Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Frittata

My in-laws will be here tomorrow.  I. CANNOT.WAIT!!!  We haven't seen them in a year, we haven't seen any relatives in 6 months.  It's one of the drawbacks of living here.  I love my in-laws and am blessed to get along well with them.  Of course, being the typical daughter-in-law, I feel an enormous amount of pressure to have a clean, clean, spotless house when they arrive.  I have actually accepted that with Price in our midst, spotless probably isn't going to happen, but vacuumed, mopped, dusted, somewhat more organized than usual will.  Unless I continue to procrastinate and take random breaks from the aforementioned chores that I have embarked on.  That's why I am writing this post now, as opposed to later.  I am taking a break, I just moved a bunch of heavy furniture and thought I'd sit for a minute and tell you about the fabulous dinner I made last night.  I am able to do this, even though my living room looks like this,

And my dining room looks like this,

No, the futon doesn't actually live in the living room (see info about moving furniture).  We are going to have to sleep on the futon while Don's parents are here thanks to only having a  2 bedroom (yet another drawback of living here), and yes that is the futon mattress on the dining room floor.  It's harder to move than a couch and a futon frame, hence the break I am taking to gather my strength back up.  Well, there's that and the fact I have to tackle my kitchen...

Anyway, on to last night's dinner (I think I'm starting to get my cooking mojo back)...  We had a bunch of people over Friday night for a porch warming party.  I over estimated everyone's fondness for tomatoes and had several left over that I needed to use.  I also have a Thai basil plant that has taken off and wanted to use it as well.  So all day, I tried to come up with something that I could use both items in, and it hit me- a frittata.  Yum!  I found a recipe to use as a guide. The recipe called for corn.  I would never have thought to put corn in a frittata, but I had three ears that cost me sixty cents each (oh how I miss Frank's Fruit Farm and even long for Kroger's fifteen cents corn).  But corn is my summer veggie.  There is no other veggie (not even a big, fat homegrown tomato) that says summer to me as much as corn- it just drips of picnics and grilling out and butter- glorious melted butter .  I splurged on 3 ears of corn when it was on sale (down from $1/ear) and was happy to get the chance to use it in the frittata.

Very liberally adapted from Better Homes and Garden's Vegetable Frittata With Cheese

For this recipe you will need:
8 eggs, olive oil, salt, and pepper, 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (I used cheddar, but any would work), oven-safe skillet (I used this one)

1 tbsp fresh, chopped basil

3 cloves, finely chopped garlic

1 onion, chopped

3 links (casing removed) or 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage or if you're not a fan of meat, leave it out.  I put it in so Don wouldn't complain about having a girlie frittata for dinner.

1 ear of fresh, uncooked corn off the cob or about 1/2 cup frozen corn (the corn made this dish for me, probably because it was fresh corn off the cob and considering I bought it at the Commissary where produce is spotty and usually disappointing, this corn was pretty fantabulous- it had the perfect corn crunch)

1 small  head of broccoli, chopped

2 tomatoes , chopped (I left mine chunky and I also forgot to take pictures of the actual chopped tomatoes)

Here's how to make your Summer Frittata (btw, you can TOTALLY change out any of the veggies in this dish for your favorites, these are what I had on hand.  I'll make it again with peppers and squash)....

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil, add onions, garlic and sausage.  Cook, stirring often until sausage is brown.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, lightly beat 8 eggs, add basil, salt and pepper- set aside.

Once sausage is browned, add corn and broccoli, cook for about 3 minutes, add tomatoes, cook for another 3-5 minutes until vegetables are slightly browned.

Pour egg mixture over entire pan.  Making sure that entire surface is covered. You may want to reduce heat slightly and if your burner SUCKS like mine has an area that doesn't heat up, you may need to roate your pan to ensure everything gets cooked evenly.  Once the sides start setting (sticking to the side of your pan), run your spatula around the rim of the pan to allow uncooked egg to seep in and get cooked, you should do this several times.

Once the egg stays off the pan and no more seeps in, the sides are set- even if the center is still moist (I HATE THAT WORD) a little jiggly.

