Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feeling Flippy

This is my favorite outfit.

Sometimes I wear this blouse and jacket with pants.

I love the way the jacket hides my tummy and looks so young and chic.

I love the way the ruffles at the neck of the blouse help hide my ever-more-wrinkly neck.

Sometimes I wear the jacket and blouse with this skirt, which is my very very very favorite.

I love the flippy ruffle at the hem!

Wearing this outfit makes me feel pretty, and happy, and ready for anything!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Early Saturday Morning Walk

Mark and I walked the new linear park along the Willamette River in Oregon City this morning. It was a beautiful walk! Some of the landscaping is still in progress. We started near the KFC restaurant in downtown OC, walked to McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin breakfast, then to Clackamette Park, and then back to the car - about a mile and a half, with only a light drizzle.
Artsy-looking lights

Winter scenery

Stone stairs down to the marina - love these big rocks

Oregon City-West Linn bridge

Cormorant down by the marina

Ummm...a big mossy pipe? Don't know what it's for, but it looks cool along the river bank.

How did you begin your Saturday morning?
I hope you're having a good day.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Some random things on my random mind...

State of the Union
I wish we weren't so divided politically as a nation. I wish we could come to agreement about providing decent health care for our people. I was only able to hear the first part of President Obama's State of the Union address, because I had to get to class. I wish him all the best in his goals for our country. I think they are wonderful goals. Here's a very cool link to a panorama view of the House chamber of the Capitol during his address.

Hopeful Election
On Tuesday, Oregon voters voted to affirm two tax increases enacted by the legislature last spring. Because Oregon has such liberal rules for initiatives to be placed on the ballot, of course there was an election to try to undo the legislature's decision. One of the taxes is an increase in the minimum corporate income tax. It hadn't been changed from the $10.00 minimum since 1930! A little overdue to be updated. The other tax increases the income tax rate on very wealthy households. Even with these taxes, schools and other public services in Oregon took a terrible hit last spring, and if the measures had passed, we would have sustained even deeper cuts this year.

I find myself feeling very hopeful after this election. Oregon voters confirmed these tax increases, even though we have been hard hit by the recession. It would be wonderful if we could even out our state revenues so that we're not facing another budget crisis every couple of years.  I think this is a good first step.

Gertrude Stein
I just finished reading a challenging book, "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" by Gertrude Stein. Except it really isn't an autobiography of Alice, who was Stein's companion, it's a biography of Stein herself. But it's Alice speaking all through the book, because it's her "autobiography." It's weird to read, kind of a first-person story written in third person. Talk about the writer's "double self!"

It's about Stein's (and Alice's) experiences in Paris just before and after World War I. Stein was close friends with Picasso, and they were very much into the art movement in Paris at the time, so there's lots of information about that era. The book wasn't thoroughly engrossing to me, but it was more interesting than I had expected. Mostly I just had to keep reading reading reading reading because I had to have it finished for my class. (That was a Stein-style sentence - she eschews "excess" punctuation. Ha! She wouldn't get a strong grade in my English class! Ha ha! Take that, Gertrude Stein!)

I feel like I'm gaining some muscle strength, and it feels good. It's a slow process, but the general direction seems to be one of gradual improvement. Yay! I love love love love our yoga class on Tuesday nights. Oh my, what a stretch! And then the next morning...oh my, my achy muscles! Achy in a good, getting-stronger way.

Brian Doyle
I had a real live author in my classroom today. One of my very favorites. We are so lucky to have so many wonderful authors here in the Northwest! Brian Doyle, a writer who is also editor of the University of Portland alumni magazine, came to talk with my students today. He is wise and funny and human and kind. A very generous person. He doesn't charge a fee--just a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir wine. Ha! That's always a trick for me--the Mormon English teacher at the high school! I have to twist another teacher's arm to come up with a bottle of the right stuff, and then we have to smuggle it in and out of the school. What a guy. This is the third year in a row he's come to share his writing life with my sweet, naive little darlings. Here's a link to a short essay of his. A good read, and quick.

And speaking of essays connected with Brian Doyle, stay tuned! He has accepted one of my essays for publication! It will be in the summer issue of Portland, the UoP alumni magazine. I'll keep you posted and include a link when it comes out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Summer Dreams

I love teaching. I really do. I love my students, I love the things I get to teach them to do, I love working with my's a great job in so many ways.

