Wednesday, December 24, 2008

First Thanksgiving in 4 Years

While driving up the hill through Prescott Valley into Prescott fond memories and images of my eventful past flooded through my mind. All that I could recall jumbled through my brain, old friends long since gone, jobs worked, stores and places visited. Recollections of driving my own Saturn from 5 or 6 years ago meshed almost seamlessly with the view of the highway I traveled now. A whole host of new strip malls, subdivisions and big box chain stores littered the traffic choked state highway, a cancerous blight slowly consuming what remained of the beautiful Arizona high country and prime habitat for the disappearing antelope.

Anyways, it was great to see Grandad and Evorine! While it was raining when we arrived, I was more than pleased to catch up with Grandad and Evorine. Noelle, Seth, and now Seth Andrew would arrive sometime later tonght. They now reside in Tuscon, where Seth finishes his graduate program at the University of Arizona. It'll be great to see them too!

The cold wind chills the sweat on my forehead as I run up Copper Basin Road. For the dozens of times I've hiked, biked, ran, and driven this path I still don't recognize much of what I see now. Bark beatles, droughts and forest fires, the first invading armies of climate change have slain many of the tall, stately Ponderosas that once stood proudly in this forest. Some hardy trees still stand defiant, stubbornly refusing to yield to the powerful minions of global warming that have taken so many of their kin.

Then it started raining on me and let me tell you it was cold! This time of year they usually get snow, and running faster was pretty much the only way to stay warm. Fortunately there were some towels outside in the garage waiting for me when I got home, as well as Evorine's good home cooking.

Seriously though, we all had a pretty good time. I hadn't had a proper Thanksgiving meal with family in four years. Fortunately, the Turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie all taste much as I remembered. I got some Christmas shopping done and gave my nephew Seth Andrew a big yellow dump truck/excavator for him to play with. He seemed to like it, playing with it for most of the rest of the morning. I had fun chatting with everybody and catching up. At this point I don't know if I'll see them again before I leave for Korea. Whether I do or not, I'll remember this Thanksgiving as a good one.Now I travel to Korea soon. While I don't know exactly when, I know a whole host of new holidays, celebrations, and customs are just waiting for me to learn about and experience.

New Mexico

As the holiday season began approaching, I decided to join my parents on their road trip through New Mexico and Arizona, culminating in Thanksgiving dinner with my grandparents in Prescott, AZ. But my parents decided to stop and visit the Cook family in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I personally couldn't recall seeing Ed Cook and his clan since I was in grade School in Denver. Like my own family, the Cooks were longtime members of Bear Valley Church in Lakewood. I have numerous memories of running around the church building with his son after Sunday school classes.

Fortunately for my dad, he gets to keep in touch with the Cooks through Servicemaster, as they bought a franchise in Albuquerque. We stayed the evening with them and went out to a nice dinner at some trendy new restaurant.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Springing to Life

My lethargic, unemployment-induced unstructured routine has come to a sudden, abrupt halt with news about when and where I'll be shipping off to Korea. I got word from my new employer to ship out before Christmas, and I must book a ticket as soon as possible: before Christmas preferably.

All those tasks and chores I've put off so long suddenly take on new urgency. What to throw away? What to sell? What to donate to the Salvation Army? What to take with me to the Korean Peninsula?

Other things with no question about them: Write the blog entries I've been meaning to get done; Watch and return videos to Ed Cook; clean room; make necessary purchases for Korea; finish scanning old photographs; get Christmas presents for people, etc.

In many ways, its good. Its been so long since I've put in an honest day's work that I've forgotten how good it can feel at times. As I'm sure many people are no doubt finding in the current economic crisis, unemployment saps you, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I'm coming to realize that people (myself included) need a purpose or at least tasks to accomplish in order to be healthy and happy.