War-weary, like the rest, I dont want to see us entangled in another battle on foreign soil; especially now that the insurgency has been infiltrated by Al Qaeda warriors, who want to take over the government (why didnt we lend support when there were just "good guys" fighting Assad?).
On the other hand, Assad appears to have used chemical weapons on defenseless civilians; a breach of internationally-accepted behavior. He needs to be held accountable and we can do that. But why does it fall to us? Why isnt there an international response?
Can we go in there and destroy a significant portion of Assad's chemical weapon supply with long-range missles, without putting US soldiers at risk? Why does that necessarily escalate to our needing to put soldiers on the ground? I think I'm in favor of a limited engagement, as outlined. I know it seems stupid to demonstrate to Assad that he shouldnt be killing people, by our killing his people. Still, he needs to be told in no uncertain terms that he cannot gas his population. What's the right thing to do?
I think most everyone knows I'm going on a photo workshop to Peru with Glenn Bartley, the same photographer Richard and I traveled with last summer. For this expedition I'm unaccompanied. Richard would love to have come, but our pocketbook just wasn't big enough for the both of us.
Since I will have NO phone or internet access for most of the trip, I thought I'd give you contact info and a preview of where I'll be.
Marianne van Vlaardingen
Pantiacolla, Ecotourism to the Rainforest of Manu National Park
Days 5-7 we go down Manu Road and then a boat ride to the Amazonia Lodge in the lowlands, where it's likely to be much warmer than it was at the higher elevations. Glenn's newsletter indicates there are 500 species of birds around that area.
Days 8-10 We will travel by boat deep into the Amazon Jungle (I have wanted to go there MY WHOLE LIFE!!!) and will stay in the Tambo Blanquillo Lodge. From this site we travel to a clay lick where we hope to see a variety of parrots and macaws. We'll also go to a few lagoons and towers in the forest canopy.
Day 11 we'll return to Cuzco, and Day 12 I'll fly home while the group goes on to Machu Picchu.
The map shows the border of the park which extends into Brazil.
The diagram shows the relative altitudes of the various stops along our route.
While I hate having no internet access and being out of touch with you all, I'm super excited about this trip!! See you when I get back.
As you know, I've traveled a great deal for work this summer. And I don't mean day trips either!
We had week-long conferences in Anaheim, St. Louis, and Atlanta, and a week of meetings in Tallahassee.
For Anaheim, we stayed in the Disneyland Hotel. That's always nice, and the banquet staff are amazing.
St. Louis was unremarkable, though we did get to go to a Cardinals game for our social event (there's one on Tuesday night at each conference.)
In Atlanta, we stayed at the beautiful Marriott Marquis and went to the Georgia aquarium for the social.
Here in Tallahassee, we're staying at the Residence Inn down the street from the Dept. of Ed offices. This is the least touristy setting, which makes sense. We're not trying to draw customers here; the customers have required that we come here for project updates.
Anyway, just for fun I thought I'd share photos of the rooms from the last 2 hotels. I think we paid the same rate for each, which is crazy. But when you consider that we reserve a room block of >500 rooms each conference and get several executive suites free (which is what I had), it's not a suprise that the room I had in Atlanta was fabulous compared to what have now (1 of 20 reserved) which is not nearly as grand.
Atlanta: Entry with wood floor
Atlanta: sitting area
Atlanta: Interior showing glass elevator to my floor, #47
Atlanta: view from my room
Atlanta: dining table with leather upholstered seats
I am getting the wedding invitations ready to be sent out, for those of you waiting with bated breath, (I'm sure) here is the wedding website as a spoiler. (Please RSVP via the site before June 30th) There is hotel accommodations listed as well. (Reserve a room before July 1st for the group rate.)
Also, if you don't think I have the right mailing address for you, please contact me. Getting so excited!
*Be sure to check out the photo album page it has a selection of photos from the engagement shoot Mom so wonderfully did for us!
Along with our local library's summer reading program (which is kind of a joke), I thought it would be fun for the boys to write reviews for the books that they read this summer on their own blogs. If you'd like, check back every week or so for new reviews throughout the summer. They are so excited!
