Back to Normal

I wouldn't say we are back in a routine, per se. But the days are taking on some normalcy.

We went to see King Kong and about midway through, someone pulled the fire alarm to get better seats. Everyone had to evacuate and we had to wait about a half hour for the show to start again. We had arrived at the theatre an hour in advance to be the third through the door and had perfect seats. Some guy went crazy when we tried to return to them. The holiday season can really bring out the reverse of peace and love in some people. (We were all o.k. with the seats we ended up with and the son of the guy who made an idiot of himself apologized.) So funny. I've never had anything like that happen before...

We enjoyed some quality time with Scott and the family. I've been splitting my time at work between working on burning the photos and studying for the actuary exam. I'm going to be focused on that for the next couple of months. It is going to be a real challenge, and one that matters.

I decided to use Mark's last name and today, I started that. I couldn't really use it on the honeymoon because all the reservations were made under Christensen and all my travel documents were still Christensen. So today at work, I switched my paperwork, let everyone know what to call me, and started answering the phones "Officer McCowen." It sounds so odd. I hope I get used to it. I have to wait for the legal part until after I take the exam or I'll get disqualified from taking it.

What an amazing season we have had this year. It really stands out as one for the ages.

If you have any stories from the wedding I would love to have them. I realized that the stories are usually about what went "wrong" because it stands out against the backdrop of beauty and elegance that one hopes the event will reflect. However, I also consider those "hiccups" to be what sets off the day as so miraculous. Since I know (for my part) how many very important things nearly didn't happen, it makes how beautiful and perfect it was all the more amazing and reinforces the view that things can go wrong and still be exactly right.

I think being flexible is the most important human quality. Change is the only constant.


Wrapping Up

The butterfly farm was one of the best things we did. We walked through the gardens where so many very beautiful butterflies were flying all around us. A really pretty blue one let me hold it in my hand. We got some great pictures and souvenirs. We had a cool taxi driver who talked to us a lot about Costa Rica, answered some of our questions, and was very friendly.

We did end up going to the zoo. We missed out on seeing the animals in the wild because all that stuff was scheduled for the days that Mark was sick and by the time he felt better, we were in a different part of the country outside the rain forest areas. (As I mentioned before, we did see big iguanas and a couple of white-nosed coati.) I really wanted to see a parrot, a toucan, and a monkey. The zoo, like most in Central and South America, caged their animals too narrowly - which is great for spectating, but terrible for the animal - they did have a lot of programs to support humane treatment and reduce trafficking of exotic animals as pets, which was good to see.

After running around town, we went back to the hotel. Mark's tummy was hurty so I went to dinner by myself. It was a special menu for Christmas Eve, and many people including myself had not thought to make a reservation, so I ended up sharing my table with a couple from El Paso. We shared a nice conversation, an even better four course gourmet dinner and some tropical drinks. Mark came down for a moment to get the room key and sat down and joined us for a few moments.

Our flight was very early, so we tried to tuck in early. This would not be, however. People were setting off fireworks, caroling and otherwise celebrating nearly all night long all over the city. We got up at 4:30 a little red-eyed and went straight to the airport. What an adventure. America West is really slacking. They didn't have signs up for their desks so noone knew where to go, no one came to check us into our 8:15 flight until 7:00 (they say show up so many hours early...) they didn't start boarding us until 7:45 and even then it was to put us on a bus and truck us out to the plane where we actually walked out onto the tarmack and up the ramp into the plane - an Airbus seating 5 across - tiny. We watched our own DVDs and our 5 hour flight flew.

Once home, it really started to seem like Christmas day. The McCowen house was simmering with those wonderful smells and dinner was almost ready. We ate a big, scrumptious (thankfully normal homecooked) meal. Of course we were excited to impart all the details of our trip, so we gave a little showing of our video footage, a photo slide show, and demonstrated all our souvenirs. We snacked on chocolate covered cashews and papaya. And after all that, we opened presents together. It was great. Some very priceless moments. (Aubri will be glad to know that we got a new office chair. Her comment when she saw the one we were using went something like, "Mommy, the chair's head fell off and it's buttcrack is showing.")

We played some cards and games, mom baked some cookies and the guys had some good conversation. Overall, it was very nice. When we got home, I talked to Evan on the phone until I literally fell asleep.

