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Month: June 2006

A Tribute

A Tribute

We have been crazy busy, tired, and sick this week–hence, a few blog worthy events have had to be put on hold. But before this news becomes obsolete, I want to post it.

Some of our first, best, and truest friends have left us for the mainland. Elder & Sister Phillips got here the day before we did and quickly became our surrogate parents (they are actually younger than our own parents) and snorkel buddies. My first memory of them is of them asking why we didn’t make it to the senior missionary couple FHE the first Monday we were here. (It was because we’re not a senior missionary couple–although I can see how they could think we were.) Besides taking us out to dinner every once in a while, they provided hours of entertainment telling us about their adventures as police officers and dog trainers. And speaking of dogs, I will say that if we were to give you an image of the Phillips that best portrays their relationship, it would be that of the big, strong, silent dog next to the hyper-active, bouncy, barky little dog. They make a great pair.

They were the only senior missionary couple to show up at our Vampire Party, and Sister Phillips was the last to be found in the vampire game we played. They were also kind enough to grace us with their presence on Christmas, and to provide the entertainment: a treasured recording of someone prank calling a bunch of businesses trying to find things to give their true love for Christmas (” . . . two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.”). As a side note, it was distributed by Bonneville Communications, which we found almost as amusing as listening to an hour’s worth of prank calls over French onion soup and buche de Noel on a hot a humid December day.

They flew away Tuesday to go back home to Montana, their dog, and big open spaces. They were kind enough to leave us a wonderfully comfortable rocking swivel chair and a 4-inch memory foam mattress pad, both of which are already being put to good use. They’re not dead, but I sure do feel like I’m eulogizing them.

We will miss them.

The Last Frontier

The Last Frontier

We would love to show you every little bit of our Alaskan adventure but because it was so hard to pick and choose among the 210 pictures we took in the 7 days we were there, you are just going to get a small taste of the big cookie that was The Last Frontier.

We arrived in Anchorage at 11:45 at night and the sun was still shining. Alan and Lizzie Skinner were kind enough to put us up for a few days, and to cover the windows with dark curtains so we wouldn’t be tempted to stay up all night watching the sun not set. The next morning we headed out with the rest of the Team in Training group for a dinner cruise in Seward. We were lucky enough to get there in time to enjoy the beautiful harbor and even to see some fishermen weighing their catch. There were three halibut–the smallest was 65 lbs. The other two weighed as much as Micah and me–individually (I’m not telling how much that is, sorry). Once we got on the boat the adventure really began. Before we even got anywhere we saw a seal tossing around its dinner and a sea otter sunning its feet. By the time they brought us back to dock we’d seen two otters, puffins, sea lions, a few bald eagles, a fjord, millions of birds, and three mountain goats. We also saw a few glaciers and some of the dead forests (stands of trees that were killed and preserved by the salt water they were exposed to when the land dropped) left over from the Good Friday Earthquake in 1964. We also caught a glimpse of our first moose on the way home.
You can never get enough wildlife when you are tromping through Alaska, so we stopped off at the local nature conservatory on Wednesday. We fed elk, watched an orphaned moose be fed from a bottle, and learned that a baby porcupine is called a porcupette. Micah wants one. The musk ox weren’t nearly as entertaining as the bison, and the brown bears definitely outshined their black brothers. One of the moose showered us with rainwater which was kind of exciting. It was well worth our time.You can’t go to Alaska without gawking at the blue tinted glaciers sliding down the valleys. We made our pilgrimmage on Thursday to Portage Glacier, where they have a nice Visitor’s Center as well as a great view of the glacier, the glacial lake, and, if you are lucky, a few icebergs. The bergs we saw were technically to small to be called icebergs, but I can’t remember what the term for them is, so if you are interested, look it up. The VC had lots of fun things to take pictures of, as you can see . . . We checked into our hotel when we got back to Anchorage and spent Friday “resting” before the big event on Saturday (see previous post). Of course we went to the Pasta Party with the rest of the TNT participants where they tried to make us cry by showing us pictures of all of Honored Teammates from the different chapters and having a leukemia survivor tell us about how he was diagnosed with leukemia just weeks before his wife gave birth to their first child, a boy who was diagnosed with a heart condition and went in for surgery the same day he started chemotherapy. Their medical bills got up to $250,000 a week and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helped them out so much. Then their son died and the survivor’s wife forbade him from leaving her and now they have another son who is just one year old and the cutest thing you ever did see.

