From Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale

People disappear when they die. Their voices, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living mempry of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continut to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humour, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.

--Diane Setterfield

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

List of Birthday Presents

I got a whole loot.

Mom got me a griddle and Scott got me some running pants and I got me some art supplies and tights* and socks and um... I thought there was more. There was certainly more shopping involved. Oh, I got a teacup from Goodwill with birthday money and various Christmas gifts for people at the stores while I was shopping for myself on Black Friday. So there was more purchasing than presents.
Then today I got a present in the mail from my brother**! He got me a beautiful watch, which I needed.

Um, I really, really NEVER thought I'd go out and purposefully buy tights of my own volition that were not related to dancing. But I have short-ish skirts and boots and when I don't shave.. well I'd rather buy tights than have to maintain you know, hygiene. Sheese. So I totally bought some cute, textured white tights.

** Who is awesome!

Trip IV

On Tuesday, November 2nd we left for Masada. !!! We drove out toward Jericho and turned and drove along the Dead Sea until we came to a big rock plateau*. There were pilgrims or students or some adventurous people walking up a winding path to the top of the plateau. We didn't. It would have taken us hours to climb, so we took a cable car. The history was fascinating. Herod the Great** build the original structure as a refuge against Jewish revolt. Some of the rooms still had the original plaster and paint!!! on them. It was incredible to see what their building. would have been like. The plaster was about 6-8 inches thick at the thinnest points to make the walls completely straight and they were painted in bold colors. There was so much to see. The main house was at the north end of the plateau and had a breeze. There was a beautiful view of the Dead Sea. The terraces were going down the north side. A small group*** of us climbed down to visit them. There was a great view of the remains of the Roman assault of Masada. We saw the places where the zealots hid / lived and the pigeon coops where they kept birds for food. We sat in the room they turned into a synagogue, and looked out over the breach point where the Roman army built a ramp up to the gates and burned them in****. We went to the cisterns and saw by demonstration how rainwater is caught by the mountains and was drawn into the mountain to the cisterns. One was massive !!! and we walked into it*****. The steps were so steep (we could have played volleyball inside) and the women who lived there had to walk them at least once each day with a bucket on their head to get cooking and or washing water. I'm so glad for plumbing! I think I got my first sunburn (in, like, years) on Masada. We passed Ein Gedi on our way to the Ahava+ Dead Sea factory and store. We ate lunch and browsed the products made from minerals found at the Dead Sea. We went, then, to Qumran and saw dead sea scroll cave. I think there was more to see there.. but I don't remember it. Then we headed out to the Dead Sea and swam / floated the afternoon away. Jim took pictures of us and we got lathered up in sea mud and took more pictures. There was only one instance of sea water-in-the-eye, and it wasn't me. :)


* The Dead Sea was on the left and there were mountains on the right. The plateau stood a little apart from them making it a great defensible ... um... place.

**We learned that Herod the Great was a master builder of things. He was a drastic and paranoid ruler, he killed many of his children and his favorite wife because he was afraid of conspiracies. He was a friend of Mark Anthony^ but not a fan of his wife, Cleopatra. His building style was very exact and beautiful, things from that time period are called Harodian now. He was the Herod of the Bible that had all the male children under the age of two slaughtered. When he died his son Herod Archelas was in power. He was almost a cruel as his father and so Joseph and Mary and Jesus returned from Egypt to Galilee instead of to Bethlehem.

^ He build an entire city in 12 years !!! and named it Caesarea in honor of Caesar Augustus.

*** Mostly it was the young youthful people, but Duayne also joined us. He was about 70-ish and in great health. Until we found out that he had just had his 80(!) birthday and we all thought he was in spectacular health. He kept up with the youngsters the whole time. We all want to be like him when we get to be 80.

**** The Zealots committed mass suicide before they could be captured and be made slaves. The men killed everyone and then drew lots to kill each other until the last man killed himself.

***** They are dry now because the coverings for the cistern gathering channels are gone and dirt and stone filled up the channels.