A few notes about the wedding...

The wedding photos came out really good. DJ really captured all the emotions and highlights. I'm going to burn them to disk along with a little travel highlights slide show and send them out relatively soon as wedding favors... I'm not sure how soon, but before school starts up again or never would be a good guess. If you came to the wedding and don't want a CD of all the pictures let me know. If you did not come to the wedding and do want a CD of all the pictures, let me know. I am posting the very best on a post-wedding website that should be ready fairly soon. When I get it set up I will link to it from here.

Thanks again to everyone who helped. Particular credit should go to Mom, Pat, Don, Eva, Paula, Brandy, DJ, Huff, Ben, Evan, Tiff, Lindsey, and Jenn.


Last Day Here

Well... here we are. It's Christmas Eve and I'm sitting on a private balcony overlooking an amazing tropical garden back where we started this whole adventure. Yesterday we checked out of our resort hotel at Sugar Beach right after breakfast. That place really went beyond our expectations. We had an amazing three days lounging and saw more tropical wildlife there than we did in the rain forest... but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We drove and drove and drove. The roads. My goodness, someone could make a fortune in government contracts if they decided to repair, or in most cases pave them. The unpaved ones were the blessings, because at least you can grate a dirt road and don't have unexpected feet deep pot holes to contend with. Deadly. Driving the longest distance of any day we journeyed, and in this case, through mountainous passes in which unmarked, we were never certain whether we were even on the right road. (Hard to be sure if you are on a major interstate when suddenly it seems like the road has only been used to herd cattle.)

Don't get me wrong. The driving might have been our favorite part, despite the discomfort of actually doing it, we saw some of the most lovely parts of the country. We went through a really cowboy area where everyone was on horseback and had leather-holstered machetes (or were out in the feilds machete-ing away.) One guy was hitchhiking with a 12 inch knife on his hip. (We didn't pick him up.) These cowboys have a swagger that reminds me of home in a way. My dad would've loved it.

We paid my trumped up traffic ticket at a national bank in Liberia and made our way to the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Finding the forest was a little tricky. When we got frustrated, we stopped at an Italian place for lunch. We ordered pizza expecting little personal sized ones and got two full sized pizzas. (Mine had gargonzola cheeze, asparagus, mushrooms, and motza with a homemade sauce... Mark got ham, both were wood-fired.) So cool. We ate outside and they served the pizza with flavored oils. One had hot peppers, and was actually so hot that even a little drop of the oil on the pizza made the bite flame with smoke out your ears. It was great. (I could have discovered this before I finished my diet coke.)

But we made it to the Cloud Forest and went on a short hike. We didn't hire a guide. We only had a hour or so before the park closed (at 4:30 pm... we left Sugar Beach at 8 am. That's how long it took us to drive approximately 200 kilometers.) We did pass some groups on the trail that had a guide. One guy was doing bird calls to try to get a quetzal to call back. They had a scope to view through. I watched for a while, but no birds were calling back and I was having a very hard time not laughing. This guy was doing some pretty good bird calls. The hike was really, really amazing. We went to a waterfall and then circled back to the beginning. There were some really lovely plants, a Ferngully tree that really amazed me, and moss and those rope-thingys hanging from everywhere. No one should miss how pretty the rain forest is. It started raining a really soft mist just as we left. We were trying to beat the sun down the mountain because these switchbacks were pretty daring and of course, there are no street lights. We didn't quite make it, but we got the worst of the pass behind us. When we finally made it to the freeway, some truck was backing up the traffic for miles going only 5 mph. We followed him for about an hour. Very agrivating because this road was paved and sans pot hole. We could've gone 80 kpm easy and should have been the easiest part of the drive. We drove up and down the streets of Atenas looking for our hotel. At this point, we had been driving for 12 hours. The hotel was not well marked and we spent about an hour looking for it. When we finally found it, it lacked amenities. It didn't have shampoo, or a tub (just a stall,) air conditioning, a tv, a coffeemaker, anything. And the plumbing was the kind where you have to put the paper in the wastebasket. It was actually more expensive than the all-inclusive resort. If it had been cheap, we probably would not have minded the lack of amenities... but it was priced at about four times what you get, so we were not excited about staying two days. (We reserved the "master suite" which was so small I kept hitting the walls on accident changing my clothes. -- We were expecting this to be the nicest place we stayed.) As soon as we woke up this morning, we checked out cancelling our second day on the chance that we could find something else. We drove around town for a while and I called the hotel we stayed at the first day when Mark was sick. It was very nice and he sort of missed out on enjoying the gardens. We got a room and relaxed a little.

