Monday, December 17, 2007


So sorry that I've been MIA for the last month... I hope to get something of interest out to you all before long, though...that means YOU, little Miss Portland :)

I do know that I'm very excited to get back home to celebrate Christmas with my family and see old friends again and meet some new babies... it will be a great trip, for sure!

Looking forward to seeing you all and for those of you that I won't be able to see in person, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your families and friends, as well!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Lucky Girl

A few months back, Jason bought us tickets to go see Maroon5 in concert at Arco Arena (where the NBA team the Sacramento Kings play their home games)...and let me tell you, it was fabo!

Opening acts were Phantom Planet (friends of Maroon5 from L.A.) and The Hives (a group from Sweden). Phantom Planet had a small set up on stage since they were sharing with The Hives, so they didn't have too much room to run around, but they were really energetic.

Then, The Hives came out - I thought the lead singer was a crackpot from the way he was probing the crowd for, he was doing the Hulk Hogan hand wave up to his ear - you know what I'm talking about? I was a little annoyed, but there was something about them that I dug. Maybe it was the fact that they all had on black suits with fat black and white striped ties? By the time they were done with their set, I was totally digging on them...the lead singer was SO energetic and just got the crowd absolutely pumped up! It was so much fun watching them...

Ta-da....then the big guns came out... I love Maroon5! Adam Levine = Meow...

Besides the fact that the tallest man in Sacramento County was sitting in front of me [thanks, J for trading seats so I could see :) ] that band never slowed down! I looooved it...the music rocked, the lighting was cool, and the stage had a slight walkway out into the crowd... I love live concerts! Too bad I wasn't able to hear much the next day, but it was well worth it :)

Thanks for the tickets, Jase - I had a great time!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Star Struck

Being the little Iowa hay seed that I am, I haven't had the opportunity to meet too many 'celebrities' in my life, but today I had that chance....well, sorta.

Ok, to any other person on the street, he wouldn't be considered well known, but in the Christian music circuit, he's kind of a big deal. His name is Lincoln Brewster and turn your radio to any Christian station and you're sure to hear a few of his songs being played.

Lincoln heads up the worship ministry at Bayside Church in Granite Bay where I attend services and this afternoon they held a Halloween based theme called 'Trunk or Treat'. Basically, a bunch of people donated a half a million pieces of candy (sucks to be that person counting) and then others volunteered to decorate their cars and put candy in the trunk so kids could have a safe place to collect the goods. They had all sorts of games and jumpy houses for entertainment and a ton of food, which reminded me a bit of a midway at the fair... it was a good time!

Anyway, we were walking through the crowd and I spotted Lincoln and asked for a picture (sorry Todd, no autographs), which he kindly said yes to... deep down inside I was squealing like I did when I saw the New Kids On The Block in concert back in the day, but I think I played it off pretty well.

Here's me and my new BFF, Lincoln...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Memory Walk for Kate

Yesterday was a beautiful fall morning in Sacramento - cool, crisp, and sunny! Leaves are starting to turn colors and fall from the trees and it was a great day for my friend, John V. quotes, "Another leaf has fallen" (i.e., another day has passed by!)

My friend/coworker, Kim, and I have been planning to walk in the Alzheimer's Memory Walk in memory of Kim's late grandmother, Concetta, and in honor of my neighbor grandmother, Kate. I was so excited to have the opportunity to participate 'in honor' of somebody. I think Kate would think it was pretty cool that I did something for her since she is the one who has done so much for everybody in her many years here. What a surreal thing - seeing ALL of these people who have been effected in one way or another by Alzheimer's.
Marcie & Kim at the finish line

Walking up to the finish line

Kate and Lyle have been our next door neighbors for many, many years and they have taken me in as one of their own 'granddaughters' since I was a little girl. I would get so excited to see Lyle's green pickup turn the corner around supper time so I could hollar at him through the kitchen window or give a little wave if it was too cold to open it up. I loved the days when mom would have off from work and Kate would invite us over to their house for coffee and cookies.