Sprinkle with cheese and place under broiler for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted and the jiggliness is gone from the center (if only I could sit under a broiler for a few minutes until my jiggly center was gone...)

Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes.

Yummy deliciousness!!  Both of the boys liked it, Price had fun fishing out the veggies (he prefers them over the meat).  Don appreciated the sausage since it manned up the dish.  Very successful!

Tonight, I'm attempting homemade tomato sauce with the last 4 of my too many tomatoes from Friday night.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My PC Problem

It stormed here today.  For the first time since moving to Guam, I actually heard thunder while sitting in my house.  It was so loud, our windows shook.  It was perfect lazy weather and we had official orders to stay indoors... Once Price went down for his nap, I tried to busy myself around the house so I didn't take a nap too (it was perfect napping weather, but when I take naps I stay up too late then get up early with the kiddo, then find myself wanting to take a nap the next day- it's this never ending cycle).  Since I wasn't going to sleep and still don't have a book to read, I decided to bake.  I've been seriously jonesing for chocolate.  And decided to make the BEST. BROWNIES. EVER!  I first made these brownies when we lived in Louisiana, about a million years ago.  These brownies are super easy to make and sooooo good.  I haven't made them in a while, but when the Commissary actually had Ghirardelli Baking Bars (to actually find a bar of baking chocolate of any variety at the Commissary is a win, but this was a BIG win), I bought several and knew I'd be making these brownies soon.  Today was the perfect day...

If you don't like dense, fudgy brownies that are crispy around the edges and are perfectly bittersweet you are weird and something is wrong with you, these brownies aren't for you.  But if you do like what I described, follow this recipe:

Ghirardelli Classic Chocolate Brownies (recipe from Ghirardelli website)
1/2 cup(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
4 ounce(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar (I use the bittersweet bar because I like the taste better)
1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup(s) firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup(s) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon(s) baking powder
3/8 teaspoon(s) salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan.Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into i-inch pieces.In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature (I don't let it get quite to room temp, I think  the sugar combines better if the chocolate is still a little a warm, but not so warm that it cooks the eggs when added) . Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well.In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

One day, I hope to take attractive pictures of food

By now, I'm sure you're trying to figure out what is wrong with my PC and what it has to do with this post..  My computer is fine.  I have another type of PC problem... PORTION CONTROL!  And not just when it comes to food, (although that is where it often rears its ugly head)
Umm... Yes, the brownies came out of the oven 6 hours ago, Don had one small slice and this all that is left (and I wonder why the scale isn't changing despite going to the gym 2-3 days a week and walking 30 minutes a day too).  I'm trying to make myself feel better that the recipe doesn't make very many brownies and after all I ate tonight, I won't feel like eating any more again. ever.

but with many, many things in my life.  I seem to have problems with moderation. You know like reading 3 books in less than 3 weeks, or maybe planting several hundred seeds in a window box garden and now having to find homes for many, many plants that I can't accommodate.  I also have portion control problems when it comes to planning events or taking on projects.  I just keep adding on and on (in my head) until they are too big and unmanageable, and I become overwhelmed and just want to curl up in a corner and cry and end up doing NOTHING that I originally wanted the way I originally wanted it.  The quote, "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions" comes to mind.  This is one of the things I dislike the most about myself.

I am hopeful that the longer I continue to go to the gym and exercise the less I will want food portions to fill me up (knowing full well it's not really the food I'm hungry for, but other areas of my life that need to be fulfilled), but I don't know what to do about the other aspects.  I'm not good at setting limits for myself.  I am not self-motivated.  I am not good at setting goals for myself.  I don't do well with setting deadlines for myself.
I do really well in a structured environment when someone else has set deadlines for me and has expectations- I always exceed those.  I don't know why I value other people's opinion of me more than my opinion of myself.