On Saturday . . . wait, what did we do on Saturday . . . hmmm . . . oh, wait. We ran 26.2 miles in 4:01:15. That’s right. How could I forget? And then even though our legs wanted to fall off, we still walked around Anchorage trying to find a grocery store to buy stuff to make dinner out of on Sunday. Oh, and ice cream. We cut our ice cream consumption off 100% the week before the marathon, so we had to make up for lost time. Plus it was Greg’s birthday on Sunday and we had to celebrate some how. We also went to the TNT victory party where they served delicious food and tried to get us to dance (I would have been all over that if the DJ hadn’t been having a bad night).

We went to church on Sunday with the Skinners. I must admit that it was somewhat of a shock to be surrounded by white people in sacrament meeting. Luckily the Samoan ward met right after their ward, so we got our fill of muumuus, sulus, and brown people. It was nice to spend the rest of Sunday relaxing with the Skinners. I must admit that I fell in love with Tyler and I was a little bit sad when he had to go to bed at 8:30. But he probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the hot chocolate and TimTams like we did, and I don’t think he would have had the discipline it takes to play Runs & Trios, Mexican Train, or Kings Corner. And he certainly would have been crankier than we were when we realized it was 1:00 in the morning (it was still light outside, can you blame us?) and Alan had to go to work in the morning.

It was most unfortunate that he did because he missed our outing
to the Botanical Garden. This is where Micah and I got carried away with our supermacro zoom, although, as you can see, some of the pictures turned out really well. We’re thinking of making a calendar. Or selling some of them as desktops. What was really sad was that we didn’t catch the slow-motion tumble Tyler took, although we did get the results. Remember that Tyler is only 13 months old, and surprisingly steady on his legs, especially considering the rough terrain. Micah and I were marveling at his skills from behind when he turned around and started walking towards us rather than following Lizzie, who was out in front. If it weren’t for the fact that he totally face planted, I would have thought he just decided he had walked enough and was going to take a nap on the trail. He went down on his knees, then put his hands down, and just when it looked like he was going to gently lay his head on the dirt, his face went hard into the dirt and his feet went up. We all rushed to his aid, but he didn’t even cry. What a trooper.We didn’t think our trip to Alaska would be complete without paying homage to the reason the state is inhabited in the first place, so Tuesday evening found us at Indian Valley Mine for a round of gold panning. Although we were close enough to the highway to see the cars passing, we certainly felt like we were deep in the mountains, what with the dirty and naked mountain children running around. The mine and business is owned by a nice little family who are proud of the fact that they don’t own a TV and make their children do push-ups if they misbehave. They also had a tip jar on the counter that was labeled “Kids College Fund.” I thought I could get along with them quite well. When all was said and done, our hands were nearly frozen from the water but we had a few lumps of gold to show for our labors. On the way back to Lizzie and Alan’s we stopped at the Anchorage temple for a few minutes to have our picture taken there, too. It was a great way to end our adventure in the land of the midnight sun. We’d love to have a summer cabin there someday.

A Marathon of an Event

A Marathon of an Event

It was a dark and stormy night . . . oh, wait. No it wasn’t. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear day. Perfect running weather. And run we did. We shot right out of the gates, so to speak. We were going fast enough to see a moose (which they say you have to be near the front to see). Of course, that was before we even hit the first mile marker, so it probably doesn’t mean much. It was still cool. It was also cool that before the race started we got to talk to some of the missionaries who were helping out at the start line (and running the marathon relay) and it was also cool to meet some really crazy marathon runners, like those who are trying to run a marathon in all of the 50 states and DC and those who have a goal to run 52 marathons in one calendar year (that’s 52 in 52, just for the record). It was cool to see the president of my stake growing up at mile 7 and to remember that he was the president of the Anchorage mission now. (It was quite the adrenaline rush: “Hey President Lewis! I’m from Bountiful!” “Oh, you are?! See you at the finish line!” I’m pretty sure I sped up to under an 8 minute mile for the next 1/2 mile at least.) It was even cooler to talk to him afterwards and to find out that he ran the Anchorage marathon in 1999 with Team in Training–I’m assuming in memory of his son, Jimmy, who died of leukemia around that time.