And I love being a university student. I feel so lucky, so privileged, to get to take classes in the subject where I am so passionate.

But right about now...I'm thinking about summer. This week marks half-way through the school year. Just two more teaching days (I'll be at training all day tomorrow, and Friday is a grading day), and I'll be on the downhill slope to...

The vegetable garden...

Canoeing at Sparks Lake...

Hiking and backpacking with the grandkids...

Visits to family who live far away...

Time to just relax and play...

Things feel pressured and hectic and heavy right now. I don't know how I'll get everything done, but either I will or I won't, one way or another. Regardless of all that, summer is coming. Summer is coming. Summer is coming.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Three Cheers for Jessica Watson!

If you have ever looked at my list of "favorite blogs," you may have noticed a link called "Sailing Alone Around the World."  It's a link to the blog of Jessica Watson, an amazing 16-year-old from Australia, who is half-way to her goal of sailing alone around the world. Her most recent post is absolutely astounding. She just weathered a huge storm in the southern Atlantic Ocean, with hurricane-force winds and huge waves (30 feet high!).

In her post, she describes the terrifying hours of the storm, which included four "knockdowns," or incidents where the mast of the boat goes into the water. Yes, that means the boat tips over on its side. One of the knockdowns was 180 degrees. Yes, that means upside down.

I can't even imagine. There is more information in the "news" section of her website, which is maintained by her support team back in Australia. (She is able to stay in touch with them via satellite phone and satellite internet.)

She is a spunky and inspiring girl.

I recommend her blog to you.

Skinny Saturday!

It's time to check out The Skinny, where I've just updated with my weekly post! Please check it out, and please leave a comment! (I adore comments...).

Aren't Saturdays wonderful?
This morning I'm going to pay bills, go grocery shopping, and get my menus all planned for the coming week. (Of course, I've already done my sleeping in!)

I have some reading to do...I'm about 2/3 through The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which is pretty amazing since I only started reading it after class Wednesday night. It's by Gertrude Stein, about living in Paris and hobnobbing with Picasso and Matisse and that whole art community in the early 1900s. She's a challenging teacher assured us that this is her "most accessible" book. Whew! I think I'll have it finished in time for the Monday night class. Maybe I'll finish it today so I won't have to do homework on Sunday!

I need to prepare my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow. I don't think I've mentioned here that I'm the Gospel Doctrine teacher in my new ward, which means that I am THE Sunday School teacher for all the adults at church. A little intimidating! But I'm excited. I taught my first lesson last Sunday, and it was both fun and enriching for me. And I'm relieved to let someone else take up the Cub Scouts for now. I was cub scout den leader for 3 years!

This afternoon Mark and I will go to the funeral for my neighbor, Milly Sprague. She died last week, after having been my next-door neighbor for 30 years.

I'll grade some papers, plan lessons for next week, spend some time with Mark...

What are you going to do today?
Hooray for Saturdays!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fill in the Blank Friday

I am stealing the idea for today's post from Lauren's blog. (Lauren writes a weekly post for The Skinny, and she is a friend of Katie's, from back in the (day camp) day. So here's my middle-aged version of Fill-in-the-Blank-Friday. Feel free to steal the idea from Lauren and me (and if you do, please leave a comment, so I can come read your fill-in-the-blanks), or  just fill in the blanks in a comment right now. How ARE you today, anyway?

1. Today I'm feeling: Tired, but contented. I got a lot done at work today, and I got up early this morning for a workout!

2. If I were you I'd: get your sweetie pie to rub your feet and tell you you're beautiful (or handsome).

3. Love is: puttering in the kitchen in the morning, making scrambled eggs and oatmeal (with blueberries!) with your best friend.

4. I always...get my car keys out of my purse...before leaving the house. I took a self-defense class for women years ago, when I was in my 20s and living in Los Angeles. They taught us to always have our keys out and in between our knuckles, ready to poke a bad guy if needed. Ha ha! Never met any bad guys, but I hate pawing through my purse when my hands are full of groceries or lesson plans, so I always have my car keys at the ready.

