Wednesday, 29 October 2008

"Latter-day Saints as Full Participants in Community Life"

my friend bethany gave this talk in church on sunday. it was really powerful, and particularly salient because my best friend growing up, aimee, was in town. aimee introduced me to mormonism. we are, and always have been, as different as the night and the day, the moon and the sun. we have argued much over the years. the first arguement i remember was about the right of americans to burn their flag. it was a real whopper.

it was fun to be in the meeting together and hear this, because it really touched on the stuff that unifies aimee and i. i think it is the same stuff that makes me proud to be american, even during our most embarrassig moments.

with bethany's permission i am posting much of her talk. she gave me the notes. i am going to try and turn some talking points into prose. if you bear with this post, i am quite certain you will find it edifying. and frankly, i don't think you have to be mormon for this counsel to apply, or to feel the truthfulness of what she shared.

bethany is 8 months pregnant with her second child.

Intro

As my belly has grown, so has my obsession with the presidential election. The day I found out I was pregnant was the first day I volunteered to register voters in Pennsylvania. Up to that point, I had never been actively involved in any political campaign.

As Americans, we are just 9 days away from choosing a new leader of our country. As a family, we are just a few weeks away from welcoming another child into the world. The two things that have been most on my heart: pregnancy and politics. These may seem completely unrelated: one is so very intimate and personal and the other is public. Then I found a scripture that unites the two: The first piece of counsel God gives Adam and Eve, Genesis 1:28 "And God blessed them and God said unto them be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."

We are commanded here to ring children into the world, but God cares about what type of world we bring them in to. We are to replenish the Earth.

Replenish: 1) to make full or complete again; 2)To inspire or nourish.

We live in a fallen world, we replenish the earth through our creative ideas, our involvements, and acts of goodness.

Church counsel

Because Heavenly Father cares about the world we live in and bring children into, he has urged us, through his prophets, to be engaged in the world.

Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. (D&C 58: 27-28)

Nephi teaches us that "[we] are free to ACT for themselves and not be acted UPON!"

First Presidency's letter from this fall

"…We urge members of the Church to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs. Members of the Church are under special obligations to seek out and then uphold those leaders who are wise, good, and honest (see D&C 98:10).

Mormons are not to be removed from the world, but fully engaged in making it a better place.

My experience

Earlier this year, reading so much, but not doing much; same time we were hoping to conceive. I was a passive observer rather than an active participant. I decided this wasn't good enough. My first action was driving to Philadelphia (with a friend, Holly) to register voters in PA (the day we found out we were pregnant).

It started work that has carried me through the last 7 months. I have made phone calls to other people of faith in swing states; canvassing door to door in Virginia (with teabelly); work in campaign field offices; etc. It hasn't always gone as planned. I have struggled; made mistakes; watched Simone, my 2 year old daughter run into the homes of the people I am trying to talk about voting with; and sweated in the HEAT and been soaked in the rain. But it has been empowering. I have helped 1st time voters find their polling place. Registered people who have never voted; Exchanged lots of interesting ideas and shared inspiring conversations. There is an energy and passion that comes through working for a common good that is felt doing this work of democracy. There is a wonderful, inspiring energy. I have felt proud to be an America as I have taken advantage of our opportunity to fully participate in our democracy.

I asked myself, why didn't I get involved earlier?...why haven't I done more of this?...

Maybe many of us have asked similar questions.

Barriers to becoming FULL PARTICIPANTS in political and community affairs

· It's easier to complain about the current situation and things that we don't like than to actually become involved in creating something new and better

It is easy to complain about what we don't like. It takes much more energy to move from complaint and protest to positive work! I have been learning to become a problem solver rather than merely good complainer.

· It can be incredibly challenging to find the time

She shared lots of personal stories here, that i don't think i can create a fair narrative about...but i think you get the picture of lots of demands, why add something else. i am just one person, it isn't going to matter...

· We don't know enough

Knocking on doors, gave me pit in my stomach…I don't know everything… I must know more. Then i was reminded of the writings of Paul Loeb, in Soul of a Citizen: "Eloquence is desirable to be sure, but it's not as important as kindness, concern, and a straightforward declaration of belief."

We are going to live with a a permanent insufficiency of knowledge, but that does not mean that our thoughts and ideas should not be shared.

· We can be gripped by fear

It can be scary and intimidating, but there is great joy and satisfaction in participating.

