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Virgin Islands Sailing Adventure

Day 1: San Diego --> St. Thomas --> Tortola
I thought i was supposed to fly out on Saturday night's red eye, but instead while checking the time for the following night's departure, turned out to actually be the Friday night redeye. Valerie was visiting from LA and she was upset when she heard but took me to the airport anyways. Aaron & Caitlin Workman and Nick Adema were already there and about to board their flight to St. Thomas enroute JFK vice Atlanta like me. It was good to see them, the adventure was really beginning. We were to arrive within the same timespan in St. Thomas. I slept on the red eye to Atlanta, grabbed a latte and oatmeal and was one of the last to board the plane. At least i had the aisle seat, even though i prefer the window. As i fumbled with my carry on, purse and starbucks this guy from the window seat said, "Karen?" I did not recognize him and i am pretty good with faces. Then he introduced himself as Todd and that we were going on the same trip. how in the world were we sitting in the same row? He offered to switch places with the girl in the middle seat (later we would make friends with Gina). I thought that was really sweet. I kept trying to read my book, Sara Gruen's new one Ape House, but he kept on talking to me. finally i gave up and we talked the entire flight.

We all met up at the St. Thomas Airport and boarded a ferry to Tortola where we would pick up our boat. Todd wanted to sit next to me, but i wanted to make sure that the other single girl, Jessica had some company as we would be spending 10 days together. Todd ended up talking about fishing to some guys who we would meet up with later on the trip. Jessica and I ended up claiming the two-man stateroom together instead of the coffin-like singles up forward which the girls who arrived later Sadie and Christina got.

From then on, Todd & I were inseparable. We had dinner at Pusser's Outpost which is famous for Painkillers. We had our first Painkillers in Pusser's Tin cups of the trip which we would subsequently make batches of every day following onboard. We tried putting names on the cups, but we were family and that didn't last long.  Briede assigned us parts of the long shopping list to provision the trip.  food for 12 people for 10 days meant 4 shopping carts full.  i pushed Todd around like in Jackass but didn't hurt him or anything. we might have sang a little of Bran's Freestyle along the way.  

Day 2:  Tortola --> Caneel Bay St John,--> Christmas Cove Great St James Island
We motored out of BVI Yacht Charters on Sailing Vessel Morena which we renamed Eden's East unofficially and started our grand sailing adventure that Briede had planned for us.  We hoisted the mainsail up with the electric winch and sailed 20+ miles to St. John where we cleared customs for the first of seemingly a million times.  Our dinghy was filled to capacity with the 10 of us on there (or so we thought).  Todd is the dinghy captain and fisherman. I am the Coast Guard Liaison always ready to defend our position to the 87' patrol boat that kept following us, Caitlin the Cook, Nick the Barista among other things, Aaron air operations, etc. After St. John we began the long sail to Culebra, some call it an island in the Spanish Virgin Islands but it is actually a Puerto Rican island. 

And we trolled.  In Culebra we fished off the stern as well. Every night we took a mooring ball or anchorage with as much breeze as possible and slept on deck in the bowsprit or trapeze until the nightly rains came when we took refuge below decks. 

Day 3: St. James --> Culebra
We sailed to pick up Craig and Jen who are engaged and from Savannah where Craig is a river pilot.  Craig is another KP'er but an '05 grad (Aaron is the only civilian guy).  Todd, Briede, Christina and I went to the Dinghy Dock and had our first (and best) bushwackers. Todd and i explored the area a bit while we waited for Craig and Jen. That day we snorkeled around a cool reef and, l love to swim so Todd and I would go out and swim to our heart's content, noting the beautiful coral and colorful fish.  didn't compare to hawaii and no one had ever seen a humuhumunukuapawaa before.  We also caught fish almost daily, some we ate as sashimi, others we threw back, but when one was on the line i had to get the pliers, gloves, camera and reel them in sometimes if it was my turn.  my casts were not so stellar at the the beginning, but kept practicing everyday.  

Day 4: Culebra --> Vieques
Happy Birthday Briede!  all day i would practice having conversations with him and start with "Oh Captain, My Captain"  Every morning Todd and I would go fishing in the dinghy and most days afterward we would take other people into town to get ice and any other necessities.  When we had gone into town we looked for a cake to no avail.  I went on every shore excursion, enjoyed speaking with the locals about the area and their lives.  It was here that we bought two cases of Heineken (one light) and one Coors Light for $110! and of course it had to be cash as cards are rarely accepted.

