Category Archives: Piece of Paradise

MP, Verminator.

Today, standing in the kitchen, I hear coming from the front porch, “Hey you DIRTY DOG, get outta here! Get outta here or I’ll SHOOT you!”

“HEY!” I call in my best, gruff WTF Voice — a bit shocked (Dude, that’s no way to talk to your grandparents.) and unable to see who her threats are directed toward.

She pokes her head in the door. “I’m just talking to the gophers.”

“Oh. Okay.” Relieved, I turn back to the dishes. Yeah, and picture this — MP not only screaming death threats from the front porch, MP screaming death threats in her UNDERWEAR.

Giddy up. Gopher Huntin’ Season has officially arrived.

But lest ye think we’re a pair of uncultured rednecks, I HAVE show you a tiny glimpse into our very first Mother/Daughter Photo Shoot last night. (Which sounds very shee-shee poo-poo, yes?) The photographer, Alicia Caine, is simply amazing — if there ever were a Child Whisperer, she’s it. Plus she’s way cool AND she actually made me look somewhat photogenic, which I definitely am NOT.


See? Simple country folk and family photos. Just like The Pioneer Woman.

Without all that … money and stuff.



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Proof positive that an old dog CAN learn new tricks.

Last night I looked at the video footage from Hawaii for the first time and I just about peed my pants.

This was our last night at the house. Three had already flown home, which left Cannonball, Hamster and me. And a pool. And a video camera. Oh yeah. And ALCOHOL.

And this is how Cannonball got her name.

Honestly, I cannot BELIEVE I’m actually showing you this. Fair warning: it was a late night, and I look like a like a pile of hot cross dog crap. Helluuu no makeup. And it’s probably only funny to a few people, i.e., the three in the video. Those weird voices and lip movements? Yeah, we were on some Japanese movie trip. Just ignore it — we’re 11. Needless to say, as you’ll probably figure out, there were quite a few margaritas involved.

AND, most importantly, don’t watch it more than once (like you would anyway), or you’ll want to punch me in the face for the constant LAUGHING.

It’s safe to say I’ve never been called a mean drunk.



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Don’t have a cow, Baby.

Our second full day in Hawaii and we hit the road, driving to the opposite end of the island. To see my very first volcano. I have to confess, this was the thing I was most excited to do.

Six women in a car + juvenille tendencies = BALL TALK.

Somehow we started talking about Rocky Mountain Oysters. Which, for those of you unfamiliar with Western Cuisine, are not really oysters. They’re bull balls. In this corner of the U.S. we even have a little annual something called the Testicle Festival.

So not kidding.

Cannonball spent summers working on her family ranch. And castrating cattle. Which is how I think the whole conversation started.

“So are all the sperm actually IN the balls when they’re cooked?”

“I guess. I don’t know.”

“So you’re eating fried sperm.”

“Uhh … maybe?”



“Have you ever tried them?”

“Yeah. They were … meaty.”




“Have YOU ever eaten them?”

“No way. I don’t want to get pregnant.”

“Yeah, what if you COULD get pregnant by eating balls?”

“Wait. You can’t?”

“That would suck.”



“You’d have a cow-baby.”

“Inter-specie-al cow-baby.”

And then Cher came on the radio and started singing Half Breed.

Okay, not really, but that would’ve been AWESOME.


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40 is the new 30, Baby.

As my flight neared touchdown, my initial reaction was nothing short of WTF? The view was less than stunning. To say the least. The elderly gentleman sitting beside me must have read my mind. Or my face. He offered reassurance that the acres of black rock were, in fact, lava flows, and that they did NOT cover the entire region.

He was right. The Big Island, with its rugged diversity of terrain, was nothing short of spectacular. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

All six of us arrived between 4 and 8 p.m., and after looong flights, our first night in Kona was spent relaxing and catching up at a local eatery. Most notable event of the evening — a MONGOOSE scurrying beneath tables on the patio while customers ate. I didn’t know it was a mongoose at the time. I would’ve put money on squirrel/rat cross breed.