+Yup, it's the same Ahava that you may see at kiosks in the mall. The same stuff; all from the Dead Sea.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Scott's office was doing pictures and Jaedyn got in on the Photo action. She was very attune to the camera and even looks a little cross eyed because she was looking right at it so hard.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shutterfly promotion

Shutterfly is giving away free postcard sized pictures if you blog about them. SO. I'm excited to use Shutterfly for Christmas gifts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another not-trip post

Jaedyn is getting into my purse. She is fascinated with my clear lip gloss, the cheap kind with a wand to spread the sticky goop onto your mouth. She was playing with it today, opening it and closing it. Then she came over to where I was computer-ing and offered to put some on me. She did up my lips purdy and when I told her I was all done, she gooped up her own lips. Then she closed the container and gave it back to me and hauled off to get some gum (her other new favorite thing).

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm interrupting my trip posts for a OneLittleBelt giveaway. I love these belts. This gal in Lynnwood makes baby and toddler belts. They look really good and work very well.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Trip III pt two

Okay where was I?...
Orson Hyde Park - I was surprised to learn that Orson Hyde is popular in Israel. His dedicatory prayer is learned by all the kids in school*. !!! The garden was pretty for a desert garden, it was terraced because it's on a hill (called the Mount of Olives) and it has an amazing view of the city. The park is a Israeli National Park and people from the community keep it clean*. We hiked back to the bus and went to the Upper Room of the Last Supper, the traditional site where Christ and the twelve had the Last Supper and also where Jesus returned, resurrected and showed himself to doubting Thomas. The chapel we went into had good acoustics again and Tom sang for us and then we all sang. Even though the building is newer (1335 AD) the site could very well be the correct one according to recent archeological investigation. We learned that during the time of Christ women drew the water from the wells; women and Essenes*** would carry water in pitchers.I felt a special spirit there. We left and went to the Palace of Caiaphas****. We didn't go into the chapel on the level of the house, instead we went into the basement dungeons where Jewish religious prisoners***** were kept. There was a main dungeon where criminals were chained to the walls and a pit or cell dungeon (this is an excellent link!). The only way in and out of it was by a hole in the top of the room so the really bad guys, serial killers and the like, including Jesus, would have been lowered into and pulled out by ropes tied around their shoulders. It was tall enough to stand in, but the floor would have been covered in mire+ and it would have been not pleasant to say the least. There is still a hole in the wall where a guard in the main dungeon could have checked in on the guest in the pit. We walked out and behind the chapel / Palace and saw the ancient steps that led from the Kidron Valley to the Palace. A few years ago tourists were able to walk++ those steps, where Christ would have walked directly after being arrested in Gethsemane. It was powerful to see the path that Jesus would have walked. From the steps you can see the Garden of Gethsemane and the way he would have to had come. It is not short and it's all uphill and he just bled from his pours over the sins that you and I make, before he had to make the trek. !!! Then we made our way up to the porch where Peter was admitted through a secure door+++ and there were statues depicting Peter denying Christ three times before the cock crowed. Then the group split up and most people went to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum while a few went and walked the ramparts of the old city. We had lunch at our respective destinations. In Houston the Holocaust Museum is dark and creepy, depicting the atrocities that occurred and what the Jews went through in graphic pictures and detail. I was not excited to see more of that, but I figured it would be weird to go to the land of the Jews and not visit the Holocaust Museum++++. Mom and I stuck together and we tried to find the grisly, dark gallery of pictures and descriptions. We really did. Instead we found a beautiful and tasteful grouping of galleries and information centers. The galleries we went into had art from prisoners and Jews during that period. There was everything from ballerinas to political comics to stories from the Bible. We visited the Hall of Remembrance which was moving in it's own way. The building was made from basalt (black volcanic stone) or something else dark and stony. There were huge stones making the walls and a catwalk around the perimeter. The center of the room had names of camps and a fire in an abstract metal sculpture with wreaths at it's base. As we were there a visitor brought another wreath to the guard at the door+++++ . It was my favorite exhibit. We also went to the Learning Center where we listened to video recordings of professors talking about how the Holocaust has been portrayed and it's shape in history. They discussed how it is changing as the generation who saw things first hand is dieing away. There was concern that it will get diminished and even erased from history. On the website, there are more exhibits and darker things, but we didn't find them and I was left with a very positive feeling. It was not dark and depressing, instead I found it to be a beautiful memorial. When the groups got back together, we went to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb. (I forgot to mention that at the end of the Via Dolorosa, we stopped at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and saw the traditional burial site of Christ`) The Garden is now property of and cared for by a British Trust. Our guide was a very friendly British guy and he gave a great introduction. We were not there during the 'right' time of day to see the skull, but it was still visible to us. We took pictures and then visited the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea where many people have felt impressions that Christ was buried. We went inside and saw where Christ's body would have laid and the other compartment that was not finished. The garden had a wine press and huge cistern that is still used to water the plants in the garden. We went to one of the groups of benches provided and had a devotional and sang songs until just about closing time. We took more pictures and were kicked out, in a very polite, British way, from the Garden. We went back to the hotel and enjoyed dinner. The Hotel we stayed in is the Olive Tree Hotel. It was so nice! My favorite part was the huge olive tree that was in the center of the main dining room. They had very tasty food and delicious chocolate croissants for breakfast. I had one each day we were there.