We swam and drank some more. Vieques is so beautiful.  the scenery is something from a postcard, maybe one of the blown up ones that they sell at Ikea. There are wild horses all over the island and the largest of the other Puerto Rican islands that we visited.  That afternoon we invented the Paddleboard Bar.  A terrific idea by Aaron to bring a blow up paddleboard to begin with. He made margaritas and we had cold Heinekens.

Once dark, it was time for Briede's birthday party. We went to Biobay, and i dont know if that was the official name or not in 15 pax vans.  There were wild horses everywhere and it was difficult to not run into them as they would jolt in front of the vehicles. The water was filled with bioluminiscence, not the kind that i would see underway when we would part the waters with the bow of the cutter, but dense and bright bioluminiscence. it was everywhere.  Todd and I got in our kayak and we paddled around, making it glow under the bright moon, then we formed a flotilla and jumped out of the kayaks and swam, agitating it even more, so beautiful that no picture came close to capturing its magnificence. Our tour guide Mexican/Santa Cruz Dave was terrific, i should write him a good review on Trip Advisor. 

Day 5: Vieques --> Culebrita
We motored a few miles to Culebrita or 'little snake' in Spanish. We snorkeled some more and then we hiked up to what is the oldest light house in the Caribbean.  It is no longer maintained and just a piece of rust is holding the light atop of the rusted out spiral staircase. We started to get eaten by mosquitoes.  The view from the top was spectacular and we scoped out the fishing grounds the following morning.

But the coolest thing was the hermit crabs. They were everywhere, and i mean everywhere along the trail under this canopy predominantly small ones and some as big as 4" shell diameter. it sounded like it was raining but it was just the crabs moving over the underbrush and dead leaves. on the West side of the path all the hermit crabs were moving in the same westerly direction, conversely on the east side of the path, those crabs were moving easterly.  I could not find a rhyme or reason. it was like parting the Red Sea.

Day 6: Culebrita --> St. John
We got up early each day and went fishing on the dinghy (LB1) and this is some of our best talks happened because fishing is not just about catching fish.  We caught one fish while on the dinghy, that is it, but my cast improved dramatically. We would have had to travel to deeper water for tuna.  the fish we caught off the back of the boat were very tasty and we had some as sashimi, other seared and most we let go.

We motored for 20 miles back to the BVI as the wind was not in our favor and we would have had to tack a lot.  Upon arriving in St. John's Trunk Bay, which was picturesque Caribbean, we went into town and had some painkillers and enjoyed one of our only meals out at Banana Lounge in Cruz Bay. the scallops were very good as i had the special.  i need to remember to order my steak Pittsburgh style like Aaron did which is just seared on both sides and rare in the middle.  

that night Todd and I dinghied back to the beach to explore and stargaze under the seemingly full moon. there were mosquitoes so we lathered the bug spray on. I brought my windup/solar powered radio which worked like a champ. We stayed for a few hours as the Off was wearing off and we didnt want to return in the dark.  so beautiful, great company. best night ever.  i would love for every couple to have a beach all to themselves under a full moon in the beauty of the Virgin Islands.  

Day 7: St. John --> Tortola
i think my days are messed up or the places are. either way.  Laundry day. after fishing without success another morning, we sailed from St. John to Tortola which was our base camp as we were there 3 times. Every day we upon arrival to a new place we would swim or snorkel or both and Caitlin would cook with assistance from her capable sous chefs. 

In order to clear customs back into the British side, Caitlin and I took all the dirty laundry in a seabag and my CGA duffel bag (my only bag for 14 days) to the laundromat.  because we were so close to the National Park, we took "hollywood" or as we say "hotel" showers vice our normal sea showers. we disregared the signs that said no soap on the shower doors. how are we supposed to shower without shampoo? On the cat there are 4 heads, each with a showerhead attached to the staterooms. it sleeps 8 comfortably with 2 coffins up forward. Christina seemed to like hers. Every night people slep on the hammock, bow sprit, kitchen or in the back "family room". We were only allowed to have 10 people onboard so Caitlin and i had to clear customs separately.  

