25 Years and Travel

Last December Chris and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It kind of felt like we ought to do something out of the ordinary for the occasion, and we sort of did. We played ping pong, watched a movie and walked our dog on the beach.

Oh wait. We do that all the time.
But this day really was a bit different.

As we walked on the beach we dreamed about what we might want to do as a bigger anniversary celebration. Since we both love to travel, we brainstormed on a fabulous getaway. Dreaming is more than half the fun, I think. But we couldn’t decide where we might want to go. Then Chris came up with a brilliant idea. 25 small trips to celebrate our 25 years. Since he is an artist who can work on the road, and I can work wherever I have Internet, this seemed like a great idea so we started making a dream list.

Then work upped the ante.

Our little trips became no-so-little, and somehow we found ourselves in Italy two weeks ago (sharing WordPress with writers and journalists at the International Journalism Festival).

And now I’m writing this from Lisbon, where we are spending a month. My work team is going to spend a week here shortly, and we came early to enjoy the city together, and to spend some time with my cousin who lives in Europe.

I’m feeling pretty fortunate 🙂

So anyway, it’s been quiet here on my blog because I have been working/traveling/touring/trying to figure out a decent sleep schedule, and I have not been doing much else. But I think things are back on course now, so I can start sharing my thoughts. And some amazing images. I’m completely enamored with the rich history of these European cities.

When we go home next month, we will check in, re-acclimate, then start a road trip across the United States of America to visit friends and family for a month. Here’s where we stand on our list of 25 so far:

1. WCUS – Philadelphia (we officially started our list last December since that was our anniversary month)
2. Niagara Falls – Ontario, Canada
3. Connecticut – visiting family and friends
4. Saratoga Springs, New York – company dinner and visit with relatives
5. Utah – visiting our boys and daughter-in-law
6. Greek Peak ski resort in NY – snowboard getaway
7. Toronto, Canada – visiting friends (forgot to take pics)
8. Perugia, Italy – International Journalism Festival for Work
9. Lisbon, Portugal – Team meeting for work and extra time for fun

Projected Trips:

10. Columbus, Ohio – visiting friends
11. Missouri – visiting friends
12. New Mexico – visiting friends
13. Utah – visit CJ and Lauren again
14. Las Vegas (maybe)
15. California (maybe) – visiting friends
16. South Carolina – visiting family
17. North Carolina – visiting family
18. Maryland – visiting family
19. West Virginia – check in on our boys at camp 🙂
20. Connecticut – nephew’s wedding 🙂

As you can see, we are five trips short, but I have a feeling those will fill in nicely as the year journeys on. After all, it _is_ only  April.

 

Fortune Cookie

fortune-cookie

It’s impossible to be perfect. And this fortune cookie note I got reminded me that it’s okay. How reassuring is that message? My immediate reaction was “Hey, this is how I want to be for others” in my role as a Happiness Engineer. Then I remembered that since it was my fortune cookie, this was about me. And I realized that the statement is plain old true. It has been true in the past, is true in my present, and odds are high that it will be true in my future. This makes me feel really fortunate. And it makes me think about the importance of helping people in general.

My job, my marriage and my family are all arenas in which I feel particularly blessed. And this fortune philosophy is a main contributor to why my life is so awesome.

Work? WordPress is a seriously powerful program. Every day I help people with networking issues, SEO, site building, writing-sharing, advertising, account changes, etc. I know a lot and do not feel as if I’m not qualified for my job. That said, I sometimes find myself facing situations in which I don’t have an answer. Every day I’m learning more. But I never feel isolated or backed into a corner where I can’t be helpful thanks to my co-workers.

We all have experience in different arenas. If I have a question about analytics or MX records, then a ping to a co-worker will bring someone with experience in those fields to help me (and I help them where I am strong). No judgement from anyone. Just helpful attitudes (and I’m over two years into this job, so I’m not being idealistic. That’s just the beautiful reality of my work environment). Together, we provide answers to those who come to us for help.

