Archive for June, 2009

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Despite the fact that I am married to Mr. Techy-Gadgety-Man, I am woefully uninformed when it comes to the latest trends in technology.  I would rather follow my favorite art blogs and keep up to date on the Jon and Kate plus 8 saga than read about the newest thing in computers or software or cell phones.  But when the release of the iPhone 3GS coincided with my contract renewal period with AT&T, I started to get a little tech-giddy.  I have been jealously eyeing Shane’s sleek iPhone for the last year, as I’ve lugged around my clunky, user-unfriendly Nokia.  And so, here was my chance to have the latest and greatest in cell phone technology – and I seized it.  We pre-ordered the phone and I had it delivered to my happy little hands the day it was released.  Woo-hoo!  So now that I’ve enjoyed two weeks of iPhone-dom, here’s my list of top 5 reasons why I love this phone:

1.  I’m so connected.  I love being able to check email with a little flick of the finger, to upload a photo to Facebook from the top of mountain in Oregon, or to hop on the to check how late my bus may be running.

2.  I don’t get lost anymore.  I used to often call Shane when I was out on my errand runs, wanting to know if there was a Crate and Barrell nearby, or needing directions to the nearest Chipotle.  Now, with Google Maps and GPS, I am able to look up directions myself to anywhere from anywhere, and Shane is relieved that he no longer has to be my on-call yellow pages.

3.  I can travel lighter now.  All of my music can be stored on my phone, so I no longer need to carry my iPod around as well.  And anything that lightens the load in my Mary Poppins purse is a good thing.

4.  I can use it without having to read a manual.  As I mentioned earlier, I am far from tech-savvy, but even a tech-klutz like myself can navigate this phone with ease.  So smartly designed.

5.  It’s pretty.  Apple has done it again.

Now, to be fair, the iPhone certainly has its disadvantages, too.  Ironically, the primary downfall of owning an iPhone is also the primary bonus of owning an iPhone:  I’m so connected.  It used to be the case that as soon as I hopped on the bus in the morning, I would pull out my book to get a few pages of reading done on my way to work.  Now, books have taken a backseat as I hop on the bus and pull out my iPhone to check my email and the latest on Facebook.  Connectedness is addictive.  And so I’ll have to learn restraint.  But all in all, this is a very cool little piece of technology.  Worth every penny.

Shane and I spent this weekend down in Central Oregon at my parents’ place, where we met up with my three closest girlfriends from California.  It was a fabulous couple of days – it was great to be reunited with this group of ladies that I’ve known for over a decade now.  We often don’t do as good a job as we’d like of keeping in touch, but the second we’re all together again, it feels as if we’ve never been apart.

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Much of the weekend was spent just lounging around the house, playing ping-pong and board games and giggling ourselves silly.  But we did make sure to get a good dose of the outdoors – Central Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful mountains I’ve ever seen.  On Saturday afternoon, we did the grand tour of Newberry National Volcanic Monument.  This was the breathtaking view from the top of Paulina Peak:

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And Shane was such a good sport, hanging out with a bunch of girls all weekend.  Bless his heart for enduring, and even enjoying, two full days of listening to our incessant giggling and reminiscing.

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One of our last stops on Saturday was at the obsidian flow in Newberry Park.  Mounds and mounds of pumice and obsidian as far as the eye can see.  Sort of desolate-feeling, but also so beautiful.

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And on the way home today, as Shane and I kept catching these amazing little glimpses of a snow-covered Mount Hood, we decided to take a short detour to Timberline Lodge to get a better view of the mountain.  Totally worth the trip – Shane and I walked around in our flip flops and took in the view while we watched geared-up skiiers come flying down snowy slopes.  Bizarre.

