Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sydney Turns 13

Sydney did the unthinkable and turned 13 on April 28. We celebrated a week later with her friends, Chloe Youtsey...

...and Kerstin Wallace. Good times.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Boob Tube

It's been awhile since I blogged, so here I am. I hate to blog without pictures so I am adding these of Dinah that Sydney took. Isn't she just chuck full of kitteny cuteness? We are calling her "The Rogue Kitten" these days because every so often, at least once a day she walks around yodeling at the top of her lungs. I think she is calling for her sister. Sad, isn't it? We all miss little Abby.
On a happier (?) note...Sydney turned teenager 2 weeks ago. I am having a tough time thinking of my baby as 13. She had a slumber party and they played a version of American Idol in which everyone takes turns being either the contestant, Paula, Randy, or Simon. Ryan Seacrest, if you have enough people. They had a blast. Good times.

Since we have been here we have really come to appreciate TV on DVD. We rent from Netflix, check things out of the library, and make way too many purchases from Amazon. I love that my kids love shows like "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and "Welcome Back, Kotter". You should hear Meghann's impression of Arnold Horshack. Sydney does a great Vinnie Barbarino, too. We own such series as "Perfect Strangers", "Newhart", "The Simpsons", "Reba", "X-Files", and "King of the Hill." I miss regular TV, but I am totally hooked on TV on DVD, the lack of commercials is fabu.
We definitely have to look into TiVo when we get back.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Izmir, The Last One

Our hotel was a few blocks from this bay or harbor or waterfront or what have you.

What we saw of Izmir the city, it was pretty similar to Adana. A little cleaner, and much bigger. But we are not city people, so lots of tall buildings and bad traffic doesn't really impress us.
In biblical times Izmir was called Smyrna, for all you historical types.
Alas, with all our walking around this big city, we ended up eating at the BK out of sheer frustration and extreme hunger. (We have a BK here on base, so it's no treat....AT ALL.)
The first night we had wandered into a really nice Chinese restaurant, but after spending WAY too much for dinner, we knew we had to look for fast food. Our last night we ate at a Turkish pizza place. Note to self- Turkish pepperoni is not the same as American.
These are the Burger King cats. They live outside the joint and live off of chicken fingers and whoppers.

All in all, our trip was great and much needed. We saw a lot of incredible sights. Watched BBC, played Uno and Ligretto. Best part- we were together!

Izmir Part 7

Visiting the Sanctuary of Askeplios if you were sick went something like this:
On your way by, buy a symbol to sacrifice, such as, if your finger was broken, buy a finger made of clay to sacrifice.
Wash yourself in holy water. Take a relaxing mud bath. Then head to a sleep chamber. After a good snooze, wake up and have your dreams analyzed.

This tunnel led from the bath house to the examination rooms. The patients would walk through this tunnel lit by oil lamps and holes in the ceiling through which the doctors would speak words of encouragement to them.

An early symbol of medicine- two snakes drinking from the same dish of milk.

The spring that was considered holy, it is still alive today.
The Oracles of Askeplios.
OK, maybe not. Just two cute little puppies who guard the ruins.

Izmir Part 6

This is where The Great Alter once stood. It was a huge marble alter built to the god Zeus. The alter itself is now in Berlin. Because it was used for hundreds of years as a place to make sacrifices to "heathen" gods, when Christianity came to Pergamum, they started calling it the "Seat of Satan."

Sydney and I find Zeus irresistible.
The road leading to the Sanctuary of Askeplios. It dates back to the 4th century B.C.
This road is known as the Sacred Way.
This was a major medical center, at the time medicine and religion were very much intertwined.

Izmir Part 5

Sydney looking good with a series of beautiful arches. These went around the bottom of the temple. They could be sealed and filled with water in times of siege.

Doug and the girls hiked to the bottom of the theater. They had to be able to say they climbed possibly the steepest theater of the ancient world.
I stayed at the top to document their historical climb, well, someone had to.
When they got back to the top, Doug said he must have thought he was younger. The girls, who ARE young, looked like this.

Izmir Part 4

The second day of our trip we drove the hilltop city of Pergamum.
This is the Temple of the Emperor Trajan. It is said that when asked if the people of Pergamum could a temple for him, Trajan answered only if it could be seen from everywhere in the city. He must have been very humble. Since the emperors were worshipped as gods, I guess humility was a non-issue.
This is the theater. It is known as one of the steepest theaters in the ancient world. It was probably built in 157 B.C. Wow.
The ruins of the Temple of Dionysus.
View of the Temple of Trajan and the theater from below. I would say that Trajan got his wish that the temple be vi sable from anywhere in the city.
View from the theater.

Izmir Part 3

These are the "Latrina" or public toilets in the Skolastikia Bath. The bath was first built in the 1st century and then rebuilt in the year 400 A.D. by a woman named Skolastikia. There were many rooms. They would bathe and get massaged in the hot room and then go to the next room where it was less hot to (and I quote directly from my book on Ephesus) rest and have chat. Our tour guide told us that the room with the toilets was once filled with flowers to help with the smell and the leaves and petals could also double as toilet paper. Inventive, those Greeks.
This is one of two Agoras in Ephesus. Basically it is a large outdoor market.
This is The Great Theater. Built around 100 B.C. This is where the Apostle Paul preached to the Ephesians. The acoustics there were quite impressive. Even though it is so big, it would have been no problem to be heard from the bottom.
Meg and Doug climbed to the top. It was later used for gladiator games.