This couple has showered me with love, hugs, kisses, and attention throughout my life and I am forever grateful for each of them. When I would lay out in the backyard, Lyle would sneak around the side of the house with his water hose and spray me down when I least expected it. Well, little did he know that I was ready one day when he thought he was being a Sneaky Pete - I soaked him and his bib overalls with our own hose and once he took off, I ran around the other way and got him with the water bottle (this is obviously before Super Soakers or he would have really gotten it!)

Lyle & Marcie

Now Kate was all about work ethic - Lyle is too, don't get me wrong, but Kate would put me to work if I told her that I was 'bored'. (Yeah, you would think that I would learn my lesson and stop saying it around her, but I'm not that smart.)

Anyway, I can remember sitting on their back step snapping green beans (and hating life) wishing my mom would tell me to come home. Never happened - I think it was a ploy on both parts - mom wanted me out of the house and her hair and Kate didn't want to snap the five gallon bucket by herself. We would have great conversations about her life when she was young and she would always make me feel important by asking questions about me, school, and whatever else I wanted to talk about. I would get in trouble for eating too many peas out of the pod when helping her (again), she would have me water her flowers, pick raspberries off of the bush, and help her pick up sticks in the yard. Seriously, worst job ever...

However, Kate made a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies and had the best laugh ever - straight from the belly and full of life! Lyle and Kate were great dancers and I loved watching them glide around the dance floor holding each other, smiling, and being surrounded by their friends and loved ones. I remember asking Lyle not long ago how they stayed married for the last 68 years and he told me one of his secrets is to not dwell on the last argument or falling out because it won't do any good to keep dredging it up - just move on, don't go to bed mad at one another, and alway agree with what the woman says! :)

These two people have been an inspiration to me on so many levels - they would walk with Todd and I to church and Sunday school (when we felt like going) and let us sit with them after class was over. They have never missed sending me a birthday card to let me know that they were thinking of me, they attended school functions that Kim, Kelli, and Kerry were also involved with, but somehow would make me feel like they were there just for me! They were at the door for me to tell me about the passing of my great grandma Ar when my parents weren't able to be there and they held me while I cried. They have attended the annual backyard parties since they began seven years ago, and have always made me feel special in every way that grandparents do!

Needless to say, when Kate came over to tell us that she had 'that Alzheimer's thing' a few years ago, we were all quite shocked. How could this be? This is Kate - vibrant, full of life, loves her husband, kids, grandkids, and great grandkids more than anybody I know - what will happen? Will she remember me? When will we know that she really, really has it?

I tell you what - this is an ugly disease. The Kate that I knew and grew up with isn't there anymore... luckily for her, Lyle kept her at home for as long as he could and did so much for her before having to take her to the nursing home so she could get the proper care she needed. What a tough decision it was for him and the whole family and we can only imagine how hard it would be. He visits her every evening, has a little cup of ice cream, holds her hand, and leaves at the same time every night. Unconditional love, I'm telling you...

Before I moved to California, I wanted to go tell Kate that I would be moving away and that was the hardest ten minutes that I had. She did not know who I was, but wanted me to take her with me! I knew it was going to be hard, but you can never really prepare yourself enough. Her daughter, Joyce, had flown in from Ohio and Lyle was there before Joyce was flying home, so we sort of overlapped our visits.

I watched Lyle set her down in her chair, help her blow her nose, and give her a kiss goodbye. Joyce, bless her heart, has been back to Iowa to visit many times throughout the last couple of years to visit her mom, keep Lyle company, and help out along with her brother, Duane, and his whole family who live there. To see a family ban together is an amazing thing to witness and even though it would be easy to give up and say that ''she wouldn't know if I am there or not'' is not an option for them. Their faith has helped to hold them up, their friends, and extended family have let it be known how much Lyle and Kate mean to them in their own special ways and this is why I write.

This family has meant the world to me and I wanted to let you know that a little 3 mile walk to support the Alzheimer's effort isn't going to bring her awareness back, but I had a great time walking FOR Kate and thinking about how much she has meant to me and always will.

Lyle and family: I love each of you so much and will continue to pray for Kate and your own strength through this process. I know you each have your own special memories of her as I do, too. When I think about her, a smile comes to my face and always will. I am glad God has given me the opportunity to have neighbor grandparents like you and again, I'll be forever grateful for each of you. Thank you for treating me like your own granddaughter and loving me - I love you both so much!