That's actually one of the things I struggle with the most as a stay at home mom.  There isn't really a validation system in place other than I'm raising a healthy, seemingly well-adjusted kid (if you can ignore his obsession with trains and his on going fondness for his penis).  Don is good about telling me that I'm a "wonderful mother" (his words), but I admittedly TOTALLY SUCK as a house keeper- so if this was an out of the home job, that actually paid me in more than sweet moments with my child and never ending full sinks of dirty dishes- would I be fired?  I never really feel like I am doing a great job, or even the best job that I can.  Some days, I feel like I'm Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Going through the motions in pretty much the same routine day after day.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing, I mostly like the rhythm that our days have.  I just wish I could make myself do more- be more.  I miss that part of working outside of the home, that I was more- I had a title that wasn't just wife/mom.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I have a lot of stuff that I want to write about.  I keep trying to put pen to paper, or actually fingers to keys.  I keep starting and stopping, unhappy with where my words are taking me (or really taking you, my loyal readers).  I probably should quit self-editing and just open the flood gates...

I want to tell you about why I've been so bad about blogging lately.  I have composed several "in response to the oil spill" posts.  There may even be an upcoming post entitled "Bitch Face" on the horizon (my dear Amy, if you are reading this,  I have documentation of mine and am ready to out it to the world), I even want to just share some pictures of our recent goings on, but I haven't...  It's the first item in the list that's holding me back.

I've just been feeling kind of like this lately...
Not sad (much), not lonely, maybe a little alone and very much apart (as in disconnected, not as in falling).  Maybe I'm suffering from some sort of weird SAD (seasonal affective disorder) due to our lack of seasons and am trying to gear up for summer (and Price's SECOND birthday) in a place that is summery year-round and doesn't really seem to change from month to month (except for how often we have to mow- and by we, I mean Don-due to our current dry spell) ...  I don't know.  But I haven't been cooking much or well or interesting, and thanks to the stupid Housewives of NY and NJ, my love affair with bad reality TV has grown by leaps and bounds.

But, I'm getting back where I belong, I'm deciding that it's better to be alone rather than in the midst of groups that make me feel lonely.  I'm drawing lines in the sand with some things and trying to hold strong.  I've been really good about going to the gym and am feeling stronger physically.  I'm taking on some projects around the house.  And, thanks to my rejuvenating trip to Palau, I've started reading again.  It seems like since Price was born (almost two years ago- that is CRAZY to me), I only read in fits and spurts.  Which is unusual for me, I used to always have at least 2 books going at pretty much any given time.  But once the little man arrived on the scene, it was rare for me to make find the time to read (you know since I was busy watching Real Housewives).  Anyway, I knew I needed some books to take to Palau and since the base library is small and has a limited selection of options, I broke down and bought a book at the BX, which has an even smaller selection of books (allegedly there are 2 real bookstores in Guam, I have seen 1 and wasn't impressed enough to walk in and I just forget about the other one, plus when one waits until the last minute to procure said books, it doesn't work to drive more than 5 minutes to get them).  So anyway, I perused my options in the paperback section and settled on one by an author that I had never read before, but the jacket info looked interesting and it was set at the beach. I also borrowed one from the library to have as a back up, by an author I have read many times who writes easy, perfect for the beach chick-lit.  Of course the mindless chick lit book, Last Chance Saloon by Marian Keyes, won out and I read it and never even opened my purchased book the whole time I was gone.

Shortly after returning from my get away, a series of awkward, enlightening, unpleasant, demoralizing, self-esteem crushing social situations piled on top of each other and started me on my path of feeling disconnected.  So, I retreated into my land of fiction and found comfort in books.  A place I have always been able to hide my head and not have to worry about what I think other people think about me, where I don't have to talk and put my foot in my mouth. I can just read (during stolen moments) and tune out the rest of the world (yes, I realize as I type this, that perhaps retreating to fictionland does not help me connect to other people).  I started my new book, I was a little apprehensive about it because I knew nothing about the author, I wasn't sure I was going to be engaged, I wanted to be entertained, but I didn't want to have it all figured out by page 30.  I began reading Tracey Chevalier's (she wrote Girl With a Pearl Earring) Remarkable Creatures.  I was hooked!  It was such a good story, based on real people (I didn't realize this until the end of the novel).  I liked it so much, that before I was finished, I went to the library in hopes that they would at least have Girl With a Pearl Earring, which they did and they also had The Virgin Blue.  I liked all three of them, they are all historical fiction with heavy art references (really just the latter two have the heavy art references).  I say liked because in the span of three weeks, I have read all three of them.  Again, I am seeing that burying my head in books for three weeks is not conducive to a lot of productivity....