I can help because I am helped.

Family? Again, every family member has a strength, and we work together to create good as a unit. I think back especially to the years I was bed-ridden (rough pregnancies and a few surgeries that laid me flat for long periods of time). My in-laws moved in to help us with parenting and household maintenance (as did my friends and members of our church, who provided meals and childcare until my in-laws arrived). We ran a daycare back then, and my husband became licensed so he could cover for me when I was down. My children were young, but they pitched in to help where they could. This made my healing happen faster, and when I was back on my feet, life was manageable, and I didn’t have to deal with the chaos of backlogged tasks.

Again, I could help others (eventually, after I healed) because others helped me.

Marriage? If anyone knows every single weakness I have, it’s my man. But I am very fortunate in the fact that instead of using those weaknesses to knock me down, Chris takes his own strengths to help me grow in those areas if I’m capable. Or to cover for me if I’m not capable. I try to do the same for him.

So there it is. My fortune reminding me of how fortunate I am. I hope I always remember that and reciprocate.

Feelin’ the Love at CJ and Lauren’s Wedding

It's official. Chris and I have a daughter.

It’s official. Chris and I have a daughter.

It’s been a pretty busy week, and it was magical. We now officially have a daughter (in law), and she is amazing! If you like watching weddings, you can see the Facebook Live recording from the event by clicking this wedding video link. Please ignore the less-than-professional filming. Things were a bit confusing. I have pics from the weekend at the end of this post. For those of you who want to be/are part of this exciting time with us, as promised, here is a summary. Enjoy 🙂

Ten Things I Learned From our Wedding Weekend Experience:

  1. When doing Facebook Live from the groom’s Facebook account, make sure the device you plan to set up early so you can start the recording is not in his pocket when he is off doing pre-wedding pictures 🙂
  2. Keep undershirts on hand for the guys. Even the non-sweaters might sweat in this sort of situation.
  3. Have more than one person write out name tags for table placement so you don’t get stuck having one person writing everything out for consistency’s sake.
  4. Keep as many vehicles on hand as possible for the bridal party/family/friends. Great for last-minute errands and carpooling to events.
  5. Make sure you have extra cash on hand for things like extra waters. That way others can help you run errands, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting who has your credit card.
  6. Find out about allergies in advance and plan food accordingly (that’s obvious for actual eating, but I had never thought of allergies that actually kept people out of rooms we were hanging out in).
  7. Have a backup suit for the groomsmen and dress for the bridesmaids in case of disasters.
  8. Practice curling hair on a day that is NOT the day of the wedding.
  9. If you are going to rent a conference room in the hotel for your guests, find out when quiet hours are (and get ready to placate managers with coffee the next morning).
  10. Request rehearsal luncheon deliveries for an hour ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about late deliveries.

As those of you who have been following my blog know, Lauren went to college in the town in which we lived, which gave us the really unique gift of getting to know her as she turned from young college student to a business-woman who is taking on the world. We witnessed our son becoming more and more attached to this friend he brought to the house to hang out with, and saw him put his own life on delay a bit so they could spend more time together.

She knew of his passion for snowboarding and the west so she learned to ski and got a job near him in Utah. From Utah, the two worked to plan this wedding where we all got to celebrate their love for each other.

Last Monday we drove to our old house to get our haircuts and to vote the next day. On Tuesday, Chris and I drove the 90 minutes to Rochester to pick up the suits from the rental place and to drop a car off with the kids. We made a date of it, hitting my favorite Indian cuisine restaurant and watching Finding Dory at a $3 theater. As a bonus we discovered it was half price night so our tickets were only $1.50 each. Score! Funny thing was that CJ was up in the air watching the same flick 🙂 Gotta love those family bonding moments. Lol

Chris and I sat in the cell lot waiting for the plane to come in. Chris wondered which direction they would approach from as a plane came in on what seemed to be about 100 feet over our heads. I saw the Delta tail and commented that it might be their flight right there. Two minutes later we got the text that they were on the tarmac 🙂 And so began an amazing week with the young adults.