Marcie & Kate

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Break from the Sun

You know how God always has a way of letting you know that He's not too far away from you?

Well, today was no different for me than any other, but I do know how God speaks to me and it's definitely through nature.

I absolutely LOVE sunsets (too hard to get up for sunrises, but I'm sure I'd love them equally) and anything that has to deal with the sun or water - not so much Gray's Lake sort of water, but I'm thinking about the ocean because of it's infinity...there's definitely more than meets the eye when you gaze out over a large mass of water.

Anyway, often times I will sit outside at lunch and just stare up in to the sky, or watch the golden grass sway in the breeze on top of the hills, and feel a calmness. To me, that's God placing His gentle hand on my back and letting me know that things will be ok - that, daughter, I'm right here with you... so needless to say, I pay close attention to what is going on outside to 'see' any signs that God might have for me that day! Maybe that's why I was such a freak about the weather when I was little.

Who am I kidding; I still get scared and want to wet my pants when there is a tornado warning.

For those of you that know me, you knew one of the reasons that I wanted to move to CA was because of the sun. OH, how I loooove the sun! Who knew that you could get tired of the fireball in the sky and endless days of warm weather?

During the summer, it felt like the movie, 'Groundhog Day' because every day (I'm serious, EVERY day), the daily forecast read 'High 88F and Abundant Sun.' I was so sick of the sun. I just wanted clouds - seriously, God, can you put a few cotton balls in the sky for me? I miss variety - I miss the changing of the seasons - I miss the smell of rain - I miss clouds - I miss the shadows that clouds cast on the landscape - I WANT A CLOUDY DAY!!

Well, friends, today I got my clouds - it was beautiful! Cool, cloudy, rainy, and windy - great weather for Friday Night Football. Who wants a bowl of chili? Some hot chocolate? Oooh, me - I do, I do! Just when I thought God was getting all boring on me and forgetting about what I like (because sometimes it is all about me), I see this lovely sight on the way home.

Thank you, God, for not forgetting about me and letting me know that when I start to second guess these decisions in my life, that it doesn't matter because You are always there with me. I needed a rainbow today and you gave me TWO!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just because I liked it...

The Day I Met Daniel, it was an unusually cold day for the month of May. Spring had arrived and everything was alive with color. But a cold front from the north had brought winter’s chill back to Indiana. I sat with two friends in the picture window of a quaint restaurant just off the corner of the town square. The food and the company were both especially good that day. As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, was a man who appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back. He was carrying a well-worn sign that read, “I will work for food.”

My heart sank. I brought him to the attention of my friends and noticed that others around us had stopped eating to focus on him. Heads moved in a mixture of sadness and disbelief. We continued with our meal, but his image lingered in my mind. We finished our meal and went our separate ways. I had errands to do and quickly set out to accomplish them. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat half-heartedly for the strange visitor. I was fearful, knowing that seeing him again would call for some response. I drove through town and saw nothing of him. I made some purchases at a store and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking to me: “Don’t go back to the office until you’ve at least driven once more around the square.” And so, with some hesitancy, I headed back into town. As I turned the square’s third corner, I saw him. He was standing on the steps of the stone-front church, going through his sack.

I stopped and looked, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on. The empty parking space on the corner seemed to be a sign from God: an invitation to park. I pulled in, got out and approached the town’s newest visitor. “Looking for the pastor?” I asked. “Not really,” he replied, “Just resting.” “Have you eaten today?” “Oh, I ate something early this morning.” “Would you like to have lunch with me? “ Do you have some work I could do for you?” “No work,” I replied. “I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.” “Sure,” he replied with a smile. As he began to gather his things, I asked some surface questions. “Where you headed?” “St. Louis.” “Where you from?” “Oh, all over; mostly Florida.” “How long you been walking?” “Fourteen years,” came the reply.

I knew I had met someone unusual. We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left only minutes earlier. His hair was long and straight, and he had a neatly trimmed dark beard. His skin was deeply tanned, and his face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark yet clear, and he spoke with an eloquence and articulation that was startling. He removed his jacket to reveal a bright red T-shirt that said, “Jesus is The Never Ending Story.” Then Daniel’s story began to unfold.

