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Motor Bikes

IMG-5095As I was writing our family Christmas letter this year, I remembered back to the cruise we went on in May. We have been married for 15 years, and celebrated a little early because the cruises were cheaper then than our anniversary in the mid summer.

We ate so much food. I bought a journal in Belize to write detailed descriptions of the food to help me remember its beauty and bounty. My favorite thing was having waffles with blueberry compote and Nutella for breakfast the few days after I discovered this option. Every time we stopped at a port, we went on an excursion, and on our last excursion we decided to try those motorized bikesit seemed like a good idea after all of that Nutella for breakfast.

I like biking a lot, and though I lack skill, I make up for that in enthusiasm.  We got off of our cruise ship, took our Mexican taxi van, and stood in a group with the others who had signed up for the bike ride as well while we had a safety briefing.  Our guide showed us how to use the bikes, and then said we could try a little loop before getting on the road. I volunteered to go first because I was so excited. I had never tried a bike which had motors inside of the bars to help me along before.

I confidently jumped on, and pedaled straight toward the orange cone we were supposed to ride around. Since it was my first try, and since I was so enthusiastic, I took the turn a little too quickly, and gracefully slid my bike out from under me, landing flat on my face and scratching my knee.  It was a great learning experience.  For the whole rest of the bike ride I used the proper amount of caution, and no one else in my group fell off of their bikes.

It just went to prove that wise old adage that if you can’t serve as a good example, you’ll just have to be a terrible warning.

Oh Vanity

 

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I have a sister who has a talent for looking fabulous. She always has some gorgeously textured cream colored sweater, and a matching bag and shoes that go with that sweater. The whole ensemble will also  complement her complexion. She buys a lot of clothes, and many of her cast offs come to me.

A few months ago, she gave me the sunglasses pictured above. They have a hint of Art Deco style, which is one of my favorites as I love natural and dramatic styles. I have really enjoyed them. Normally I just use sunglasses for their practical purpose, and don’t think much about how they look, but these are different. When I wear them, I feel a little bit like a movie star.

The other day I was walking out of the dining area on campus, and as I stepped into the sunshine I congratulated myself on my beautiful glamorous sunglasses. I liked my outfit that day, too.  I had a brief moment of anticipation that I was going to look so smooth as I took my fancy glasses off of the top of my head and placed them gracefully on my face, covering it in large rounds of sophistication.  Unfortunately, as I began to lift them off of my head, they got caught in my hair, and I was still unceremoniously yanking, half way down the stairs. At last they came off, and I shoved them on my face.

Three women were walking toward me from the library. I didn’t know if they had seen the fall of my hubris. I smiled at them warmly, so that at least they would know I am kind hearted if not chic. Then I picked a hair off of my face that had got stuck in the glasses.  So much for my vanity. I guess glamour is not my destiny. I’m still going to wear those glasses though. They really keep the sun off of my face.

The Feeding of Children

I am lucky to currently have a flexible schedule. This means that most nights I fix dinner for my family.

Tonight, as I was busily stirring this and checking that, my five  year old came in demanding a peanut butter sandwich.

“No. I’m not going to make you a peanut butter sandwich right now,” I said, proud of myself for my firm boundaries.

“What, are you just going to not get me anything until I die?” he retorted.

That escalated quickly.

The Delicate Arch and Other Adventures

2D7F94AD-4E58-45CD-BE91-66E1BB16999FLast month I did not post, and that’s because it was hectic. Earlier in the year I had asked my sister if she wanted to go to Moab with me and see Arches National Park, and she said she would get back to me. She never did, so I thought we weren’t going. Then a couple of weeks before the weekend I had mentioned she checked in to make sure we were still going. I immediately reserved hotel rooms for us, and contacted one of our favorite cousins who lives there so we could visit her.

We drove the long and lonely road to Moab late Friday night, and Saturday morning we got up and dragged our eight children up the steep hike to see the Delicate Arch.  I knew it would be beautiful, but I didn’t know it would be a profound spiritual experience. When I saw it, I couldn’t speak for a few moments. I almost cried, and that’s not just because I had hiked 1.5 steep miles with a five year old past a hundred and a half chances to fall to his death.  The stark beauty of the arch just took my breath away. I had seen it in photos many times, but to see it in real life was to be transported by its grandeur.

I had breathed the fresh air, felt the sandy stone hard under my feet. The sun warmed me just enough in the chilly fall morning. It was majestical.

We had lunch at the Devil’s Garden, and then went down to the double arch area for the kids to play in the afternoon. We had dinner with my cousin, and I put the kids to bed at 9 pm in the hotel room. The next morning the sunrise wasn’t until 7:45, so I got up at 6:30, dragged my son into the car with me, and left to photograph it. sunrisearchessunrisearches2

I’ll bet I took a hundred photos. The stillness of the park in the dark morning really spoke to me. Cars still drove past, but it just felt more intimate. It was a long drive home after that much loveliness.

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Happy Autumn

I have to say Happy Autumn and not Happy Fall because the word fall makes me think of falling. Then I think of elderly people, and how terrible falling is for them. Then I think, what kind of sick person says, “Happy Fall?”

Then I think, All kinds of nice people say that every year in September. And I get stuck in a loop, laughing and rolling my eyes at myself. So Happy Autumn everyone. I feel like that’s clear enough, and none of us have to worry that I’m poking fun at their stability issues.

My daughter got after me today for not putting out the fall decorations. She made this cute one here:

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She gets this art out when the weather turns chilly, and I love it. I love that she made it. I love that she gets it out. Why should I go to all that trouble when she is making my life so much better by doing it? I am much older than she is.  If I climbed the stepladder in the storage room⁠ it could get precarious.  You and I both know how older people deal with falls.

You might also notice the Mexican table runner. One of the reasons I have had less time to write was that I was watching four cute nieces and nephews while their parents, my sister and her husband, went to Mexico for their anniversary. She brought that runner back for us because my sister is pretty much always thinking of others.

We had so much fun with the children, and here is some evidence:

IMG_6203All of my nieces and nephews are very bright, of course, and one nephew in particular is incredible at origami. He totally made this awesome little thing. I don’t know what it was. I like to think it is an elephant, trunk raised in the air, ready to trumpet. I do know that it would take me an inordinate amount of time to concoct such a thing. That boy pumped out loads of super cool paper stuff while they were here.

Their grandma came to help, and she cooked tons of food, including incredible tamales.  She also did many, many loads of laundry. I came to the conclusion that what every mom really needs is an extra mom in the house.

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