13 January 2008

A New Year

I'm debating whether to post a list of New Year's Resolutions. I would post them because a) it would keep me more accountable to others, b) it puts them in a neat and tidy list where I can always reference it, and c) something about seeing your plans in print makes them more do-able. I wouldn't post them because a) they're personal, b) there are a lot, and c) I don't really make resolutions as much as I do goals, seeing as how my birthday is coming up and that's usually the time I review the past year and make plans for the next year.
Do you make New Year's Resolutions? What are some of them?

For curiousity's sake:
Resolution: a resolve or determination, to make a firm resolution to do something.
Goal: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

12 January 2008

Camel's Back Park

A large plot of land in northwest Boise is managed by the City, but not all of it is owned by the City. The actual park, Camel's Back, is mainly a large grassy area with a playground and tennis courts. The foothills beyond the park are owned by private individuals who graciously let everbody and their brother tromp across their land. Very generous, I say. And we take full advantage of it.

My lovely friend Julie

Looking out across the valley

I call this Gold Hill because the dirt is completely orange and gold colored. There are only two visible sections of land that I have seen in Camel's Back that have this color, and this one is definitely darker. Not sure which mineral it is.

God, Vampires, and the Anthropic Principle

I hesitate even to put the words "God" and "vampires" in the same sentence lest anyone read the title by itself and not the following article. So please, read the article! :-)
It's an intriguing post on how the proof of the non-existence of vampires can be used accentuate the ridiculousness of some arguments used by agnostics, by application of the anthropic principle in negative form.
Joe Carter: "As I have stated ad nauseam, the uses of such an argument are not to prove that God exists but to highlight the metaphysical and illogical knots that the agnostically inclined will twist themselves into in order to deny the obvious. The fact that vampires don’t exist doesn't prove that God does -- but it does make that inference more reasonable and probable than its alternative."

HT: http://www.evangelicaloutpost.com/archives/004166.html

Tolkien on Soul Mates

I don't think Tolkien would be considered a key Christian figure of instruction in the history of the church (although some treat his Lord Of The Rings series as near-inspired!), but regardless he makes excellent points in this letter to his son. I appreciate the way he points out that "The real soul mate is the one you are actually married to", and "I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament". I'm assuming his "Blessed Sacrament" refers to Christ. I have never heard it described that way before.

In a letter to his son Michael, Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien writes:
No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial.

Too few are told that--even those brought up "in the Church." Those outside seem seldom to have heard it. When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that come along. Someone whom they might indeed very profitably have married, if only---. Hence divorce, to provide the "if only."

And of course they are as a rule quite right: they did make a mistake. Only a very wise man at the end of his life could make a sound judgment concerning whom, amongst the total possible chances, he ought most profitably to have married! Nearly all marriages, even happy ones, are mistakes: in the sense that almost certainly (in a more perfect world, or even with a little more care in this imperfect one) both partners might have found more suitable mates. But the "real soul-mate" is the one you are actually married to.

....I put before you the one great thing to love on earth: the Blessed Sacrament .... There you will find romance, glory, honour, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves upon earth, and more than that: Death: by the divine paradox, that which ends life, and demands the surrender of all, and yet by the taste (or foretaste) of which alone can what you seek in your earthly relationships (love, faithfulness, joy) be maintained, or take on that complexion of reality, of eternal endurance, which every man's heart desires.

HT: http://wittingshire.blogspot.com/2008/01/tolkien-on-soul-mates.html

What would a person look like if you loved the stuffing out of him?

From Carolyn McCulley: "I want to love and be loved until all that remains is a tattered remnant... Claire did not choose Pink Bear, but she did choose to love him."

Her post is not entirely about her niece's stuffed bear, but ultimately about the choices people make when determining whom and in what way they will love: "Keeping your options open won't necessarily make you happier, and the things you fear are not as bad as you think."

See the whole article here .

09 January 2008

The End of the Story

Go ahead. Laugh. We don't care.