5. I feel prettiest when I'm wearing my grey skirt with the black ruffle at the bottom, the white blouse with ruffles at the neck (hides wrinkles), and the turquoise short-sleeved gathered jacket on top. I'll have to take a picture and post it next time I wear that favorite outfit.

6. If I had a million dollars I'd pay tithing and then help my kids buy houses.

7. I'm looking forward to posting my weekly update on The Skinny tomorrow. It inspires me to be accountable on the blog, and it's fun to get atta-girl comments and suggestions. Plus I don't have to post an embarrassing photo this week. Yay!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Creative Forms

What does it mean to be creative?
The easy answers: sing, paint, play an instrument, invent something

More subtle ways to be creative:
Solve a problem, plan or organize something, help someone

As I prayed this morning, I asked for courage. It's one of my favorite words. I love the idea that we can encourage others - put courage in them - and it seems sinful to me to discourage someone - to take their courage away.

During my prayer, the thought came to me that what I was really seeking was courage through Christ. I can try to be as brave as I want, but deep down I know that I am still inadequate, that I still can't do all or BE all that I hope for. It is only with Christ's help that I can overcome my faults and weaknesses.

As I contemplated that thought during breakfast, emptying the dishwasher, making lunch, I came to understand that my morning prayer--I confess, I often take those moments for granted--was a creative act. No one told me the words to say, and in praying, contemplating, listening, I came to a new understanding, a new way of seeing. Maybe even a new way of being.

That's creative.

(Here's a link to more good thoughts on creativity and happiness.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Thank You, Dr. King

I am grateful for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is frightening to me to contemplate what our world would be like without his leadership and inspiration. It is sobering to reflect on how much further we might be along the path to a just world if he had lived. 

I was 14 years old when he was assassinated. I remember the news, but I had no concept of the magnitude of our loss. I lived in a small town; I only remember one African American student in my high school classes. I knew so little then. 

Here are some quotations from Dr. King that cause me to pause and reflect on my own 

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom."

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. "

"I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Grandma Sprague

Grandma Sprague died this morning. She wasn't really my grandmother; she was my next-door neighbor for thirty years. She had a stroke a couple of weeks ago, and has been going downhill ever since then. (Why do we say "going downhill"? If I believe that she is headed home to a Heavenly Father, then shouldn't I say that she's been "going uphill" instead?)

I first knew Grandma Sprague--Millie Sprague--when she lived in the little yellow house on the flag lot next door to me with her husband, Albert. Hers was the flag-lot house; her daughter and son-in-law, Dolores and Lud Carlson, lived in the bigger house in front.

When my children were little, they loved to run next door to visit Grandma Sprague. She always had a beautiful garden, and she was happy to chat with the neighboring children. She usually had a piece of candy for them, which probably increased the frequency of their visits. Every Halloween she would prepare a special baggie of treats for each of my children, and she would save them for the kids until they came by in their costumes. She and Albert celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 11, 1981--I remember that, because that was the day that Kendra was born next door, in my house.

I also remember the night the ambulance came to take Albert; he had a heart attack, and he didn't come home from the hospital. Grandma Sprague, Millie, was lonely, but she had ready company with Dolores and Lud. She lived alone for a while, but the little house was too much to keep up, so Dolores and Lud made an apartment for her in their home, and she moved in with them, still my next-door neighbor.

When she moved out of her house, my parents bought it; they lived there for a year before deciding that Oregon City was too citified for them, and they headed to a rural mountain home north of Spokane.

If you go to the County Tax Assessor's office and look up the map of my neighborhood, you will notice that it is called the "Sprague Tract." Albert and Millie owned my house when it still had 5 acres attached to it--it had once been a small dairy. Albert sold off pieces of the property and developed the rest of it. He and Millie raised Dolores in the house I live in now, while building other houses around it. I know of at least 6 houses he built in my neighborhood.

