This last week I was thinking about when we were first living in Brazil. Steph would often come in my room, climb on my bed and wake me up very early in the morning — as in at the break of dawn. One particular day she was jumping on my bed up and down and up and down and was begging me to go ride horses with her. I was groggy (I hated mornings after all) and said, “Hey, I was having a dream about horses” (and I was.)
“Tell me the story!”
So I told her a long and winding story about a bunch of wild horses we had captured and were training at Agape. Just at an exciting part I cut off and said, “But then you woke me up.”
“Go back to sleep! Finish the dream and tell me the rest!!!”
I laid back down blissful that I would get a little bit more sleep, but it wasn’t maybe five seconds later before she was shaking me awake, “Did you finish it yet?”
So I made an ending to the story, and we played something, but I don’t think we went to ride horses that day.
I wish I could remember all the crazy stories I used to make up for my little sister (back when she was both my “little” sister and as she always will be my younger sister.) I’m sure they were hilariously bad, but it would be fun if I could remember.
My very first memory (that I know of) is of going to the hospital to see Stephanie on her birth day. 🙂 Today, July 31, she is 27 years old and soon I will be 29. (When we were little kids she used to believe she would “catch up” to me in age, because briefly we were only “one year apart” until my birthday in September.)
My grandma took me to see her in the hospital and I got to hold her for a little bit. We had to sneak in because in those days children were not allowed on that floor of the hospital. I think back then I thought Stephanie was something like a new toy that I would get to bring home that was “mine” and at times I was quite bossy with her, which isn’t really my nature.
On her 27th birthday, I hope the very best things for her, that all of her dreams come true and that life brings her good things.
I love you, chickadee.
What a crazy long weekend. And I mean “long” in multiple ways. My weekend started out average on Friday. I worked a bit from home and then spent some time with my parents. I also read over my friend Adam Gibbs’ manuscript “A Great Story.” And it was great. His project and enthusiasm is inspiring in ways that I can’t even express. Sometimes for me as a writer it is difficult to see other writers so inspired and making so much progress, especially when I am feeling stalled (which I am right now) but I am so genuinely happy for Adam and the manuscript is so enjoyable that there is truly no jealousy. So that is such a happy thing for me as well. To see a friend succeeding.
Then my weekend got crazy. My Grandpa Lloyd fell down in the backyard while outside with his little dog Matt. I think I understood something about swatting at some moths or something. Grandma had her hearing aid out so it took a bit before she found him. At first they thought he was just bumped up and bruised but the next day they summoned an ambulance because he couldn’t even get out of his recliner. Turns out he had broken his hip and would need surgery, but first he needed to thicken up his blood because he had been on blood thinners before.
Then I went to my class reunion. Some might not agree, but I really did think it was a success. I will most definitely help with the planning of the 20th reunion and was excited to see everyone. I looked forward to it very much (as my friends can attest) and it was a lot of fun. I was sad that my little group of friends wasn’t able to make it, but for me I liked seeing all the rest of the people there. What struck me was 10 years ago we were all pretty much in the same place. Leaving Canyon High School. We were all pretty much in the same stage of life. But now we are all over the place. Some of us are married with four kids and some (like me) are single. Some have moved to the edges of the earth and some never plan to leave Canyon. It is fascinating to me to see everyone interacting again. I know that on facebook you can see all these people and find out what they look like and whether your high school crush is married or gained weight or whatever, but there is something even more interesting about seeing this group of people in the same room together. I thought so anyway. Others will disagree.
I slept in on Sunday, Saturday was such a late night for me! And I went to go see Grandpa up at the hospital. Then Monday (the Fourth) he went in for surgery and was out within 15 minutes! Apparently they just screwed the bone together and were done. Not sure yet what rehab will look like for him though. I am glad to be back closer to family so I can go up to the hospital at times like that. Later on Monday was the Pletcher family cookout. I sat at the kids’ table (as usual) and got to talk to Trey.
One of the busiest holiday weekends in a long time — including the ones where I worked!
