Friday, May 31, 2024

May Review, and Here Comes June!

May was a very unusual month for me. The first week was really busy with work, appointments, and getting ready for the cruise. John also got home from college that week. Two days after he got home, we flew down to Florida and were gone from May 4th-12th. I can't remember the last time I was gone from home for that long. 

The cruise was wonderful! I loved it so much, and I can't wait to go on one again. I'm not sure when that will be—probably not for a while—but I'll plan for it and it will happen because I love cruises as a way to travel and see different places.

The only downside of the cruise was that on the last full day, I developed a cough, and the next day, which was the day we disembarked and flew home, I was definitely sick with some kind of a bad cold. I felt awful. I went on to be sick with that cold virus, or whatever it was (not Covid--I took two tests at two different times) for the whole week following, and I was miserable from it. I lost my appetite completely for days and coughed so hard that I kept gagging and dry-heaving. I looked and sounded awful. My voice was completely ravaged.
Now, at the end of May, I still have a lingering cough and am just starting to feel like my usual self again with my normal energy levels. That virus took me out! It was humbling. I've prided myself on not getting sick with anything big for over four years. Well, my streak of excellent health came to an end. No more bragging rights, Donna! I got humbled.

So May was a bit of a blur with the cruise and getting sick. It flew by. There were some things I was looking forward to that I wrote about in this post that didn't happen, including: 

The work photo shoot at the beach got postponed because of rain, and then it happened while I was away on the cruise. I had (somewhat selfishly) hoped it would rain again so that it would be rescheduled for when I was back. I'd been looking forward to that! 

One of my lunches with a friend didn't happen and got rescheduled for June, but the other one did happen (just yesterday, in fact).

I still have a lot of work to do for the Op-Ed Lab space on MWEG's new member website. 

The media party for my other editing job got canceled.

Womp, womp.

But all in all, terrible cold virus and various cancellations notwithstanding, May was a good month, mostly because of the cruise! And also because of one other really good thing--last week, I was asked by my boss to take on an expanded role and be the managing editor not only for Cape Cod Moms but also for Rhode Island Moms! I was honored and flattered by the offer, and I took it!

These are some of the things I'm looking forward to in June, one of the prettiest months of the year and one of my favorites:

As I just mentioned, starting up my newly expanded role for CC Moms and RI Moms.

Lunches and get-togethers with friends, including a day trip to a history site with Meredith and Beth that we've been trying to do forever!

More hours substituting at the library, including in Children's, my favorite place to work at the library!

John possibly going through the temple for the first time to receive his endowment.

My dad possibly arriving from Utah for the summer (the two are connected).

The last day of school, Sam "graduating" from middle school (😭), and summer officially beginning.

My CSA starting up. I'm trying a new one this summer and I'm excited for it!

Sam giving his first talk in sacrament meeting. 

Serving in the temple, going for nature walks and hikes, enjoying the beauties of nature, going out for ice cream, reading good books, watching good movies and shows...I love these things!

June is a good month to have a good month!

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Crazy Times Scrapbook, April 2024

 When life gets particularly busy, my crazy times posts get shorter because I don't have as much time to read the news. But I always manage to get some things in, because there's plenty of craziness to go around.

"A landmark study...has concluded that most children who experience confusion regarding their gender identity grow out of it and go on to feel content with their lives..."

Signs of the times. What's up with Utah??

"China is like a boa constrictor that's tightening...around the United States."

I was a fan of Governor Kristi Noem of South Dakota until the last couple of months when I found out that she had an affair and that she shot and killed her puppy. That last incident alone has pretty much taken her out of contention as Trump's running mate.

This is a good thing if it's true, which I don't think it is (see above).

The changes that were made to Title IX are outrageous, unfair, and dangerous. They are yet another sign of the crazy, confusing times in which we live.

Yay for the sale of TikTok, boo for more funding for Ukraine. Sadly, that's a lost cause and not our battle to fight, and we're wasting money that we don't have on it. 

It's so interesting to me that Egypt has closed its doors to the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, yet there is hardly any outcry about it. These people actually need a place of refuge in this terrible time of war, unlike many of the people who come to the U.S. And Egypt won't let them in, and they're next-door neighbors of the same religion! Why does the U.S. face so much flack for its much more lax and compassionate policies, and Egypt none for its super-strict and uncompassionate ones? Where is the outcry about this? However, having said that, Egypt does have the right to keep its doors closed. I read awhile ago that they don't want the Gazans because there are many extremists in their ranks. They don't want them infiltrating Egypt and causing problems there. I don't blame them, but I feel like they could institute a screening process for this so that children and non-extremists can escape the warfare.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

John's Mission Call!

