Saturday, December 31, 2011

Full Circle


I love the cyclical nature of things: the rotation of night to day, of winter to spring, of one year to the next.  I love the circle of life and the onward, incessant march of time.  I am overcome when I think that it wasn't so long ago my mom was expecting me, her first child, and riding the same roller coaster of hopes and fears and dreams that I am right now.  And it wasn't too too long ago that my grandmother was expecting my mom, her first child, and had worries and joys of her own.  And it won't be too long (but don't let it be too soon!) before my first child, this baby girl inside of me, will be expecting her own child, and me, my mom, and my grandma will proudly move up a rung on the generational ladder.  

This time of year especially, I find myself contemplating the "ever-circling years" and the slow-but-quickening transition of sunrise to sunset.  Somewhat against my better judgment, I'm posting a recording of me and my sisters from last Christmas.  It's a song called "A Long Time Ago," and the first verse talks about a mother, Mary, lying by the side of her new baby. The second verse is about the Savior's life, and the third verse returns to Mary, kneeling at the cross of her dying son.  

The full-circle nature of that story--birth to perfect manhood to death--is, in itself, poignant and agonizing and bittersweet, but the fourth verse of the song draws a much wider circle around the event: centuries later, a mother kneels by the side of her small daughter in prayer and teaches her about the Savior.


I am, in turns, overwhelmed, inadequate, and in denial, but knowing I am linked to generations of amazing women--those who have gone before me and those who will come after, who have lived and who will live the same timeless experiences I am right now--strengthens me.  I felt close to Mary this Christmas, with my baby and my discomfort growing by the day, and I feel close to this girl-child whose shape I have blindly felt through various sharp kicks and pokes.  While I will never be a perfect mother, or even close, I pray that I will be enough.  


Lisa on alto, Sara on soprano, Lindsay on second, Liz (friend) on piano.  A Long Time Ago by Denise Orgill Ferguson, harmony parts by me.  Lyrics can be found here.  Bear in mind that this is in one take, that we're not professionals, and that it's not perfect--please listen kindly.  


Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter

We went caroling tonight with a group of people from our ward.  It was 65 degrees outside.  In the middle of December.  Just because I don't know how to carol without them, I wore an unnecessary scarf and a light jacket.  It was strange to sing Christmas songs on doorsteps without plumes of frosty breath or clenched mittened hands.  

I'm not really complaining about the weather--it has been beautiful outside--but with less than a week left before Christmas, I find myself needing to hold on to the memory of snow.  Here are some pictures of our Thanksgiving trip to Utah--we were able to spend a couple of days at my parents' cabin.  


There were a few inches of snow on the ground, along with some decent drifts.  It wasn't too cold--probably highs in the upper 30's--but the bite in the air was refreshing.


It'd only been eight weeks since we'd been there, but the scenery had changed drastically.  Compare this shot to the ones in this post--fall can change to winter overnight at 10,000 feet elevation.  There wasn't a single red or gold leaf left on the trees.


We went on a hike in the snow.  I almost died.  Crazy high elevation + cold + hills + out of shape + pregnancy = a lumbering Lindsay.


 Even though we won't be having a white Christmas this year, I'm excited at the prospect of celebrating in San Antonio.  

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gifts

Someone at church came up to me today after I'd sung in a musical number and said, "I wish I had your voice."  I had to laugh a little bit because my talent is modest and if wishes are free, why not wish for something spectacular?  (Julie Andrews, I wish I had your voice, circa 1964!)

But then I started thinking about how I take a lot for granted.  How there are people who can't carry a tune or sing the tenor line when it strikes their fancy or play a fun intermediate piano piece with their intermediate piano skills or even experience the simple joy of spotting typos (a recent favorite was "[my son was] memorized by the show.  Defiantly his first [ballet] experience." --My mirth was not malicious, I swear, but this totally put a smile on my face).  

Something I cannot do that others take for granted is to move in a graceful or pleasant manner.  I'm not talking all-out ballet here--even a simple sway, shoulder wiggle, or head bob to the beat completely eludes me.  A couple days ago, I was doing dishes and rocking out to some Christmas music.  I saw Jay out of the corner of my eye, and I turned to see him watching me, a huge grin on his face.  

"I like watching you move," he said.  

"Creepy," I said.  

