Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Where there's smoke...

Ever have one of those days where you've got so many things to do and it seems nothing gets done, no matter how hard you try? Yeah, that was me yesterday.

After being a hair model for a Paul Mitchell educator and getting a free hair cut, I had 4 loads of laundry to do, menus and a grocery list to create, shopping to do, many phone calls to make, 3 miles to run with Jake when Jared got home, and several other things that aren't typical on Mondays.

One of those other things was going to show a rental home we manage to a prospective tenant. I had two appointments for showings. One at 5:30 and one at 6pm. Then, because Karcyn took a 3 1/2 hour nap unexpectedly, we had to go to Winco AFTER we showed the house.

The 5:30 showing went well. She turned in her application but didn't have her application fee so I told her I'd be at the rental til at least 6pm for the other showing if she wanted to go to the bank and bring it to me. She agreed and drove off. It was just barely 6 o'clock when I heard Cooper exclaim, "Jake, look!!" I was occupying myself by looking at the lady's application and watching for her to come back and the other man to show up for his appointment and didn't think much of Cooper's announcement. The boys get excited over everyday airplanes flying overhead. But in the back of my mind, I didn't hear the engine of a plane and I started to see a shadow cast on the street, so curiosity got the best of me and I, too, looked. We were parked on the right side of the street. To the left (west), above the tops of the houses, we saw large quantities of thick black smoke shooting fast into the air. My heart sank. That can't be good!

I turned the van around and drove two streets down to try and find the house or yard or car the smoke was coming from and to make sure help was on the way. It was a house up on the left. Smoke was flowing fast from the back side of it. I saw an older lady screaming on our side of the street, clutching a little girl to her chest on the sidewalk. I pulled up and parked quickly, ordered the kids to stay in the car no matter what, grabbed my phone and jumped out. There was already a small crowd on the sidewalk directly across the street from the house on fire.

I ran up to the lady, put my arm on her back and asked her if that was her house. She said yes. I asked her if there was anyone still in the house. She said there were a couple cats still inside and groaned. I told her I knew that was hard, but the most important thing is that her family was safe. She was very upset, screaming over her shoulder to no one in particular for the fire department to hurry up and get there. I asked her if 911 had been called. She said yes. Another man ran up to us at that point with his phone in hand saying several calls had been made to 911 and they were on their way. The poor lady was very upset and in distress. I asked her if she wanted some water. She said yes. I grabbed a water bottle from my van, which had already been opened, but I gave it to her anyway. I asked her if there was anyone she wanted me to call for her. She said no and said she couldn't think straight. It was at that point that I heard the sirens getting close. My van was parked on the road, so I jumped into the van, backed it up and drove hard right, cockeyed into a driveway, trying hard not to hit the car parked there, to get my vehicle off the street. I glanced at the clock quickly on the dashboard. It was only a few minutes past six. Ah man. That lady would be coming back to the rental and wonder where I was. Not to mention, I'd be standing up the 6 o'clock appointment. There wasn't much I could do. I was too involved at this point.

When I got back to the sidewalk, I turned my focus on the little girl stuck in the frantic grasp of the lady who was becoming increasingly unglued. She looked to be about Karcyn's age. I asked her if she would like a fruit snack. She nodded. I rummaged quickly through the diaper bag and pulled one out for her.

That's when the older lady said, "I need to call my husband. I want to call my husband." I told her "no problem" and whipped out my phone as she started rattling off numbers, pacing back and forth on the sidewalk. She gave me the first 6 digits, but couldn't get the other 4 out of her head. She gave me a set of numbers and then she swore a couple of times because that didn't seem right to her. I told her it was okay and showed her my phone pad, asking her if it would help to try and see the numbers as if she were dialing. She said yes and the numbers came back to her. I asked her if she wanted me to talk to him. She said she would so I offered to take the little girl out of her arms.

A younger lady, about my age, came up to us. She was the older lady's daughter and the mom of the little girl. She asked if her daughter was okay, I said she was. The other mother and daughter started talking. The fire engines had already arrived several minutes before and I was completely oblivious to it. The older lady turned her attention back to me and looked as though she was about to pass out. I suggested she come sit in my van to relax and get cool for a few minutes and she could still talk to her daughter. I sat in the driver's seat with the little girl on my lap while she ate her fruit snack.