 After a couple of logistical delays, John received his mission call on April 16th, but he chose not to open it for five days! I would never have the level of self-control and discipline to do that (and I'm a pretty self-disciplined person!). He drove all the way up from southern Virginia just for the weekend so that he could open his call with friends and family. That's how he wanted to do it, and even though it involved about twenty hours of driving and a five-day wait, it was totally worth it and he had no regrets! 

After church on Sunday, April 21st, at my house, he read his mission call surrounded by friends and family. He had three friends from high school there (and a couple more on FaceTime), four of his best friends from church (and one listening in from Japan, where he was on vacation), me, Sam, my mom, my mom's boyfriend/the stake patriarch (who gave John his patriarchal blessing), a longtime family friend from church, our bishop, and our wonderful stake president and his second counselor. Can I just take a moment to say how much the presence of these good people meant to me? They help make up for the losses that John, Sam, and I have experienced in our lives, and they are heaven-sent compensatory blessings for our family. The gentle influence of these righteous men especially is so good for my sons, and for me as well.

John read his mission letter and as soon as he read where he was going—the Colorado Denver South Mission—I knew immediately in my heart that that was exactly where he was supposed to go. That is where he's supposed to serve and live for two years, and it's just the right spot for him at this time. It was wonderful to receive that confirmation as his mother. {And as an aside—because the people and the work are more important than the geography—he's going to love the mountains and the beautiful scenery of Colorado! He's never seen the mountains before, having never been farther west than eastern Nebraska. And the "sportiness" of Colorado is such a great match for him.} 

He wasn't expecting Colorado at all and was a little disappointed not to be going on an international mission, which I'm sure is normal for those called to serve in their home country who'd like to go out of it. But he was still happy about it and he grew more excited as it began to sink in more. We also found out that evening that one of his good friends from Iowa is serving in that very same mission, which John is thrilled about! This friend is a top-notch, really good and smart guy, and I hope he and John will cross paths (and maybe even be companions!) during their year of overlap together. His mom told me that he is loving this mission and that it's "the best mission in the world," and I'm seeing a lot of positive things about it in the Facebook group I joined.

This is from an app. His mission also includes the big ski resort towns like Aspen and Vail.

The mission takes up the top lefthand quarter of Colorado and it goes a little up into Wyoming. It looks like he won't be serving in the city of Denver itself, but in its southern parts and suburbs.

I made a nice HelloFresh chicken dinner that evening (although the couscous did not turn out well!) and he had his own bottle of sparkling cider to celebrate.

There was a pretty sunset that evening. 
That's his car in the driveway. He drove back to Virginia the next morning.

It was a special, peaceful, memorable day. In the interest of full disclosure, for the next couple of days I felt some sadness and anxiety—it's a big thing to not see your child for two whole years and for them to go out to teach the gospel in a largely uncaring or unbelieving world. And the prospect of serving in the U.S. is a little scary to me—I've always thought that in some ways it's easier to share the gospel in a foreign land and new culture instead of amongst your fellow citizens. I think in some ways that U.S. missions are harder and more humbling for U.S. missionaries. John is also the first missionary in the family so there isn't much experience to draw on. But thankfully my anxieties have largely dissipated. I know that he's going to do great things, and that the Lord will be watching out over him the whole time. I'm so proud of him and his enthusiasm and genuine desire to serve a mission for the Lord and His Church.

His mission begins on August 12th. It's going to come quickly and we have a lot to do this summer to get ready, including him going through the temple for the first time, which he's excited about. There is so much to look forward to (and try not to be anxious about 😄)! 🤍

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Beautiful Boston Public Garden

 Even though it's my hometown city, I don't go into Boston very much. I don't like driving into it, mostly because I have driving anxiety in cities. I find the layout of Boston to be confusing, whereas New York City and Philadelphia (my two favorite cities) are much more logical with their nicely organized grid system. I could go into Boston by train, but I don't know how to use it, which is something I really need to learn. Eventually, I plan to conquer my fear and drive in more. All that is to say that despite the obstacles, I do sometimes find myself in Boston, like at the end of April when I had an appointment there. I arrived early (via Uber) and had some time to wander around the nearby Boston Public Garden. I don't think I'd ever been there before. It's such a lovely spot, especially with the spring flowers. I was very pleased to unexpectedly find myself there!

It's a "popcorn popping" tree!