Gordon B. Hinckley, former Prophet of the Mormon Church, who won numerous awards and recognition for his involvements in civic affairs taught:

"Now, I want to say to you, and I say it with a plea in my heart, get involved. Get involved on the side of righteousness and truth and decency and sobriety and virtue. You, and others like you, are the great hope of this world. …

"The problem with most of us is that we are afraid. We want to do the right thing, but we are troubled by fears and the world drifts about us. …

" 'Be not afraid, only believe.' I commend to you these wonderful words of the Lord as you think of your responsibilities and opportunities" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 128–29).

· We don't believe we can really make an impact

We live in a dominant culture that teaches that nothing that we can do really matters. We don't have the capacity or responsibility to create change. Things are outside of our control. We watch political scandals; wonder if our votes are counted; fear our elected officials are their for their own gain; etc.

Frances Moore Lappe, who writes about a citizen democracy: "Cynicism is easy. Honest hope, as opposed to wishful thinking, demands hard work"

THE ART of CITIZENSHIP

Art of democracy requires: Dialogue, compromise, mediation, reflection. The art of citizenship has to be practiced and learned.

We best serve our children not by hiding from the world, but by giving them models of ways to live with courage and integrity….the more they see us responding to the world's problems, the more they gain a sense of hope and purposefulness.

We must teach our children an ethic of connection, rather than one of retreat.


Have genuine respect for people and the democratic process

While I was working one night late at the Utah State Capitol, a group of protesters gathered to advocate for their right to marry whom they chose. There was a bill proposed to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. These people gathered to oppose this bill. I walked out of my office to do something and was surprised when I saw a Boy Scout leader with his troop. I was nervous. I thought this could be a really bad moment for all involved. The beliefs of the two groups were quite different. As she passed by she overheard a scout ask what was going on. The Boy Scout leader responded: "I don't agree with the position they are taking, but i am proud to live in a country where than can voice their opinion."

I believe this Boy Scout leader embodied the word of Booker T. Washington when he said: "I will permist no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him". In all of our political discourse it is imperative that we not become bitter and angry. Political engagement should inspire us…not degrade us. President Hinckley captures my thoughts on this perfectly:

The building of public sentiment begins with a few earnest voices. I am not one to advocate shouting defiantly or shaking firsts and issuing threats in the faces of legislators. But I am one who believes that we should earnestly and sincerely and positively express our convictions to those given the heavy responsibility of making and enforcing our laws. …Let our voices be heard. I hope they will not be shrill voices, but I hope we shall speak with such conviction that those to whom we speak shall know of the strength of our felling and the sincerity of our effort.

"… Teach those for whom you are responsible the importance of good civic manners. Encourage them to become involved, remembering in public deliberations that the quiet voice of substantive reasoning is more persuasive than the noisy, screaming voice of protest. In accepting such responsibilities our people will bless their communities, their families, and the Church" (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, 131).

Not stuck in one position

Good citizenship requires one to remain centered in values, but not fixed in a position. The Savior has said, "He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me" (3 Nephi 11:29). Yet even as we feel to speak the word of God with boldness, we must pray to be filled with the Holy Ghost (see Acts 4:29, 31). We should never confuse boldness with Satan's counterfeit: overbearance (see Alma 38:12). True disciples speak with quiet confidence, not boastful pride. We can and must be humble, listen empathetically, and learn to become skillful peacemakers. Handling conflict with integrity, respect, and sincerity, can often turn disagreement into an opportunity for mutual learning, trust-building, and resolution.

· Have a positive, solutions oriented approach

We must adopt a solutions oriented approach. Move from complaint and protest to positive work: its easy to cry out what we don't like! Learn to become problem solvers rather than merely good complainers.

· Don't become too weighed down or overwhelmed

In graduate school, I wanted to fix all of the social problems, pain and suffering I saw in the world. I asked my friend Dominique to give me a blessing one day when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed. The words of the blessing ring loud in my ears:

"You don't need to save the worldChrist already has."

We do all that we can, and then have faith that Christ will redeem all of us individually and collectively.

Closing

Many things that we can do in this last week before the election (vote, make phone calls, help get other people to the polls) BUT…

"Democracy is a not an election, but a culture….a culture of participation, rights, justice, and opportunities for all individuals."