Our rental house? BEAUTIFUL. HUGE. Three bedrooms, three baths, gorgeous furnishings, pool, you name it.

Oh yeah, and and THIS.

Second time in a month! What are the odds? Never mind that I totally clogged it with overzealous usage, you KNOW I was a happy girl.

The next day was spent at the beach — I made a solemn vow to not publish swimsuit photos, but I CAN show you this.

As we ventured into the ocean for the first time, this awesome sea turtle bumped into Finn’s leg, prompting her to yell, “That CREATURE just touched me” and beat a hasty retreat back to the shore. She and OnStar weren’t as into the whole water thing as the rest of us.


Surprisingly enough, I could’ve stayed in the water all day, every day. And I didn’t worry about sharks or stingrays OR jellyfish. I didn’t worry about anything. I DID wish MP was there to see the turtle though.

Later that night we did the full-on tourist thing and attended a luau. My only gauge being The Brady Bunch Goes to Hawaii episodes, I fully expected to be sitting around a blazing fire, eating poi and getting up only to dance with natives. Turns out reality isn’t quite so romantic. Reality looks more like a Bingo Parlor. Only outside.


After paying our $70, we were HEAVILY encouraged to go to the bar. Um, okay.

Two drinks at a time. Two FREE drinks at a time. No limit.

Um, okay.

We’re moms. We’re good at following directions.

The drinks from the punch bowl were actually pretty weak. The bartender was more than happy to top our drinks off with an extra shot.

BTW, “Chile’s” former blog name was “Tea.” Remember, she got engaged a few weeks back? “Chile” just suits her personality better, especially now that she’s living there. Mkay, just wanted to clear that up.

The luau itself lasted two or three hours. We ate. We drank. We listened to music.

We drank.

We tried swinging some Poi Balls.

Stop it.

I’ll try [most] anything once.

That’s hot.

As the night wore on, there was a moment we all looked at each other and had the same thought.

“Do you have a buzz?”

“No. Do you?”

“Not at ALL. Do you?”

“Um, nooo.”

“How many have you had?”

“Six. You?”


Apparently, THAT’s how they can afford to offer open bar. And that shot of rum? Probably not much more than colored water. I still can’t believe I didn’t notice. I worked my way through college as a BARTENDER, for cripe’s sake. Shameful.

The performers have GOT think tourists are complete tools.

Yeah, they’d be right. Helluuu Poi Balls.

The dancers were fantastic, though, and all in all, totally worth the money.

The night was still fairly young when the luau came to a close, and being almost completely sober, AND IN HAWAII, we decided to find a bar. We found a place called Huggos, camped out outside at a table overlooking the sea, listened to some live music and made up for lost time.

I love that in the 25+ years we’ve known each other, we get together and we’re all so clearly the same people. With the same group dynamic. It’s like no time has passed.

And at one point, while everyone danced, I did this.

And 10 seconds later, I did this. Shot a really, really, REALLY poor quality camera phone video of Chile and Cannonball gettin’ down. Which should wrap this post up. At least you’ll get the feel of the place.

Tomorrow, I tackle the volcano.

WAIT! I HAVE been to a luau before! HOW could I forget THIS?!?



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Just a few of the reasons I belong in Hawaii.

The Hawaii recap is definitely going to have to be broken into a few posts. There are so many beautiful sights to share, and to muddy them with sweaty luau dancers, volcano-fart humor and all-around drunken stupidity would be incongruous, to say the least.

I’ll save the stories for tomorrow. And the next day. And by the end of the week, you’ll be so sick of Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaii, you’ll be sorry you asked. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite shots.

I’m missing it already.


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She got Island Feva.

I’m not TOTALLY delusional. I knew it had to happen eventually. I’ve been forced to come back to reality and rejoin the land of responsible, working parentals.


I’ve been advised my post-vacation depression upon leaving Hawaii is common. There’s even a name for the condition — Island Fever (IF). NOT this kind. And not to be confused with Jungle Fever (JF), which, after some thought, is not all that different. IF just involves a rock in the middle of the ocean, and not an actual person (JF).

