27 September 2011


Trust me when I say that you will smile after you click here.

24 September 2011


Look at that family!

23 September 2011


Last weekend, George and I made a quick visit to Ohio to see family and attend my 10-year high school reunion. When we flew back to Seattle on Sunday evening, I felt totally satisfied. It was such a spectacular weekend filled with old and new memories and people who I love.

On Friday night, my mom, David, George, and I watched the local homecoming parade and then went to the high school football game. (It was George's first high school football game and, I think, truly a cultural experience.) I watched high schoolers being high schoolers while hoping against hope that I was like that. It was also interesting to see, ten years after leaving, how the town comes together on Friday nights during the fall. More than ever, the entire town comes out to celebrate and idolize the high school football team. I say more than ever because I don't remember there being toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school kids, and middle school kids actively participating in homecoming when I was there. It helps me to understand the persona that we gave the athletes when I was in school, but it still doesn't make a lot of sense to me. On the other hand, it was refreshing to see the community interact. In such a small town, everyone really does know everyone else. And...the halftime marching band performance is still the highlight of any Friday night. Even though I hated being in the band, it brought tears to my eyes to watch the band and recall the memories of many hours of rehearsals, the pride of performing on Friday nights, and the fond memories of my band friends.

A visit to Ohio wouldn't be complete without seeing as many members of my family as possible. My brother's family was sick, and my cousin (and his wife) in DC were at a wedding. Otherwise, we got to see all of my mom's immediate family. We started with a visit to my grandfather, which was a bit hard to take. It could well be my last with him and is definitely not how I want to remember him. Grandma, on the other hand, is spunky as ever. The gathering with the rest of the family reminded me of the "good ol' days" when we all lived in Ohio and gathered to celebrate every person's birthday, Christmas, and a few summer picnics. I feel immensely blessed to have a family that gets along, jokes with each other, and enjoys each other's company. I wish we could have last Saturday every Saturday...but the fact that we can't makes the rare gathering that much more precious.

Kristi (and Bryan) were visiting from Georgia at the same time. It was the first time we've seen them since 2009 and the first time I've been in Ohio with Kristi since probably 2006.

This is father and son having a moment on Grandpa's Ford. All of us grandkids loved driving that tractor, and I'm so glad that another generation enjoys the feel of the springy seat.

Cousins and partners...ahhh...

As if Saturday wasn't special enough getting to see my family, we had the class reunion that night. George and I started the evening by sharing a bottle of wine from 2001 with Denaye and David. From there, we joined the party at a local winery (yes, there are wineries in Ohio - kind of incredible, huh?). As George noted, the reunion was much more like a party than a reunion now that we live in the social media era. Most people had at least a vague idea of what the others were doing, though it was really nice to catch up in person and actually have a conversation. It was definitely worth the trip, and I think I'll go back in another ten years.

Denaye and me at the after party - she always gets me into trouble.

As I told Denaye, I think we've done pretty well finding these two in the last 10 years.

JAHS Class of 2001...ten years later.

Sunday morning included some lounging and coffee drinking with my mama followed by a tour of the property by David (in his new and very hip golfcart on steroids). Then, it was time to head for the airport for the return trip in which I learned that two 3-hour flights and a 2-hour layover make you appreciate the 4-hour direct flight between Seattle and Cleveland. Even though I have zero desire to live there, Ohio will always be one of my favorite places to be.

Some more photos from the weekend are here.

06 September 2011

Love / Hate

We're back from a lovely weekend escape to Las Vegas. I'll sum it up this way:

Things I hate about Vegas:
5. Too many choices - There are about 394,782 shows, 482 types of food, and all too many choices.
4. Advertisements - I did not need to see the pores on Garth Brooks's face larger than my face on a billboard. I never want to see Carrot Top's face ever again. I had no idea that Cirquedu Soleil put on so many different shows. Enough ads already.
3. Difficulty getting around - Long, snaking taxi lines can be found outside of most hotels. There are three or more disconnected monorail systems. Walking a block on the strip requires weaving around paths, through people, and across footbridges. Ah, well - best to sit down at the nearest table or slot machine and stay a while.
2. Drunken frat boys and drunken reunions of former frat boys - Enough said.
1. Smoking - Almost all spaces in Vegas are open to smoking. Gross. Gross. Gross.

Things I love about Vegas:
5. Gambling - Ok, yes, we gambled. I ended up on top by the end of the weekend, but George ended up down just a little more. I do enjoy a good game of blackjack after the semester in Ecuador in which I must have played 1000 hands of 21.
4. Anything goes - One can wear anything or nothing in Vegas. I love a little excuse to dress up, and Vegas is the perfect place to do it. Because anything goes, it also makes for some great people-watching.
3. Sun - The sunshine in Vegas is warm and soothing and the perfect antidote to a relatively dreary summer in Seattle.
2. State of mind - Vegas is not just a place; it's a state of mind. It's a place where, even though you haven't seen 2am in what seems like years, you manage to stay up that late repeatedly. It's a place where, even though you can never manage to veg by the pool for more than 5 minutes, you manage to pass a whole afternoon there. It's a place that feels a world away from reality.
1. Food - We ate our way through Vegas. There are amazing chefs and a fair few celebrity chefs preparing tasty and interesting food around every corner, and what a treat it is to try their creations! George had his best-yet burger; and I had my best-yet risotto. Oh, yum.