*All kids in Israel go to school from ages 6 to 18. Jewish children go to schools segregated from Muslim and Christian kids but it is state law to have one hour a week of religion taught^ regardless of the religion of their school.

^ It breaks down like this: one hour each week the Jewish kids go over Jewish religion in their classrooms and over in the Muslim / Christian schools the kids separate out into their respective religions to have religion class. Muslims learn about Islam and Christians learn about Christianity. I don't know where the Druz (more about them later) fit in...

**BYU students also come and regularly scrub graffiti off the rocks

*** Essenes were a celibate sect of Jews and so had no women to carry water for them. The part of the city where the Upper Room is located is in a know to have been inhabited by Essenes.

****Today it's outside the city walls but at the time of Christ it would have been inside and a grave has been found that has Caiaphas' name on it, suggesting that it is the correct site.

*****Romans controlled the empire, but they knew that they couldn't govern the religion in all the places they conquered so they let local leaders (that they appointed) take care of persons who broke religious laws. The Sanhedrin were those Jewish rulers and Caiaphas was their leader.

+(which would most likely have included excrement in it)

++ They are closed now, and we could see the erosion where some steps are missing and the footing could be dangerous.

+++ Peter was given aid by either Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus. They were members of the Sanhedrin who were also disciples of Christ.

++++ I imaging that I'd want to see what they have in Germany if I go there someday...

+++++There was a guard posted to ensure men had their head covered (they provided paper hats) and that we were silent and reverent.

`It was very ornate and didn't feel spiritual to me. I did touch the rock that tradition says Christ was dressed for burial. The tomb was covered and a little scary looking because of all the candles lit around it and the soot that has blackened the outside. I didn't go inside, the line was huge. There was also chapels for the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Church right in front of the Sepulcher, they shared a room and were split by a 3/4 wall. It was interesting to see the difference between the different chapels.

