Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Mom & I went to Chicago last weekend for 3 days. The weather was actually better than I expected. Friday was cold but sunny. Saturday & Sunday were a bit warmer but cloudy. All in all, a couple layers and we stayed warm enough. We stayed downtown and walked everywhere. Both of our legs were a bit sore by Sunday. It was actually Mom's first time to downtown Chicago. I went twice my senior year of high school for school trips and several years ago (10?) with a friend for fun. So, I was the tour guide.
We started out Friday window shopping on the Magnificent Mile. Found out the Ghiradelli store was giving away free samples of peppermint bark - we made it back there on Saturday too! We took a quick look in American Girl Place just to see what the hoopla was all about. This was the view of the Wrigley Building from our hotel.

Saturday we walked down to the gigantic Macy's on State Street. It used to be Marshall Field's flagship store. When Dad was little, his family would make the trek into Chicago to look at the animated windows. We went inside too to look at the Christmas decorations and the 45 foot tall Christmas tree in the Walnut Room.

Then we visited the Christkindlmarket in Daly Plaza. It is a German open air Christmas market that's about 13 years old. It was smaller than I expected but lots of great Christmas ornaments handcrafted and imported direct from Germany. From there we headed down past Millenium Park & "The Bean" -
to the Art Institute of Chicago. Saturday night it was raining and we were a bit wet when we finally made it to the theatre. We saw Wicked. A delightful retelling of the "behind the scenes" story of The Wizard of Oz. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Sunday was a walk down to Navy Pier to check out the skyline and get blown to bits by the wind before heading home. Thankfully we left before any weather-induced travel delays hit due to the cold front.
Next up - Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Stuck in France - the pictures

As my previous post said, my 8 day business trip to Toulouse, France turned into a 19 day trip. So I had 2 weekends to play with and Armistice Day (Nov 11). I tried to take advantage of it all. The first weekend I went shopping in Toulouse and to a wine festival. Armistice Day I got to tag along on a road trip to a little village near Bordeaux. The fall colors are beautiful. The leaves on the vines have all turned beautiful colors and the trees are brilliant as well.
An incredible view down the road into the village.
That night, back in Toulouse, I attended a chamber orchestra concert. It was a violin virtuoso accompanied by 4 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello. It was at St. Sernin Basilica. This is the year of baroque music. It was amazing to hear music played in the venue it was created for. I've never heard a more stirring rendition of Ave Maria. They ended the concert with selections from Vivaldi's Four Season.

My last weekend in France, I took a road trip up to Limoges. It's a town famous for it's porcelain. I don't recommend this town as a must see - only if you have money to spend on expensive dinner ware. Unfortunately the porcelain museum is closed until April for renovation. This is the inset of Limoges' Hotel DeVille - the French national slogan - Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

I walked around the botanical gardens and took a self-portrait.

St. Etienne Cathedral is next to the botanical gardens.
The drive was the best part of this trip. This is a poor attempt to capture how beautiful it was.

Look, it's shake & bake and I helped! Well, it's an Boeing 777 nacelle and I did the analysis on portions of the thrust reverser. I got to fly a 777 on my trip over and had a perfect seat for seeing my handiwork. It always kinda freaks the person sitting next to me out when I fly one and mention that I had a hand in it. That was 3 years of my career.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stuck in France

I flew over here for a week for a business meeting and 4 hours before it was to happen, it was cancelled and rescheduled 11 days out. It's cheaper for me to stay here then fly home & back, so I'm stuck in France. I realize there are worse places to be stuck. I am trying to make the most of it. I had to go shopping to buy a coat & some sweaters as I did not pack warm enough or enough for 2.5 weeks. I have had the opportunity to get to know our on-site team better and explore Toulouse more. I went to a wine festival on Sunday and tried a lot of good wine. Unfortunately I don't have the space to bring much home with me.
Nov 11 is Armistice Day. It is interesting to be on this side of the world for such a momentus occasion in celebrating history. I will go to a chamber orchestra concert at a cathedral downtown that night. It reminds me of how thankful we need to be to those who fought for our freedom.
I did not bring my camera card reader with me as I was only going to be gone a week. So you'll have to wait for pictures until I return home.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Boys & Trains

Hannah and Marshall ended up spending last week at my parents. Last minute I was able to head to Lawrence for Friday night to spend some time with the family. Sharon, David & JT came over as well for a family dinner. I got in some good play time with the boys. They are growing and a delight to be around. JT & Marshall get along well now. JT's much more cautious & gentle where Marshall keeps asking if they can "crash" - trains, cars, whatever they're playing with.
Trying to ensure I keep "favorite aunt" status with both boys :-)

Me & JT - he's 3.

