Saturday, May 31, 2008

More pics from Canada

Just wanted to post more pics from my trip. . .

Elyssia and her fishing rod! Cast away!!!
Garrison following his sister. Maybe he can catch her.
Oops, looks like he caught his dinner instead.

Dad steps in to help them with their casting skills.

Just wanted to pose with her bike helmet.

Me in the guest house;)

Elyssia and "Auntie" Carolyn

Garrison's trying to figure out his sister. . .

Caleb gets some time in the sun too.

I get to feed the baby

I just like this picture of me

Friday, May 30, 2008

And the winning word is. . .

I am a big fan of words. In Jr. High I was on the spelling team, I had no particular dream of getting to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but as far as competitions go this is one of my faves to watch. I was really rooting for this girl from CA. It was her 5th time at the competition and the last year that she was eligable to compete. Alas though she came in 3rd, which is not bad at all considering she beat out 285 other kids to get there, and that there were 11 million throughout the US total vying for the title.

The winner was Sameer, a 13 yr old boy. The winning word was an appropriate one:

Guerdon: something that one has earned or gained, a reward or recompense for ones actions.

Sameer was defintely rewarded for his hard work and study tonight, earning the respect of thousands around the world that care about words and how they are used.

This is also the first word of the 30 that I want to learn on my list. It's item number 12 on it by the way.

My Trip to Canada

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to go up to Canada and visit my good friend, and soul sister, Meleah. Six years ago I moved to WA from Sicily, when the Navy so graciously transferred me, and Meleah fast became one of my closest friends. Alas our close proximity to eachother was not to last, for while I was on depolyment the Lord blessed her with the opportunity to get engaged and then married a few months later, after I returned, to her husband, who is Canadian (which is why I had to go up there to visit her). In any case the trip was well worth it.

There have not been many moments for her and I in the past few years for us to hang out the way we did last weekend. Much to my shagrin it had been 4 years since I had been up there last, she had just found out she was pregnant with her daughter, and I was due to go up about 2 years ago, but circumstances didn't work out in out favor for that trip. So hear I was finally, after another two years, driving up HWY 90 to go see one of my favorite people and her family.

Making time going across to Spokane was fabulous. First, there was no traffic going through Seattle, which is basically unheard of (and on a long weekend), even for the morning commuters none of the regular bottleneck places had any traffic. Secondly, because I can't eat fast food there was no reason for me to stop for food. I did stop for gas, but that was it. So getting there only took me about 5 1/2 hours. At 9:45 I was texting Kali to let her know that I had made it to Spokane. It was there that I chose to take a rest, and stopped in Sears to see what they had.

Let me just say that we here on the island get totally ripped off with the Sears we have to go to in Burlington. The one in Spokane is huge, and normally I can't find very much for me there, but in this one it was all about what I had to put back due to time and lack of funds. So I got a couple skirts, a shirt, and some super cute pumps!

I finally got to across the Canadian border around 2 or 3 and her house was about 10 - 20 min away from it, YAY almost there! I was pretty tired when I arrived so there wasn't much for conversation where I was concerned, but when we did start talking it was good. We had a good heart to heart that lasted until almost midnight. We shared many laughs and thoughts like we hadn't been able to do in a long time. The technology in todays era is great and it's nice to be able to have so much communication open to us, such that has never been before, but there is no substitute for a good old fashioned face to face conversation. She's really always been one of those people that I could say anything to and know that she wouldn't place a judgement on me for them. And her husband is just the same. Those two were totally made for each other.

Anyway, her children are just as much fun, and a prime example of what can be achieved when people should not use baby talk as the primary form of communication. Children are completely capable of understandling normal speech, and performing tasks (within their abilities), at a young age. Not to mention that baby talk affects the way that the child hears words and ultimately how their speech will be affected in the same way. Children risk forming lisps and other uncomfortable communication skills that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Sufficeit to say talking in baby talk to a child, especially the older they get, is not fair to them for their development.

