Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Monster Upstairs

So now that I am back and somewhat normal again (don't laugh, people), I am beginning to sense the dreaded pull to exercise.

Okay, let's stop right there. I don't like the word "exercise." It reminds me of unitards and leg warmers and let's be honest, that is not my best look.

So before we get too far into this post, let's now call it "energize."  It makes me feel like a transformer or superhero or something. And besides, a little fantasy never hurt anyone.

So I am beginning to sense the dreaded pull to energize.

Don't get me wrong people, it's not like I have been sedentary. I do walk to my car every morning, I run to get the phone when it rings, and I often lift heavy objects up flights of stairs, namely a new jar of peanut butter up the stairs to my apartment.

I am practically an Olympian.

But the problem is that there is this ginormous, black monster that sits in my loft, glaring down at me, taunting me everytime I choose to sit on the couch and not energize. Sometimes I even hear it mocking me, like it is saying "Hey Sarah, guess what tomorrow is??  It's MARCH! And you know what that means: spring, which is just one tiny season away from summer, which is the gateway to all things fun!"

Or in other words, "Spring is just one tiny season way from summer, which is the gateway to WHO IN THE WORLD THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO INVENT BATHING SUITS?"

Oh ugh. It's not like March is a new has been around for a long time.  But somehow this recent trip erased the month of February for me and I had huge plans to get in shape this month.

HUGE plans, people.

So now, the Monster, otherwise known as the treadmill from Hades, is relishing the fact that February has slipped by without so much as legwarmer on my end.

But, I will prevail. I will overcome. I will climb up the long flight of stairs that I am sure has twice as many steps as most, to the Monster above and walk the heck out of it. Because after all, I am a superhero and superheroes always win in the end.

Now I just need to go find a Lycra cape to add to my work-out attire.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Magnificent Seven

Most Thursday nights you can find me with this crowd. We call ourselves "Women's Group" which is the most ridiculous name for something so non-ridiculous.

And after seven years, we still can't find a name we like better.

For seven years we have laughed with each other and cried over disappointments and heartache.

In seven years, we have seen graduations, engagements, marriages, babies, big announcements, small announcements and everything in between. Even the dreaded 30th birthday.

And for seven years, we have exchanged a new pair of pajamas at Christmas, which could be one of the best traditions EVER.

So last night we celebrated our seventh anniversary! How amazing is that?

We were all there except for one. She is a nurse so apparently she was off saving lives. I suppose that is a good excuse but it wasn't the same without her. We were incomplete.

We missed you Kimmy!!!

But your seventh anniversary must be celebrated so we did our best...

...and the only way to properly celebrate this type of milestone was with chocolate. Obviously.

This, my friends, is Heather's Toblerone chocolate fondue that can only be described as a pot of liquid chocolate heaven. I would have stuck my head in the pot and licked it clean but I didn't want to get it in my hair. And it was hot.

Don't worry, I ate more than this. I was just trying to look dainty.

Would you like to meet these girls?  Well of course you would. Who wouldn't?

This is Jenn. Her mom and my mom set us up on a playdate. We were 22. But it was a smashing success and I am thankful they did. I admire so many things about her. She is lovely.
Hey, do you notice that rock on her finger? She just got engaged! And don't you think she is positively glowing? Of course it could be from the laptop that is right in front of her but I tend to think it is the glow of love.

Bust out the sunglasses.

Natalie. I love Natalie. She makes me laugh and helps me to take life a little less seriously. She has one of the most compassionate hearts around. And do you know what else is fun? She's Jenn's I guess I am doubly thankful for the playdate.

These beauties are the two hottest moms in Denver: Abby and Heather. And if you think they're cute, just wait until you see their babies. They have four between the two of them! And they are both teachers. They amaze me.

...and this little guy is Abby's latest creation. I could eat him. His name is Heath...does it get any cuter? I don't think so.

Rachel. She is my sister in so many ways. She even has a bedroom at my parent's house. We have traveled thousands of miles together and both have a love for homemade ice cream. And for the 4th of July. And guess what?! She is going to be a mama soon. She was born for it.

We also made t-shirts.  Every reputable girls group makes t-shirts!

Seven years. Not too shabby, both figuratively and literally. However, I did iron my "G" on backwards. Don't tell anyone. I am conveniently blaming the jetlag (see previous post for details).

But do you know what is even more amazing?

We are all SO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. And I love it.