What was not so cool was the part when we underestimated the tank trails. Seven miles of gravel are not as kind to your feet when you’ve already run nine miles. Even after we got back on the open road our feet were aching. It may have seemed logical to walk a little bit, just until our feet stopped hurting, but by that point it hurts worse to walk than to run, so we kept on keeping on. Except for the parts when we had to stretch out our muscles lest they somehow collapse into themselves and become bowling balls in our legs. And so we went for nine or so more miles, until we reached Insult Hill. Yes, they stuck a hill in the last quarter mile of the race. And it was steep. Not long. Just steep. Lots of people walk it. Our teammate, Ana (pictured with us above) said that when she first saw it she stopped dead in her tracks. It is the point in the marathon when people begin to cry–that is, if the lady sitting by the side of the road at mile 25 thanking all of the TNT people for helping her become a leukemia survivor didn’t get to them. That was the closest I got to an emotional breakdown. But we were tough. We agreed that if nothing else went well for us during the marathon, the least we could do was show that hill who was boss, and show it we did. We busted up that hill like it was nobody’s business. After that it was a piece of cake. The race ended on the track of a high school, and as we came down the home stretch we watched the clock tick away the seconds and pass our goal of 4 hours. Kind of sad, but we’re over it. We sprinted the last straightaway and held hands as we crossed the finish line. 4:01:15. Excellent. We felt great about our time. We didn’t feel so great about the fact that they forgot to set up the “Get Your New Legs Here” tent at the end. Or the fact that we would have had to wait 20 minutes to get a massage. But we agreed that we will do it again. We can beat 4 hours. Wait and see.Special thanks to Ana’s husband, Greg, and Lizzie, Alan, and Tyler Skinner for taking pictures and meeting us at the finish line.

What it’s all about

What it’s all about

This is the last you’ll be hearing from us until we get back from our Great Adventure in the Last Frontier, so I thought I’d write a nice long blog to keep you entertained in the meantime! Sadly, we forgot to bring our camera with us last weekend, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations on this one. We’ll be sure to get lots of awesome pictures to blog when we get back. But until then, I’d just thought I’d share our weekend experience.

Sunday was the Hawaiian Half Marathon. That is a measly 13.1 miles of fun for those of you who are mathematically challenged (26.2/2). A lot of our Team in Training friends were running it, but we weren’t, so we decided to help out with the execution of the race instead. We spent most of the day Saturday passing out packets to the registrants at our favorite running store, Runners’ HI in Aiea. We were lucky enough to get to meet and work with the race director, Ron. Now when I say “lucky” what I really mean is “unlucky.” Although we had been warned that Mr. Ron was a horrible people person, a running snob, and a few other unpleasant things, we underestimated the accuracy of the evaluations. Even before Ron got there (we were late, but he was later) we were up against his hard-headedness. Runners’ HI didn’t open until 10:00, but packet pick-up was supposed to start at 9:00. When we got there at 8:50 there were already people lining up to get their packets, but we didn’t have all the materials we needed to give them to them. One of the other volunteers called Ron to find out what was up, and all he could do was tell us that there had been a misprint (which nobody had caught during the four months since the registration forms had been printed) and that packet pick-up was not supposed to start until 10:00 and we should send all the people away and tell them to come back in an hour. We weren’t about to listen to him, of course, and we were fortunate enough to have the owner of Runners’ HI come and unlock the door for us at about that time. We spent the next 20 minutes scrambling to get organized while people kept coming in to get their packets. Just about the time we were starting to get our system going, Ron walks in and triples the stress level. He does not want any walkers in his half marathon because the men in uniform are looking for an excuse to shut down his race and if there are still people in Waikiki at 5:40, they will shut it down. He does not want anybody to run 13.1 miles on Sunday if they have run 10 miles today because they are stupid and will be too tired to run the race. He does not want people to know that there are only 1,000 people running the race. By the time the day was done, we were in the smile, nod, and hope he goes away mode: “Yes, Ron. You are right. Now leave us alone to do our job.” To his credit, he did buy us lunch.

Because we were helping with an aid station the next morning, we asked our TNT friends if any of them had a place for us to stay so we wouldn’t have to drive home, and go to sleep, and then wake up at 3:00 the next morning so we could be back down in town at 4:00. One of them offered to let us stay in a Waikiki rental she owns but does not currently have a tenant for. And now is when we get to play the question and answer game. Only I get to ask the question, and I get to give the answer. Ready?
Q: How much money does 382 sq. ft. of Waikiki cost?
A: $265,000. Yes, it was a fully furnished and recently remodeled studio, but it didn’t have an oven.
I would like to say we slept like babies in our plush pad, but we didn’t. And at 3:30 we were up and at it again, getting pumped to hand out water and gatorade to crazy runners.