Monday, November 15, 2010


On Sunday (Halloween*) we went to the Western Wall. Jim is into collecting old maps and from there he got pulled into archeological digs and is therefor well informed about the correct location of places and history** (Because we joined his tour we are all basically experts on Herodian Stonework and lamps). We visited the Antonia Fortress and the Pool of Bethesda, which has been diverted for agriculture and is now just some stones in the ground, well below street level***. Right next to the pool is the Chapel of St. Anne. She is the traditional mother**** of Mary and the chapel is the traditional site where Anne gave birth to Mary. The chapel has significance to us because of it's great acoustics. We heard a solo from Matt and a duet from Brett and (his dad). We sang some hymns all together and then after the group left, and I was not in danger of stage fright, Mom and I sang "How Great Thou Art". Three times*****. Then we booked it over to The Church of the Condemnation and walked the Via Dolorosa. We ate lunch in th Christian quarter+ of the city. We ate Falafel and Shawarma and then did some shopping. We walked out through the Jewish quarter and it was interesting to watch as the souvenir changed from a Christian influence to a Jewish influence. After we ran the gauntlet of souvenirs we saw the area below the Temple Mount and walked along the street that Christ walked and stepped into the shops that sold items for worship (sacrificial animals etc) to patrons. The blocks of the Temple Wall that have been excavated are so huge. We lined up, arms extended, along one block and it took six people to reach the end. !!! Then we went to the South Steps++ of the Temple and took a group photo there. Then the group split up and I went back into the Old City with Mom. We were going to get Byzantine style oil lamps as gifts for people but we lost Jim, who was our guide to the shop. So we wandered around until the group met back up at the Damascus Gate. After that we went back to the BYU Jerusalem center for a concert by the Israeli Opera. Before the concert we got to hang out and admire some mosaics by local artists. Tarah+++ took a break from studying for finals to come and meet everyone. The opera was actually just three soloists, a narrator and pianist. They did a good job and although I had favorite performers and favorite vocalists (who were not necessarily the same person) I thought the entire show was great. The auditorium looks out over the Kidron valley, right at the Dome of the Rock and the whole of Jerusalem. It's a great backdrop.
The next day we visited the Dome of the Rock and the Temple Mount^^. !!! We looked out through the archer windows and saw the countryside, we climbed on pillar capstones^^^ and posed for fun pictures. We noticed that there is a 'Dome of the Spirits' where the Holy of Holies originally was located and directly east of it is the Golden Gate. Then we walked through a small olive grove and watched girls harvest olives. The Dome of the Rock has beautiful Muslim mosaics all around the outside and a gold leaf dome. There are also green lines radiating out from the mosque where people are lined up to pray when the thousands and thousands of devout come for pilgrimage. We walked out of the Old City through the Lion's Gate and went to Orson Hyde Park^^^^. We looked out from the Mount of Olives where Jesus said "Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem"

** DANG IT!** this is the second time that I've written everything out and Blogger has failed to save it. I'm posting what I have. Sorry it breaks off in the middle of the day.

* Erin was the only one who dressed up for the holiday. She wore orange socks.

**In the years since the 6 Day War, the Jew have been rediscovering Jerusalem via archeologists. They have uncovered the temple many places mentioned in the Bible and are continuing to excavate.

***One of the cool things about Jerusalem is that there is history literally in layers around you. The Jews have been excavating because each time Jerusalem was conquered, the victors would demolish the buildings^ and build on the rubble. Now we can see this is when the Ottoman Turks were here, this is when the Crusaders were in power etc. The closer to bedrock the excavations, the older the time period.

^Everything is made out of limestone. Everything.

****She is never mentioned in the Bible. But it's fun to learn facts that other denominations know offhand.

*****Hehe. We sang it once and then once more b/c another group came in (to show off a little bit) and a third time, by request, so Dyanne could video record us.

+ So the city is divided into three quarters (Jewish, Muslim and Christian) anyone else see the problem with that? Three. Quarters.

++ There were minions there setting up sound stuff for a performance. It was kinda fun, but we had to watch our step or trip over the cords and wires.

+++ She would have come to the concert with us but student's get last of the last tickets and she had her two hardest finals the next day. She opted to go back to her dorm and study.

^^Because that area is a mosque and under the Islamic jurisdiction our dress code was more strict. I was okay as long as I had my scarf covering my arms. Other members of the group were 'asked' to cover up. Mostly it was the girls who were being immodest. Their long sleeve shirts didn't come all the way up to the collarbone. Tsk.

^^^ These capstones were just hanging around on the roof of Solomon's Stables which if I remember correctly is now the women's section of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The capstones are from the time of Christ. !!!

^^^^ Orson Hyde is evidently a big deal in Israel. His Dedicatory Prayer of the country is taught is schools to all the children.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Quick thanks to Erin, who remembered everything we did and typed it up for us.