Cooper, in the meantime, was giddy with excitement because the firetrucks were less than two feet from our van. I heard him say, "I know those firemen!" and "This is so cool!" I growled his name to get his attention, hoping our van guests couldn't hear me and shot him the "SHUT UP NOW" look while willing fiery darts from my eyes so there was no mistaking in his mind that this WASN'T cool!! We had the very people who were in the house when it caught on fire in our car and this was a horrible thing happening to them.

A few minutes later, the older lady got out of the van to go find another relative. The daughter took her place in the front passenger seat. We exchanged names as we watched the firefighters at work. The gal told me that her mom and aunt were living in that house with her other uncle. She had been there helping one of her aunt's move in that very afternoon. Half her things were still in the driveway in boxes. She said before it happened her grandpa was inside and she heard him yell fire. They didn't think too much of it at first because grandpa often makes a big deal out of little things, but when she went to see, there was so much smoke she knew this wasn't anything they could handle on their own. She grabbed him, called 911 and tried to get everyone out of the house while answering all of the dispatcher's questions. She even heard a window explode on their way out. She was just grateful grandpa had been in the house to alert them, as they were all out in the garage unpacking the one aunt's belongings. I told her that there were many reasons for them to be grateful. It could have been so much worse. It could have been at night or when they weren't home. The gal told me she suspects it might be a cigarette that started the fire. Apparently her mom and the other relatives are big smokers. At one point, she told her mom this and her mom (older lady) said they hadn't been in the back of the house smoking for quite some time. The daughter told her that cigarette butts can smolder for a while. The daughter told me her mom felt some major guilt thinking she might have been the cause of the fire. She also said there is an air conditioning unit back there that might have malfunctioned too.

The smoke had stopped when we looked back at the house. Seemed like they were getting close to being done. It wasn't even 6:30 at this point but it felt like hours! That's when I realized, with a slight twinge of stupidity that I was stuck. Literally. I had THREE fire trucks (and an ambulance) blocking me and two more on the other side of the house. The street was impassable.

One of the big wigs from the fire department was gathering the family into the house next door to debrief and get statements, no doubt. So the gal said she should probably go and took her daughter with her. She thanked me for everything and said I helped in more ways than I would know. I shrugged it off. I was just in the right place at the right time. It's not like I was the one that called 911. I told her it was no problem and wished them luck.

As I sat there, stuck in my van, thinking back on the events of the last half hour, I started to feel a little bit proud of myself. I was unbelievably calm through that whole ordeal, which I didn't know I was capable of. Thoughts and actions came to my mind that I certainly don't credit myself with....like offering water, a fruit snack, my phone, the phone pad, trying to comfort and say things that amazingly didn't come out the wrong way as most things seem to do when they escape my mouth. I also thought how I almost didn't bring the diaper bag on our outing and how I put a few extra fruit snacks in the diaper bag several days ago.

One thing I realized was that firefighters don't just put out fires then leave. They stay for quite some time. We saw them go back into the house (to secure it maybe?) and then they started tossing things out of the upstairs window onto a tarp on the grass below. I'm not sure why 5 fire trucks and the fire fighters that go with each truck had to stay, but I'm sure they have their protocol. That's just something I hadn't ever learned on field trips to the fire station or during Fire Safety Week as an educator. And believe it or not, Cooper did recognize the fire fighters in the TVFD truck directly behind our van. They were the fighters we met on his walking field trip to the fire station off of 209th last fall. I recognized them too as they walked back and forth between the house and the truck.

As it neared 7pm with no more indication that fire trucks were leaving, I figured I'd better ask to find out what was going on. A fire fighter was walking in my direction, back to a rig. He had his helmet on, his pants and suspenders were folded over at his waist. His t-shirt underneath was sweaty, dotted with dirt and dust. His face was flushed with sweat & smudged with ash and go figure, he smelled of smoke.

I felt like the biggest idiot and sheepishly approached him. I said I was one of the first people on the scene and was helping the residents in the house. But in the process I got trapped as I gestured to the van. I asked him how long it would take before we could get out. He smiled a kind smile and said he would work on it for me. I waved my hands and said, "No, no, please don't do anything just for me." He assured me it was fine and it would give someone something to do while they moved the trucks. I told him thank you and still felt like an idiot despite his understanding.