I cleared customs with our dirty laundry on our backs. We took the ferry from St. John to Tortola and embarked with these smoothies that were so good, mine mango, coconut and pineapple. i called Becky at work to find out some information and advice on these trips as she had been on the one two years prior. 

We arrrived on the West End and told the taxi driver we wanted a laundromat. So we dropped off our towels, sheets and two pieces of clothing each and she weighed them. unfortunately some of the towels were still wet, so that cost more.  We asked her what time she would be done (it is a friday), in response she asked what time we would be back. we finally agreed on 3:30. The taxi driver and the rest of the vacationers waited for us the whole time we negotiated the transaction.  We continued into town where we window shopped for a bit.  Caitlin and i had a good chance to talk and i needed a sounding board. Jen had said that we would be engaged by the end of the trip because we had been on so many dates and spent practically every waking minute together.  I hadn't even thought of that and wow, talk about rushing things. She thought it would be good for us to be a part. It was fine as i dont scuba dive but became much more comfortable with free diving and clearing.

Friday, July 15th on Tortola is Full Moon Party at Bomba Shack.  
so we went and danced and were offered mushrooms and mushroom tea and beer to which we declined.  the floor was sand and the place was literally a big shack in the middle of nowhere. our friends wanted to go back to the boat before 11pm. What?  I know it is island time and everything, but it was so much fun, the DJ, the people watching, the entire experience, the yachties. So Todd and i stayed. Bob Marley came on with Is This Love?  yes. We continued dancing and he told me he loved me. It was wonderful. As the night winded down, Todd got us a ride back with another family moored a few down from us, so we even got the dinghy ride and didn't have to swim.

Day 8:   Tortola --> Yost Van Dyke
We didnt go fishing as early as normal. Around the North part of Tortola, we sailed. or the south, either way to Yost Van Dyke. We got there early, around 9:30am and a prime location in front of the Soggy Dollar Bar. We med moored! so stoked as i have only read about it. we put out the stern anchor via the dinghy with a huge amount of chain. this also created a good swimming area between us and the beach. We played Captain Nasty which they officially call the Ring Game, which is an addictive game and of course Todd and i hung out all day swimming and galavanting.  

The paddle board bar was a hit again.  On the boat next to us, a charter from St. Thomas i think, had a DJ and a following dance party. Briede's favorite lyric, "Don't Get Fancy, Just Get Dancy". We went over for the party, by now the bay was packed with boats on the Saturday morning. It was an annual beach bash, or so the poster boasted. 

We switched anchorages to a quieter one down the bay for the night, thinking the partying next to us especially would last all night. But by sunset, mostly everyone had cleared out and even the bar was closed, at 7:30pm. bar. closed?  i couldn't even get a t-shirt and i went online and their selection is minimal. 

We ended the night at a locals party and that was an experience, we just wanted to keep the night and the party going. We continued to dance in the dark.

Day 9: Yost Van Dyke --> The Dogs
We sailed to the Dogs which are island off Tortola. After unsuccessfully buying milk, eggs and bread, we headed back to the boat, defeated, but not empty handed with water, ice and beer and shelf-stable milk for the percolated coffee. it was sunday morning and nothing was open. had it not been Sunday, the verdict would still be out with respect to the business hours.

At the Dogs we put on our fins and headed out, noticing jelly fish and cool fish on the reef.  on our way back from getting our reef and fish fill, the boat next to us asked if we had seen the downed plane with an appx location.  when i say appx, i mean appx.  somehow i found it, swimming back out after everyone else had called it quits. We could free dive it pretty well and i got a lot more comfortable with free diving along the duration of the trip.  We played Catch Phrase and some Yachtzee, drank painkillers or margaritas, (don't remember which, days run together.)

We stayed there overnight as it would be a quick jaunt. appx 5 miles to Virgin Gorda in the a.m

Day 10: The Dogs --> Virgin Gorda --> Cooper Island
No Fish.

We got a great mooring at the baths and donned our snorkel gear. we snorkeled in the tumultuous waters to get to the caves. We were tossed around and i got pretty beat up (notice bruises in random places), it was not fun and i was scared, not wanting to hit my head and not come back up conscious. 

