Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Technically Dead

Technology is out to get me. The preliminary diagnostic on my laptop suggests that the motherboard is fried--a repair that's too expensive to be worth fixing. As for the TV, I tried to fix it myself and was lucky enough to avoid electrocuting myself, even if the power button still won't budge. And now, my cell phone has finally given up the ghost. No matter where I stand, it insists that I'm in digital roaming.

So if you've been trying to call, rest assured that I'm not avoiding you or your messages. I'm just a bit isolated from the world. :) Also, if you haven't backed up your hard drive in a while, do it now. Seriously. Or at least tonight. When my computer broke down, I was distraught with the thought of losing all our digital pics. We've managed to recover them, but not without a serious scare. Some things in this world are truly irreplaceable, and thus merit a bit of extra care.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Devil Made Me Do It

Work is such a blessing. While I miss my husband and my girls, I'm really grateful to have an entire house to pack in the meantime. Keeping my hands busy helps keep my heart from being too lonely. I feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment with each box that I tape shut. Sometimes I literally smirk and think, "Ah ha! I've thwarted the mess-makers." Each packed box equates to that much less junk strewn all over the house. My goal is to have things so packed by the time the vacationers return that my munchkins don't have any choice but to keep the house clean. I'd love to spend our last week focusing on each other instead of our possessions.

As part of my "To Do" list, I need to clean off our quote board. And so, here is a very random list of family quotes.


Local architect (as Jason tells him about our new employment): There are jobs in architecture?

Kara (while teaching a student about coordinating conjunctions): Your but needs to go first.

Familial conversations

Brooklyn (talking to Mom): You're a small but a good Mommy.

Brooklyn (talking to Dad): How 'bout you start thinking? (Context: Jason was out of ideas for a bedtime story)


Brooklyn: When you go to Applebees, if your drink isn't fuzzy, they'll get you some fuzz. (Target word: fizz)

Talia: I wanna wear my zucchini. (Target: bikini)

Sunday School Sagas

Brooklyn: Maybe I should be a ruler over my brother and sister. (I chuckled to myself over her hubris and childish understanding until she followed this phrase up with, "You know, like be a good example and teach them things they don't know." Guess the joke was on me.)

Brooklyn (trying to explain why she dumped salt and pepper all over the floor): I'll bet Satan could have convinced even Jesus to do it.


Uh huh. We'll have to work on the doctrinal backing for that one!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Long-Distance Love

While life is still a bit lonely on the home front, this time away from my darling hubby and daughters has a few advantages. Fewer people means fewer dishes and less laundry. Packing is much more effective without little helpers taking things out of boxes as quickly as I put them in. Granted, Eli still manages to undo a bit, but it's much easier to put something out of reach when the "someone" only stretches twelve inches off the ground.

The best perk yet, however, came as a lovely surprise from Jason--an e-mail! Handsome as he may be, I actually first fell in love with this dashing devil because of his writing, not his good looks. After an entire summer of his delectable e-mails, I was completely smitten. When Jason writes about the every day, you simply want to drink in life. Here's his account of day number one in Vermont:

We've had a very pleasant but lazy day here. Your mom slept with Brooklyn on one of the bottom bunks in the corner room last night, Talia slept on the other bottom bunk, and I slept on the bed that is tucked in the corner between the two windows. The night was quite cool and made for blissful sleeping. Talia crawled in bed with me around 5:30 or so (although my own phone battery has surrendered to the battery draining void of endless roaming, so I'm not exactly sure what time it was), and I drifted somewhere in between dreaming and awake for the next two hours.

It started raining early, and kept it up for most of the day. During one of the brief pauses, Grandpa and I went out to the boat (which supposedly is going to be put back in the lake tomorrow), took apart the steering cable bracket assembly, and mounted a "cable buddy", or large nut with a hole in one side through which one can inject lubricant, onto the tilt brace, or something like that. In essence, we stuck something onto some sort of piece in the thingamajigger, then squirted oil in it, and so now the boat will steer better. Theoretically. In any event, I got to tinker with tools for a while and get thoroughly messy so it was a definite success.