I encourage you to do as Thoreau counseled, "Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence." Then once you do this, there are many ways that to engage in the community in the coming months and years ahead.

George Q. Cannon, one of the earliest apostles taught: "God has chosen his people, the Latter-day Saints, to solve the knotty problems that have troubled the brains and afflicted the children of men for so many centuries."

We are blessed to have the Holy Ghost that inspires us and magnifies our efforts.

We are blessed to have the example of Jesus Christ who sought to heal both individuals and society.

We are blessed to be loved by a Heavenly Father who cares deeply for us, our families, and the world we live in.

Its my hope that each of us will pray to know how we can find joy and meaning in becoming full participants in our communities

So that we can replenish the earth and bring about Zion.




and just to punctuate this beautiful point with a flash of hollywood; teabelly adds:

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

NieRecovery 5K Trail Fun Run

On Saturday, August 16, 2008, Stephanie Nielson was in a plane crash with her husband, Christian Nielson, and his flight instructor, Doug Kinneard, near St. Johns, Arizona. Doug Kinneard passed away soon after arriving at the Maricopa County Hospital.
Christian has been released just this month from the hospital. Stephanie remains in critical condition at Maricopa Burn Center. Christian has sustained burns on over 30% of his body. His wife Stephanie’s body was burned over 80%.

Christian and I spent a summer together in Mozambique. His sister, Heidi, married Josh, who I consider a brother. Heidi asked me to post information about a 5k run being sponsored by the Marriott family to help raise money to pay for medical expenses.

  • Saturday, November 1st
  • 9:00am Registration
  • 10:00am Run Begins
  • 10:30-12:00am Breakfast in Pavilion
  • 11:30am Balloon Launch
  • Marriott Ranch (1 hour 15 minutes from DC)
    5305 Marriott Lane
    Hume, VA 22639
    (540) 364-2627
  • $100 minimum participation fee



click here to register.

for more information about christian and stephanie, you can check out this site dedicated to their recovery. stephanie also maintained a pretty popular blog about motherhood called the nei nei dialogues.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

opie for obama and other favorite videos of the day

so, i am loving all this political humor these days. unfortunately, that stupid russian song for sarah is on auto-replay in my head.

i just LOVE when people are creative. this election is really tapping into some of the creative genius in america and i am loving it! i think the daily show and SNL are kickin' booty these days, but i might actually get more into this home grown stuff. (granted ron howard is hardly home grown, but at least he is not paid to be political...ya know what i mean?) thanks to a few web-savvy friends, i have been delighted by the following videos today. i hope you enjoy!

rappin for barack!




opie for obama

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

how to stay sane

i don't really need this, but i thought some of yall might :)


Do five simple things a day to stay sane, say scientists

Simple activities such as gardening or mending a bicycle can protect mental health and help people to lead more fulfilled and productive lives, a panel of scientists has found.

A “five-a-day” programme of social and personal activities can improve mental wellbeing, much as eating fruit and vegetables enhances physical health, according to Foresight, the government think-tank. Its Mental Capital and Wellbeing report, which was compiled by more than 400 scientists, proposes a campaign modelled on the nutrition initiative, to encourage behaviour that will make people feel better about themselves.

People should try to connect with others, to be active, to take notice of their surroundings, to keep learning and to give to their neighbours and communities, the document says.

Its advice to “take notice” includes suggestions such as “catch sight of the beautiful” and “savour the moment, whether walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends”. Examples of learning include mending a bike or trying to play a musical instrument.

“A big question in mental wellbeing is what individuals can do,” Felicia Huppert, Professor of Psychology at the University of Cambridge, who led part of the project, said. “We found there are five categories of things that can make a profound difference to people’s wellbeing. Each has evidence behind it.” These actions are so simple that everyone should aim to do them daily, she said, just as they are encouraged to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables.

Critics of the recommendation said that the Government and health professionals ought not to be prescribing individual behaviour in this way. “The implication is that if you don’t do these banal things, you could get seriously mentally ill, and that trivialises serious mental illness. What is happiness, anyway? It’s so subjective,” Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, said.

Although the report has no immediate policy implications, ministers will pay attention to it because Foresight is headed by the Government’s chief scientist, Professor John Beddington.

The project investigated ways of improving the nation’s “mental capital”, which Professor Beddington likened to a bank account of the mind. “We need to ask what actions can add to that bank account, and what activities can erode that capital,” he said.