It is Christmas Eve and everyone is very festive. They are setting up for the carnivals and parades during the Semana de Santas (Holiday week.) We ate at Denny's and returned the car. The car rental place shuttled us back to the hotel where we got showered and ready for the day. Today we plan on getting a taxi out to see a butterfly garden, the zoo, and if time permits, the "world of insects."

Tomorrow we fly home early. It would be nice if we could just stay on vacation for a month like the French do. We are having an amazing time.


Sugar Beach is Sweet

Yesterday was one of the best days I´ve had all year. Mark is better... he was starting to get better the day I last posted, but since then he has gotten to the point where he can really relax and enjoy himself. We have had such a blast! We alternate between holding hands walking on the beach, sitting in lounge chairs reading or watching the waves come in, sitting in the hammock by our patio and taking our meals with a beautiful panoramic view. Everything has fresh avocado in it.

We have seen some pretty crazy wildlife. I saw a coati (some cute long tailed rodent) walk past my hammock with a french photographer in tow. I saw a friendly one early that came up and licked my hand but this one was pretty scared (there was a guy with a bikini swim suit stalking him, so I don´t blame him.) We have also seen some very large lizards. I think the bigger ones, over a foot long, are iguanas. A couple were very, very bright green and as big as my forearm.

This has been fantastic. It´s hard to believe that we only have a few more days left. I think we stay here for one more night and check out tomorrow. On the way to the coffee plantation where we stay for the following two nights we are going to catch Monteverde Cloud Forest and a rain forest. The next day we want to see some butterfly gardens and one of the animal exhibits... a snake or crocodile farm, the ¨world of insects¨ or something like that. We already saw some kind of grasshopper as big as my hand.

I wish sitting on the ocean was a career.

More Later...


Mid-Honeymoon Update

Well, so much to say. Tabacon was really worth it. We relaxed and enjoyed the beauty of the place. Neither of us had ever gotten room service before, so we got Mark some ice cream and that was fun. The food is really good. So far, Mark hasn´t been able to eat anything, so I am enjoying this stuff myself. The flavor is unique - some kind of blend of Europe, Spanish (but definately not Mexican) and a strong influence of the tropical environment. I have tried many new things.

The evening we arrived at Tabacon, I went out for steak San Carlito style while Mark laid in bed feeling terrible (this is a recurring theme, so far). We had a balcony at Tabacon, and I sat out there and wrote in a journal after dark and drank coffee. It was really pretty. The volcano actually errupts. I don´t know why this is a surprise from an active volcano, but basically, I wasn´t expecting to be able to hear it. It sounds like thunder. The jungle is a noisy place at night. Lots of creatures come out. It was really peaceful to hear the mix of frogs, crickets, birds, and whatever else was out there.

The next morning I went to the buffet, which was amazing! Enchiladas for breakfast! Fresh tropical fruit, cut or in a smoothie, cheeses, delicious pastries (I had one with some kind of coconut and fruit filling) palm leave wrapped tamales. Everything was terrific. I can´t describe. Anyway, I got some pictures. Mark felt good, no fever for a few minutes in the morning so we went for a short walk. He gets wiped out quick, so I walked him back to the room. Luckily we had this huge bath with water piped in from the hot springs, so he took lots of baths. (And thank heavens for cable television).

I went down to the springs. Talk about hot tubbing. They had thousands of little rivers connected by waterfalls with many different pools of varying hottnesses and mineral contents. I sat under a waterfall and let it hit my back (very powerful) for a while and then moved to a private, quiet place to read from The Di Vinci Code, which I have wanted to read for a while.

After a nap, we left and drove this crazy windy road up this huge hill and actually got to use our 4WD to get to our next hotel. It was at the top of a hill next to the volcano. The accommodations were sparse, but the view was wonderful and it had AC and a bath, so Mark survived (we had the laptop so he watched movies... no tv.) I went for a short walk and went to sleep for 12 hours. The combination of altitude and humidity is very tiring.

