September 17, Brilliance

sep18The weather here could not be more perfect. Just perfect! Because I’m such a pessimist I tend to almost always follow up the comment with, “But wait for winter.” I tend to be a pessimist. I’m working on it.

sep17Not too long ago it was hot enough for this. I took the girl, and my neices and nephew to the creek back in July and before we knew it, everyone was getting wet – even in their clothes. At least they had the good sense to take their shoes off. The girl has an adventurous and spirited nature and I miss that girl!

September 16, Every Good Thing

sep16a

…comes from above. Good morning! As I stretch and yawn, I am grateful for another opportunity to enjoy the beauty around me.

sep16bSpeaking of beauties, I found this in my sd card. I remember this day, we were at our favorite winery with the girl and Sydney. They had my camera and disappeared for about an hour. Now I know what they were doing! I love the Jackie Kennedy-esque dress that she has on.

They ended up driving the husband and I home on this day. It’s one of the rare bonuses of having teens that drive. Missing this little girl while she’s at school!

Down Memory Lane

today1Today is my day off of work. It’s not totally a day off – I still do some things here or there, send emails, troubleshoot a website issue, talk to my office mate who just came home from vacation, and text another office mate who would probably prefer not to hear from me since my day off from the office is his day off from me.

Anyway . . .

One project I’ve been meaning to do is to backup and organize my photos. I did (finally) order another external hard drive to store my gazillions and gazillions of photos. I manage a backup plan that is redundant in multiple ways at work because a few years ago, we had the equivalent of the China syndrome meltdown and I never, ever want that to happen again and so we out of an abundance of caution (and so that I can sleep at night), I check, recheck, and triple check the backup email confirmations almost every day.

But the cobbler’s kids have no shoes – and since keeping my photos in multiple sd cards that I sling around in my camera bag is not a good idea – I decided that I needed at least get some sandals on my feet. Oh what a bad analogy…

I was going through my photo archives and I get distracted by photo like the above. It was a night out with Japanese tappenyaki and the girl’s friends. How fleeting these moments, le sigh.

today2This was a day to Washington DC on Veteran’s Day last year. It’s so touching to be in the nation’s capital on these holidays.

today3And I continued to go through the archives because I can’t help myself. This was the draft for one of a half a million horse shows. I’m sad to know that this won’t happen again – ever.

today4This was last November 1, 2013, at a University of North Dakota hockey game. We’re going again in a couple of months to see the boy, almost a year later. Look at that girl – sassy.

today5This was taken the day before the hockey game, at Neighbor Theresa’s house. I guess we went to the Halloween party, then got on a plane to North Dakota the next day? We must have been busy – no wonder I have no memory of it. Thank goodness for digital photography.

today6And going back to a day before that – on October 30, 2013. Apparently we were at a field hockey game, then went to a party at Neighbor Theresa’s, then got on a plane and went to a hockey game in North Dakota.

Alright, I got it.

today7And two days before that, on October 28, 2013, we apparently were at another field hockey game – and it looks like we won!

today9On October 23, 2013, five days before the field hockey marathon, I snapped this at church.

We have the best worship team – no doubt about it.

today91A few days before that, on October 19, 2013, I was at the sister’s funeral. In this photo is Dianne and Barb, two people who I couldn’t even imagine would also pass away eight months later.

today92Before that we had the first show of the year that would be the girl’s last show year on the B Team on October 13, 2013. We knew we would have to travel to the sister’s funeral in a week so this was a little bit bittersweet.

today94One day before the show, on October 12, 2013, there was homecoming. So normal, and so wonderful to see these photos again.

today97This was October 4, 2013. I was in Georgia to help settle the sister’s funeral arrangements after she passed away the day before. Harmon here, my nephew, is talking to his aunt’s partner, Ralph. It was the first time I had met him, and he was charming and funny and Harmon really liked him a lot. Ralph has since passed away. What a difference a year makes.

today99A few days before that, on September 29, 2013, we were at our favorite winery, enjoying the afternoon, listening to our friends perform.

today001They are fantastic entertainers.

today992And life was so normal.