It was still dark and early when we pulled up to the gas station where our three other volunteers were already waiting for us. Although we had been told that the aid station needed to be ready to go at 5:25, at 5:15 they still hadn’t made the water and table drop-off. We figured we had until about 5:45 to get set up before the 5-minute mile people started coming through, so we filled some of our 6 gallon jugs at the gas station water fountain. We were almost ready to go by the time they finally brought us the table. By the time the first runner came in at about 5:46, we had been ready for him for possibly 2 minutes. Lucky us. We were also lucky enough to just about run out of water right at peak time when we couldn’t fill the cups fast enough anyway. But we made do until they brought us more, and I don’t think that if anybody fainted from dehydration it can be blamed on us.

The last person came through at 8:45 and we packed up our stuff and headed to the finish line. Most of our teammates were already there, but the last TNT walker was still half a mile out when we got there. Andrea’s back and hip had started hurting a little past the half way point, but she just kept on trucking, albeit slower than she had been before. But that meant that all of her teammates, including the other walkers, were there to give her a nice warm welcome as she reached the home stretch. The team lined up along the last few yards of the route and cheered her on the rest of the way. Her friend Rebecca, who had finished the race over an hour earlier, walked the rest of the way with her. Whether she was wiping away tears of pain from her hurting back and hip, tears of exhaustion from just having walked 13.1 miles, tears of joy for having completed a half marathon in the name of cancer research, or tears of happiness at the support her teammates were showing her as she reached her goal, we may never know. But we do know that it was worth all of the frustration, anger, disorganization, and tiredness that we went through for the race just to be there for it.

What it's all about

What it's all about

This is the last you’ll be hearing from us until we get back from our Great Adventure in the Last Frontier, so I thought I’d write a nice long blog to keep you entertained in the meantime! Sadly, we forgot to bring our camera with us last weekend, so you’ll just have to use your imaginations on this one. We’ll be sure to get lots of awesome pictures to blog when we get back. But until then, I’d just thought I’d share our weekend experience.

Sunday was the Hawaiian Half Marathon. That is a measly 13.1 miles of fun for those of you who are mathematically challenged (26.2/2). A lot of our Team in Training friends were running it, but we weren’t, so we decided to help out with the execution of the race instead. We spent most of the day Saturday passing out packets to the registrants at our favorite running store, Runners’ HI in Aiea. We were lucky enough to get to meet and work with the race director, Ron. Now when I say “lucky” what I really mean is “unlucky.” Although we had been warned that Mr. Ron was a horrible people person, a running snob, and a few other unpleasant things, we underestimated the accuracy of the evaluations. Even before Ron got there (we were late, but he was later) we were up against his hard-headedness. Runners’ HI didn’t open until 10:00, but packet pick-up was supposed to start at 9:00. When we got there at 8:50 there were already people lining up to get their packets, but we didn’t have all the materials we needed to give them to them. One of the other volunteers called Ron to find out what was up, and all he could do was tell us that there had been a misprint (which nobody had caught during the four months since the registration forms had been printed) and that packet pick-up was not supposed to start until 10:00 and we should send all the people away and tell them to come back in an hour. We weren’t about to listen to him, of course, and we were fortunate enough to have the owner of Runners’ HI come and unlock the door for us at about that time. We spent the next 20 minutes scrambling to get organized while people kept coming in to get their packets. Just about the time we were starting to get our system going, Ron walks in and triples the stress level. He does not want any walkers in his half marathon because the men in uniform are looking for an excuse to shut down his race and if there are still people in Waikiki at 5:40, they will shut it down. He does not want anybody to run 13.1 miles on Sunday if they have run 10 miles today because they are stupid and will be too tired to run the race. He does not want people to know that there are only 1,000 people running the race. By the time the day was done, we were in the smile, nod, and hope he goes away mode: “Yes, Ron. You are right. Now leave us alone to do our job.” To his credit, he did buy us lunch.

