Wednesday, October 29, 2008

what I learned from washing the car

  1. Twenty-five-foot hoses are generally not long enough. Besides, 50-foot hoses only cost $2 more.
  2. When you connect the hose to the faucet, turn on the water, and find pressurized water spraying from everywhere around the connection point, do not immediately look for your warranty card. Simply look around for the plastic washer that might have come out of the hose's connection point with the faucet. Replace the washer and turn on the water. The results should be agreeable.
  3. End-of-season wasps and bees find wet cars in 1:00-p.m. sun fascinating.
  4. Clean cars sure look nice!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"To love another person..."

The most powerful part to me of my favorite musical, Les Miserables, is the closing scene, when Jean Valjean is at the end of his life. Fantine comes to him as an angel, and sings "Take my hand / I’ll lead you to salvation / Take my love / For love is everlasting / And remember / The truth that once was spoken, / To love another person / Is to see the face of God."

It's hard for me to get through that moment dry-eyed, even when I'm just listening to a CD. Memories from my life--and from that musical--always pour through my mind and I know how unselfishly loving others does bring an undeniable closeness to God.

This morning during my scripture study, I wondered to what Victor Hugo was referring as "the truth that once was spoken." Was he quoting scripture or other literature? I'm still not sure--if someone has insight, please let me know!

However, I did recall Matthew 25:40: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."

Monday, October 13, 2008


In Spain, the c's are spoken like th's. At the airport, we had some trouble finding our luggage so I asked a lady for help. She directed me to Terminal "th." I didn't understand, so she said it a few more times and then said, "'Th' as in casa." Ah. I had forgotten we were in Spain. Now for the adventures:

Our first few days in Spain were spent in the city of Gava, about 30 miles outside of Barcelona. While Matt did his tradeshow thing, I bought sunglasses and soaked in the sun at a beach along the Mediterranean Sea. I read Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning, a wonderful book about using positivism to improve your life. I highly recommend it.

Then we went to Barcelona for the next few days. Barcelona is famous for the architect Antonio Gaudi, who used the city as the playing ground for his creative releases. Here is a good shot of some of his architecture in the city from the viewpoint of a park he designed. (I thought the mosaic benches were really cool--I really want to do a mosaic something in our house.)

More Gaudi architecture: the Sagrada Familia. This Catholic church was Gaudi's biggest design project, which he began a little over 100 years ago. He died before it was finished, and it is still under construction. "Sagrada familia" means Sacred Family, which is detailed in the above picture on one of the outside columns of the church. It was beautiful--and a bit avant-garde.

Here I am trying to figure out some of Gaudi's architecture--or maybe trying to make sense of the joke Matt just made. :)

Another church, this time built and finished in the 14th century. It is called Santa Maria del Mar and is hailed as one of the most true-Baroque churches ever built (thanks to its hasty building, which only took 20 years). We happened upon a Catholic wedding while there and enjoyed how delightful a string quartet can sound in the open vaults of a church.

The above pictures detail our ascension to Montserrat, a mountain monastery retreat. I say retreat because the area has been turned into a big tourist attraction with various hotels, restaurants, and shops. Since we went on a Sunday, Matt and I instead enjoyed nature by walking along a trail to a more secluded area. It was breathtaking to be so high up on such a steep mountain.

Our next post will end with London--our last stop.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Since Matt and I have been home for a full week--and our jet lag is pretty much worn off--we decided it was time to post about our adventurous European discoveries. Let's start with Paris.

Eiffel tower, shmeiffel tower. While we did take time to take in that most functional of all apparatuses (it is a radio tower), we were perhaps more taken by the extremely expressive art of Rodin. Here is his sculpture of Victor Hugo, listening to his literary muses while pushing out the din of us rather normal (and non-muse) humans.

In the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, each big window has a partner mirror across the way. That's about it--except for all the innate opulence. Oh, and the billions of visitors. Not-so-fun fact: the queens had to give birth in public so that it was verified that the child was the king's. (Not to question it further, but wouldn't it be more appropriate to verify that the child is the king's by witnessing the conception? Not that anyone would want to witness that...)  

In the city of wonderful food, Matt and I found this Japanese restaurant that served up some great pot stickers and wonderfully filling miso soups. All for the cheap price of 6 euros a piece. (Believe me, a $10/person meal is pretty cheap in Paris.)

Church in Paris was our most adventurous discovery, by far. I had printed out a map from for a chapel, but the map took us to a small alley with NO church. We did have the address (which, interestingly enough, didn't match up to the map...), so we used our guidebook, people on the street, and famous landmarks to help us problem solve until we did find the church--only to find it was locked. But then we saw a sign that invited us to come in by pressing a button and walking through the big blue door. We did so, only to find church was not in session. All signs said it was supposed to be sacrament meeting, but no one was there so we figured it was a district conference day.

Tomorrow I'll take you through Barcelona!