The ambulance finally left, and I watched from the sidewalk as one firetruck and then two backed up along side the opposite side of the street. That still left the firetruck directly behind me. As I looked, I saw that I might could pull out and back up and just drive in reverse through that portion of the street, but worried about hitting someone who might drive in. Another fire fighter discerned my thoughts when he asked, "Are you trying to get out?" I said yes, that I was one of the first people here and thought I could squeeze out and drive in reverse. He said he'd just pull the firetruck further up the street. I told him thank you and of course wanted to crawl into a hole. Here I was, the cause of THREE firetrucks needing to move. Way to go, Jenn.

As I backed out, the first firefighter I spoke to was directing me (even though I didn't need it because the way was clear). I appreciated it though and waved him a thank you as we drove away.

It was after 7pm. My kids were getting restless. They needed dinner. But we needed to go to the store because we had no food. Yet there was no way I was taking them grocery shopping when they were 20 minutes from bedtime and on empty stomachs. So for the third time that day, I postponed going to the store, drove the kids home and divvied up the last little bit of oatmeal squares and milk into 4 bowls for dinner.

The store would have to wait until later.

But I don't regret our side trip.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Last Half of June

Because of the once-every-two-decades snow storms we got this past December, our children were in school until June 17th. We were going to try and have a family camping trip in June but the month went by in a flash.

**Since the end of March we had been extremely busy with T-ball and baseball. Jake made it onto a competitive team that traveled for games as far as Keizur and McMinnville and it made life interesting for us this spring. I don't even have any pictures of Cooper playing T-ball (but we do have stuff on the video camera lest you think I'm a despicable mother). He had a great coach with several buddies on his team and I know Coop had a fun time. He's not a bad player either!

Jake earned the opportunity of being one of the pitchers for his team. He's never pitched before and actually did pretty well for his first time. We are very proud of him for all of the fielding and batting he did. He played 2nd base, 3rd base, catcher, pitcher, and outfield and a few homeruns! He had some awesome wins and some crushing loses. So it was a wonderful learning opportunity. Jake wishes he could have the same coaches. I think that's a great sign. At this age the kids are placed by ability, not by coach or player request. Considering all that went into this season of higher level playing, I think it was managed well and I credit the coaches with most of that.

**The Friday and Saturday of Father's Day weekend, Jared and Jake went on their long awaited fishing charter together on the Columbia River in the Hermiston area. Jake could have gone last year, but lost it due to his behavior. I'm not sure who was more upset over losing the trip, Jared or Jake. Jared said he was going this year with or without Jake, but Jake had, overall, a MUCH better year. This trip also included their buddies, the Baldwins. Ironically, I think Jared was the only one who didn't catch a fish. :)

**This is our cat, Madras, A.K.A. the water and fish snob. She prefers water in her bowl out of the fridge or drinking it directly from the tap herself. Here she's turning her nose up at *gasp* fresh, Alaskan halibut!!

**The climbing continues. Calvin is a monkey minus the tail. He is my WORST climber.

I mean, really...what GOOD is a high chair with a buckle if it doesn't keep your kid in place??

One day, I found this...

He had climbed out of his high chair, ONTO the counter and FOUND my plate of cookies I had wrapped and set aside for some neighbors. (Nice crusty glare, Kid). *sigh* We've nicknamed him Houdini. I literally cannot turn my head for 10 seconds. He's climbing everything. We have to put the chairs at the bar and small table up on the counter and table so he will stay down by default with nothing to climb. Except that there are still couches and slides and bunkbeds and the dining room table and chairs. So far, no stitches. Knock on wood!

The Little En-Jenn That Could

Sat. June 14th was the long awaited 10K run that I had been training for from January to April. May training went by the wayside with all the visitors and traveling that we did. And I'd put my running on the back burner for them any day. To be brutally honest, I'd put running on the back burner for just about anything. Nonetheless, I'm proud of myself for gutting through those 4 months...even though I only went as far as 7 miles.

I was worried I wouldn't like running the "Helvetia" 10K. It's mostly known for the half-marathon and draws THOUSANDS of people each year. I still feel like a wanna-be and extremely out of my comfort zone among the die hards. But my dear friend Stephanie did it with me and we even saw a few other friendly faces along the way.