I think I’ll stop now with the walk down memory lane. Last fall was apparently full of a lifetime of change. This backup project is going to be quite a trip down memory lane. Thanks for sharing it with me!

September 15, Yellow

sep15I love the color yellow. I would wear it every day if I could – and I’d pick yellow flowers every day – but because it’s not feasible, I’ll do the next best thing and post yellow flowers this week.

The fall is coming and these yellow beauties will be gone. Hang on summer, hang on!

sep15aSpeaking of beauty . . . I’m missing this little peanut today. I came across this photo while going through my archives and was reminded of her sunny smile.

I can’t believe I’m saying this but gosh, I miss the field hockey days:) Enjoy while you can!

iHeart Faces Challenge

sep12aToday I’m posting for iHeartfaces photo challenge titled, Beautiful Eyes. This photo of my dear friend Elder Bill & Linda Love not only showcases their beautiful eyes but their beautiful love for each other – their eyes reflect that love! This is a couple whose marriage is an inspiration for me but also for everyone who knows them.

You can see more beautiful eyes at iHeartfaces.com.

9/11/14, Never Forget

sep11aLike most people I remember exactly the events of September 11, 2001. It strikes me that 13 years later, there is an entire generation of young people who have been born that have not lived through the events of that horrific day.

All of us were affected in one way or another but it’s the families of those who were killed that are on my mind today. Prayers for peace.

Last month there was an assumption of command ceremony for a long time friend. I am heartened and proud to know there are people who love this country and will defend it and us from evil. Prayers for unshakeable courage.

Our leadership is responsible for the monumental task of keeping us safe. Prayers for wisdom.

God bless America.

Life Through My iPhone

iphone9We were out with some friends for dinner a couple of weeks ago and this is one of my favorite photos of the hubby and I. Look at the view behind us! It was fantastic.

iphone8I had the opportunity once to ride on this boat. I didn’t go and I can’t remember the reason why. You’re not suppose to have regrets in your life – but here’s one of mine.

iphone7I let Ella out last night at about 1:30 AM and when she didn’t come back in about 15 minutes, I took a flashlight and went looking for her. I found her in some bushes in the back yard, possibly eating something. I then went back to bed and dreamed that she ate some snake eggs.

It will be a challenge to get through today without falling asleep.

iphone6Our boy sent us this photo a couple of weeks ago. He’s flying this airplane this semester and he’s very excited. Good for him!

iphone93The girl came home again last weekend and we were all so happy to see her. However I do get nervous about a young girl driving three hours back and forth by herself every weekend. I want to her settle in slowly to school but every time she comes home for the weekend, she spends less time making connecting with her community there.

She does say that she and her roommate are getting along well. I’m relieved.

iphone94I’m trying to learn how to cook for just two people. Obviously, I’m not quite there yet. This shrimp and rice recipe is one of our favorites and I made a ton of it but was able to have quite a bit left over for a few more meals.

I’ll post the recipe soon, you’ll love it!

iphone95A friend of our wrote this book and gave me an advance copy. Ella the dog ate the book last week and tore out page 57. The husband and I thought that meant we should read it together which we did. I texted the book’s author, my friend Michael, this photo of the mangled book and he never texted back. The next day he said, “I got this weird text last night, did you really send it?”

I owed up to it and had to explain to him that his book was eaten. Good thing he doesn’t offend easily.

I bet you’re happy with your life after seeing how exciting mine is!

Happy Wednesday!

Our San Juan Vacation

vacation4What’s it like to go on vacation with the boy & the girl and their friends? Well . . . let me tell you.

It was a really fun vacation. Mind you, we didn’t to do everything we wanted to do. The husband and I are saving those things for when we go back without the kids . . . it’s one of the benefits of being empty nesters!

So we’re planning this vacation last spring – in front of Sydney-girl so naturally we asked if she wanted to come along. Naturally she said yes and then naturally when the boy found out that Sydney-girl was coming, he asked if Roommate Kyle could come too. This is when I thought perhaps I had misspoke – again. An expensive vacation for four just turned into an expensive vacation for six – naturally!