I especially loved the tulips. 😍

There are the famous swan boats! Someday, I'd like to do this; maybe if I ever get a boyfriend, we'll go on a romantic date on the swan boats. (He'll drive us there, of course. 😄) 

Parks (with water, no less) in the middle of cities are the coolest. Central Park is still my favorite, but Boston Public Garden is now a worthy, albeit much smaller, opponent. 😉

I'm not sure who this statue is because of the fencing that was up around it, but I liked it.

It was a great way to spend some extra time in a lovely spot in a city that I like (not love (yet), but definitely like)!

Monday, May 27, 2024

April Vacation 2024 (+ a Rant!)

 For April vacation this year, ideally we would have gone on a cruise, but we couldn't because John was still away at college. So we delayed the cruise by a few weeks until he was home, and Sam and I (and my mom) went to the Cape instead.

Unsurprisingly, this post begins and ends with selfies! And on the same beach, no less.
The light on the water was so pretty that evening.

It wasn't the only thing that was pretty that evening. 😉😁

This was on the wall behind me during breakfast at the Keltic Kitchen, and I thought it was funny. 😆

The aforementioned beach, "our beach," the one that's about a 10-minute walk from the house.

A cute little cottage at the resort by the beach.

We went to the Outer Cape and went for a walk on one of my favorite walking trails and then walked a bit over the dunes overlooking the ocean. On the other side is Europe! Spain, to be exact.

We had our "first encounter" with First Encounter Beach, where the pilgrims and Indians first... encountered...each other. I've been wanting to go here for years. It's just a beach, but it's neat to know that something significant happened here.

About half of these men are my ancestors.

I don't know if it's Massachusetts being Massachusetts (liberal, pilgrims were evil takers of the land, etc.), but I didn't like how the plaque is situated right next to a dog waste station. Seriously?  And speaking of which, it looks like a dog had relieved itself on the bottom of the plaque.


I find the wording on the plaque to be a bit objectionable and one-sided as well. The Indians and pilgrims went on to help each other in mutually beneficial ways. The Indians didn't want Plymouth where the pilgrims ended up settling. They had totally abandoned it. What came later (King Philip's war, the terrible and unjust treatment of the Indians being killed or forced onto reservations) was not the pilgrims' doing. Someone was going to settle America as an official country, whether it was the pilgrims or a group from somewhere else. This in no way justifies what ended up happening to the Indians; it's a simple statement of fact. There was no way all of the land was going to belong to the Indians forever—that's not how human nature and history work. Conquests and wars are and will continue to be part of life around the world for the foreseeable future. Partly, this is because Satan rules here right now—this is his kingdom—but concurrently, I believe America being settled and established in the way that it was was God's plan for this land, where the gospel of Jesus Christ was to be restored in a place of liberty and progress and super-relevant history. And even independent of religion, I believe it still would have happened as it did, because that is the nature of men.

Relatedly, now that the gospel has been restored and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ grows ever nearer, I believe America will someday be invaded by another country (it's already happening, in part) and we may lose the country we know and love, as the Indians did. But, I have digressed quite a bit. My main point is this: this site deserves better than what's there right now.

I cropped the dog waste station out. Do a better job with this historical site, Massachusetts! 😤 #rantover

We stopped at a herring run that I had learned about from my editing job with Cape Cod Moms. I'd recently edited and published a great article about the herring runs on the Cape. I'm not sure how I never knew about this! This is one of the things I love about this job--I get to learn new things about one of my favorite places!

The scenery was pretty, and all of the little fish (herring) were cool! My pictures didn't capture them well, though.

I like ducks.

Okay, so you can't really see them, but there are tons of fish swimming upstream against the current in this picture.

(That's my mom on the bridge!)

(That's me on the bridge!)

We went to a Mexican restaurant near the house for dinner one evening, El Mariachi.

I've been wanting to try this restaurant for years, but for some reason I never did until now. I finally had a concrete reason to go—I was helping one of the writers with an article and an Instagram Reel she was doing about Mexican restaurants on the Cape to be published the week before Cinco de Mayo. I said I'd go to this one and get some pictures and video for her, which I did. It was fun, and the food was delicious! I'll definitely go back here again.

Muy deliciosa!

We did some other fun things that week, including shopping trips to Trader Joe's for food and the mall to get Sam new running shoes, Target (I got a new rug runner for the main floor hallway), Consigning Women, ice cream at Cape Cod Creamery, and we went to the movies to see a special screening of Interstellar, one of Sam's favorite movies. We did some not-so-fun things too, like yardwork. 😆 I successfully fought off a cold and started watching a YouTube series that Sam wanted me to watch, and the guy in it was adorable and funny. It really was a nice few days at the Cape, and I'm so thankful to always have it as a getaway option. My life isn't perfect, but it is full of blessings!