Surprisingly enough, I really enjoyed the 10K experience. For starters, we were given time chips for our shoes that tracked our time. So even if people were passing me, it wasn't because I was slower than them. We were running against our own clocks. Likewise, when I passed people it didn't mean I was faster than them either. (Although it sure feels good to pass people!) Actually that first mile is kind of hard because you do a lot of weaving in and out of people. I'm amazed I didn't trip and fall.

At the first mile marker, I looked at my watch to see how I was doing. Last year in the Forest Grove 5K, I came out WAY too fast. 9:30. I'm doing good to run it in 10:00. So I was very conscientious to not overdo it in the first mile. When I looked at my watch, the time read 10:30. I couldn't believe it! I knew there was no way to recoup that lost time. I'm not that fast. And I was disappointed that I probably wouldn't make the time I was hoping for. But I wasn't about to stop. No way. I paid $50 to run this puppy.

You know you're running the "big races" when there are water stations at mile-ish checkpoints. After the first mile, I saw the first group offering energy shots and water cups. I actually debated about taking some or not because as silly as it sounds, I don't know how to run and drink at the same time. Finally, I mentally shrugged my shoulders and thought to myself, "Why not?" I remember reading online about a runner's first marathon experience. She shared her technique for drinking the water while running. You take the little cup and pinch the bottom of it to make the upper part of the cup more streamlined with a point so the water will be better guided into your mouth. Easy enough. So I pinched the bottom, tilted my head back and with all the movement running makes, I did manage to get water in my mouth. And all over my face...and up my nose...and when I swallowed, I accidentally inHALED because I'm desperate for oxygen the first 5.9 miles. I threw the cup down in disgust, but because it's so light, it hardly made a sound to represent my humiliation as I started gasping, wheezing and coughing from the water going down the wrong pipes. It was so bad, I was afraid I'd have to actually stop running to get my coughing under control. Of all the ironic luck, there were now two reasons why I couldn't breath and in the 3 seconds this all happened, it was at the very moment I was running in front of a roadside photographer pointing his camera right at me. Noooooooooooo!!! I felt like such a fool. It was painfully obvious I'd never run a 10K before. And for the next two miles, I prayed he didn't get my water blunder on film.

Once I finally got my labored running breathing back, less the water in the lungs, I felt better.
There are lots of cheerleaders placed strategically on the sidelines of the course who have no clue who you are, but are part of the greater good to help you push along and keep going. As were the port-a-potties. I am very relieved to report I made the entire 6.2 miles without one emergency stop.

The last .2 miles more or less, you're running back into the parking lot and into the Hillsboro Stadium. I had no i-dee-uh there was some dude on a LOUD SPEAKER and as I got closer to the finish line he announced...to the ENTIRE stadium and those in the vicinity, "And here's Jenn HUGH from Aloha." How embarrassing.

And then I was done. 65 minutes. Dang it. I was shooting for 60 minutes. Usually you run faster when you're competing too. I've even run 6.2 miles in 58 minutes before. So I was pretty bummed. I know, I know. Looking on the bright side, I did it. I did it without stopping. I did it while choking. Maybe next year I'll be able to better my time now that I know what to expect. And NO WATER CUPS for me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

San Diego, Day 6: Going home

Thursday morning, May 28th, Jared went to his last few classes before check-out while I got us all packed up. It didn't take long. And he was back before I knew it.

Jared was actually starting to feel ill. Like a sinus infection or something complete with chills. Thank goodness that set in on our LAST day. Poor guy. There's nothing worse than flying when you feel like poo.

Our flight home was uneventful, thankfully. We arrived shortly before 7pm. My dad and Jake and Cooper were there to pick us up. Cooper had lost another tooth! The boys couldn't stop talking to us :)

When we got home, my mom was dripping from sweat because she was cleaning my house, leaving it nicer than when she found it, of course.

And then there was this.

Calvin would NOT come to me. I couldn't believe it. He never turns down the chance to come to me. But, believe it or not, I did not cry. I was not hurt. I was actually touched that he loved my mom more than me at that point. That he was comfortable enough with her to stay in her embrace. We tried several times over the course of 30 minutes to get him to come to me, but he wouldn't. Eventually he did, but I certainly didn't see that coming.

I'm so grateful for the sacrifice (on many levels) that my parents made so that I could go with Jared on this trip. (I can't forget Dr. Hicken either, who was perfectly fine with me mooching off of the hotel and car expenses that he was paying for).

