Sunday, July 26, 2009

Super Hero Triathaman

After my marathon trip earlier this week, I arrived home Wednesday night and started packing to leave for the C's triathalon the next day after work. C took pity on me and suggested we leave on Friday morning instead. I graciously accepted his offer, and we arrived in plenty of time on Friday for C to get his registration packet, set up his bike, save his runner's transition spot, and for C and I to fit in an evening river swim. We joined some friends for dinner that evening, and attempted to get to bed early that night.

The next morning we were on the road by 5:45 AM, and I made arrangements for transportation and set up seating for C's grandparents and other visiting family members while C made final preparations for the race. Everyone had a chance to greet C before the race, and with all comfortably situated, C's swim wave started off his race. C led the pack minus a tall, blue-clad individual who almost missed the exit. C's bike and run were strong, but his leg began to cramp during the run, slowing him down significantly. All-in-all, he did very well, and truly left it all out there on the course.

After the race I gathered up all of his gear while he left a little more of himself under a large tree, and then, after a two hour nap at a friend's home, we headed off to celebrate Grandpa's birthday with the rest of the family. At 10:00 we headed off for home, settling down in bed around 1:00 AM, just long enough for C to get a whopping 5 hours of sleep before heading out for bishopbric meeting this morning.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Indiana, Chicago, Indiana

I flew out Sunday on a last-minute business trip. I met several interesting individuals on my journey - 18 year old Lauren, who just finished a Christian girls retreat in the Tetons, Steve, a pilot and avid reader who lives in Virginia and loves learning about his Civil War ancestor, and Atul Arora, a car part distributor from Peenya, Bangalore whose father was a freedom fighter in India's battle for Independence. Lauren and Steve both graciously accepted copies of the Book of Mormon, and seemed interested in reading more.

I stayed the first night in Indiana and of course took advantage of my close proximity to a courthouse (for some reason, my co-workers wanted to go to Boston and California instead, so no one minded when I volunteered for the Midwest), and within ten minutes of arriving at the courthouse, I captured exactly what I came after, and then proceeded to conduct my first interview with a local researcher. My next interview was in Chicago, just three blocks from President Obama's home. That interview went extremely well, but lasted for three hours instead of the scheduled one.

I stayed that evening in Hotel ## (after driving past President Obama's home), and enjoyed a solo late night workout with a spectacular evening view of the new Trump building. I slept in until 7 when (after a reminder call) my breakfast arrived with the morning paper. As I prepared to leave, I attempted to check in online, but the system failed to recognize my 6 or 7 repeated attempts. Still battling on the phone with the NWA/Delta Merger, I climbed into my car and punched in my GPS coordinates while the valets loaded my bags. After clearing the Trump, I finally got satellite reception, and was on my way to my next interview, still with no guaranteed flight home.

Both of my interviews went very well, and I was able to glean quite a bit from my subjects. Following my second interview for the day, however, my time was down to the wire. GPS can do magic things, like make it possible for you to fly past Chicago rush-hour traffic at the speed of - dare I say how fast I was going? Suffice it to say that I was not going the speed of rush-hour traffic. I vaguely remember a lot of blurry corn fields and very little traffic. Apparently the Indianapolis airport moved last November, so when I arrived at the airport with minutes to spare to catch my flight, my sigh of relief was replaced with the air of defeat when I read, "The Indianapolis Airport has moved. . . " followed by three-step directions to the new airport.

After another night's stay in Indianapolis, I flew out the next morning at 7 AM by the skin of my teeth, and enjoyed the comforts of first class by flight attendants who apparently thought I was Jennifer Garner. I arrived a bit late for my Wednesday morning manager's meeting, with a handful of hours of sleep under my belt, and a full day of work ahead of me.

Revisiting Springfield

Today a friend expressed an interest in locating a small, compact handgun. I never really had an affinity for revolvers when shopping for something similar for myself years ago, which seemed to be the primary focus of "female" weapons, but I couldn't wait to try out this little 9mm Springfield sub-compact semi-auto handgun even before it was released on the market. I included an i-Pod in the photo to help give an idea of the small size. Fortunately for me, I had the opportunity to try out this firearm before purchasing it. While competitive shooting is compromised slightly by the short barrel, the standard magazine holds ten rounds and the compact size makes it ideal for female hands. It includes a light rail, and as additional safety features, a double compression trigger, and a beaver paddle on the back. C used it to compete in a couple of the local IDPA-style shoots, but won his state trial with a full barrel. For those not concerned about the caliber or competitive accuracy of a weapon, the tiny Beretta Bobcat is a fun little .22 caliber handgun with a pop-up barrel that is rather easy to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning purposes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I got Stitches. . .

C cut his finger eleven days ago. He was cutting out a notch on a piece of tile, and tried to catch it when it fell, so the result was him trying to find an after hours clinic while I scrambled to figure out what our new insurance company covered. The doctor told him to come back in ten days to have the stitches removed. Last night was day ten, so I came into the kitchen to see C set up with an operating station consisting of a magnifying glass, tweezers, and a full-sized pair of Fiskers, working away at his stitches.

I offered a few additional "surgical" tools to make the procedure go a little more smoothly, then poured the hydrogen peroxide while C watched with delight as it bubbled in his wound. I know, you aren't supposed to pour it, but it is so much fun to watch!

