Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What's new?

Answer: pretty much nothing.

Here's proof:

Our highlight for the month is finishing up the 'tree project'. I started this summer taking out one tree at a time -- for a grand total of 3. No, they weren't General Sherman redwoods or anything, but still...I like to think of a Milwaukee Sawzall as a chain saw for women.
Nate and I together cut down two trees, and yesterday some very nice men showed up with their saws, chipper truck and stump grinder to remove a few more and grind nine stumps. We are not tree haters, we just have too many of the wrong kinds of trees for a rather smallish yard. Well, maybe I am a tree hater, because I'm pretty happy to know these little suckers aren't going to be invading our lawn much longer since their 'mother tree' has been sawed to bits.

Of course the photographer in the family has taken a few more impressive shots lately.

But that's it for September. Now that school is back in we seem to be busy just handling the regular routines of life and not getting away for fun adventures nearly as often as we'd like! (Sea Ranch? Is that you I hear calling?) Ah, but don't you love conference weekend? That's a treat we're looking forward to...for many reasons!

Hoping for a more exciting October...

Monday, September 7, 2009

a quick trip

Friday night we flew to Orange County and by Saturday evening we were back home. It was a quick trip to attend the funeral of one of my dearest BYU-days friends. Heather fought a truly courageous three year battle against cancer. She had a fixed determination to survive 'one more day' to be with her sweet husband and two young children for as long as she possibly could.

Good friends become your family during college, and Heather was, to me, another sister. Her example of optimism, happiness and honesty are just a few traits that contributed to a wonderful friendship. Together we 'suffered' through being single and graduating still single from BYU. Numerous trips to Hogi Yogi (for the Yogi, of course) were made to console our frustrations. :-)

(Obviously taken before the days of digital!)

This past week I've thought of hundreds of memories that we share: hiking at Sundance, being annoyed at roommates, hitting the gym, a roadtrip to Manti...there are so many. I have been blessed by her friendship and those memories are a treasure.

"Let us relish life as we live it,
find joy in the journey,
and share our love with friends and family.
One day each of us will run out of tomorrows."

Thomas S. Monson

Heather liked that quote. She is the sweetest reminder for me right now that life is short and that in even the most difficult situations, you can always choose to love and choose happiness. Her smile and happy energy were talked about over and over again at the memorial. I will miss her, as will so many others, but I feel so blessed that our paths crossed in this life.

On an unrelated note, as we were at the cemetary I looked to the north and this is what we saw.
Yes, there really is a huge fire in LA right now. I can't imagine what that must be like to deal with.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pyramid Peak

It's been three years since Nate and his cousin Josh went hiking together. That little outing ended with two extremely dehydrated and exhausted adventurers. Nate ended up in the emergency room in the bay area. We were only dating then, but I still rushed to the hospital and, shortly after arriving, learned from the nurse that he showed signs of early kidney failure because the dehydration was so severe. Great. I find this really great guy that I think I want to marry and he goes off and possibly wrecks his kidneys. Thankfully, that danger never fully manifested itself and those kidneys recovered completely.

Yes, three years ago it was very, very hot when Josh and Nate were hiking in Big Sur. But, you see, these former Scouts decided it was fine to leave their water filters in their trunk. And while the natural hot springs nearby were soothing to sore muscles, they certainly didn't help in the dehydration department after hiking all day. I'm still surprised that we haven't been visited by the Boy Scouts of America to strip Nate of his Eagle award or at least give him a stern talking to. Aren't Boy Scouts always supposed to be 'prepared'?
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago when Nate and Josh started talking about backpacking again. Realistically, I knew they'd be smart about it this time. But, I was still a little concerned about the 'what ifs' that accompany any experience like this. I pretty much never answer my cell phone during the teaching day, but when I received two calls from Nate just a few minutes apart from each other I got nervous. I answered. Nope, nothing wrong. He was just reporting that they had made it to the top of Pyramid Peak and were having an incredible time.
After apologizing for not realizing that the school day wasn't over, Nate reported that his water consumption had been stellar thus far.

Did he think I was concerned or something?

I wasn't there, but I'm pretty sure that other than a little heat and smoke in the air on the second day Nate did have a great time. The only real danger was nearly running into this guy as they hiked in the dark:
Nate was surprised to find that the hike up to Pyramid Peak isn't as defined as the internet detailed. It was a lot of scrambling and leap-frogging from one granite boulder to another. An elevation change of four thousand feet is no walk in the park my friends. Thanks to water filters that were packed this time, electrolyte drinks and just being smart, his kidneys (and the rest of him!) made it home just fine.
In a couple weeks he'll be off with the Scouts doing again what he loves most: being in the great outdoors...with a water filter.