Thursday, July 17, 2008

Devil's Lake again

This last weekend both Landon and i had 2 days off in a row! that never happens. so we headed up to Wisconsin to enjoy Sunday and Monday rock climbing and camping at beautiful Devil's Lake State Park, WI.

Landon at the top of our first climb.

Landon calls his biggest hex "webster".

this may look similar to our last visit to devil's lake.

We had so much fun. We are also extremely out of practice, no matter how many miles we run or pull-ups we (actually i can't do any) do, we are still far behind as far as climbing fitness goes. the only way to train for climbing is to climb.

something neat about the cliffs at devil's lake is that they are quartzite, which is the same kind of rock we climbed at hell's gate in Kenya. Landon said it made him nostalgic. The rock is glossy-slick with sharp edges and thin holds making it really challenging. no smearing for lack of foot-holds. lots of crack climbing which has always been super intimidating to me. and all the routes at devil's lake are not sport-bolted, so Landon had to climb traditional. i love to watch Landon climb trad. - he is so fantastic and this is the climbing that seems to me to be more dangerous (though Landon would probably disagree). i just love to see my husband wild and adventurous!

the weather was amazing for our trip - no rain, and blue skies with sweet breezes. we weren't eaten alive by bugs or burned by the sun. we slept well and i woke Tuesday morning frozen-sore. kind of a good feeling as i never do anything strenuous these days to warrant frozen muscles.

the drive to devil's lake is past Madison, about 3 hours north of gurnee. it is beautiful to drive through fields of crops and picturesque farms. i loved the drive! and i like having Landon at the mercy of all my interesting questions - he is so sweet to share these times with me without irritation.

Duvi at our campsite. this is the first time he's ever been chained up. you know we don't have a fence at our house and we never leash him or have had to chain him. we were in a pretty crowded and close-quartered camping ground so we had to chain him to the fire pit. he got used to it.

Here is Landon killing slugs by pouring salt on them. he's still afraid of them.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"grab your fly-swatter and smack away at my head..."

hey y'all, thanks for your sweet comments on my last post. so grateful for you - my friends!

I'm listening to my "Celtic" play list right now. i listen to Celtic music often while i work. and i have my ginger candle burning - it creates a great atmosphere for some serious work to be done. well, besides the window AC unit just 3.5 feet to my left blowing numbingly cold on my left shoulder and cheek. well, it is evening and our afternoon sun sent the temperatures in my house soaring!

well guys, we still have bug issues - though these are more of a flying variety. i try to think back on our time in Africa in order to keep my sanity about these things. i have just gone weak and wussy this past year i guess.

Here is a quote from our blog in africa:

When it rains, we get these terrible, monstrous flying termites that fly around the lights. They are so stupid, after about 15 minutes of colliding into everything (Landon thinks they might be blind), their wings fall off and then they crawl around on the ground. They're not little white ants, like the other termites we have, they're really big and brown. I think they are the most disgusting bugs we have here. They come out of nowhere when it rains, in multitudes! Truly. People here eat them. Once their wings fall off, they fry them up - i hear it is much like popcorn. Last night, Landon asked me to make him some....oh. my. gosh. I am not cooking those bugs in my kitchen, even if it is culture. AH! nasty little terrors. That's how i feel about that.

okay, so now imagine a warmer and more humid climate... and a really old little house... and a wife going on nights in a row of 5 hours of sleep (see me!). the other day i was at my wit's end! okay - just to preface - i am not afraid of bugs - i'm not! welp, we're starting to get flying ants in our home. though the only place that i see them is in the SHOWER! eek! they are big and kind of long and just crawl around on the bathroom window and pretty much just on the floor of the shower, crawling on top of one another - they never actually fly. i have no idea where they come from. i've poured piping hot water down the shower drain and lots of chlorine beach! but still they are there every time i'm standing there naked ready to shower... they are there!