I’ve tried to think of more eloquent things to say, but really all I can say about the trip moving to Texas is that it was a total blur, a ton of fun and really good for me.
In Santa Monica, Evan, Melanie and I walked along the Pier. In the pics you’ll see a shot of the end of Route 66. I thought that was kind of fun because Amarillo is roughly around the middle of the Route. Now I just need to go to Chicago! I have always wanted to go there. . . Santa Monica is really nice. We went to the Promenade and walked around the shops though we didn’t go in any and buy stuff (um, my car was already full enough, thank you!) Then we headed home. (Well, their home.) Evan had a composers’ meeting so Mel and I went to see a movie — “Bridesmaids.” I fully expected it to be full of stereotypes and basically “The Hangover” for women, but it actually had some unexpected depth, at least in my opinion. I thought the ad campaign was way off (as it often is in most movies these days. . . ) But this quote in particular I thought was applicable to myself at times and to many people I know. “I can’t deal with people who blame the world for their problems. You are your problems. And you are your solution.” (Melissa McCarthy’s character says that at one point.)
I love that quote. A lot of the movie was ridiculous and raunchy, but as I said there was an unexpected depth, I thought. (But maybe I have a soft spot for Melissa McCarthy. I have loved that actress ever since my favorite TV show of all time, “Gilmore Girls.”)
The next day we did Hollywood! We did a hike and then went to the Observatory. Then we went down to the theaters and saw the stars on the sidewalks and handprints. It was very interesting. You’ll see Melanie and I with our hands in the Harry Potter stars’ area. 🙂 It was awesome. After that we headed to their friend Chuck’s birthday party. He has a view of the Hollywood sign from his balcony! It was a lot of fun. Then we headed home (after being trapped in traffic for a while. Poor Melanie was driving and the Star Wars concert had just let out so it was total chaos.)
The next day I picked up my mom at Jerry and Carmen’s and we headed to Vegas! Then the next day we headed out (hahaha just kidding. . . I will give details.)
We stayed at Treasure Island (Thanks to Nicole’s suggestion.) It was a very nice room and had a great view of the strip. If I hadn’t been so tired I might have suggested going down to the pool, but instead we headed out and walked around to do some shopping and just exploring. Neither of us is much into gambling and to be honest both of us get headaches from cigarette smoke so we avoided the casinos. We picked up our tickets to Cirque de Soleil Love and dinner and then walked around some more. Dinner was truly amazing. It really was the best steak I have ever had. It was tender and juicy and just absolutely perfect. mmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it! There was other stuff at dinner that was incredible as well but the steak was so incredible that is all I can think about!! But seriously it was awesome.
After dinner we headed to the show that was just beyond words awesome. In something like that there is such a combination of aestheticism, showmanship, talent and creativity that it is hard to fathom how it comes together night after night. Mom liked the skaters best (for those of you who have seen it) and I just couldn’t pick. I kind of liked the slower numbers best because you could see what was happening more, but also the first time the Beatles came out where they were jumping all around was pretty amazing.
The next morning we got up and made the longest drive I made the entire trip. The driving part was only about 9.5 hours, but we lost an hour and stopped a lot so in the end it “seemed” like 12 hours. But it wasn’t all boring driving.
We first stopped at the Hoover Dam. As many times as I have been through Nevada, I have never been over this particular dam (others, yes.) It was pretty awesome, even though they made me open my car doors to make sure I wasn’t hiding explosives (seriously, do I look dangerous??) I was kind of afraid it would all tumble out but thankfully all the luggage stayed inside the car and we were able to drive across the dam. We also saw the HUGE new-ish bridge which is made to bypass the dam. Really incredible how big it is. On the drive back Mom and I started smelling smoke and after some investigation we found out that although we were in New Mexico the heavy smoke was from the Arizona wildfires. Total craziness. Apparently the smoke had already made it all the way to Iowa that night. It might have made it even farther by now because they continue to grow.
Then on the next day (losing track of actual days. . .sorry) We made it back to Amarillo! It only took about five hours. I was unpacked and organized within two days. I hate the feeling of being unsettled.
