Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Brian Setzer and Ice Skating

It is Christmas time...really? It hasn't felt like. Even with the temperature dropping here in Phoenix, decorations all over the place, and every store playing seasonal music, it just doesn't feel like Christmas. It may be because we don't have a tree up or that we didn't put our lights on the outside of the house, but would that really make such a difference?

The holidays this year have been busier than they have ever been. It is great for the Food Bank where I work, but it has put a damper on my social life and time with friends. This past weekend, I finally got to do something fun for me.

On Friday night, Ryan and I saw Brian Setzer Orchestra at Mesa Arts Center. It was a blast! I wish I could play the guitar like Brian Setzer. Loved him in the Stray Cats and now I love him as a big band/rockabilly icon. What could be cooler than hearing "The Nutcracker Suite" rearranged to be played by a 20 piece big band and an electric guitar. Too cool!

On Saturday night, it was time to celebrate Hollie's birthday. After baking all day, I was looking forward to ice skating. I hadn't gone in so long. I was afraid I would be walking to the car at the end of the night with wet jeans stuck to my rearend. But, I didn't fall...not once. It was nice to feel the cool air on my face and the chill through my clothes. Christmas was starting to sneak its way in. We finished the night with dessert wine at a cute wine bar by the house.

On the way home, "Honey, maybe we can put the Christmas tree up tomorrow?"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Atonement -- I'm still floating

Why am I floating? Why I am having a renewed passion for movies? Atonement. I went and saw the film yesterday afternoon with some friends. I had been looking forward to seeing it for months because it is based on one of my favorite books, it stars the brilliant James McAvoy, and Joe Wright made me a fan with Pride and Prejudice.

I was not disappointed.

I have to say this is the best film I have seen in a very long time. It was gorgeous. Every moment of the telling of this story was a treasure. And, it was the small gestures with poetic and strong meaning that he framed in such poignant ways that often it took my breath away. This is a story of a love that was never truly realized because of the misactions of another. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy were brilliant; making me feel their pain, ecstasy and anger.

Joe! He is a cinematic genius. The sweeping landscapes of the war captured as though tableau, but with reality pulling and biting at you. And, the editing was moving. Each frame flowed from one to the other seamlessly and with the beauty of a perfectly performed ballet. The music and sounds on the movie lent to character intensity and emotion. Everything was just so right on and perfect.

I was gushing all night about the movie to my husband, believing again that films can be wonderful. They don't have to be shoot 'em up extravaganzas or sweeping epics of massive budget proportion. Film can once again encapsulate human emotion and bring a dose of it to the audience so that the characters become a part of you.

I cannot wait to see the next Joe Wright film. What kind of joy and yearning will he bring to cinema fans next time?

p.s. Mr. are truly brilliant. You have brought new hope to this movie fan that actors can be passionate about their craft. And, in this time of tabloids, gossip and self-indulgence, you have shown that it is possible for an actor to be a class act off-screen. When you are finished with your break from acting, know that there will be people waiting to see where you go next.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm THAT Woman

Yesterday, while wandering the aisles of Walgreens searching for allergy medicine, I was talking to my best friend, Rachel, on my cell phone. When I got to the allergy section of the store, I was talking with animation and laughing at something witty she had said. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that I was getting the "how rude" look from a lady nearby. Omigosh! I give that look to people who talk loudly on their cell phones! Eek! I became THAT lady.

For a fleeting moment, I remembered my conversation with my husband about how much I hate those little ear pieces for cell phones and how it seems to give people the right to just wander around and talk to themselves without concern for courtesy in public places. argh! And, then here I was wandering around with my phone suctioned to my ear, laughing loudly.

Then, I truly became THAT woman and said, "I don't care. I'm talking to Rachel and we would be loud if she was here with me. What's the difference?" eek! In one minute I made an excuse for myself and countless others who have thrown proper public decorum to the wind. Wasn't talking to a friend whom you love and cherish much more important than being proper?

I am still conflicted about my actions last night. I have strong feelings about rude cell phone users who talk while eating in the booth next to me, who talk so loudly that I can hear them four grocery store aisles down, or those who are so engrossed in their conversation they don't even notice the other human beings in their vicinity. I certainly didn't do that, but I was rude enough that I even talked to Rachel while I ordered a hot chocolate at Starbucks. I hate that! And, then I did it. Blah!

So, I think I will just leave my blog entry at the point where I say I am a hypocrite when it comes to cell phone usage and will have to think long and hard about becoming a model cell user, setting the example for others or will I just become one of THEM.