Todd didnt come out, so i thought he must have made his way to the head of the pack. in actuality, he had been tossed even more than me and lost his fins, snorkel and $ along his wild adventure. i was worried. he was scratched up by the time we finally re-united and told me his horrifying story.

Nick, Aaron, Todd and I bouldered.  i was too scared to cliff jump at the end, unaware the bottom composition. Nick and Todd jumped, well dove actually. Caitlin told Aaron that if he jumped that she wouldn't change his diapers.

We left the baths after lunch of cheeseburgers and fries and talked with a local, Willie, who sold me my only souvenir (besides my dads b-day belt). then we sailed over to Cooper Island, Todd drove and i was his mate or what ever it is called when you sit next to them and look pretty. We doused the sails, and everyone freaked out because we were in front of another boat that looked like they were doing the same thing. We kept calm as it was not big deal. we are not dealing with 900' LNG tanker here. He moored us up well to the buoy, right near the beach! What else would we expect from someone who has been sailing the whole day?

We reached the shore for happy hour, red neck bowling, and dinner.  Todd and i wandered down the beach and he walked up to this house where the dude is in his hammock, chillin, and we start talking fishing and life on Cooper Island. I didn't want to wear my bathing suit to dinner so we paddleboarded to the boat to change. I put on an athleta dress (red) and he put on his nice white Quiksilver shirt. I didn't want to get wet and kneel like i had before. So we decided to both stand up, him paddle and i would hold onto him.  i guess i didnt hold on well enough, but we got on! and we were doing really well.  Then Creeper Fish appeared.  Briede came along and started chasing us as we made it to the dinghy dock. didn't work out so well. Todd paddled fast and past Briede's grasp to filp up.  But he kept telling me to jump in the dinghy we would be passing. so we jumped into the dinghy. unfortunately i didn't land feet first but legs in the water and thus needed to change my salt-water filled dress.  Craig gave me a ride back in the dinghy. Briede would tackle Todd in the water and he would have to change too. It was a lot of fun for those on shore, and ourselves and for Caitlin's camera for capturing it.

We have so much fun together, he is much more than meets the eye (and that is good too), is ambitious, smart, witty, has a heart for God, loves the ocean, sports, me and longs for adventures. That night at dinner i told him i loved him too. i never want to be without him again.
 
Day 11: Cooper Island --> Tortola --> St. John --> St. Thomas --> Atlanta --> Wilmington
We packed up all our stuff, cleaned and returned the cat to Tortola and caught the ferry to St. Thomas. We walked down to Jolly Roger and enjoyed our last painkiller.  the previous night, we told the group that we were together and they made us kiss in front of them. we had been keeping PDA to a minimum but they were all happy for us.

Jen asked Todd if he was coming to their wedding and he would and his guest would be me. we will be together much longer than that, but a date that i will look forward to. (wonder where our first date will be?)  what an amazing vacation, best ever.

be blessed
**pictures to follow**

girls night out in Seattle

after a day of sailing on Puget Sound with dad, Rudy and Helen under the clouds, the sun came out and glistened on us.  Darcy is in town from North Carolina, and so am I.  so we got together for the first time since maybe the Gary party in college (will look for that picture later to post)?  this time last year we all went to Crystals wedding and Bachelorette party, but nothing like this where we got to be together.  we had dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory and a nightcap at Twist a few blocks away (happy hour till close was nice).  

so after 10 years since graduating from Mt. Rainier High School and knowing 4 of these girls since grade school, we have come a long way.



left to right (me, crystal, tiffany, kathy, val, katie and darcy)

i also got to thinking.... what a surprise!  of the 7 of us, one is married, three living with long term boyfriends, one with a boyfriend and two of us single.  two nurses, two military officers, one yacht builder, one teacher, and one Boeing employee. three homeowners.  all of us still active.  no kiddos.  all our parents still alive, 4 divorced, 3 married. i think it was better than our 10 year reunion will be in September.

 be blessed

WoRkOuT

this morning i was lazy, slowly moving around, peacefully starting my day.  cup of coffee, almost finished reading the book of Numbers, hung out on the balcony, the usual.  then took my dad out for a belated Father's Day lunch to his favorite Sushisaki for bento box lunch. we even split a large Sapporo.  mama and i went shopping, she bought me a dress from White House/Black Market and I introduced her to Aldo shoes :)