I know many people will think that this is the end of my adventure and now I’m settling back into a boring life in the Panhandle, but I feel that this is only the beginning of a year full of adventures. I hope that everyone on the NOP will stay in touch and that I get to catch up with everyone in Texas soon!
I’m now in Los Angeles at Melanie’s! So this is what has happened in the meantime. I’ll have to upload pics later.
I arrived at Deana’s on Thursday and took it easy that night. I was fairly tired still from the drive/all the craziness that was my last week in Port Angeles. I finally was getting over my cough though, so that was good. Deana has two of the most adorable cats ever. So I spent a lot of time harassing them. Haha. On Friday Deana and I along with two students from her church headed to the beach. We went to this cute little beach called Bean Hollow and then stopped at two tiny towns on the coast including Half Moon Bay. The other one I’ll have to look up the name (Deana, I’m sure will remind me :)…)
On Saturday she and I went into the city to go to a Carnival festival with Latin music (including Brazilian.) Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so great so the attendance wasn’t very good, but it was fun and it was also kind of fun to see some Brazilian booths. After that we decided to go downtown and watch a movie so we started walking and decided we’d grab a cab along the way but we never did, so we walked like 3 miles to get there. Luckily the rain held out while we were walking, and we made it there nice and dry. We saw “Pirates of the Caribbean 4.” My one-sentence review is that it is better than the third one and about even with the others.
After leaving the theater it was pouring rain so we ran to Old Navy to wait out the rain, and Deana got some really cute items :). I decided I didn’t need to add to the massive amount of things in my car. Haha. Then we headed home and attempted to watch “Tangled” but we both fell asleep. Sunday I slept in, but Deana had to work so she got up early. I went to the 10:45 service with her which was really good. Everything had a bit of a somber tone because of the suicide of a young woman in the community the week before, but I thought it was handled well in the service.
After church Deana and several other friends headed out to go cherry picking! It was a lot of fun. To be honest I probably have never even eaten real cherries (besides the ones from a jar with all the syrup and such.) But my parents will be surprised to hear that I thought they were pretty good. (Well at least the sweet ones. there were several I took one bite and spit out haha. It was sunny but not too sunny so that was nice too. And Sarah and Becca (I’m not sure how they spell their names) — the two little girls that went with us — were so cute. It was hilarious how seriously they took finding the right cherries.
On Monday Deana and along with her friend Erin went to the Art and Wind Festival. There were supposed to be a lot of kite flying demonstrations but I didn’t really see much of that going on. Maybe we missed it by going in the afternoon instead of the morning. It was the first festival that I have been to that I haven’t’ covered in any way in something like 6 years, so I found that to be delightful! Festivals can be fun when you aren’t tired of them before they even begin! We didn’t buy anything besides food, but just enjoyed ourselves that afternoon. Then Deana and I went back home and took a nap (we were both beat) then we had dinner and some awesome yogurt from the Yogurt Shack in town and relaxed for the rest of the evening. It was really fun because I have been to San Fran several times so it wasn’t like I had to go to the Golden Gate, the pier and all that because I’ve already done that several times. All of that is fun, but it wasn’t top of my list. Mainly I just wanted to hang out with my cousin!
The next day I left at a leisurely hour, got on U.S. Highway 101 and drove down to Los Angeles. I beat Melanie home but Evan was here so we hung out for an hour until Mel got home. On Thursday she and I spent the day shopping and hanging out by the pool reading magazines. Then yesterday we went to Paradise Cove, which is in Malibu, and spent the day at the beach! It is a really lovely little stretch of beach and I managed not to get sunburned (yay!) And what better way to spend a day in California? Today the plan is to head to Santa Monica and tomorrow we will go to Hollywood. Then my mom and I will meet up on Sunday and head out to Vegas! yay. It will be a good trip. I’m glad it has been both fun-filled and restful.
More to come!
So just catching up a little bit here! I’ll write more specific, humorous and more thought-out stories later, but just to catch everyone up here is a general overview.