I wish I had known Millie better. What a sad, sad cliché that is to repeat. The thought has come to me several times in the last few weeks that I ought to drop by and visit Millie and ask her more about her memories of our neighborhood and my home. I know she was loved by her family; I don't think she lacked for attention and comforts as so many older people do. But I am lacking for not having taken the time to be better acquainted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Writer's Double Self

I finished reading Walden (on schedule!) and was (mostly) prepared for class discussion last night. Among many things, we discussed Thoreau's awareness of himself as a writer in the book. On the first page, for example, he explains that he will be using the first-person "I" in the book, rather than the (sort of) anonymous first person. Later in the book, in the chapter called "Solitude," he talks about a deeper awareness of a separate self, a detachment in his life as he "watches" himself with a writer's eye. He says,

"I am sensible of a certain doubleness by which I can stand as remote from myself as from another. However intense my experience, I am conscious of the presence and criticism of a part of me, which, as it were, is not a part of me, but spectator, sharing no experience, but taking note of it; and that is no more I than it is you."

Most of the students in the class are in the same writing program that I am in, but there are a couple of non-writers in the class, and one of the non-writers asked if all writers feel that way. The question was tossed around a bit among the writer-types, and then the discussion moved on to other things.

But I sat there remembering myself as a 4-year-old on the beach in Morro Bay. I can picture this so vividly. I was there with my brother, my mother, and one of her friends. We were on the small beach near the intake vents for the PG&E power plant. I was walking along the beach, looking at small stones and shells, talking to myself, and what I was saying was a third-person narration of my actions. "She looked at that rock, and then she walked over closer to the water, and then..." Or something like that. I have a conscious memory of many such narrations that I spoke--aloud or in my head--as I went through childhood. My mother overheard me and asked what I was saying, and I had no idea how to explain it to her--I just knew that it was something I liked to do. But I couldn't articulate that at 4, so I just shrugged my shoulders and kept walking along by myself, talking inside my head.

I don't know if all writers have that sense of double self, but I know that I do, at least some of the time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Oregon City 4th Ward

All four Oregon City wards met together today (about 800 people, and that was only about half of the membership) to split into five wards.

We are now in Oregon City 4th Ward, which has some really odd boundaries. The wards are more or less arranged like spokes radiating from the Willamette River. Every ward has some new people, and every ward has lost some people. The wards are:

Oregon City 1st Ward (generally where the old OC2nd ward, or Oregon Trail ward, was)
Bishop Chris Cardwell

Oregon City 2nd Ward (parts of the old Beavercreek ward)
Bishop Brady

Oregon City 3rd Ward (lots of the old Newell Creek ward)
Bishop Dan Bean

Oregon City 4th Ward (that's us! We are the skinniest of the 5 wards)
Bishop Philip May

Oregon City 5th Ward (lots of the old Willamette Falls ward)
Bishop Robert Kerr (new bishop)

We will change buildings - meet in the Henrici Building at 1:00, starting next Sunday.

Some of the people in our ward besides the Mays include: Franzens, all 3 Carlson families (Ernie, Tom, Evan), Cleggs, Nilsons, Ards, Lingmans, Kacy Buel, Fish family.

People we have lost from our ward include: Jensons, Jayesh, Clements, Prices, Duffs, Beans--Jim & Helen and Dan & Luann, Fischers. Dorothy and I will continue our friendship, of course, but I won't get to see the others very often, most likely. Our lives get busy and our paths tend not to cross. I will especially miss Helen Bean. She has been such a role model to me for 30 years; she has set the example for me in so many ways of how to be a Mormon woman and effective mother of a large family.

As they were explaining the map with the boundaries today, I was reflecting on how place-based we Mormons are. As the pointer went from one ward boundary to another, I was mentally thinking of all the different families that would be in each ward. Our monthly home teaching and visiting teaching assignments help to ensure that we really know where each family lives. We are not a church of people who come from random places to meet on Sundays, and then go home again. We live close to one another and we know each other during the week as well as at church.

It was also inspiring to me to see how the hundreds of people in the meeting accepted the new ward boundaries. For all of us, it means giving up regular spiritual association with people who have become very dear to us, but we have faith in Jesus Christ and His prophet here on the earth, who direct the affairs of the church. There was a sweet spirit in the meeting as we sustained our new bishops and contemplated our new ward identities.

Thirty-eight years ago there was one ward in Oregon City; today there are five. I have lived in the same house for 30 years, and during that time I have belonged to 5 different wards. I felt like I was living a bit of history as I sat in the chapel today.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This Class is Going to Kill Me Off!