Among the other issues it highlights is a strong link between mental illness and debt. Half of people in Britain who are in debt have a mental disorder, compared with just 16 per cent of the general population.

Rachel Jenkins, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, who led this section of the report, said: “We’ve known for a while there’s a link between mental health issues and low income, but what more recent research has shown is that that relationship is probably mostly accounted for by debt.”

The report advocates more flexible working, days after Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, announced a review of government plans to extend such arrangements.

Cary Cooper, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the University of Lancaster, a co-ordinator of the report, said: “People who choose to work flexibly are more job-satisfied, healthier and more productive.”

Steps to happiness

Connect
Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support

Be active
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness

Be curious
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you

Learn
Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence

Give
Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding


Monday, 20 October 2008

fun fall stuff

i don't have all that much to report. i have been trying to get my house better organized. figure out all the financial malarkey in light of a serious economic crisis. and just kinda start livin' more normal again. with all the house stuff, i just kinda lost track of myself. i didn't exercise with any regularity and i didn't see very many friends. i just fell out of touch with lots of people i love. so i have been spending this fall re-connecting. it has been super fun.

first of all, there is facebook. which is such a trip. but i am connecting to friends from high school, college, grad school, mission. it is really fun! it is crazy to see how people grow up and change, and yet pretty much stay the same.

i have been spending more time with my friends here in dc and it is a delight. i am very blessed with wonderful, supportive friends. what i think is most impressive, is that they are the kind of friends that you can drop off the face of the earth and they will come after you, then give you space, and then when you reconnect it is like nothing ever happened. as i ride this crazy roller coaster of a changing life that this fall is bringing, i am so so so happy that i have friends who are so supportive, open armed, and loving.

unfortunately, most of the moments of late have been simple moments of friends over for dinner, watching debates together, canvassing for obama, making calls for obama, and just chillin out. it just isn't the kind of stuff you take photos of. but i am coming to realize that it really is the simple things that matter the most.

it seems so silly, but a trip to costco with a best friend is one of the best things the world has to offer. having regular biking buddies who you get to see consistently. that is the kind of stuff i really love most.

in relief society yesterday we talked about why life is so hard. why do bad things happen? where is God in all the struggles? it really hit me, that life is meant to be difficult. it is not supposed to be a cake walk, if it is, we miss out. we stop the process of "becoming". life is supposed to stretch us into better people. create more compassionate, loving, honest, pure people. i believe that life is really supposed to be lived. that we are to breathe in all the breathes with an element of gratitude and passion. that we should smell the smells, and taste the tastes, and love the loves, and hurt the hurts, and feel the feels, see the sees, and hear.

life will undoubtedly throw us some real doosies, which is good because it means that we are really living. loving is going to be painful at times, but it means that we really love. c.s. lewis wrote in surprised by joy that "the pain now is part of the joy then, and the joy then is part of the pain now". i love and hate that. i wish that life could be easier. that things didn't have to hurt so much. i sometimes find myself wishing that i was a person who felt life less. i think i feel things more intensely than some. and i wish that sometimes i could just chill/numb out and feel a bit less intensely. but i actually don't. when life hurts, i feel it. when life gives me love, i really love it. when things are fun, they are super fun. i am glad that i am a bit extreme. like maude says in harold and maude "if you don't, what else are you going to talk about in the locker room?"

there it is. i want to live a passionate life. i want to feel and grow. and though i want to really cherish the good times, i know that bad times are part of getting to good. and i would rather end at awesome, than settle for mediocre.

i guess i am trying accept the fact that life is difficult. and maybe i am hoping that writing on this blog will help others accept it and others will help me accept it.


here are a couple of photos. i know i owe the world a photo shoot of my finished house, but it is not yet finished so i am being all anal about waiting until it is done. i think i might have to just bite the bullet and get something up here soon.

this is the view from my deck of my over productive garden.
most of the tomatoes are getting pulled this weekend and being replaced with more fall stuff
though the kale, swiss chard, arugula, and shallots are in.
for some weird reason this stupid cat keeps digging up my shallots.
i think i might have to get a squirt gun or something.