Anyway, now I'm bookless again and looking for something else to read.  I've read 6 books this year (I guess when I put it like that, it's not too bad it averages out to one a month)- The Help- AMAZING!  still the #1 I've read so far this year, The Postmistress- totally not a fan, and then the four I just read.  What are you reading?  Any suggestions??

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Palau- The Last Post, I Promise!

A blog that I really enjoy reading is Everyday Musings. I enjoy it because it's about food, travel, the South. The author also is something I am not (at least not in my blogging style), succinct. She posts lovely pictures and allows the pictures to pretty much speak for themselves. My style is more to paint the picture with words (many, many words) and any actual pictures I have are just icing.

I have a few pictures from Palau that I haven't shown yet, I am going to let them speak (mostly) for themselves.

1.  Welcome to Palau!
2.  Dive boat  
3.  Sailing with the dolphins
4.  I got us home safely in spite of driving on the wrong side of the car
5. & 6. The Jail
7.  Baby sea turtle at the rescue center
8. One of these is not like the others
9. Jefferson!  
10.  Floating with the jellyfish 
11.  Three cheers to a great trip!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Palau, Days 3 and 4

OK, so I totally realize I have now procrastinated spread the telling the tale of my epic adventure a little longer than necessary.  Although I can blame tv, books, going to the gym (oh yes, this has become an actual regular occurrence in my life.  I too am shaking my head in disbelief) and other silly distractions.  What I've been trying to convince myself is that, as long as I hadn't finished writing about Palau some part of me was still there.  Alas, a month has gone by and reality has set in (about 3 weeks ago) that I am home and life is back to normal.  So, allow me to wrap up the rest of Palau...

Days 3 and 4 were not as magical as the second day, but still really great!  On day 3 we had a rental car.  We are pretty sure it was someone's family car that they just rented out as needed.  It was the easiest rental I've ever had, they came to the hotel, we gave them $35 cash and away we went.  We figured there wasn't a real need for securing the car with a credit card or copies of photo id, because we were on a small island with 1 road- where were we going to take it?

Since we weren't going to be in the water that day, we had no schedule to stick to.  We headed downtown in search of the Penthouse Hotel, where we had been told we could get a good meal and also great massages- both at reasonable prices.  Breakfast was ok, but the massage-WOW!!!  Each of us was escorted into a small room in the back of the hotel's beauty salon (where we were also offered facials and I was offered a pedicure after the beautician saw the bad shape my feet were in).  Luckily, we weren't there for the ambiance- my massage room was literally the size of a closet, barely enough room for the table, and also seemed to be the storage room for all the clean towels.  I figured for $25 I shouldn't expect the Mandara Spa (or even the soothing sounds of piped in rain forest music), I just hoped that I'd get a massage that was at least on par with the massages I used to get at the massage school in Denton (shout out to KJ).  Other than the accommodations (and truth be told I found some kind of strange comfort in hearing the salon sounds in the background, they somehow helped me relax, like the part of my brain I really can't ever turn off, and get so caught up trying to turn it off I can never really relax, the day to day noises in the salon gave that part of my brain something to focus on), it was one of the best massages I've ever had.  I spent much of the rest of that day walking around Palau in a post-massage fog.

After the massages, we went shopping and did some sight seeing.  We visited the Belau National Museum and looked at Palauan artifacts.  They also have a Bai, meeting house, on site.

The chair in the back is a real artifact, and yes that is me, and not Rosanne Roseannadanna, with humidity induced mushroom hair peeking out of the house.