That brings us to this morning. Today was our longest drive from the volcano to the beach so we left early while Mark was feeling better and right after we ate. (I had fried plantain!) The roads are so filled with pot holes that it was hard to exceed 40 kph, which I think is like 20 mph. This went on for 5 hours. The scenery was basically savannah, like what you would expect to see in the desert in Africa. Those cool trees included.

We arrived at the Sugar Beach Hotel where we will be for the next three days around 3. I ate while Mark napped from the trip. I think his fever finally broke, because he was much, much better today. This hotel is really incredible. Infinity pool overlooking the beach, AC controlled by remote control, very nice menu (I had chicken nachos) and huge private balcony with two sets of sliding doors and our own hammock. I´ll spend a lot of time there.

Tonight we will drive in to town for medicines and supplies that we don´t want to get at the hotel and rest. Over the next three days we plan on lounging. Because Mark was sick and we missed our canopy tours through the jungle, if he gets feeling better, we will go on one here. There are a few rain forests nearby.

More to come...


Welcome to Costa Rica


The flight was very exhausting (especially for Mark, who is still feeling under the weather) but we made it. We took a very exciting taxi ride to our hotel marking the fact that we are in a foreign place. Our driver was muy rapido.

Luckily my Spanish is coming back really quickly. I'm sort of surprising myself and Mark with how much I can understand and communicate.

Our hotel is VERY luxurious. I was nervous because to get here, we had to drive through a neighborhood where every building had a barbed wire security fence around it... and then we turned the corner to see this huge pillared beautiful building with a big brass statue and gardens in the turn about. Service was so courteous and I felt like we entered a palace where we were king and queen.

Our room has a private balcony with a hilltop view of the city. It was pretty last night, sparkling with the city's lights, but this morning was even better. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains and the flora makes the cityscape worth enjoying over a cup of homegrown coffee.

When Mark felt up to it we walked through the gardens on the hotel grounds. They were huge, with tons of ponds, mini waterfalls and fountains, crazy tropical plants I've never seen before that look fake, and several birdwatching towers (we went up there just to get a different view of the gardens).

Then we went into the restaurant and got some fresh tropical fruit, and assorted breads for breakfast. I felt sorry for Mark for being allergic to pineapple because I don't think I've ever tasted any so delicious.

That pretty much brings us up to date, and it's only 7:00 am. This country is very beautiful. I was worried about driving on the streets after that taxi ride, but today is Sunday and the roads are very quite. In a couple hours, our car rental will be delivered and we will drive up to the Arenal Volcano area. If we feel up to it, we planned on stopping by the La Paz waterfall for lunch on the way. We spend tonight at the Tabacon Resort at the base of the active volcano.

I think I will have opportunities to update my blog regularly while we are away. This is so wonderful. It sounds cliche, but I wish you were here. We could've gotten married in these gardens.

I will say, the wedding was everything I hoped and more. I thought is was very nice. I hope those of you who shared it with us concur.

Mrs. McCowen


0 - Wedding Day

Wow. We're married. Sorry I didn't post over the last couple of days. Things got crazy. I didn't sleep at all for several days.

Mark got the flu. Marissa broke her arm and Eva had to spend all day in the ER getting her casted.

But, it all went together so beautifully. Everything was very beautiful, the weather was perfect, the backyard looked really nice. The food was as delicious as it looked and the deserts were so great. I really have a lot of people to thank for pulling together so many of the details that made the day great. Thank you.



I am too busy to even post how busy I am.

I took my last final today, so the semester is finally over for me and I can move on to things I actually care about.

It's 5 hours passed my bedtime, so I'm obviously making the most of the fact that I don't have to do any higher level thinking when I wake up.

I rented the VIP clubhouse at our apartment for Thursday from 3 pm-midnight so we have a bigger venue to continue our set up party when the set up part is over. They have a big screen, big couches around a table that should be good for games, a kitchen, and a private patio with a pool. We don't have to use it, but it's there for us if we want to.

Ben would really like to go see a hockey game. Wayne Gretzky coaches our team and there is a homegame on Thursday night at 7. It would be great if someone else wants to go to, since he can't drive himself. Let me know if your a fan and this sounds fun to you.

Beyond that, I'm going to go wash my face, brush my teeth and drop into one of the deepest and shortest sleeps of my life.