you can get a bit of a feel for the ridiculousness of the size of my zucchini plants.
i have fed all my neighbors and myself,
dianna for the entire summer
and others who just happen to come by after i have been in the garden

i decided my soil needed more worm poop
but that making worm poop was easier if the worms were in the garden
so i bought a couple hundred worms from a couple gas stations in eastern maryland
we will see how it goes
supposedly you use nightcrawlers for in the garden
and red wigglers for the worm gin.
it will be interesting to see if it works...

then guess what happened...
a bike ride on the eastern shore with liz!


fields of gold

michelle, i just couldn't in good conscience kiss him.
i tried, but i was too nervous and started laughing
and i feared you would kick my butt!

waiting for the ferry

we had lunch here
it was super delicious
seriously worth a drive to st. michaels for the grub
the service was a little bit off
i think the kid server was new and didn't know what he was doing
and we were starving
so...
but it was ├╝ber delish
they have some seriously amazing cheeses
and i had an oyster stew that made your eyes cross it was so good!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

colin powell endorses obama

YEEHAW!!!! he says it so well! if you haven't heard this, you really should.

Friday, 17 October 2008

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

pumpkin decorating

i thought this was too funny! for those of you out there who want to do some obama advertising, but also need a jack-o-lantern...


Stencils

OBAMA Ghost Stencil


Artist: Wonder Thunder
From: Seattle, WA
Take Action: 826 Valencia
Portfolio: Wonder Thunder

Important: This stencil is designed for a scrape-away carving.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 Stencils 1 Comment

Republicans For Obama Stencil

For those planning to cross the aisle…

Take Action: Republicans for Obama

Sunday, October 12th, 2008 Stencils No Comments

Zombie Pumpkins - Barack Smile Stencil


Artist: Ryan Wickstrand
From: West Haven, CT
Take Action: Free Arts for Abused Children
Portfolio: www.zombiepumpkins.com

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 Stencils No Comments

CHANGE Stencil


Artist: Desiree Pointer Mace
From: Milwaukee, WI
Take Action: Barack Obama

Important: This stencil is designed as a scrape-away carving. Please reference Desiree’s work here.

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 Stencils 2 Comments

VOTE Stencil


Artist: Jason Powers
From: New York, NY
Take Action: Kiva
Portfolio: www.powdesigns.com

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 Stencils No Comments

HOPE Stencil


Artist: Jason Powers
From: New York, NY
Take Action: Kiva
Portfolio: www.powdesigns.com

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 Stencils No Comments

Boo! Stencil


Artist: Demetre Arges
From: Seattle, WA
Take Action: Teach For America
Portfolio: www.wonderfulunion.com

Friday, October 10th, 2008 Stencils 1 Comment

OBAMA O8 Stencil


Artist: Jason Powers
From: New York, NY
Take Action: Kiva
Portfolio: www.powdesigns.com

Friday, October 10th, 2008 Stencils No Comments

No More Tricks Stencil


Artist: Bruce Freeby
From: Turlock, CA
Portfolio: www.ceive.com

Thursday, October 9th, 2008 Stencils 1 Comment

08AMA Stencil


Artist: Jason Powers
From: New York, NY
Take Action: Plan
Portfolio: www.powdesigns.com

Saturday, 11 October 2008

mccain, temperment, and the keating five

as i mentioned earlier, my step-mom worked for mccain's 1986 senatorial campaign as his P.R. person. he was incredibly hot tempered and unstable. my dad, after associating with mccain a couple of time, concluded that mccain was unstable and motivated by greed and power.

i got this email from her yesteday. i know it was a big deal for her to send it. she doesn't like personal politics and has been reticent of using her experience to pin mccain down...

Dear family and friends,

I suspect you are as ‘fried’ as I am by political debates, advertisements and pundit opinions. But try as I might, I can’t talk myself out of forwarding this video. I have personally seen and been a recipient of John McCain’s temper. Regardless of party affiliation I think it’s important you know this fact before making the monumental decision of choosing the next leader of the United States.