also. i know you know: mosquitoes. we have some pretty major issues with mosquitoes last fall after the flooding. we have had similar issues this year after the major flooding that has been in the mid-west. we even had the bug-truck drive through our village to spray for mosquitoes. that helped a bit. whenever i go outside in the evening, there is always a mosquito on duvi's sweet little brown face - usually between his eyes. he has no clue, but just runs to me shaking his tail and looking at me like, "momma, pet me! pet me!" and i get so mad when i look down and see a glutenous leach on his nose! when i smash it on duvi's face, duvi blood gives him a streak up his nose onto his fuzzy head. gross. they're worse on the trail where we go running. 2 weeks ago landon brought home 25% deet bug spray - we have just about used the whole can - but that stuff actually works!

when we lived in kenya, before we went to sleep we would walk though our room and shake out the clothes in our closet to send the mosquitoes flying so we could kill them - otherwise they would bother us all night and we'd wake with bites on our faces. here we do a similar thing. we rather enjoy swatting and smashing mosquitoes. though one of landon's pet peeves these days is when i smash a mosquito and leave the blood on the walls (not too unreasonable of him, i know). well, i'm really sensitive to mosquito spit and when they bite me i get these weltish bumps. hate those guys. actually the other evening (probably after days in a row of opening at 'bucks - i just remember i was exhausted), i couldn't get the mosquitoes from flying around my face and after shaking my head violently several times and swatting around my head for 5 minutes, i just looked at landon and started crying , "i think you're having an emotional breakdown" he said. he was probably right.

one bug that i REALLY like finding in our house is lightning bugs! i love it at night when they fly around in the room. they're bigger than mosquitoes or flying ants, but they are so magical and beautiful! and landon says that they eat mosquitoes. i'm contemplating herding them into the hall closet and letting them into the corridor of our house in the evening to protect us from mosquito-demons. yet, i've gotten really good at smashing mosquitoes with my hands.

Friday, July 11, 2008

quarter-life crisis

this week marked the one year anniversary of our being in this house. pretty uneventful if you're a normal person living a normal person's life. Neither Landon or I have spent an entire year without having to move since we left our hometowns for college. wow, that's....7 or 8 years now. and since we've been married, we've lived in colorado springs on 2 seperate occasions for 9 months at a time and we lived in kenya for 11 months, (not to mention the months inbetween these stints where we lived pretty much everywhere) so this place takes the cake!

well, so we've been here a year now. my bookshelf is where i placed it when we unloaded the truck and decided that the bookshelf would go "here". and so is every other piece of furniture. we've made a few donations when it comes to getting rid of our stuff. we've had the opportunity to go through EVERYTHING about once a year to get rid of things. i find myself itching to purge. i'm sitting on the couch in the evenings trying to enjoy some reading and i find myself looking around thinking, "that, that, that, that, that..." i want to get rid of it all! books, desks, couches, lamps, stereo, picture frames, candles, dresser - all of it! and i have no idea why. i want to tear down the nasty wallpaper in our kitchen and i want to buy artwork for our bedroom wall. i actually bought a big jug of hand soap to refill our current bottles - i don't think i've had soap last me long enough to want to reuse the bottle and refill it before!

i want a tattoo. and i know exactly what i want. and it's huge. and i want my nose pierced again. today landon and i were talking about getting me a motorcycle. with myself itching for some drastic changes, a friend asked me if i was pregnant - SO not pregnant, and i i going through a quarterlife crisis?

we're talking more seriously about moving to kenya again eventually. and i've decided that if we do ever get to adopt daniel, that we would adopt his brother too. and i think on daniel and life in kenya again quite a lot.

i can't wait for our vacation in colorado. i have a hard time concentrating on much else. and i just can't wait to have a break, not even so much from the midwest, but just from my life here.

and today i was driving and thinking about how beautiful the trees are right now. and i realize that i always think the trees are beautiful. and then i thought how strange that the best thing about living here is also the worst thing. the worst thing about living in illinois is that it is flat and humid - no mountains for mountain beauty, mountain activities, and mountain people. yet, my favorite thing about here are the things that i cannot find in colorado: the TREES - so many varieties, so lush. the trees are so beautiful in the winter silhouetted against a gray sky or covered partly by snow. they smell amazing in the autumn and are such beautiful colors. right now they are so thick i forget where the watertown is on the horizon, and they are old and glorious as they tower over every road and yard and riverbend. colorado doesn't have trees such as these. and i also love the river here.

