Posts Tagged 'birthday'

Scuba Diving Class 2 – Two Open Water Dives

This is Part 2 in a Series. Read Part 1 HERE.

Did I mention how terrified I am to scuba dive? No? Well, rest assured that I told my instructor. And Zach. And Kate, the other student diving with us. Here I am, yesterday morning, having problem after problem with pool gear. Mask too tight, respirator too difficult to breathe through, can’t get properly weighted. Bleh. Still. Not giving up yet.

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Then we spent time calculating nitrogen concentration in one’s body, safe dive times, etc. I liked this because it was math-y, and also showed that dive sickness is avoidable, and not just a matter of chance circumstance. We got onto the boat for a 40 minute ride out to Sand Key, part of the coral barrier reef 7 miles from Key West. I cannot imagine a prettier day on the water. Calm and glassy and teal.

The crew had the tanks all lined up.

1-tanks

We squeezed into wetsuits and hoods. This is Zach making his “THIS IS AWESOME” face.

1-pre dive zach wetsuit

This was the view off the side of the boat. Those greeny patches? They’re corals 20 feet below.

1-pre dive water view

My nerves kicked in while strapping up. I actually had to put on a ton of gear and then just JUMP off the side of the boat. It took a full 2 minutes of hyperventilation on the “gangplank”, and ultimately I asked Rick, the first mate, to push me off. Once in, I had a bit of a panic, until Zach saw a loggerhead sea turtle 20 feet away on the surface, and I realized that I needed to get under that water. Here’s a bit of bubbly surface panic, but check out those fish! They kept coming close, giving me curious side-eyed looks:

2 surface panic 2

I clutched the rope, all the way down to 5 feet, adjusting and readjusting my mask, my respirator, and finding all my gauges. I hovered there with Duane, the instructor, while Zach sort of paddled around nearby, getting his bearings. I realized I needed to cry, and then prompltly discovered that there is no crying in scuba diving. I surfaced, jittery, breathed a bit (but didn’t cry!), then went back down. Slowly, slowly descending to 16 ft, whimpering and grasping at my teacher’s jacket, bug-eyed with terror.

2-dive bug eyed terror

Duane had a tablet for communicating, so he wrote encouraging things like “slow down, you’re doing fine” and “no drills yet, this is the fun part”:

3 dive notes

It took me ages to relax and let go of that rope, and then I was only willing to swim in circles around it. Finally, I calmed down and we set off to see all sorts of fishies and corals.

3 blue fish

Zach gave me the camera, which was soothing, and took my mind off basic breathing. Time was almost up, so we went to the back of the boat and rested with our knees on the sandy bottom. Zach did his drills, taking out his respirator, getting it back in, and clearing the water from his mask:

2 respirator

We surfaced and I said something I never thought I’d say “I didn’t want to come back up.” We climbed aboard the Sea Eagle and the crew switched up our gear for fresh tanks.

kate 7

Then we cruised to our next spot. I noticed that my hands were really itchy and tingly. Duane said this was from hydra stings and fire corals that grow on the ropes. A good lesson…I won’t be clutching the rope next time. The second plunge was much easier, though I still asked Rick for a tiny push; it’s psychologically pretty difficult to jump in with that much gear on. It just seems impossible that you’re going to float.

On this dive I got comfortable faster, and did my own drills of taking out my respirator, tossing it behind me, relocating it, and putting it back it. Then we just cruised and swam and took pictures of pretty things. Our coral reef is gorgeous.

2 reef

I didn’t think I could do it, truly. Zach says he knew I was capable, despite all my worries, because he’s seen me work through all kinds of fears.

3 feeling groovy

A brave new adventure! Two more dives next week, then I’ll be a card-carrying, PADI-certified open water diver. This time, I can’t wait to go back under. Zach was glad to send his 20s off with a bang. Happy 30th birthday today, mister!

4 after diving

Scuba Diving Class 1 – Pool Time

This Friday is Zach’s 30th birthday, and in a few weeks, my 38th. So we decided to get scuba certified, something we’ve been talking about for at least a year. Let me just be clear that I am scared to death of scuba diving.

Yesterday morning, Zach had to take off his mustache.

shaving to scuba

Then we biked over to the Captain’s Corner dive center, and found this behind a white picket fence:

scuba path

We waited patiently for our instructor to arrive:

waiting to scuba sara

waiting to scuba zach

After paperwork and intros, we watched videos and reviewed text for a few hours. We took a stretch break and popped over to a new Italian coffee shop that is open until 10 ish at night. Newly established, it’s the only late-night coffee shop in town! The delicious latte helped us power through the rest of lessons.

Then, it was time to squeeze into wetsuits and gear up for a pool dive.

zach squeezing into scuba wetsuit

Turns out that one wetsuit wasn’t warm enough for either of us, so we both put on a balaclava-looking layer.

For the first 10 minutes, I struggled against having my mask flood with water whenever I took out my respirator and put it back in. Duane, our instructor, got me a smaller mask and I was OK.

sara scuba ok

Then, I struggled trying to sink to the bottom, so Duane added more weights. Here’s a video taken about 45 minutes later, after I stopped panicking and finally caught on:

Zach went diving for the first time last year in Israel, and he was a natural.

zach in the scuba pool

But needed Duane’s help getting out of the heavy gear!

heavy tank zach

A friend had the Boogedy for the afternoon, so after dive class we took ourselves to Santiago’s Bodega, one of my favorite restaurants in town.

