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.