Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Brussels is lovely. It's actually a very small city, almost no need for public transportation at all. First thing this morning, Marnie and I walked to the "Market Square" in Brussels (center of the city a million years old-compared to anything we have in the states anyway)
and met at the Godiva store to begin our 4 hour chocolate tour of the city, because how else does one appropriately begin one's time in Belgium? (I do have to admit I was thinking "Godiva. Not bad chocolate, but it better get better than this. Belgium did not disappoint.)
Off we went. The tour actually ending up doing a fantastic job of including the history of the city, the important building and some of the city's famous Art Nouveau architecture, with frequent chocolate stops.
Now, the chocolate. YUM. I've learned that, although I have a lot more tasting to do be before I can be sure, Madagascar cocoa beans make my favorite chocolate. "It's more bitter, with a longer after taste," or so I'm told. When they had us taste one cookie with chocolate on it and figure out what kind of chocolate I was right on. "It's dark. But only slightly," I say. Correct. 54% to be exact, just barely dark. I'm such a connoisseur :). Marnie and I are doing our chocolate shopping Friday morning before we catch our train back to London. We want them to be as fresh as possible and are mapping out the best route to get us to our favorite chocolates.
During the tour we, of course, stopped by the chocolate museum where we had the opportunity to make our own chocolates. Basically, we got to play in vats of chocolate and dip things them, like marzipan and sugared orange along with making goops of chocolate and piling them with nuts/fruits. It was a very well done tour. I highly recommend it.
After a very much needed, very good, late lunch we came back to the hotel. Marnie read and napped a little while I went to the hotel sauna to get nice and warm. Hottest sauna I've ever been in. Felt good....I then took my turn napping while listening a beautiful bell chorus. A gift from a friend in Santa Rosa, Ca that came up on my ipod at precisely the perfect relaxation moment. Love those bells.
This evening we headed out toward the Market Square again as there is supposed to be all kinds of seasonal concerts, displays, etc going on. It finally felt like Christmas. Everyone really gets into the spirit of things here and Christmas lights and festivals are everywhere. I love it.
We arrive at the Square, which is made up of Baroque designed buildings, complete with gold leafing on the building and ornate statues. It was made even more beautiful by a light show that was going on. The had very pretty, seasonal music pouring into the square with a coordinated lights display, projected directly on the historic buildings. It kind of took my breath away for a moment. Perhaps one of my favorite parts of my trip so far. I especially liked when one building was lit in the shadows of the arches with a deep, foreboding purple. It was awesome. We then meandered around until me went to a restaurant our tour guide suggested, stating that it was, "No BS, just really good food, from a good kitchen, at reasonable prices." He was right. The food was pretty good. He must really like it there because while we were eating, he came in with some friends. (He also gives a beer tour in the afternoons and may have not needed the wine he was drinking as he asked us several times how we heard about the place and showered us with....affection.)
After we eventually were able to stand after dinner (not being hungry wen we started due to the late lunch, and it's sizable deliciousness) we went back to the Christmas fair we ran into last night and hopped on the ferris wheel there. It actually gave a decent view of the city and the skating rink below, along with a slide made of ice that kids were having a good time sliding down. The best part of this for me was that when we got to the very top the world seemed very silent, but the occasional laughter of children would break through and make me smile.
I'm home now, after a hot shower to warm up and really need to be getting to bed as we're heading to Brugge (Bruges) tomorrow morning. Everyone who's been to Belgium says it's the best place to go, like a whole storybook town. We'll just be going by train for the day then headed back to Brussels tomorrow evening.
Maybe one day I'll even post these. Maybe I'll even type up my other hand written notes and you can read all about the fun adventure I'm having right now. Don't think for a minute that I don't love that I'm finally getting to travel the world and see so many wonderful things. And don't think for a minute I'm not coming back with chocolate. :)
Best part is, the chocolate is so good I'm satisfied after one or two pieces. No need to down the whole supply like I do with Hershey's Hugs. Just a nibble here and there and I am at peace.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Belgium is full of life and I’m already interested and want to see and feel everything. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get very interested in London. There were beautiful things to see there and fantastical soap opera history. And the museums were unbelievable! But in my sad, uneducated, and mind that simple feels and absorbs like a sponge...it felt much like it’s food...bland. It’s weird I just really couldn’t get into it past the first few days. I think London is a place I would have done much better on my own.
(Well, actually, I think a lot of places I might be better off on my own because I’m inside my own head so much.)
But it would have been a meander, get lost, and then casually find my way home kind of place. I’m glad to have experienced London and have some good plans to enjoy my last few days on my own after I return from Belgium. But I think I can already tell, I’m going to like Belgium even more.