This trip was the FIRST trip Jared and I have ever taken just the two of us. We've never flown anywhere without any of the kids and for pleasure! And technically, it wasn't ALL fun and games because Jared was in class from 8-3 each day. But we will take what we can get.

We were in San Diego for 6 days. 1 day for every 2 years of marriage. I was actually worried about the length of time. Our friends, who have kids our ages, go on a trip or two a year together without them. When we asked them what their limit was for being away from their kids, they said 3 days. I was thinking 3 days didn't seem like enough and what kind of parent was I for wanting to be away longer?

I determined that 6 days was the PERFECT time away. If we were able to go away once a year for a few days, 3 days might be my limit too. But when you're on the pattern of getting away only once every decade or so...6 days is just fine! I wish all of my married friends with children could do what we did.

San Diego, Day 5: Carriers and Cruises

Wednesday, May 27th, was our last full day of sightseeing and playing. As soon as Jared got back we strolled along the boardwalk on our way to our destination: the USS Midway. A retired naval aircraft carrier. (It wasn't here 12 years ago when we were).

On our stroll I saw this boat in the marina. This picture is for my friend Amanda and her baby Millie G.! Pretty sweet, eh Amanda?

And 'thar she blows'! The USS Midway.

This was an audio tour. We each got a headset and could input the number that corresponded to an aircraft or part of the carrier and the man in your ear would tell you about it. Pretty cool that we could pick and choose what we wanted to know. Unfortunately, we didn't have a ton of time before it closed. So we hit the planes first. Those are the most important! Would you expect anything less from an aviator's daughter?

How many of these aircraft can you identify by name? I can't name any of them. But my 9 year old can.

I'm guessing this is the A-4 since I'm standing by it. If so, that's the jet my dad flew.

And Jared's favorite...the F-14 Tomcat.

This is a view of The Fish Market from the carrier which was right next door. We ate on the enclosed "veranda" for dinner the night before.

We were guided by a volunteer through the upper portion of the carrier where all the instruments are. (If it wasn't 2 months after the fact, I'd probably remember what that part of the carrier is called). We also went below deck to see how they "lived." (Very closely...like sardines). It also helps to be short, we discovered.

We were a little pressed for time because we had a dinner cruise of the bay that night. The vessel departed at 6:30 and it was already 5pm. So we hailed a bike taxi and enjoyed not having to walk back. Poor guy. He got a work out. We always felt bad when we had to stop because getting started is always the hard part. We even sat up, keeping our bums glued to our seats, and shot our bodies forward a couple of times to help with the momentum all the while praying no vehicle would hit us.

And this was our cruising vessel "High Spirits."

Each person was given a complimentary glass of champagne. However if you were under-age or don't drink alcohol, they had sparkling apple cider as an alternative. The boat looked smaller than it was. We were in the very back and loved our little secluded area with the unobstructed view out the stern.

We did a double-take when we saw this "vessel" shoot past us.

I forgot to mention the BEST part of this cruise, outside of the ambiance and dining on the San Diego Bay at sunset....we got a 2-for-1 deal! There was a coupon for it on the back of the paper map we were given by the hotel tipster. I saw it when we first arrived but didn't think that was something Jared would be interested in doing. He came back to the hotel room Tuesday afternoon and said he found the perfect thing for our last night and showed me a dinner cruise pamphlet. That's when I showed him the 2-for-1 coupon and we did a high five!

This was a four course meal with love songs piped in through the speakers by our DJ. We had a yummy warm spinach-artichoke dip with crackers. Then a Caesar salad. Next came our steak and chicken dinner with potatoes and steamed veggies. I actually didn't eat a ton of the main course. I kind of lost my appetite. Seasick? Nope. Jake had called right after we were served. He was so excited. He said, "Do you know that plaque that the coaches (baseball) give out at the end of the games?" I said, "yes." Then he said, "I got it tonight!" I was so elated! and disappointed. Jake was MVP of that night's game and I missed it. I'm just glad my mom could be there to share his moment with him. Turns out my dad was at Cooper's game on another field at that same school. Apparently in one inning, when Jake was playing 3rd baseman, he caught a line drive, getting the batter out and then threw the ball from 3rd base to 1st base (the farthest distance) getting the runner who had left 1st base out. Then he caught another line drive, getting all three outs for the inning! We were so proud of him. And thank goodness for cell phones. We were both able to talk to him.

By then the sun was starting to set.

