Some people call it art... But seriously?! Is this art? I think a bored two-year-old did this in his backyard and some weirdy parents thought he was a genius. It's a good thing Tyler works for JP Morgan and we can visit the museum for free, because I would have been pretty bitter if we had paid the general admission ($50.00 for both of us) to see this.

At least the egg and balloon-puppy were way over-sized. I mean come on people, let's put in a little effort.

In case you were wondering, we did see some very spectacular art. We only had time to visit two of the nine buildings, and see some of the outdoor art, but we did see some beautiful paintings by Monet, Cezanne, Rembrandt, and Rubens, and some sculptures by Rodin, that we liked.

"In the Woods at Giverny Blanche Hoschede at Her Easel with Suzanne Hoschede Reading" by Claude Monet

"The Holy Family with Saint Elizabeth Saint John and a Dove" by Peter Paul Rubens

We saw the real art after we toured the contemporary exhibit and I definitely had more appreciation for how amazing the paintings were because of it.

Paintings courtesy Google Images


I Remember 9/11

"Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day?"

Ten years ago today I woke up on my living room sofa to my dad's voice. It was urgent and he wanted me to watch what was happening on TV. As a 15-year-old I was confused. He sounded panicked and I knew that for some reason, whatever CNN was reporting was important. I think I knew that burning tower would change my life, even before I knew that it was a commercial airplane that had crashed into it; and that it was not just an accident, but an act of terrorism.

As I sat and watched the report I wondered why this was such a big deal. It was sad, but airplanes had crashed before. My dad ran upstairs to wake up my mom and when she came into the room and looked at the TV, all I remember is the look in her eyes. She looked terrified.

I will
always remember her face in that moment.

I'm not sure when the second airplane hit, or who else may have entered the room before then, but I do remember seeing it happen. I watched that airplane slam into the South Tower and instantly felt the fear I had just seen in my mother's eyes. I knew then why this was such a big deal; this was not an accident.

It seems like I sat in front of the TV for hours. I really have no idea how long I watched the towers burn, but it seemed like an eternity.

I remember watching as the South Tower, and later the North Tower, collapsed into a pile of dust and rubble.

I remember seeing the coverage of a third plane that had crashed into the Pentagon, and then later a fourth, that had crashed landed in Pennsylvania; the one that headed for Washington, D.C.

I remember the firemen, and the looks on their faces.

I remember the people running from the cloud of dust behind them.

I remember the plane shaped whole in the side of the buildings.

And I remember those who leapt from the upper stories of the twin towers in search of one last second of relief.

The rest of that day was a blur to me. I have no recollection of getting ready for school and seminary. In fact, I don't remember getting up and taking my eyes off the TV ever. I know I did, and I know I talked to kids at seminary later that morning who still didn't know, and some who had no idea what The World Trade Center was. I know I sat in Mrs. Graham's English class, everyone completely silent, just staring at the TV. But I do not remember leaving that couch. As far as I can really remember, I sat there all day, just staring.

I remember crying, for days afterwards.

I remember the endless coverage in the papers and on TV.

I remember thinking that I finally understood the impact of the Pearl Harbor attacks, and making a point to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial shortly after.

I remember taking clippings of newspapers, tons of articles and photos, and a tiny American flag stuck on a toothpick and saving them in a manila envelope for later.

I still have those clippings and that tiny little flag, and I still cry every time I open that envelope.

I remember my first time visiting New York City in 2007 and seeing the gaping hole where the twin towers should have been.

I remember looking into the hole and wondering why it wasn't having a bigger impact on me in that moment...

And then I remember turning around and seeing a NYC taxi parked across the street, and it hit me.

Hard. I cried and cried with a harrowing image of a similar taxi, parked on the street covered in dust and a bloodied woman weeping nearby. The same exact image I had seen on a TV in Hawaii six years ago. In that moment, I remember physically hurting for those who had been right there in the streets when it happened.

Just like all the millions of Americans who watched the events of September 11, 2001 unfold, I remember the horrible things I saw and the horrible way I felt in that moment and I will never forget it.

But I also remember, and I will always remember, the way we came together as a country.

I remember the millions of prayers that were said on behalf of all those who suffered physically and emotionally. And the prayers said for those involved in the plot.

I remember streets and cities covered in American flags.

I remember all those who helped rescue people trapped in the rubble.

I remember how, no matter our differences, we came together as Americans.

And I remember how strong we were then and I know how strong we still are today.

"And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.

And I gladly stand up, next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land, God bless the USA!"


Labor Day Weekend

Above photos taken at Monterey Bay

For the last weekend of summer Tyler and I took a little trip with our friends, Nick and Dyanna, up the California coast. We enjoyed....
  • Lots of country music (sorry Tyler)
  • Solvang, a small Dutch village
  • A tour of Hearst Castle
  • LOTS of scenery including coastal cliffs, a waterfall on the beach, and bird-poo covered ocean rocks
  • A Mustang convertible for the scenic drive
  • LOTS of fog and very cool weather (which sounds nice as I sit in my bedroom with the AC on for the third time this week. P.S. Other than this week we've used the AC only one other time since moving in in January.)
  • Yummy food and lots of sweets (thank you Nick for having a sweet tooth like me :)
  • Alcatraz Island, Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, & the Mrs. Doubtfire house in San Francisco
  • The Oakland Temple
  • Some tall Redwood trees
  • And, of course, good conversation with good friends!
And now for the photo tour; brace yourself, it's a long one.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle's Neptune Pool

When we arrived at the entrance to the 250,000 acre Hearst ranch, it was cloudy and cold, but when we reached the summit where the castle stands it was bright and sunny, as we had passed through all the clouds on the way up :)

Ty and I in front of Hearst Castle

College roomies

Hearst Castle's Roman pool - my sister Sarah took a photo of this pool a few months ago and I've been wanting to see it ever since because I love the perfect reflection in the pool

One of Hearst Castle's bell towers - much of the castle is made up of parts of other buildings from all over Europe

Tyler and the Mustang - I would explain him if I could :)

Pretty poo-covered rock along The Big Sur

The Big Sur

Beach waterfall at Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park along The Big Sur

The Big Sur road - I took Dramamine for the first time in my life and it made the drive wonderful :)

The Big Sur - with one of the iconic bridges in the distance

Alcatraz ruins - I thought this was the social hall for inmates, but apparently on Alcatraz inmates don't socialize, they just sit in a single man cell all day long, everyday.

Alcatraz cell - the tour was interesting, but still a little creepy.

Fisherman's Wharf residents enjoying an afternoon nap

Some of San Francisco's steep streets

Lombard Street

View of San Francisco from the top of Lombard Street

Our road-tripping pals, Nick and Dyanna, in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cloudy most of our time in the city and by the time we got close enough to have a good view of the bridge it was getting dark. That, combined with me shivering as I took pictures, made for a blurry photo, and this is still the best photo of the bridge we got. Sorry.

The Oakland Temple - is was dark (obviously) and cold when we stopped here too, so the photos are blurry. The temple also slowly started to shut off all the lights when I was trying to take pictures, but it was still absolutely gorgeous and I loved it!! Cute little bridge, yeah?!

The Redwoods at Cathedral Grove - the forest was soooo beautiful here

View above the Redwood forest as we left Muir Woods National Monument