the river is the sourch of LIFE for us here. if it were not for the river and the flooded lands that surround it, we would live in a wall-to-wall town with no free space. the river is beautiful and it's woods and trails provide places for our great joy here! colorado does not even have one river such as ours: colorado's rivers are roaring white glacier water that is beautiful and clear and freezing. nothing smooth and calm enough to walk across in your chaco's with water up to your waist.

so the very flat and humid land that has me sometimes suffocating provides the landscape for the things that i love most about our little gurnee. it was really really revolutionary for me to realize this today. i am grateful for that. maybe i should enjoy our next year here, as this place holds beauty that i cannot find even in my most favorite place on earth.

Cafe' lan 'don

landon was our resident chef this week. which was great. landon is much more creative (and gifted and talented and skilled and learned and just more awesome) at preparing dinner. Though, i have to say that i've gotten a lot lot of experience these last 3 1/2 years. But with landon being done with his summer class now and having about another month until his fall semester starts, he's cooking at home and i LOVE it! The best thing on the menu this week: SUSHI!
Landon used to tell me that he liked to make sushi (i didn't ever believe him, so this week he decided to prove it!) it was so yummy. here's him teaching me.

and here is the finished project. as you can see, our key ingredients (besides rice and sea weed) are crab (or "crab flavored protein" - sounds gross but it was good), avocado, carrots and cucumber.

and enjoying my sushi in soy and wasabi with chop sticks. i know i've been up for 15 hours in this picture. geez, i really have no idea that i actually let myself get to looking like this until i see far too many pictures of myself looking tired and much too....blech. i know you're jealous of our kitchen wallpaper!

thanks, hubby, for your delightful scrumptiousness that goes far beyond the kitchen!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Landon's Mom: 2008 Atlanta Woman of Excellence

see Charleen's interview with Business to Business. We are so proud of her!

The day we celebrate our independence

happy late independence day! Landon and i both had to work Friday and Saturday (no 3-day weekend for us - boo-hoo). But we still managed to have a wonderful 4th of July celebration.

true to family tradition, i made a first try at home-made ice cream.
I think we decided it came out pretty dang good. strawberry!
we celebrated fancy with champagne! (maybe this is a new tradition in the making?)
and of course, celebratory cigars
and each year landon's family fries their food for the fourth! this year we simply managed potatoes. they were SOOO so good.
even Duvi had a lot of fun. landon let him lick the remains of 5 bowls! (a HUGE treat considering duvi never gets human food)
he even got his own bowl of ice with some salt on top - so yummy!

we drove down the street to the pier on lake michigan where the three of us climbed on some rocks into the lake where we watched fireworks. it was really amazing because we could see firework shows in the far distance all around the edge of the lake. there were SO many different displays, but i did count 14 different shows going off at once. we finally had our own show at our pier and it was really beautiful!

I am reading a book right now which is very highly recommended by my hubby and brother-in-law: Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel. Reading about Ayaan's childhood in Islam in the middle east and Eastern Africa makes me aware of a world that is inconceivable to me. It is really a reminder to me of what a wonderful country America is and how precious our freedoms are - and are continually protected at such a precious price.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

just Tuesday

Every Tuesday Landon works at Erehwon all day. I got yesterday off at Starbucks so i had the opportunity to tirelessly work for ACSI. It was a blessing. And i also got to spend the evening with little Duvi. We went running on the trail and then i came home and hosed him off (it was HOT and he was panting like crazy!) I taught him tag - i had to keep myself moving because i used the rest of the bug spray Monday - didn't want to sit still or i woulda been happy hour!
Then I introduced Duvi to a childhood love of mine: soccer!
This is where duvi sometimes sleeps in the hot summer days. little digger.
This is our rock path through the yard. My favorite part of the yard is where the grass no longer grows - it looks more wild - i like it!

My climbing roses are finally abloom. I had no idea if they would ever bloom. We have three of these around our house and they are all this beautiful pink!
Landon cleaned out the front gutters earlier this summer because i was noticing the rain water falling into my window baskets - i didn't even know we had gutters on the back of our house until we noticed the LIFE coming from them. Lindsey said, "did you gguys plant those?" hehe.<