Sunday, July 26, 2009

Weekend Away...

This weekend was the DH's company picnic. His generous company pays for everyone to travel to Portland and puts everyone up in a hotel for one night. So, Saturday morning, we headed South to Portland. It took us just over three hours to get there and traffic wasn't too bad. We went to the picnic where we enjoyed the heat, had very good food, played some games, and enjoyed a lot of good company. We had a really nice time, but finally gave up when we were just too hot. At that point, we went and checked into the hotel and had a rest in the air-conditioned room.

That evening, we went with the Stahl's to shop at Powell's Books and then out to dinner. We had a great time at Powell's and didn't quite break the bank. The DH and I both found a couple of books we wanted. Annzy called at the most opportune time and even she got a book in the process. it was actually kind of funny. She wanted a cookbook that she didn't know the name of. She gave me a brief description that I gave to one of the people there, who quickly handed me the exact book she wanted. I love a bookstore where the people working there actually know the books.

We then went to dinner at Clyde Common, recommended by one of our Mathlete friends. It was a really great choice and all four of us were very happy with all the food we had. My only regret was that we were too full for dessert. I guess that's not exactly a problem though.

We got up and had to get breakfast before heading out of town, so we went to get the best breakfast around at Mother's Bistro. Fortunately, we beat the rush and were able to enjoy fantastic food again.

Of course, it's good to be home again, but we had a great time on our mini-excursion.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Anniversary of My First Memory

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. The lunar landing was televised on our black and white TV, and watching that report is the earliest memory I have. I would have just turned 3. My older brother loved all things scientific, so it's no surprise that my memory is of sitting on the floor a foot rom the TV, next to him. We were in the L-shaped family room with linoleum tile on the floor, long before walls were built to add another room and wall-to-wall carpet was installed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beauty is Not Optional

Beauty is not optional, but it is often crowded out by the day-to-day activities that make up our lives. We are pressed by things that are important in the moment, but not of import. Getting to work on time is important in the moment. Noticing beauty in our lives is of import.

If we are not deliberate in our lives, we may miss out on much of the beauty that could come our way. Beauty comes to us in many ways if we are aware — a smile, an article, watching the evening sun go down and noticing the firey red clouds, the touch of a good friend — these moments of beauty are all around us if we are not distracted by other things.

The following poem expresses this thought beautifully...

If I had time to find a place
And sit me down full face to face
With my better self, that cannot show
In my daily life that rushes so:
It might be then I would see my soul
Was stumbling still toward the shining goal;
I might be nerved by the thought sublime —
If I had the time!
-Richard Burton

Muslih-uddin Sadi, a sheik who lived more than 720 years ago, wrote the following verse entitled Gulistan

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And from thy slender store two
loaves alone to thee are left
Sell one and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed the soul.

That which is beautiful truly does feed our souls.

Terry Tempest Williams, a noted Utah author, was in New York City to see the editor of the New Yorker Magazine. To help break the ice, she had purchased some flowers for the editor. It was very cold as she walked down 43rd Street and caught sight of a woman who was sitting on the subway grate wrapped in a blanket with only her eyes showing and those eyes were focused on the flowers. Terry didn't give the flowers to the woman because that would be patronizing, but in the next block, she found a flower shop and went in and bought some big yellow mums and went back to the woman. As she handed the mums to her, the woman said: "I am eating, but nobody gives me food for my soul – beauty is not optional."

Given this, I was fascinated with the social experiment put on by the Washington Post in April 2007. You can read about it in the article Pearls Before Breakfast. It's a fairly long read, but well worth the time.

And watch the video from YouTube below:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Holiday Weekend

Last weekend, the DH and I took a much needed vacation. It was my birthday, so I told the DH that I really wanted to visit Granny (my paternal grandmother) for my birthday. She lives in Idaho Falls, ID, so it took some planning, but we got to have a great visit with her.

We started our vacation by flying to Boise. I got to visit with my old friend Rochelle (who I've known since 4th grade) and then we had dinner with my friend Andrea (who I've known since I was 2) and her husband. After dinner, we played games with Andrea, Ben, and my parents. It was a wonderful way to spend a day.

