Sunday, May 31, 2009

This is what I did tonight

See the "Marry Me" in the sand?

I'm pretty sure they are happy.

Jenny and me and the boys prepping the site. 

We love you Nate and Melissa!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

The sacrifice of a life

A curious thing happened yesterday on Highway 1. We took a trip up to Big Sur with the Schuler sisters (more on that later), and around San Simeon we picked up a hitchhiker. This isn't normal for us- actually, none of us had ever done this before. We passed him walking along the highway, and we felt compelled to offer him a ride. He carried a large pack, and his small body looked tired as he struggled down the road. 

His name was Darrell, and he was a rancher from Montana. It didn't take him long to feel comfortable in the back seat next to the sisters, or perhaps his situation in life made it so that comfort necessary before opening up to strangers. He had come out from Montana for a visit to the coast, and he was making his way up to Eureka where his brother would take him to surgery. He had cancer, and was probably going to die soon.

He told of how he'd spent years in Vietnam and was on the ground when the US sprayed Agent Orange. The government said it was a harmless herbicide that would clear the plant life but leave people unharmed, and the soldiers believed it. They even bathed in the containers. Now, it had given him a tumor in his brain and a few more in his stomach. He spent years feeling helpless as he tried to get the government to take responsibility for what it had done, for stealing his life. He collected 6,000 signatures of soldiers and presented them to representatives in DC, and he saw the signatures thrown into the trash as he walked out the door. 

His entire life has been affected by his years as a soldier. He still has nightmares about what he saw, and did, in Vietnam. He didn't choose this life- he wasn't really given a choice. I wish I could say he taught me some beautiful lesson about how to feel hope and joy despite terrible life experiences, but that is not true. His spirit was beaten down and heavy. He smiled, but there was pain. 

I've never felt much emotion connected to Memorial Day. It is hard for me to comprehend the depth of a sacrifice of an entire life, entire lives...but his story made it easier. 

Darrell's daughter is 6 months pregnant, and we are praying that he lives to see the birth of his granddaughter.  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Felt up by an American Idol

All this talk about American Idol has me thinking about something that took place many years ago...
Senior year of high school, my choir took a trip to New York City. We saw a few shows on Broadway (Aida, Rent, The Producers), took a pedi-cab through Times Square, ate late-night pizza, sang with other schools at Carnegie Hall on Easter Sunday, and dropped shampoo-filled shower cap "bombs" on cabs below our hotel. We had fun as only high schoolers can.

One morning a group of us got up really early and headed down to the Today Show. We made a few signs, and stood outside waiting for our media coverage. I asked Al, "Call I shake your hand on air?" He said, "No, but you can shake it right now." Anne called me beautiful (I'm not sure why, except that perhaps she's just that sweet- or insincere- and says it to everyone). Katie shook our hands without saying much, and our attempts at getting Matt to come over and talk were answered with a look that says, "You guys.... I love you but I'm busy here." 

The guest performer was Kimberly Caldwell, one of the top contestants on American Idol season 2. She looked beautiful as she walked around giving autographs to all of her fans. I asked for a picture, and she said, "Sure!" She leaned in, one arm around my shoulder and the other...uh, where should it go...on my boob! Immediately after placing her hand directly on my boob she looked down and gasped in shock. She moved her hand in time for the photo, but the moment was captured on her face for all time. 

Things I'll miss about SLO #2

Hiking Bishop's Peak. I'll miss the little cows who sometimes appear on the hill, and the mountain lions who might or might not live nearby, and the view you get from the top. On a clear day you can see the ocean. On a foggy day you can see God's breath.  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Please explain

Seriously, this is a birthday card my work sent to someone. What does it mean?! "The blessing of the Lord be upon you"... so you aren't destroyed by a gang of over-sized-robo-ducks during this next year of your life? Is that the message? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Things I'll miss about SLO #1

Having our pictures taken by our great friends, the Manueles. Together we would traipse through fields and sneak around abandoned buildings and play with old cars all in the name of "practicing new techniques." I've never felt so glamorous. 

Oh, and I'll also miss those late-night games of Catan (that would be Settlers of Catan if you're not a nerd). Jen and Brandon, remember when David used the monopoly card and none of us had the resource he wanted? I'm glad we shared that moment. 

Sunday, May 17, 2009

It's hot...

And I wish I were here. Oh, to be young and free and have a pool. Only 17 more days of work, and then freedom from that artificial environment called "office." The little girl in me can't wait!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The beard

(The beard isn't in its full glory here, but you get the idea.)

So David loves this beard he's been growing. I, on the other hand, do not. It's not the idea of the beard that I don't like, it's the length. It's an inch long! You can see light through it! I've been asking him to trim it for about a month now, and he just giggles, full of pride for his creation. 