BTW, it was wonderful talking to Rachel. She always brightens my day. Sis, next time a strange guy stands a bit too close to you, before parting, just smile widely and say, "Was it as good for you as it was for me? Don't be a stranger; call me." That should shock them to pieces.

And, just for Rachel, Bernard Fanning is giving the scoop on his Los Angeles sabbatical. It looks like his band Powderfinger is making a new record in Hollywood and he is blogging about his adventures. Can't wait to see him in concert again.

On the music front...current obsessions: Maximo Park, Travis, Rilo Kiley and Bloc Party. We saw Travis and Maximo Park perform at The Marquee in Tempe. What a show!!!

On the book front...Plowing through the Diana Gabaldon Outlander series. Love her use of history and she draws fantastic characters. She also bestowed some wonderful wisdom to me on writing books that has been super helpful in the my latest endeavour.


Friday, November 09, 2007

The Bump

You ever look at your face really closely, nose touching the bathroom mirror, condensation forming in front of you? Looking at every nook, cranny, pore, pimple, splotch, etc? I think we have all done this at one time, but what do you do when there is more than just the normal adult acne, blackheads and blotches? What do you do when there appears on the side of your head a bump?

My husband, Ryan, had surgery last year, just after we were married to have a cancerous tumor removed, as well as his parotid gland (the location of the said tumor) because he discovered a bump on his jaw. It was scary. Yes, part of it was the "c" word, but part of it was also the explanation that he could have a paralyzed face because of all of the facial nerves near the gland and tumor.

He came out of four hours of surgery, blessed with the removal of cancer and the same beautiful smile I fell in love with. Having a rare type of cancer that seems to like popping up on the same piece of real estate, he was subjected to radiation. This process was horrible because it made him feel sick and he would be so exhausted afterward. But, like a shogun warrior he faced it all bravely. He has been cancer-free since March 2006. He is a survivor and such an inspiration to me.

Now, after experiencing all of the above...what do you do when a bump appears on your face once more? This is what happened six weeks ago when we noticed a bump right above the location of his surgery last year, next to his ear. When we went to the oncologist, he wasn't alarmed and thought it was just scar tissue. But, he ordered an MRI to be on the safe side. While waiting for the health insurance company to approve an MRI, we watched the bump become bigger. And, it was tender to the touch. After having an MRI last week, we went to see the oncologist once more to have him examine my husband and look at the results of the tests.

"It looks like it is a lymph node. You should make an appointment right away with your specialist. He will either want to do a biopsy or remove it entirely."

My heart broke when I saw the panicked face of my husband looking back at me. He mouthed..."here we go again."

Today, he saw the specialist--the surgeon that performed his surgery last year. Until today, we discussed the possibilities, the what-ifs, and we prayed a lot. I didn't blame Ryan for not wanting to go through the whole process again. Who would want to? But, the look of defeat in his eyes when he made plans for the worse, killed me inside. And, thinking about it, just made it all low could I be on the not-handling-this-so-well scale when I break down in tears in the bathrooom at work?

Well, we heard the news and it hasn't allayed our fears and it hasn't made Ryan rest any easier. It is a tumor of some kind...7 millimeters of tumor. It will have to be removed regardless if it is cancerous or not. The doctor took a needle biopsy today and we will get the results on Tuesday. It was hard for my husband to not break down and cry in the office. He could see it all coming again...the surgery, the recovery, the radiation. Deep down inside I know he sees surgery as a blessing. It will enable him to continue living his life. But, I also know that in the back of his mind he is thinking..."how many more times does I have to endure this?" Being on the verge of 40, he is young to be wrangling with such health issues.

So, until Tuesday, we will remain on a teeter-totter. We will feel blessed in the lives we have and think about the best of outcomes. And, then we will also feel the injustice in the prospect of facing the possiblity of cancer again. And, this is all because of a bump. Who knew?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Beach Wedding

This weekend, we went to California to attend my cousin's wedding. We were looking forward to seeing him exchange vows with his girlfriend of seven years, but we were also encouraged by a mini-holiday by the beach.

When we arrived in Laguna Beach on Friday, we weren't disappointed. Our hotel was a short walk to the beach (aka less than 40 steps). And, we were right by PCH so we could walk among the restaurants and shops in Laguna. The temperature was perfect for exploring. We ate dinner on Friday evening at Sapphire. It is a lovely restaurant that is inside an old pottery house from Laguna's artist colony history. Everything we had was delicious and the atmosphere was romantic. We shared a goat cheese and roasted tomato tart as well as a pasta dish with lemon cream, prawns and crab.