We are nurses, teachers, international developers, event coordinators, administrators, cheerleaders, volleyball players, salsa dancers, bakers, sewers, world-travelers, singers, bowlers, golfers and cowgirls. And that's just the beginning.

So I'm thinking we have a good thing going here.

Here is to another seven years, ladies. And seven more after that, and seven more after that...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Run Over By A Truck

Have you ever been driving down the road, singing along with Ace of Base, and you glance in your rear view mirror and all you see are the ginormous teeth of a semi-truck whose grill is about to eat you? Your first reaction is to scream and then start crying. Your second reaction is to have a massive coronary.

At this moment in my life, I am pretty sure that those ginormous teeth ate me, chewed me up like a piece of jerky and spit me out on the highway. And then the truck backed up and ran over me. Twice.

And that's after I had a massive coronary.

I call this condition jetlag.

It's not that I am crippled or unable to function, I do well for most of the day. But come 6:00 pm, my brain becomes heavy, like it's a big bowl of pudding and I am trying desperately to swim in it.

And we all know that you can't swim in pudding.

But I will tell you that for the next day or two I will not be functioning on all cylinders. Therefore, I am not responsible for anything I say or do after 6:00 pm.

That also means that I may need one or more of you to bail me out if the police happen to disagree with this statement.

You all are the best.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just Like Moses

My last day in Jordan saw us traveling the short distance from Amman to Mt. Nebo and the Dead Sea.

Let me just say up front that this could have been one of the coolest days ever.

First, I slept well the night before and felt fairly perky, which is saying a lot for day 19 of a 20-day trip.

Second, I love Moses. This was his hood, his domain for so many years. And Mt. Nebo was where he breathed his last breath and saw the magnificent beauty of the Promised Land.  Read Deuteronomy 34 for all the details.

He was a sinner yet he was used mightily. He was insecure, unsure of his calling, full of doubt, frustrated, overwhelmed and tired.  But his faith was resilient and he was known for his humility.

I think he and I have that in common.

Oh, I kid.

Enjoy the pics, my friends.

The largest mound of dirt is Mt. Nebo...the one in the background on the left.

At the top.

Looking out over the Jordan River Valley from the top of Mt. Nebo.

The haze prevented us from seeing any of these towns, but you could make out the Jordan River and the Dead Sea.

Hazy shot #1

Hazy shot #2

Hazy shot #3

Do you know what you are looking at? No? I didn't either until someone pointed it out. The big tree clump on the lower right-hand side is the beginning of a spring that began when Moses struck the rock with his staff.  Wicked cool.

Next, we drove down off of Mt. Nebo to the Dead Sea. It was an incredible drive with rocky terrain and increasing temperatures.  Oh, and a couple of these...

Oh my gosh, they are so cute. Too bad I couldn't get them through customs otherwise my nephew would have a new pet.

Specific instructions for your dip in the Dead Sea.

Pretty flowers that make me long for spring. Talk about a rude awakening when I arrived in Denver last night to 20 degrees and snow. I am trying not to be bitter.

Vacationing at the Dead Sea. Does anyone else think that sounds weird?
Israel surrounds the western side of the sea and you can see it on the horizon.

This dude is loving life.

I walked in it to my ankles and it was weird and slimey. If you have knicks, blisters, cuts or gaping wounds, do not go in the water. You'll scream bloody murder and wish you could curl up and die on the beach.

 I also tasted it. No, I didn't stick my face in it and get a drink...I just tasted my fingers.
Do not do that. It is beyond disgusting. BE-YOND.

If you are ever in Jordan and you have a day to kill, definitely go to these two places.

The history of these locations is incredible. If Mt. Nebo could talk, we would know where Moses is buried and better understand the intimate relationship he had with God.

If the Dead Sea could talk, it would probably ask for a breath mint.

Now, it is my turn to climb a mountain. Just like Moses, I don't want to do it. But it is my calling and somehow the impossible will be accomplished. And I will try to do it without grumbling.

I am now accepting applications for the role of Aaron.  Anyone? Anyone?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's Hard Being Famous

I am really digging Amman. It is a hip, vibrant city that spreads out across rolling hills that blend into the desert.

I am staying on Rainbow Street, apparently the place to be if you want to be seen. The ice cream shop that Brad and Angelina visited a few months ago is just two blocks from where I am staying. I have been tempted to go myself but I don't want to cause a scene.

The paparazzi can be a little crazy sometimes.

