Sunday, December 31, 2006

Joseph Wood Meyer

Joseph Wood Meyer 1928 ~ 2006
I am in love with this world, I have nestled lovingly in it, I have climbed its mountains, roamed its forests, felt the sting of its frosts, the oppression of its heats, the drench of its rains, the fury of its winds, and always have beauty and joy waited upon my goings and comings - John Burroughs

Joe Meyer, a mountain of a man, died peacefully December 30, 2006 from complications related to bladder cancer. He will be sorely missed by Barbara, his best friend, companion and wife for over 51 years, family and friends.

Joe was born July 8, 1928 in Salt Lake City to Joe and Mary Meyer. He grew up with his older sisters, Mildred (Hicks) and Lucille (Greer). Joe attended South High School and the University of Utah where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Art Education and a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology and Counseling.

Joe will be remembered by his distinguished career of service and compassion. As a teacher, high school counselor and school district coordinator, Joe helped support and improve the lives of hundreds of students and staff members. He celebrated each person's individuality and uniqueness and sensitively helped others pursue their dreams and follow their hearts. Joe lit up every arena of his life with a contagious sense of humor, compassion and ability to build immediate connections. Because of Joe, this world is more humane and gracious.

With an eye for beauty, Joe enhanced his home and garden. He created stunning paintings, stained glass windows and welcoming gardens that demonstrated a life of artistry. Creative pursuits throughout his life made each surrounding a more beautiful place. Joe radiated a sense of adventure and joy of discovery. He organized camping, backpacking, and hiking experiences in addition to adventuresome travels around the globe. Long before roof top carriers were available, the Meyer family often strapped a canvas cover on the station wagon and drove off to explore countless trails and National Parks.

The support and protection of the environment were of utmost importance throughout his life. Above all, Joe's devotion to and love of his family defined his life. Joe is survived by Barbara, his loving wife; Lucille Greer, sister; Deborah, daughter; David (Penny), son; Laura (Michael), daughter; Jessica (Ethan), Brandon, Melissa, Chandler, Taylor and Kendra, grandchildren; and his devoted Golden Retriever, Willow.

The Meyer family appreciates the sensitive and professional care from the Utah Cancer Specialists, Western Urological Clinic, St. Mark's Hospital and Community Nursing Hospice Services. During this critical time, the empathy and support given to Joe and his family have provided a soothing life line. Joe and Barbara have always had the gift of transforming every event into a special occasion. Joe would like his memorial service to reflect this hospitality. Family and friends are invited to celebrate Joe's life at the Red Butte Garden Orangerie. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Nature Conservancy would be appreciated.

I miss you Grandpa.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

He is gone

This morning my Grandpa died. I don't want to write anymore right now. I miss him too much.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bittersweet Christmas

Oh how bittersweet this Christmas was. My Grandpa has gotten worse and worse and an alarming rate. They decided not to start him on chemo; instead they decided to start with hospice, and hope that he can die with as little pain as possible.

On Saturday my Dad celebrated his 53rd birthday, and invited a large party to his house. It was great fun until my mom’s ex-friend H showed up. I didn’t know how to act, what to say, and just felt really uncomfortable about the entire situation. I ended up saying hello, and escaping to the basement for most of the evening.

On Christmas Eve my Grandpa felt he was going to die soon, and was asking for people. I found it very touching when he reached for my hand and wanted to hold it and talk about my “beautiful wedding in Yosemite.” He told E that is was part of the family now, and asked how my Grandma will be, when is his gone. He asked about his dog Willow, and his best friend Morice. We invited everyone that was close to him over, and each said our goodbyes. Morice sat next to him, and they reminisced and laughed, cried and hugged. We decided to call our family in London, and told them to come quickly, Grandpa might not make it another 24 hours, so they booked a plane the last minute on Christmas Eve.

That night was quite and somber. Each year we have a huge Christmas Eve party at my Grandma’s, and this year my Grandpa wanted it to be something special, because it would be his last. But, alas, he was confused and agitated, so we decided to have the party at my house. My Grandma stayed home to attend to my Grandpa, so the night was quite different than the tradition I have loved my entire life.

I fell asleep on Christmas Eve hoping that my Grandpa would live another day, and be able to see his son who was trying to get home from London as quickly as possible.

Christmas was wonderful, it really was. After a special breakfast at home, E and I went to his family’s house where they showered us both with wonderful, thoughtful gifts that were more than any daughter-in-law could ask for. (I got a Kit doll, a Gap gift card, beautiful doll clothes, and so much more!)

Then E and I went to my Dad’s. It was sad to remember just a year earlier how many things were different. My parent’s were still together in my childhood home for Christmas, I was unmarried and still spending Christmas morning with my family, and E with his, and my Grandpa was healthy and happy, and there was no illness in sight.

My dad’s house was fine, and the gifts were thoughtful and caring. We next stopped at my grandparents and saw how much my Grandpa had declined in just one day. He wasn’t able to stand, speak, or eat. My Grandma said the only way she was keeping sane was not thinking that it was Christmas, and keeping up hope that he would live to see my uncle.

Next we went to my Mom’s where we had a nice time opening presents (Ann Taylor gift card, belt, PJs, and a beautiful set of candles my sister made), and visiting with a very small portion of my family before my Mom had to head to the airport to pick up my Aunt and Uncle that made it not a moment too late.

E and I went back to his family’s, and just had a nice time enjoying each other’s company.

As of today my Grandpa is still not doing well, and the hospice nurse’s think he’ll be gone by week end. I can’t believe this is the same man that did all the flowers for my wedding only six months ago. In a way, I’m thankful it’s going so quickly, because it is devastating to see him in such pain.