Elyssia is quite the communicator and she was more than happy to lend me her bed to stay in while I was there
, as she has now graduated up into her "big girl" bed. However, it was a a bit to short for me so I thought that the pullout would be more comfortable. I got lots of hugs and "I love yous". It was really sweet. As son as I wlked through the door I was accosted with books to read. Which was ironic considering that's what I used to do to my parents friends all the time. It didn't bother me though, after all turn about is fair play.

She and her brother, Garrison, also got toy fishing rods and that was the highlight of the weekend for them. Everytime we turned around they were asking to go outside and play with them, which was great until they would inevidably get caught in something, usually each others lines.

Daddy to the rescue!!! Scott tries to get the knot out.

Garrison is such a little boy too. Always into something and completely enjoys antagonizing his sister. It was pretty funny. He's not one talking to much, unlike his sister, but when he does speak it's always understood. I also got to meet the new little guy, Caleb. It's hard to believe that he's two month old already! While he slept a good portion of the time, he seemed to be pretty comfortable with me and more than one he fell asleep while I was walking around with him. Which as anyone knows is truly a precious moment.

We got to go to a parade, I think it was in Fruitvale (which will count as one of my 30 new places to go to) for their celebration of May days, and Meleah took me to this neat little thrift/antique shop down the road from her house. She took me out for a belated birthday desert. It was OK, but I've have better pecan pie. Pie you ask? I thought you couldn't have pie, but I just ate the filling. In any case Scott was a good guy for taking the kids while Meleah and I went out.

The weeked went by so fast that before I knew it my time was up and it was time to leave. I was glad that I got to go, and I'll definitely make it a point to get in more time to see them in the future months. This is probably a good way to sum up my trip:

Hours in the car: 16
Miles Traveled: 375
Gas money spent: $106.59
The time spent with friends: Priceless

It was a great visit over all and I enjoyed all of it. However, being single some would think that I'd look forward to getting back to my own place and leaving behind the noise of 3 children under 3 years of age, but I have to say that though it's always nice to have a place to retreat to, it's quiet and I miss the simple conversation of a three year old and the jokes and banter that only a family can offer. Oh well, one day that will be mine too.

Below are the picture we took on Sunday afternoon before the evening service. Enjoy!!!



Meleah gets in on the fishing fun

And look she caught a tree!

I'll post more pics later right now the layout is getting a littl long and doesn't want to cooperate with me.

3 posts in 1 day!!!

Yeah this is my third post today. I know I've been absent for a while, school has kept me very busy. But today I left work early because I was no feeling well. I was feeling pretty aweful actually. There's been a horrible 24 hour thing going around. Normally I'm really healthy and hardly ever get sick, but today was not one of those days. I hope to feel better tomorrow though since the SPG's are meeting up together over at the Giests. We'll most likely be finalizing the details for our trip to St. Louis this year and then there's always the fun of fellowship that follows. Stay tuned though because I have my Canada trip to blog about. I had a good time! There's nothing like spending a weekend with those friends that know you best.

#18 on my list, Put together 30 new Sunday school lessons (#3)

Lesson #3

Topic: Observing the commands of Jesus

Scriptures: Acts 10:1-29; 34-35; 48

Synopsis: This is the story of Cornelius and Peter, and when the Lord tells Peter that all "things" made by him are clean, picturing the opening up of the Gospel to the Gentiles. At this time in history Jews and Gentiles did not mix with eachother, for they were considered "unclean", it was just not something that happened. But the Lord sent Peter a vision and message commanding him to kill one of the animals that He had previously said were not lawful for the Jews to eat. This included pork, fish with scales, and other animals. Peter wouldn't do it at first, but it wasn't unitl some visitors, that Cornelius had sent, arrived that Peter understood what the Lord was trying to show him.

What the Lord revealed to me: Peter didn't want to associate with Gentiles, but he had to in order to bring the Gospel to them, for the Salvation of Jesus Christ is open to enerybody. Sometimes there are people that I don't want to approach either. Sometimes it's simply based on the way they look (whether wealthy or not). Sometimes it's just because I get nervous about their reaction. But it's not for me to decide who needs to hear the gospel, it's only my job to tell those who may not know about Jesus. You can't tell by the way someone looks what is going on inside their heart or their lives, and they may truly be searching for spiritual answers, like Cornelius was. What I learned was that appearances are not everything and to break down those prejudices so I can try and tell more people about the salvation the Jesus offers.

