Thursday, May 24, 2007

2 Days in Heaven and 2 Weeks in VA

I saw adorable little Clara Brooklyn on the 18th and 19th of May. She's perfect and beautiful and only cries when she's having her a bath. This is a picture of her when Brad is combing her hair, which mesmerizes her. Brad and Celeste are both very involved, loving parents.

There are frogs croaking and owls hooting and so many trees and beautiful woods!
I am in Lynchburg VA taking a class in Research Design for my PhD. It is the
first class I was supposed to take and they have succeeded in frightening me to
death. I guess less than 50% of people who undertake a Doctorate Degree finish
because they can’t write the 250 page dissertation. In addition to that, I don’t
know how I’m going to pass the comprehensive exam and the advanced statistics
class. I guess it will be like eating an elephant… bite at a time.
I rented a navigation system for $10 to get here from Richmond VA where I got a
cheaper plane ticket. It was a 3 hour drive. I have a flawed sense of
direction. When you make a wrong turn the female voice in the box says “make u turn”
or “recalculating” or “impossible to get there from here” I swear I heard her
say one time when I was in the middle of nowhere ”ya’ll are a big ninny”

Jerry Fallwell was the founder of this school and his funeral was yesterday. It’s kind of cool that he had a vision of Christian education from K through Doctorate Degree. I can just imagine the conversation that went on 3 days ago when he died.
Falwell: "Well, God I built your university in Virginia"
God: "Well Jerry,have your ever heard of Provo? Let me introduce you to Brigham Young.
Jerry Fallwell invited Mitt Romney to give the commencement address this year. When people complained Fallwell just said that he thought the University could survive one Mormon speaker.

It’s nice we start with prayer every morning. The professor asks everyone what
their prayer requests are and then one of the 5 ministers in our class says a
prayer. They don’t use thee or thou, I can’t wait til it’s my turn to pray!

I have to develop a proposal for my dissertation for my class. I'm thinking of doing it on "miracles in marriage"
On people who have had rials such as infidelity or sga and who have
been able to overcome,stay married and have the Savior heal them.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Trip to Costa Rica part I

Thursday April 26
Our first stop was to the Mount Arenal volcano. It was really rainy and cloudy and you couldn't see anything. It's the start of the rainy season in 4 days so we prayed for sun.
Friday April 27th
The rain stopped and we rode horses up to a waterfall. Dad hated the trotting and the whole horse thing. i loved galloping in the jungle. Dad's horse was named whisky, because it would have been much better if he were drunk to endure the pain of trotting. The waterfall was amazing. You leave your horse tied up and hike down a canyon for about 30 minutes and at the bottom is a 200 foot waterfall. We hiked up to the Arenal Volcano and watched the semi-cooled lava boulders crashing down the mountain. Then we went to the Tabacon hot Springs and soaked in the lava heated waters until dark, then our guide took us back to the volcano to see the lava boulders at night.

Saturday the 28th we rode a boat across a lake and the boat docked in the mud! When we were packing I said "Costa Rica is kind of a wild place, I think we should backpack" He said, Oh no, I don't want to carry my backpack through all those airports, I want my wheelie suitcase" It was a long ways walk to the vans. The people who had wheelie suitcases had a hard time. Then we drove to Monteverde on really, really bad dirt roads up steep jungle mountains and ate the most amazing meal at the tree house restaurant. It had chicken, shrimp, homemade mayonnaise and curry pineapple and raisins. That night we did a "night walk" in the cloud forest (fancy name for rain forest) which is another name for scare the heck out of you by showing you all the critters that could be landing on you from the trees or crawling up your legs from the ground below. Here are some pictures of what we saw. The guide tore the legs off a cricket and we watched this tarantula gobble it down. The worst were the leafcutter ants. Their guards had giant pincers and I was listening to the guide talk and didn't realize I was standing on their 10 foot tall mound.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Trip to Costa Rica part II

Sunday April 29th Monte Verde.
Today we explored National park by sunlight. This was mostlybutterfly and bird watching. Our guide had a scope. Though we saw 15 different birds in the jungle, our big goal was to spy the infamous Quetzel. The tour was finished and we were sitting disappointed outside the park. We had heard them but not seen them. We were able to convince the guide to go back in for just "one more look" and viola! There it was. This is a px of Mark with a plant called "hot lips"
In the afternoon we went on a sky trek canopy zip line 600 feet above the canyon. There were 11 zip lines and the longest was 1/2 mile long. That was pretty thrilling to be hurtling long and seeing the jungle and canyon WAY WAY below.

Tuesday May 1st Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste
Mark did scuba and saw pufferfish and skates. He was warned to stay low when the sharks came because the female was pregnant and in a foul mood. But, his weight belt wasn't heavy enough and the dive master had to push him down. Tracy went shopping in the town and fell in love with the jewelry made of jungle woods. Most the places we stayed don't have walls so you get some visitors. I saw a huge green iguana with a striped tail coming down the tree by my computer while I was emailing.

Wednesday May 2 Tamarindo Beach, Guanacaste
I got to snorkel and saw lots of schools of colorful fish. My guide dove down and found me 2 sea turtles and a pufferfish. Mark tried surfing and was able to get up with no help. We found that we were often the only 50 year olds on our adventure tours. Most the other people were in their 20's and on their honeymoon. We loved the fruit, especially the pineapple which was so fresh and strong and the papaya. We tried to eat it every mean instead of the beans and rice they eat with almost every meal. We ended our tour in the busy, busy town of San Jose and hated to leave paradise.