I’m not a big joiner, so getting back into the groove has been a S-L-O-W process. Case in point — this morning, my time has been spent Googling job opportunities in Hawaii instead of attacking the 243 emails waiting in my inbox. SO not kidding.

And speaking of checking things off my Ketchup List, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a HYUGE THANK YOU to the awesome, awesome Laurie at Foolery and Deb at San Diego Momma for their hilarious guest posts. And to all the Doogs — between the blog and Twitter, you kept me fully entertained. One of you even said I looked like Katherine Heigl. (Your check is in the mail.) Are you KIDDING ME?!? Who needs a man when I have you guys to make me feel like a million? (Oh, and the swimsuit anxiety, BTW? Totally didn’t give a flabby crap once I got on the beach.)

With that, I better get back to work. I’ll start compiling pics and stories this weekend, before they leave my porous little mai-tai soaked brain. And I’m thinkin’ of something for Doogs Weekend tomorrow …

Happy Friday!


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There’s a special place in Hell reserved for swimsuit designers.

Tomorrow I’m on my way. Hawaii bound. You guys seriously made me feel much better yesterday — I’m TRYING to relax. Rest assured, I’m fully planning on taking some of your advice and having a few cocktails on the flights.

I have to say, the only thing I’m NOT looking forward to once I actually get to the island (besides missing MP) is putting on the swimsuit. It’s been an ordeal trying to find one the past few months.

I resorted to catalog shopping after spending an afternoon in Old Navy, trying on suits designed for 15 year-old freestanding boobs. Boobs that have never seen an underwire. Boobs that consider a small piece of triangular cloth and some string, support.

Not to mention suits designed for 15 year-old cellulite-free boy hips. Hips that have not yet earned growth-spurt stretch marks. Hips that have not spread and supported extra lbs and endured childbirth. Breeders.

Clearly, even CONSIDERING a suit of this nature was a mistake of epic proportions. Literally. And when MP patted my stomach in the dressing room and said when SHE grew up she was going to have a BIG belly like mine, any miniscule hope of pulling off a bikini disappeared quicker than a Twinkie at Grammy’s house.

So, the catalog shopping. I LOVED this. (Don’t have a pic of the top.)

The ad copy read: This Boy Bottom sits on the hip and is surprisingly flattering on both women with curvy hips and women with straight hips.

Ordered it.

I call BS. Show me one woman, with the exception of this catalog’s triathlete models, who can pull off the boy short. I’m a sucka.

Then I tried this.

Not bad, but back to the big belly thing. Goodbye bikini. *sniff

And finally, this modest little twosome. We have a winner. Kinda.

I came out of the deal with a tankini top that works. I’ll be mixing and matching with some black bottoms from my ugly old Speedo two-piece. They must be 10 years old, but they’re black, and they’ll match.

I have A LOT of returns to make.

It boils down to this.

Tits and Ass. Remember A Chorus Line?

Why do I even care? I’ll be with five of my oldest friends. We’re all the same age. I’m sure we’ll ALL have the suit issue. Maybe. The answer lies somewhere between vanity and modesty.

And really, it’s a moot point. Because the glare from my mayo white legs will surely blind every poor schmo on the beach unlucky enough to cross my path.

Quick, someone make me a drink.


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Pass the tranquilizer gun. Mama’s getting on a plane.

Just a few more days and I’ll be soaking up the rays in Hawaii with my five oldest BFFs. The MILFs Gone Wild ’08 Tour.

Whatever. Humor me.

No husbands, no significant others, no children. I should be psyched. I should be dreaming of surf and sand and drinks adorned with pink umbrellas I’ll collect to bring home to MP. I should be counting the minutes because I can’t wait.

Not because I’m FREAKING OUT.

I am, by nature, a worrier. I’ve purposefully pushed the trip from my mind because I knew as my departure drew near, I would start the nauseating downward spiral toward mild panic. The longest I’ve been apart from MP is three nights and that was hard enough. This is a little longer.

