Sunday, October 12, 2014

Flowering Jordan Calendar~October 2014

Wildflower spotting: Black Irises, Wadi Shu'ieb, April

Friday, October 10, 2014

Beautiful Idaho

The beginning of June is a lovely time for a wedding, but Dear Husband and I have discovered it is not the best time for celebrating an anniversary: Early June finds us coming (from Jordan) or going (to the States), just arriving, or, if we are in Jordan, attending a myriad of end-of-the-school-year-events. Not that anniversaries must be celebrated on the day or even the week, but Dear Husband and I tend to loose the plot when it comes such things.

This year, our 29th year of marriage, we traveled to the States a little bit early and so were somewhat settled in beautiful Idaho by the first week of June. There was one, and just one weekend, during which Dear Husband and I could get away for a couple days, and a friend offered their country cabin in McCall--we were off! Two days together at the front end of a full-to-the-brim summer was perfect.

I can't remember when I last visited McCall in early June. Perhaps I never have. The meadows were still green and I saw many Idaho wildflowers which I'd never seen (or noticed) before. Unlike my beloved Jordanian wildflowers, these will have to remain nameless as I do not know their names, and I haven't had time to look them up.

Dear Husband and I spent half a day at Ponderosa Park hiking our favorite Lily Marsh Trail, continuing on to Osprey Point. Enjoy the scenery!

Osprey Point overlooking Payette Lake

Deer-spotting was a joint effort. Dear Husband found the tracks, and I found the deer. After 29 years of marriage, we're getting better at working together. 

 I love that Dear Husband share a deep appreciation for the beauty of God's creation, and that we can enjoy it together.

I was feeling badly that I am so far behind on blogging the very special times our family enjoyed together this summer, but seeing images of beautiful Idaho and remembering those times has brought me refreshment on this gray, dusty Mafraq day. Seriously, we had a dust storm today with winds so strong that it we lost electricity for hours. Yes, perfect timing for some Idaho summer memoirs.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Tribute to Our Family Van

Today we sold our thirteen year old Hyundai van. It was time, but I am feeling nostalgic about saying good-bye to it. As Oldest Daughter commented when I told her that Dear Husband and I had made the decision to sell, "A lot of good memories are connected to that vehicle." Indeed.

We joked that Tayta was our expensive child as her birth necessitated our purchase of a six-seat vehicle. In the limited and expensive Jordanian car market there were very few affordable-to-us options. In 2001, the Hyundai Trajet (we pronounced it with a French accent, such as ours is) entered the market, and we purchased our first, and probably last, new-from-the-dealer car.

I liked the sturdy doors and the fact that there were four of them. The kids liked the fold-down trays in the first row of the back seats. They probably reminded them of familiar airplane seating. Tayta good-naturedly remarked that she never got a bucket seat--until her older sister and brother left for college, that is.

2001 Hyundai Trajet 
Dear Husband took the photographs for the ad he placed to sell the van.

Our family has lived a lot of life in this van: uncountable trips to the store, the baseball field (including a cracked windshield compliments of a foul ball), the music conservatory, King Hussein park for early morning family runs, Wadi Dana, packed to the gills with people and camping food, and hither and thither all around the Jordanian countryside.

Tayta reminded me to mention the Kids' Meetings. "What Kids' Meetings? I asked.

Smiling slyly she said, "You didn't know about them because they were kids' meetings."

"Then how am I supposed to mention them??!"

Apparently the Kids' Meetings were called and held in the back aisle of the van after church on Saturday night. During these covert meetings, the kids planned and strategized as to how they could get Dear Husband and I to agree to a movie or games, or a "camp-out" in the family room.

The Kids' Meeting place

A Korean friend told us that Korean cars are built to run approximately 160,00 miles (200,000 km), at which point they retire their car and buy an new one. We reached that milepost about three years ago, but in Jordan, where cars are expensive and labor is cheap(er), we do what we can to keep on keeping on. As our van is in its twilight years and Dear Husband and I will be a true twosome next year, we decided that now was the time to sell. I will miss the space, and the elevated seats. I won't miss Dear Husband spending his days off driving to Amman for parts to keep the car running well or the high gas costs. And I had to face our new reality: downsizing  to a sedan is an acknowledgement that we just don't need a big car any longer. It is improbable that we'll have all the kids (and spouses) in Jordan at one time, but if we do, Dear Husband promises me that we can rent a car. A big one.

Thanks for the memories, oh Trajet! And I thank God again, as we have many, many times over the years, for the provision of this van. 

Postscript: The van sold quickly for a price that would probably be considered robbery in the US. The buyer, himself with a large family, is very glad to have it, aging parts and all. Dear Husband took him to talk to our mechanic to make sure that he had full disclosure of the van's mechanical history. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Flowering Jordan Calendar~September 2014

Wildflower spotting: Wadi Rum, November

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Flowering Jordan Calendar~July 2014

Family, friends, showers, weddings, vacation, conversations, college trip = blogging in my head only. I hope to be back at it soon. For now, another wildflower--a very special one.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Early Mornings in Arizona

I've never been an early morning kind of person--except when I'm jet-lagging. Arriving back in the States via a five day stop over in Arizona, Dear Husband and I struggled to overcome our bodies' tendency to awake no later than 4 a.m. each morning. Five a.m. was sleeping in. The positive thing about rising so early is that early is just the right time to go for a walk in Arizona in the summertime.

Heading out the front door for a walk as the sun comes up--not my usual M.O., but I enjoyed it!

My dear in-laws live in a quiet sub-division near Phoenix, and just outside of the subdivision city planners have left a swath of land between two streets, running the length of several neighborhood blocks, as a sort of suburban nature reserve. All sorts of cacti, the likes of which I've never seen before, have been planted there, and the reserve is home to ground squirrels, rabbits, lizards--to name the fauna we saw during our walks--as well as many types of birds.

I was fascinated by the giant Saguaro cacti, often growing in peoples' front yards. Nearly every cactus had a cooing mourning dove (or two) sitting atop it and/or a woodpecker pecking it.

Mourning Dove

I learned a few names of the fascinating cacti flora. Let's see how many I can remember:

This is a prickly pear; I think it is designated as rose-colored, but I can't remember exactly...

Candlestick Cactus

Beaver Tail Cactus

I pointed out this heart-shaped cactus to Dear Husband as we walked along together--sweet!

Joshua Tree

Flowering Prickly Pear (I think). So pretty.

Senita Cactus

I was captivated by the teddy-bear cholla cactus. This is definitely not a cactus you'd want to cuddle up to!

The rosy-cheeked lovebirds were the prettiest birds that I observed  during my few days in Arizona.

This large lizard was nicely camouflaged among the twigs and dirt.

Saguaro flower--Arizona's state flower