Seriously, in GRE terms, Lindsay is to dancing as tone deaf is to singing (Lindsay : dancing :: tone deaf : singing).   That doesn't stop me from prancing around the living room every once in a while, though.  

I also can't visualize things, design, manipulate shapes in my head, drive without getting lost, maintain things (a clean room, my toenails, etc.), or organize (in a concrete or abstract sense) to save my life.  

It's easy to compare ourselves to others' areas of relative strength (why do we do that?), and it's hard to remember or even recognize the things we do effortlessly that may prove difficult for other people.  I found myself grateful today for the diversity of gifts we all have and the way they can synergistically work together for the edification of all.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It is Safe to Say that This Will Not Be Me

I had an appointment last week with my doctor.  The appointment went well; my doctor took time to answer my questions, and based on measurements from the sonogram, Baby weighs 2 lbs 13 oz--she's in the 53rd percentile.  Hooray for average!  I was so pleased.  


(Sidenote: I have decided those 3D ultrasounds are freaky.  I am now going to have nightmares that my baby looks like the Joker.  I'll stick with the fuzzy and two-dimensional silhouettes, thanks.)


Anyway, as we were leaving, I made my next appointment with the scheduler (I'm now going in every 2 weeks!  How is it possible I'm in my third trimester already??).  We started small-talking, and she was saying she didn't know what to get her 9-year old son for Christmas.  Common enough dilemma, right?  


But then she says, "He already has a Wii and an Xbox and I just got him an iPhone for passing his TAKS test.  I would buy him games for his gaming systems, but he's only interested in his iPhone now.  My boyfriend is going to get him an iTunes giftcard, but I really want him to have something big to unwrap on Christmas morning."


She proceeds to tell me that her son has been asking for a new iPhone with 4G capability, but I guess even she has her limits.  


I tend to raise my eyebrows a bit when any kid under the age of 16 has a cell phone (some of my 6-year-old patients have them!  Seriously?), but an iPhone? for a nine year old??  For "passing" Texas' minimum requirements to progress to the next grade?  I'm all about praise and privileges and rewards, but... wow.


(I'm getting all my judgy-ness out of my system before I'm actually a parent.  I'm already aware I'll be doing at least half the things I self-righteously condemn, plus more.  Just let me live with my blissful ignorance for another couple months, okay?)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful


I started taking piano lessons from a talented friend last year.  I am not much of a pianist, but I love music.  I went to her house every couple weeks, played her beautiful piano, and then came home and practiced the best I could on my keyboard.  I've had it for a long time, and it has served me well in my various apartment homes.  I soon realized, though, that it wasn't adequate for what I needed--there is just too much difference between a piano and my sweet old keyboard.  


So Jenny, my teacher, tells me (a couple of times, actually) about this sweet old piano teacher she once had who bore powerful testimony that if you ever need a piano, you just have to pray for one, and God will help you get one.  I am a skeptic about many things, not excluding divinely delivered pianos, and so I smiled and rolled my eyes at the faith of her old piano teacher.


But I did want a piano.  And over the next several months, as I felt my frustrations mounting about different things in my life, most notably my body's seeming inability to conceive a child, I occasionally flippantly tacked "Heavenly Father, if I can't have a baby, at least let me have a piano" on the end of my prayers.  


I didn't think much of it or pursue my piano desire (where would we put it? how would we pay for it? would the neighbors lynch us?) until mid-June.  One Sunday, snap--just like that--I decided I was getting a piano.  I spent hours on Craigslist, looked at every piano listing, and made phone calls and sent texts and emails about pianos in my price range.  Jay patiently drove me all over San Antonio so I could "test drive" piano after piano.  Within four days, I had found the one.  It was beautiful--a massive 70+ year old, solid, dark wood, ivory keyed upright.  We bonded with the young LDS couple selling it and made arrangements to pick it up the next evening.


The next day, a few hours before picking up the piano, Jay and I were both home: Jay doing the dishes, me dinking around on my computer.  I was suddenly seized by the urge to take a pregnancy test.  I felt silly about it (I had gotten the too-familiar negative result just the day before), but 5 minutes later, I was staring at a tiny "positive" sign on the little stick on the counter.  


Later that night, putting a hand on my beautiful new old piano and another hand on the new life growing inside me, I imagined I heard gentle laughter echoing from Heaven.  I was awed--and humbled--and overcome with gratitude for my baby and my piano, both received on the same day.  