I know by the time I finally GET to the island I’ll be okay. And the first few days will be full. But I also know by the third day I’m going to be missing four-year-old declarations of “heavy poops that stretch out the poop hole.” And subsequent four-year-old concerns that if she takes a drink of water it will go right through.

That I’m not a good flyer only makes it worse. Metal detectors are not my friend. When I travel, I wear a hefty silver cross around my neck. And a smaller cross choker. And cross earrings. Back when my job required a fair amount of travel and time spent at airports, co-workers would be all, “Hey, wait for Mommypie. She’s the one carrying the enormous wooden CRUCIFIX on her back. That thing gonna fit on the plane?”

I worry more than anything something will happen to me and I’ll leave MP an orphan. I worry that maybe I’m being selfish and needlessly putting myself at risk by flying over the ocean. I worry something will happen to MP and I’ll be thousands of miles away.

Exhale. Aaannnd breathe.

MP worries that pirates will get me.

Argh. At least we got THAT straightened out.


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Da Goils, they’re going to Hawaii.

These are Da Goils. (Letter B, that’s me.) We’ve known each other forever.

We’re a diverse crew.

One of us lit a fart in high school. (Yes, you heard right. We’re a cultured bunch.) You wouldn’t BELIEVE the size of the blue flame that shot out of her arse, burning a hole right through her hot pink long johns.

One of us currently lives in Chile, teaching English to business people. She and I are the only ones who have never been married, although I think she’s close.

 One of us peed on her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend while they were making out at a party. She was drunk and looking for the bathroom. They were lying on a beanbag chair in a dark room. Honest mistake.

One of us was valedectorian. And a closet pot smoker. And voted Most Likely to Succeed. And is now filthy stinkin’ rich.

One of us was editorial editor of the high school paper, which included her monthly column about high school life.

One of us drove a HUGE brown station wagon from the ’70s, affectionately referred to as the Coppertone Tank. It came complete with rear-looking seats in the ‘way back’ dedicated to her younger siblings.

Sometimes I do that — look at a photo and wonder, if our past selves were somehow given a picture of our future selves, would we be able to guess our paths?

Would we be able to guess who never got married? Who had three kids? Who had two or one? Or none? Who divorced and remarried? Who was the first to lose a parent? Who was the second?

Some of our lives have been predictable. Some, anything but. I take comfort in this. Because no matter the outcome, there’s nothing like old friends. At least not for me. I’m fairly certain that kind of bond is impossible to recreate after a certain age. I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.

The photo above was taken at our 20-year class reunion in ’06 — a fateful occasion it turns out, because it was then we decided that come 2008, when we all turned 40, we were doing a girl’s trip. No husbands, no boyfriends, no kids. No excuses.

Just us.

I can’t believe we’re actually going to pull it off.

Yessiroonie, this August we’ll all be basking in the toasty Hawaiian sun. (Uh, BURNING is probably more accurate for Mommypie.)

Getting everyone to agree on a destination took some time. We decided on Hawaii after each of us summarized our criteria in a sentence or two.

For instance, one wanted to be pampered, and to NOT have to cook. Another didn’t want to be locked into a schedule. And one didn’t want to travel out of the country.

My desire was simply to lie on the beach and have beautiful shirtless boys serve me drinks. And because I’ve become attached to the notion it’s just not vacation without a floating bar, that was added to the list as well.

Which I suppose means it’s time to bite the bullet and buy a new swimsuit.



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Dancin’ The Night Away

Tonight MP and I attended our first traditional luau. What a fantastic way to wrap up this little spring getaway …

MP was absolutely mesmerized by the Maori Warrior Dance. When she offered her doll Giggles to one of the performers and it was happily accepted, she got so excited she jumped up on the stage and joined the act.

Damn, that girl’s got rhythm.


Definitely one for the books.

She was so excited afterward, she wouldn’t let me rest until I participated in a dance too. I caved and gave it my best shot.


So, for now, back to reality Monday morning.

I’m thinking next time, Paris?

Images borrowed from these guys. And these guys.


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