In addition to the museum, we also went to jail, twice.  No, we did not get thrown in jail for trying to smuggle in three boxes of wine or for attempting to steal our rental car or anything scandalous at all.  We went there to buy storyboards.  There are many Palauan legends and the inmates carve them into wooden boards of different shapes and sizes.  They are quite intricate and although I didn't purchase a wooden one because I couldn't find my favorite story, I purchased one (not at the jail) made of colorful ceramic tiles.  Back to jail...  it's nice to walk into a jail of your own free will, knowing (hoping, praying) that you will shortly walk out.  Security here seemed, well, let's just say three women walked in carrying quite a bit of cash, we were asked to wait while they secured the shopping room, we were quickly escorted to the shopping room, left to shop and three women walked out with a little less cash (thanks to our purchases) and unscathed, except for our sense of smell, which was a little bit overwhelmed.  I never felt unsafe, but I never felt really protected either.  After a hard day of playing tourist, we retreated to the hotel pool- bliss!! We chilled out until it was time to go back to Kramer's for dinner, upon our entrance we were greeted with, "The Ladies are back!"  And had another great meal.

Our final day in Palau we spent doing the Rock Island Tour.  Basically, we spent all day on a boat, just the three of us and our awesome guide, Jefferson.  Going from snorkel site to snorkel site and getting a view of many of the 800+ rock islands that make up Palau.  We swam in the Milky Way, which is a cove that has a clay bottom (rather than sand).  It was quite the party as several other boats were already there.  We jumped into the water to gather some clay, which is said to have fountain of youth type qualities.  I was a ninny baby and didn't slather it all over like my fellow travelers did, they may have shed a few years, I only shed a few minutes :)

After the Milky Way, we went to a snorkel site and swam with three sea turtles.  It was pretty amazing.  Next we went to lunch, on our way we passed the beaches that were used during the filming of Survivor: Palau.  Jefferson told us to eat up and rest up because after lunch we were headed to Jellyfish Lake.
Another great lunch spot!

Shady spot on the beach

I wasn't sure why Jefferson told us we needed to rest up before Jellyfish Lake, but as soon as I stepped off the dock and saw the climb that was ahead of me, I figured it out.  Basically, we had to hike up a cliff (I may be exaggerating here, all I know it was really steep) through the jungle, avoiding wild chickens, while wearing dive booties and carrying snorkel gear- a good time for Princess Grace.  I thought, well at least once I'm up, I can get in the water and then just worry about getting down after my swim.  WRONG!!  We had to climb up, I guess basically to get on the island, and then down to get into the lake.  I was never so happy to see a calm body of jellyfish infested saltwater in my life.  I was pooped and didn't want to have to exert much energy after climbing Mt. Everest.  Then I looked at the lake and realized how large it was.  And I felt my legs and they were so, so tired.  And then Jefferson, my knight in shining armor showed up with a life jacket that I used like a raft and hopped on into that water and floated face down in a lake of jellyfish.  What?  In a lake full of jellyfish??  No worries, they don't sting.  Thanks to evolution, their need to sting has gone away.  When we first arrived, we had the lake pretty much to ourselves we floated out to the middle, noticing an occasional jelly here and there.

Some were big, some were small.  The further out we floated, the more jellies we encountered.  I would find myself completely surrounded and need to back out a little and then I would float back in.

It was mesmerizing and ethereal.  Somehow, although they pulsated with an electric vibe it was soothing.  Being in a lake, in the middle of an island, in the middle of an ocean surrounded by millions of harmless floating globs of goo, hearing sounds one could find on a nature cd was surreal and peaceful.  Until the Japanese tourists showed up, and I felt like I was back in Guam and was expecting to see Lam Lam buses pulled up outside (I forgot we had taken a boat to get there, but there were about 7 large boats docked when we got back to our boat). 

We made a few more snorkel stops that afternoon, one of which was Clam City,  a former giant clam farm.
This was one of the smaller clams that was left behind.

Once we were finished snorkeling, Jefferson took us through the islands.  We had seen this arch several times on our trip, this time he got really close so we could get some good pictures.

After the arch, Jefferson stepped on the gas and we cruised on back home.  As a parting gift, we got this...
A rainbow! Bidding us a fond farewell.

Of course, our trip wouldn't be complete without a final beer that turned into several final beers at Sam's and one appetizer that turned into two that turned into dinner.  We made it back to the hotel in time to hop into the pool for one last dip.  Our ONLY complaint about our trip was that the pool closed at 7.