Because we were helping with an aid station the next morning, we asked our TNT friends if any of them had a place for us to stay so we wouldn’t have to drive home, and go to sleep, and then wake up at 3:00 the next morning so we could be back down in town at 4:00. One of them offered to let us stay in a Waikiki rental she owns but does not currently have a tenant for. And now is when we get to play the question and answer game. Only I get to ask the question, and I get to give the answer. Ready?
Q: How much money does 382 sq. ft. of Waikiki cost?
A: $265,000. Yes, it was a fully furnished and recently remodeled studio, but it didn’t have an oven.
I would like to say we slept like babies in our plush pad, but we didn’t. And at 3:30 we were up and at it again, getting pumped to hand out water and gatorade to crazy runners.

It was still dark and early when we pulled up to the gas station where our three other volunteers were already waiting for us. Although we had been told that the aid station needed to be ready to go at 5:25, at 5:15 they still hadn’t made the water and table drop-off. We figured we had until about 5:45 to get set up before the 5-minute mile people started coming through, so we filled some of our 6 gallon jugs at the gas station water fountain. We were almost ready to go by the time they finally brought us the table. By the time the first runner came in at about 5:46, we had been ready for him for possibly 2 minutes. Lucky us. We were also lucky enough to just about run out of water right at peak time when we couldn’t fill the cups fast enough anyway. But we made do until they brought us more, and I don’t think that if anybody fainted from dehydration it can be blamed on us.

The last person came through at 8:45 and we packed up our stuff and headed to the finish line. Most of our teammates were already there, but the last TNT walker was still half a mile out when we got there. Andrea’s back and hip had started hurting a little past the half way point, but she just kept on trucking, albeit slower than she had been before. But that meant that all of her teammates, including the other walkers, were there to give her a nice warm welcome as she reached the home stretch. The team lined up along the last few yards of the route and cheered her on the rest of the way. Her friend Rebecca, who had finished the race over an hour earlier, walked the rest of the way with her. Whether she was wiping away tears of pain from her hurting back and hip, tears of exhaustion from just having walked 13.1 miles, tears of joy for having completed a half marathon in the name of cancer research, or tears of happiness at the support her teammates were showing her as she reached her goal, we may never know. But we do know that it was worth all of the frustration, anger, disorganization, and tiredness that we went through for the race just to be there for it.

Which free shirt would you pay $15 for?

Which free shirt would you pay $15 for?

As part of our seemingly endless quest to raise absurd amounts of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society we have been planning a 5K fun run. The run is called Laie Days 5K Charity Fun Run and is bound to be a good time. We have been doing some major negotiating and have had posters printed for free, prizes donated, a website made (by micah) and t-shirts funded. This will allow all of the registration fees to go directly to the charity, which is kind of excting if you ask us. So now we are designing the shirt and we need your help. We want these shirts to be really super mega awesome cool so people will wear them all of the time and everybody who didn’t run the race will be sad and people who didn’t know about the race will be like, “Hey! That’s a super mega awesome cool shirt! Where did you get that!?” And then we can sell the ones we didn’t give away for exorbitant prices and make even more money!! Bwahahaha!

So, here are the rules: We have come up with 3 similar, but different, designs. Look over them (click on the designs to see them bigger) and in the comments area let us know which shirt you would rather wear and why. Also, keep in mind that the color might change so don’t worry about that for the time being. Ready….Go.

SHIRT #1

SHIRT #2
SHIRT #3
Ku’u Aloha O Elikapeka

Ku’u Aloha O Elikapeka

This wasn’t supposed to be a brag blog, but look at what Micah did for me! He designed this Hawaiian quilt pattern, had it made into a wall-hanging by one of the sister missionaries (hours and hours of labor, as it is hand-stitched), and had it named after me. So, when you come to the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can buy this pattern and make a quilt out of it. It is called Ku’u Aloha O Elikapeka, which means “With the Love of Elizabeth.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing you have ever heard?

Ku'u Aloha O Elikapeka

Ku'u Aloha O Elikapeka

This wasn’t supposed to be a brag blog, but look at what Micah did for me! He designed this Hawaiian quilt pattern, had it made into a wall-hanging by one of the sister missionaries (hours and hours of labor, as it is hand-stitched), and had it named after me. So, when you come to the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can buy this pattern and make a quilt out of it. It is called Ku’u Aloha O Elikapeka, which means “With the Love of Elizabeth.” Isn’t that the sweetest thing you have ever heard?