August 26, 2009

San Francisco photos

The slide show of or San Francisco trip is now here. These slide shows crash my mom's browser, so I will just post a link for them from now on.

Can you see me now Mom?

San Francisco at a glance

The trip was great! San Francisco is a very unique and cool place to visit. People do not use personal cars there much, so we turned in our rental and hoofed it. =) We got a city pass for the public transport and used it to ride busses, trolleys, and underground trains. It also came with free passes to several museums, two aquariums, a ferry ride, and other things. Very worth it...think it was $59 each. Riding the public transportation was in itself a really interesting way to view the city. It was about half and half tourists and locals on all transportation we took. So if we had a question on which bus to take or thing to see, we asked the locals on the bus. Everyone was so kind, even the drivers, on giving us directions and advice. I loved seeing such a kind hearted city.

I think that in a place like Phoenix, where almost everyone uses their own car and then gets out and dashes into air conditioned buildings to go to their own space, people get very disconnected with other humanity. People are grouchy and bothered in Phoenix. I think we are losing that community spirit and just view other people in our daily world as givers to us and not real people we should connect with and be kind to. We were there for 5 days so we really got to see the real spirit of the city and not just a touristy glimpse.

San Francisco is divided into neighborhoods, kind of like New York City, but much smaller. The row houses are usually divided up in to apartments, so on one street there are hundreds of people living. And each neighborhood has a park or a square, a nice grassy block with trees, benches and surrounded by little shops and restaurants. We spent a little time each day at the square in our host's neighborhood. Locals would bring their dogs to the park and let them off their leash and the dogs were galloping the whole park and romping with each other. They come there each day, you could tell. It was so fun to watch the community spirit and neighbors sitting on the benches or standing in groups talking while their dogs romped. And from outward appearance, it is a very common sight to see people who are on their way home or from lunch or on a break maybe, just throw themselves onto the grass in their dress clothes even and lie in the sun, no blanket or folding chair, but just on the grass. Downtown where the modern art museum was had a lot of people out in the grass, just soaking in the sun or napping. And in every neighborhood park we saw, if it was sunny, people were doing the same. Fun.

It was also freezing cold. brrr! We had to buy an extra jacket (heavy windbreaker with fleece lining) because we couldn't stand it anymore. So we sat in the sun on park benches or short walls, we are not quite ready to go for lying in the grass where the dogs romp freely (if you know what I mean). Don't they have ants in San Fran??

We ate really good food too.....very gourmet appreciating city. We ate at Chinatown where the pot stickers and the green tea ice cream were sublime, a hip Italian place just off of 'our' square and had an interesting polenta appetizer, very much comfort food, a very hip Eur-asian place (our host gave us a gift certificate for there) and ate the fanciest meal we had while in San Francisco. I had a pork chop that was glazed with pomegranate and currant sauce and Charles had a chicken with portobello mushrooms and truffle sauce, and we had fish and chips on Fisherman's Wharf. (that is for Jackie, and no, I did not take pictures of our meals, that would be too much)

We went to church on Sunday morning, it took us about 20 minutes to go across town after walking several blocks, catching a bus, then taking the underground train. Huge, beautiful church, extraordinary worship leader. He was like a professional, but very humble and led from behind the grand piano, very good at leading you through a worship experience and focussing you on God. They had just lost their pastor in June. He passed away and the church was still in a state of grief, you could tell. One of the associate pastors preached one of those very inspiring and modern sermons, using props and audio visuals to get his teachings to relate. The congregation was a total mix of the community. It is good to see that, it means their church is reaching their area and relevant to their community. Our denomination's California seminary is just across the bridge, so there were some seminary students there too and a professor or two.

So all in all it was an exhausting, but really lovely trip. It was totally different than anything we would have planned to do, but we're glad we fell into it because it really gave us an appreciation of another place.....a big city with a sense of community, joy and kindness about it. The friend we stayed with is very sure that the city is on the verge of a huge revival of the believers there and coming to God of the community. So we are joining her in praying in that direction.

I am now going to carry a little sign, so that when people ask, "So how was your trip?" I can just hold it up "Read the blog." It's so hard to explain such a huge trip in a minute or so. ;)

We are so glad to be home though, it was very tiring. But I am making a commitment to be a kinder Arizonan, even while driving in my own car with all the masses who really don't know me, but will react better to kindness than to impatience and aggravation.

August 25, 2009

Tiny homes

I want one of these. I would park it in my backyard so I could have a nice little retreat and Charles could have somewhere to sleep when he mentions me in sermons too much. *j/k* I would plant flowers in the window boxes and paint it light blue with white trim. And in the summer I could haul it up to my sister's lot where her cabin is and Charles and I could have our own private get away.