I was sad when midnight arrived and we had to head to the airport (our plane left at some ridiculously late/early time think 2ish, I have blocked the exact time from memory).  I was ready to get back home to see Don and Price, but I knew I would miss Palau.

I knew when I left for Palau that I needed a break.  I needed to remember what it felt like to be Terrell, unencumbered for just a few days.  I know I don't have a miserable life and compared to so many, it's a pretty easy life.  But it's so nice to get away from all of the stresses in that life and pour something back into your soul.  I came back home feeling like I could be a better wife and mom.  I felt the same way I used to when visiting my little island off the coast of Alabama, and I needed that.  And, it reminded me how good God is in so many ways.  Unexpected ways...  Remember when I first got to Guam and I wanted to go to the Mom and Me exercise class and I just couldn't do it?  I was too scared and too lost and too busy crying in parking lots?  Well, you know that travel companion that I didn't know before I went to Palau, she actually teaches that class, and I've been going.  And it's been good for me and for Price.  Who would've thought I would have to travel so far to get somewhere so close?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Truly Magical Day

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel like you are being rewarded for something you did, but you don't know what you could have done to deserve such an incredible day?  Or in my case, a day where you are just reminded on a minute by minute basis how great and amazing God is and how perfect (even with all of our human imperfections) He made our world?  The second day of our trip was one of those days for me.  It was truly perfect and will go down in my history as one of my favorite days ever.

It started out pretty normal for a day in Palau.  We woke up early, sat out on the balcony reading magazines, headed over to Sam's, grabbed a bite to eat, got on the boat with about 8 other divers (when I say "other divers" I don't mean to give you the impression that I actually dove.  I didn't.  I don't.  I won't - too many rules. It's just shorter to type dive than snorkel, which is what I did- snorkel.  Everyone on the boat, except for me and one of the gals I went to Palau with, did dive. Deep. With tanks and computers and instructions and too much stuff for me to keep track of.  I like jumping in the water with a mask, fins and a snorkel.  I like being able to pop my head up out of the water whenever I want to.  And mostly, I like having the ability to summon the captain to get my ass out of the water at the first sight of sharks.  But I'll get to that in a minute).

Our boat with 8 divers, 2 snorkelers (of which I was one) 2 dive guides, a captain and a mate took off around 9.  They said we would have a calm ride, which was good because I hadn't been on a boat in a while, and although I have always had pretty good sea legs, the last time I went on a long boat ride in the middle of the ocean, I made plenty of fish food while hanging my green head over the side of the boat.  But true to their word, the water was like glass and our boat skimmed over the water, which was a constantly changing kaleidescope of blues and greens.  And so clear, you could see the coral formations below.  They took us to our first dive spot, Turtle Cove.  Our guide told us that we should just jump off the boat and go with the flow (it was a theme for the whole trip I tell ya), let the current pull us to the end of the wall.  He said we'd see lots of fish, that was an understatement.

At certain points of my snorkel adventure I felt like I was in a scene from Finding Nemo or Shark Tale.  There were so many fish riding in on the current due to the tide change, I just kept pointing because they kept coming.  Schools and schools of them.  All different types, so many different colors (the underwater pics in this post were taken by my fellow snorkeler, with her super cool snorkel mask cam, the pictures are great, but even they don't quite capture the magnitude of what we saw.

The guide also told us we should see a turtle or two. I was hoping with a name like Turtle Cove it wouldn't disappoint.  It didn't.  I figured, my whole trip had been made, swimming with a sea turtle.

He also mentioned we might see some sharks, I hoped not.  He was right, we saw this one first, my first official shark spotting...
A harmless nurse shark.  Had no clue we were even there, I liked it that way.

We continued to float along, in awe of the fish and the coral.  The sun streaming through the water changed the color of everything.  We saw more and more and fish.  The current started to pick up as we got to the end of the wall, so waved the boat over, hopped back aboard and they took us back to the start of our swim, let us jump back in and see it again.

By this point the current had really picked up, I was really thankful to be wearing my snorkel vest (aka life preserver). Even though I'm a pretty strong swimmer, I liked having the extra flotation just in case.  The only kicking we had to do was to slow us down.  It was amazing to me how even though we were floating over the same area we had just come from, it had changed.  There were new fish, we saw different corals.