May I have a happy new year, I’m looking forward to more good than bad in 2007.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Heath Check

Sometimes when my Mom calls for no apparent reason she says she’s doing a health check, just check up, and saying hello. Well today I want to do a real heath check on my blog, because things are not going well.

First, the less serious issue: E was experiencing really horrible lower abdominal pains last week. On Tuesday I called home to see if he was okay, and he was barley able to mumble “take me to the ER.” I rushed out of the office in a worried panic, and drove like a bat out of hell all the way home. Once arriving, he said the pain and subsided a little, and he could go to the doctor, and skip the ER co-pay. We headed up to the doc, and they did some blood work, a urine test, and others. They found out he had a horrible bladder infection, and might also have a kidney stone. So, after another doctor visit to get on ultrasound on his kidneys, they found the source of the pain, a 2mm kidney stone. I guess we’ll see if E can even talk after it passes.

Now onto other heath news, my Grandpa. He’s not been doing well, instead of getting better and better, everyone sees he’s getting worse and worse. My Grandma has been really worried about him, as we all have, and she took him back to the doctor yesterday. They did a CAT scan and found the cancer has moved into his lungs and grown substantially since his last CAT scan a month ago. The small dark area they were going to watch in his lungs has turned into a mass of six to eight aggressive fast moving tumors. Grandpa told us this last night as my Grandma cried. Then he told us that the doctor said that is couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more wonderful man. We realize that is how everyone feels about him; he is the most wonderful man many people will ever meet. The doctor said he should start chemo again, at least it might make him feel better, so he starts tomorrow.

So, in honor of this health check, I give you a photo of my Grandpa and E at the Wave:

Monday, December 11, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The best day of my life

I’ve been thinking about my time spent in Africa a lot lately. When it is so cold outside, and I’m cooped up in the office most of the day, I can’t help but remember what an incredible time I had there. It was the best experience of my life, and the very best day of my life happened while I was there:

I was newly engaged, E had proposed the night before, so I still felt all the giddiness and excitement of my new ring and the wedding to come. We woke up to the usual “hello, hello, good morning” we heard each day, because in the African wilderness there are no alarm clocks other than the Massi that watch over the camp.

E and I rolled out of bed and looked out of our screened-in tent to see the African morning still dark. We dressed quickly, and followed the Massi to the jeeps (we needed to be escorted because we were in an area that was inhabited my wild animals). We wanted to get an early start today, because many African animals were active at dawn.

E and I piled into the jeep with my Mom, brother and cousins. As soon as we left camp we saw a heard of elephants right next to the road. As all three Jeeps slowed, we each stood up and poked our heads out of the roof to watch these majestic animals. We watched and learned for over thirty minutes, until finally moving on.

The sun was just rising as we drove into Tarangire National Park. We stopped at water holes and open fields to watch animals living in the wild. Each time we stopped we all stood up, took photos and looked through our binoculars. Our guide Eric told us about behaviors and things to look for when watching these awesome animals.

Pretty soon the sun had fully risen and we stopped at a beautiful lookout for a picnic breakfast! We looked down on a scene that looked to be right out of the Garden of Eden. Elephants we walking, ostridges were keeping on eye on things. Zebras were grazing, and the more we looked, the more animals we saw. After a fantastic breakfast we hit the road again.

Pretty soon we were viewing animals we had yet to see there, baboons were hopping from tree to tree, lizards we sunning themselves in the sun, and marmot type creatures were spying out of their dens. We even saw a camillian before it disappeared into the brush once again.

The entire day we were joking and laughing and singing, and I was in bliss knowing that I would never forget this day.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Oh My God, it’s Glorious!

These are the days I live for, honestly, it is so beautiful outside! It snowed last night, a good eight inches or so, and this morning I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. The sun was just peeking over the mountains, turning the remaining clouds purple and then pink.

I left the house knowing that I would have to scrape my car, but not minding in the slightest. The snow was fluffy and squeaky when I stepped on it, and the road was quiet and serene. The fluffy snow just slid off my car, no ice underneath, which made me all the happier.

Luckily the roads were not slick, and although the commute was slow, I enjoyed every moment of it. The sun finally rose over the mountains, and the entire world turned bright and marvelous. I sang Christmas songs with the radio (surprisingly Winter Wonderland was on) and thought about how thankful I am to live in such a beautiful city.

As I pulled into the parking lot at work, I decided to park on the roof of our parking garage. I knew it would be empty up there, and didn’t mind the walk in the snow. As I got out of the car, still singing my favorite Christmas tunes, I did a little twirl and laughed at how lucky I am.

Today will be a glorious day.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oh it was so worth it!

Our beautiful Christmas tree this year.

Getting a pre-lit tree is so worth it! Every year, the day after Thanksgiving we put our Christmas tree up, and every year I tell myself I love putting the lights on the tree. Well to actually make it looks good is a long, hard, itchy process. Last year I hated it. So, this year, E and I decided to just bite the bullet and buy a new, pre-lit tree from our favorite store- Costco!

We got it home, set it up, and were awed by how beautiful and bright it was. The ornaments went up quickly and easily, and our house was transformed from a dull home to a sparkling magical Christmas paradise! My cats really enjoyed the entire day too, and one of them is always either under the tree sleeping, or pestering the low hanging ornaments.

The Thanksgiving weekend went smoothly as well. Wednesday E and I made four pecan pies for Thanksgiving. Then on Thursday we relaxed and headed over to E’s house in the mid afternoon. We ate a fabulous dinner, enjoyed the company, and celebrated Ch’s birthday. Then we headed to my Mom’s house. Things were different, but fun. My Grandpa was feeling a little better, and enjoying the time with family. My sister brought her boyfriend, and my brother brought his girlfriend along with a roommate. My mom invited two “friends” and all it all it was a great night.

