Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Random news and a trip home

Hello, my friends!

First, I'd like to tell you that I passed a woman taking her llama on a walk when I was on my evening run today. The llama was black, and poofy in all the right places. I'm almost positive it was on a bright pink leash. Naturally.

From a distance I thought it was a poodle — the kind of poodle you'd find at Paul Bunyan's side, if he were into poodles (I'm almost certain he wasn't). It appeared to be an unearthly large poodle. Thank goodness poodles aren't the size of llamas in real life. It would make itty bitty, cutsty wootsy cockapoos an impossibility.
Just try and imagine a world without itsy bitsy cockapoos!

The sights in L.A. never tire me, that's for sure.

I'd also like to tell you that today I took the GRE. This is happening, people. I'm really truly thinking about getting a PhD. There's still a lot to consider, I've not applied anywhere yet, and I'm in no rush to make a decision, but I sure am delighted to be able to consider the possibility. Dreaming about the future was a luxury I had to give up for several years, and now, the dreaming is just as thrilling as the actualizing of the dreams.

I felt a little nervous about taking the GRE. I've not been able to do much academic work over the years, and I've been especially unable to focus for long periods of time as a result of my sickness. So although I'm feeling like a million bucks these days, I wondered if my brain could focus for the duration of the 4-hour test. And you guys. I did it. Not only did I do it, but I focused with relative ease and had so much energy afterwards I had to go on a strenuous run to release it. Wild and weird and wonderful. 

And craziest of all: I had fun. Sitting there for hours surrounded by other aspiring doctoral students, thinking clearly, and enjoying mental stamina was such a foreign experience, I felt like a new woman. It's fun to feel new. Super duper ruper luper nuper muper cruper fun. There aren't enough "uper" words to capture the gratitude I felt today as I sat in that testing cubicle. I feel drenched in God's grace.

Aaand finally, I have some snapshots from my surprise trip to Portland last weekend.

My little brother Marc was born on my little sister Rebecca's birthday 24 years ago, so November always contains a double birthday celebration for our family.

We forgot to put candles in the pie, so two lone candles did the trick

I cannot believe my littlest sibling is 24.

And my sister!

 How is it possible that she's catching up to me in age?

My mom made her world famous banana cream pie for the birthday dessert.

Just the sight of that pie brings back sweet childhood memories. Just the sight of this picture makes me salivate.

I love that my family enjoys sitting around and talking when we're together.

A friend FaceTimed in to join our conversation for a bit

Sometimes we'll sit and talk for hours. Or, as was the case this weekend, sometimes we'll sit around and toot party blowers for hours.

Marc's girlfriend, Jaime, flew in to join us for the weekend. It was lovely to have her.

When we're not sitting around talking, we're probably outside exercising together. And since God decided to gift us with some rare November sun, we spent a lot of time in the great outdoors this weekend.

Some of the leaves we found were MASSIVE!

One of the glories of Washington is there's a mountain on every horizon. This is Mt. Hood

I hadn't been to the northwest in November in so long, I'd forgotten how vibrant the colors are in November. I was expecting naked winter branches, but instead found horizons still dappled with warm reds, oranges and yellows.

Winter is a-comin' soon, though:

These are the leaves of my childhood. I loved collecting them and using them for crafts as a kid

A trip home isn't complete without spending time with my sister from another mister, Anne.

Anne and her sister, Elizabeth are our dear, loyal heart-friends. We grew up living in the same cul-de-sac and attending the same church. We even home schooled together. I love them and am glad Annie still lives in the area so I can see her when I'm home.

Elizabeth, we missed you last weekend.

Annie and her lovely sister, Elizabeth

And Aaron and Natasha (brother and sister-in-law) we missed you, too!

What a handsome couple!

Oh man. What a crew I have in the Pacific Northwest. And what a week it's been. And now, it's time for a good night's sleep.

G'night, friendlies.

Sweet dreamin'!


© by scj

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