Happy Birthday to us!

santiagos after scuba

I went home and the real panic attacks started during the huge lighting/thunderstorm we had last night. I kept imagining all the horrible things that could go wrong! I’m not giving up yet, though, because I haven’t even seen any good stuff. The bottom of a pool isn’t exactly thrilling, but I’m sure seeing dolphins, sharks, fish, and coral will be!

Dive Class 2 happens tomorrow. First pool time, then books, then our first open-water dive. I’m not so sure about this yet….

Birthday Dishes and Linens

My birthday was last weekend and I invited some friends over for a grownup dinner party. Really, I wanted the excuse to show off the dishes I bought and the napkins I made to go with them.

Miss P brought citronella candles and I set out the bug spray and I didn’t even get bitten (a nice b-day gift of itself). I made pototo lima bean soup and whole wheat rolls. C&D brought a quiche and P&T brought grilled veggies. Everything was so good, and I counted myself really lucky to have such great friends!

I made the birthday cake, just my usual chocolate cake from a mix, but I used some cake-decorating resources to frost it nicely (turquoise with white polka dots). It was my 36th birthday, and I didn’t have enough candles, so I made an 8-bit binary code. I also served soan papdi, a box of which I have been saving since my trip to Salt Lake. Soan Papdi is so sweet that you have to wash it down with birthday cake.

I had spent the week leading up to my birthday sewing napkins. It was surprising how many turquoise/orange/red fabrics I had, and I bought some others at the shop on my street corner (yes, I live practically next door to a quilt shop!).

Plus my old napkin rings went fabulously:

In uploading these photos, I was reminded of another dinner party almost exactly two years ago, where I also showed off new dishes, and where I OUTDID myself on food. See Indian Feast.

 

 

Birthday Number 3

Some pictures from a little party for the Boogedy’s Big 3.

Birthday waffles:

Egg Spinner, a ridiculous invention (so Fall-of-Rome) that I just had to get because it’s up my kid’s alley! It’s like a salad spinner, but you put a boiled egg and some sticky food coloring in there and it comes out tie-dyed. The Boogedy insisted that everyone help on the last egg.

The pre-party tantrum about why HE should be able to take the pictures:

Snakes and Frogs Birthday

The Boogedy’s 2nd birthday was actually in February, but the house was in shambles under construction, so we opted to wait and hold the party once the house was decent again. It was part birthday, part grand re-opening of the house party. The theme was snakes and frogs, inspired by this great hat I made for the Boogedy and a cute froggy invitation we sent to everyone.

Here is the awesome coral snake I made using two chocolate bundt cakes and cream cheese frosting. This was ideal for our family, most of whom do not care much for frosting. The dark sections are unfrosted. This snake is enjoying his frog dinner.

bday-coral-cake-small

We played a great balloon stomping game where everyone tied a small balloon to their ankle and took off their shoes. Then, they tried to pop everyone else’s balloon while keeping their own balloon safe. The last person to remain unpopped is the winner. This was really fun, but the little kids in attendance were a bit overwhelmed.

bday-stomp-small

Then, we played pin the fly on the frog, using a frog face modeled on the invitation we’d sent out and using hand-drawn flies.

bday-fly-game-small

flies-small1

We had visited the wine store the day before and picked out wines based on their labels (the wine specialists on-site do not approve of picking wine by our criteria). Here were some of the possibilities:

bday-wine-1-smallbday-wine-2-small

bday-wine-3-smallbday-wine-4-small

We couldn’t find any with snakes on the label! Lots of bicycles and kangaroos. Lots of estates and abstract color blocks. Lots of hoofed animals. But no snakes. So we went with the Nathanson Creek because they had white and red wines for a good price.

We put out some decorations:

bday-king-snake-smallbday-green-snake-smallbday-frogs-small

And I made a baked potato bar with lots and lots of toppings. About halfway through the evening, Zach lit a bonfire in the backyard firepit and sent someone to the store for s’mores fixins. The weather was just right for sitting outside at night, just nippy enough to appreciate a fire.

It was the nicest (and biggest) party we’ve ever held, and the Boogedy received so many adorable presents. Thanks everybody!!

Happy Birthday Snake Boy!

Last year I made a crazy chicken butt hat for my sweet Boogedy when he turned 1. I knew it would be hard to top. I tossed designs around in my head all year. Zach came up with this idea and it was up to me to research snake markings and design this gluttonous creature. He may be deadly, but perhaps he bit off more than he could swallow!

bday-snake-hat-small

What you can’t see in this picture is that the hat tapers to a long, skinny snake body that hangs down off the top of the hat to the Boogedy’s neck. I’ll try to get that shot uploaded soon.

To tell if this is a poisonous Coral Snake or the look-alike King Snake, you can use this handy rhyme: Red next to yellow, you’re a dead fellow. Red next to black, You’re OK, Jack!

Happy 2nd birthday Boogedy!!

two-years-old-small1

Happy Birthday Chicken Boys!

Same hat, different cakeMy son (on the right) and his cousin were born 5 days apart. I made each of them an Elf Hat for their tiny little newborn heads. Now they are celebrating their first birthday, and again I made them matching hats. We have to make them wear these things while they’re young and can’t say “no” or “hell no” or “mom, no way, I’ll look like a dork!!”

My hats were inspired by this pattern, though my decreases at the top are different (for that distinctive “chicken butt” shape). I crocheted the drumsticks because that was so much easier than knitting. The hats are some inexpensive cotton from JoAnns, because that’s the yarn I could find in this lovely “plucked poultry carcass” colorway.

Chicken Butt Hat DetailChicken Butt Hat

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