There are some lessons I seem destined to learn over and over again, but I can say that I learned for myself (again) on June 23rd that God loves and is aware of His children.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eleven on 11/11/11

1.  If I were a creative person--the type who enjoys hosting events, coming up with fun themes, and whipping up a bunch of festive paper fans and cutesy cake pops--I would totally have thrown an 11/11/11 party today.  As it stands, I am lucky to have a centerpiece on my table (decorative gourds), and the thought of hosting a "real" party with an actual evite gives me palpitations.

2.  Jay and I have been cleaning and organizing recently.  To increase storage space, we bought some bed raisers at BB&B (from the clearance table!), and now our bed is about 10 inches higher.  I've slept in taller beds (I swear my college beds were up to my chin), but with my awkward new inability to lift my legs higher than a few inches, vaulting into bed is no longer an option.  I find myself doing a clumsy face plant followed by an effortful roll to get all my appendages on the bed.  I jokingly told Jay that he needs to buy a stool for his short wife.  That was last week.  I'm pretty sure that in another week or so, it won't be a joke anymore.

3.  I have a bad cold.  Normally when I get sick, I tend to load up on any and all drugs that could possibly help me feel better.  It's been a lesson in patience for me as I've put my fetus first and had to deal with feeling icky and only ingesting the occasional Ricola lozenge.  

4.  I think it's been a lesson in patience for Jay, as well: he has to deal with me asking him, "Am I allowed to take psuedoephedrine?  No?!  Okay, how about..." at least ten times a day.  

5.  In the first couple years after moving to Texas, I got sick a lot.  I caught every bug going around, and I usually got five times sicker than the person I'd caught it from.   Thankfully, my immune system appears to have bulked up a bit in the past couple years, and this is the first time I've been sick since my six week bout of bronchitis over a year ago.  

6.  Every time I go to the doctor, she tells me how much more weight I've put on.  This last time she told me and then said "Wow."  I think that doctors should not be allowed to say "wow" or "oops"--shouldn't they cover that in medical school?  And it's not like my food intake has increased that drastically, but can I help it if all this baby wants to eat is Panera bagels and chocolate chip cookie dough?  

7.  The other day, in an uncharacteristic burst of creative energy, I made a snowman out of a couple of socks.  Afterward, I set it on my bookshelf, looked at it with furrowed brow, and thought, "What was I thinking?  Why did I just make that?"

8.  I decided that being pregnant is great.  Sure, there are things about it that stink (you can't take psuedoephedrine!  Back pain!  Outie belly button!), and sure, I've had it easier than most, but right now I am loving it.  

9.  When you are pregnant, you don't have to make excuses for yourself--other people do it for you.  No joke--slip up on anything and people say, "that's okay--you're pregnant."  It's fantastic.  I don't even worry about the Panera employees getting to know my odd order by heart (asiago cheese bagel, not sliced, not toasted, no cream cheese.  To go.) because people think "cravings" are endearing.    
    10.  The weather here has been fantastic lately--mostly in the 70's during the day.  I still have to turn on the AC in my car, but at home we turn it off and keep the windows open.  These next few months, the hellish nightmare of summer will fade into a distant memory and I will think to myself, "Texas isn't so bad!"

    11. For the past few years, I've thought it would be pretty dang cool to have a kid on 11/11/11.  Since that is not going to happen, I will settle for publishing this post at 11:11.  And then I will feel embarrassed for the rest of the day about what a numbers geek I am...

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Confessions of a Slightly Crazed Pregnant Woman


    Contrary to the URL of this blog, I am not one of those women who's "in tune" with her body.  I feel as though my spirit and flesh have a connection that is tenuous at best--I do my own thing, and my body troops along for the ride, usually a willing passenger and mostly compliant companion.  I blame this somewhat weak connection between spirit and flesh for my poor proprioception, slow reflexes, lack of coordination, and complete disconnect concerning anything remotely kinesthetic, but I also feel I reap some benefits.   


    My body treats me well--I don't often get headaches, rarely get sick, have very minor allergies. I can take nearly any medication without side effect, eat just about anything, and put myself through abuses of long hikes I'm not in shape for without repercussion.  My body took to pregnancy like a slightly bloated fish to water: initial exhaustion, a few minor bouts of nausea and general ickiness, some back pain, but, all in all, it's been a pleasant walk in the park.  