The girls and your mom and I played a rigorous round of Trouble before lunch, then we spent some good daddy-daughter time bonding while we each labored over our individual art projects. Apparently at some point the girls completed their masterpieces, because I was suddenly startled out of my artistic stupor by a thud, a bump, and a loud crash. Looking frantically around I realized that Brooklyn and Talia were no longer in the vicinity. I raced towards the source of noise and discovered a VERY broken lamp (as opposed to a mostly broken lamp) and two guilty looking girls. Don't tell anybody, but I think the breakage actually represented an improvement in the lamp's appearance. Perhaps the girls' very acute artistic sensibility had been offended by the thing and they decided it needed to go. And so it went, and Grandpa's cabin is no down one lamp. The lightbulb and lamp shade survived.

The death of the lamp prompted a change in activity, and we ambitiously tackled teaching Brooklyn and Talia how to play Monopoly. The real Monopoly. After about thirty minutes, Talia was thoroughly worn out and wandered off upstairs to take a nap. Brooklyn meanwhile had taken a sound lead. Her grasp of real estate trading and improvement is really quite sound; after another hour your mom and I threw in the towel, having both suffered a serious walloping at the hands of Brooklyn.

We then took a dip in the lake... or, at least Brooklyn and I did. The water was fairly warm, but the air was cool and the sun was spending its time in far-away St. George. Needless to say, I didn't last too long though Brooklyn probably would have stayed in until dark. I finally convinced her to trade in the lake for a few minutes in the hot tub, where I practiced getting used to the water jets in preparation for the move to our new house and jetted tub. Grandpa then proceeded to grill some very amazing salmon, which we devoured along with corn on the cob and steamed broccoli.

The girls have finally drifted off to sleep as I've been writing this. I tried reading them to sleep, but Talia kept asking "why?" over and over again, along with about a zillion other questions about what we were reading and every other related and non-related topic she could think of. I eventually threw my arms up in despair and went downstairs for a warm cookie that had just come out of the oven. When I came back up toting my laptop, the girls were once again creating artistic masterpieces, this time in my sketchbook. Fearing we were entering a viscous cycle and that the cabin would soon be missing yet another lamp, I decided it would be prudent for me to hang out with them in their room until they fell asleep. Which thankfully they have now done. Hopefully your reading this hasn't had the same soporific effect on you.

I love you. I miss you. I hope your frozen burritos and blueberry muffins were good. And that you cooked the burritos before eating them.

Your best friend forever.

(despicable?) Me

Well PB, your e-mail made me feel more euphoric than soporific. Sleep well, and dream of me.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Blaring Silence

Warning: this is likely the first in a series of pathetic posts where I wallow in self-pity.


The number of hours since my mother, husband, and sweet daughters left for a family vacation in Vermont. Without me. Sigh.

(I suppose someone has to stick around and earn the bread to put on the table.) (Ha ha.) (By the way, the table feels rather empty.) (Sigh again.)


The approximate number of hours until they return.

As you can imagine, the house is extremely quiet. I've become so accustomed to constant commotion that the stillness feels quite strange. I never realized how blaring silence can be.

I planned on watching a few movies to keep me company in the evening, but wouldn't you know, the TV died this week. As did my computer. Go figure. Just when we have so much discretionary income available after forking up for a down payment on our mortgate. (I'm so funny.)

On the positive side, I'm grateful to have baby Eli to keep me company with his giggles and smiles. I'm also thankful for an older laptop that allows me to keep in touch with the world via e-mail (even if it won't play DVDs). I'm grateful for a cell phone, and especially thankful for my husband who retrieved my phone for me after I left it on the bus yesterday. Oh, and I can't forget for the guy who mailed the very same phone to me from Las Vegas after I left it in the rental car a couple weeks ago...

With a bit of quiet, the blessings ring out loud and clear.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Love in a Box

We've been having difficulty getting Eli to go down for a nap lately. Perhaps we should leave it up to Brooklyn more often. :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sliding to the Bottom

About a month ago I posted about how I was on my way to the Top of Utah. (Or at least on my way to the Top of Utah Marathon). Little did I suspect that we would actually be headed straight for the bottom of the state with our move to St. George.

And so, it's time for a course correction. After a lot of contemplation, I've decided to push back this marathon. It simply isn't the right time for our family. When I first started running, I really needed some time to myself. Now that I am teaching ESL three-quarter time for the summer, I want more time with my family--not less. I feel like I'm gone too much during the week as it is. When Saturday mornings roll around, I want to be at home making waffles with my girls--not sweltering in the humidity.