On Saturday, we drove along PCH taking in the beach sites. Then we headed to Fashion Island in Newport Beach to get my cousin's gift, a pair of heels, and to get something to eat. We found a lovely surprise while we were there...a Teuscher Chocolatiers. I remember seeing a Teuscher's in Zurich. We bought some things to take home and enjoy. So far my favorites are the dark chocolates shaped like bees with bits of crystallized honey inside. yum!

The wedding was gorgeous. It was held at a house on the beach. They exchanged their vows under an arch adorned with flowers and shells with the setting sun in the background. They both glowed with happiness; I had never seen Wayne so elated. And, I was so happy for him. From experience, there is nothing like finding your soulmate...the one person you were meant to be with. The smile on his face after he kissed her as his wife was evidence enough that she was the one for him. My sister and I are ecstatic because we have more than just a new cousin...we have a new sister.

Each table at the wedding was named after favorite bands and musicians. We sat at Willie Nelson. As the deejay called each table forward to get their food, I figured that the neighbors must be quite curious as to who was attending this wedding. We had such a beautiful time seeing family and friends that we hadn't seen in a very long time. The evening was filled with love for the couple. I was honored to be there.

The next day, we enjoyed breakfast at an old standard in Laguna called The Cottage. I had eaten there many times after early morning snorkeling in Laguna Beach when I was in college. The french toast there is divine. After breakfast, we headed to Oak Glen to admire the colorful leaves of fall and to spend some time with my family. We had a wonderful time eating caramel apples and looking at the scenery around us.

After a long weekend of fun and relaxation, we were back in reality at 10 p.m. on Sunday evening when we arrived back at our house in Arizona. We'll be back California. Believe me, we'll be back.

Monday, August 20, 2007


Have you seen it yet? Have you seen this wonderful movie? Some have said it is something like The Princess Bride. I can see the resemblances because it is something like a fairy tale. But, it is such a lovely story all on its own.

Imagination reigns in this world of Stormhold, separated from the human world by a simple stone wall. When a young man sneeks through the gap in the wall, the whole story begins. Nine months go by and, after befriending a captured princess, the young man finds he is a father.

Eighteen years later, the young man is grown and his son Tristan is on the verge of manhood, fighting the awkwardness of unrequited love and a lack of confidence. One night Tristan makes a promise on a fallen star to bring it back to the one he loves in exchange for her hand in marriage.

He finds his way back into Stormhold in search of the star and finds that the star is the shape of a beautiful woman. He begins to live the adventure he has always dreamed of...defending the advances of a witch in search of the star's heart, alluding two princes who are determined to inherit the throne of Stromhold and the rare jewel worn by the star, and then meeting rough and rowdy pirates who take orders from a cross-dressing captain.

In the end, Tristan becomes a confident hero who can parry a sword and capture the girl's heart. Oh, he also destroys the witches after his beloved's heart, discovers his mother and becomes the rightful heir to the throne of Stormhold.

I think the greatest part of this movie is that you are allowed to check reality at the door and drift away on a cloud of an adventurous tale. It sweeps you away and reminds you of what it was once like to fall asleep while your father or mother read you a fable or bedtime story.

I also like the fact that this is a simple, beautiful love story. It makes you smile to yourself as you think back to those new moments when you first fell in love...really fell in love. Although you are watching a story, you identify with the hero and his star. You begin to glow with happiness just as the star in the movie does. Movies just aren't like this anymore.

On another note:
A lot of coming movies are based on terrific teen fiction books. Here are a few I can't wait to read and see:
The Golden Compass
The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Seeker

And, a movie that cannot come soon enough for me...Across the is about time someone made a rock movie that is based on Beatles music.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Ugliest Statement

Driving into work this morning I saw a bumper sticker that was more than just an observation about unattentive drivers or a favorite band. It was the ugliest statement I had ever seen and what was worse was the fact that it had been created on a bumper sticker so there were likely more like it riding around on the back of vehicles.

Let me lead with the caviat that I fully respect and defend the First Amendment so this person had every right to express his idea or view, just as I have the right to express mine right now. But, I think that this statement could be viewed as hate verbiage...something that is not tolerated in our country.

What did this bumper sticker say? It was so disgusting that I don't want to repeat it. And, I think I am also afraid that writing it will make this bumper sticker seem more real. I just can't believe there is an ignorant person driving around with this on the back of his truck. Okay...I know I have to write it down, but anyone who is reading this...please understand this is in no way how I feel or do I condone this kind of statement...quite the opposite (as you have already read above).

