Posts Tagged Shannon Esposito

A Grand Adventure!

Our family trip to the Grand Canyon was full of so many firsts, so many little boy giggles, alien terrain and moments a camera could never do justice!

This was my first time out west. The towering walls of red sandstone rising up against blue sky were shocking to me. (Considering we live fourteen feet above sea level!) While the boys climbed, explored and brushed off scraped knees, I tried to wrap my mind around the raw talent of mother nature. She is quite the artist:

Time seemed to stretch out like the dusty open landscape. Our body clocks had us rising at 5:30 every morning with the sun. With these longer days, we toured the icy Colorado river on a rafting trip in Page, then made the three-hour drive to the North Rim where we hiked (and I practiced calming breathes and tried not to look over the edge):

At the North Rim, the boys camped in a tent for the first time; made their own marshmallow sticks and  smores; learned about fire, absolute darkness and the importance of checking your shoes for critters before you put them back on.

From there, we drove to Sedona were we toured the massive red rock formations in a jeep and then a rock crawler. Yes, this part of the vacation took a sharp turn into boy territory as we bumped and climbed our way over rocks, choking on dust and searching the area for tarantulas and scorpions. I needed a dose of civilization and culture after this.

So, we drove to a quirky little town called Jerome. One of my favorite parts of our adventure! Jerome used to be a copper mining town, then a ghost town and now a thriving artist community. We ate at The Asylum, which really was a mental hospital-turned hotel/restaurant. Oh yeah, right up my alley! After the mind-bending climb and twisty turns, we arrived:

Then we promptly jumped back in the car as two snarling black dogs ran up the hill straight for us. The staff apologized and had no idea where they came from. The hounds of hell, maybe? The food was worth it:

Along with the creepy decor…

All in all, it was an amazing adventure! Even so, in the end, I was ready to come home. One thing I learned about myself. You can take the girl out of Florida, but you can’t take the Florida out of the girl!

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? What amazing adventure did you have this summer?

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Magic Mike, Pizza & Deceit

Imagine you are in the mood for a cheese pizza with a light pineapple topping.

You squeeze a  grocery store stop into your busy day just to grab said pizza. You invite your friends over to share it, preheat the oven, rub your hands together with glee as you rip open the box. And then you stare at the pizza in dismay.

Confused, you flip the box over and check the picture again. Yep. Plain old cheese pizza with a few pineapples stare back innocently from the cardboard. You blink. Shove the pizza back in the box and then pull it out again. Blink. Then you get mad. You feel betrayed. Lied to. Because there…in the midst of frozen cheese and a few shriveled up wanna be pieces of pineapple are…anchovies! And mushrooms! And some kind of green slimy thing that nauseates you.

You have to apologize to your friends, mumble something about someone else picking out the pizza next time and go to bed hungry and angry at the lie on the front of the pizza box.

This was my Magic Mike experience and I left the movie depressed and in need of a shower. I call it bait and switch. Anyone who’s seen the previews expects a fun, shallow movie with a splash of romance that you can unwind and giggle with your girlfriends about. In reality, it was about the sleazy, seedy lifestyle of male strippers, complete with drug abuse, drug dealing, skanky sex…oh, and  a pot-belly pig licking up vomit.

I know. Nauseating.

As a writer, I know a book’s cover tells the reader what to expect from the book. You know if the story inside is a mystery, sci-fi, literary, romance or erotica by how it’s packaged and marketed. This movie was like picking up a book with a romance cover and falling into gritty, urban street fiction. I won’t even mention the romance part except to say it didn’t work. At all.

Now, I’m sure Mr. Soderbergh didn’t intend to deceive us. He probably considers himself an artist and didn’t want to just make a movie about  Channing Tatum dancing  for an hour and a half.  But, honestly, I would have preferred this because for me, the ten minutes of Tatum’s moves were the only redeeming factor in this movie.

If you’ve already seen this movie, what did you think? Were you disappointed? Disgusted? Am I being too sensitive? Or did I just make you hungry for pizza? Inquiry minds wanna know!

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Hurricane Season

Can you relate? I sure could over the holidays! There I was happily waddling along with all my ducks in a row when BAM! Holidays.

Each little duckling here represents some aspect of my life that was out of control: the kidlings hopped up on christmas wishes and sugar cookies; my vicious cycle of comfort food/guilt/more comfort food; no time for writing or reading (this alone can send small children and animals running for cover in our house). Well…you get the picture.

Things are calming down now. The whirlwind is over and sanity can resume (as soon as the Christmas and New Years Eve decorations come down). I really need some prevention tips, though.

How do you all keep your sanity during the holidays? Do all the festivities energize you or drain you?

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Dear Abby…

Happy Monday! The day I get to do more than roll over and sneak on the couch…I get to answer your questions! Woof!

Our guests today are the fantasy and sci-fi writer Samantha Warren and her furry friend, Bunny Boop. Samantha likes socks and I like socks, so I like Samantha. Woof! Here’s her bunny’s question:

“Dear Abbey, I’ve recently discovered how much fun it is to chase cats. If they get too close, all I have to do is run right at them and they race out of the room. The silly things are so… scared of me, it’s great. Do you have any advice for a budding cat-chaser, maybe how to get around that big box my mommy put in the doorway so I can’t chase the cats all over the house? Yours truly, Bunny Boop”

Abbey says: You are the first bunny I’ve ever seen. I had to ask mom some questions about you. She said that like me, bunny’s are pack animals and need to know who’s in charge of the pack. Apparently in your house, you are! Cats are built differently and don’t care who’s top dog…or, er, top bunny. So, snuggle, chase, hop and sniff your little heart out. Oh, and about the big box…use your teeth. I’ve chewed through tougher barriers…but you didn’t hear that from me.