I love the expressiveness of the people. They way they laugh openly, honestly, and often. I don’ t know that I heard much of that at all in London and so it’s absence there makes it’s presence here even sweeter. The people embrace everyone around them. They smile, they talk to each other on the streets. They are polite. Granted this is an initial observation and I’ve only been here a few hours but I do tend to sponge in vibes, which is a big part of why I like to just observe an area for a while. Try to gather information and get a “feel” for a place as I invisibly interact with it. I like it here.
I’ve already heard the terms, “voila!” and “bon appetit” used in passing. Hee hee hee, it made me smile. People really say that. And they do it with a French accent too. Hee hee hee.
I’m off to bed for the evening. I want to get up early and do some stomach-stretching exercises before I head our for my chocolate tour later in the morning.
Good night. And look for back posts that are already but in need of transfer from paper to blog.
p.s. I do have to mention how cool it is that I think in less the time it takes me to drive from San Diego to L.A. I crossed the English Channel (UNDERWATER), and ended up in a different country, with a different language, a completely different culture, and-thank goodness- different food! All in just 2 hours! I wish was I close enough that when I wanted Italian for lunch I could just go and come back in a day. Or crave a pastry and take a 2 hour train ride to France. Anyway, all just cool. Night.
Friday, December 16, 2011
I didn’t get a picture of it. In fact I came into town, dropped my bags off (that felt good, I’d been dragging them around all day yesterday since checking out the hotel at 10:00 a.m. until I reached my hotel around 3:00pm) and headed off to the library. I’d learned that the library was only open until 5:00pm and I wanted to know what resources were available in case I might be able to get things together in order to have a productive search.
The library actually has quite a few resources including, censuses, vital records information, and even newspapers dating back a while. Sadly, this was a very last minute trip and I didn’t have much information, let alone organized information. My sister and cousin were very quickly responding to my requests for information and it seems I may have been in the very right spot, looking at the very right things. I just didn’t what I was looking at or looking for. I came to the conclusion that I would need several more days and a huge desk to work on where I could spread out all of my papers and piece them together (do some massive [<--- very overused word here]-organizing). An expert wouldn’t hurt either.
I did however, learn how to get started and knowing that information will help my cousin, who, unbeknownst to me is planning a family history trip here in April. The leg work and face to face conversations with the locals, as well as seeing the resources and gaining some very helpful and important contacts should save her a bunch of time when she gets here. So I count it as a win AND I got to see WALES, which has got to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, double win. Even if I come home empty handed.
Oh, and I guess my inquiries prompted some before unknown information from a woman my sister, Cheri, has been in contact with that led us back another 200 years on one line. Okay, I’m beginning to see that I although I loved my time there and initially thinking I was coming back empty handed in the family records department, this trip did spawn some fruit :) -get the genealogical pun?
And so I saved myself the frustration of rushing to the library this morning and basking in a wealth of information I had was in no position to make sense of. Instead, I found a wonderful Christmas gift for Kira in my last few minutes there.
I will close with this. I LOVE WALES. It’s beautiful. And despite tromping around in the rain, hail, sleet, snow I can’t wait to come back. I imagine if I were here in a different season, I wouldn’t be to help but ride bikes through the country with a big smile on my face.
But tonight I will once again, and gratefully so, unload my bags, take a really hot shower, and sleep very well. I’m exhausted.
Farewell Wales until we meet again....soon!
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
I once stood at the top of the world. I once rose to the pinnacle of my life, and then in a heartbeat, a whisper of a moment, I slipped. I fell. I fell to the earthy depths below and it was gone. I have seen the pits of hell, and tasted the ash, and I refuse to allow myself to remain there. Now, I claw my way back to the top. I will climb again, for nothing can prevent me from regaining my perch as the master of my life. I will take the helm of my fate and steer my existence through the squall that my life has become until the waters again become calm and I can look into the vast blue horizon and see my future in the distance.
Sometimes life kicks you in the teeth, and then repeatedly, and then you get up with a big grin and show off your bruises. Thanks for putting it much more beautifully than I do, Adam.
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Lois (the sister making the niece), having the genuis book of world records for the most insanely easy births, left the hospital even before her 24 hour observation period was up because it was so easy, or least should could have, had they named the baby in time :).
And although this baby is beautiful and already has a big piece of my heart, especially since she doesn't cry too loud, sleeps many hours at a time, and is very clear about what she's after at any given time (Lois' is the luckiest new mom in the world). Although Jasmin has already stolen a big piece of my heart , my week was spent mostly with this little angel:
Jasmin's older sister, Kenya. She and I became fast friends. We played wii fit together, we listened to music together, we danced together, we danced, and danced. We danced a lot :). A LOT. And it was a blast. We blew bubbles and played with the kitty. And by the end of the week we had our own inside jokes and games. Including bonking heads and yelling, "noggin!" We did soft noggins, hard noggins, and medium noggins. We, by we mean I, played with her hair, which was one of my favorite things to do:
One of favorite pics of Kenya is during bath time when she had this awesome Michael Jackson moment:
We put on makeup (don't love this pic of me, but I couldn't help but post it because of how cute Kenya is while helping me put on my makeup).