#19 on my list, Read 15 new books (#2)

Tapas is the Spanish word for appetizers. Originally, according to legend, King Alfonso "The Wise" ordered all restaurants to serve appetizers, in between drinks, after he himself was "cured" by such a treatment after being ill. However, the likelihood of this scenario might actually be more legend than fact, hyped up over centuries of alcoholics indulging in appetizers so they can drink more. Regardless of that fact, this second installment of my reading list was made on behalf of practicality, not necessarily because it's something I would have normally picked out.

About a month ago my Spanish teacher gave my class a project to read a book that was influenced by some aspect of Spanish culture, and when we reported on it we had to write the report in Spanish. I wasn't quite sure what kind of book I wanted read, but I always like a good biography and and I'd never read one that had the element of travel to it so I thought that this would be a good book for me.

The premise of the book is that Polly Evans, who was working in Hong Kong as a magazine editor, got fed up with her life at and where it was going at that particular point and time, and in a effort to move beyond her regular scope of life and change the direction it was going in she decided to buy a bike and bike across Spain.

Polly's book also weaves the rich Spanish culture into her book by treating the reader to mini history lessons, that you can almost picture her thinking these thoughts as she's biking across the mountains of Andelusia. She informs the readers of the religious background of the country, how most every social group (including the King and Queen for a time) was persecuted for their beliefs. Polly also offers up humorous anecdotes that she experienced along her trip, the experiences of being chased by wild pigs and the odd cast of characters that come into her life on her trip. From Nazi taxi drivers at the airport to spinster hostel owners each one helps to add color to the trip that really helped her to arrive at a peaceful place, amid the frantic nature that plagued her mind at the beginning of the book.

The story brings to light the thought that we really are capable of doing things and pushing ourselves farther than we may have thought, even if our intentions at the beginning of our endeavour may be purely selfish. Polly began her trip simply wanting to get away from the chaos and trappings of the city. She left China wanting to discover a new world and culture and in the process dicovered a little of herself along the way.

Other Books by Polly Evans
Fried Eggs with Chopsticks
Kiwis Might Fly: Around New Zealand on Two Big Wheels
On a Hoof and a Prayer: Around Argentina at a Gallop
Mad Dogs and an English Woman

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hello to my readers:)

OK, I'm so stoked that my readership is expanding. Today I was checking my map, to see where people were reading my blog from, and WOW!!! Even if it's only once, it's neat to see that people from all places are reading, or have read, it. So let me say hello to all of you out there, including the 2 new dots I see, one in Alaska and the other one in Europe.

Please stay tuned to see what's going on. I'll have some more of my goals to post soon, I'm just super busy with the finishing of the quarter for school. I can't wait to be done with the spring quarter already. I'm just burnt out from the Math Lab and Spanish already. A year in a half of teaching myself everything from Algebra to Logarithms, and 3 quarters of learning a new language has run me ragged. Don't get me wrong I love to learn new languages, in the past I used to speak Italian from when I was stationed there, plus it runs in my family. My grandpa (or in espanol, mi abuelo) spoke Chinese (he taught himself durning WW2 when he was stationed there), and both my brothers have been good at learning languages as well, both took German in HS. I even think Sam at one point was trying to teach himself Japanese, he's so smart. Anyway, suffice it to say it's time to move on. I'm looking forward to the new classes waiting for me, History and Humanities. After this quarter I only have 5 classes left until I get my Associates degree! I can't believe that this journey is almost over. I'm not sure what the Lord will have in store for me after, I'm praying that he'll open a door for me to walk through as he guides my next few steps. However, right now I don't know what that door will have behind it. It could be continuing on for my BA, or it could be something different, in any case I'm definitely looking for his direction, and when in doubt, as I usually get anxious when I go through these transitions, it's always best to simply do as Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." So no matter what happens the Lord's will, will be done, since he's the one in charge anyway. I was nervous like this whenever He called me out of the Navy, when I had to find a new job and when I didn't know what direction to go in, so I know that as this transition takes place it will just serve as a stepping stone to grow closer to him.