Mom says: This is inspiring. If predator and prey can live together in peace, maybe there’s hope for us humans! Do you agree?

(*If you’d like to ask “Dear Abbey” a question, please send it to my mom: soespo (at) gmail.com with a picture of your pet.)

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Dear Abbey…

It’s Monday! That means time for another question answered by moi, Abbey (see pic above, I think my mom captured my smart side)

Today’s question comes to us from Maggie and her human Diane Capri.  Diane is a best selling author with a license to thrill! (That must look pretty snazzy on your collar, Miss Diane!)

Maggie says:

“Dear Abbey, I hesitate to write to you because the object of my question is a pesky Yorkie named Abby. She’s coming to visit soon and she’ll stay six weeks. During that time, she wants to play with my toys and sleep in my bed and mostly, take all the attention. How can I get rid of her?”

Here’s a pic of Abby:

Abbey (moi) says: Hmmm. I’m not sure what weeks are but that sounds like a long time to have to share your toys, bed and human! Woof! I think you’re going to have to pull out all the stops. (You don’t know how to operate one of those car things do you? I once knew a dog who went “for a ride” and never came back!) No? Okay then.

I see that you’re holding up your paw. This is actually a very good trick to use to get your human’s attention. When you walk around, hold up that paw and look at your human with very sad eyes and if you can–throw in little whimpers. She’ll be sayin’ “Abby who?” in no time! (She does have a cool name, though. Maybe she’s not so bad if you give her a chance.)

If that doesn’t work…I know a cat who may be able to help you!

What about you? Have you had house guests that brought pets along? Share your tails..er…tales with us!

(*If you’d like to ask “Dear Abbey” a question, please send it to my mom: soespo (at) gmail.com with a picture of your pet.)

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Finding Zen at Disney

We took our five year old twin boys to Disney two weeks ago and on the our third  boat ride through It’s A Small World, I had an epiphany. Okay, here, I’ll set the scene for you:

You know the ride, right? Harmonic child voices sing…La La La La LA La La (until you’re la-la-lulled into forgetting you just stood in line for forty-five minutes) while the tiny boat glides through crystal clear water; carrying you from one magical scene of moving, dancing, twirling, hang-gliding animatronic children and animals from foriegn lands to another. By the third turn, you really forget you’re in Orlando.

Er. Full Stop.

By the third turn you really should have forgotten you’re in Orlando.

While all this magical stuff was happening around me and my boys were oooing and aaaaahing over all the magical stuff, here’s what was going through my mind:

“Wow, this is a lot of stuff to keep dusted.”

“I wonder what the electric bill runs for this ride alone? Guess I shouldn’t complain about my hubby’s Christmas light obsession.”

“Oh…there’s an emergency exit! It might be important that I noticed that if we get stuck in here or if terrorists hit Disney or…what if there really will be a zombie apocolypse?”

Seriously!

So, the epiphany hit me around the North American room. This ride was a miniturized version of my life! I am going through my days like each of those amazing rooms, not really paying attention to the experience but instead worrying about the dust.

And the bad part is, I know better. I’ve read all the zen books, the live-in-the-moment books, the breathe-and-shut-up-your-monkey-mind books. But in all those hours of pouring over books, I missed the whole point somehow. (I’m giggling to myself right now) The point is just to be. Just to experience it…this mysterious thing called life. Just to enjoy the small, make-believe drummers without wondering if one of those sticks could possibly fly loose and poke my child’s eye out.

And I suddenly understood (not with my head but with my heart) what this wize woman  means when she says, “My life is my practice.”

And so, I have been practicing. It’s tricky though. I have to catch myself. There are more and more moments when I truly am there, fully present in my own life. Moments when I’m watching my five year old struggle to read a new word and I’m not thinking about the fact I forgot to let the dog out; moments when we’re playing Go Fish as a family and I fight to keep my attention on the smiles and giggles instead of the pile of dishes from dinner.

Will the stuggle to stay present get easier? I’ll have to let you know. But I can tell you one thing…

Life is much less stressful when you don’t dwell on the dust!

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Dear Abbey…

Greeting humans! I’m Abbey and my mom says I’m so smart I should have my own guest blog to answer questions from you or your pets! First a bit about me:

My family rescued me when I was only 5 weeks old. I have two human brothers who like to wrestle on the floor, one canine sister (who gets a bit grumpy with all my puppy energy), a dad who is the head of the pack and a mom who lets me sneak on the couch when he’s not home. Now back to you!

Our first question is asked by Gia. Gia’s human is the lovely Ginger Calem. You can visit her HERE.

“Gia would like to ask Abbey if this vest makes her butt look big?”

Abbey says: Woof! Hey, mom…this screen isn’t scratch and sniff?? (Mom says: No!) Well, Gia, I think your butt looks mucho inviting.  I’d sniff it any day. (That’s how we find out about each other’s temperament to see if we can be friends, ya know.  A much easier technique than all that yappin’ humans do.) I think you look positively woofy but, my mom says she wouldn’t be caught dead with flower patterns on her hieny at the dog park. (My mom needs to share those treats she eats in front of me at night.)  Anyway, humans think we’re color blind but we’re not. The scoop is we just see two primary colors (blue & yellow) instead of three (red, blue & yellow).

So, there you have it, Gia! I give your butt five woofs!

What was the silliest thing you’ve ever dressed your pet up in? How did they react?

(*If you’d like to ask “Dear Abbey” a question, please send it to my mom: soespo (at) gmail.com with a picture of your pet.)

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