I still enjoy running. I feel strong and invigorated as I train, improve, and progress. Up to a certain point, long runs relax me. The stress and worry melt away as the miles tick past. Recently, however, the Saturday long runs have started to induce stress rather than dissipate it. Fifteen miles--can I really make it that far? What about next week when it's sixteen? And how will I ever survive the twenty mile, 3.5 hour training run? That's longer than a block of church...

At this moment in my life, I don't want additional stress. Buying a home, starting a new job, and moving our family across the nation is plenty of excitement. I want to run for the joy of it--not because my training schedule says I ought to. I want running to become a permanent lifestyle change for me--not just a sixteen-week push. St. George has some positively magnificent trails; I look forward to logging many miles there while I am fresh and invigorated--not weary and burnt-out.

And so, even though it smarts my pride slightly to back out, I'm shifting my focus away from Top of Utah 2010. I still want to run a marathon, so you might find me at Top of Utah 2011, or perhaps even the St. George marathon. When it comes to distance, 26.2 miles will certainly be the peak of my running career. It's okay if I don't conquer the top right away. I'm looking forward to working my way up from the bottom.

So, just for amusement, I've decided to include a few of the short texts I've posted about my workouts on I think they really capture the ups and downs of running.

After running barely under 3 miles in just over 24 minutes (really quick for me.)
I wish there were an icon that could say that I felt both "great" and "blah." Today's run was fast, difficult, and empowering. I knew that I was running much quicker than usual, and doubted my ability to keep it up. Yet every moment that I didn't quit, I felt amazed at how strong I have become. I also learned that when running on a summer's night, one really ought to keep one's mouth shut. I'm certain that I inhaled a bug.

The next day... (5.7 miles)
If yesterday's run was the epitome of empowering, today's boiling hot run was the epitome of awful. Worst ever. Seriously. Don't even want to write about it. The only positive is that I didn't cave in and shorten my much. Here's hoping for a cooler run tomorrow.

Nigh unto Nine miles
A much better run today. Hallelujah! I was just about to throw in the towel and consider myself done in by the summer heat. I ran earlier in the morning and chose a shady route. Despite being stiff and sore to begin with, I loosened up and enjoyed my trek through campus, Crystal Lake, and back.

Running in Vegas--4.5 miles
A 5:30 am run in Las Vegas. I went the wrong way from the hotel and discovered a neighborhood that was definitely hoppin'--with those who had yet to go to bed. A couple of catcalls, and I promptly turned right around and enjoyed a nice run amongst the palm trees in a business park. It was amazing how little I sweat, despite the heat. Three cheers for low humidity!

Snow Canyon in St. George--8 miles
I've been dreading running in hot St. George, but it was actually fabulous! Eli, Jason, and I really enjoyed ourselves as we wove our way this gorgeous canyon. The temperature was really quite nice in the shade, too. Now I'm dreading going back to an Illinois clime!

Well, I guess Illinois's heat and humidity really was the kiss of death for my marathon plan, but as far as running in general goes, I'm not beat yet! :)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Zion's National Park

While we have been hard at work searching for homes here in St. George, we've also taken advantage of the opportunity to explore the wonders of the area. For Eli and I, this was our first trip to Zion's National Park.

I certainly hope it's not our last!

Happy Fourth of July!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Love from Afar

Jason, Eli, and I are all in Las Vegas this early morning. We flew in last night after I finished teaching so that we could go house hunting in St. George over the Fourth of July weekend. Eli was a perfect angel on the plane. Not only did he sleep the entire way, but we had an empty seat next to us that we were able to turn into a mini-bed. A stroke of pure fortune--I think it was the only empty seat on the entire aircraft. :)

In the meantime, Papa Kay is watching the girls, having driven all day yesterday to get to Illinois. We are so blessed to have wonderful family that goes to such great lengths (and distances) to help us. As far as I can tell, the girls are having a marvelous time with Grandpa. They went straight from dropping us off at the airport in Bloomington to spend Friday night at the Children's Museum.

What's surprises me, however, is how much I miss the girls already. Often I get so caught up in the day to day stress that I fail to recognize and acknowledge how remarkable my daughters are. I am so very proud of the confident, bright, sensitive, and articulate young women they are becoming.

Brooklyn and Talia, we love you! Our hearts will be with you for every family hug and family star.