This is us with the theater in the back. It was so amazing to walk where Paul walked and experience what life might have been like so long ago.

Izmir Part 2

I think this was one of my favorite things. It is the Library of Celsus. It was built in the 2nd century A.D. as a tomb for a Roman senator named T.Iulius Celsus Polemaenus. It was destroyed by earthquakes and fires in the 10th century and rebuilt in the 1970's.
The details on the ceiling were so beautiful, I could've easily stayed staring up at them for hours.
This is our family in front of the Hadrian temple, in an out-of sequence-photo.
This view of the library may give a better idea of it's scale. The day we were there was not terribly crowded. Just a group of Turkish teenagers, and another big group of Japanese tourists. Our group was just our family and a couple from Zurich, Switzerland who spoke German and English.
These are replicas of statues that represent the virtues of Celsus, this particular one represents "character."
One of the saddest things about touring all these incredible ruins in Turkey is that so many of them have been removed from the country and taken to other museums around the world. Most of the things missing are in Berlin. The originals of these statues are in Vienna.

Izmir Part 1

Our trip began outside of Ephesus at what is believed to be the last place that the Virgin Mary lived. No one knows for sure, but it is certain that John lived here and he was watching over her. Here we are standing outside what is basically her house turned into a little chapel. It was very peaceful, way up on a mountainside. There is a spring where the water is considered holy and a wishing wall, where you can write what you wish for and tie it to the wall. It was a beautiful day.
This sign speaks for itself.
The place I have looked forward to seeing for a long time was well worth it. Ephesus was absolutely amazing. We took way more pictures than I could post so I will try to pick some of the highlights.
The details on the ruins were unbelievable.

We got a lesson in in columns. Our tour guide was a pretty, young Turkish woman named Suzan. She was excellent.

Meg at LinguaFest

As promised, here are a few pictures from Meghann's trip to Germany. While we stayed home and worried about our little girl traveling the world alone, she was out having a great time. The way it should be. Cool Tudor house.

Just what Germany should look like, if you ask me.
A delicious pastry she loved enough to photograph.
Meghann played the part of the "Frog Prince" in the little play her German class did. Yes, she went as a Turkish language student, but she spent the week learning German. Wunderbar!
She got to tour around this castle, she had a good time. All in all, she met new people, learned a little German, and basically proved she is growing up into a responsible, pretty young woman who is AWESOME!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I wish to thank Kacy for including me in her tag, I have never been tagged personally before and it is super exciting. I have just returned from a 3 day trip to Izmir and I am a little loopy. With any luck, that will be to my benefit. Here I go.....

10 years ago...
I was getting ready to move from Texas to Illinois. My kids were 5 and 3. We had just adopted our cats, Dinah and Abby. We owned a Ford Escort station Wagon as I had not yet been issued my official Mormon mama minivan license.

5 Things on my to do list...
Wash the unpacked stuff.
Return Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 4 to the library.
Find somewhere to live in San Antonio.

5 Snacks I enjoy...
Cool Ranch Doritos dipped in cottage cheese.
Candy ( I eat it like a Spaniard.)
Whatever you're having.

5 Foods I love...
Meat that isn't lamb.
American restaurants, all of them!!!
I am hungry right now, all I got on the plane was something called a "Pop Kek" which is like a stale Ding Dong with a hint of orange flavor. Pass.

What I would do right now if I suddenly became a billionaire...
AFTER I paid tithing (because THAT'S how I prioritize) I would buy a cabin somewhere in the Utah mountains, a house somewhere in Utah, a house in Maine, a new car, and put away for my kids' college. Then I would set up all my siblings and their families with whatever they wanted. Then I would travel in very expensive circles, eating meat that isn't lamb.

5 Places I have lived...

Favorite Quote...
"We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always whirling, whirling, whirling towards freedom!" - The Simpsons
"Sometimes you can't help these people until they hit rock bottom- and by then you've lost interest." -Seinfeld
"Over the mysteries of female life there is drawn a veil best left undisturbed." - Little Women

There you have it, blogland, aren't you glad you tuned in?
Tune in next time for pictures from Meghann's trip to Germany and our travel report from Izmir.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

We Love You, Abby

Abby was born on September 21, 1997 on Laughlin AFB, Texas. When she came to live with us Meghann was four and Sydney was two. She and her sister, Dinah, each caught a bird before they turned one. We had to nip that in the bud.
Abby loved us all, but by degrees. She loved Meghann most of all, then Sydney, then me, and she would only give Doug the time of day if there was no one else home. Until a few years ago. Then she turned into a teddy cat and loved and cuddled and spooned with any of us.
She was what might be considered a "dumb blond." She was never as clever as Dinah but she had infinitely more patience. She could watch our fish or a bug crawling along the floor or the birds outside the window for hours.
Some of her favorite things were eating, asking to eat, spaghettios, and barfing for spite as she did the time I put her on diet cat food per the vet's instructions. She ate some, found it lacking, went into my room and hurled directly into my slippers. We went back to regular food after that, so I guess her methods were effective.
Abby loved being outside and that's how she spent her last day, outside in the sunshine. She loved playing with souvenir rabbits feet that we would bring back from vacations with us. No one knows how to kick back and relax or snuggle like Abby, she is the master of cozy.
We will miss more than words can tell and she will always be in our hearts.

"Life is made up of meetings and partings, that is the way of it. I am sure we will never forget Abby or this first parting that there was among us."