"The NAACP is offensive to me" and next to this statement was a Confederate flag. What year are we in people? Have we seemingly come this far in society for a statement so stupid and narrowminded to bring us back a few decades? I have never felt so much anger, sadness and deep pain at one moment. It really cut to my deepest core this morning and I found myself flashing this person the dirtiest look possible as I passed his big blue truck. argh!

More infuriating? He didn't even notice my dirty look. He was oblivious to everything around him on the road. Of course, why should I have expected anything else from this person? He doesn't care how backward and dated his statement is, and he hasn't noticed how much the world has changed around him. I understand there are places in our country that still have this sentiment...but, seriously...get over it. We are a mixed culture. A beautiful blend of different religions, beliefs, colors and histories. It is what makes America so wonderful!

I know this is just a lowly blog and I probably cannot change the mind of the biggots that are out there. But, I had to write about this experience. I had to release the disappointment I felt in this display of ignorance. Whoever you are...I am truly sad for you. I am sad that you don't understand the stunning beauty of the people around you. I will pray for you tonight, hoping that the Lord will open your eyes and let you see the real truth of our society.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Embracing Myself

Wisdom. Today was a day of wisdom and letting the energy of that wisdom rise to the surface, allowing it to be. And, this was not in the face of difficulty or a demon (which I think is usually the case). It arose at a time of peace and happiness...the one time that many of us fear truth and wisdom the most.

I am so horribly hard on myself; judgmental and critical. I have always felt that it was a necessity to be this way in order to stay strong and get where I needed to go in life. Aren't these traits vital to being a professional? To being successful? Well, I let this part of me take over so much that I forgot what it meant to be carefree and intuitive with my life. I stoppd just being. I have my spontaneous moments, times when stress lets go and I feel that I can be myself...this is usually when I am travelling to a new place, reading a book, or writing.

Until today, I really think I have been slowly mourning the loss my true self. The innocent, inquisitive, empathetic, creative, artsy, dramatic, joyous person I had always been. I suppose the seriousness of life and all that it brings screaming toward you can do that.

I woke up today.

I feel free and relieved. I don't have to be who all of those critics (including myself) think I need to be. I am sensitive and thoughtful. I am the person that everyone likes to talk to because I can give them an honest, sympathetic response. I have a higher understanding about others, more than most people. I have had this since I was a young child...and for a long time I knew this was what set me apart from others. But, somewhere in the middle of becoming an adult, I realized that all of these traits made me vulnerable and made me prone to attracting negative, pessimistic people.

No more.

I am making a statement today that this is who I am. I met a wise woman today who helped me understand the wonderful qualities I possess. I also saw with much more clarity how blessed I am. She told me that more would open up to me this year...all of my hard work and selflessness would come to fruition. A weight was lifted off me, but I have to be ready to receive these gifts. Not just ready...but I have to receive them. I could see in her eyes and face that she saw a truth. And, I already knew this truth, but was unwilling to face it; I wasn't worthy. Isn't that what the naysayers would say?

Negative energy...negative people...negative gone!

Cynde is back and she is going to be upbeatable. And, with the love and support I get from my friends, family and husband...I know it is possible.

Aside from getting clarity from this wise woman today. I also had insight into the importance of faith in God and one's self when I was reminded of the story of Queen Esther yesterday. If she could face death for her convictions. I could surely face the negative attitudes of others to be who I want to be.

Thank you, God, for blessing me and those around me. You are so very good.

Words of joy for me, seven, yellow, art, flowers, love, embrace, dance, smile, ice cream, friendship, books, laughter, energy, prayer, music.

Be who you want to be. And, love yourself for who you are. Never be ashamed and never hide your true self in the shadows. Embrace it all!

Friday, July 06, 2007

I left fill in the San Francisco

So, we have been back from our fantastic vacation to Napa, San Francisco and the ol' home town in Southern California. I still don't think I have adjusted to being at work and 115-degree weather. Yes, 115! Last night we hit the all time high on the lowest temperature of the day--only getting down to 93 degrees. I love the desert, but the summers are a little too brutal. Thank goodness for air conditioning!