He had seen rough times early in life. He’d made some wrong choices and reaped the consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men who were putting up a large tent and some equipment. A concert, he thought. He was hired, but the tent would not house a concert but revival services, and in those services he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God. “Nothing’s been the same since,” he said, “I felt the Lord telling me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.” “Ever think of stopping?” I asked. “Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That’s what’s in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.”
I sat amazed. My homeless friend was not homeless. He was on a mission and lived this way by choice.

The question burned inside for a moment and then I asked: “What’s it like?” “What?” “To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back and to show your sign?” “Oh, it was humiliating at first. People would stare and make comments. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a gesture that certainly didn’t make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize that God was using me to touch lives and change people’s concepts of other folks like me.” My concept was changing, too.

We finished our dessert and gathered his things. Just outside the door, he paused. He turned to me and said, “Come ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.” I felt as if we were on holy ground. “Could you use another Bible?” I asked. He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. “I’ve read through it 14 times,” he said. “I’m not sure we’ve got one of those, but let’s stop by our church and see.” I was able to find my new friend a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.

“Where you headed from here?” I asked. “Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.” “Are you hoping to hire on there for a while?” “No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that’s where I’m going next.” He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated the sincerity of his mission. I drove him back to the town square where we’d met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things. “Would you sign my autograph book?” he asked. “I like to keep messages from folks I meet.” I wrote in his little book that his commitment to his calling had touched my life. I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a verse of scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: “I know the plans I have for you,” declared the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope.”

“Thanks, man,” he said. “I know we just met and we’re really just strangers, but I love you.” “I know,” I said, “I love you, too.” “The Lord is good.” “Yes. He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?” I asked. “A long time,” he replied. And so on the busy street corner in the drizzling rain, my new friend and I embraced, and I felt deep inside that I had been changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, “See you in the New Jerusalem.” “I’ll be there!” was my reply.

He began his journey again. He headed away with his sign dangling from his bed roll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, “When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?” “You bet,” I shouted back, “God bless.” “God bless.” And that was the last I saw of him.
Late that evening as I left my office, the wind blew strong. The cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them....a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night without them. I remembered his words: “If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?” Today his gloves lie on my desk in my office. They help me to see the world and its people in a new way, and they help me remember those two hours with my unique friend and to pray for his ministry.
“See you in the New Jerusalem,” he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

In Loving Memory

If you've ever had a pet, you know how attached you become to the little furry 'human' who occupies your life, runs the house, and sometimes sleeps in your bed.... and we all know what the pain feels like once you lose your best friend. It's gut wrenching to say the least.

Sometimes you will hear the scratching of their claws, catch a smell of what you think is them walking by, or continue to anticipate the greeting at the door...then you remember that you won't get any of that again. Why in the world do we love our pets so much?

I, for one, was fortunate enough to have two great dogs growing up - Stan and Poopy (not their given names, but what we affectionately called them).

If I remember right, mom and dad bought Stan (his name was Sandy) for $5 when I was five years old - he was a cockapoo and so smart - however, he did not like to 'fly' and he was definitely my mom's dog ... he passed away at the age of 16 and by then I was 21 and in college. Mom couldn't tell me herself, so dad decided to call and let me know - what a sob session that turned out to be for both of us...

Poopy (her name was Tabby) was a Doberman and she was spoiled rotten - but she was so lovable, had the softest ears, and you knew when she needed a bath because her paws would smell like Doritos. After 4 years, I still miss her terribly...

The emptiness that you feel once you lose your pet will go away after some time, but it's never easy. Mandy, I love you and I loved your dog - he was such a lover, he was so sweet, and I liked it when he would stand on top of the baby gate and actually look down on me! If you need to talk, you know that I will always listen and I'll be here if you need me. I know that Big M is watching out for you and you were an awesome mommy :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Calgon, Take Me Away

Can I just catch a break for once with this car? I feel like it's possessed, has bad karma, or screams 'VANDALIZE ME!'

In the five months that I've been here, it has taken a beating. The mountains really did a number on it's insides, then it got ripped apart in a hit and run/side swipe sort of deal the first night of staying, then I had the baseball bat to the back window a few weeks ago and now this.

