Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No Place Like Home

I'm back home. Finally. Waiting for me when I rolled in around nine-thirty last night were three kidlets in jammies, two boxes of books from the conference to give away here on the blog and one-relieved looking hubby. I enjoyed my ten nights and eleven days in Tacoma and loved the class, but I was ready to sleep in my own bed again. There truly is no place like home. Of course, I'm leaving again on Sunday for a week, but this time everyone (well, minus the cats) are coming with me.

So before I get back into the daily routine, I thought I'd tell you what I've been up to since I didn't blog all that much:

1) Turned in the revisions for SOS Marry Me! (Gotta admit, the more I think about that title, the more I do not like it.) Received an email asking me to fix two problem areas they had--one paragraph in chapter one and a line in Chapter 10. Those changes were approved yesterday! That book is now done except for galleys. Huge sigh of relief.

2) Got back to work on the Mount Hood Christmas book! Loving it now!!!

3) Finished the second half of my class and received my certificate to teach 6-9 year olds (Level II of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd.) These are some of the materials we use to help children understand the infancy narratives in the Bible. The work on the left is the Visitation and the one on the right is the Birth of Jesus & Adoration of the Shepherds.

These two works are the Prophecy of the Peaceable Kingdom (Isaiah 11:6-9) and and the Adoration of the Magi. It was so interesting to see how some of the works I've done with children ages 3-6 could be expanded for the 6-9 child, who has a new capacity for synthesis of similar works as well as an interest in historical and political details of the time.

4) Went climbing at Exit #38 off I-90 outside of Seattle with one of the climbers from the forum I belong to and had a blast. This is the view from the first place we climbed. The freeway is down below us so you do hear the sound of cars on the road, but the scenery is lovely. I did have a couple of height issues, but managed to work through them by clinging to whatever I could until the moment passed. Learning to rock climb is helping with my fear of heights, but I have a long way to go still.

The day was beautiful with clear blue skies and a slight breeze, but with the sun beating down on us it got hot fast. I forgot to put sunscreen on the back of my neck and had a not-so-nice ring of red between my collar and hair. The kids said it looked like a necklace.

Brian generously offered to spend the day climbing with me. He teaches people to climb so I was in good hands and learned so much. He taught me how to: lead belay, clean a route, rappel, multi-pitch rappel, lead a sports route and set an anchor. He also gave great advice when I tried to climb two routes that were above my ability.

Here I am leading my first route. When you lead, you bring the rope up with you whereas all the other times I've climbed, I top-roped, meaning the rope was already on the route. When I reached the top, I had to set up an anchor so Brian could climb the route and clean it (i.e. remove all the quick draws I'd placed going on.) As you can see from the picture, the climbing was so easy I didn't really have to think about it much so could concentrate on clipping these things called quick draws to bolts and then hooking the rope through. This is in case you fall you are "protected" and won't fall so far. It was a lot of fun leading.

I'm on a much harder route here trying to get up so I can clean the route. It was rated a 5.8, much tougher than anything I'd climbed before. I made it to the top (and managed to pick up the four quick draws on the way) but it wasn't easy. I tried a 5.9 next and flailed. I made it up a little, but took quite a few falls. I'm covered in bruises still!

I saw this sign as we were walking back to the car and felt it worthy of a picture. With climbing, all I seem to have are questions.

5) We all had a great time at the Irish dance feis. (Okay, minus the swimsuit incident, but Marriott is sending me a check so I can buy a new one.) The kids came home with medals for placing and even a trophy for the oldest in the Treble Reel. I think she tied for fifth.

Okay, now I can get back to the routine. Oh, and go buy a new swimsuit. I need one before we leave on Sunday!

Last call for suggestions on my weekly blog book giveaway. Sorry, but I can't have you all beg!