Hannah & Marshall - he's 2.
Trains - it all started at Christmas 2 years ago. My dad got out the Christmas train which needed new batteries. JT was fascinated. And thus the train saga started. Dad bought an electric train and the collection of cars and track has been become a stable in the basement. That's where the boys want to go as soon as they get in "Grandma's house", to "Grandpa's train". I did not realize I would spend so much time putting trains back on the tracks for 2 little boys.
Grandpa & Marshall enjoying an early morning train session.
Marshall & JT busy playing train.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

this is what it is...

Well, I promised an update. There's been a lot going on but it doesn't seem that out of the ordinary. I"ve been home for about a month now. It's been nice to have time to settle in and tackle some house & yard projects. And it seems that since August all God's been speaking to me about has been "relationship". That I need to be intentional about building and growing relationships. I have been trying to do that. I've had a lot of opportunities to do that with my friends. And there have been a number of times in the last month where I've run into old friends I haven't seen in awhile. I even attended the Love & Respect conference a few weeks ago - while on marriage relationships, it can be applied to any male-female relationship. My women's biblestudy has been doing a study on women's relationships with each other. There have been lots of social events lately - some informal hanging out with friends, having people over for dinner, and some larger planned activities. Pathways had their annual fall barn dance about 2 weeks ago. It was a lot of fun & there's even a picture of me dancing.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I know I've been neglecting my blog. At first it was nice to just be home after a crazy few months. I have been tackling a few projects around the house & yard. And now work is starting to get busy. I will try to post a few pictures of what I've been up to soon.

Happy Trails...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A travelogue of the last 2 weeks

I've been a bit remiss in keeping up to date with this blog. I hope you'll excuse me but life's been a bit hectic. The 3 weeks between Costa Rica and France have been busy trying to get life caught up, see the family, my roommate's wedding, and prepare for the work trip to France.
To start with - congratulations to Heather & Rob on their nuptials. I was her personal attendant - which basically meant I ran around making sure everything was happening as needed. The wedding went smoothly... (btw, I loved my hairdo - Thanks Heather!)
The day after the wedding I jetted off to Toulouse for 2 weeks for work. That's where I currently am. So here's a little pictoral travelogue of my first week here - the 2nd week won't be as exciting.
Toulouse - the world headquarters of EADS and therefore, Airbus. So that's why I'm here in the southwest of France - training & meetings.
A Cathar cross St. Sernin Basilica L'Olivade in Blagnac - my favorite pizza place in the world The yummy Narcisse pizza - watch out, the olives have pits! Saturday I drove 3 hours east to Nimes. The Romans settled it in 15 B.C. during the reign of Caesar Augustus. The Amphitheatre Romain de Nimes is intact & still used. Maison Carree Tour Magne is in the Jardins de la Fontaine - the oldest Roman monument. I climbed that sucker and let me tell you, the open staircase greatly tested my fear of heights. A statue in the garden. Pont du Gard between Nimes and Avignon on the Gard River dates to 19 B.C. I stopped in Carcassone for dinner on my way home and had cassoulet - a regional speciality. White bean stew with a duck leg and sausage. Perfect on a cool, drizzly night. Carcassone lit up as twilight falls. Seriously, a must see if you ever get to France. Sunday I took 2 of my co-workers and we drove south to Collioure on the Mediterranean Sea down near Spain. A cool little resort town with lots of little shops, beaches, and cafes. Had to park like the locals. Lunch was an "assiette fruits de la mar" (assorted fruits of the sea). I'm not sure what whelks or sea almonds are, but I ate them along with the shrimp, langoustine lobster, oysters. mussels and clams. Then we explored the town. And the 13th century Chateau Royal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weekend with the family

I went to Lawrence for the weekend. Got to see my family for the first time in months. It was nice because we were all home for the weekend, minus Jonathan.
Friday night we went to a little carnival near JT’s daycare. You could see the difference in the boys’ personalities. JT is cautious while Marshall dives right in. Hannah probably wants me to point out that it was a mere coincidence that they were dressed alike.
We got in some good play time. Marshall is an adorable little chatter box. JT is growing like a weed – way too fast for my liking. They both had us laughing a lot.
It was a really great weekend for the whole family to be together.