Then yesterday we went over to my dad’s and celebrated with him. We had steak, sweet potatoes, salad, bread, and more pecan pie. The changes were hard, but we had a wonderful time with family and friends over the holidays.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Grandpa Joe

My Grandpa is still very sick. A month after his chemo and radiation the doctors were able to go back into his bladder with a scope, and see if the cancer was gone. To every one's disappointment, it was not gone. This minor surgery of testing for cancer really upset my Grandpa's system, and made it so his kidneys could not function properly.

Well after a short hospital stay, the very disappointing news that the cancer was not dead, and his weakened state, we are hoping things will take a turn for the better. He might decide to get his bladder removed altogether, which will be a huge, scary surgery for someone his age, or he might decide to live with the cancer until the end.

It is a very hard decision for all. I hope he's feeling a little better for Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Figs in Italy

I've always dreamt of Italy, walking her streets, hearing her language, and eating her food. It sounded so romantic and wonderfully different than my day to day life back home. When I was there in September everything I had hoped for was true. Italy was wonderfully different, and the streets, language, and food all enticed me.

On day in an open air market in Bolzano I bought some figs, by far my favorite "Italian" specialty. I picked them out, ordered, and paid for them all in horribly broken Italian. I ate my three figs right there on the street. It turned out to be one of my favorite Italian memories by far.

Paying for figs at the local market in Bolzano.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yoga- a memoir

Okay, maybe it’s not a memoir; it’s really just a blog entry.

I’ve been going to a yoga class at my local gym on and off for about six months. It is hard, but wonderful. Usually when I get there, I’m tired, cold, and hungry (it is held right over the dinner hour). We are told to focus on our breathing, and always to try to do a little better. The class starts, and soon I begin to enjoy myself.

We do many moves, poses, and stretches, and I’ve become substantially more flexible. By mid-class I’ve worked up a light sweat, and I feel energized and strong. The teacher is wonderful, and keeps things simple and calm. She talks almost as if we were meditating.

Before class ends, we close our eyes, breath, and tell ourselves to have clarity of mind, clarity of speech, and clarity of actions. I go home feeling much better.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Math, math, evil evil math

So E is planning on going back to school. This time he’s going to get something he’s always wanted - a computer science degree. He can do the work, he’s excited about the challenge, and he already has a strong foundation in many codes. However, there is a drawback, the math. E has always struggled with math. He is so quick, clever, and smart in all other areas of study, but math has always stumped him.

In the beginning of his college career math was proving to be such a stumbling block, he and I decided to see what could be done about it. E went to disability services and they found he actually had a mathematic learning disability.

So E got a great degree in something that didn’t require math, and he excelled. He was first in his class, helped teachers give guest lectures, and even was a TA for a couple classes, but he always dreamt of computer science.

So he’s finally ready to go back. He’s going to have to work his ass off to get through Calc I and II, and it will probably be the hardest thing he’ll ever do. He’s already hit the frustration of not understanding what he’s learning, but he’s pushing through. I’m very proud of him, and I hope every day that he’ll be able to overcome the evil evil math his degree requires.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

502 Calories Burned

Staying slim is hard work! I enjoy working out, like I enjoy cleaning the house- it needs to be done, and I feel better once it's over with.

Last night it was dark, late and cold and I was so tired. But, I got my lazy butt out the door and went to the gym. I spent about 45 minutes on the elliptical watching an interesting show about Monk Seals. Negative 502 calories later I felt much better, accomplished, thin, and ready to eat a hamburger!

Ha ha! Oh well, at least I resisted the burger temptation and had leftover Halloween candy instead.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


The more I travel the more my list grows. I'm addicted! I think I have the next five years planned out. Here is where I want to go:

Summer of 2007- Great Britain and Scotland
Summer of 2008- Alaska
Summer of 2009- China or Thailand
Summer of 2010- Galapagos Islands
Summer of 2011- Turkey or Hungry

One of the things I've done on a few of my trips is when I order a great meal, I take photo across the table. It shows my food, and E looking at his food. It has been a fun series, but I am kicking myself that I didn't get one of these photos in either Amsterdam or Africa.

Pesto in Portofino, Italy

Cannoli in Little Italy, NY

Fish and Chips in London, England

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fall leaves

I took this photo last year at my cabin. All the aspen leaves had fallen, and it had rained. I thought the carpet of wet leaves was very beautiful.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Top five- why I love fall

5. Fall foods- E and I love to make pumpkin, squash, and cranberries all through fall. One of our favorite recipes is pumpkin waffles with pecans and maple syrup.

4. Decorating for Halloween- I love spooky things. I have always loved the idea of locations being haunted, so this time of year I have a blast decorating for Halloween. This year’s highlights are the framed picture of a “haunted house” we have, and a shadow box with a real dead bat in it. Spooky!

3. Sleeping- As the weather gets colder and the leaves start falling off the trees, taking long afternoon naps in our reading nook is perfect. We’ve waited all summer to head back upstairs for a long afternoon nap.

2. Thanksgiving- Thanksgiving is coming! I love Thanksgiving, being with family (we’ll see how it plays out with my family this year) and eating as much as you want, and enjoying the changing of fall into winter is one of my favorite times all year.

1. Changing leaves- I love when the leaves start to change. We are lucky in Utah, and we get two falls, one is watching the leaves on the mountains change, and then about two weeks later the leaves in the valley change. I love walking through crunchy leaves on a clear, brisk fall day. Nothing’s better.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Some of E's Italy photos

E took some great photos in Italy. We purchased some frames and oversized paper with some of our wedding money, so we're going to hang some of them on the wall.

