will post on my other blog later.
Also, I began experimenting with making my own skincare treatments using essential oils. I'd really like to use homemade things for my body, as I'm getting farther and farther away from chemicals and whatnot in everyday use. I've found tons of recipes for things like face wash, lotions, toners, etc. Also, essential oils can be used as pain relievers, energy boosters, and all sorts of other remedies.
Also, I'm trying to go more and more green. I already use cloth shopping bags, but I was getting so irritated by those plastic produce bags that are even at the farmers' markets. I found these organic cotton reusable ones on www.reusablebags.com. I'm also planning on purchasing the reusable towels to get away from paper towels. Anyway, I won't be too preachy, but every little bit helps.
Okay, so that's all for now, folks. I'll try to be more current with this. For all of you who are far away, I miss you. Enjoy your week!