Oh my, I wrote more than I had intended to. Thank you for letting me share my heart with you. Ciao!!! Buona Notte!!!

Friday, May 16, 2008

A video

So I know it's sideways but this is a video of Chris performing a hidden talent of his last year at the single conference in Missouri. Really I just wanted to figut out how to post a video, so Chris is it for now. It's entertaining enough. Those were good times. Hopefully this year will be the same.

Monday, May 12, 2008

#5 On my list, Get Maggie to watch a documentary

So this was my #5 goal on my list and I got to complete it last night. However, it was the most boring documentary that I have ever watched. Lately my friends and I have been on a Jane Austen kick, watching Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and anything else that can come our way about her. So I thought that this would be an OK, but poor Maggie had to suffer through the worlds most boring, dry, and mind numbing documentary about Jane Austen. And truthfully the creators of the documentary made it more about her family in general then her specifically, which was irritating in and of itself. So one goal was completed. I wish I could speak more positively about it, but mainly this post is an appology to Mags for ruining her first documentary experience with that horrible film and for probably driving her away from them altogether. Hopefully not, but I do have to give her props for staying awake. Way to go girl!

This also count as the first of my 30 documentaries to watch as well, but obviously the review is bad, and I let Netflix know about it as well. That's 30 minutes of my life that I'll never get back.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hungry Girl (Poem #1)

The last item on my list has me writing 30 new poems. Poetry is a comfort for me that I haven't done in a while. It's a way of communitcating that has always held a certain amount of solace for me. The poem below is inspired by a situation I now find myself in as a person living with Celiacs Disease. It's a poem that was inspired my my frustration of wanting to eat the foods that I can't and the complications of trying to make people understand how hard it is to deal with. My friends are truly great about supporting me (so I want to extend this thank you to them as they read it). The poem was just bore from my own frustration, mostly with me. Since I feel so week most times, and I just want to cave in and succumb to the temptation. Maybe it's a memorium to all the foods that I like and can longer enjoy as well. In any case I hope ya'll enjoy it.

Hungry Girl
GRRR, I'm a hungry girl that just wants to eat,
pasta and bread, now that would be sweet.
With cake in the oven, and cookies galore,
what more is better that I could ask for.

GRRR, I'm a hungry girl and I like my carbs,
but if I should eat them I would fall hard.
For gluten and wheat are my two dangerous foes,
that seek to destroy the life I now know.
Their friends rye and barley are not far behind,
with all these restrictions I might loose my mind.

GRRR, I'm a hungry girl. "Not salad again"!
At least the dressing will not make it bland.
The comfort of getting food that is fast,
could ruin my insides and then I would crash.

GRRR, I'm a hungry girl. Pierogies I miss.
Their cheesy, doughy goodness well it's just pure bliss.
But alas it's just food, I won't hug me good night,
and for better, or worse, I like my life.

GRRR, I'm a hungry girl and it's hard to not to cry,
when others around me can't understand why.
I don't mean to whine or be such a pill,
but the foods that I love will make me ill.
It's at times like this that good friends matter most,
and those that care to help give me hope.

GRRR, I'm a hungry girl but I'll survive,
'cause with veggies and fruits I'll have a long life.
For who know what yet the Lord has in store,
He's been good so far, so of course I want more.

GRRR, I'm a hungry girl, and old chapters done,
and old life is over, and a new one begun.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

#27 on my list, Try 30 new dishes (#2)

For my birthday last week Kali made me a wonderful, and flourless, cake!!! She even made raspberry sauce to counter act the sweetness of the cake. IT WAS AWESOME!!! So here is the recipe for ya'll to try for yoursleves. Enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

-1/2 cup water
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup white sugar
-18 (1 ounce) squares bittersweet chocolate
-1 cup unsalted butter
-6 eggs

-Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
-Grease one 10 inch round cake pan and set aside.
-In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the water, salt and sugar. Stir until completely dissolved and set aside.
-Either in the top half of a double boiler or in a microwave oven melt the bittersweet chocolate.
-Pour the chocolate into the bowl of an electric mixer.
-Cut the butter into pieces and beat the butter into the chocolate, 1 piece at a time. Beat in the hot sugar-water.
-Slowly beat in the eggs, one at a time.
-Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
-Have a pan larger than the cake pan ready, put the cake pan in the larger pan and fill the pan with boiling water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
-Bake cake in the water bath at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for 45 minutes. The center will still look wet.
-Chill cake overnight in the pan. To unmold, dip the bottom of the cake pan in hot water for 10 seconds and invert onto a serving plate.