    Sometimes my body is a bad influence on me, though--like when I crave cookie dough and Jay, who is wearing his newly gained paternity like it's a tailored suit, walks into the kitchen and catches me with spoon in hand, guilt and sugar-drunk smile on my face.  Did you know pregnant women are not supposed to eat raw eggs?  Jay does.  I have told him several times that I am willing to sacrifice cold cuts, roller coasters, and litterbox clean up on the altar of maternity, but not cookie dough--I just can't.  To assuage my guilt, though, I finally looked it up online.  Turns out that while cold cuts can carry bacteria that poison the baby across the placenta, raw eggs just carry a risk of salmonella, which, while no fun at all, will only make me sick while baby happily bumps around in her water world.  (Okay, it's not smart, but it's a risk I am willing to take.)


    Another side effect of being detached from my body is that I haven't felt much of a connection with the little dancing teddy graham inside of me.  Yes, my shape is definitely changing (my coworkers see fit to remind me of this daily), but every time I go to the doctor and see that funny little black and white silhouette or hear her whooshing heartbeat, I'm pleasantly surprised all over again:  there's still a baby in there!  Jay thinks I'm crazy and paranoid, and he's probably right: pregnancy isn't a condition that comes and goes, but I tend to feel mounting disbelief between doctor appointments that I'm still pregnant.


    I always thought it was funny that pregnant women could confuse baby nudges for gas and vice versa--after all, a baby and gas bubbles are two very different things.  Let me tell you though, folks, it's a true story--one of my coworkers swears she could feel her baby move starting at 10 weeks; I didn't feel anything until at least week 19.  I finally had one day a couple weeks ago where I was sure it was the baby I was feeling and not just my digestive processes--she bumped around inside me like a little pinball for a couple hours.  


    I had a hormotional day last week where I started freaking out because I hadn't felt the baby move in a week or so.  I almost called the doctor's office and asked if I could please come in just so I could hear my baby's heartbeat, but I thought better of it.  When I got home that night, I lay on my stomach on the hard floor (with Jay practically screaming "child abuse" and threatening to turn me over to CPS) until I felt enough protesting nudges that I could 90% convince myself that, yep, there's still a baby in there.  (And before you say I should have called the doctor, she was moving the whole time but I just didn't concentrate hard enough to feel her--my body and I are out of touch, remember?)


    I may have done it again the next night, too--not because I had nearly lost it at work several times like I had the day before (cringe), but because I (sadistically?) liked the feeling of my baby's nudges as she was pushed into me.  This time, Jay just rolled his eyes a little and then came over, knelt next to me on the floor, and put his hands under my stomach.  We stayed that way for several minutes, sharing our daughter's little quickening movements together.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    A Preview...

    ...of what our baby will look like:


    And here's baby "JayLin" all grown up:


     (Freaked out a little?  So are we.)

    She'll make her debut in late winter 2012.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Home for Fall

    My parched, withered, fall-craving soul was revived a couple weeks ago: Jay and I flew to St. George for General Conference weekend.  Every time we go home, I always promise myself I'm going to be more active and help out more.  Every time we go home, I veg and eat.  Seriously--that's all I do.  It's disgusting and wonderful: I gained about 4 pounds in 4 days.

    Jay, on the other hand, was very active this trip (at least for four hours and thirty-nine minutes of it)--he ran The Marathon.  

    We waited for him around mile marker 24 and cheered as he ran up to us.  Having this freakishly tall, grinning, sweaty guy beeline straight for me was pretty exhilarating.  



    We hurried and drove to the end of the route, arriving just a couple minutes before Jay passed through.  I cheered when they announced his name over the loudspeaker as he crossed the balloon-arched finish line.  



    Jay had injured his knees during training and wasn't able to get in the long runs he'd planned.  He wasn't in as good of shape as he wanted to be, but he was still determined to run the race.  He felt great until his knees started hurting around mile 11.  It was a painful final 15 miles, but he made it.



    After the race, my brother Steve helped stretch Jay's cramping legs while I provided shade.  Looking at these pictures, you can almost feel the burn.



    I thought he was crazy for sticking it out, but I was proud, too.  Jay does hard things.  He's an example to me.




