Saturday, December 29, 2007

REI Garage Sale-ing

This morning Los and I did our first ever REI garage sale. It was awesome. This is an event that is nationwide and once to two times a year, on random Saturdays. It is a members-only sale where everything returned to REI for any reason is massively discounted and distributed around the nation to all of their stores. Back in college I used to go visit my friends, who would literally camp out around the Seattle flagship store for multiple nights, in hopes of scoring some killer deals on all outdoor gear and apparel at their once-yearly sale. I am not that hard core. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good deal, but the thought of sleeping outside on a sidewalk in the cold just to go shopping was of no interest to me.

So when the person I spoke to in Bellingham yesterday said their sales were more mellow (read: no shoving people and diving to get things) I was pleasantly surprised. I got off work at 8am this morning, and Los met me soon after. We sipped our coffee and hung out with Burly, chatting and reading for two hours until the doors opened. We were numbers 28 and 29 in line, amazing compared to the hundreds who wrap around the Seattle store in serpentine lines before their sale. By 10am, our line had grown to about 150; still not bad.

We decided to divide and conquer as Los really wanted some jackets and a backpack. I didn’t need anything but a water bottle, and was just curious what was available, so as the masses rushed into the store, I snagged Los a great pack and then perused the women’s stuff. No one was really by me, but tons of people were going after the sleeping bags and backpacks, so I watched in amazement while people reminded me of a scene on Animal Planet, emulating a pack of wolves tearing apart a carcass.

I realized the hot-ticket items were the expensive things: skis, snowboards, tents, hiking shoes, packs and bags. Makes sense, you could get a $400 item for $40. Los found great deals on two jackets, and a daypack, plus the big backpack I appropriated for him; I got a pair of shoes and my water bottle. By the time we left, the check-out line went 50+ yards around the back of the store. We walked to our car with purchases in hand, relieved not to be in that long line, and pleased at our morning and money well spent.

Snapshot of a Night On-Call

Take a shower. Dress nice. Feel dread, feel fear. Look at myself in the mirror and tell myself, “self, snap out of it.” Pack my bag, head to hospital, feel joy, feel anticipation. Want to turn around and drive home. But don’t. Walk through hospital doors, clock in and put on pager and ID badge, feel competent, feel official. Go to office, organize things, look at pager every 5 minutes, feel neurotic. Want to be paged a lot, want not to be paged at all. Check my email too many times. Try to settle down and read. Doesn’t work. Go out to dinner with hubby and mom, try to stay present, all the while feeling on-edge and nervously glancing at pager with increasing frequency. That thing owns me tonight. Go back to hospital, meet Jonathan and Lynnea, give all 4 people a tour. Feel professional, feel proud. Hang out until 11:30, feel tired, then go back to my office to make my bed. Get some sleep, not sound sleep, I am at a hospital on-call and my pager is 10 inches from my head, but sleep nonetheless. No page wakes me up, only my own anxiety of a potential page. 8am comes. Off duty. Turn the pager off. Relax.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas: Part III- Giving

The best thing that Los did this Christmas was host a bunch of high school seniors this weekend, and they ‘adopted’ a local family. This single mom and her two boys are barely making it; and are living in a shabby, dimly-lit two room apartment above a Mexican restaurant. Not that Christmas is about gifts, by any means, but when they aren’t even an option, that can devastate a little kid. The spirit of generosity was high among the teenage boys (a rarity in some, perhaps, but these teens are great) as they dreamed about what the young boys might want. They went out for a couple of hours to buy some things for their home, a few toys, and gift cards for practical things like groceries.

After the chaos of lunch and wrapping here, they brought all their gifts to the mom and her boys. Both parties were blessed in the experience and I’m sure that is a day that will be remembered by everyone involved. I pray their Christmas was warm, full, merry and bright.

Christmas: Part II- WHITE

I was pleasantly surprised by how great this new Christmas experience was. I no longer need to be “dreaming of a White Christmas,” as I got my first one! Big fluffy flakes fell gently while we opened our gifts. The fresh, clean snow blanketed the trees and earth with beauty and peace, the best gift! My mom and I (yeah, so I couldn’t go completely without my own fam, I begged her to come up) took our dogs outside and walked a couple of miles through the trees and gorgeous Greenbelt in Mill Creek (breathtaking trails with a creek amidst suburbia). It was magical. I felt childlike.