We talked, laughed, baked and decorated as we planned for CJ and Lauren’s wedding. I have pics from the weekend below. And my aunt did some nice writeups on:

Gathering for a Wedding
and
A Tractor Greeting
and
Wedding of Lauren and CJ

On Friday night we gathered in Rochester to watch Here, There and Everywhere — kicking off the ski/snowboard season in style. 19 family members and friends from Kentucky, Pennsylvania, western NY, northern NY, Texas and Utah all gathered into two rows to enjoy the night together. Such fun! The next day we had a great rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower and family gathering before we congregated on Sunday for the main event.

As the guests poured in, we were humbled by the dedication they showed. Many traveled 2-4 hrs each way — just for the day! All went well, and the reception went great. Hudi had a fun toast for his brother and his bride. 🙂

Then we were off to a final after party. On Monday everyone scattered then on Tuesday they were back on a plane for Utah. A true, amazing whirlwind. Better pics will be coming once the professional images are in. If you click on the pics, the descriptions will show. Here’s what I have for now:

24 Years of Marriage With my Man

IMG_20151228_153247630Right about now, 24 years ago, I was standing in a church (not lounging on a couch next to a cozy Christmas tree) doing the “I do” thing with a most amazing man. What a great move that was!

We met while playing pool with friends.  I was 17 and he was 26. He told me he was going to marry me the first time we met. I laughed then, but look who’s laughing now. 🙂

As our kids are hitting the ages where we tied the knot, I look back on our years together. And on the marriages of those in our lives who are happiest together. What have we learned? What advice would I offer?

  • Be stubborn. We had some tough bumps initially and had a bit of growing up to do, but we were too stubborn to quit, and I think it saved us in the long run. Now we know we will stick together through anything.
  • Cherish the love. (Anyone just get a 1980’s song running through their head? 😉 ) But seriously. Love is a gift. When you are lucky enough to find it, embrace it. Don’t let schedules and other agendas/people pull you apart.
  • Remember that no relationship — no matter how perfect it seems — is more than two weeks away from divorce/separation. That’s my favorite piece of advice, and it came from a happily married mother of a friend. So wise! Like anything else worthwhile, relationships need to be cultivated and not taken for granted.

I hope that someday in the future, my kids can celebrate 24 years with their spouses, and like me, pray that’s only the beginning of many more years together.

Thanks for making my world so blessed and wonderful, Chris. I love you!

 

 

Beloved – Poetry Day 7

Something about the very word “beloved” causes a frisson in us. Out of the people that matter to you, who matters the most? Whom do you love, or whom have you loved more than anyone else? What does the word “beloved” summon up in your imagination? What songs, poems, stories, movies spring to mind? Who is your beloved?

59137_473081269713_689675_n

I can’t look at this assignment without thinking of the Bible passage from Song of Solomon 6 and Song of Solomon 5:16. “I am my beloved and he is mine…”…”This is my lover, this is my friend.” I am no-where near as eloquent as David, and I realize that there is no way to verbally capture the intense love I feel for the one I was fortunate enough to marry. He balances me. I am strong and would be fine on my own, but he takes me to a better, higher, stronger, more passionate plane. For which I am thankful.

This poem is a Petrarchan (or Italian or Miltonic) Sonnet, according to http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/harris/Rom_Travel/Handouts/RomPoetryForm.pdf.

It’s written as a 14 lines poem with the first eight-line octave in abba, abba format showing a situation, followed by a six-line cde, cde resolution:

It has been twenty-four years
On this roller coaster we call life
Happiness, sadness, triumphs and fears
Since that day I became your wife.
Balance and love are the keys
Taking turns being strong, showing love
Bolstering up the one who’s in need
Showing grace. You. My beloved.

An etching on my soul
You make me whole
And will ’til the end of my days
You’re the yin to my yang
The whole shebang
I adore you now and always.

IMG_20151027_123341644