    We got to watch conference as a family up at my parents' cabin.  Here's the menfolk all dressed up for the Priesthood session:



    The weather was perfect and the colors were unbelievable.  Here are some shots from the cabin's porch:


    Autumn is by far my favorite season, and I have not experienced one in the three years I've lived in Texas.  I die a little each year as October rolls by with no change in weather or foliage.  And I sigh when, in February, the brown, long-dead leaves gradually stop clinging to their branches, leaving the sleeping trees half naked and patchy.



    This one (below) was taken through an upstairs window.  Gorgeous!  I couldn't stop staring at these two trees the whole weekend.



    We took a couple of panoramic shots from the porch.  Jay's knees never did recover quite enough to tramp around in the woods, but we soaked it all in: the nippy fresh air, the occasional rains, the gorgeous colors, and the crisp scent of autumn.



    Every time we go visit Utah it is hard to leave, but this time was particularly difficult.  I thought Jay might have to drag me onto the airplane.  San Antonio is slowly cooling off--we're finally out of the 90's most days!  I'm naively hoping we'll have a couple of "sweater weather" days by next month...

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Blessed

    I am not a grateful person by nature.  You know how when you're asked to give a talk or lesson in church it's usually on a principle that you need to work on?  Starting in my middle teens and extending through my junior year of university, I believe I was asked to give at least five talks on gratitude.  Ouch.  The last talk assignment was actually gratitude and humility.  Double ouch.  More often than not, I feel like God has to give me a good smack over the head with a spiritual 2x4 before I "get it."  


    Though I haven't given a talk on gratitude for a while, it's a subject that has remained on the edges of my thoughts.  It is still a principle I struggle with--it's such a reflex to devote all attention to this moment's petty trial--but I have tried to be more grateful.  Looking at my life--past, present, and future--through the lens of gratitude turns my heart softer, my countenance brighter, my thoughts happier.  I am more pleasant.  I am more content.  I am closer to God.  


    Today, sitting in church, I was overwhelmed by gratitude.  It didn't stem from the speakers (though they were great), it didn't stem from any big change (though there have been some); it sprung from some internal well I don't often draw deeply from.  And because I was grateful, not just for any one thing but for my life in general, I was transcendently happy, content, and at peace.  


    I was still floating when I went to Relief Society, filled with a strong sense that life is good.  Our instructor asked us each to think of a trial we're going through.  I'll be darned, but I couldn't think of one for at least a minute or two.  My life is not challenge-free, but in those couple of hours, my pesky trials were so dwarfed by blessings! happiness! contentment! that they ceased to merit any attention.  


    When I finally did "remember" the main thorn in my side, I was shocked I'd forgotten it.  Hadn't I cried and lost sleep over this thing?  Wasn't it my main cause of stress?  But just like that, it was no longer on my radar.  Insignificant.  A non-issue.


    I'm still not grateful by nature.  But I am grateful for the reminder that happiness comes from within, that trials are rarely as significant as they seem, and that, holy moly, I am sure blessed.


    And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more.  - D&C 78:19

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Seasonal Affective Disorder

    I am so done with summer.  I am craving fall with every pore of my sweat-soaked body.  It has been miserably, unbearably hot for months upon months upon months with no rain and no reprieve.  


    Yesterday, my friend and I walked into Hobby Lobby.  Big mistake.  I almost cried when I saw the rows of craft tables piled high with ornamental gourds, wreaths of fall leaves, and pumpkins of varying sizes and motifs.  Not to mention the towering display of fake Christmas trees and aisle after aisle of ornaments and Christmas-y crafts.  The whole store smelled of cinnamon and spice and crisp, wonderful autumn.  It was nearly more than I could handle when we walked out the doors and the heat and stink of sizzling asphalt punched us in the face.  Hobby Lobby, how could you be so cruel?


    All I want is a little of this:


    Or even this:


    Or a cold snap.  Or a hurricane.  Or pretty much anything other than day after day of cloudless sunny skies, 103 degrees, and 60+ percent humidity.  

    I checked the weather forecast this morning and saw that there is a one percent chance of rain tomorrow.  

    I got pretty excited.

    I may be getting desperate.

    Or maybe not--is anyone else out there dressing in sweaters and mittens and standing in front of a full-blast air conditioner while drinking hot chocolate and humming Christmas carols?

    Anyone?

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Grammar Geek Tutorial: Definitely

    Want to appear more credible, professional, and/or grammar geeky when you write?  I'm going to sporadically post a few common, but glaring, typos I see every day--and how to fix them.