I left Port Angeles on May 24 after a very hurried weekend of goodbyes and cleaning. I really didn’t think I would finish everything, but the landlord said (thank goodness) that most of my deposit should be returned to me. So, we’ll see what happens. I’m very grateful. A lot of people kept asking if I was emotional about leaving. I have to say, that so far I haven’t really been emotional. I would say the main reason for this is the certainty that this is the right decision. I have never been sure of any decision in my life, except for this one. But I am not nervous or scared or anything. I feel completely peaceful in a way I have never felt before. Also, I have moved many, many times before, and, in a way, this has helped me learn that some people will stay in touch and others will not. It doesn’t necessarily reflect on the deepness of the friendship who stays in touch and who doesn’t. I’ve had very important friendships that the people are simply really bad at staying in touch. But I’ve learned that this is a product of life. Most likely people will move in and out of life. And those that are important will likely at least try to stay in touch. This does not mean that I won’t miss everyone. Which I will. Very deeply. I just haven’t gotten deeply emotional about it this time. Yet. Probably over a cup of tea in a month I’ll start crying randomly or something. Or maybe the certainty of the rightness of my decision will carry me through. I’m not sure. But, for those of you in Port Angeles, know that I will miss you and I love you guys. And I really hope you do stay in touch, but I do understand that life gets in the way sometimes.
So I left my empty apartment with my jam-packed car on a rather hot day for Port Angeles. I thought about taking some pictures, but, to be honest, I was just too exhausted to take one final picture of the town. And I have a whole bunch anyway. From there I headed to Oregon where I barely stopped about mid-way through the state and saw Ron and Sue. They were extremely gracious and I am so grateful to them for their kindness. I had a nice visit with them and then took off early in the morning to Crescent City, CA.
By the time I arrived in the area of the Redwoods it was raining. A lot. So I didn’t get to do the kind of hiking I planned to, but that was OK because I was pretty tired anyway. The whole way between Oregon and Cali I was listening to this book on CD that Lyndi gave me. It was a brilliant idea. I wish I had thought of it. I didn’t think I would like it, but it turns out it is better than music because it is almost like conversation. It keeps you kind of engaged, without distracting like a phone or something would. I’ll have to review the book later. I bought a couple others for later in the trip because I enjoyed the experience so much. The woman at the hotel pointed out a couple of things of interest so here are a couple that I know people will enjoy. Here is a grove of trees where the second trilogy (or first . . . first filmed second in numeration) of Star Wars was filmed. I’m sure it is deeper in the forest, but this is the general vicinity. Not sure what scenes. Sorry Star Wars fans.
And here is the entrance to the area where parts of Jurassic Park were filmed. There is a whole trail down to the area, but it was raining too much to do the full hike. So I just got out to take a picture of the general area. 🙂
Then I headed out on the road. You can see the above slideshow for a few pics if you like.
Once I arrived in Danville it has been a blast to see Deana. Anyone who knows my cousin knows that she is full of life and full of fun. It is always refreshing and fun to be around her. Today we went out to the coast with a couple students of hers (she is a youth leader for a church for those of you who don’t know) and we had a lot of fun.
I’ll upload the pics from that later.
Hope everyone is well. I’d love to hear from everyone!
I’ve been thinking about the nature of happiness lately. I have had my bouts of depression, and I suppose I never have felt fully satisfied in my life — I think that gives me the drive to pursue the things that I really want. My life is far from where I hope it will be eventually or even in a year from now — but I know I’m getting there. However, I do know several people who seem bent on unhappiness. No matter what they exude an atmosphere of unhappiness and usually anger. I often wonder if the possibility of happiness exists, and these people simply are bent on acting out, or, perhaps, they are doomed to unhappiness. In the latter case I wonder if I’m somehow destined to be on a roller coaster of emotion at the lower end of the scale. It does seem I can somewhat choose how to feel, but not to the degree that I wish.