Here are a few we like from Venice:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Damn, my new bike is really cool!

Yep, I finally bought it—a new mountain bike. It took 13 years, and a whole lot of pressure from my friends, but I finally bought it. It’s a Gary Fisher, with shocks (of course) and some other “sweet” components that I don’t really care about.

All I know is it rides like a dream.

So over the weekend nine of us went down to Moab to bike bike bike. We rode Poison Spider Mesa and the Slick Rock Trail. I really wish that I knew how cool Slick Rock was before, it was awesome. Smooth and steep, and more beautiful then I imagined.

I rode well (at least for me) and I think I’m improving each time. I’m still fairly daring, and will try most things, but didn’t fall, and was successful on a lot of the steep hills.

My dreams will be with Slick Rock until next May, I’m counting down the days.

On another note, I’m pulling all my Halloween stuff tonight. I love this time of year, and I’m excited to “spook-a-fy” my house! Bats, spiders, black cats, and lots of little gravestones here I come…

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A few more Italy photos

I still and just soaking in all the joy I felt in Italy. I loved it; it was everything I have dreamed about my entire life and more. I wanted to post four photos today, one from each area we spent time in. Soon I'll post some of E's best photos. He is an awesome photographer, and his stuff should be showcased!

When we first got to Italy we stayed in Venice. San Marco's Square floods each day during high tide, it is the lowest part of the city. E and I walked there at night and were amazed at how quiet it was (during the day it is mobbed with people). I took this photo of the reflection on the church in the flooded square.

The next region we spent time in was the Italian Alps. One day E and I took a cable car and then a train to a small town high in the mountains. We loved wandering around, taking photos, and making gnome jokes (they are very popular in this region). Pretty soon we found ourselves lost. Nobody spoke English and they spoke very little Italian (we were in a German speaking region), after a lot of running, turning around, and asking for directions we found the train. It is one of our favorite memories.

On the coast we went to a region called Cinque Terre, five small towns all clinging to the cliffs (see my photo in the previous post). Each town was full of cats. This one specifically caught our interest, we loved how he got a drink right in the center of town where Italian's have been getting fresh water for hundreds of years.

We loved Florence. Both E and I couldn't believe how beautiful the city was. This photo I took from our hotel room at sunrise. In the distance you can see Brunelleschi Dome, the bell tower of Santa Maria Novella, and the dome of Cappella Dei Medici (built by Michelangelo). Wow! You don't get a better view than that.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Italy- all I can say is WOW!

We are home, and we loved it! There is so much to write about and tell about, luckily I have a travel journal that I filled.

I really really enjoyed my time there. E soaked up Italian like a sponge, and he's so cute when he speaks it.

We had beautiful weather, incredible food, awesome gelato, and saw some of the most spectacular pieces of art in the world.

Our favorite thing though was the Italian Alps. I want to type more about this region and share a lot of photos, just wanted to say that we are in amore with Italy!

Here is a sneak peak of some of the things we saw (note, I took all these pictures!):

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bryce National Park

Sunset on the ridge of the canyon in Bryce National Park

Sunrise at "Sunrise Point" on Labor Day in Bryce.

Another shot from Sunrise Point at 7:00 am.

When E and I left the park on Monday we decided to count the National Parks we've been to in the last year. Here's the count:
1. Arches- October ‘05
2. Grand Teton- January ‘06
3. Zion- March ‘06
4. Arches (again)- May ‘06
5. Yosemite- July ‘06
6. Bryce- September ‘06

That’s a lot in one year! We are such National Park junkies.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Oww! My butt hurts!

So yesterday my group of friends and I decided we wanted to go biking in Deer Valley. We could buy a lift pass and ride up and down the mountain all day, plus it’s been rated some of the best mountain biking in the nation.

We were jazzed, it was a beautiful clear day, and a perfect 70 degrees! We got up there, bought our lift tickets, and headed up the mountain to rip up the terrain.

It was awesome! The trails were easily marked, the air was cool, and we all had a blast. We rode all day, and never had to ride uphill, because the lift did all the work for us.

By the end of the day I had decided that I NEED a new bike, the one I got for my 12th birthday just isn’t cutting it anymore. A ridged frame made all my guy friends think I was “really hardcore” because they all admitted they couldn’t have biked the mountain without their shocks.

And today I barley can move. My hands hurt, my butt really hurts and my legs are so sore! But I’m not the only one, all the guys can’t move either!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Deer Creek

My house on Deer Creek is beautiful, a two story and a full basement. There are seven bedrooms, four baths, a huge living room, sun room, and dining room. Also there’s a large kitchen, beautiful front port, gorgeous patio, and a trampoline in back where E and I fell in love.

I remember the first time I saw this house, I was 12 and my brother B and I drove up in our realtor’s sports car, after getting a Slurpy and 7-11. I loved the house, even when I first saw it. It was huge (at least that’s what I thought when I was 12), and very beautiful.

We bought the house, and moved in quickly. I chose a beautiful upstairs room with three windows, more windows than any other room. It was always light and warm in that room. I picked a blue and white stripped wallpaper and my mom, dad, and I fixed it up, along with decorating the rest of the house.

The house grew and changed with us. We redecorated, switched rooms around, and redid the entire master bathroom. The house was more beautiful than ever. My parents always dreamed about having climbing roses on the front of the house, so one summer we reworked all of the gardens, and when we were done, the house shone.

At Christmas B and I always loved to decorate the front of the house with lights. My dad let us be in charge and we always did as we wished. I remember one year, when I must have been 14 and B 10, when we edged all the windows and doors in lights. We spend hours on it, and it's one of my favorite Christmas memories.