Today he finally went in to the salon (apparently his beard deserves Aveda treatment), and on the way he passed a girl who said, "Hey there gorgeous!" He felt flattered and excited that someone finally appreciated his beard. As he told me the story, he added, "She wasn't bad either." I was shocked at her boldness! And a little proud of my husband, impressing the ladies.

Not 10 minutes later, as he walked back the other way, he saw a sign in Sephora that said, "Hey there gorgeous." The girl had read the sign out loud to her friend right as David passed. I laughed so hard. 

But who knows, maybe the girl stole the phrase from the sign but was motivated to say it by David's rockin' beard. A boy can dream, right?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pinocchio and me

The other day we watched Pinocchio, a sweet gift from my mother-in-law. I was a little distracted by the Blue Fairy (me: "Do I look like her? I want to look like her." David: "No.") and the realization that the movie is not far from propaganda for kids ("I'm collecting stupid little boys... You know, the disobedient ones who play hooky from school."). Still, I couldn't help but love moments like Pinocchio's dancing and Geppetto calling his fish "my little water baby." 

I was struck by the words the fairy used to bring Pinocchio to life: "Little puppet made of pine, awake! The gift of life is thine." I, too, have been given the incredible gift of life, both now and to come. Thank God my gift does not depend on me being an obedient girl (who doesn't play hooky from school), because I would have failed a long time ago....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mama's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all the lovely mamas out there. Especially mine. She raised 2 babies at once, with 3 teenagers already at home. And let me tell you, 2 babies is hard (or so I hear). Especially when one's a crier, whiner, and trouble-maker. I'll let you guess who from the picture.

When I was little I'd tell her, "I love you more than you could ever hope to imagine." I think I still do.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Egrets in the water

Yesterday, at the beach, I saw an egret wading in the water. It was standing with a heron, as though they were scheming up a way to capture little creatures together. I had never seen an egret in the ocean, and the surprise of it made me smile. 

My life has felt so cluttered lately. A few of our nights are taken up with the youth, and the others somehow get filled up too. It's not that we waste time- most of the time is spent with dear friends- it's just that we don't put enough value on down time. I need more down time. I need more time to reflect and realize the importance and beauty of the other moments. More time to notice the unexpected gifts. More time to wonder at the egrets in the water. 

"It is only in time and space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant- and therefore beautiful. A tree {egret?} has significance if one sees it against the empty face of sky. A note in music gains significance from the silences on either side. A candle flowers in the space of night.... There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand and find myself. Too many activities, and people, and things. Too many worthy activities, valuable things and interesting people. For it is not merely the trivial which clutters our lives but the important as well. We can have a surfeit of treasures- an excess of shells, where one or two would be significant." 
Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Oh, and one more thing...

By racing for Lifewater we raised $500 for people without access to safe water and sanitation. That's enough to provide 14 people with safe water for life. Woo hoo! Thank you thank you thank you to all who donated. I know who you are and my heart is big with thanks.

One billion people don't have safe water to drink, and 2.5 billion don't have a place to go to the bathroom. These are their faces.

(Photos by me on a Lifewater trip to Lao PDR.)

It's not too late to donate:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We went up a rung on the cool ladder

We are officially triathletes. You heard me. Nevermind that we did the short course while others did things with "Ironman" and "Olympic" in the titles. We have number markings on our legs to prove that we are now "elite" athletes. 

Clearly, I use that term loosely. Who knew that so many moms could kick my booty on a bike? Seriously, I couldn't believe how many middle-aged-mom-types put me to shame on the hills. It turns out that riding my bike to work twice wasn't an adequate training program. David's bike broke on mile 2 of the ride, and he had to finish in just one gear. Nevertheless, he beat my bike time by almost 10 minutes. My excuse? I just don't have mom quads.

We finished with smiles on our faces! That's the goal, right?

(Notice the guy in the orange hat. He and David shared a moment when they realized that they looked alike- tall, blond beards, no wet suits. He looked at David and said, "Brother?")

(Woop woop! Me and intern Brooke. We started and finished together without even planning it. Precious!)

(Yes, that is "Team Lifewater" written across his chest. The jerseys were too small for that hot bod.)

A .25 mile swim, 9.7 mile bike ride, and 2 mile run later. Looking fresh!

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm tired

This weekend we camped with these 3 people here.

"3?" you ask. Yes, 3. There's a little tiny baby in Sada's little tummy! Baby participated in her/his first triathlon this weekend. Baby likes camping and triathlons. Baby's about the size of a peach. I love baby already.

This is where we were. More photos to come.