It is important to let it chill all night. Unless you want pudding;) Seriously though, when it's done it should have the consistency of a mouse or cheese cake.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The last year of my 20's! (Part 2)

So it's been a couple days since my birthday celebration, but it was a great one! You can't beat a good evening of gal pals and giggles (unless of course that evening were to be spent with someone even more special, but alas that will have to wait). Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
The day started awesomely because I didn't have to go to work! My boss is gracious enough to allow his employees to have a day off for our birthdays, and so I got to sleep in and enjoy my morning. From the day that I knew I was taking that day off for my birthday I knew what I was going to do so it wasn't a fly by the seat of your pants kind of day (so to speak), but it also wasn't calculated to the "n"th degree either.

My first stop was to attend the chapel service at the Christian school that my church has. I've always heard that the chapel services are open to anyone who wants to go, but since it's so closely associated with the school I think people assume it's only for the school kids. Personally speaking I think that the lesson Pastor Jeremiah gave that day was one of the best that I've heard, period. However, I wasn't prepared for his little twist of looking at our notes to make sure we were paying attention. I know it was all an exercise for the kids to learn how to pay attention to what he was talking about, but still. I'm glad I passed;). Seriously though I'm glad that I have those note to refer back to.

Then I was off and running errends before my lunch, with Shannon! We had a fun afternoon at lunch and the salad that we each had could have fed a small country. I was a wonderful Asian inspired salad with rice, peanuts, and chicken with a Asian vinagrette. YUMMO! But honestly it had been a while since we had the opportunity to fill up an afternoon full good conversation. We've gotten to do it a little, but nearly 3 uniterrupted hours was great. We then went to one of the local produce stands, followed by a stop to the Holly Farm owned by some friends of ours. Little did I know that I was sending clues to my friends in there as to what they wanted to pick out for me for my birthday. Which was really sweet of them to pay attention like that. I was just walking around the shop and perusing the items and ended up with some great items 'cause of it.
However, it was dinner and bowling that finished off a great day. Sharon made some stir fry (which is one of my faves) and Kali made a flourless chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. The bowling alley as fun and even though bowling is not for everyone not everyone they were all really good sports about it, and high score of the night was made by me at 141. I think that if we had played another game I would have done better, but we were already at $45, so it was worth it for us to go back to Kalis for cake and hanging out. I could go on to regail you all with the items that I got for my birthday, but those were just an added bonus for me, the day was really all about spending time with my friends and having fun, which we always seem to know how to do really well.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The last year of my 20's! (Part 1)

Today, on my first post for the month of May, I get to revel in my Birthday!!! This is the last year of my 20's and I have to say that it has started off quite well. Truthfully, although don't presume to speak for everyone, the older you get the less you care about getting "toys" and the more you care about those people that surround your life, and if you are a person that likes to celebrate another year of life, those celebrations are made the most special by the people you get to celebrate it with.

It started with a call from my dear friend Abbey and then transferred over to work where Pat brought in breakfast and Sarah brought me flowers, which was nice of them to do. I received emails and text messages from all of my friends. I got cards from my Mom, my Pastor, and a few other friends. I even got an email from my Aunt Elaine. And of course there was the phone call from my Dad. Which, even though it was at the end of my day, was well worth the wait. It really is the small moments that make up a great and special day. Today was mine and all the special moments that made up today made me thankful that I get to enter my 29th year of life with good friends and a happy heart.

So even though I am posting this on May 1st, I will have a continuing story for tomorrow as tomorrow evening is going to be bowling night with the girls:) (I always like to joke that I'm genetically predisposed to bowling, as that is where one set of my grand parents met each other, while another grandfather actually worked in a bowling alley). Ha Ha Ha, I always love telling a good story. Stay tuned.


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