When I was 15 I wanted a more “grown up” room, so my parents helped me move to the basement. We converted the huge playroom into my bedroom and painted the entire thing in one weekend. I choose to have the walls a yummy butter yellow, the ceiling blue, and all the woodwork white. It was spectacular, and huge!

Christmases and Thanksgivings came and went. My siblings grew up, M and Ch went from tiny children to preteens. I was a senior in high school before I ever got a boyfriend, (E) and we fell in love at the house, on the trampoline in the backyard.

E and I spent every summer night on the trampoline, and really got to know each other.

The next fall I left for college, but Deer Creek was still home. I still ate Sunday dinners with my family, and still had my room. After I moved out of the dorms I moved back home, and it was still the same beautiful house that seemed so big to me when I was 12.

Last Christmas was a tense one. My mom and dad weren’t doing well, but I would have never guessed it was my last Christmas at the house. New Years came and went, and when I made my predictions for the next year, I predicted that my parents wouldn’t stay together.

My mom moved out in May and never seemed to look back. My dad held onto the house, but decided in the last month that he needed to sell it. He’s completely moved out, and B is finishing moving out today.

The house will be painted and scrubbed, and then sold. The house will not be ours anymore. I will never have my family under one roof ever again, and I will never have Christmas as I did my entire life ever again.

E and I went up to the house last night to say goodbye. It is hard to say goodbye to a house you love. I’ve had many wonderful memories there, and grew from a child to a woman in the house. I had my first kiss on the front porch, and Ch spoke his first word inside its walls.

I walked all around and said goodbye to each and every room. I went into “stinky storage” and said goodbye to our storage room with the silly name. I went up to my old bedroom and looked around at a room I hardly recognized anymore. I said goodbye to the graves of our family pets Smudge and Henry. And then before I left I laid down on the trampoline with E to look at the summer sky one last time and I cried.

I cried for my family, who will never be a “family” again. I cried for my kitty Boo who had died so innocently in the dryer less six months before. I cried for my siblings who will never have a “perfect” childhood like I did, and I cried for my house, which will never be mine again. And I cried for all the loss I’ve experienced this past year.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Things in life-

They are still stressful. My dad is doing cuzy cuzy (so-so in Italian). He has his ups and downs, but he has moved out of the house. I can’t believe the house I called home will belong to someone else soon. I moved into that house when I was 12. I have a lot of wonderful memories there.

My Grandpa is doing okay also. Last week they had to cut out a day of his chemo because his kidneys were acting up. But by the end of the week he was in good sprits and feeling a lot better (and more awake than he’s felt in a month).

My brother is stressed about everything going on, so I hope to see him tonight and just enjoy our time together. He moved into that house when he was 8, so it’s been his home almost his entire life. Plus, B is never hip to change, and all this change at once is really taking a toll.

Other than that I am fine! I hope that sounded sarcastic enough. I’m having a really hard time with this stress. This morning I woke up with a feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, and I just felt pretty depressed about everything going on.

E and I went to the farmhouse this weekend, and instead of enjoying myself like I usually do, I worried a lot about my dad.

One thing that I am really happy about is my upcoming honeymoon in Italy! We leave on September 13th for NYC, and then leave the 14th for Venice. We’ll spend 16 days exploring everything Italian (especially the food).

E and I have been listening to “Learn Italian” on our iPods, and we are getting to be cuzy cuzy. I know how to count to 6, say hello, and a few other small things. I want to learn “I love you more than anything” and “the food was delicious”, both would sound so cool in Italian!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What a summer

I swear, just when things feel like they are setting down, and I can finally relax, things ramp up again. Just last night as I was staring at my computer monitor I realized that this summer has been really tough.

Just in the last week a lot has happened, here is a quick list:
1. My dad went from being really depressed to motivated to sell the house literally overnight. He put it on the market, found a new one, and began to pack. It is all moving really quickly, and I’m going to miss what I’ve called “home” for the last 13 years. I was thinking the other day that I’ll never climb the tree out front, sleep on the tramp under the starts out back, or have Christmases in the family room again.

2. My mom is longing for someone special more than ever. She feels like she has found that person, but many people (including E) disagree with her decision. I am torn, I really want her to be happy, but it will be a really difficult choice for her because some people will never accept her choice, and she will loose even more people in her life. This saddens me a great deal.

3. My brother went into surgery after breaking his foot in 6 places. They say he’ll always have pain there, and it will never be as good as new. The doctors put a 2” screw in there to hold together a shattered bone. After the surgery mom wanted to go up to my Dad’s and see Ch, but my dad had a date over- and it wasn’t just a date, it was my mom’s best friend for 20 years that is now getting close to my dad (they are not best friends anymore). Needless to say, my mom was pissed and Ch felt really uncomfortable.

4. My grandpa is getting more and more tired. His chemo and radiation are going well, and he isn’t nauseous or anything, but he barley can stay awake for more than two hours at a time. Because of it, my grandma is really lonely and hoping for a speedy recovery.

5. My other brother is really having a hard time with my dad’s decision to sell the house. He doesn’t want to move out yet, and he doesn’t want to move to the new place. He is really having a hard time with the decision.

6. Then to get away from it all E and I went down to the farmhouse this last weekend and we had a problem with his sister. She and I both love American Girl items (dolls stuff) and we found a piece used in a little shop down there. I spotted it first, and therefore bought it. She wasn’t happy with me and therefore wasn’t happy for most of the weekend. The stress really built up, and I felt really hurt.