That's the USS Midway on the left lit up with the red and blue lights from Memorial Day.

While out on deck, we went to the stern of the boat and danced to a couple of songs. And that was JARED'S idea :) It was most enjoyable and very romantic.

And pictured here was the best cheesecake I have EVER had. Normally, I could take it or leave it but I could have eaten 6 slices of this. Yumm-O.

This dinner cruise of the bay at sunset was an INCREDIBLE, AMAZING opportunity that we may never get again. It was soooo much fun. So delicious and intimate. A PERFECT ending to a PERFECT trip.

San Diego, Day 4: Where it all began

Tuesday, May 26th, after eating yet another overly-priced breakfast, I went down to the pool and lounged. I had my book, my phone, and my towel and got comfortable. The pool was literally 10 feet from the bay and the breeze coming off of it was cool on this overcast day. Living 32 years as a redhead, I've learned, often the hard way, that overcast days are just as dangerous for getting sunburned, than those with the blaring sun.

I made a face, let out a sigh, gathered up my book, my phone, my towel and went allllll the waaaay back up to the 24th floor to put on the sunscreen I had forgotten to put on before going down the first time. The process of just going from point A to point B took almost 10 minutes because of the size of the hotel. I admit, I was in a bit of a hurry. I have no idea why. Jared was in classes for another 2 hours. Maybe I was worried my lounging chair would be taken when I returned, even though there were 50 others available, although not as close to the entrance as the first one I had staked out. Regardless, I slathered the sunblock on as quickly as possible all over.

My chair was still available so I repeated my routine and settled down for a nice little rest.

I decided it was too much work to read my book, so I called my friend Amanda instead. We talked for over an hour while I enjoyed the occasional warmth of the direct sun rays as the clouds floated through the sky.

After my conversation, I was starting to get hungry. Apparently a high priced meal doesn't also mean it's a long lasting one. I grabbed a sandwich at the Starbucks in the hotel (saving half for Jared) and went up to the room to get showered and ready. That afternoon, Jared and I had a date at the temple.

[As an aside, before Jared got home, I stood at our room window to take in the view some more. I thought it was pretty cool to see the destroyers going out to sea. I got excited for my boys and couldn't wait to show them. They're into the game Battleship right now].

If you've never seen the San Diego temple in person and from the highway, you're missing out. One second you're driving down the highway, minding your own business, waiting to take the required exit. The next second you blink and then WHAM! It's right there. It takes your breath away. I couldn't keep my eyes off of it. It totally had me mesmerized.

Once inside and I just had to tell everyone we passed that "this is where I was married 12 years ago and we haven't been back since!" as reverently as possible. I wanted everyone to know how exciting this day was for me and that I never thought I'd have the chance to visit again.

To add to the personal electricity and unique opportunity of that day at the temple, we were asked to be the witness couple. There was a young woman who was going through for her first time, as she was to be married the following week. I told her it was a great place to start her marriage. And then, because I couldn't help myself, I added, "I was married here too 12 years ago...and in the month May!"

I was the first person from our session to enter the Celestial room. I felt like I hit a wall that had SPIRIT written all over it. I was just stunned. And as I looked around, trying to take it all in and imprint all the beautiful images and overwhelming feelings in my mind and heart, I openly wept. The San Diego temple was even more breathtaking and special to me now than it had been when I first went there to be married.

Jared and I spent some time, more than we usually do, on the upper balcony of the Celestial room reminiscing about our special Wednesday in May of 1997 and all the happenings involved with our eternal marriage. We tried remembering which sealing room was ours and where the temple President had counseled us prior to taking us into the sealing room. And joked about the few things we actually remember from our ceremony.

On our way out of the Celestial room, one of the sisters encouraged us to take a look around. She motioned for us to go through a door which lead to the lovely atrium. It was enclosed in glass, but looking upward, it was open enough that you could see the spires from there. Like you could reach out and touch one.

We also determined we were sealed in Sealing room 7 :)

On our way back to the dressing room, we were told by another sister in the atrium (who had the tough job of reading her scriptures in there), to take the Grand Staircase back downstairs. That was so much fun. Fun in the temple? You bet! I felt like a Queen with her King.

