Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Some days you just have to be sad

I'm really really glad that it's not raining today.  Without sunshine to cheer me up, I'm pretty sure I would have spent today in my bed in the fetal position. Nothing is super wrong with me personally, but boy, the world is a sad place lately, isn't it?  I was supposed to be posting things today on the Facebook page of the group that I volunteer with, but the articles are about human trafficking and I just couldn't take that.

I read the news on the computer and see mention of fighting in Donetsk and I cannot wrap my brain around the idea of somewhere that I lived, as an adult, being a battlefield. War is something that happens far away and to strangers.  I'm glad that I have a connection to the area so that I'm in a sense of hyper awareness about it.  I need to be praying and the constant news reminds me to do so.

When I lived in Ukraine, Putin was starting to serve his first round as Russian president and he scared me even then.  I remember being asked what I thought of him by an English class that I was visiting and answering honestly and then remembering that I was in the former Soviet Union and thinking how much trouble that could have gotten me in in previous eras.  I also remember the strong pro-Russian sentiment that welled up from time to time in the area. I lived close to Lenin Square and the center of the city, and sometimes I would instinctively check to see which flag was flying.  Yes, they still have a statue of Lenin in Donetsk.

But not everyone is pro-Russian there, although they do typically speak Russian. Daniel and I drove past a Ukrainian cultural center in the outskirts of Seattle once and he suggested that I volunteer there. I reminded him that I speak Russian, not Ukrainian and he was once again confused by that.  The mission organization that I worked for sent missionaries to Eastern Ukraine rather than Russia for the language part of their work, since visas were easier to come by in Ukraine.

Many of my friends have left and gone to Western Ukraine for safety, but I still have some friends there and many of the friends who left have family and I know they are just all so concerned about their loved ones and the future of their country which, honestly, has yet to truly find its footing since gaining independence.

And I'm sad about the news coming from the middle east.  People need to just quit being awful to one another already.

And, on a more personal level, I went to a friends' house last night and we laughed and had great conversation and it was a wonderful evening. Except it was all to say goodbye to a dear friend who I'm so sad is moving away.  She was always someone that I could count on and hanging out with her always made me smile.  We prayed hard for a good answer for her family and we're all so happy that they get this new opportunity. But still. 

Sometimes though, I have to remember that I am not a robot (darn it) and am in fact a human being and that means having emotions and sometimes those are unpleasant (double darn it). But I also remember my favorite Bible scripture and that gives me peace. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Friday, July 25, 2014

It is somehow the end of July.

So, it's the end of July and Vivian is finally done with school for the year. I'm pretty sure that packing one more extremely balanced lunch for her to take to school would have broken me. Poor child had no change in her lunch contents for months.  Strict lunch rules aside, we did really enjoy her time at her preschool and she definitely thrived there.
2014

2012

We slept late this morning, which was lovely.  Actually, that's not true. I slept late and was grateful for kids old enough to entertain themselves and feed themselves. Wasn't feeling well yesterday, so was very happy for a good night's sleep and feeling better this morning. 

It's been raining here all week and I am starting to despair about summer ever getting back to the weather that makes it bearable to live here.  We've gone from 90-100 degree days to 59 degrees and torrential rain.  On a positive note- haven't had to water my new plants. The old ones all died when we were traveling. Hopefully these will stick around better. 

Yeah, I'm dull today.  Felt the need to put that in writing for some reason. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

In which my husband kicks the butt of 200 miles of road. And in which the road kicks back a little.

This is Daniel and his best friend (whom we shall call D2) in this post, at 4:45 in the morning on the first day of the STP bike ride.
And this is Daniel at D2's house in Portland the next afternoon.
He rode 204 miles and is still smiling.  I sometimes worry about him.

So, at 4 AM this past Saturday I got up and dragged two kids out of bed and fretted a bit and made coffee for the guys and fretted a bit more, then got everyone in the car and over to the university where the guys had dropped their bikes the night before. And then I hugged them and left and on my way out passed the LONG lines of cars dropping people off and felt very happy that we had gotten there before the rush.

D and D2 were in the 7th wave of riders taking off and left around 5:30. I heard from D2 a few times on messages and the pictures he sent showed everyone looking happy. And when the kids and I were playing at the Olympia Children's Museum (recommend SO highly!), Daniel called to say that he was at the halfway point where they would be spending the night. And he mentioned that there may have been a little crash and that he was a little scraped.

Ha.  He's missing the skin from a good portion of his arm, his hip and his leg.  It's pretty awful looking, but seems to be healing.  It'll take a while though. Fortunately, D2 is a doctor and specializes in skin stuff, so he knew how to patch Daniel up. And fortunately I had sent them a first aid kit and had included the things they needed. 

Daniel's bike was amazingly untouched and since Daniel wasn't irreversibly damaged, they still planned to continue on day 2. So I hugged them goodbye again and continued on my way to Portland and my grandmother's house. 

And then I went to church with my grandmother and we had lunch and I fretted some more because they were about an hour behind the pace of the day before, but they finally got to Portland and I drove to D2's house to see them. There was no way I was dragging 2 kids to the finish line. 10,000 people participated in the race plus there were helpers and spectators and no.

Daniel had trained so hard for this race and it totally paid off.  D2 kept mentioning how fast Daniel was riding and how he (who would normally be faster than Daniel) couldn't keep up and how Daniel was riding with the seriously serious bikers. On day 2, Daniel ended up leading the pack of the people he was riding with for a while (and I don't know what that means exactly) and that was apparently the high point of the experience for him.