Trip II

I'm evidently not over my jet lag... I woke up this morning at 2:30 singing a song I learned yesterday for Stake Choir*.
Back to the blog post.
This will go over much better when I have pictures**. Until then you just get words. Black and white across a screen. Boring... and my imagery sometimes leaves a little to be desired. Are you excited yet?
The second day we went to Hezekiah's Tunnel and walked through. It was amazing***. When we got to the end**** we stopped by our Israeli Tour Guide's ***** brothers shop and bought Widow's Mites and Herodian lamps and stuff.
Then we drove out to Jericho, stopped at the****** Sycamore tree mentioned in Luke 19. Went to the Hebron Glass store. We didn't go to Hebron b/c it was not safe.
Then we went to Lazarus' Tomb. A traditional site that has some evidence that it is also the correct site. !!!
We ate lunch at the Traditional Site of the Mount of Temptation. and then went to a Tel++ and looked over the countryside. The City of Jericho is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world and a few days after we visited they had a 11,000 year birthday party there. Then we drove back to Jerusalem and went to the West Wall of the Temple and ushered in the Sabbath with the Jews. !!!

The next day was Saturday and we observed the Sabbath. First we went to the Church of All Nations. We saw the traditional rock that Jesus prayed at. We touched a tree that is old enough to have been there to witness his agony. Then we crossed the street+++ and went into the Garden of Gethsemane. Evidently there are known pick pickets loitering in the street there, so we were told not to purchase anything from the vendors. In the Garden it was beautiful and peaceful... and there was a gospel choir recording a music video. It kinda spoiled the atmosphere for me. Luckily there was enough room that we could go off and have a quiet contemplation without the choir or the traffic from the roads across the Kidron Valley being too distracting.
Then we went to Sacrament Meeting at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. This is where Tarah is doing her study abroad and we surprised her. We thought she'd be at choir practice so we went in but she was not there. So we had her paged and we waited and waited while she woke up(!) and got dressed and come to see who was wanting to see her. We had another scream and cry fest. It was very fun. She was totally, completely surprised. We sat with her for the meeting and enjoyed the testimonies of the students and a few members of our trip. Then we rounded up professors and a faculty for introductions and permission slips. We were going to take Tarah with us to visit Bethany and drop her off later that night. It almost worked out. Almost. When the guy in charge found out that we were going to Bethany++++, he said no way. 'Student's are not allowed in Bethany, blah blah blah'. So we left her. We drove to Bethany and stopped for lunch at a tent restaurant^^^. We visited the caves where shepherds kept their flocks by night and learned about mangers of the time (they were hewn out of boulders). Then we looked out over the fields were shepherds kept their flocks. Aladdin showed us Jewish Settlements in the Palestinian Territory and gave us a brief overview of that confrontation. As we drove back we stopped at Aladdin's winter house which was beautiful and completed^^^^. We drove through a checkpoint and saw the huge (25' tall) wall separating the Jews from the Palestinians. There was graffiti all over. Some of the pictures were poignant. We stopped at our Tour Guide's friend's shop to purchase hand carved olive wood. I really like the $400 carving of Joseph, Mary and Jesus on a donkey. But I got some tiny carving that were in my budget.


* It's exciting to sing this song, because we are doing the fill score arrangement. Snare Drum, organ and two painos, triangles, pretty much everything; it will be so fun.

** I left my camera at home^ so I would have to opportunity of losing it^^.

^ I was in a lot of my Mom's pictures and no one noticed I didn't have a camera of my own. Dave` was surprised to learn I didn't have one on the last day of the trip. That's how I know.

`Whom you will probably be hearing a lot about b/c he is awesome and he joined my mom and I in Egypt.

^^ I only brought along one 'pricey' item, my new set of scriptures. Which I promptly lost at JFK Airport. So it's probably good that I didn't bring the camera.

*** "It was amazing!" I run the risk of saying this so many times it'll take up the whole post. From now on I'll just give you a little visual "!!!".

**** The tunnel comes 'out' from under the ground once it's inside the city and continues to become the Pool of Shalom+. A building was constructed between where the tunnel ends and the Pool of Shalom so you can't see it, we went up a flight of stairs and down the other side of the building to see the pool.

+ many of the historic sites that contained water are no longer wet. The country diverts pools and streams, and the River Jordan, to irrigate crops and water the population.