In the dressing room, though, I started to feel a little heat. On my leg. Further scrutiny found that my upper right thigh, including the side of it up to my hip bone and along my bathing suit line was completely toasted! It was lobster red. Apparently, I had missed some parts of my leg with the sunscreen...in a slashed triangle sort of pattern. You know, the part of my leg that never sees the light of day and then it saw too much. And it got scorched. This was right about the time when the sunburn was starting the throbbing stage. I was just grateful the session was over. But we still had pictures to take outside, so I was just going to have to deal with it.

Jared and I went outside and had more fun with our camera. Just a note...these pictures just can't do the temple ANY justice. To experience the sheer size and magnificence of this amazing edifice, it must be visited in person.

Notice the red streaks on my neck? The white streaks are evidence that I had sunblock on my fingers but wasn't very thorough in my application of it.

On our last walk-around of the temple, we came across a senior missionary. He asked if we would like our picture taken. We told him we'd love it. Then I said (do you see it coming?), "We were married here 12 years ago and haven't been back until today!" He thought that was really neat and asked where we have been all this time. He got our history of moves in less than 2 minutes. He snapped the picture and said, "Beautiful couple." I'd like to think so! If not, I can at least say we were M.F.E.

We found the local church bookstore and made some purchases while I hobbled through my sunburn (the nylons were chaffing).

As we drove away after sunset, this was our parting scene. Isn't it lovely?

We got a tip for dinner from a local, but I can't remember who it was. We went to The Fish Market and after I shed my nylons in the ladies' room, we shared an appetizer sampler. We also had some of the best clam chowder and sourdough bread. The fun thing about this restaurant is that part of it hangs over the bay. Guess where we were seated? On the water!! I couldn't believe our luck. See?

Looking back on this trip, out of all the things we did, the biggest highlight, hands down, was our visit to the temple. Not only to be in the temple, but to be in the exact same holy place where our celestial marriage began.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

San Diego, Day 3: Shopping mishaps & Lighthouses

On Monday, 25th (Memorial Day) after spending waaay too much money on an over-the-top breakfast at our hotel restaurant, I was off to go shopping. I had the time, access, a little bit of spending money and NO KIDS! This was going to be a successful day. Here's where I went. My first "outdoor mall."

Um, yeah. The outing was an exhausting waste of time and energy. I remembered painfully why I hate shopping. There was NOTHING I was looking for. And if on the off chance I found something I liked and was modest enough, there wasn't anything in my size. I couldn't believe it. I swear I've got the shopping curse. I can never find anything when I'm looking. But when I'm not looking or don't have the time or money, I always find cute things. What is UP with that??

And apparently I don't get out enough because I was at the GAP, going through the clearance rack. I saw what I thought was a pretty cute skirt. It was a neutral color and looked long enough. So I tried it on. I pulled it up to my waist and there was this extra pouch of fabric that hung off of my waist like an over-sized cummerbund. I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what was wrong with this skirt. That's when it dawned on me. It wasn't a skirt. Oh no, that extra fabric was to be pulled over one's chest area. It was a very short, strapless dress. And that's when I decided to call it quits.

I grabbed a snack to eat on the way back to the hotel. I got about halfway there when I realized in my fashion embarrassment rush to get out of the GAP, I accidentally left my beloved running jacket Jared had just gotten me for my birthday a month previously. So I hauled my fanny back to the mall, went to every floor except for the one that the GAP was on until the very last and prayed that no one took it. Relief washed over me when I saw it sitting up by the front cashier. I thanked her and then started back to the hotel, again.

When Jared got back, we drove to the Point Loma Lighthouse. And we totally would have missed this opportunity except that one of the sisters in the ward we attended recommended we go. I was soooo excited. Anyone who knows me, knows I love lighthouses. But I didn't know there was one here, nor did I even consider there might be one nearby. Thanks for the tip, dear sister!

The thing about this lighthouse is that a few years after it was up and running, the people found that it was up too high. The fog that often came in would obscure the lamp and it didn't provide the needed light and direction. So....not too long after, they shut this one down and built a second lighthouse closer to the shore that could escape the fog and be more useful.

Pictures of the bay behind us...

With it being Memorial Day, we had the solemn privilege of walking through the military cemetery and paying our silent respect and gratitude to those who bravely fought for our freedoms.

The headstones went as far as the eye could see on those hills.

Once we got back in town, we went to

for dinner at

It was a quaint little bistro and the food was not a disappointment. There were lots of places to choose from, too. But how can you go wrong with a place called Mimmos?