(In case you can't quite make it out, it's about a size 11 Converse shoe print.)

The funny thing about this (if it is funny), is that I was in a dead sleep last week and woke up to some drunk guy screaming expletives about how much he 'Hates this apartment complex'. I could hear banging on the patio fences as he stumbled was quiet for a few seconds...then I heard the thud of something. I kind of giggled to myself and thought, "Great, that was probably my car." At least I didn't hear glass shattering.

I went about my business Friday morning and headed into work after a quick look over of the car and didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Once I left work for the night and the sun was shining on the driver's side of the car, that's when I noticed the dusty foot print.

Why do people feel the need to damage somebody elses property? I've worked hard to get where I am and can't understand why such trivial things happen and for no reason. This has been one of the most frustrating things for me to experience out here - probably because I just don't get it.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

State Fair

For those of you that know me, you know how I loathe the state fair.

I don't particularly find a lot of enjoyment out of having places sweat on my body that I didn't know had sweat glands or the fact that it's too crowded with the masses of people eating 'whatever' on a stick.

There aren't a lot of attractions that I can really say I can't wait to visit (though the butter cow was always a strange sight to see) and I'm scared of heights, so going on rides has never really been a high priority for me.

Needless to say, I was invited to experience the California State Fair Friday night with Jason and his family for the first time. We parked in the Back 40 and by the time we got to the gates, I was ready to go home. I was hot, tired from work, and already focused on finding the nearest Dippin' Dots stand - stat.

No joke, as soon as we got in the gate, within the first 30 seconds, a large man walked past me and rubbed his hairy, sweaty arm on my arm while walking by and I about lost it. Sick. It couldn't get any worse, right??

We watched Jason's son go on a few rides and then we went to eat. Lucky for me, the Dippin' Dots were in sight and I was happy savoring my cookie dough flavored little ice cream balls one spoonful at a time. Mmmmm....

I noticed something, though.

It didn't seem like there were a lot of the little in-between attractions when walking through the midway or on our 'out of the way' little paths. Don't get me wrong, it was interesting to see the different things surrounding me, but I missed the Varied Industry building.

Oh how it pains me to say that I think the Iowa State Fair is better and I actually missed seeing people eat pork chops on a stick... you didn't see the CA State Fair on the "Top 100 Things To Do Before You Die" list like the Iowa State Fair last year. I see why, now.

However, not to be a Debbie Downer or anything, the highlight of my night was watching the kids laugh and smile when they were on those little rides. Remember when you thought they were going so high and so fast, but they're actually not moving much at all? The kids were giggling and throwing their hands up in the air like they were going Mach 3 down a little bump of a hill.... there was a little girl going down the Crazy Slide in her potato sack with the biggest smile and even bigger dimples that I could have watched all night long!

Ironically, I did have fun - maybe it was the company I was with that made it all better, but I'm glad that I was able to go see something different (like girls walking around in high heels) and to top off the night, a free fireworks show on our way out! I do love fireworks.

All in all, the Iowa State Fair trumps the California State Fair. There, I said it.

My First MLB Game

I love the Cubs. Have I mentioned this before?

Well, Thursday marked my very first time at a big league game - it was awesome! The smell of hot dogs and popcorn, the sound of cracking bats and the ball hitting the catcher's glove, the green grass at the stadium, and perfect weather - who could ask for anything more?!

More exciting was the fact that Carlos Zambrano was pitching - my fave. Of course he pelted a few too many players on the Giants side (boo hoo) and was taken out of the game after about four innings. His first replacement came and went and then none other than the Iowa Cubs favorite alum, Kerry Wood, was brought in. It was fun to see him pitching again (in person) since the last time I saw him was about 10 years ago.... and every time I hear his name, I can't help but think about Star 102.5's Colleen saying 'Doing the Kerry Wood' when referring to....well, you know.

Big Z

Kerry Wood

Anyway, Jason and I went to San Francisco the night before and walked down to AT&T Park around noon on game day. I received an awesome sunburn on my face and my hands looked like I was wearing red mittens since I had on a long sleeved shirt. Stylin'...

The Cubbies lost 4-1, but it was a great experience that I won't forget and it was so much fun to see some of my favorite players in action!

