my ring

as promised, here is a pic of my ring. I feel that I am the luckiest girl alive!

... and it is: Seattle Reigns. Not only is it a play on words, as we all know it rains in Seattle, but Seattle will always reign for us as its where Tom and I met! We are so excited to get the name on the boat. I need to decide what font we want and then its pretty much done. We went down to the shore yesterday. We are getting some work done on the boat getting it ready for Spring. I can hardly wait!! I told Tom that I see us on that boat nearly every weekend!!! We also went and checked on our new Marina where the boat will reside beginning this Spring. Attached is a picture of our view from our slip. Its completely unobstructed which will allow for picture perfect sunsets. :-) In New Jersey you have to be licensed to drive (that can't be the right word) a boat so we have to attend a captains class to get certified. Yes I said we--- you may address us as Captain Tom and Captain Diana after just two short 4 hour Saturday classes. The likelihood of me actually "driving" the boat is slim so I protest a bit at my enrollment in this class, but you never know when I may have to take the wheel. :-)

The weatherman keeps saying its going to snow, but it hasn't yet. Maybe today. We aren't complaining though--- while its still a bit cold, its sunny!!

Tom heads to Denver this week for work and I am very busy too. When Tom travels I end up working pretty late which I don't mind--especially with it being so busy.

oh yeah... after many requests, I will also be posting a picture of my beautiful engagement ring on the blog. :-) Stay tuned for that...

Well, its cold here. Never in my life have I wanted a full head stocking hat (the type where there are just holes for your eyes) until today. With the wind-chill making it 7 degrees here--we are pretty much hunkering down inside and watching the football games. Go Giants!
Yesterday it was cold as well, low 30's, and we ventured to Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The view of the city is THE BEST from Jersey City and I never get tired of it. You are literally right across a narrow part of the Hudson River and you feel so close to Manhattan.
In one part of the park you can stand exactly across from where the World Trade Center was. Think about the hundreds of people that were at the park that morning waiting to get to Ellis Island. They would have had a nauseatingly close look at the planes hitting the towers.

The main reason we went to Liberty State Park was to ferry over to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (about a 6 min ride). You can see the statue from the park and I was interested in it much more than I thought I would be. It seems smaller though...
We bought our tickets for the ferry and waited--in the cold for what seemed like forever--before we decided to ditch this idea and vow to return when the the temp was above freezing. We couldn't even have gone in the statue anyway as it was already to capacity so that sealed the deal.

We went into Hoboken instead and had a great lunch. Hoboken and Jersey City are the "in place" to live these days for those who want to be close to the city but don't want the expense or craziness of the city. Many college grads from NY move here where rent is a bit cheaper and they still feel like they are in the city as its about a 5 min drive or they can ferry in. I LOVE the Brownstones here (and in NY) and have planted the seed with Tom that I would LOVE to live in a brownstone (which of course he already knew). Future visitors: don't get your hopes up, Tom is not interested in the city living. So--I am resigned to visit A LOT! :-) Good thing we are so close. This summer we plan to boat up here a bunch as there are plenty of slips.

Attached are some pics. Tom and I on our way into Liberty Park--out of service, historic NY train station of which we are standing on the tracks (city in the background); the 9/11 memorial in Jersey City of some battered and burnt steel from the collapse of the World Trade Center and the statue--from a distance.

city day

Yesterday I took the afternoon off and went into the city. It was cold! but the sun felt so good and soon I was happy I had just worn my wool sweater and kept the jacket at home. This was my first visit since the holidays and it was no less busy. In fact, the Green Market (produce) at Union Square was packed! The sun brings people out!!

My goal was to get to Battery Park (by the Statue of Liberty and site of the WTC) by foot which is pretty far away from the train station, but not a real difficult walk. The problem though, is that I get sidetracked as I walk taking pics or stopping at parks or shopping. I managed to get pretty far, but when the sun started to go down I figured it'd be getting even colder (it did) so I headed back. As always it was a great day! I saw a music video being shot on Broadway in Soho, but I can't tell you the artist as the genre is one I am not super familiar with--- gangsta rap. However, I did get to witness a really nice red sports car being prepped for the camera with a model woman in the passenger seat and in the drivers seat, a thug-worthy guy that could have been 50 cent. Thats right, we'll just say I saw a 50 cent video get shot. Pass it on.
(Oh I also forgot to mention that Tom and I saw the tv chef Rachel Ray in the city just before Christmas. Its safe to say I am very disappointed that my only star sightings thus far have been her and 50).

I also checked out the campus of NYU a bit closer as I am registering for a writing class there to begin in June. It is in Greenwich Village (I attached a map so you can look at some of these areas I mention if you are unfamiliar). I am really excited for the class! There is something comforting about taking a class you want to take and not one that your degree depends on!! The campus there is not like a normal "campus". There are multiple buildings on a cluster of streets that surround Washington Square Park. Definelty a college in the middle of the city--but once I got my bearings on the buildings and their location to the subway and park, it seemed a bit more familiar.

This weekend we are venturing out for some sight seeing in the tri-state area so i will be sure to post pics then. Tom is home for a bit... but has to go to Puerto Rico for 2 days next week (no, i can't go. sigh. :-( and then denver the next week). This month he has pretty much been gone more than home. He was able to rearrange his meeting this week though so he got to come home early! That was great!