But first, I want to give a big shout out to all my slaves. You know who you are. Thank you.



This just occurred to me today: I'm getting married on FRIDAY!!!!

Very exciting... very hard to concentrate on tasks at hand. We're having a blast and trying to stay on task.

I don't know what to say because everything that is going on is task-oriented so the only thoughts I have time for are "only x more days" and "can you believe how fast this time is going?" and "It's already time to do last minute stuff!"

That last one is the one that keeps getting me. I took my pill to prevent malaria for the honeymoon yesterday. Yet another marker of the time.

Mark is reconsidering his fashion statement and I'm trying to talk him out of bending to social pressure to conform. I think it is important that the day reflect our personalities and tastes when it's appropriate. If major label designers can do it, I say, so can he. (I wanted him to wear clean looking destroyed jeans with a colored shirt and sports jacket with elegant shoes and belt.) Post on the link to his blog to support me!


Things To Do In Phoenix Next Week

ACTIVITIES IN CHANDER/PHOENIX AREA - Cheap or Free - more expensive as you go down the list

Comment: Phoenix is a BIG metropolitean city. Whatever you want to do, phoenix can provide it for you. You want a Turkish Heritage Days? We probably have that. You want full nude motorcycle racing? We probably have that, too. So consider this list heavily abridged and get a “New Times” or “Rep” magazine when you get here if there is something specific you want to do (or to imagine the possibilities)

CASA GRANDE RUINS - Indian ruins from the extinct Hohokam tribe - adobe complex and standing multistory “big house.” You can walk right up to the ruins and touch them. 20 minute drive. A couple of bucks (1 or 3, not sure) for admission. Includes museum and informational video.

SOUTH MT HIKING - Free. Trails range from easy to very challenging, most offer beautiful panoramic views of the city at the top. Don’t hike without water. (But if you want something insanely beautiful, you need to hike Camelback Mt just before sunrise… however this hike is Extremely difficult - it took me three tries to make it to the top. If you are in good physical condition, this is the best. Take a snack to enjoy at the top.)

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER - City light pollution and a full moon the next day may wash out the effect of this once a year meteor shower, but we are just a short drive from the middle of the barren desert, where you might see more. If you're back home before this occurs, you'll probably get a better view in a rural location.

BACH ORGAN RECITAL - Free. 7pm Dec 16, St. Barnabas on the Desert, Scottsdale

CHINESE CULTURAL CENTER - Free. Japanese gardens, food, usually some kind of presentation (dancing, martial arts display, etc) museum, etc. (20 minutes away)

ARIZONA’S LARGEST GINGERBREAD HOUSE -Free. On display at Pointe South Mountain Resort (the resort has a waterslide)

SCOTTSDALE INDIAN MARKET - Free. Swap meet for Native American food, jewelry, rugs, pottery and other art. Parada Hall and Convention Center 7303 E Earll Drive Scottsdale.

GIFT TRUNK SHOW - Free. Dec 14 only arts and crafts trunk swap meet. (www.thetrunkspace.com)

MILL AVENUE SHOPPING - The hip drag to be seen at with all kinds of eclectic shops, entertainment, restaurants.

MESA TEMPLE - CHRISTMAS PAGEANT? (I know they do one for Easter and have touristy stuff)

SKATEPARKS - free. cement ramps/street obstacles - world famous (I’ll even loan you my skateboard if you don’t have one)

CASINOS - There are ten local casinos. They always have free concerts and fun events to lure gambling naives to their doors. Too much to list.

ZOO LIGHTS - this event starts at sundown at the zoo. You can see some nocturnal animals, but you should be there mainly for the light show. Some animated to music displays are pretty cool. Great fun for the kids, who are going to want you to buy them a glow stick, guaranteed. Tickets (if purchased in advance at Fry’s Grocery Store) are $1-3 each. ($5-8 otherwise) 20 minute drive

IMAX, MOVIES, SHOPPING AREAS - The “Big” Mall is the biggest Mall in Arizona, has a 24-Plex, and IMAX theatre and 3 miles of shops. King Kong debuts Thur Dec 15.

CELEBRATION OF LIGHTS - $12 per carload to drive 2 miles through an animated light display. 45+ minute drive.