Mi Pobre Coche

My poor car.
If driving out here through the mountains wasn't hard enough on my car and then getting it side swiped the first night of living here, this happened.

I walked outside last week and tossed my bag in the backseat, like usual, and noticed a tiny piece of glass. I wondered what I could have broken in my grocery sack, but couldn't think of anything. I stood there pondering how this tiny piece of glass just 'appeared' and that's when I looked through the back window and realized that I couldn't actually SEE out of it because it was shattered.

Luckily I had tint on the window which caught all of the glass and acted as a huge safety net. I made a call to an auto shop, took it over to get it fixed and got it back the next day.
Seems as though somebody took a baseball bat to it the first time and didn't break it, so they got it on the second try. Good for them! Nothing was stolen out of it, but at least they got some batting practice in. I have to go get new tint put on this week and out of ALL the places in Sacramento to call, I call the guy who is originally from Iowa! I love small world stories.

Hopefully I'll have the Little Black Jewel back to normal before long and can keep driving it for a little while longer.... poor thing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Surprises and Such..

Sorry that I've been MIA for over a month, but I've been busy - I've got places to go, people to see, things to do! At least I like to think I'm important....

Remember all that studying I was doing for my licensing exam? Well, I didn't pass...what a kick in the shorts. I was bummed out for about an hour, then I was fine. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that my brother was in town; seeing a familiar face, having a good laugh, and getting a hug would make things all better - and it did! After calling my manager to let him know the news, he suggested that I now try for a different license - great, can't wait to start from square one again =) However, this one is a bit 'easier' or so they say... regardless, I'm going to have to start studying again...blaaa....

For the last two months my mom and I have been sneaky little liars planning a surprise visit back to Iowa for my dad's birthday. His 62nd birthday to be exact - helloooo social security! Ha ha... (you're old). Anyway, I flew in on the 2nd and mom was waiting for me at the airport - it was so surreal because I could see a sea of people at the bottom of the escalator, but all I could focus on was my mom's beautiful face and see her little hand waving - then we turned into blubbering little fools. It was awesome - nothing is better than a mother's hug. Well, maybe a peanut buster parfait, but that's a moot point. And to reference a 'Friends' episode for my parents - as Joey would say, "It's a moo point".

We headed back to my old stompin grounds and talked about what we would do to surprise dad. Once we were pulled into the garage, mom asked him to come out and help unload the groceries from the back of the Bravada. Once he was outside, I slipped out of the passenger door and back to where he was standing and asked him if I could help him...he looked at me and then grabbed another bag....looked back at me with much bigger eyes and again, looked away... (come on neurons, fire)...finally after the third time, I get a "MARSE!" and a big hug! It was so great being back home, smelling the fresh air, and visiting with my parents for the evening.

To make a very long story short, I was able to see family, friends, and enjoy my time in Iowa thoroughly. We had the annual backyard party where people came from DM (and beyond) and we laughed, ate, drank, and enjoyed each other's company. I can't tell you how blessed I am to have such a close knit group of friends like I do and there is a story behind each one of them of how we met, childhood stories, and how things have changed, but still remain the same. I can't believe how much your kids have changed in four and a half months, but it makes me feel old!!

Mom and I got pedicures (that's right, mine is half the price - no kidding), we went out to eat supper in celebration of dad's birthday, my niece and nephew spent the night at grandpa and nana's while I was there - and for the record, when my niece is not getting pushed on a swing, she can look VERY mean. Case in point: she came over to where mom and I were playing Frisbee with her little fists clenched at the end of stiff arms yelling, "I am NOT having any fun!" We keep getting a good laugh out of that even now!

I made a couple trips to DM to have drinks with my old boss, shop, and then spend one more night with the kids. It was such a memorable trip and one that needed to happen for me. I wanted to 'see' if I would be wanting to move back there or not...once my week was up, I was ready to come back to Cali - strange, I know - but I'm enjoying my time here more. Plus, it helps that I have somebody to spend so much time with out here!

Jason met me at the airport when I flew in to Sac and surprised me with a big, beautiful bouquet of spring flowers - it was great because I thought he was out of town on his own vacation, so I was very focused on getting my luggage and getting a taxi or taking the shuttle home - something caught me out of the corner of my eye and I felt pretty goofy looking at him thinking of how strange it was that there was a guy there who looked JUST like him...bizarre.... now I know how dad felt!