We had a great two days of celebrating with Los’ family. They only have extended family over on Christmas Eve, about 25 people came over. It was nice to connect with some members of his fam I’d yet to meet, and to get some jars of home-canned spicy garlic and asparagus, gotta love that. And then on Christmas, it was a quieter time with just immediate family. Raoul made his famous French toast. Everyone ate too much. We had good conversations and fun giving each other things. I know giving is always more fun than receiving; but I was pretty stoked that Los surprised me and got me a white ‘puffy’ down jacket I had wanted. After spending as much as we did in South America, we weren’t going to do gifts for one another; but he’s such a giver, he couldn’t resist… what a guy!

Christmas: Part I- Change and Ritual

This Christmas was my first in Washington. Away from my family. I am a big girl, a grown-up even; 28, with a husband, dog and contemplating kids of our own soon. And yet I felt myself sink into a bad mood as Christmas neared. Rather than think how lucky I have been to travel to see my family in California every year for the decade I haven’t lived there… 27 Christmases in a row in sunny CA should be enough, right? Instead, I was pouting that this would be the first not seeing them.

I love the energy, the chaos, the rituals, the shared laughs, meals and stories. The familiarity. It is tough to say goodbye to all of that. Not even goodbye, since we’ll probably join them again some day, but just goodbye to that being a permanent fixture I can count on in life. One less ritual in my already poor repertoire of rituals. I have always wanted to have lots of ritual in life, but I move too frequently, or am too forgetful (probably both) to remember things and repeat them annually.

My mother-in-law is the queen of ritual, so I am learning a lot from watching her. I know that as we move around the country/world, I’ll have to make more effort than most to have a sense of stability in creating rituals. (even if they’re only 2-3 years at a time) I’ll take any suggestions or advice you guys might have, stories of favorite traditions, etc. Lord knows I could use some help, since the only constant in my life is change. I need some inspiration and creativity to fuse stability and change together. Any thoughts?

Friday, December 21, 2007

South America Trip with the Flory's

We are home! And jetlagged... But grateful. What an unprecedented trip. For the first time, I blogged a lot about one of our adventures, and our friend Joel, who is an amazing photographer (fotografo en espanol) captured a lot of the majesty on camera, so I'll get to share lots with you! He'll edit the photos by next week and I'll start putting up my posts. But until then, enjoy this one photo from the world's most amazing national park, Torres del Paine... More to come!

Happy holidays:)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Beautiful Morning for a Run!

Los just ran his 5th 1/2 Marathon... It was cold and sunny, a great morning and Los' fam and the Zentler fam cheered the guys on. Now we're gonna see if he can train for the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon or the NYC Marathon... But he had a fun time running with Erik, who was doing his first 1/2.

Didn't know how to turn this up, but isn't little Jackson becoming such a cute boy! He turns two this week:)

And I had to capture the morning sun on the EMP (Experience Music Project- cool museum of music at the Seattle Center) and the Space Needle, a Seattle icon for those of you who've yet to visit.

Our Christmas "Update"

Happy Holidays from the Evans family! We look forward to hearing about your year. Carlos was gone about 6 months again this year, for deployments to the Middle East. In his last tour, he was the Mission Commander, and this fall he was promoted to be an Instructor Pilot. When he came home we bought him a new Prius, which we love (50 mpg!) and he just ran his 5th Half-Marathon with his best friend Erik. I have kept busy with school (I’ll finish my Master’s this summer!), being a chaplain in the ICU at a local hospital, mentoring college students, traveling 10 weeks myself, and gardening at our house (over 400 things planted, including a vegetable garden, which was fun).
When he was home in spring, we went to Australia for two weeks. Beforehand, we didn’t really care where we went; we were just looking forward to spending some concentrated time together. However, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef is now among the top highlights of our lives: the brilliant rainbow of sea life was breathtaking. Queensland is a lot like CA or HI, without all the people and development; really peaceful and restorative. If you’re up for an adventure, we highly recommend it!
This summer when Los was gone, I hung out with my family in CA, and visited my bro, who was playing baseball in Switzerland. I took my mom, who’d never been to Europe before, around Switzerland, N. Italy (Lake Como, Cinque Terre), the S. of France and Paris. It was special to be with them in countries I love, and to show my mom where Los proposed to me in France.
Los and I love to see the world and are now gearing up for our next trip, with our great friends, the Flory’s, to South America. We’ll hike a lot, ride horses and kayak in Patagonia, and see Santiago and Buenos Aires. We leave the 4th, which is why you’re getting this early? We’ll be back in Seattle for the holidays and hope to spend time with as many of you as possible!
p.s. by this time next year, we will have sold our house (yikes) and moved somewhere in the country/world (unknown to us at this point), so PLEASE keep in touch. Our blog is a great way to stay connected, we regularly write and post photos, and would love to stay up to date in your lives as well. You can reach us at no matter where we go!