And one morning we spent an hour lying in bed just making faces at each other giggling until Robert (Jasmin and Kenya's daddy) came in to say hello and see what was going on. We laughed and snuggled and played and played and played.
As Kenya has had trouble sleeping through the night the last little bit, and Lois had a new baby, I even got to be the one to go into her room at night when she woke up yelling for mom and snuggle her back to sleep. Or at least put in the bed and fall asleep on the floor so that when she woke up someone was there with her and she felt comfortable enough to go back to sleep.
Kenya loves people, and loves, loves, loves her new baby sister and can calming sit and hold her forever. She also loves the cat, a little too much. I wish I had a pic of how tolerant this cat really is, but here's a glimpse:
It kind of just worked out that Kenya became "my job" as Lois took care of the baby, and I'm so glad it did. We had a blast and I have a new BFF.
It must be noted that Lois' pregnancy and birthing was so easy that just one week after Jasmin was born she went on a pioneer trek through Martin's Cove with her family. Hope that's genetic. And if I ever have kids, I may even ask permission to steal the name Jasmin almost got. :)
And of course, here are some more pics for you to enjoy:
Thursday, June 30, 2011
This has been quite a pattern for me and for those that I haven't dated for extended periods of time but long enough for other people to notice something might be starting...well, let's just say, those guys ended up getting a whole lot of attention when things fizzled and they appeared to be single again. Now whether this is flattering or not, I don't know just yet. But I do know that there is a very real After-Amy-Phenomenon going on here. It's wild.
It is rather fun to watch guys turn into chick magnets as soon as I walk away. Perhaps it's just that people want to be like me and so they date the guys I tend to choose, just after I don't choose them. I do have very good taste in men after all.
All I'm saying is this is a real super power that I possess. However, I don't fully understand how it works just yet. Or how to use it for evil instead of good...
Monday, May 2, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
My dad is dying right now. I don’t mean like he has been for the past several years. I mean that within minutes he’ll be gone. My mom just called (1:54 a.m.) from the hospital in SLC and said that his heart had stopped and that he would be gone in a few minutes.
He had a stroke yesterday morning after he had a risky surgery called an ablation on Monday. He called the ablation his, “double K” plan. “Kill me or Kure me” he kept saying. Fortunately the Lord made sure I got to see him again as I had taken a Monday off for doctor’s appointments, etc from work and had word that he was going in for surgery and although I didn’t feel super strongly one way or the other about going, I did buy a plane ticket and went to see my dad.
We, the doctors, me and everyone, kept telling him that it wasn’t as clear as that and that it hopefully wouldn’t kill him but that it probably wouldn’t cure him, at least entirely. But it was a last resort.
My dad had been experiencing “episodes” we’d been calling them because we weren’t quite sure what else to call them. When I spoke with the Dr, Dr Ramirez, I asked him what exactly was happening during his episodes he said that essentially is he going into ventricular fibrillation. A heart rhythm, that since school immediately attaches to itself in my memory with the text book phrase, “not compatible withe life”.
Basically what that means is that his heart is fluttering randomly, unable to to beat collectively, and effectively, unable to pump any blood. The purpose of his pacemaker, in this case, is to send a shock to his heart to reset the electrical pathway, hoping to synchronize the movement-giving a cohesive beat rather than random fibrillation. (Hence de-fibrillation). It is 2:30 a.m. and I still have not received word on a final death.
I did speak with Lois about 15 mins ago (2:13 a.m.) Lois is calling right now. They called it. While I was one the phone with mom or shortly after she hung up.
I’m speaking with her (Lois) about it right now. 2:32 a.m. That’s when I found our that my dad has died for sure. 2:32 a.m. on March 3rd, 2011. Now I’m thinking about my mom, and then my dad again, and smiling. I remember him telling her before he went in for the ablation on February 28, that he was going to try to stay alive for her long enough to get another vet-check, meaning the beginning of March, or something like that-to make sure she had just a little bit more money. He was a cheeky fellow that's for sure but he always wanted to take care of people, even if he didn’t always know how to do it. And he did it. He always found a way. Often the hard way, but that seems genetic. The Evans way.
I’m glad it’s not especially cold tonight, at least not in my room here in Santa Rosa, where it’s usually very chilly. I’m glad to be able to sit here and remember my dad in warmth.