Blessings,

Leia





the whole keating five thing has bugged me forever. i was a kid in AZ when that whole thing was going down, and i have never understood how the dude at the center of the savings and loan debacle ended up staying in the senate. then...he became the republican presidential nominee. such a far cry from washington, adams, jefferson, etc. they used to be noble. anyway, i am glad to see they are trying to help people see that mccain is not the guy you want leading the country out of a financial crisis. i am certain he will just line his pockets with kickbacks somehow...

well watch this...keating economics

if you still can't decide, check this out...rolling stone's cover story: make believe maverick.
it is scathing, and there is no question that the author is biased, but it seems to be one of the only times any of mccain's claims to maverickness have been challenged. he had made himself untouchable, and somehow created a narrative that to question his character is unpatriotic. i just don't thin it is the case. if my dad is right, there is something about mccain's mental health that is not fit to be the president...



or what about this...

i guess i am just so sick of all this baloney about obama being dangerous...i am just not sure how guilt by association is more believable than guilt by actual participation. i mean, i know people in prison. i know people that have done horrible things. i also know people who have done wonderful things. does that mean i am like them. i am horrible? i am an inventor? it just means i know someone...

then if this guilt by association is legit, what about sarah palin's husband's involvement with the alaska independence party?

if you are planning to vote for him, please think about what it would mean to have someone so hot headed at the negotiating table with foriegn leaders. someone so selfish at the negotiating table with business leaders. the next president will have to rebuild our economy and move us towards energy independence. what kind of leader do you choose?

i am going to try to not have more posts like this... i'd rather stay positive, especially with things being the way they are...but i guess i just couldn't help myself. i am too fired up.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Soksabai, Cambodia!

We're back in Hong Kong. So sad to leave Cambodia, but so excited about our 15 hours on a plane coming up!


We were lucky to find a sushi restaurant in the Hong Kong International Airport. Sushi, as you all know, is the best meal for air travel, triathlons, and birthdays.


okay, so this all merits an explanation.

Our flight from Hong Kong landed at JFK in New York at about 10:30, after the last flight to Washington. So we bought our ticket back to Washington for the next morning, thinking that we'd just sleep in the airport chapel. When we arrived, Kimberly was ready to take a train home, or get a room in a hotel nearby--anything but try to sleep at the airport.

I thought those options were too expensive. I am so stupid. Turns out that the airport chapels are all locked at night.

We walked around JFK looking for a comfy place to sleep in a total jet-lagged daze all night long.


we slept on the floor for about a half hour.

this is me, $100 richer, but much much sadder.



well, folks, the good news is that we made it home. Kimberly's garden went bananas while we were gone, and she had a bunch of squash this long waiting for her at home.

So that's our trip to Cambodia. I can't wait to see where in the world Michael, Thomas, or Jolanta end up on the mission.

Phnom Pehn II

Kimberly and I had nothing to do in Phnom Pehn but shop and eat. So we started at this market with the Vietnamese dishes.



Kimberly took hours deciding what plates and bowls and pitchers to get. we got beautiful stuff, and our suitcases were super heavy going home.



looking awesome in a tuk-tuk.

We're just wandering around our hotel neighborhood. i have no more clean clothes, b/c they all smell like the campfire from the Hmonging adventure.
also they did something weird when we got them cleaned. all of our clothes smelled like campfire, even the ones that didn't go camping. it was like they just milled all the clothes around in fire. do you think that they use smoke instead of water in cambodia?


super-funky cambodian architecture.



we snuck into this temple complex.


This extremely communist sculpture was a gift from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.



a night-time water show in one of the squares. it's a fountain with lights. Much cooler in real life than in these photos, sadly.



this is the royal palace, Kimberly's and my one concession to our sight-seeing obligations.







shiva the destroyer? or Buddha? It's hard to know.



we stayed in a "slow food" hotel, where everything was fresh and delicious. I overate every single meal.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

the final countdown

is today the final countdown? 10/09/08

i can't help but ask these questions.

what are we counting down to?

this?




this?



what is happening people?

Fleeing Laos

Kimberly and I recovered from our Hmonging adventure with 3.5 hours in this spa. This is Spa-Fest 08.

Before.

Before.


After.


Luang Prabang International Airport.


Al's trying to sweet-talk his way onto the plane. we're leaving a day early b/c we don't feel like travelling to the plan d'jars or seeing the US bomb sites from the secret war. Also, Al really wants to go back to cambodia where he speaks the language.




Looking sharp in a fancy hotel in Vientiene.


Back in Phnom Penh. Kimberly is wearing a napkin hat.



The tag is back on.

This is what a napkin hat does to Kimberly's hair.


Shopping for gold hoop earrings at the central market. But gold is expensive everywhere, so I don't buy anything.


Chip and Alex have to get back to school, so they leave early. This is how me and Al say goodbye.

And this is how Kimberly and Al say goodbye.