We're having a combined birthday party for Sophia (turning 4 on 5/25) and Ceci (turning 1 on 6/2) this Saturday (5/25!) It's at 3:30 at Caper Acres in Chico, birthday ring 1. I tried to invite everyone on Facebook, but just in case I missed anyone, it would be great to see anyone who has the day free!
If you have any questions feel free to call me (530)828-0442 or Cameron (530)828-0436
Last Sunday, instead of our regular church services, we had a South Eastern regional conference,
broadcast to us from Salt Lake City, Utah. One of the speakers, Elder
Robert C. Gay of the quorum of the 70, spoke about service and
sacrifice. Today, on Mother's Day, I am reminded of a statement he made
during his talk.
"All you have in life you have because of the unselfish sacrifice of another."
had to pause and think about that a bit, but it quickly became apparent
to me that the statement had to be true. For starters, our very lives
began through the labor of our mother. Everything else we have worked
for or earned since birth is derivitave of that first gift, and the
countless life lessons that were unselfishly given since then.
Today, I would like to thank my mother for that first gift, and every other gift that has come since then.
For anyone who did not receive a phone call or see it on Facebook Matt and and I are officially engaged and will be getting married some time this summer. When a venue and date are chosen we will be sure to let people know so they can make the appropriate travel arrangements. We couldn't be happier or more excited!
The proposal story for those that want it: (Long version)
I drove to Chico to meet up with Matt and his family for dinner, Matt had asked me to meet him at a place nearby where dinner was going to be, to take a walk. This place is somewhere we have taken walks many times over the past two years as it is close to the apartment he used to live in. When I got there I was very suspicious, positve he was going to propose, I couldn't stop nervously chatting. We took our customary lap and went back to the cars...he didn't propose. I was sure that it was just my "crazy girl imagination" and I was just going to think he was going to propose everytime we were together until he actually did.
We went to dinner, had a great time with his family. Meanwhile, I received a text from our best friend Alison, that she and a bunch of people were at Covered Bridge (a local landmark over the Chico Creek) and that we should come over after we were done eating. I sent a message back that we would be there before too long.
Matt and I drove over there and it was 8 o'clock and just as the sun was going down, and access to the Covered Bridge was locked up. I figured we were just too late...I didn't see anyone's cars that I recognized. We parked nearby, I even got out my phone and tried to call Alison, but there was a No Service message on my phone since we were down in the canyon. I then just vocally called for her...it echoed off the walls of the canyon and she didn't answer.
"Matt I don't think they are here anymore."
"That's okay, let's go look for them."
We took a little walk down the trail and were by the water's edge with the bridge behind me, and the setting sun behind him. (I even called for Alison a couple more times, I can be pretty dense). We were talking and being schmoopy:
Me: "You're my favorite,"
Me: "Yup, always and forever,"
Matt: "Should we make that official?"
Me: -????!!!!! momentarily very confused-
*Matt gets on one knee as the sun sets behind him*
Matt: "Malinda, will you marry me?"
Me:"Absolutely, yes! A thousand times, yes!"
He then put the ring on my finger, but I couldn't see it because the sun had gone down, and I really wanted to see it...so he took out his phone/flashlight and shined it on the ring. I yelled "HOLY CRAP!" because it was so stunning, (and because I am so articulate).
We then drove the rest of the way to Paradise and I made him pull over when I finally had cell phone service (a walgreens parking lot) so that I could call family and post online.
I am the happiest and luckiest
girl in the world! Stay tuned for party details....
Just in case there is anyone in the family not on Facebook, here is our newest little princess. Tessa is an absolute angel and has definitely completed our family perfectly. Her brothers and sister adore her and we just couldn't be happier or feel more blessed. Can't wait for everyone to meet her one day!
As part of my psych rotation in nursing school, I was required to attend an AA meeting and write a journal entry about my experince. Although I initially did not intend my journal to be seen by anyone except my professor, I decided to share what I had written with Chris and my mom; and of course my mom showed my dad. The three of them have encouraged me that this is something I should share on a larger scale or even submitt to the Ensign. I am very hesitant as this is writting very close to my heart, but felt perhaps here would be an appropritae place to share.
I will post the body of my journal in the comments.