In any case, the four of us flew down to Puerto Rico and the next day, Sydney-girl joined us from Maryland and Roommate Kyle flew in from Colorado to join us. Because the kids were with us, we thought we should actually do things, rather than just sit at the poolside bar and drink mojitos – which was my preference.

So we all went to Old San Juan for dinner and to explore.

vacation1The boys were really excited to be there and as always they continued to entertain.

vacation2The boy really wanted to eat at this restaurant quite badly – can you blame them for not letting us in?

vacation3And this? I don’t know what this is.

vacation6We were looking for this place, La Barrachina. It was recommended by the concierge at the hotel and it is where the pina colada was invented. He then gave us coupons for six free pina coladas – it was a done deal, we made our reservations.

vacation5On the way there we did some exploring and some shopping. We found this cool store with a courtyard and the girls were going to give me an impromptu performance with these instruments but suddenly got shy and then decided against it. I think that cute boy standing by the corner had something to do with it . . .

vacation8What do you buy your dad for a souvenir when you are in San Juan?

Why cigars of course.

vacation9Roommate Kyle decided he was going to do some bargaining. He said he read somewhere that it was expected. He bargained the store owner down to – the same price he would have paid had he not bargained. All of us laughed so hard, but Kyle did save the tax on the purchase – about $1.50.

Great job Kyle!

vacation7A toast to celebrate a successful bargain!

vacation91Over the next few days the kids participated in a variety of water sports while the husband and I sat at the hotel water bar. Ha!

Here the girls were going out to the ocean on their jet ski and being helped by “the cutest Puerto Rican boy” on the beach. I must be old but I didn’t think tattoos and scruffy beards were attractive and I told them I didn’t see any cute boys. I’m not a 18 year old girl anymore.

The cute Puerto Rican boy apparently told the girl that she was the most amazing and beautiful girl that he’s ever seen. I agree with that but I was more concerned that they ran out of gas while they were out in the ocean. In any case it caused a lot of giggling for the next two days.

vacation92We also went stand up paddleboarding at Condado, a lagoon not too far from our hotel. I admit – I don’t get the sport except for yoga boarding which sounds like a lot of fun. It must be a challenge to balance yoga poses on a board that is bobbing in the water. BTW, the girl who checked us in said they are looking for a yoga board instructor. She said all the yoga teachers she spoke to were afraid of the water. There’s an employment opportunity for all of you out there! The girl as trying to talk me into taking the job. She said we could totally move there and make a living. In our dreams girl, in our dreams . . .

vacation93We visited both the old Spanish forts in San Juan, La Cristobal and El Morro. I showed you some photos from inside the forts a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to show you this iguana. Iguanas were everywhere but this old guy must have been from the Jurassic period.

vacation94Look at him – what a fascinating creature.

vacation95I’m a “field trip” mom, when kids get tired, hungry, hot, or cold on a trip, they tend to get disinterested. And when they get disinterested, it’s not fun for the chaperones. This can apply to big kids as well as little elementary school kids. These kids are big – and can actually carry their own waters. But they didn’t. I carried the waters and the sun screen in my camera bag and because of that, I asked them to pose for group shots.

They owed me.

Isn’t this one cool?

vacation98And this one is neat too if I do say so myself.

vacation97And this one – don’t fall kids! It’s a long way down.

vacation99Smile!

vacation001Enough Mamma! she says. The boys just kept walking . . .

vacation992Ok, fine. To the dungeons with you!

I have the power.

vacation994They stopped to take their own photos.

vacation995And they don’t mind posing for the ones they wanted.

vacation997We explored the forts until we were exhausted and at this point we decided to go back to the hotel.

vacation999. . . where the pool beckoned.

This is already long – and if you made it this far, thank you. There were a couple of things we wanted to do but ran out of time (and money). One was a tour of a bioluminescent bay and the other was a hike through the rain forest. There is always next time!

One other thing we did? We went to the cock fights – yes, we did. I may or may not write about that experience. I’m still trying to recover from it.

We did have fun though – and buenos dias! until next time.