(Don't miss my week 2 update in The Skinny today!)

Started a new term at PSU on Monday evening. I'm working on a MFA in writing, and I've been plodding along, taking one writing class per term, in the evenings. Some classes meet only one night per week (4-hour class); others meet twice a week for two hours at a time.

So far I've only taken writing classes, but this term I'm taking a nonfiction literature class on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

It's a killer.

I stopped by the PSU bookstore on the way to my first class Monday night. Figured I'd pick up the books ahead of time, so I'd be ready for whatever homework the teacher assigned. There were SEVEN books to buy! What was up with that?!?!

Then I went to class and I found out that the first two books we are reading weren't even in the bookstore, and that there's another Course Book of essays and excerpts we have to buy from a nearby printshop! Yikes! I love to read, and I'm a fast reader, but I don't know about this.

The list for this term (with due dates) is:

Walden, Thoreau (finish by Jan 11)
Roughing It, Twain (Jan 20)
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein (Jan 25)
Down and Out in Paris and London, Orwell (Feb 1)
West with the Night, Markham (Feb 8)
Hiroshima, Hersey (Feb 15)
Notes of a Native Son, Baldwin (Feb 22)
In Cold Blood, Capote (Mar 1)
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Wolfe (Mar 8)
Excerpts and essays in the Course Book - sprinkled liberally throughout the term

Oh me, oh my.

Ironically, my lifestyle this term is going to be what Thoreau does NOT advocate in Walden.

Speaking of Walden, here's my favorite quote so far. I'm a little over half-way through - I'll be reading lots more this weekend!

"No yard! but unfenced Nature reaching up to your very sills. A young forest growing up under your windows, and wild sumachs and blackberry vines breaking through your cellar; sturdy pitch-pines rubbing and creaking against the shingles for want of room, their roots reaching quite under the house. ... Instead of no path to the front yard gate in the Great Snow,--no gate,--no front yard,--and not path to the civilised world!"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More wagging

I saw a bumper sticker last night that read,
"More wagging, less barking."

I admit I had to think about that for a minute! But then it made me smile.

I wondered what other animal signals might work?
More purring, less scratching?
More honking, less pooping? (geese)

I really like this philosophy. Wars might end if we all did more wagging, and less barking.

I didn't get the dog-loving genes, but I sure get the picture. That wagging doggy tail and butt signal welcome, friendship, no aggression, before anything is even said. Kind of like the other side of "presume welcome." If we should all presume welcome, then we should all extend welcome, as well.

I had this thought in mind as my students entered my classroom this morning. First period after a two-week break. They were glad to be back with their friends, but not so glad to be back in school, if you get my drift. But I think they felt welcomed, and we had a good morning together.

How do you extend welcome to others?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy-Sad News: A New Ward

The first Sunday of the year is always one of my very favorite church meetings. Because it's the first Sunday of the month, it's testimony meeting, which is always a special treat, but it's even better on the first Sunday in January, when dear friends in the ward* have contemplated and reflected on the previous year and their hopes for a new one.

Today, before testimony meeting began, the Stake President* announced to us that because the Oregon City area is growing, our four wards will be divided next week into five wards. What an exciting announcement! Because LDS wards are served by a lay ministry, and our bishops still hold down full-time jobs, the size of a ward is limited to 400-600 members; when the wards get bigger than that, it's usually time to divide!

I've lived in the same house for 30 years, and this will be my fifth ward. Each change has brought the thrill of witnessing growth in the Church in my own community, accompanied by the sadness of losing weekly association with dear brothers and sisters. It's not that anyone moves; we certainly could still see one another, but life gets busy, and it often transpires that we run into each other only a few times a year after the ward divides. And even when we do see one another, it's not the same; we don't share the weekly association of worship, feeling the Spirit in a particular talk, humorous happenings with the little ones, prayers offered for a ward member with struggles, ward activities and lessons and service projects and potluck suppers.

Instead, there will be the sometimes-uncomfortable experience of getting to know new people, learning a new calling,* getting used to a new ward identity.