We met a young couple at the party, and the wife's parents were visiting from China. They didn't speak any English but Anya still found a way to communicate! :-) The father actually had taken Russian in school when he was young and he remembered some of it, so he and Anya went back and forth for a while (Anya speaks Ukrainian and Russian). He was hilarious, perhaps *especially* because he couldn't speak English...

One last picture with Grandma...

New Year's Eve (aka "Sushi Heaven")

So I visited Anya for New Year's Eve, and as you can see we had the best time ever...

And one of the best parts was this amazing little sushi joint called Yoshino's in Fresno. A.MA.ZING. Seriously, folks, I about died. And not from the raw fish, so wipe the smirk off your face.
This is some sort of caterpillar roll I think, with shimp tempura in the middle. Lovin' that shrimp.

Next up was a California roll with salmon on top:

And the best--this one was almost like dessert because it had cream cheese in it. The Snow White Roll.

We'll be back!

Surf and Sand...ish....stuff....

In my last post I talked about the rocks we saw at one beach, and I had never seen a texture like it, except for sandstone. But this of course was not sandstone or else we would have been standing on thin air. Does anyone know what this is?

I love lighthouses. Some day I'll stand at the very top of one.

Where's the Volcano?

Doesn't this look like lava rock?

Except it wasn't. It really seemed like some sort of petrified sand... it had a sandy texture, but was hard as a... Ok I won't go there.
We never did figure out what it was. I had never seen anything like it, and nothing grew on it.

But it sure was beautiful.

Half Moon Bay

December is actually the best time of year to visit this part of the California coast. The annual Mavericks surfing contest brings pro surfers from all around the world to compete on huge waves--sometimes 70 feet. We watched the surf from the windows of Miramar restaurant...

But they were less than stellar. Where were the breakers we had heard about? I think they knew we were coming and they went and hid...

So we didn't see huge crashers, but we did have a fun time driving Highway 1 and stopping at all the little beaches between HMB and Santa Cruz.

Good times

are always to be had in Cali!

Dad and I always take a bike ride when I'm in CA. This time we took 132 by the river, then north and east through Ripon. Perfect weather...

We got to visit Grandma several times:

Anya came by on her way south on Christmas. Anya and I met several years ago when she was rooming with my sister-in-law Bernice and she and Bernice came to visit me at school. I don't know anyone more friendly than Anya!

Leitha and I are old friends who met when we were about 10... our families went camping together by the ocean and we were little buddies for a week. After that, I don't think we ever talked again until we ran into each other at Modesto Junior College. What a coincidence! *Not really* :-) We lost touch again the next year when she and I went to the same college in southern California, but I was on campus and she was in Israel. A few months ago we found each other on facebook, called a truce on our wandering ways and have been friends ever since. Yes, in real life as well as facebook.

We got to hang out for a while, but unfortunately I didn't get pictures of our crazy antics when we went ice-skating. You should have seen us, we were true professionals, doing twirls and jumps! Well Leitha was anyway... :-) This picture was in the State Theater after we saw Bella. A great movie, by the way.

Three generations.


Every Christmas, it is Dutch tradition to make banket. Banket is basically a butter pastry over an almond paste filling. Having grown up in the middle of almond orchards, I have developed this strange and unusual addiction... I eat almond paste straight out of the can. Yes, I am just that nutty.

This is how we prepare the banket. The rolled-out pastry is laid across the baking sheet and a line of filling is spread down the middle. Typically in Holland the sticks are made into your first initial, but it can be really time consuming, especially if you have a curved initial. I have only tried to do it once, and they all broke. Pastry is a finicky beast. Which explains why this picture looks so good--my mom made this batch. She is the pastry pro.

It is so good when it's done! I can't count the number of times I've burned my tongue on fresh banket. Put a hot cup of coffee with it and you have bliss... and no taste buds the next day. Totally worth it.

The Little Munchkins

I got to see my brother and sister-in-law right before I left for CA for Christmas, and it was so much fun seeing my little nephew and niece. I love Tys' big blue eyes...

Only 8 more months to go...

Until the 2008 season!