We always have said when we retire (do pastors ever really retire?), we could buy a travel trailer and live in it while we travel and go on mission trips and such. We have our kids scared that we will park it at each of their four homes for 3 months of the year. (probably because we tell them we will do it) To which Hannah always says, "I'm living in an apartment then." haha, very funny Hannah. When you need a grammy to babysit, I will be at Emma's taking care of all of her sets of twins. (family joke about a very funny game of Life in which Emma needed several minivans to tote her crew around)

If we had one of these, they might want to travel with us though.....we could all caravan! We would have a ready made neighborhood wherever we went!

What do you think? Aren't these the cutest things ever?

August 13, 2009

Hearts and Rain

We woke up this morning to rain! There is always big excitement in Phoenix about rain. It will dominate the evening news. The reporters will be standing out in it, the camera will pan around puddles of it, there will be video of cars driving on wet streets and there will be 'man on the street' interviews of the general public saying how happy they are for the rain. It's really entertaining. It makes you learn to appreciate what you seldom have. It makes you thankful.

I got my coffee and went out in the garage to see what Hannah was doing. She is going through her stored belongings, packing things to take with her to California. We are leaving Monday to take her up to a ministry school in northern California for a year.

While we were talking I noticed all the bits of paper all over the driveway. Hearts. Everywhere. We got heart attacked! I'm sure I know who it was since she was here at our house the other day wanting to heart attack people. People who like to do fun vandalism should not brag about it in front of a potential victim. But yes, I know who you are! And if you really love us, you will come and pick up all the bits of paper that has now been wet all day and has sunken down between the rocks in our front yard. Yes, very cute, but the reality is a lot of wet paper.

But I still am thankful for the rain. And in a smaller way (because it's kind of a mess), I am thankful that the youth group loves my kids and gave us a heart attack.

August 8, 2009

Colorado 09

My DEAR husband bought a new wireless router for our internet and now it's zoom zoom zoom! So I finally got all of our vacation photos uploaded. There are about 40 pictures, so it is long, but it's all in one place.

Click here for that slide show.


August 6, 2009

Those were the days my friend

Our Sprint cell phone service has not been working for 3 days.

Now Yahoo won't give me my mail or the news story on the mom who crashed with her kids in NY.

AND my Qwest internet service is iffy today too.

I'm watching Gilmore girls episodes from the days when EVERY person did not have a cell phone. They had pagers, they would get a little beep and have a little time (like in case they needed to go to the bathroom.... awkward while on a cell phone or when your kids bring you your cell phone with a live someone on it while you're IN the bathroom...okay I don't know if I'm going to keep this parentheses) before you call the person back.

They also distinctly have newspapers with interesting stories right there in front of your eyes instead of teasing you with a title to a story you can never read. And you never see people on the internet. That is interesting. People just talk to each other and visit and bump into each other in charming small town settings.

I want that.

But I also want my cell phone to work!

August 4, 2009

Birthday scones

Hannah made me vanilla scones for my birthday. I am working on getting cake replaced with vanilla soy scones for the preferred birthday dessert. =) We topped them with raspberry jam and blueberry jam that she helped someone make in Alaska from berries she helped pick! Maybe she will give us all the recipe. She took one from the internet and added and subtracted things.

I also got a french pedicure with little jeweled flower applique from Bethany. And the Jane Eeyre dvd we started watching last night was from Charles, along with a field guide to my camera so that we can learn to do fancy, cool things with it.

Birthday events

Thank you for all the birthday wishes by phone, by email (thanks Tay), and by facebook! That was fun reading those in my mailbox first thing today....and getting my birthday wake up call from Laurie Luker very first thing!

My children are all home for a couple of weeks, with the recent return of Hannah, so we are laughing a lot, there are squeals of happy late night talking from Bethany's room, and watching lots of Gilmore Girls. I am about to get a pedicure from Bethany while we watch Martha Stewart. Tonight Charles and I are going out with friends and tomorrow I will get together with my mom and a couple of my sibs.

I am happy.

I did a 'what celebs do you share a birthday with' quiz on facebook/wikipedia and came up with:

1. Louis Armstrong
2. Billy Bob Thornton
3. Barack Obama
4. Jeff Gordon
5. Cole and Dylan Sprouse (Suite life of zack and cody kids)

And this morning I turned on Regis and Kelly and it's also GILMAN'S birthday. WILL the coinkidinks never cease? haha Actually Barack, Gilman and I were all born in the same year, same day too. I am wordless.

whoopee! (which is not an actual word, but in interjection)