Napa was beyond gorgeous and it was a cork snob's dream! There were vineyards everywhere up there. And, we visited many beautiful wineries. Calistoga, by the way, is lovely! And, if you are a foodie, like Ry and I would understand what a thrill it was to go to COPIA - The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts. It is the mecca of culinary stupendousness (and the place where they filmed the finale episode for Season One of Top Chef). We saw a lovely collection of photos there on exhibit, where a couple went to different countries and observed a family and what they ate in a week. The photos on display depicted the family with their week's worth of food all around them. The couple then totaled up the grocery bill for the family. It was just amazing to see how alike we all are in what we eat and yet also how different. Also, to compare how much Western countries eat compared to third world countries. It really made me do a reality check. I wanted to buy the book of photographs, but wasn't sure I wanted to lug the behemoth book around with me the rest of the trip. We still had a long way to go at this point. But, if you are interested in finding out more on COPIA, it exhibits, culinary lessons or its beautiful gardens, go online at

While up in the Napa/Sonoma area, we went to the NASCAR Nextel Cup Race at Infineon Speedway. Wow! What a place! The only track I know you can go to and see a bay and vineyards. The race was exciting and we enjoyed it immensely. And, we had fun walking around on the track with hundreds of other people, looking for the five golden lugnuts. Darn if I didn't find one of them, but I did find the golden washer. I guess that doesn't count.

If Tony Stewart happens to read my blog (like this will happen...and my husband can ignore this)...Tony, you are one hot driver! Watching you go around that track and pass drivers with ease was just amazing. I have always liked you as a driver, but you thoroughly won me over at Sonoma. I'll be rooting for you.

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program. San Francisco...well, it was San Francisco! We were ready to move there by the end of our stay. We highly recommend the Golden Gate Hotel. We had a lovely stay there and especially enjoyed the warm croissants and the hospitality of everyone there, including Pip the cat. But, there is so much about our trip to share that it would take a novella to write about it, so here is the short version. Visit the De Young, enjoy Haight Ashbury, drink hot cocoa at the italian bakeries in North Beach, and shop in Chinatown.

There is one story I have to share that completely made my trip to San Francisco. Before we left I purchased "Tales of the City" by Armistead Maupin. I thought it would be the perfect thing to read on our trip. I quickly devoured it and was ready for the next one in the series. When we got to San Francisco I figured I could wait until we visited Citylights Books (one of my favorites) to purchase the book, but I saw a wonderful store in Haight Ashbury and couldn't wait any longer. So, I quickly went in, found "More Tales of the City," and purchased it. As I was showing my husband the book, we noticed a little sticker on the was autographed! Could it get any better? Armistead, you are wonderful! Now I am searching for the show reruns on TV so I can see my favorite characters in the flesh.

I am looking at my watch and it is almost time to go. So, I will bid adieu for now. I will write more later...hopefully not too much later. To part, currently reading "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse and I am rediscovering Powderfinger, Aussie band of the genius Bernard Fanning. They just came out with another album recently, but I must wait until it comes to the other side of the globe (why does Australia have to be so far away?).

Word for the day...splendour. Say it and it just makes you smile.

Monday, March 26, 2007

One more post...a thank you!

January was also our first wedding anniversary. And, I am the luckiest woman on the planet. My husband couldn't have made a more perfect day. We went to church, as we do every Sunday, and we enjoyed the little secret that this was our special day. The only person we shared it with was our favorite pastor (Deanne, you are dear to us).

Then, we were off to the Biltmore for brunch at Christopher's Fermier. What a delightful secret we continued that day. The restaurant was empty and waiting for us to sit down to delicious french coffee and a fresh pastry.

After brunch, we headed downtown. And, I was utterly clueless as to the surprise that lay before me. We parked just outside of Phoenix Symphony Hall, lucky to get a close parking space on the street. We walked up the stairs and Ryan had us wait in line for our will call tickets.

Perfection! That is the only way I can describe what we heard and saw. The symphony was playing The Beatles. Oh, I was so excited. We sat in our chairs, waiting for the lights to dim...I hold Ryan's hand tightly in anticipation.

When the symphony played the intro of the program with a musical collage of Beatles music, tears of happiness welled up in my eyes. Every singing string reverberated through my heart. I am positive that I was glowing inside out. I was so giddy just with the intro, and then the impersonators came out. I don't care that they weren't the real thing. It was the closest I would ever get to see my favorite band play and it was incredible. The strings and horns of the symphony in the background with the authentic-sounding voices of the band. It was pure bliss. I couldn't help, but jump out of my seat a bit when they started to play Eleanor Rigby. And, then when Hear Comes the Sun echoed throughout the hall, tears streamed down my face. The most beautiful song I will ever know. So sweet, so gentle...and the violins made it all the more precious.

