Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sick Again

Well, it's happened again. Antalya has been so healthy for a complete month, and now that we are less than a few weeks away from her new surgery date she's come down with something. I think for most kids that would be plenty of time to get over a little bug and feeling well, but with Antalya is almost always takes several weeks - and that's with antibiotics.

We had a very sleepless night last night. When I went to bed around 11:00 I noticed she was struggling a little with her breathing. By 3:00am it had gotten pretty bad. We spent the next 45 minutes in the bathroom with the hot shower running. By then Antalya was wide awake and wanted to take a bath. After her bath her breathing still wasn't improving much so I decided we should just stay awake for awhile so went downstairs and watched Signing Time and read books until we were both completely exhausted. Around 5:30 I enlisted Jason to help me get her to sleep. And we all had a very restless hour and a half more of sleep. Hoping today goes better.

I hope we can get her healthy and stay healthy by her surgery date. She needs this surgery so badly. I really think it will make a world of difference for her. Her tonsils (when they are healthy) are so enlarged that her airway through her mouth is no bigger than an 1/8 of an inch. But even as small as that is, she has a harder time breathing out of her nose. I don't know how she manages as well as she does.

Plum Picking

Tonight we went plum picking so we can make plum jam later this week. Antalya had a great time and even let me get a good shot of her with my camera. It seems like a while since I've gotten a good picture. Did you know this cute little face will be 2 years old in less than two weeks?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


It was a warm autumn day - a Monday to be exact. I was in my last semester of college - getting excited for graduation and the prospect of moving out of state to pursue a graduate degree in Spanish Literature. My days were a mixture of piano lessons (I had 20 students and the thought of a Christmas recital right around the corner), school (although there was a major university 10 minutes from my apartment, I choose to commute an hour to another university), managing an office for some guys who had just begun a business venture doing remodeling work in old, run down apartments, spending time with friends, and the all important task of dating!

Since the previous fall, my mom would occasionally mention her friend's brother-in-law who was living in Israel and who, according to her friend, would be the perfect match for me. His name was Jason, and he loved to travel, rock climb, and backpack. He was very adventurous, and good looking to top it off. These conversations always ended the same. I doubted he could really be all she told me he was, and if he was all that, why on earth would he be interested in me? And yes, I would email him if he emailed me first, but that my mom shouldn't get her hopes up because after all - he was living on the other side of the globe.

Anyways, back to my warm autumn Monday. It was going to be a relaxing day. No class on Mondays - just a few hours in the office, the afternoon to myself, followed by a few piano lessons in the late evening. Although I tried to tell myself today was just another Monday, I still woke up earlier to allow time to blow dry and style my hair (which is something I rarely do) and apply make-up (another thing I don't normally do). You see, four days earlier I had got a phone call from my mom's friend telling me that her brother-in-law had just moved back from Israel and would it be alright if she were to give him my phone number. I agreed - partly because I didn't how else I would ever hear the end of all this talk about "Jason" and partly because I was really interested in finding out if he really was all they said he was.

To my surprise, just a few hours later her brother-in-law called me. I was in class, so I sent it to voicemail. On my way home from school that night I returned the phone call. I was glad that I had plans all weekend so I could say no to a traditional "pick you up at 7" kind of date. I offered to meet him for lunch on Monday if he was free. He was. He picked a little Middle-Eastern restaurant near his university (the one that was only a few minutes away from my apartment - the one any logical person in my situation would have been attending). I thought it was a perfect arrangement. If it didn't go well, I could lie and say I needed to get back to work, but if it did go well, I could take my time since I had the whole afternoon free.

So as I'm getting ready for work that day, I can't help but feel a little nervous. I had been on dozens of blind dates, but this one somehow felt different. I get to work, and quickly do what needs to be done for that day and am walking out the door by noon. Just enough time to run a few quick errands and then meet at the restaurant by 1:00. I get everything done quicker than I planned and pull up to the restaurant at 12:45. I think about finding a seat, but then decide I don't want to be the first one there, so I head to a park that I know is nearby to kill some time. I walk around for what seems like forever, checking my watch to see how much time has gone by. I start thinking that maybe it would have been better if I just gave him my address and had him pick me up. What if I get to the restaurant and approach the wrong person thinking it is him? What if he doesn't show up? Do I eat lunch by myself? With all these questions on my mind I drive back to the restaurant - getting there purposely late in hopes that he was already there, and I wouldn't have to wait around.

There was no parking available in the front of the restaurant so I pulled around back hoping to find something quickly. As I walked around the front I see a guy wearing sunglasses, sitting at a table outside by himself, surrounded by school books. It could be him, but how could I be sure? I debate with myself for a split second, and then decide to get over my shyness and just go find out. We introduce ourselves and I take a seat across from him. Here we go again - another blind date with the same get-to-know you questions and small talk that always makes me feel uncomfortable.