***** Did I mention that our guide was Aladdin Saim? He was great.

******So many, many of the sites we went to are "traditional". Only a few have archeological evidence that it was indeed the exact place mentioned in the Bible.

++ A tel is a man made mountain. This one was made by at least 20 civilizations building upon the ruins of previous civilizations. The archeologists cut away a pie slice shape of the Tel and excavated the slice to determine this. !!!

+++ At Christ's time the garden would have encompassed the whole of the Church of All Nations and the street and the walled garden we went into as well as more land.

++++ To get to Bethany you have to pass outside of Israeli occupied territory into the West Bank... the disputed territory that can be dangerous.

^^^ I think the tent was based on a traditional Bedouin Tent. !!!

^^^^ In Israel you have to pay taxes on completed buildings so many buildings are left 'uncompleted' with re-bar coming out the tops etc. so the owners don't have to pay taxes.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Trip I

So here's the full story part one (including bits I didn't know until much much later). There are no paragraph breaks currently... maybe later. Sorry fellow Lynne Truss fans, this is kinda like stream of consciousness.

Tarah is doing a study abroad in Jerusalem this semester. My Mom's dad, Grandpa*, has had a desire to go visit the Holy Land before he dies**. When he heard that Tarah was going to Jerusalem he decided to make his trip there as well and surprise her. He looked up a Church sponsored tour group, Discovery XA, and made arrangements to join their tours of Petra, the Holy Land and Egypt. He called my mom and told her about it, swearing her to secrecy. Months later she asked to tell her husband, Eldon. Grandpa said it was okay to tell Eldon. Eldon said to Mom, 'You should go with him!' Mom didn't think it was in the budget, even though it would be fun. When my brother was in town visiting they called Grandpa to say hi. Eldon mentioned the trip and asked if Grandpa was excited. Grandpa said he was but he'd like it more if Eldon and Mom were coming with. 'Ah hah!', says Eldon. He had work obligations and couldn't go, but Mom was free. Grandpa had open heart surgery a few months ago. Mom agrees to go with Grandpa as a caretaker. She still can't tell anyone else though. So she arranges to go to Florida*** for a horse training thing****. She e-mails everyone telling us about her upcoming trip and mentions that she might be away from a computer for a while. Then she leaves the horse thing early and goes to Grandpa's. They pack everything and head to the airport. When they are unloading the luggage from the car, Grandpa decided he's not going to go. His chest is hurting and he does not want to take chances overseas. It's a little last minute and Grandma and Mom try to persuade him to go and check in and if he still does not feel good to let them know. When he tell s them h already has his patch (medicine) on and he's still feeling off, Grandma agrees that he should put his health first. Off they drive. Mom is left by herself at the airport. She calls Eldon and explains the situation then decides to go by herself. Eldon then calls me and asks if I'd like to go and take my Grandpa's place in the tour group. I do and four days later I'm in a plane to Israel. I missed the Petra portion of the trip. Eldon did an amazing job of contacting Grandpa, Discovery XA (Jim and Carol) and the airlines while I got a passport, packed and found babysitters for Jaedyn. Jim and Carol, the group leaders, knew I was coming and had told everyone else while Mom was asleep on the bus. Mom had no idea I was coming! She thought she would just go and have a great time, pick up some fun Christmas gifts, take lots of pictures for Grandpa... and surprise Tarah for Grandpa. I was in JFK Airport looking for Mormon type people who were flying to Tel Avive on my flight. The problem was that when yo are flying to Tel Avive, most of the passengers are Jewish... and they looked conservatively dressed and religious. Every time I found someone from the group, the lady would be wearing a low cut top or the guy was wearing a yarmulke. It was distressing. There was air sickness involved. When I landed I was supposed to look for a guy holding a sign for Jim Gee - Mormon Group. There were no Mormon's on my flight and no guy holding a sign. I looked and looked. Then I asked about it at the Information desk. The gals there had no idea. The other people were leaving in their tour groups or with family. Finally I was directed to look outside customs and check with another information desk if I still could not find anyone. I walked out of customs and they sigh holder was right there. With a group of conservatively dressed people who were not wearing yarmulkes. I cried a little bit, I was so relieved. We waited around for more people and headed out to our Hotel. I left my bag in Mom's room and went to gift shop to hide until dinner when I would surprise her. Then when Mom's group got back from a day of wandering the Old City, Jerusalem, she found someone's bags had been delivered to her room. She went to the front desk to get the problem 'fixed'. They told her that she was booked in a shared room. She explained that was because her dad was planning on coming but had backed out at the last moment. There shouldn't be someone there. A porter had obviously put some other traveler's belongings into her room and they would be worried when they found their stuff missing. Carol saw what was happening and came to the gift shop where I was hiding out and said, ' you might not want to wait until dinner to surprise your mom.' That's when I came up behind her and touched her shoulder. She turned around and, it took her a few minutes, screamed when she recognized me. She was SO surprised. We hugged and cried for a few minutes. Too bad no one else in the group was around. It would have made for some priceless pictures! We met with the group, and did introductions over dinner. After dinner was a group meeting, we got name tags and after that we went to bed. Mom and I stayed up late talking. She was so happy I was there and told me all about her time in Petra.

