Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good Times in Beautiful Santa Monica

I just got back from a most excellent trip to Santa Monica where a good friend and co-worker from my Tier2/Open Text days, Mr. Thomas Milan, was married to a beautiful Eritrean, Rahel Woldegaber (see these links: link1, link2, link3). Another good friend and co-worker Pat Bucy was also at the wedding. It was a great experience getting to know some of Rahel's family, seeing a totally new culture, learning about Eritrea, and especially hearing Rahel's story and how both of their stories united. I am kicking myself for not getting a "Green Boy" reunion picture, but here are a few shots that I did take:

Thomas and Rahel during the Sunday morning brunch

I didn't get many other good shots. (The fact that these are my best will help you realize how bad the others are!) After the wedding and dinner, the dancing commenced. And did I menton that it wasn't your typical wedding dancing??!! Thre was an Eritrean band and Eritrean music and Eritrean dancing and was it fun! I still find myself jiggiling to the rythmn. The photos below show the last dance (which has a special Eritrean name which I have since forgotten) where we all dance around the bride and the groom with roses (a blessing for children) and money (which you place either in the colorful baskets or on the forehead of the bride or groom).

Being on the beautiful coast, I couldn't leave without checking out the beautiful beaches! Thanks to Pat, who brought a couple boards, I was introduced to the art and pleasures of boogie boarding. And what a better place than in wonderfully refreshing warm water with a beautiful breeze on your face. My only dissapointment was that Maura and the kiddos weren't there, too!

Another amazing blessing was seeing a good friend and college classmate of both Maura and myself, Sr. Catherine Marie of the Trinity, previously known as Catherine Adams. Sr. Catherine joined the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles in Alhambra, California, and now lives her live praying for and serving those both near and far. Sr. Catherine is currently teaching 4th grade at one of their schools in La Puente. I was able to stop in on them early Sunday morning, visit with Sr. Catherine, meet her fellow sisters, and attend Mass with them at the local parish, St. Joseph. It was such a treat to an already wonderful visit.

Sr. Faustina, Sr. Madeleine (the Mother Superior and Principal), Sr. Catherine Marie, and Sr. Mary John

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Uncle Matt visits Idaho

What a treat! Maura's brother Matthew came to Idaho to visit for a long weekend. We all had a great time showing him our home and a little bit of the area where we live.

Uncle Matt "warming up" for the Clearwater Tubing Adventure.

Trying to recover from hypothermia and frostbite after the now renamed Clearwater and Icicles Tubing Adventure.

A little background to the above pictures. We had gone down to the river a week previously when the temps were over 100 degrees and the water was wonderful. The day we decide to take our Texas visitor tubing, the temp dipped into the low 80s. The water, thus, was a bit chilly, even for the hardened Idahoans. Then to top it off, it got pretty windy half way down the river ... with a wind chill temp probably in the 60s. Needless to say, we were all happy to have a warm fire when we got back!!

Dinner on the deck

Going crazy with Uncle Matt

Catherine and her Godfather

Joseph teaching Uncle Matt a few tricks

John enjoying a book with Uncle Matt

The Mentos Experiment

The Mentos Experiment in Action

After some attempts by the fire after our river adventure, we fine tuned the experiment by putting the Mentos on straightened paper clips and dropping the whole string into the Diet Coke. As you can see, it worked pretty well. I wonder what form the next brainstorm will take??!!! (Check out this video that sparked our own experiments:

Thanks, Matt, we really had a great time and hope you can come back soon!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Six of Us

St. Michael's Mission, Arizona

On our way back from Albuquerque, we stopped by this beautiful mission just across the New Mexico/Arizona border.