I feel very out of place. He starts asking me about things on the menu - wanting to know what my favorite Middle Eastern foods are. Although I did spend several months in the Middle East none of the food on the menu seems familiar. I recognize falafel, hummus, and pita. I'm tempted to just order a falafel, but I know I don't really like them, so I try to find something with chicken without seeming too uneducated.

We order our food, the server takes our menus away. Now I don't have anything to hide behind, and I know I need to do my part to keep the conversation going. I notice right away that Jason is extremely confident, and although he still has his sunglasses on I feel his piercing gaze, I feel like he is seeing right through to all my insecurities. Part of me wants to just go home and end the discomfort I am feeling, but a large part of me is so intrigued with him. He is good looking, and smart, and seems to know exactly what he wants from life.

The minutes fly by. We soon have our food, then our plates are being cleared, the server is dropping off the bill, and we are still talking. The server comes back occasionally - I get the feeling they would like us to give up our table - but we keep talking. Eventually we make plans to meet again, and then part ways. It wasn't until I got to my car that I realized it was nearly 5:00. We had spent the entire afternoon at the little restaurant.

I'd like to say it was true love from the beginning, but I know that would be an exaggeration. I left that first date feeling very intrigued. It was one of the best first blind dates I had ever had, yet I didn't sense a real connection. I knew I was interested in him, but wasn't sure if he was really interested in me. Well, all that changed the next day when Jason called me as I was walking out of class. There was something in that short conversation that made me instantly sense that this was something different than I had experienced with the other guys I had dated.

I am grateful that four years ago today I agreed to meet a stranger for lunch. Although I didn't know it at the time - that one lunch has led to some of the happiest moments in my life. Thanks Jason for sharing this journey with me. I love you!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Celebrate 100!

I've made it to my 100th post. To celebrate here are 100 things about myself.

1. I'm a Sagittarius
2. I have four brothers
3. no sisters
4. I never wanted a sister
5. now I think it would be nice to have a sister
6. but I have lots of wonderful sisters-in-law.
7. I don't like bread
8. unless it's sweet.
9. I love anything that is sweet
10. when I was little I would sneak spoonfuls of sugar.
11. I have always wanted to be a professor
12. but now that I am getting older I think I might become a speech therapist one day
13. I want to work with little kids that have special needs.
14. I love rice
15. especially brown rice.
16. I taught piano lessons to put me through college
17. I enjoyed all my students, except for two
18. but I even enjoyed them on rare days too.
19. I was living in Jerusalem when the Second Intifada broke out
20. I wrote a paper in Spanish about my experience the day the fighting began
21. (I was a spanish major - so everything I wrote was in spanish)
22. my paper was accepted at the National Undergraduate Literature Conference.
23. I like to have a bowl of cereal before bed
24. preferably Apple Jacks.
25. I want to have a big family.
26. I prefer un-medicated childbirth
27. although I never have tried the alternative
28. but hopefully I never will.
29. needles and medicine scare me
30. I would rather have it all natural.
31. I just finished reading Persuasion by Jane Austen
32. it is my favorite love story.
33. I'm a tree hugger at heart.
34. Since I was a little kid I have thought of days of the week as being even and odd
35. I don't know if other people do this
36. Monday, Wednesday, Friday are odd days
37. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday are even days
38. Sunday is neutral
39. things that are "even" feel unnatural to me
40. which means Monday is a much better day than Saturday.
41. I know I'm a little weird sometimes.
42. People always called me Sunny Bunny when I was little
43. naturally, I assumed my middle name was Bunny
44. I remember several occasions being asked for my middle name and me stating "Bunny"
45. I don't have a middle name - that's probably what led to my confusion.
46. I'm scuba certified
47. but it's been almost four years since I have been on a dive.
48. I once swam with dolphins in the Red Sea.
49. I'm married to my true love.
50. I have worked for four different restaurants,
51. a framing gallery,
52. a pizza place,
53. a remodeling company,
54. a cell phone company,
55. an ice cream parlor,
56. a real-estate school,
57. and an art museum.
58. I have really dry skin
59. it really bothers me - even keeps me awake sometimes at night.
60. I like to go to bed early
61. if I'm not in bed by 10 I start to feel uneasy.
62. I don't like talking on the phone.
63. I'm trying to get better at small talk.
64. I took a hunter safety class
65. and have been certified to hunt since I was 12
66. I have never been hunting
67. and have no desire to go.
68. I grew up eating venison roasts on Sundays
69. it took me until well into my adult life to get used to the taste of a beef roast.
70. I moved 14 times between the ages of 18 and 24
71. and attended two different colleges
72. and had over 20 roommates.
73. I served a religious for my church in Santiago, Chile
74. I was there for 18 months
75. That's where I learned spanish.
76. I love to travel
77. I have been to Israel, Belgium, France, Italy, Chile, Mexico, Belize, Canada, and many of the states.
78. Jason and I would like to live abroad sometime.
79. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
80. I have green eyes.
81. I was on the swim team in High School.
82. I played percussion in a school band.
83. I was a gymnast for 10 years.
84. I am awful at home decorating.
85. I hate cleaning bathrooms.
86. I love watching The Office
87. tonight is the season premier for the new season
88. I have been looking forward to it for several weeks.
89. I am shy
90. and have a hard time making new friends.
91. I like trying new recipes.
92. I like being really busy
93. if I don't have anything going on, I come up with things that need to be done just so I feel like I am really busy.
94. I live on-site at a storage unit facility
95. the best part about it is the golf cart, and acres and acres of concrete to drive on.
96. I never liked dolls when I was growing up.
97. I have to have something sweet every night or I get a little anxious.
98. I am very independent.
99. The only bone I have ever broke is my toe.
100. It took me a really long time to write this post.