ORGANSTOP PIZZA - The pizza is o.k. Go there for the Organ. It’s one of those big pipes all over the walls kinds. The player is a showman, the organ rotates on a raised platform while he plays - you request the tunes - he knows all of them. Light shows. Very fun. You just pay for the meal - $15-20 per pizza. It might sound dumb, but it is a total blast.

FIDDLESTICKS, GOLFLAND, CASTLES & COASTERS - Three typical amusement venues, mini-golf, water bumper cars, buggies on race tracks… that sort of thing… in ascending order they get “bigger” and more expensive. We can find discounted admissions or coupons for these if someone wants us to look.

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDENS - ($8-$16) 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm 45,000 candles illuminate trails. / or an alternative is Boyce Thompson Arboretum (a more expensive admission Desert Garden, but of course, better gardens/trails - no light show that I know of)

PHOENIX ART MUSEUM is doing a lingerie over the years display for all you perverts.

OTHER FREE ART GALLERIES (with featured displays )
Artspace in Scottsdale (all works)
ASU downtown center gallery (high school advanced work)
Burton barr central library (humour illustrations)
Chandler Center for the Arts (quilts)
Cline Fine Arts (“eyes”)
Danela/May Gallery at the Borgata (Southwestern art)
Desert Eagle Fine Arts (rocks: from fossils to diamond jewelry)
Kerr Cultural center (Local artists)
Larsen Gallery (pastel life drawings - that’s the art-word for “nude” for all you perverts)

Temple Little Theatre presents: Over the River and Through the Woods, Downtown Tempe Daily 8pm, 2pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday.
Shakespeare Theatre presents: Much Ado about Nothing. W-Sat 2pm, 8pm at Phoenix Little Theatre, $15 adv -20 at the door
Actor’s theatre presents: A Christmas Carol, Herberger Theatre - Tickets (602) 252-8497 ($16-25)
Ballet Arizona presents: Nutcracker Symphony Hall - Tickets (602) 381-1096 ($10-102)
Phoenix Symphony presents: Handel’s Messiah - Tickets (602) 495-1999 ($28)
Center Dance Ensemble presents: Snow Queen, Herberger Theatre - Tickets (602) 252-8497 ()
Phoenix Boys Choir Concert 16th, 17th, 18th only ($10-30)
DJ BT plays at club MYST in Scottsdale Dec 16.
Glen Miller Orchestra , Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, Scottsdale Dec 16 ($25 - gen, $5 for students 5-18)
Rogue Wave 8:30pm Dec 15 Modified Arts, Phoenix ($9)
The Aquabats with Goons of Doom and Valiant Thor at Marquee Theatre, Mill Dec 15, 7pm, $13-15
The Lovemakers play with She Wants Revenge and Rock Kills Kid at the Brick house Dec 16, 7pm $10
Clutch with Elliot Whitmore play at Marguee Theatre, Mill, Dec 18 at 8pm ($18-20)
All I never wanted for Christmas stand-up with Jeremy Scott, Stu Baker, Don Steinmetx, Robert Fata, benefits Toys for Tots, 7:30pm Dec 15 ($10 or $5 with new, unwrapped toy)
Valley Youth Improv at Valley Youth Theatre, Dec 17 at 7pm $5

“SHOWS” (Car shows, boat shows) Desert Sky Pavilions

GOLF - Phoenix is a golf mecca, but it is peak season, so start your game after 1pm and The Legacy Resort only charges $35 any day of the week (1-800-796-4461) 6808 S 32nd Street (10 minutes) - This is a pretty typical green fee… you shouldn’t have to pay more… shop around, lots of competition (of course the world class greens go for 100+ per round…).

SPORTS - (College season will be over, so just pro - see listings for home game days/times)
I am not totally sure what all the sports in season are. I think we have football, baseball, and hockey right now. Tickets range from $10 in the upper bleachers to $1000 courtside and everywhere in between.
Cardinals Football,
Diamondbacks baseball
Suns baseball
Coyotes Hockey (Dec 20 home game)
Roadrunners Hockey (lower division)

SANTA’S THEME PARK - ($23-adult $18-kids/seniors) Firebird Int’l Raceway sponsored event, 74 foot tree, 50 amusement park rides, carnival… I don’t know what admission tickets cost. 10 minute drive. Muscians, Magicians, puppets, white tigers, fireworks. There are also races every Friday night - amateurs…


The more real this whole thing gets, the more unreal it feels. It's a race against time to see how many loose ends I can trim. Nothing left is terribly important - yet I feel compelled to complete every last detail.