    Let's talk about the word "definite" for a minute.  It means absolute.  Positive.  Assured.  Decided.  


    And so, when people want to put emphasis on something, they use one of those words:
    "We'll definitely be there."
    "He is absolutely, positively the best."
    "I am decidedly yours."


    Definitely is a popular word these days.  It's taken the place of totally from the 90's.  It pops up daily in blog posts, emails, and Facebook status updates.  


    Sadly, it's embarrassingly rare to find it correctly spelled.  


    Most frequent is the addition of an A, as in definately.  This is a typical, run-of-the-mill typo.  "Definately" is not actually a word.  Remember that there's definitely no A in definite.  Or you could think of it as "Nate" is never definite, so he definitely does not belong in defiNATEly.  I'll stop beating this horse now.


    Also common is a twist on this misspelling: defiantly.  This one always makes me smile.  Defiant means rebellious, intentionally contemptuous, hostile, openly resistant.
    So posting on your friend's Facebook wall something like, "I'll defiantly be at your party Saturday" actually means that you'll be there, all right, but you'll be there in hostile opposition to whatever's being celebrated.


    Which is kinda funny.  


    Or maybe just to a grammar geek like me.


    Anyway, to sum up:
    - Definite definitely does not have an A in it
    - Definitely don't write defiantly (unless, of course, you're feeling a bit hostile and rebellious--in which case, go right ahead)


    Disclaimer:  I don't have a major or a minor in English, grammar, or editing.  Nor have I taken a grammar or editing course in college, elementary school,  or online.  I make errors all the time; there are probably even some in this post.  I just like giving unsolicited and occasionally hypocritical advice.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Beach Trip

    A couple weekends ago, we went to Corpus Christi to visit our friends.  We ate some great food, talked for hours, played a bunch of games, and went to the beach.  We had an absolutely lovely time.


    Unfortunately, we didn't get many pictures; I've been somewhat lazy with the camera lately.  Here are a couple Jay and I took on a Sunday afternoon stroll along the beach.


    Jay may or may not be obsessed with taking pictures of birds.











    Thanks, Kevin and Ashley--we had a great time!

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    Memory Lane

    I have had some really neat opportunities in my life.  Some of my adventures I have undertaken alone, like my mission, and some I've shared with various family and friends.  An experience that has changed me forever was living with my sister, Sara, (and 40 other people) in London for two months on a BYU study abroad.  


    I fell head over heels in love--it was like no other place I've ever been.  I always thought I hated history until I started learning about Britain's fascinating, and often blood-curdling, past.  I couldn't get enough.  We saw several plays (Les Mis seriously changed my life.  Twice.), splurged on waffles, hiked and rode the tube all over the city, spent hours upon hours in museums, and went running in Hyde Park several times a week.  We visited so many castles and ruins I can't keep them straight, visited Stonehenge, saw (all of) Ian McKellen (ick) as King Lear in Stratford-upon-Avon, rode bikes on the Isle of Wight, toured Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, hiked Arthur's Seat in Scotland and walked for miles on Hadrian's Wall.  


    We visited St. Michan's Church in Dublin and saw the organ Handel is said to have played his Messiah on...and we also went to the crypt under the church and saw some naturally mummified remains.  If you choose, you are allowed to touch the hand of the Crusader.  One of our professors professed that if you touched the Crusader's hand, you'd be married in a year.


    I touched his cold, leathery hand.


    I got married almost exactly one year later.


    Coincidence?  Or did I really only stand a chance at marriage with the blessing of a 500 year old corpse?


    I've been thinking about Europe a lot lately--for the past three years, I've wanted to move there so badly that I sometimes feel feverish.  I know it's crazy, especially since dentistry isn't exactly an easy profession to relocate with, but I've got the itch.  

    My family--every blessed one of them except for me--is in Europe right now.  Lisa is on some senior trip tour choir thing, and the rest of my fam (including my sister's new husband) is traipsing around the UK.  I'm certainly not mad that they've gone, and I've known for a year this was coming, but the first couple days they were gone were rough.  I've been homesick in general the past month or two anyway--every once in awhile it hits me that I can't just go home and visit whenever I feel like it--but this is somehow even harder.  