Wow, if you made it to the end of this list you deserve a reward!

Sunday, September 21, 2008


The alarm goes off at 3:30am this morning. I quickly get dressed, make a big bowl of oatmeal, and am out the door at 3:55. The hour and a half drive goes by quickly; before I know it I am parked and following the crowd to the biggest line of school buses I have ever seen. I swear there are at least 100 yellow buses lining all the nearby streets. After a quick bathroom break, and some instructions I board a bus along with 4000 other crazy people. I take a seat next to a young college girl. It's her first time too. We're both a little nervous. She shares her bagel with me, and we proceed to small talk for the next 40 minutes while we travel 26.2 miles through several small towns, and then up a long canyon. We are surrounded by darkness - the huge rain clouds cover whatever light would be coming from the moon. The sky is just beginning to lighten as we debark the bus at 6:40am. I have to pee; there are about 60 port-a-potties, but the lines are forever long. I wait for 10 minutes without making much progress. I assess my options and decide a short hike to some bushes is really my only option. There's no time to waste waiting in line.

After finding a bush, I follow the light from the bonfire burning just down the hill from me. It's warmth draws me in on such a chilly morning. I sip gatorade out of paper cup as I warm my legs by the fire. The sound of the gun is coming any minute. I wait for what seems like forever. This is the moment I have been preparing for for the last 3 months. I get lost in my own thoughts, until I hear a sudden, loud, gun-shot.  All 4000 of us begin filing down the canyon. Everyone is trying to run, but there is no room. 

After several minutes we have all spread out a little leaving enough room to really begin the run. We all set our own pace and begin the long run back to the finish line. Mile by mile pass by slowly - some miles slower than others. I realize quickly that if I count the miles as I go I will never make it such a far distance, so I agree with myself that I will only focus on one mile at a time - no thought of how far I have come, and no thought of how far I still need to go. This seems to work.
I meet friends along the way. We run a short ways together until our paces no longer match, and we drift apart without a word. Whether it is only a few feet or few miles we spend together, I am grateful for the companionship and the motivation to continue. 

The hours tick by - the miles all begin to run together. Before I know it I am at the base of the canyon. There are hundreds of people lining the streets - cheering, clapping, ringing bells. I can't help but feel that all those people are there just for me - angels sent to lift my tired body and encourage me to keep going. I wave and cheer back - grateful for their support. The crowd quickly thins out and I wish more people would come - I wish all the people would cheer when I pass them. Don't they know how much their cheering helps?

It begins to rain - a light rain. I am grateful for the change - anything to break up the monotony of the miles that lie before me, although the rain doesn't last long. The miles keep coming, getting harder and longer with each one, but I keep running, knowing that if I stop I won't start again. 

Finally I see it - mile marker 25 - the last mile marker before the finish. I try to pick up the pace, I'm so close, yet my body can somehow sense that that last mile will be the longest mile of the race. The rain starts again, although this time it is not a light drizzle - it is a cloud burst - coming down in huge, rapid drops. In less than a minute I am drenched, but it is so refreshing. As quickly as the rain starts, it stops. I hear someone yell "2 more blocks". Can it really be only 2 more blocks. And then I see it - the finish chute. I have made it - I take off at a sprint and cross the finish line as the clock reads 4:10:00. I am a marathon runner!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Here is my favorite picture from this summer. I love sunflowers!

Antalya had her first experience on the trampoline. She loved it!

Antalya loves visitors. We had a special treat a few weeks ago when one of her most beloved out-of-state cousins stopped by. Antalya was very excited to see her!

After bathtime, Antalya loves to run away from me to avoid getting her clothes put on. Once she is free, she either heads for the stairs to go find her toys, or she likes to pull out a book and climb up in her favorite chair and look at the pictures. 

Antalya LOVES watermelon, but refused to eat it if it isn't still on the rind. She's like that with most things - she loves it, unless I cut it into pieces for her. 

Last week Antalya had lots of fun playing with her T21 friends at a function for our local support group. Gramma and Grampa even came along to join in the fun!

Count down to marathon: 8 days! I can only compare the feelings to anticipating your first child birth. I know it will be hard and painful, but just how hard, and how painful I won't know until I experience it myself. And just like childbirth - I have done my best to prepare myself, but I won't know what more I could've done to prepare until it is over. Wish me luck!