On the other side, on my vacation with my parents I encountered long-time family friends the Nobles. Sue especially always seems so happy and easy going. This trip I met the two older boys’ wives. Both girls are beautiful outwardly, but they both exuded a happiness that glowed. The whole family speak of God frequently but without the condemnation or preachy-ness that so frequently accompanies such talk. I, of course, don’t know if they are all truly happy all the time. I just know that in the few hours I spent with them, and the time I’ve spent with the Nobles in the past, there has always been an air of joy and peace.
I admire the happiness and continue to strive for it. What are your thoughts? Is happiness truly a choice? How does one overcome a sort of low-level depression? Is it all brain chemistry or is it all circumstance or is it all just destiny?
I remember reading “Life with Father” when I was a kid, perhaps before I could actually read. I’m not really sure if I read it or if it was read to me. The antics of the father in the book were pure hilarity. And sometimes relate-able for my sister and I as we had our own jokester for a dad.
I remember one April Fool’s Day when we found a note on the counter. It said we were grounded from our bikes, outside and the TV. During spring break. I think Mom was more upset than we were. After a tearful conversation with Dad while he was at work (I was POSITIVE that I had not left my bike out the night before) he told Steph to pick up the paper. Underneath the fold it said April Fool’s Day. We were “got.” I have to say that the Cosby Show episode where Cliff declares that the family can’t get him rang very true for us. We never could get him quite as good as he got us.
Dad’s outgoing and enthusiastic nature also contrasts with my own quiet and introspective personality. Frequently I would have rather stayed at home and read a book, slept or something else than go out and do whatever was planned for the day. But sometimes it was a requirement. I’ve had more experiences than many people who are many years my senior. So it has helped me grow.
Another thing I’ve always appreciated about my parents are their lessons in both practicality and in character. I have to say that I do have some credit card debt. This is despite my dad’s constant saying that it is “plastic from hell.” I have to agree with him. Though I still believe that the debt I have incurred wasn’t done from a consumerist angle. It has been generosity that has been my downfall. And perhaps that balance of giving is something I still need to work on, but I think that both my sister and I have that ingrained in us. We want to help and give to those we love and to those who are in need. That isn’t such a bad thing. Though we’re learning to balance that with our own needs.
I love you, Dad! For a writer I’m pretty terrible at saying the words very often. I’m shy and introverted about my feelings, but I believe and hope that everyone knows how much I love both of my parents. I’ve always been sort of amazed how seamless it seemed when Dad adopted my sister and I so many years ago (I bet he knows, but I never can remember exactly. . . 21 now? I think that is close.) I have never doubted his love not only for me but for our family. As an adult who covers some of the most horrific things that families do to each other, I can’t say how unique that seems to me now. And how much I appreciate it.
I also have always appreciated that Dad has never been the kind of dad who had trouble saying “I love you” or to demonstrate affection. He’s always been supportive and caring and sometimes I don’t even “get” TV shows very well because the emotionally and physically absent father is just not in my comprehension.
On this day of honoring fathers, I also often think of my biological dad, Steve. I wish I had more memories to share of him, but the only possible memory is possibly just something my childish mind made up years ago. It isn’t even really a memory but an impression of being spun around in a circle under my grandparents’ living room fan in a game of “airplane.” Maybe it never happened. I don’t know. Although I had less than two years with him I also love and appreciate him. My grandpa, his father, frequently told the story of them sitting on the porch watching me be a toddler and Steve turning to him to say, “Ain’t she something? Ain’t she something special?” I do wish I knew more stories and things about him. I’ve always been kind of shy about asking. Weird for a reporter, huh?
I am so grateful for all of the fathers in my life. I couldn’t have asked for better dads. And my grandpas are all such good examples. They all have such good qualities to offer in teaching how to live my life.
The other day I was talking with my sister, Stephanie, about our future careers and husbands. We were marveling at the example our parents set. It gave us the impression that having a loving and fun relationship is possible long term. That marriage doesn’t end up boring or out of touch or bitter as so many television examples are. And Dad loves his job. So we pursue our own “big dreams” and our own lasting loves. It makes it challenging because we aren’t expecting to fail. But teaching us to pursue our big dreams is never a bad thing right?