*pics are union square with a very blue sky and the map for reference.

Have a great Thursday!

watch our movie

Hey everyone! Happy weekend!

Attached to the right under the 'OTHER SITES WE LIKE' area is a link to a little video (hosted on YouTube) that we created highlighting our trip to Belize. There is music so be sure and have your sound on and up. You don't need a log in or anything to view it, just click title: our belize movie

The pictures are random for the most part and this is my first imovie on my mac so it may seem a bit rough (some of the resolutions of the pics are not that great, I still need to play around with formatting and stuff), but I will keep practicing. (by the way all of you pc people... this was SO easy to do and so fun. I bet you want a mac now).
I can send the movie to you on a dvd too--its much clearer than on youtube, so if you want one, let me know.

Not much else has been happening to warrant a blog entry. Tom flies out tomorrow evening for a work road-trip to Virginia, North Carolina and I think South Carolina. I am finally feeling caught up at work after being out and am planning a trip into the city this week just to wander. I can't wait---seems like I haven't been there in a while. Its supposed to be sunny most of the week (maybe chance of snow) but cold--in the 30's. Much different from the unseasonably warm weather we have been having.

We are already getting the itch to go away again somewhere. Gretchen, Merry and I are already narrowing the list down for next Christmas, but that will NOT be soon enough! :-)

back home

hello! we made it home in one piece and were greeted by a 68 degree day today! What a nice homecoming! I felt Belize-ish when I took the dogs for a walk in my flip flops, jeans and a t-shirt! Tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice. Its always good to come home, but hard to go back to work...

Since we won't be traveling anywhere too interesting in the next few months and you find you still want to read about a far away place, check out my cousin Ryan's blog (to the right of this post in the "other sites we like" section. longwalkhome).
He and his wife Katrin are headed to Vietnam for 3 weeks and undoubtedly will have many interesting things happen to them--as they often do. Ryan's trips make me want to travel even more.

Attached are some pics from Belize. Tom and I at Caye Caulker and in front of some sort of rasta bob marley taco stand that was closed. Another is of Doug, Gretchen and Tom in front of our FAVORITE taco stand on the island. 3 taco's for .50 US. What a deal. Of course you need 6 or so to curb your hunger, but thats still only a buck!
Tom is standing in front of what I am guessing is an out of service boat on the island but still with the Jesus statue intact as the main navigator. There is a pic of me petting the nurse sharks and then Tom in the street during rush hour in San Pedro. :-)
More pics are in the Belize folder under photos and I will keep adding them.

are we in seattle?

The last two days the weather has changed for us here in Belize. Its been in the 70's, but really windy so we are a bit chilled and have not been able to dive. The skys have been gray for the most part reminding us of Seattle. We have made the most of the days though and spent yesterday with Gretchen, Doug and Patrick walking the island, visiting bakeries and ending up at the Crazy Canucks bar for pretty much the entire afternoon. It was a great day! Today we all headed into Belize City. Tom had lived here 20 yrs ago and sadly--it hasn't changed much and if anything has gone a bit more downhill since then. He didn't remember too much about the city from his time here and I think thats probably ok. To explain it in terms that are more recognizable, Ambergris Caye is to Beverly Hills as Belize City is to East LA. We were so shocked to see pretty much all of the city (and we were in the "good part") in shambles. Houses that would normally be condemned had people living in them. Windows--even with wood shutters--had iron bars around them. Every window on every house. Sewer in the curb systems and garbage all over. We were offered drugs and "good deals" on anything we may want on more than a few occasions. It was an eye opener. We had all been to some pretty remote places, but this was the worst. We didn't ever feel unsafe, but we never felt totally comfortable. Even with this description, we are glad we went. We did see a few places of interest (even the guidebooks have to reach for suggestions on things to do/see) including the local and only Hindu temple and the Belize Museum which had a great Mayan artifact exhibit. In all, it was a good trip, but still very sad. Its a perfect example of internal corruption within a government system that benefits no one but a few. Normally this is more common in a communist country--not a British Commonwealth.

Tomorrow we head out. We are glad to be going home, but its hard to leave. We have had such a great vacation.

caye caulker

Happy New Year! This am we started 2008 by hopping the water taxi for a 30 min ride to the nearby island of Caye Caulker. We had thought of staying here when we booked the trip, but had heard it was pretty desolate so we chose Ambergris. While we are very happy with our choice, Caulker would have been great for a few days. It is much more laid back (and quite a bit smaller) than San Pedro, but the beaches are beautiful and the town is full of things to see while wandering. I picked up a cd of local Belizian music and a beautiful tapestry that we have no idea where it will go, but I loved it so much.
The best part of today is that we managed to meet up with our friends Merry and John who we met last year in Cozumel. It was a reunion with all of us together again and we had a great lunch and caught up. We are already planning next years Christmas trip. After spending time visiting in the pool at Merry's hotel we headed back "home" and just enjoyed the rest of the day reading and relaxing (we are beginning to sound pretty predictable) before heading to new years day mass tonight (which was in Spanish and made it all the more adventurous). :-)

Tomorrow we are diving in the morning so its an early night.
So far, its a great 2008.

(slowly i am able to add some pics so check for those. when i am back in the states i will post more).

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