And Nemo, a Clownfish, popped out of an anemone to say hi!

We even saw a reef shark. He was far away, far enough that I didn't feel like I was on the menu.

With the current, came all kinds of plankton and the water started to get murky, so we had the boat come get us and a few minutes later the divers surfaced.  And we headed off to lunch.  Our guide told us that since the tides were going out, the captain was taking us to a special place for lunch.  They took us to Now You See It, Now You Don't Island.    Basically, this island (large sandbar in the middle of the ocean) only appears at very low tide.  We were so blessed to be close by at low tide to get to have the experience to eat here.  They literally anchored the boat to the island (which got bigger and bigger while we were there).

And we got to have lunch in one of the most gorgeous, unique places in the world.  It existed only for us and only for a short time.  It was amazing and I felt like all the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.  I just had a turkey sandwich for lunch, but thanks to the view and the company (and being starving from all the ocean exploring I had just done), it was the best turkey sandwich I have ever eaten.

After our lunch break, we went to our next dive site, New Drop Off.  While the guide was going over all the instructions for the divers, they had to clip into the wall (yet another reason I am not meant to be a diver), I heard the following phrases, "don't stay on top, don't splash, sharks."  Since I'm not a diver and I only had "to go with the flow," and what he was telling them didn't pertain to me, I was only half listening to what he was telling them, and made his words into this, "don't splash on top of the water or the sharks will eat you."  But I figured, it probably wasn't dangerous since they were letting us in the water, surely there was nothing to worry about, we probably wouldn't see any sharks. Someone (knowledgeably) forgot to tell me that was the whole reason we were there.

So in my complete ignorance and still in a state of sunburned bliss from lunch, I jumped into the beautiful water.  We floated along for, what seemed like no more than 1 second, when I saw a black tipped fin.... reef shark.  Swimming quick and  to my eyes (that were wide as saucers) close by (cue the duh-da, duh-da)...

However, in retrospect compared to THE NEXT one we saw, that one was like a mile away.

Or maybe it was the same one, circling back to see if the large thing in a bright orange vest, splashing on top of the water would make a good meal.  My heart was thumping as my brain was trying to convince my fight or flight response to calm down because SURELY the shark would eat the fish that separated the two of us before coming after me.

And there was another one (and this picture may or may not have been edited just a little to make you really scared like I was to give you a sense of how close the sharks were to me.

At this point, I checked in with my snorkel buddy and we decided to go on just a little more. And we did, and then I saw this...
But there were more than the two we captured on film, and I decided I had had enough.  I was no longer enjoying my time in the water.  I felt like I was shark bait (the barracuda that came over to say hi weren't helping either).  I had a sense that with many sharks circling like that, they were surely having a conversation about how to round me up as a main course.  So, we gave our boat the thumbs up and they quickly came and pulled me out of the shark infested waters.  Because I spent good money on this trip am brave, I jumped right back in a few minutes later, this time with the rationalization (from my snorkel buddy) that the divers would be down there now and surely the sharks would eat them before us.  Once the divers surfaced, I was happy to find out that I was not exaggerating the number of sharks we saw, they counted at least 11. But I did hear the guide wrong, he said not to splash because the sharks are shy and will swim away... oh well, I guess I wasn't on the menu after all.

While the divers were getting back on the boat, we spotted a couple of dolphin jumping.  They started getting closer to the boat, so we all jumped back into the water in hopes of swimming with them. Our guide told us they'd rather play with the boat than with us, so we got back on the boat and suddenly we were surrounded.  Where ever you looked there was a pod of dolphins, literally hundreds of them.  There were two other boats nearby and the dolphins put on quite a show for all of us.  They were flipping out of the water and racing the boats.  Our wonderful captain did four passes with the dolphins escorting us through the water, we were all mesmerized- a boat full of adults and we were all standing and clapping and cheering them on.  It was such a simple thing, but it felt like they were experiencing joy and passing it on to us.  It was the perfect way to end such a wonderful day.
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