The food is amazing. Have I mentioned that before? It is flippin' delicious, people! I dare you to come just to try to the food.  I DARE you.

Last night, my colleagues and I went to this trendy little place that served hooka pipes at your table and the menu listed such things as raw lamb, brains of various vermin and something called "chicken balls"...I didn't ask.

But not to worry, they also served such things as stuffed grape leaves, hummus, hot pita right out of the oven, roasted chicken, lamb kabobs, fried cheese, olives and grilled fish. DE-LIGHTFUL...minus the fish part.

Yesterday I walked  the mile and a half between the two houses of my colleagues. It was 1:00 pm so no one was out because Friday is the holy day and every shop was closed minus the grocery store.

So, I went into the grocery store, bought a few items, and paid for them ALL BY MYSELF! And I didn't even have to bust out my mad Arabic skills, which is good because I have none.

Anyway, it was fun to have a glimpse of daily life here, even if it was only a 20 minute walk.

Here are a few pics for you to enjoy:

The hills of Amman

The local pita guy

Green onions...we bought a few and they were very onion -y

Fruit of various kinds. We bought kiwi and they were the BEST KIWI I HAVE EVER EATEN! Apparently I feel very strongly about this. Traveling tends to bring up issues.

The desert outside of Amman. This is where the Israelites wandered for 40 years. 40 YEARS, people.
Moral of story: Trust the One who can part the sea.

Okay my friends, I am off to the Dead Sea and to Mt. Nebo today. And then tonight, I get to catch a 2 am flight to Frankfurt. 

SERIOUSLY! What is the deal with that?

Happy Saturday, my friends.  I'll be home soon.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Disclaimer: Prepare to be amazed. I mean truly amazed. If you are drinking a beverage, please put it down. I would hate for these spectacular pictures to cause you to fling your arms wildly, thus resulting in a severe burn or mind-numbing chill to your lap.

Second Disclaimer: You cannot sue me if that happens.

Petra TOTALLY exceeded my expecations, which is saying a lot because I had HUGE expectations! I mean, c'mon, who hasn't seen The Last Crusade and thought "I need to go there and pretend I am looking for a long-lost treasure that only I can find and I will heal the world of all evil and look really great doing it?"

No one?

Oh, well I did. And even though I didn't find some fake artifact that supposedly has mystical/spiritual powers and causes peoples' faces to melt off, I did see lots of camels, spectacular views and enjoyed a much-needed Snickers bar for lunch.

Does it get any better?

I think not.

So, after a three-hour bus ride south, this was my first vision of Petra:

This is a little blurry because I took it through the bus window, but I thought it was hilarious! This guy was really hauling! The town in the background is Petra.

And now, the journey begins...
This is at the beginning of the trail through Petra. That poor horse carried a hundred tourists up and down the path. It is hard to tell at this angle but I think he was a little bitter.

Oh my gosh, this is the beginning of the trail. Aren't you just so excited??

Apparently I am so excited I had to bust out the spirit fingers.

The lighting was perfect.

Carvings were everywhere.

Water erosion at its finest.

One of my favorite shots of the entire day...the man came around the corner at the perfect time.

Do you see the feet? The rest of him has melted away.

Tami is also very excited. And for a good reason...

Do you see what I see?

Oh, how I loved this moment! The anticipation was almost better than seeing all of it. Truly, I about passed out I was so excited.

Oh. My. Gosh.


No words. Words escape me. No words at all.

Footholds to climb up...a touch steep.

Amazing detail

I really, REALLY wanted to go through the door but the guard wouldn't let me. I thought about hurdling the gate but I didn't think he would be able to handle that much athleticism. I am pretty spectacular at hurdles.

Waiting for tourists...

Proof that Tami was there.

Proof that I was there.

I would love to know this woman.

A wall of tombs

I love the sunlight on this mysterious.

Do you see the shepherd sitting on the rock and the two black goats on top?

Nature calls...

A bedouin and his goods.

The row of royal tombs

And I would love to know this man.

I have SO MANY more pictures I could post (223 in fact) but these will have to do for now. If you ever want to see them, just give me a holler. I will be home soon.

And, to top off this day, we stopped for dates, olives, hummus and pita for the bus ride home. Heaven? Yes, yes it was.

I think I am loving Jordan. I highly recommend this place.

And all you single lades out there: most of the men are above par in the looks department. Hey you have a second cousin or something?