7. Another thing that I am hurt over is that two of my four (and only) girlfriends were unable to make my wedding. I'm not hurt about that, more that I haven't even heard from them for months. I understand that they each have busy lives, but I didn't get a card, a phone call, nada. I guess friends come and go, my mom sure knows that...

So I hope things get back into the groove, because all this stress is taking a toll.

On a good note, I took some really cute pictures of my dolls down at the farmhouse. Here is my favorite of Rachel and Molly:

Friday, July 28, 2006

My husband is very sexy!

I truly believe that my new husband is one of the most good-looking men on this planet, so how did I become so lucky to land him? Also, he is the most kind, generous, wonderful person I have ever met.

Here is a picture of us in Yosemite the day before the wedding:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A picture today

This is my grandparents and I on my wedding day. These are the grandparents that did all my flowers for my wedding and also hosting the most beautiful tea party in their garden for my shower. This is my Grandpa that is sick with bladder cancer. He will start chemo and radiation this week, and we are all hoping for the best, he is a very special person.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The wedding week:

For the next couple of days I'm going to post a few photos here of our time in Yosemite. These are not wedding pictures, instead just the photos of our hikes and things we saw.

First up: a great photo E took of me descending the Mist Trial. The Mist Trial runs along side the base of Vernal Falls and is named adequately.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The wedding...

On my wedding day I carefully waked downstairs after getting dressed in my gown to finally see my soon to be husband all dressed up, and him to see me. E looked so handsome, more handsome than I had ever seen him. He smiled as I walked towards him, and the photographer (my work buddy) snapped photos. I kept thinking that these would be the best photos of E he’ll ever own, I’ve never seen him look so great. I walked towards him and we kissed. I think that might be a good photo too!

So, the plan was, was to get most of the formal photographs out of the way before the wedding started, so we could enjoy cocktail hour with our guests. We posed for lots of pictures, inside and out. I kissed E on the cheek and we held hands. Soon it was time for the group shots, one with his family, one with mine, one with the bridesmaids, one with the groomsmen, one with my siblings, one with his, and so on! We did this for over an hour, but it was so fun! Everybody was so excited for the wedding ahead, and everyone looked wonderful all dressed up. My flowers were done just in time to be in my photos, and they were splendid. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better.

It was finally time, and guests were beginning to arrive. We wanted my dress to be a surprise to everyone but the wedding party, so E and I went upstairs to rest and relax while our groomsmen acted as ushers. I was hot, and my dress was tight, but I was happy. E and I talked about how we would never forget this moment, and how it seemed weird that we would soon be husband and wife.

After what seemed like ages BH and D came and got us, saying the guests were seated, and E needed to head outside and take his place in the front. A moment after he left I walked downstairs to meet my dad and my bridesmaids and groomsmen in the woods behind the meadow. Everyone was so excited. My Dad looked sad and happy all at once, and the weather was fantastic. As I waited for my bridal party to walk down the aisle I watched squirrels on the lawn, and told my Dad not to be nervous.

Finally it was my turn, the music changed and my Dad and I began to walk. I thought about my family, my soon to be husband, and how happy I was. I also concentrated on not stepping on my dress. Before I knew it I was at the front of the aisle. I kissed my Dad on the cheek and E shook his hand. I handed my flowers to my sister, and took E’s arm. This was it!

The judge that was acting as our officiant was cute, and really sweet. The ceremony went perfectly, and I felt like the words really captured what E and I were all about. Right before we were to repeat our vows a little breeze floated through, and I closed my eyes and was truly happy. I chocked up a bit when I said “to have and to hold as long as we both shall live” but all in all, I did pretty well with not crying. We exchanged rings and kissed and were pronounced husband and wife.

Here is a picture that was taken right after the ceremony before we walked down the aisle (notice Yosemite Falls in the background):

E and I headed to the back lawn to sign our marriage license and our guests joined us. Everyone told us how beautiful Yosemite was, and how beautiful we both looked.

We stood from a couple more quick group photos (large family photos) and then we headed towards the Solarium for the reception.

E and I walked slower than most of our guests. We held hands the entire way back to the hotel, and talked about how perfect everything went. I knew this moment would never be forgotten.

Once back to the Solarium, the party was already in full swing. E and I stood in line at the bar to get a drink and were informed to get to the appetizer table quickly, before everything was gone! Well neither of us made it, most things were gone by the time we got there, but what we did try was so good!

Neither E nor I were sad, or in the least bit hungry, we were happy the appetizers went to the guests. We chatted with our guests for the better part of an hour and I got to finally hold SF, who thought I looked “so marry” in my wedding dress (she’s only 2!)

Everyone was so kind, and every one of my guests told us what a spectacular location we had decided on. E and I were truly beaming with pride.

Soon it was time for us to head inside for dinner, but first the DJ was going to introduce us all to the guests. First came the groomsmen and bridesmaids, and then E and I. We got a standing ovation. I’ve always wanted a standing ovation, and I think my own wedding counts.

E and I had the best spots in the house, center table facing all of our guests. I sat between him and Ch, and it was just perfect. The salads were served (spinach with blue cheese, figs, and candied walnuts) and wine was poured. E and I got up periodically to visit with our guests at other tables; everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves so much.

Soon dinner was brought out. E got the steak, I got the salmon and both were to die for!!! This was honestly one of the best meals I’ve ever had, and we weren’t the only ones impressed, everyone was raving. D said he had never had a steak as good.

Before we knew it, dinner was over. We made another round to visit all our guests while the staff poured everyone champagne for the toast. We didn’t know what to expect, other than BH and my sister had put some serious thought into this. BH’s was so kind, and he said we were the perfect example of “happily ever after.” My sister’s was heartwarming and very sweet. Then the floor opened to other toasters, and we had a lot of guest toasts. Each was so beautiful and heartfelt. I got teary on more than one. My little flower girl KY really wanted to sit on my lap for all the toasts, which made it that much more special.