On Saturday, we celebrated my birthday by eating cake and ice cream for breakfast. I did some sewing and then we went to Five Guys for hamburgers (YUM-O!) for lunch and headed out to the freeway to go to Idaho Falls. We got there around 6:00 and went to cousin Aaron's house for a nice BBQ dinner with almost all the Turner clan. It was great to catch up with Aunt Beth and Uncle Bob and see what all the boys and their significant others are up to. After dinner, we went to Granny's place and visited for a couple hours before heading back to Aaron's for a few fireworks and a good night's sleep.

On Sunday, Aaron made Abelskivers for breakfast before we went back to visit with Granny again. It was such a delight to talk to Granny, hear her stories, and enjoy her great attitude. I don't know many people who just turned 93 who are so pleasant to be around. I'm very thankful for such a wonderful example in Granny. After that short visit, we headed back out of town, but on the highway instead of the freeway. Our next stop was Craters of the Moon National Monument. The DH had heard about it and really wanted to go. The nicest surprise about the trip was how green and lush everything was and we loved seeing all the wild flowers. It's been an unusually wet spring in Idaho, so the flowers are in bloom much later than usual. We explored the lava flows, cones, and tubes and met a lot of nice people along the way. If you're ever planning to drive to Yellowstone or Teton National Park, it's definitely worth the detour to see Craters of the Moon. From there, we headed to Sun Valley where we checked out the town and spent the night.

On Monday, we drove up through Galena Summit where we saw a spectacular view of the Sawtooth mountains. It really was an amazing view. From there, we went to Redfish Lake and took a turn about the lake and tried out the fishing. The fish weren't biting, but I didn't care. It was so lovely and peaceful that I enjoyed myself entirely without caring about the fish. From there, we headed through Stanley and Lowman and then over through Garden Valley to Hwy 55 and back to Boise. We had a great visit with my brother and sister and their kids and then went to bed tired. It had been a great drive around the southern part of the state.

On Tuesday, I finished up my sewing and we had lunch with the whole family before heading back to Seattle. I was reminded why I miss Idaho and the DH was introduced to new landscapes that he really enjoyed as well. On our last day in Boise, we started planning our next road trip. We think the next one might be in southern Utah. We'll see!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Feeling Independent

I love Independence Day! I'm sure you just assume it's because it's my birthday, but there's more to it than that. I'd actually be fine if my birthday were any other day, though it's kind of funny when people find out my birthday is on the 4th and wonder what my parents were thinking when they named me.

I love small town parades. We went to Malad, ID at least once when I was young and I had such a great time at their parade. They really went all out. It was cool to see what seemed to be ancient men in the bed of a truck proudly waving VFW flags. Those men were proud and you could see it. Provo, UT also has a great 4th of July parade. The kids end up with handfulls of candy by the end and there's a great sense of community along that parade route.

I love seeing the flag flown. When I lived in Boise, a scout troupe in my neighborhood put flags in the yards of anyone who signed up on all the flag-flying holidays. There were a lot of them and made me feel great to see them all. I miss that in the neighborhood I live in now. I don't see quite as many flags as I'd like, even on the 4th.

As a kid, I thought it was great that we lit fireworks almost all day (it seemed!), then ate rootbeer floats and stood out on the deck to watch the city fireworks. It was fun to walk over to the bench and chat with friends while watching them from there, too.

That sense of belonging to a community that loves this country we live in is pretty great. I'm looking forward to a(n extended) family BBQ and family and city fireworks this 4th of July. I think I'll feel great!

This is one of my favorite renditions of the National Anthem. Jennifer Hudson rocks it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Loving My Country

Last weekend, the DH and I spent time in NE Oregon enjoying a lot of the landscape. This weekend, we'll be heading to Idaho to tour a portion of the Southern part of the state. It's my home and I have a certain longing for that landscape. I'm looking forward to sharing that land that I love with my DH.

I've also been thinking lately how much I love my country. We forget so often how very blessed we are and what a great land of opportunity we live in. Even the worst off among us are better off than many in war-torn or third-world countries.

I can't get through the national anthem without tearing up. I loved seeing the original Old Faithful being restored at the Smithsonian when I was there last. I may even be a bit of a sap when it comes to thinking about the ideal of America, even knowing it's only an ideal and that for many it is far from their reality. I truly love this land of mine.