I still have that concert in my thoughts every time I listen to The Beatles on my iPod or car stereo. Boy, was I born at the wrong time! I would have loved to be a screaming fan, fainting at the sight of my favorite Beatle band member, George Harrison. I got to live a bit of that in one afternoon.

Thank you, Ryan. It is a memory I will always treasure.

Saving Fish From Drowning...and, Treasure Island

Since I am trying to catch on my blog tonight. I thought I would put together a review of the books I have recently read.

First, Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan. If you have never read her books, she is brilliant in her language. She has the gift to take you deep inside a character and see with their eyes. This book takes place mostly in forbidden Burma, now Myanmar (an interesting topic for me since I was in Thailand and near the border). This book certainly had a unique narrator; a character who is killed at the beginning. She was to take a group on a cultural tour to Burma and the group decides to go even though she has is in her honor. Well, the dead tour leader fills us in on her life and her friends. The voice is one of that perfect party friend that whispers tidbits of gossip into your ear. Just the voice of the book will keep the reader interested. I must say that it was the last third of the book that almost seemed outlandish because of what happens to the travelers. But, as I ponder this part of the book a little more, I have decided it is so outlandish because it revolves around ideas so foreign to me as an American. I have come to like the book as a whole. I would also highly recommend The Bonesetter's Daughter. That is a lovely, lovely book.

The other book I read recently was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Since our trip to Tahiti and my discovery of Mutiny on the Bounty, I have been enthralled with books about ships and uncharted waters. I am sure I read this book when I was younger, but I can't remember being so drawn into the incredible adventure of this book. I was in Jim Hawkins shoes the whole time, enjoying the bravery of being amongst pirates on a caribbean island. As I read, I also realized that this was the book that inspired Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean. It is also the book that inspired the restaurant Long John Silver (that can be slightly distracting when you first start to read). If you like adventure and reading about fantastical will love this book. Then, read Mutiny and Blue Latitude. It will be hard not to feel the salty breeze on your face and the fine white sand between your toes. This is what a good book should be -- an escape from the real world.

Catching up with Cynde...

Wow! It has been a long time. I am ashamed to see how much I have neglected my precious blog. But, I guess that is what happens when life gets in the way. And, it really has gotten in the way a glorious way.

Let's see...January was a mixture of horrible, horrible, horrible, and wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. The month started off with facing the reality of troubled finances at work so a few staff had to be laid off to ease the financial burden. I had to move one staff person to another department and then let another go. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do in my career...looking into the face of a staff person and tell them they are no longer needed. What a pain to my heart! It was hard to sleep for quite a while. Ah, Cynde, welcome to the world of the director. It can really suck. I am happy to say that the staff person who was laid off has a terrific new job as a director at another nonprofit organization. Truth be told, she was too good for the position she was in and very unhappy.

In the middle of the month of January, my husband and I were off to Thailand. Thailand, itself, is an entire week of posts in this blog. What a beautiful country. The people are so kind and peaceful. I have never been to a place that has so much relaxing rest, which is amazing considering all of the people who live there. The rivers, vast green lands spotted with rice paddies, mountains, exotic fruit trees...the landscape was so serene, yet almost alien compared to the desert in which I live. And, the food was amazing. We experienced so many new kinds of foods...most of them purchased from open air evening markets.

The most wondrous part of the trip was the act of sharing it with my husband. We took in every part of the country and then savored it together. The trip was also filled with talk of the future. This was decidedly our last big trip for a couple of years because this was the year to start trying to have a baby. A baby. Wow. Such an amazing feeling to face to an ever-changing future with the suprise and joy of a child. Or, two. Or, if you are my husband...five. Lord, help me if we have five children.

Are we ready? Yes, most definitely, yes. We have never felt more ready for anything in life. We are giddy with the prospect. We can already smell the baby powder in the air, hear the precious coo, see the lovely smile of a child. What a wonderful gift God has given us. And, I have never felt more blessed in my life. A perfect husband who loves and cares for me with all his heart. Parents who are so supportive and prepared to be grandparents. Friends who surround me with their love and laughter. I have a house, good job, and a church family. Blessed. That is the only word that describes my life right now.

Blessed and so incredibly happy. Life has slowed enough to let my family breathe. No traumas, no illnesses, nothing to take away from the nirvana I seem to be experiencing.

Oh, and one last thing...I am off blood pressure medicine. After 8 years of fighting with my blood pressure...I have won the battle.

Life sure is good.