Tiffany picked me up and we went to Crossfit. She is one of the trainers and looks amazing with her new toned body, congratulations girl, hard work payed off.  our WOD was:
200m run 13 sit ups, pull ups
200m run 12 sit ups, pull ups, 11, 10, 9, ....
since i am a newbie, i did pushups. time 20:54.  i like it.  then we got ran out by the Renton Gangsters as we were doing our finale sand bag run.

mom has a running group which is an offshoot of her bootcamp. so we went running at 7pm, meeting at the field house (so convenient).  there were 8 of us, and we ran to Saltwater State Park and back.  it was 76 degrees outside and the first day over 75 all year, and the longest as its the solstice.  i did a 6.7 mile run because i detoured to Kathy Rice's house and chatted with Jim, MaryJo, Kristie, Maria and Jerry before heading home.  i shouldnt have eaten between workouts because on the incline around the Masonic Home, i saw that salad three more times.  sorry mom, you made a great salad.

for the nightcap, Crystal and i trekked to Tiff's house and watched Just Go With It, a Happy Madison production.  the most interesting part was when Tiff's dad came out naked into the living room, after Tiff said, "Dad, dont come out here naked" haha.  i think it is time for her to move out of there.

be blessed

Father's Day

 last night i surprised daddy for Father's Day.  mama picked me up at the airport after telling him she was going to the grocery store.  i had a fairly uneventful flight aside from the smelly and restless lady sitting next to me.  she would not stop moving and spraying herself with water (i hope).  it was weird.  anyways, Katie came over and we chatted before heading up to Seattle to a rugby get-together.  i was one of a few straight girls in the whole bar, interesting.  

mama and i went to the gym in the morning. she was on the elliptical for an hour, so i did a hard workout.  it has been awhile since i have used the machines and weights since i run, bike, swim, and play ultimate. not a lot of strength training going on.  i will be sore tomorrow!    Ben picked me up for Tacoma and Uncle Tim and Aunt Nancy's house. mom and dad went to pick up grandma Es.  a great family gathering only would have been better if the sun had been out.  it was Grandma Es, dad, mom, ben and me; Grandpa Jerry and Mary, Tim and Nancy, Craig and Janet, Uncle Jeff and Cousin Annika.  The garden at Tim and Nancy's was pristine.  see pic below.



after Ben and i dropped Grandma off, we had dinenr at Ben's house with Caitlin and her friends Saeah, Sarah and Amanda. so it was Ben and 5 girls at his house.  he made great crabcakes before we busted out Masterpiece and played the old (and it smelled that way) game.  will be in town until Friday, gotta keep making the rounds.

the weird thing is that i didn't go to church and it is Sunday morning. there wasn't time and i didn't want to go to the Catholic church.  i will listen to the Podcast from my church Barabbas Road tomorrow on 1 Corinthians 12. 

be blessed.   

River of Life

I've got a river of life flowing out of me!
Makes the lame to walk, and the blind to see.
Opens prison doors, sets the captives free!
I've got a river of life flowing out of me!

Spring up, O well, within my soul!
Spring up, O well, and make me whole!
Spring up, O well, and give to me
That life abundantly.

i was reading the Bible this morning and reading Numbers. the text reminded me of the song above.

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28th Birthday

I woke up to the sunshine beaming through the cracks in my blinds (i need to make curtains) on a Sunday morning.  JP3 was sleeping on the couch. We went to dinner last night at Jake's Del Mar and i had the petit Filet with these fabulous au gratin potatoes with a Waterstone cabernet sauvignon from Napa.  the bottle tried to commit suicide as it almost slid off the table until JP3 caught it and saved its life.  He had lamb chops, they were so tasty.  they treated me with a complimentary Hulu pie, oh the fudge :) 

JP3 helped make all the food, and i think we came up with a great menu, if i say so myself. and i wasn't stressed out! Saturday afternoon we made the Couscous and Garbanzo bean salad ahead of time. made a spinach, raspberry and feta salad. storebought caprese pinwheel (proscuitto, fresh mozzarella and basil),  3 amuse bouches, "happy mouths" (avocado/black bean, baby shrimp/cucumber, and smoked salmon/cream cheese on Tostitos scoops), maple-glazed salmon for main course, vodka watermelon and amazing cupcakes from Sugar and Scribe on Garnet. 