I also like hearing that I was on the phone when it happened. Although, it doesn’t mean much, maybe it’s just me grasping for last memories of him but I’m glad to hear it. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s just one last little connection to him. I love him. I love him so much. He was a great man. Anyone would say it, and not just because he is gone now. Exasperating at times, but you couldn’t help but love him. No one could. My friends still share wonderful memories of him. Usually of being scared of him in the most exciting and happy kind of way. They way kids giggle and scream for you not to tickle their belly while holding up their shirts and inching towards you.
I am especially grateful that my dad looked so good when I saw him (I was in Salt Lake City, Ut at the hospital with him over the weekend). In fact, he looked better than I’d seen him in years.
Mom just sent a text. I can call her now if I want to. I’m calling. I love her. 2:47 a.m.“His lungs stopped first, and then his heart. Then they checked his brain and there was no activity.” She’s telling me that, “he wasn’t going to have much of a recovery after all the work they were doing. And that if he came out it he wouldn’t have a very good life.” I’m typing as she’s telling me.
She says they’re going to do his autopsy. I’m telling her that I don’t care what medical reason they come up with, he’s gone because he wanted to be. Because he chose it. “Kill me or Kure me”. And he’s always made his own decisions. And I don’t doubt that he made this one, as well.
Lois and mom both say that earlier today (I guess it would have been yesterday morning) he said that he had made his peace with God and asked him to give him “the big one”. Those are Lois’ words, I don’t know if those are his words, too, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m glad that he’s made his peace with God. That’s all I’ve been praying for. Okay, not all, but the biggest one. I even fasted for it last time I fasted, last fast Sunday. I prayed that God would forgive him for anything that he might have felt he’d done wrong, but mostly that he would forgive himself, and that even I might forgive him for anything I might be holding on to. I do love my dad. I always have. And I always knew he loved me. It wasn’t always easy and we didn’t always know how to show each other but I think we both knew that we loved each other. Or at least I hope he knows I love him. I never quite knew how to act around him because we’ve had some really special moments but not always a strong relationship-either that or too strong. I do think that my dad and I are a lot alike in many ways. Sometimes, against my will and in some ways I wanted to change. But sometimes, I even see a glimpse of my dad’s greatness in me too. And I like that.
He knows I love him. I’m sure he does. Because he and I had an understanding. A quiet one. Our best times were knowing what we both knew: you don’t need to talk to connect. I remember mostly, when we got along best, I think I was around 13-14. He would be in his room watching tv, lying on his stomach, eating Sour Cream & Cheddar Ruffles potato chips. I would, usually in an attempt to just escape (same reason I think he was in his room watching tv), silently join him in his room. I’d just lie on my stomach next to him and relax. Just relax. My dad didn’t always like sharing his chips but eventually-without words-the bag would tilt my way. We were sharing a moment. He was telling me that he loved me and liked having me around. This was somewhat of a routine for a while. I think we really understood each other in those moments. For just a few moments, no pressure for him, or from him. Just a moment. A father and a daughter, two souls-very similar in some ways-just loving each other. Quietly and without words.
I keep thinking about work later this morning. And I want to go. I want to go and just silently and helpfully go about my day helping people. But I know it’s a bad idea because something unperfect will happen, like someone else not realizing what a special day it is and I’ll be disappointed. Or first, someone will ask how my dad is doing and I’ll smile, not a happy smile, and say that he’s gone. Their pity is what will put me over the edge. I don’t want pity right now. I want peace. And right now I have it.
The first thing I did after my mom called was to pray. I got on my knees and I prayed. I prayed for him, I prayed for my mother, my family, and for me. I prayed that we all might have peace. I prayed hard. I even said to my Father in Heaven, “I’m praying hard right now. I’m praying so hard.” And I did. I prayed hard. And my prayers have been answered. I am at peace right now. I’m sniffly and intermittently crying, but I am at peace. I pray he is too.
I wonder what it’s like up there. Cause I know he went up, even if he’s surprised to find himself there. Which I’m sure he’s not. He wouldn’t have said he’s made his peace if he hadn’t. So I wonder what it’s like up there. I wonder what he’s doing. Because it’s real, you know. Heaven. It’s real. And God, and his love for us. All real. We forget that sometimes, I think.
I’m slowly running out of things to say but I don’t know what to do next if I finish this up. It seems strange to go back to sleep. I wish the temple was open now. Perhaps if I head down there and hit my first and probably only ever 5:00 a.m. session. I will probably be tired by then. I’d like to be very rested and spend a lot of time there today. And outside. He loved outside and I know that’s where he’ll be. Where I’ll feel him the most maybe.
My dad is dead. And I love him. But he’s so close. I know he always will be. I hope he’s pleased with what he finds in me when he’s watching. I love him. I love him so much. And now I’m hurting. Because I love him so much.
And now I’m hurting. But I’m okay. Thank you all for being who you are. And thank you for the love and support I’ve received through all this.
My dad is dead. And I was on the phone when it happened.