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I was sad to see this weekend come to an end, but so thankful for the chance to enjoy some quality time with friends and family.  Already looking forward to our next reunion, wherever that may be…

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Since I failed to get a card in the mail on time, this post will have to serve as my Father’s Day ode.  I have been blessed with a wonderful father – to recount the lessons he’s taught me and the experiences we’ve shared would take days, but I’d like to say a huge thank you to him for all he has done for me.  I’m thankful for the daddy-daughter dates we used to share when I was a little girl and he’d take me out for ice cream sundaes or bowling; I’m thanking him for the way that he knew just when to let go of the seat of my pink and green Huffy when I first learned how to ride a bike; I’m thankful for the time that he put into coaching my softball team and taking me to tour colleges during my Junior year of high school; I’m thankful that he was there to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day, for his composure as I felt those pre-wedding jitters and for his tenderness as we cried tears of joy together when the ceremony was over.  I’m eternally grateful that I have two parents that have time and again demonstrated the importance of faithfulness to God and commitment to your family.  I am blessed.  And so, Happy Father’s Day, Dad.  I’ve got a huge dark chocolate bar and a tin full of oatmeal raisin cookies with your name on it.

This book came highly recommended by Shane, and I was looking forward to getting into a real page-turner.  It is the true story of the building of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, intertwined with the story of a serial killer who used the fair as a lure for many of his victims.  Intriguing…  But the book was often overly factual, so ridden with real-life accounts that I had a hard time really getting into the story.  It was all very interesting, but I’ve mentioned before that I like to really connect with a book’s characters and get lost in the story, and I had a hard time doing that in the midst of so many details and dates.  Nonetheless, it was a good read – I can appreciate the feat that was undertaken by the architects who were given just a couple of years to design and construct this miniature city inside of Chicago.  And knowing that the things you’re reading about truly did happen certainly elevates the intensity of events, so I guess I’m torn.  Fict or fact?

I’ve often wished that Shane had more of an interest in meal preparation, and yesterday I discovered the secret to stimulating his enthusiasm for cooking.  We’ve been talking about buying a grill for a couple of years, and yesterday we took the plunge and picked up a great four-burner gas grill to call our own.  The fact that Shane was up until midnight last night assembling all 4000 of the grill’s pieces told me that he was excited about the prospect of playing the role of backyard chef.

We decided to take the easy route for our first grilled meal and threw some bratwursts on the grill for lunch.  I wrapped a couple of ears of corn in foil and put them on as well.  Grilled meal #1 was a success.  For dinner, we stepped up our game a bit and put a nice thick filet of beef on the grill, along with some potato wedges brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with rosemary, and wrapped in foil.  This was trickier – a steak is so easily under or over-cooked.  We decided to err on the side of rare, but after we’d brought the meat in, let it rest for a few minutes, and then sliced into it, we found we’d erred too far – the steak was far too rare in the middle (“still mooing”, as some would say).  But the edges were perfect, so we at least got to enjoy a few tender, juicy bites.  Lesson learned.  Tomorrow we try pork, then fish later in the week.  Looks like this is going to be one heck of a meat-filled summer – I better start Googling those recipes for grilled vegetable skewers…

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Far too often, I take for granted the fact that we live in the midst of the Pacific Northwest and all its natural glory.  And so yesterday we resolved to embrace the outdoors, as we hopped in the car and headed east for a hike up Little Si (Mount Si’s smaller, less intimidating sister mountain).  I am not much of a hiker, but the 2.3-mile trip to the summit sounded manageable.  This hike wasn’t necessarily the leisurely stroll through the forest that I had imagined – within a few minutes I had broken a sweat and fallen short of breath – but as we pressed on, I fell into a groove and we were soon at the summit.  We found a place to sit on a rock and take in the views of the mountains and valleys and endless blankets of lush green trees all around us.  Well worth the sweat.

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We are talking about conquering Mount Si later this summer – now if only there were a Margarita stand at the top…