let's see who came to the shindig bday/housewarming.  i was unsure how many people would come as i just moved here and dont have that many friends yet:  JP3, GEORGANNE!!! from the IE,  Dave Teague, Vranessa, Libby, Nick Adema, Jen Tietz, Mike, Andy, Chad Ray, Myles Richardson, Josh Herrador, Kris Lopez, Cale Cooper, Ben Litts, Kara & Drew, neighbor John, Karen & Ashlyn, Karen Clark, Marcus Ivery, Karl & Suzanna (JP3's friends) and Chandra i think that's it.  Chad rocked out to Nelly, after Nick fixed my XM radio, Myles did the watermelon, JP3 the salmon, and everyone brought wine, so thats what we drank. my ENSs gave me a starbucks gift card, got a cluttering of bday cards, and loads of smiles and laughts; everyone had a good time, i know i did.

my love tank is full. 25 friends, thank you!  God is good and blesses his children more than we deserve.

beach run

This morning i woke up early, despite being on the phone late and not getting my 7 hours of sleep (sorry CAPT Crabbs).  I threw on my workout clothes i laid out the night before because my lamp is not set up in my bedroom yet.  The sun had yet to rise.  i think if i go out again tomorrow morning, i will bring my camera.  it was beautiful when the sun came up over Mission Bay. For the first 10 minutes of my run, i was the only soul out there.  South of Crystal Pier was speckled with a few people, a runner, a young couple searching for shells, a lone surfer, and a few dog walkers.  The mist wrapped around the cottages on Crystal Pier and the vacation homes along the beach.

last night after i took my GRE and finished my E-Resume for Public Affairs Grad school, i headed over to Coronado for small group with my girls from church. it was only my second time there, but a wonderful time to study the Bible, review Sunday's sermon, pray together and share life. Last night Desiree, Leanna, Libby, Christie, Vranessa and Melissa were there. still trying to remember names and get to know them better. 

So this morning on my run, i prayed for their requests.  I didn't take my iPod, it was just God, me and his glorious creation.  This is why i live here, <2 blocks from the beach. 

be blessed

Memorial Day Weekend

all day thursday i thought it was friday, note my disappointment when it wasn't.  i had a great meet-up with my amazing hair dresser Tina, who lightened me up: my base one shade lighter than natural, blonde highlights throughout and some dark chunky peek-a-boo low lights for fun.  afterward met up with a few Kings Pointers for Troy. meh.
 


i called for early quarters on Friday as i am acting XO.  so we did some awards, dont drink and drive, have fun.... i met up with my high school friend Cindra at PB with her new boyfriend Lee.  so glad she got rid of the last guy, because he did not treat her right.  I showed her PB Shore Club, Lahaina's and finally danced at the Tavern before calling it a night.

Saturday was filled with NCAA softball super regionals (UW is still in, but where did these SEC teams come from?  c'mon PAC-10!)  i met up with my friend Jen from Navy DH school and we brunched at Cafe 222 downtown.  it was wonderful, met all 4 categories for a good meal, good food, good ambiance, good service, and good company.  Jen dropped me off in Mission Beach for the Crawfish Boil that i was really looking forward to. i had one beer and a crawfish before Kenji picked me up for our LA adventure with Patton Oswalt the comedian.  maybe i am not that into stand-up comedy, because i might have shut my eyes for a second.  

for my Sabbath Sunday i went back to Barabbas Road church where Pastor Matt preached on 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 regarding modesty, head coverings and authority.  thought provoking.  after church there is fitness in the park, so i played soccer for the first time in years.  we moved to Java Earth, a coffee shop on Cass close to my house and had Skeptic's Corner and had the best theological discussion i have had in awhile.  i had to defend my faith and really seek why i believe what i do.  it was refining.  Jen and i headed up to La Jolla for an all-white party, so we donned white dresses for the occasion.  enjoyable.

today is still up in the air. but to my grandfathers, father and brother, and my friends, thank you for your dedication to serving our country. 

be blessed
Wednesday:  we finally pulled in after having to turn around outside of SF Bay to crane off our broken helo (with Ryan Hawn as the pilot, it was great to see him again, regardless of the circumstances. so we got to San Diego a day late.  I met up with Briede and we started house shopping in PB before my meeting with a potential roommate Julianne in Mission Beach.  We drove around North PB and saw a couple potentials, one i loved and scheduled a showing for Thursday.  We met Juls in Mission Beach, and it is South Mission Beach.  it was a forever drive and there was no room for my stuff besides a bedroom.  she was super nice and i am sure we would have been friends.  i said i would let her know by the weekend my decision.  Briede and i met up with a couple of his friends who are on AT out here at Ra Sushi downtown before a nightcap at The Local.  