At any rate, he can now swim again, and with his recent ankle injury healed, he just might be able to do that triathalon in two weeks after all!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top 10 Reasons for Owning a Cockatiel

Top 10 Reasons for Owning a Cockatiel:

10. They always want to hear what you have to say.
9. They welcome you home by name when you walk in the door.
8. You will never throw out your back carrying your bird around.
7. They really like to help no matter what you are doing: Cooking, sewing, typing on your computer, paying bills, talking on the phone, brushing your teeth. . .
6. They will eat almost anything - as long as it looks like you ate some first.
5. They sleep for 10-12 hours a night.
4. They never complain about the music you listen to, as long as you listen to music.
3. Their poop is really small.
2. They look more silly posing in front of the mirror than you do.
1. They come fully equipped with Bonsai Tree trimming skills.

A Brand New Day

There is a song on The Wiz soundtrack titled, "A Brand New Day." I have loved it for years, partly because of the symbolism behind removing repressive bonds and partly because of the amazing visuals and dance associated with it from the movie. It is a movement from pain and sorrow to pure freedom and joy. We owned the soundtrack when I was a very young child and I remember dancing to it along with a huge variety of soul music, broadway musicals, classical music, rock, and a little country.

We all have little a-ha moments in life. Last night I was studying Operating Systems on my laptop while relaxing in the hammock. The evening couldn't have been more beautiful. The sun was just starting to set, and the clouds absorbed a palette of colors like soft sponges against a lilac canvas. The evening air was cool and still and fragrant. To top things off, my brain was completely grasping every word I read.

C appeared at the kitchen door and asked if I wanted to go for a short motorcycle ride, and I responded, "I am kind of in a groove with my school work." He encouraged me to keep going, and disappeared. I sat there for a moment, and then thought, I will never regret taking extra time to spend with my eternal buddie.

C was almost ready to leave when I ran in to tell him I'd be ready in just a moment. He excitedly called out that he would have my helmet and gloves ready, and I grabbed both of our leather jackets and threw on some matching tennis shoes. The evening was beautiful and couldn't be more perfect for a romantic evening ride.

Moving Past the Past

And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled. D&C 45:88

How true is this principle! Without any details of the situation, there is such immense peace in clearing up the past and moving forward with a bright hope for the future.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Look at the SIZE of that FISH!!!

Last night C asked if I would be willing to go down to the lake and kayak next to him while he got in a pre-race, open-water swim. I was a little hesitant when I woke up this morning because of the overcast sky, but we loaded up and headed down to the lake. The water was incredibly choppy, and the boats and wave runners did not improve the situation. Kayaking is a great experience when you aren't struggling to stay in the line of sight of someone who you are also trying not to run into, and directional control was not on my side while fighting the choppy water and wakes.

C swam along, unaware of the dead bird he almost cuddled up to, floating on its back with one leg in the air. Nor was he aware of the enormous carp that would frequently appear in the distance like floating logs, and swim away when we came VERY close. We had been on the water for some time when he was about to swim into a particularly large fish that DIDN'T disappear. In an attempt to keep him from running into it, I positioned the Kayak in front of him, when I got a good look at just how big the fish was. "Look at the SIZE of that FISH!" I shouted.

Up to that point, C had been unable to hear me at all with his earplugs in, but somehow, he stopped just long enough to hear my exclamation, and in an instant, he dove on top of the kayak to get out of the water. "You can't say things like that to someone with a deep water phobia! And I'M the one in the water!" I was laughing so hard that it was hard to get the words out that he was sinking the kayak. I told him he'd already passed at least twelve of them, and explained that it was just an enormous gold fish, with no teeth. I had a particularly good shot at the wide gaping mouth. He didn't seem to find much comfort in the large number of slimy companions.

A tiny bit more relaxed, but very motivated to get OUT of the water, C climbed down from the kayak and, without much hesitation, suggested we head back right away. We both laughed about it all the way home, and believe it or not, he asked if I'd go back to the lake with him again next week! How's that for conquering fear!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Role Reversal

When we were first married I was always taking on something new, and C would constantly tell me to relax. While I still manage my time like it is the most precious commodity on the planet, I am now the one encouraging him to slow down and relax.

As we left for our holiday retreat, C was still busily checking things off of his list. After checking in to our room, we started walking around the resort, and collapsed on the grass a stones' throw away from our room. We stayed there for some time before heading into our cozy little room. I think that is the longest we have both stayed still for the past three months.

This was the first time we stayed at our retreat in the summer, and it was quite delightful. After chilling for the evening with some tasty fudge and a good movie, we went to bed reasonably early. I woke bright and early the next morning at 9:30 to get in my Jillian workout. We ate a lunch of Chicken Marsala with cranberry and wild rice salad in our room, and then enjoyed a couple of games of life-sized chess and a quilting show, followed by some amazing coconut gelato. C won both rounds of chess, but I just enjoyed the vision of future games on our own board.

Dinner was spectacular with grilled teriyaki Mahi Mahi and smoked beef brisket, and some of the sweetest white corn I have had in years. We learned a little more about each other, and went on many strolls around the beautiful property. We enjoyed romantic kisses in a secluded gazebo and while watching fireworks over the golf course, and planned for a business that C is excited about starting. It was a fun, albeit, uneventful weekend away.

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