My tooth is mostly recovered, so I'm back on the job as a full-time math geek.

I love that I get excited about math. I mean, some people never get excited about anything. At least I have something I enjoy thinking about, even if it removes me from most social conversation circles. ("Here comes Mona. As soon as she starts talking about math, if I do this with my pinkie, ask me to help you find the bathroom.")

Anyway... Eva's here tomorrow. Let the crafts begin.

My friend Tiffany mixes her two interests: math with anthropology. And it works, because ancient societies had numerical systems and calculated complex calendars and stuff. If I can figure out how to combine math with crafts... then life will be perfect.



Make that 3 coldsores...

I think I did passable on the final I took today. I did something funny early in every problem that gave me bad algebra and it took me a while to figure out that every answer was wrong. I had time to rework all but one, once I realized my error.

Tonight is another study marathon.

I need sleep.



I'm only allowed to think about school right now. Final right after work.

I'm getting a cold sore.


My Papers

Should I post my academic writings? Is anyone interested in reading them?


It is so hard to focus on school right now. I have a final in two days and I still need to do the homework for the whole chapter. It just hasn't been as exciting as everything else that's got to be done.

It's just little details now. Everything left is fun stuff. I think what I like the most is that each day when we (Mark and I) work on stuff, it feels so epic. Even doing the dishes feels epic (because at this point even keeping the housework up is part of getting ready for the wedding.)

Maybe it's the vicodan, (for my tooth) but everything feels so surreal.

Yesterday the painter finished our wall, I got all the final numbers to the caterer, finished all the major assignments for most of my classes, got my tooth pulled, and coordinated stuff. Today, I attended my last day of class, set up some food orders to finalize tomorrow, did my household jobs for the week (not all of them, I'm kind of a slacker right now - need a maid,) and my weekend is over. Tonight... homework, homework, homework. (I hope I can concentrate!)


From the Beginning

Everything always works out in the end. That's something to keep in mind.

I had a tooth extracted this morning, so I've been hopped up on narcotics, feeling weird and icky all day, and trying desperately and unsuccessfully to take care of very important details that I thought HAD to be done today: the rental equipment (without a final RSVP count,) my last chapter work for one of my math classes (advice: don't attempt complex mathematics while hopped up on narcotics,) and two research papers (note: you can proof read while hopped up on narcotics, that's not impossible.)

As it turns out, the rental people gave me until tomorrow. The math teacher mysteriously extended our due date to Wednesday. The only thing I had to accomplish today was the only thing I could handle, and the papers are looking pretty good.

Because everything always works out in the end.


And Counting

Two weeks to go.

My thoughts are so all over the place that I am not even sure where to go with them. As if I don't have enough to do, I'm squeezing in oral surgery next week for a tooth that decided it had to act up right now. Crazy.

I am really appreciating mathematics right now in ways that are hard to describe. I'm writing a paper about the summary of what mathematics is and how it evolved. It is like DNA. There are maybe three simple ideas that capture all the information in the world.

Side Note: The length and width and decahedran spiral of DNA follow golden proportions of phi, a single healthy cell can be inscribed into a golden rectangle, and the ideal adult body made up of those cells is made up of hundreds of phi ratio relationships.

Everything in math is like this. Some little thing bundles all of this greater information. The more complex ideas basically prove themselves... fall out of basic ideas. The fact that such a wealth of interrelated ideas comes from such a simple core of axioms is impossible to grasp. My class had a small discussion that led to God in trying to understand how this all works.

As far as school goes, I'm scheduling my time very carefully so that I can be well prepared for finals in advance. As the wedding approaches, I don't want to be cramming. If I don't have it down by then, cramming probably won't help anyway.

Thank you for reading this. I don't keep in touch, and I feel like I've made some kind of intimate contact with someone who loves me everytime I see my counter move.

I think there comes a time in life when it becomes very important to foster these relationships of meaning with family. It's so easy to do your own thing and get caught up in the excitement of whatever life is giving you at the moment. But, I'm at that time where having a network of loved ones who know me is more important than having an exciting anonymous life.