It's fun to see my husband so lit up with success. He succeeds at work all the time and a lot of things come easy to him, even in athletics, but he trained hard for this and ended up doing so very much better than he could have imagined.

People keep asking me if I ever am interested in riding with him, and I think not, after seeing his scrapes and scratches. Maybe I'll change my mind later if supplied with a cute enough bike and helmet, but not for a few years yet.

And then we went to Sunriver and melted. And Ethan ended up with heat exhaustion because we let him play in outdoor bouncy houses in 90 degree weather and we're from Seattle and heat exhaustion didn't even occur to me to be a thing. But I knew what it was (I used to be an EMT) and we got him in a cool bath and water quickly and he stopped being pale and vomiting and went back to jumping off of furniture and the walls pretty quickly. And Vivian went to kids' day camp by herself without her brother there as a buffer and she did great and she gained confidence as well.  So we all win.




Thursday, July 10, 2014

The heat has melted my brain

It's been 80 something here lately, which has melted  my brain, since it's usually 80+ inside by the end of the day. My very longsuffering husband has graciously accepted the fact that this weather makes me even more unlikely to cook dinner than usual and willingly eats the things I suggest. "Leftover halfeaten soggy pancakes!" "A bowl of cheerios!" "An only vaguely moldy cucumber!"  I am clearly someone who should be nominated for wife of the year.

We're actually going to be traveling to hotter places soon, but in Portland we stay in my grandmother's basement which is nice and cool and then we're going to a resort for a few days that's in the desert and will be super hot but has pools and air conditioning. 

Tonight we pick up Daniel's packet for the STP. This means that I have to set foot in REI, which makes me a little itchy, but they are giving out beer and wine samples, so I will push through my fear.  There's also some mention of a bike repair shop, but I have been promised dinner out at the end of the evening. Then late tonight my husband's best friend arrives and tomorrow it's all the carbo loading and final prep for their big bike ride this weekend.  And Saturday morning I get to get myself and the kids up at 4 AM and drive the guys to the starting point of the race. So that's going to be fun.

I'm a little nervous about this whole thing. Especially since it's supposed to be close to 100 degrees on the second day that they are riding. I will see them at the halfway point, but then not again until another friend drops of Daniel on Monday morning. Because the end of the trip is going to be the part that they're really looking forward to- driving the best friend's brand new Ferrari.  I can barely type that without rolling my eyes, because I am not a car person and the amount of money that the best friend has spent on cars lately is staggering. BUT. He is wealthy and responsible with his money and has tons of money to spare and has worked enormously hard to get where he is. So, he deserves to have fun.  And that means Daniel can drive a fancy car and then picture that while driving our battered Mazda around town. 

And I have one million and five things to do today and tomorrow to get ready for the traveling and for the neighbor to take care of the cats and hopefully all of that will keep my mind off my husband riding his bike 200 miles.  Pray for him if you remember.  


Monday, June 30, 2014

Entertaining

Due to a series of random circumstances, we ended up hosting my family for Easter lunch.  And, other than miscounting the number of adults and having to cram 2 extra people in, and other than my in-laws ending up sitting next to the quiet part of the family and absolutely no one talking at all at that end of the table, it went pretty well.  And I realized that I enjoy having people over to my house.  I'm not good at socializing in large groups or at church where most of the conversations just seem so superficial, but I like getting to know people while sitting around my own table.

So we've been inviting people over. Friends that we know well as well as people that we've known casually forever and haven't spent any real time with. And it's been really fun! Every couple that's come over has come with interesting things to talk about that are going on in their lives. We've shared food that, given my lack of cooking ability, has been remarkably edible. I've been having my guests deal with dessert and we've had some really delicious ones.  And every time the friends have left, I've been sad to see them go. Which is the real marker of a good afternoon or evening.

I grew up going to friends' houses for dinner and remember playing with other kids while the parents laughed in the dining room. I want to give my kids the same memories, even if it means that I do have to remember the existence of dinner on occasion.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ethan's mom and Daniel's wife

I have a bunch of different identities these days, but the main ones are as Ethan's mom and Daniel's wife. Which is totally understandable and fine with me. Ethan and Daniel are 1) nice and 2) believe in being outgoing and talking to people and do not do things like try to get out of church without making eye contact with or speaking to anyone. In my defense, I am a pastor's kid, which means that I spent many, many years smiling at everyone and talking to everyone. Also, I am an introvert, so casual interactions on a large scale wear me out. 

That all being said, I have a friend from grad school round 1 that's just moved back to town after being gone for 5 years or so.  And I've been really excited about this and then it dawned on me that I'm excited because, while I value my local friends greatly, they didn't know me before.  This friend knew me when I was new to town and was finding my way in Seattle. We've spent Valentine's Days together with groups of friends, trading stories about terrible first dates.  She knew me when I was dating people before Daniel.  She knows me as a science grad student and as a fellow toxicologist.  When we got our jobs, we went to happy hours together and had fun in the city. She was around when I got married, but then she moved away when I started this whole mom thing, so that side of me, the one that makes up 99% of my identity these days, isn't one she is really familiar with. And I love that!

In other news, it's dreary and rainy in Seattle and I am working on editing photos and writing text for an article that I have due this week about our Turks and Caicos trip and that's a terrible combination.  I need another tropical vacation right now!