Exactly ten years ago today, Shane drove over to my house in his bright blue Dodge Neon and picked me up for our very first date.  We went to the movies and saw Notting Hill, then grabbed milkshakes at a little restaurant down the street from the theater.  I remember feeling relieved that conversation flowed so easily between us, thinking that Shane was really cute, wondering if he was going to kiss me goodnight as our evening together came to an end.  He did not kiss me, which I appreciated as the sign of a gentleman, but he did call me the next day and ask if I’d like to go out again.  Yes, please!  We spent much of that summer together, watching movies in my living room while my dad waited up and kept a distant eye on us from the kitchen, wanting to make sure this new guy in my life wasn’t up to no good.  We went out and shot pool at the local pool hall, played miniature golf at the little amusement park, and drove out to Turlock Lake to walk along the water and escape the heat.  And then, as Summer came to an end, the very first questions about our future together arose.  Shane was due to return to Minnesota when his internship was over,  so I began to prepare myself for saying good-bye.  But when he was offered a full-time job in California, he decided that his days as a Minnesotan were over, much to his family’s surprise.  He stayed in town, and we stayed together.  Then I began my senior year of high school, and started applying to colleges three or four hours away from home, and more questions about our relationship came to light.  Did I really want to get involved with someone, knowing that I would be going away and starting a totally new phase of my life in the Fall?  Would I be missing out on some part of my final year of high school by dating someone who had already completed that part of his life, who didn’t know my friends, or care about our school’s football team, or want to go to high school parties or dances?  Shane and I did keep seeing each other throughout that year, but I was cautious.  I kept my heart under lock and key.  When he first told me he loved me, my response was, “No, you can’t.”  Ouch, that must have hurt him.  But I had never been serious with anyone before, and I found it hard to tread through these unfamiliar waters.  Thankfully, patience is one of Shane’s strongest virtues, and he gave me time and space to figure out what I wanted for our relationship.  And one year after our first date, I told him that I loved him.  I would be leaving for Cal Poly in September, and the thought of having a long-distance boyfriend was scary, but I knew that this guy was just too good to let go.  We decided to give it a try.  Shane put a lot of miles on his car during those few years, frequently making the 200-mile trip down to San Luis Obispo, and I went through a lot of calling cards as we spent endless hours on the phone.  It was hard at times, but we got through the hard times and reveled in the good times.  We were making it work, and I was falling deeper in love.  But during my fourth year of college, when I was studying in Paris, those pesky questions about our future began to arise again.  Shane came to visit me in May of 2004, and I was ecstatic to see him.  Being in Paris with the man you love is enough to put anyone on Cloud 9.  But then, one afternoon as we were sitting along the Seine, talking and dangling our feet near the river, Shane threw me for a loop when he reached into his pocket, pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring I’d ever seen, and asked me to be his wife.  To say that I panicked would be an understatement.  Yes, of course I loved this thoughtful, generous, wonderful man, but was I really ready to commit to forever?  I had spent the previous eight months living alone in Europe, embracing my independence and freedom.  Marriage was not at the forefront of my mind.  And so my answer was, “I can’t answer you right now.”  Double-ouch.  Shane was hurt, and my heart broke as I saw his heart breaking.  But I just knew that I wasn’t in a place where I could make that kind of commitment.  The next year was a tough one, as we both wrestled with discerning God’s plan for our relationship.  I kept waiting for that moment everyone talks about when “you just know”.  It didn’t come.  And although Shane is patient, that question can only be kept on the table for so long.  I had been offered a job up in Seattle and knew that the indecision timer was running out.  Finally, after much praying and talking and counseling and growing, I decided to take a leap of faith, and in July of 2005 I asked Shane to please put that pretty little ring on my finger.  We got married the following May, and now, a couple of weeks after our third wedding anniversary, here we are.  And “here” is a very good place to be.  Bit by bit, I have given my heart to this man, and he has treated it unbelievably well.  So, cheers to our first of many decades together – can’t wait to see what the next ten years will look like.

We spent most of this weekend down in Portland, enjoying some much-needed time with my brother, sister-in-law, and niece.  It had been over 3 months since my last visit, and I was itching to see how Elise had grown and changed.  She is crawling all over the place now, attempting to take her first steps, although the spill that she took a couple of weeks ago, and the subsequent broken ankle and cumbersome cast, have set her back a little bit walking-wise.  She is incredibly good-natured and has many sorts of smiles – after waking up from a nap she will tuck in her chin and look up at you with a bashful little grin; when you lift her up into the air or tickle her stomach she will squeal with unrestrained laughter.  She is also eating all kinds of new things – veggies are clearly not her favorite, but she has recently discovered the joy of spaghetti, in all its glorious messiness:



Such a darling, loving, fun little girl…  And once again, I am left wondering, “When can I see her again?!”