"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

Archive for September, 2011

Too Much Nature for Today

I think I’ve had enough nature today to last for the week.

Earlier today I went outside to pick tomatoes and found that a HUGE green caterpillar devoured all but 5 leaves on my cherry tomato plant and ate half the cherry tomatoes too. I mean, this guy was enormous- he ate the whole plant in a day and a half. Then I found my heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes were covered in tiny spiders and spider webs (yuck!). I tried to brush off some of the spider webs and picked off the dead leaves (without touching any spiders) and almost grabbed a hold of a praying mantis cleverly disguised as a dead leaf, of course. I’m glad he’s there, hopefully he’ll eat the spiders, but he nearly gave me a heart attack. I went inside and debated whether to make lunch or go back outside and take pictures of the caterpillar and praying mantis, and decide to take pictures.

I walked outside and turned around to slide the screen door shut and to find a man eating, spotted orangey-red spider, at least the size of a half dollar, right near my face on the screen door. (I thought the praying mantis nearly gave me a heart attack). I didn’t notice him when I walked out because the blinds were mostly shut. So, I backed up in the corner near the caterpillar (who was big enough to easily eat my index finger in one swift gulp if he were a carnivore) and millions of tiny spiders to the right of me, not exactly sure what to do. I decided to take a photo of the spider, you know, in case I died so my husband would know what caused my death. For those of you who think I’m over-reacting (I probably am) but we have these big ugly aggressive black spiders in our house that actually run at you. (This I’m not over-dramatizing).  I’ve found three of them in my office, one per day, for the last 3 days in a row and one of them actually ran towards me, backing me in the corner behind my desk (I had to throw a blanket on him and run out). So, the entire time I’m picturing this red and orange spider leaping onto me with its fangs out. And that’s when my camera battery died. So there I was, trapped outside, starving, with an unusable camera, no pictures of the praying mantis, and my cell phone was inside the house.

I started praying the spider would travel left instead of up, like he was trying to. He took his sweet time but the spider eventually moved far enough to the side that I could get back inside. I did not go back outside to take more pictures or remove the caterpillar from my poor naked tomato plant.

For those of you interested, I think the spider I saw looked very similar this marbled orb weaver, but darker with more red and orange shades. It turns out they are not man eating or venomous (if that’s what kind it was) but I don’t plan to test that out anytime soon.

I did get a few photos with my phone of the caterpillar and praying mantis the first time I went outside. They aren’t great, but I’m not going back out there today 🙂

And . . . We’re Off!

Five years ago today, in a hot air balloon in Del Mar, James asked me to marry him. And then almost exactly 2 months later, we were married. We planned a beautiful wedding in only 2 months—it can be done! We originally thought we’d have it in summer of ’07 but decided we just couldn’t live in two different states for another year. Everything fell into place so we moved it to November.

Fun Fact: When I called my grandma to tell her the date and location we chose, she told me that my Uncle Bob and Aunt Elena (who happens to be one of my favorite people) got married on the same date and in the same church. It was meant to be!

Back to the story of our engagement . . . I’ll admit, I was a little nervous. Not about getting married, but the balloon ride. James had been talking about going up in a balloon for awhile. I was hesitant due to my fear of heights, but he really wanted to do it so I said ok. Once we got there James wouldn’t let me read the disclaimer in the paper work – he told me to just trust him and sign it (I still don’t know what it said). Then a guy came out and told us that taking off was easy, it was the landing that was tricky. He proceeded to tell us that there were two different landing scenarios that could happen.

1. The basket would hit the ground 2-3 times and then stop upright.


2. The basket would hit the ground, fall over on its side and then we would be drug across the ground for who knows how long. We were instructed to hold on tight if this happened.

Next he loaded all of us up into a rickety old RV and we drove down an unpaved bumpy road to the middle of nowhere. Someone mentioned what we were all thinking – that they hoped we got there bfore the RV fell apart. And then someone else says “Hey, did you hear about the balloon that ran into some power lines last week?” I’m pretty sure James didn’t think he was getting me up in that balloon.

We reached our destination and they began to blow it up. It was a really neat process to watch!

Once we got up in the air it was amazing.

We had a view of the sun setting into the ocean over Del Mar and there were several other balloons out that evening. They handed out champaign and sparkling cider. We chatted with some of the other people in the balloon as we took in the views. Many were there celebrating birthdays or anniversaries.

Then, James announced in front of everyone that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. Everyone in the balloon started cheering and later we found out that at the same time James was proposing to me, another couple on the other side of the balloon also got engaged!

An incredibly nice couple took photos of James proposing and then mailed them to us:

After the balloon ride was over they put out a spread of chocolate covered strawberries and cheese and crackers. And then James and I went out for a tasty dinner at Red Lobster. It was a perfect, beautiful, and memorable evening. 🙂 I still feel so lucky to be married to such a romantic and thoughtful man. I love you James!