* Original name, huh? I like it better than pet names for grandparents.
** Like a bucket list, but he's been around since before bucket lists.
*** Where Grandpa lives.
**** She and Emma do Parelli.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I was going to hop on and write up a fantastic review of my whirl wind adventure in the Middle East. Then I got distracted reading everyone else's blogs. This is why I never blog anymore. I run out of time.
I got a call about 2 weeks ago* from my new Step-dad**. He asked if would be interested in going to Israel and Egypt for a little over a week~. Um, Yeah! He called back a little later and we worked things out. This is what happened:
Saturday - got a call from Eldon.
Sunday - tell gals at church that I might not be there for the Primary Presentation*** practices b/c of possibility of a trip overseas.
Monday - go to Passport Offices in Seattle^
Tuesday - pick up passport, dinner with friends who babysit Jaedyn, stay up all night watching NCIS
Wednesday - leave for the airport at 3 AM, fly to NYC^^, Fly to Tel Avive^^^, surprise my mom who had NO idea I was coming.
Other days - we were going and going and going, our trip was run on Energizer, I swear.
Other other day - flew to Jordan, stayed the night
Day after that - flew to Cairo
Two days later - flew back to the USA
Okay, I'll post more and better descriptions in subsequent posts.

So don't read the footnotes if you are squeamish or just ate...

*On Saturday the 23 of October
**Ugh, it's weird to call him that, but he IS my new Step-Dad... I just wish there was a less offensive term. Mom's new husband is better but it takes like a second longer to type.
~ Tarah is doing a study abroad in Jerusalem and Miles is in Afghanistan, Emma is going to school full time and I... recently quit my nanny job. I'm like the only one who could go.
*** SO. In church I was given a calling (volunteer opportunity) to be the music leader for the kids ages 3-12. Great. I like it, now that I have seen a REAL chorister in action. I have all sorts of ideas up my sleeves. BUT. Every year the Primary does a Sacrament Meeting Program / main congregation meeting. This year I had 4 weeks between the first week that I started leading the music to the Program. The kids didn't know the songs as well as I would have liked. I didn't know the who's and what's of the program.~~
^I couldn't find my actual birth certificate... or Jaedyn's but that's another story. So I took in early elementary school records, a baptismal certificate and my 'certificate of birth' from the hospital (not official, it had my footprints on it though)
^^I got sick and threw up. Had a little coming out the other end too.
^^^Threw up more. Multiple times. Poor sweet Jewish couple sitting next to me. I've NEVER been airsick before. I could taste everything I ate for the last three meals in my burps. Never a good sign. The last time I threw up I was pregnant and stressed. I was thinking,' oh, crap, what if I'm pregnant again?!?'
~~ But that's okay because on Wednesday evening there was a meeting to introduce new people, like me, to the leaders of the Primary and go over the presentation and stuff. I missed the meeting and still have no idea what's going on.