All too quickly the toasts were over, and it was time for us to cut the cake. I knew there was a special way to hold the knife, but I had no clue. My photographer filled us in, and we cut a small piece of the bottom layer of the carrot cake. After cutting it into two, we fed the cake to each other, and didn’t spill a single crumb (and didn’t smear it in each other’s faces).

The cake was so good! The staff whisked it away to cut it, and it seemed like as soon as I got back to my seat there was cake waiting for me. I had a slice of carrot and a slice of lemon and both were amazing. I heard my cousin from the other table say this was the best carrot cake he had ever had, and I smiled at E.

The DJ invited us into the Winter Club room for dancing and I suddenly became nervous. We had taken 9 weeks of dance class for this moment, and I really felt the pressure was on. The music started, and E started the fox trot. I started on time (which is good, I’m always trying to dance too fast with fox trot) and we spun and glided around the room. I lip synced the words to our first song Come what May. “I will love you, until the end of time, come what may, come what may!”

Pretty soon it was time for the entire party to start dancing. My dad and I danced together, and all our guests joined in. The dance mix was perfect, and very few people left the dance floor. E danced with our flower girl to I love the Flower Girl and we all boogied to Thriller.

All too soon it was over, and our guests started to say goodbye. We hugged and kissed each of them and finally it was just E and I. I took his hand, and we walked outside. I looked up at the moon and the stars and the granite cliffs and told him I loved him, and I would never forget this night.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Wedding Day

I woke up early on July 9th to find my Grandma and Aunt already up. E was in the bathroom with a sick stomach, nerves no doubt. I helped E back to bed, got him a cool rag for his head, and went outside to enjoy the Yosemite morning with my Grandma. Today was a big day, and the reason we were all here in Yosemite, and there was still so much to do!

I wanted to eat a small breakfast so I could fit into my dress later that day so I grabbed a yogurt and started to talk about the wedding day to the ever growing party of family members that began to rise. We had to get iron our dresses, do our hair, take showers, and get all the flowers ready.

After a quick shower I headed off to my Dad’s family’s house as people started to scurry around the kitchen. I had not yet said hello to most of my New York Family. I found their house easily enough and was welcomed my hugs and kisses from my Dad’s mom. We chatted about the day ahead and I remembered I had not yet dropped off favors to this side of my family. I decided to run back to my house, pick up the favors (red water bottles), and see if E was feeling any better.

He was feeling fine, and we decided to dash back up to the other house with the bottles. Everyone thought the bottles were really cute, and couldn’t believe we got them personalized. My cousins all gave me hugs and I was finally able to meet SF, my cousin H’s first child. She was so cute!

After E and I got back to the house the ordeal began… My Grandma and Grandpa left to the Ahwahnee to begin on the flowers. I got my dress out and began to steam it, and my mom started doing my hair. I got really grouchy because my hair was being a bitch so finally E just decided to make me some lunch (good thinking!).

We finished my dress, got my nails done (thanks CH!), got my Mom’s dress steamed, and I put on makeup. E and BH started getting dressed into tuxes. E looked so handsome!

I left the house with my Mom about 15 minutes before E and BH because I was going to get dressed at the hotel. The drive down to the Ahwahnee was uneventful, and I got more and more excited for the night ahead.

Once at the hotel my Mom and I ran up to a private room to get changed. My dress fit beautifully- I was so happy! We placed my vial in my hair, and put on some lipstick. My Mom went to find E and the photographer, so we could have photos of E when he first saw me.

My Mom returned and told me to head downstairs, my future husband was anxiously awaiting…
(tomorrow I’ll write up the full account of the wedding!)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I am a married woman and everything was perfect!

It was honestly perfect, here are some pictures. I will add more later and a full account of everything that happened!

The Solarium is all set up for my reception.

E and I kiss after the ceremony!

We walk down the asile as husband and wife.

Let the party begin! Here E and I are at the head table.

More to come, I promise!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Wedding countdown…

Ten days and counting! There is still a lot to do, but most large tasks are done. All the favors will be done by this weekend, and my wedding dress needs to be picked up. The seating cards need to be done, which will take some time, and then they will need to be printed.

Everything else is either done, or close to it. E has to get his final tux fitting next week; we still need to pick up presents for our parents. We need to get the final music to the DJ, and final ceremony to the officiant, but we are hoping all of that won’t take that long.

E has had a hard time with all this pre-wedding stress. He doesn’t like it when there is a lot to do, and people are tense about things. And people have been tense, E’s family is staying with a flaky friend, my parent’s divorce, my sister’s problems, and of course my grandfather.

So we talked with him last night, and the results are not good. The cancer is in his bladder wall and in some scar tissue that was left after his prostate cancer. They are going to do a cat scan and see what else they can see, and then he’ll start going to the Cancer Institute. There they will decide if surgery, chemo, or other options are the best.

My grandparents asked the doctor if it was okay to go to Yosemite in a week, and he said yes, have as much fun as possible.

So I can see why E is stressed, but I hope he lets some of those worries go for the time being, and start getting excited about our upcoming wedding, because I sure am!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Today I got to work and turned on my computer. Outlook opened and popped up a reminder that is was “Mom and Dad’s Wedding Anniversary.” I guess when they got divorced I forgot to delete that reminder out of Outlook, it would have been their 28th. It is sad that you can love somebody for that long and then just end it. I guess life is never easy.