Thursday: i worked.  after work i took a long walk around North PB, looking for FOR RENT signs.  Started at Beryl and Mission and walked to Gresham and zig-zagged until i got to Diamond St.  man, i love the neighborhood, maybe someday i can afford to buy one of the houses in the area.  the showing of 915 Diamond St went pretty well and i met some new friends including Conor who is a prior SEAL and from WA state. he and his roommate really wanted the place, so i had to get all my stuff together fast and when they opened on Friday.  Mariners are in town this weekend! I had dinner with Ari and Kenji in Mission Hills. the udon was not so good, but the company was.

Friday: i ran to the Convention Center and did some stairs. hour and 10 wonderful minutes.  felt terrific.  i went to the beach and grabbed a Mexican Mocha from Kono's.  I submitted my application for 915 Diamond at 10am. Conor and Justin didn't.   i went to the beach before heading downtown to pick up my friend Jen Tietz for the Mariners/Padres opening game of the series.  what a sweet place she has downtown. looks furnished.  she is moving in August to Norfolk, booo.  she has moved 7 times in 10 years.  i dont want that for myself. Mariners won! 

Saturday: Marcus, Drew, Kara and i went to Torrey Pines State Park for a hike.  we doubted Marcus' definition of "hike" but it turned out a lot of fun with some elevation change.  it was about 5 or 6 miles. my pedometer is not accurate in that respect.  I met Conor at his house before heading to Petco Park.  rockin' the Mariners jersey second day in a row.  after another MARINER WIN, we went to Whiskey Girl (the downstairs mellower part).  

Sunday: woke up early at Drew and Kara's and headed back to the ship to shower/change and get ready for church at Barrabas Road. they moved locations to Ingraham and Diamond (5 blocks from my house!!!!)  i introduced myself and hung out with my (only) friend Elizabeth (prior P-Hope).  the Gospel was preached boldly, the community was friendly and Monday i will go to Coronado to meet more of the girls.  Church search over and done before it really started.  Praise the LORD.  went for a walk with Karen and her daughter Ashlyn and hung out with Kara and Drew in the afternoon.  Mariners swept the Padres, no longer last in the AL West.

Monday: got the cashier's check from Navy Federal for my security deposit and signed the lease.  it is definitely May Gray here as i sit at 976 Cafe a block and a half from my house.  We were charged as a Church yesterday to take over the coffee shops of PB and La Jolla, so i did a study on 1 Cor 8-11 this morning before energizing my Mac.  no real plans for the rest of the day besides not working.  i am acting XO for the next two weeks, so a lot of work will follow. i checked my email this morning, so that was good.  

i am at my earthly home and stoked to be here.  

be blessed

blessings from my Pastor

my terrific church, Urban Grace, gave me a Jar of Hope when i left Alameda.  Included were a thousand paper cranes with words of encouragment, Bible Verses, random funny stories and jokes.  Today i opened up one from my pastor:

Kevin, a slave of Jesus Christ, to Karen, an elect exile on a boat, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirt, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkiling with His blood: may grace and peace be multipled to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, He has caused you, Karen, to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In God's great future hope and inheritance do you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary you, Karen, have been grieved by various trials while away from God's body, so that the tested genuiness of your faith - more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Karen, remember those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

In light of God's great mercies, preparing your minds for action and being sober-minded, Karen, set your hope fuly on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

As an obedident daughter, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who has called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.

Karen, put away all malice and all deceipt and hypocricy and envy and all slander. Like a newborn infant, long for the pure spiritual milk of God's Word, that by it you may grow up in salvation - if needed you have tasted that the Lord is good.    --Pastor Kevin Hsu

so appreciative of my church, my Pastor and his leadership and most of all Jesus Christ who is the Lord, the giver of life.

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