She's So Vain

I admit it, I have a vain streak. I like to look good. I dye my hair, constantly diet, have facials regularly, buy expensive facial products, and also have had "permanent make-up" applied. About 8 years ago I had my first procedure: eyeliner. While very painful, I've loved it. I never have to worry about my eyeliner. Then about two years after that I had my eyebrows done. I also loved that. It re-shaped my face and now I don't have to draw in eyebrows that were so light they appeared non-existent.

Well Saturday I took the plunge and had my eyeliner darkened up and then my lips done. OWWWW!!! I thought eyeliner was bad, this felt like someone was slowly slicing my lips off my face; and that was with a topical anesthetic (and a little prescription painkiller I took before the procedure).

My sister Linda (who had her eyes done the day before) drove me home upon which James began laughing the minute he saw my lips come in the front door. That's about all one can see when you look at my face: bright red, puffy lips. My eyes are puffy too, but the lips win the prize.

So the swelling will go down within a couple of days, the color will mute itself as the layers of skin slough off, but I'm not so sure it was worth the agony. We'll see.

Save the Ta-Ta's

While this title may sound trite and possibly a little crude, it caught my attention at the Susan Komen "Race for the Cure" held here in the Puget Sound area on Saturday June 21st. My sister, Linda, her two daughters (5 and 2 yrs), and my mother all did the 5K walk along the Alaskan Way viaduct. The walk started at Qwest field (where the Seahawks play) and looped around the viaduct ending 3.10 miles later.

The viaduct was a sea of pink! Men, women, children, and even dogs walked to show their support for the cause. There was the "Save the Ta-Ta's!" t-shirt I saw on a young man walking next to an older woman (mother?), and another man wearing a pink shirt "Beaus for Boobs" next to another elderly woman with a similar shirt titled "Babes for Boobs". A young family with strollers and toddlers had a banner attached to their stroller announcing "Thanks for the Mammories!" It was great seeing the creativity and fun everyone was having while raising awareness for this killer disease.

My mother, Necia, is a breast cancer survivor. She was quite moved to see the hundreds of other survivors banded together singing out "I Will Survive!" in the middle of Qwest field. Living in tiny Chehalis, Washington means that she hasn't seen the huge supportive network nor the large numbers of other women (and some men) who have battled breast cancer and won.

All in all, it was an impactful day. My heart swelled with awe at the huge numbers of people all there to support the cause. It truly was inspiring. I decided that I will do my best to participate in this event every year.



James and I in a tiny square in Oia on Santorini, a beautiful Greek island.

Greek Island - Santorini

Beautiful view from the town of Oia (pronounced EE-AH) on Santorini, one of the most beautiful of the Greek islands.


This is the Ephesus library. Only about 20% of Ephesus has been excavated. What we did see was a pretty amazing display of Roman architecture. The main road was paved in marble and snaked up through a multitude of ruins that were shops, houses, administrative buildings, baths, and temples. It is incredible to think that Paul spoke there. John also lived there and most likely died while living in Ephesus.

James in Istanbul

An authentic Turkish restaurant offers relaxation for James. These cushions are on the floor with tiny little tables for the favorite beverage: Turkish tea.


The Naxos Effect

Notes from my journal:

I'm warm here laying in the Greek island sunshine, nothing to do and a gentle breeze doing a great job of keeping me from becoming too hot as I on a bench at the tiny airport of Samos. We were to stay 3 days in Kusadasi, by Ephesus in Turkey, then leave and go to Naxos via Samos. We've spent several days trying to figure out how to get to Naxos. My research in the states apparently wasn't thorough enough and there are not daily ferries to Naxos. We cannot get there! As a result we had to decide what to do with the next few days. We decided to fly on to Athens and then wing it from there. Our main goal was to really relax and soak up some sun. We've been going 100 miles an hour since we left the states and we are ready for some down time.

I'm not used to winging it. I like things planned out, so everything past our planned and now de-bunked Naxos itinerary, we are now referring to as the "Naxos Effect."

Once in Athens we made a beeline for a travel agency there in the airport. We figured we'd hit a beach or maybe even fly to Venice for a few days. We were game for just about anything. The travel agent was very helpful and booked us on a three day cruise through the islands. Perfect. It is a smaller, older cruise boat, but we liked the idea. We spent the night in Athens near the port and then left on Friday morning on the boat, Ocean Countess, at 11:00 a.m. Our first stop was Mykonos. Saturday morning the boat stopped in, you'll never guess, Kusadasi! We didn't even get off. We just sat on the deck and worked on our tans. The boat stayed only long enough for most passengers to get a quick bus trip and tour of Ephesus, and then we were off and away again, now we're on our way to Patmos.

From Patmos we'll hit Crete then Santorini, and then back to Athens. We'll only end up spending two and a half days in Athens, which we're told is enough, and then fly on home.

Back to Kusadasi. We met up with Mark and Michelle Moore in Kusadasi and stayed with them and their three children. Michelle had just found out she was pregnant with their fourth (they wanted four) and wasn't always feeling too well. We rented a car and tried to stay out of the way for the most part. Their two older children, Clarke and Alyssa, were very excited to have us there and talked our ears off. They drew us pictures and made a card for us to take home.

We visited Ephesus which was an amazing set of ruins and also a small Greek village called Siringe. We'll show every one pictures on those two places later. I really like Siringe. It was really a throw back. People had outdoor kitchens with stone ovens where they cooked. Very little in any modern amenities.

It has been very hot, probably in the mid to high 90's. Being on the boat with the breeze has made it nice though.


Istanbul at Night

From the terrace at our hotel on the very first night, I captured this stunning photo of one of the famous mosques in Turkey: The Blue Mosque. It is called the Blue Mosque because of the blue tile used in the dome.

Children Put on a Play for Us

The children put on a play for us to say "thank you" for the gifts. They were adorable.

Sorting Clothes in Bucharest

Here I am sorting out clothes in Bucharest for the orphanages and schools.


June 2 - Last Day in Istanbul

Today we leave istanbul for Kusadasi, near the old Ephesus, to meet up with the Moore's, a missionary family from the U.S. I am copying this from my writing in my journal while on the terrace of our hotel around 11 a.m.

We hiked down a steep street near our hotel to a UPS store and had a bunch of stuff shipped home. VERY EXPENSIVE! But it is the safest way to get stuff home. You can't trust the regular post office; things may not arrive. Obviously UPS doesn't have a ground option to the U.S.

Over 15 million people call Istanbul home. There are approximately 70 million in Turkey. There are only 3000 to 3500 Christians. It is the largest country with the smallest Christian population. A huge mission field, but an extremely hard one.

As I spend my last few moments here, I am awed by the vastness of this city as well as the grip of the Muslim religion. It is an exotic, beautiful city; but very lost and it doesn't want to be found.