In which we start a New Year

Welcome 2014! We spent the past week ringing in the new year with Jeff’s parents in Pittsburgh. I think the sign of a good trip is that you were too busy visiting to take that many pictures, but here are some from our trip:

Paul and Fran's high school senior year portraits.

Paul and Fran’s high school senior year portraits.

Jeff's parent's wedding photos.

Jeff’s parent’s wedding photos.

A couple of times in college and dental school I went to Pittsburgh to celebrate New Year’s with Jeff and his high school friends. This year was like an adult repeat version of all those fun times. Joe and Jess graciously hosted us at their new home – it’s fun to know grown ups our own age!

Ringing in the New Year and Jess and Joe's new house.

Ringing in the New Year and Jess and Joe’s new house.

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Lauren, Molly, Joe, myself and Jessica

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Blinging in the new year

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Lauren, Molly, myself and Jessic

We also got to visit with Jeff's Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bill on New Year's Day. It was so much fun to catch up with y'all!

We also got to visit with Jeff’s Aunt Joyce and Uncle Bill on New Year’s Day. It was so much fun to catch up with y’all!

Jeff and I and his parents

Jeff and I and his parents

All too soon it was time to leave. This is what it looked like when we got to the Pittsburgh airport at 7:00am...

All too soon it was time to leave. This is what it looked like when we got to the Pittsburgh airport at 7:00am…

… and this is how much it had snowed by the time we were boarding our 9:30am flight. Fortunately we weren't connecting in Chicago, but the Hercules storm messed up flights all over the country!

… and this is how much it had snowed by the time we were boarding our 9:30am flight. Fortunately we weren’t connecting in Chicago, but the Hercules storm messed up flights all over the country!

Flying into Denver. Nice to see the snow capped Rockies in the distance. Note the blue sky - the weather there was great, but the Hercules snowpocalypse had wreaked havoc on the other planes' schedules so we were delayed six hours here.

Flying into Denver. Nice to see the snow capped Rockies in the distance. Note the blue sky – the weather there was great, but the Hercules snowpocalypse had wreaked havoc on the other planes’ schedules so we were delayed six hours here.

Our unexpected six hour delay gave me time to go through security into baggage claim to see some conspiracy theorist murals I’d read about. This is a good article (with some better pictures) on the theory that the Denver airport houses an underground bunker to house the New World Order in case of economic collapse or all out warfare. I’m not really into conspiracy theories, but a lot of the Denver airport doesn’t add up: It was finished 2 years late and $3.1 billion dollars over the initial $1.7 billion budget. They buried 5 buildings that had been “positioned incorrectly” rather than destroy them. Oh, and Denver had a perfectly good airport at Stapleton before all this that was closer to town (this airport is a 45 minute drive away, a fact that Jeff and I were pissed at because had it been closer or had good public transit we could’ve gone downtown for a beer and thus added another state to our checklist. Being in the airport doesn’t count).

The murals start with biological warfare destroying the planet.

The murals start with biological warfare destroying the planet.

Fire and brimstone and destruction. Oh, but we're going to preserve the penguins, sweet!

Fire and brimstone and destruction. Oh, but we’re going to preserve the penguins, sweet!

But it's okay, because this German boy is going to bring peace to the world's children.

But it’s okay, because this German boy is going to bring peace to the world’s children.

Indian and Pakistan are going to get along too. (Not pictured: Israel and Iran working together on the other side). Lolz.

Indian and Pakistan are going to get along too. (Not pictured: Israel and Iran working together on the other side). Lolz.

And then the final mural with peace in the Garden of Eden. The story these tell is basically of a horrific mass genocide, followed by a more peaceful, less populated world.

And then the final mural with peace in the Garden of Eden. The story these tell is basically of a horrific mass genocide, followed by a more peaceful, less populated world.

Also, the decorations above each of the train stations between the terminals look reminiscent of the Star Wars' stone temple set of Episode IV. All in all: You're so weird, Denver airport!

Also, the decorations above each of the train stations between the terminals look reminiscent of the Star Wars’ stone temple set of Episode IV. All in all: You’re so weird, Denver airport!

So I came back through security to wait another five hours at our gate.

So I came back through security to wait another five hours at our gate.

Watching Parks and Rec and the sunset seemed safer than wandering into some secret underground bunker, never to return. No thanks.

Watching Parks and Rec and the sunset seemed safer than wandering into some secret underground bunker, never to return. No thanks.

We made it back to Seattle 17 hours after starting our journey and minus one bag. It’s the first time I’ve checked my luggage in probably five years.. and so that serves me right. Lesson learned. All in all it really was a great trip and now we’re ready to start the new year and the new school quarter with no real resolutions, because everyday should be a new day.

 

In which my little brother is almost home

My little brother returns from his first tour in Afghanistan at the end of the week! I’m really sad I can’t make it down to see him touch down on American soil for the first time in 7 months (ugh, residency), but I’m just so glad he’s coming home safe and sound! Don’t worry Graham – brother-sister reunion in Seattle as soon as we can get you up here! (Rachie – we’ll get you out here too!)

Graduation from Parris Island Marine Boot Camp – May 2011

Of all the pictures I took that weekend you graduated from Boot Camp to officially become a Marine, I don’t know why this one is my favorite. Maybe it’s because we got to see the barracks I imagined you reading our letters in for the first time. Mostly it’s because this has to be one of the only times you ever wore your BCs (short for birth control glasses) on the Island. Oh little brother, don’t you know that nerdiness is in now? Thick rimmed glasses can you get you laid. Or at least a phone number. You’ve just got to embrace it.

Last year around this time I was running my first marathon in D.C. Fitting it was the Marine Corps run through all the monuments on what would become the year pre-anniversairy of you coming home. I’m sorry you were on the opposite coast and couldn’t run it with me but I was thankful for the technology that let you call and encourage me to keep going. That push was just what I needed to make it over the bridge. I remember your pep talk from the night before:

G: Good luck tomorrow.
E: Yeah, thanks. If I survive this one we should do another one together.
G: Well we both know that’s not going to happen. You’re not going to survive it! 

And then part way through the race:

G: It’s like that half we ran in Nashville, remember?
E: Yeah, except not.. this is twice as long.
G: Just think about how far Nashville was and then just pretend you forgot your keys and had to go back.
E: I think you can just call a locksmith if that happens..

So I was the crazy girl who looked like she was on a little too much of a runner’s high, giggling into the speaker on my iPhone headphones when you called around mile 22 and asked if I’d found my keys or not.

And I’m so thankful that you got to come to our wedding last spring right before you left and walk me down the aisle. I know it was rough taking the red-eye in and then staying up all night with us to celebrate but I don’t think I could’ve had it any other way. Thanks for holding me steady down what seemed the world’s longest walk and for keeping me smiling by quizzing me on how many teeth a whale shark has. I think I made up something, but the answer is about 3000. I’m a human dentist, not a shark dentist.

Can’t wait until you’re officially home! Get ready for a visit full of otters, Thai food, comic book stores and xbox when you come!