My Grandpa went into surgery today, and they located the tumor with a scope. It looked bad, and they could tell that it had spread into the lining of the bladder wall. Now we are all waiting for the test results to come back on Wednesday and see what course of action the doctor suggests. I hope it is something simple and mostly pain free.

Yesterday was the two week mark to my wedding day! I am so excited, and hope with all my heart that my Grandpa will be feeling better by then. I am sad that he is dealing with this. I know he was really looking forward to his time in Yosemite.

My sister is in trouble with some things that I don’t want to post, but I feel worried about her, and wish there was something I could do. She is on a slippery slope, and I’m not sure how to pull her back up.

I’m checking things off my “to do list” like crazy, and everything is falling into place well, except loosing ten pounds. I gained weight since I bought my dress, and I’d really like to be able to breath on my wedding day.

E’s bachelor party was over the weekend (the entire weekend) and he said he had a really fun time. It makes me wish I had some female friends. I love hanging out with my guy friends, but a bachelorette party would have been nice. Instead I was kinda alone.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Oh dear, I am worried…

Last night I had a terrible dream. I woke up scared that my largest client had not really hired us, and my company couldn’t make ends meet. My boss was wondering why I didn’t realize that the account didn’t close, and everyone thought I was very incompetent. During the night it seemed a lot worse then it does right now, but that is always how dreams are.

Whenever I am worried about something it shows up in my dreams in a very round about way. Last night my family went up Millcreek Canyon to celebrate Father’s Day with my Grandparents and my Aunt and Uncle. We had a great time eating fajitas and a huge fruit salad. After dinner we gathered around the fire and made banana boats (bananas cooked with marshmallows and chocolate) and joked and laughed.

My Grandpa interrupted the stupid joke telling with an announcement, he has not been feeling well. Instantly I got nervous and thought cancer. I could tell from my Grandma’s face that this was serious.

My Grandpa said he has been peeing blood, and quite a bit of it. At first he wasn’t too worried, and kept it a secret from my Grandma. They had a trip to London planned and he didn’t want my Grandma to get worried. In London it got worse, and was very painful. My Grandma insisted that as soon as he gets home to see a doctor.

The doctor thought it might be a bad urinary track infection, and gave him some strong antibiotics. They did nothing. He went back to a specialist and they did a scope and realized he had some lumps inside his bladder, and it was most likely cancer.

I looked around at my family, everyone was so scared. My cousin started to cry, and I wanted to know more. I asked about everything, bladder cancer can be removed, and his x-rays didn’t show that it had spread which is good news. On Monday he’ll go in for surgery to get the lumps removed. After that they can better know what type of cancer it is, and if there will need to be follow-up surgery or chemo.

My Grandpa is old, 78, but one of the most special people in my life. I am so scared for him, and so scared for my Grandma. They care so much for each other; I can’t image what my Grandma must be going through.

Just last Saturday we were all celebrating my upcoming wedding in his garden.

I’ll post when I know more which will hopefully be next week. We are all hoping for the best.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The weather turned out splendid!

The bridal shower on Saturday turned out so well, everything was perfect. The weather was a perfect 80 degrees, clear blue skies, and no wind. The tables were set beautifully, and all of our family and friends seemed to have a wonderful time. We got some truly spectacular gifts. Everything we received was wonderful, including an antique tea pot from London that matches our fine china, a old hankie that E wore as a baby as a bonnet (I will have it on my wedding day as something old, it is so special!), a beautiful red silk wedding album, his and hers antique tea cups, and many more wonderful things.

Here are some pictures of our lovely day:

The tables before everyone arrived

E and I enjoying our presents.

The tea sandwiches

Friday, June 09, 2006

One more month…

One month from today until I get married! I am still very very excited. E and I turned on some music last night and practiced our dance moves in the living room. It is funny, I’ve always imagined practicing dancing before my wedding day, and last night I actually did, it was fun!

So today has been a very good day so far, I finally closed my second million dollar contract! Yep, this is the one I was working on months ago (almost 9 months to be exact) and it finally closed today! Everyone at my office gathered around me and clapped, it was fun.

It is really rainy today and quite chilly, I am hoping the weather for our English Tea Party bridal shower next Saturday will be good. My grandma has put so much effort into the party already; I hope the weather is splendid!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Damn the wedding is close!

I am so excited! Finally things calmed down with my family enough that I can focus on my upcoming wedding, and things are falling into place perfectly, I am SO excited.

This is what E and I have done in the last week:
1. We went a looked at tuxes, and picked two really good looking ones. E is still deciding which of the two he likes more. All I know, is he is going to look so sexy in a tux, so I’m excited!
2. Finished our dance class, and I have to be the first to say, we’re pretty good. The last night we had a dance party, and E and I stayed until the end. I think we looked pretty hot on the dance floor.
3. I got half the remaining balance of the wedding paid off, I have the other half to pay this week.
4. We started receiving RSVPs from our wedding invites! It is so fun to check the mail every day and get a huge stack of them. No big surprises as of yet, we kinda know who is coming and who isn’t.
5. Got my hair trimmed, so it is healthy without split ends.

What E and I still have to do, and soon:
1. Finalize the payment of the house we are staying in.
2. Get the final banquet order to the hotel.
3. Decide and bridesmaids/ groomsmen gifts (we have been looking, but so far, no luck).
4. Figure out something old and something borrowed to have on my wedding day. Who knows…?
5. Decide on a tux, and get measured, along with both dads and the groomsmen.
6. Finalize itinerary for the week of the wedding.
7. Lots lots more that I can’t seem to think of.

But things are coming along well, and I am so excited to be E’s wife, he is the most wonderful person I have ever met, and it feels so good not to have any doubts, plus he’s hot!
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