My birthday came and went this week, so I did the honors of taking a Jell-O cake in for my coworkers. Again, they have no freaking clue what a Jell-O cake is (or what they're missing), but once they tasted the strawberry goodness, they were hooked! My sister in law made one for the backyard party, but she makes hers much fancier than mine because she puts slices of strawberries on top and it doesn't take long for everybody to inhale it!
Mine was still good (I had 3 pieces - middle pieces to be exact) and received some very nice cards and was treated to lunch by one of my friends and then Jason took me out for supper that night...while I wore my new Puma shoes (they're white with a pink stripe and VERY cool) that he got for me and Kerry W., thanks to you and your husband, I can't say Puma, without saying 'P-eww-ma'... to top off the night, while we were eating, I had a beer, a Pazookie, and was able to watch the Steelers AND the Cubs on the split screen TV - too bad they both lost, but still... all in all, it was a wonderful 33rd birthday!

Now I'll try to be a little proactive with the blog and keep you up to date, but quite frankly, I thought somebody would blow the surprise for my dad if I posted anything, so that's why we have a month of nothing! Even though I was doing something....

Again, thanks to all of you that were able to come out to see me and make time out of your busy schedules - it truly meant a lot to me and I can't thank you enough for your support and continued friendship!

Mom, dad, Todd, and Evonn - thank you for your love, encouragement, and for feeding me such good meals! I can still taste the chocolate pie now...mmmm... April and Chad, thank you for the tator tot casserole, putting a roof over my head, and getting me to the airport on time! You make me feel so comfortable in your home and I can't wait to meet baby Pea the next time I'm home! Jason, thank you for your continued patience and for your own little surprises for me - I truly enjoy my time with you :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My 4th

Ok, so it's a week late, but it's better late than never!
I hope everybody had a great holiday and enjoyed spending time with your family and friends. Thanks to those of you who sent pictures and filled me in on how you celebrated the day - I always enjoy seeing you guys having a good time!

To break away from the Okoboji norm of celebrating, I was able to enjoy the day in San Francisco with my friend, Jason. (Sorry Funny, no slush for either one of us this year...hee hee)

The day started bright and early (butt crack of dawn, really) as we headed to The City around 6am. I haven't been there since going over with Travis, Jennifer, and (at the time) baby Sophia 3 and a half years ago. It was so much fun getting the chance to actually take a tour of the town and spend some time sight seeing.

Jason has figured out my obsessive planning behavior and did such a great job getting the day lined up for us (right on schedule!). We were able to rent a Go Car and drive around town using a GPS/Navigation system with a built in tour guide. It was fun listening to the stories behind landmarks and taking time to stop, sight see, and take some pictures along the way.

After 3 hours and a cool farmer's sunburn later, we dropped off the Go Car, grabbed a bite to eat, have a drink, and walk around a little bit more. Our age is showing since we were both tired enough to take a nap before heading out to see the fireworks, which by the way, were amazing.

Jason had bought us some tickets to take a boat (Old Blue) out into the bay to watch the show from a barge - it was so cool! Literally... it was cold as all get out, but well worth it! I love, love, love fireworks and was so excited to see them up close and personal, reflecting off of the water, and listening to the ooh's and aah's from the other people on board.

Once the fireworks were over, we high tailed back to the dock and spent the next hour just walking back to the hotel. Little Miss Out of Shape was a hurting unit once we tackled the hills of San Francisco - holy smokes.

The following day we took it a little easy and went back to the bay to sit and visit and unfortunately, it was so foggy that we were unable to see the Golden Gate Bridge as clearly as we had the day before. We did a little shopping, a little eating, and just took some time to sit back, relax, and enjoy each other's company.

I think the best part of the day was seeing how God speaks to me through so many things, especially in scenery. I love sunsets and we were able to see the most beautiful sunset over the bay, the weather was clear, the sky was blue, and everthing was so vibrant. I've been blessed with a new friend to spend time with and am so thankful to have somebody to share my faith, time, and interests.

It was a great day and I hope you all had a memorable time as well!