Oh my - this all sounds so negative! I really don't mean to dwell on the "cons." There are lots of "pros," too. With every ward change, I have gained precious new friends, experienced growth in different callings, been excited to be part of MY new ward. I'm sure that will happen this time, too. I don't have to worry that the preaching will be different in my new ward; the Church uses a standard worldwide curriculum, so the lessons in one ward are the same as the lessons in another. I am thankful to live in a time with a living Prophet and revelation that guides the leaders of the Church, and I am excited to see what next week brings!

*LDS congregations are called "wards."
*Wards are organized into stakes; the local ecclesiastical leader of the stake is called the stake president.
*Since the whole organization is lay ministry, everyone pitches in. We refer to our church assignments as "callings."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Skinny

Yesterday I attended my two-year-old granddaughter's birthday party. Her mama made darling cupcakes (Holly is an expert cupcake artist--you can see some of her creations here and here and here), but when she offered a cupcake to one of the aunties, the auntie demurred saying, "It's New Years! Isn't everyone on a diet on New Years?"

Maybe so, maybe no. I've been dithering about the way my scale keeps creeping upward for a couple of months now. Even without the incentive of a New Year's Resolution, I've known that I need to change my ways.

When I checked in with my youngest daughter, Katie, the other day, she was singing the same song. We both love sweets. We both have mixed feelings about vegies. She's trying to lose baby fat after the birth of her darling 4-month-old daughter, and I'm fighting middle-aged spread.

I told her we should have a blog for just the two of us. "No, Mom," she replied, "we need to have a blog, but we need to let others read it, too." I hemmed and hawed just a little. "With pictures," she continued. "And a weekly weigh-in, like my friend Melissa, who is brave and funny and who has lost a whole bunch of weight by being accountable through her blog."

Ok, ok. So we launched our blog this week. Katie sucked it up and posted her photos first, on Tuesday. Now that it's Saturday, it's my turn. So go ahead! Check out The Skinny and tell us what you think!

And please, please post an encouraging comment or suggestion! Katie and I thrive on attention, so we're hoping that lots of our friends--ones we already know, and ones we will meet in blog-land--will give us lots of atta-girls as we commit ourselves to a wonderful, healthy 2010!

Friday, January 1, 2010

See You Next Year

When I was a little kid, my mom would tuck me in on New Year's Eve and tell me, "See you next year!" I always thought that was pretty hilarious. I wish I'd thought to post that last night as my New Year's greeting to the blog world, but I was addressing my tardy Christmas cards (but they're done and ready to go in the mail!) I may be a little slow, but Happy New Year!

A few days ago, I read on Lauren's blog an invitation to consider what I liked best about 2009 and what I am looking forward to most in 2010.

2009 had a lot of ups and downs for my family. Mark was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and then he had successful surgery that completely removed the cancer. We had 5 beautiful new grandbabies join the family, one with some significant health issues (thank goodness she is developing normally in every way except her eating issues). We had a long-anticipated family reunion in July, but it was so hot and so soon after Mark's surgery that it was difficult to enjoy everyone. We had a daughter, son-in-law, and their 4 children move in with us in January, and it has been a crowded year with 9 people in the house, but we were also able to finalize the adoption of our newest adult daughter. Some blessings came in 2009 that I will treasure into the eternities; there were some challenges that I would just as soon forget.

No one has a life that is all good or all bad. The trick is to enjoy the journey. In the spirit of Lauren's question, here are my best of 2009 and my hopes for 2010.

My absolute favorite moment of 2009 was hiking in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness with Mark. He was cancer free, and it was the first time in our marriage that he was actually enthusiastic about backpacking with me. (He usually goes backpacking with me because he loves me, not because he loves backpacking.) It was an incredibly beautiful place, a place apart. It was a wonderful, wonderful outing, one that I will treasure always.

I commented on Lauren's post that I am looking forward to getting more fit and healthy in 2010, and I am, but I have reflected a little more on my hopes for 2010 over the last couple of days. My very dear friend, Dorothy, titles her blog, "Come What May and Love It," from an address by Joseph B. Wirthlin. I think that is truly my best hope for 2010. To love what comes, no matter what it may be. And to lose a little weight and get more fit while I'm at it!

What is your best memory of 2009? What are your hopes for 2010? Please post a comment - I'd love to hear from you!