    Anyway, I've gone through all my photos several times since they left; it has been a fun walk down memory lane.  For purely selfish and sentimental reasons, I am going to post a plethora of photos documenting some of my adventures.  


    Navigating the tube.  How many blondes does it take to read a map?

    London Bridge is falling down

    Before our six-mile bike ride from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.  In the rain.  With no shoulder.

    Why, yes; I believe we are whiter than the Cliffs of Dover.

    Fountains Abbey--one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring places I've ever been.  See the white speck in the lower left hand corner?  That's me.

    Hiking on Hadrian's Wall.

    A brief stop in Wales.  We bought fruit at a little shop and marveled at the signs written in Welsh.

    At the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, straddling the Prime Meridian.  (Incidentally, I have much more appreciation for this museum now that I've read Longitude.)

    On the top of Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh.

    The stones and henge at Avebury.  Short, squatty stone, tall skinny stone (woman, man). We didn't get it either--ask our humanities professor.

    Stonehenge.

    The Roman baths at Bath.



    At the Jane Austen museum in Bath

    Hampton Court--one of my favorite castles.

    Sara and I at the beginning of our grueling nine-mile hike around Kent.

    I call this picture "Time Flies"

    We saw as many plays as we could afford.  This was on Sara's birthday, and we sat front row center--it was amazing.

    Glendalogh, Ireland--another of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    Inheritance




    I have my dad's eyes.  They are a dark mix of green and gray and blue and tend to change color depending on my mood or what I'm wearing.  Growing up, I didn't like my eyes--I would sometimes comment that they were the color of the bottom of an algae-infested pond.  I like them now; I like that they are different, that they aren't your typical brown or blue.  I'm the only one of my siblings who got them.  Shortly before my grandma's death, I remember looking into her eyes and seeing my own.  My grandma passed them to my dad who passed them to me.

    Who I am is largely made up of traits from my dad.  We are cut from the same mold, he and I.  I think it would scare him sometimes when he looked at me and saw so many of his own strengths and weaknesses.  Looking back, I can see how he tried to protect me and prevent me from making his mistakes.  I think he still does.

    We had a few rocky years where it felt like the house just wasn't big enough for both of us, but even then, I remember times where we talked for hours, just him and me.  Sometimes I felt like we actually got along best when there was no one else around.  Mostly he talked, and I listened.  I've always loved listening to my dad--he somehow blends stories and wisdom and anecdotes and advice into one seamless narrative.  He's not really a talker by nature, but if you can get him going, it's worth listening to.   I respect my dad's advice and opinions more than almost anyone else's.  Maybe I'm naive, but I still think he knows everything.  

    Dad grew up in a tiny town and learned at an early age the value of hard work as he went out with his dad, my cowboy grandpa, to tend cows and mend fences and who knows what else.  I love this early part of his life and the way it shaped him into the man he is now.  I remember the times he let me "help" with his projects: as a little girl, I brought him tall glasses of ice water as he dug out a deep, deep fruit cellar by hand for my grandparents.  I sat with him on the plywood for hours in our "attic" while he installed a staircase ladder.  I "helped" chase calves into the chute to be branded and vaccinated.  

    When I went to Portland, OR for a year and a half to serve a mission for my church, my contact with my family was limited to letters, emails, and two phone calls per year.  Every week, I got a long, newsy email from my mom, a letter from Grandma that came every Wednesday like clockwork, and more often than not, a handful of letters from my dad.  I remember checking the mail once and finding three letters from Dad that had all arrived on the same day.  Each letter was handwritten, concise, and usually contained something random (a dollar bill, a cartoon, one of his famous doodles, a pamphlet from a place he'd gone...).  He wrote about his death hikes, his thoughts, his experiences, the people he knew.  Reading those letters was like meeting my dad for the first time, seeing the world through his eyes.  Sometimes I would share pieces of them with my companions, and they began to look forward to his letters almost as much as I did.

    My dad isn't a letter writer by nature, but he wrote to me prolifically, with almost a sense of urgency, because he somehow knew that I needed him.  Maybe he needed me, too.  I felt like every letter built an ever-widening bridge of understanding and trust between us.  

    And once again, I find myself living over a thousand miles from home and family.  Dad doesn't write me letters anymore, but sometimes I can catch him on the phone, and we talk for a couple hours.  

    He would rather eat rocks than talk on the phone, but he talks to me.

    I think he knows I still need him.