Saturday, May 3, 2014

"I'm the Kind of Girl Who . . . "

 . . . reads spoilers, but, don't worry, isn't the twerp who ruins it for others.

 . . . eats peanut butter straight out of the jar.

 . . . would rank hummus and broccoli as an all-time favorite.

 . . . fangirls like crazy. Don't get me started on Star Wars, Lewis, Tolkien, Gaiman, or Doctor Who.

 . . . in a past life, must have been an old British man with a monocle and glorious mustache.

 . . . needs gutter-rails when bowling and a major handicap when putt-putt golfing.

 . . . loves grammar more than she should.

 . . . absolutely melts in the presence of kittens.

 . . . accidentally dresses to match her husband. And vice versa.

 . . . thinks gators are scarier than sharks, so she'd rather go shark diving than swim in a murky lake.

 . . .  finds her soul deeply restored by the sea.

 . . . paints with her hands, loves the feel of the paint, revels in the mess, and doesn't paint enough any more.

 . . . wants to travel to Asia so she can play with tigers in the tiger parks and swim with whale sharks.

 . . . is trying not to waste any more time being afraid or procrastinating.

 . . . dances like a madwoman in the kitchen and freaks when the hubs sneaks up on her.

. . . gets super nervous listening to voicemails

. . . can't get nail polish to stay on her fingernails worth beans.

 . . . loves wrestling with her puppy.

 . . . takes too many pictures.

 . . . quotes too many movies, TV shows, and books.

 . . . thinks a good cup of tea is dew from heaven.

 . . . adores the color blue.

 . . . fancies walking in the rain with her face to the sky.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

They call it a "cha-cha" . . .

I don't know that I'd call myself an optimist.
I've always said I was a "realist" . . . which, to the optimist, is code for "pessimist."  Maybe that's that's true, but I feel like a fairly positive person.
I can't help it if the most logical predictions are filled with my imminent doom.
Okay, so I'm a bit dramatic . . . And, cute as that quote is, I can't dance worth a flip.
Seriously, peeps, a drunk flamingo could cha-cha better than I could.

LIGHTBULB--somebody get a flamingo to cha-cha! Youtube gold, people. Flippin GOLD.
You're welcome.

Back to the point . . .

Basically, this past year, I have learned two things:
  1. Control is an illusion
    Positive thinking gurus will preach that you control your destiny. So we obsess over it--we work out, we monitor our diet, our products, our friends, our education, our location, our career.  We make these lovely little bubbles.
    So I worked hard to build and polish my bubble so that it was the shiniest, bounciest, happiest little bubble of them all. 
    And then it got these little holes in it and started spinning on the breeze, sinking to the ground.
    I am not in control.
    And that's not a bad thing.
    In fact, it just might be good because I'm kind of a nutcase.
    So I pray and I trust and I work on my own attitude. That's all I can control, anyways, right?
  2. The future cannot be predicted
    See that bit where I discussed my certain and future demise?
    Yeah, not sure that's gonna happen.
    It might, but I really don't have a clue.
    In order to feel in control, I pull from past experiences--mine and others'--to formulate the most likely future and course of actions to prevent or ensure that particular destiny.
    It doesn't work.
    I can't know how someone is going to react or feel or think. I haven't the foggiest how one reaction will lead to another or how it will all explode, implode, or just simmer into normality.
    I can't know.
    And that's not a bad thing.
    I don't know about you, but if I knew my own future, I'd drive myself nuts trying to make everything fall into place or fall out of place.
    Why not just let it happen? Do the best with what you have, and be surprised by the adventure. 
Because, even if it's scary and painful and everything else, it's an adventure, right?
And all adventures have dark, scary spots.
That's why they're called "adventures," after all.

 Just as we began to feel settled, make plans again, we are thrown another curve-ball.
Chris's job has given us a surprise that could either be very, very good or quite unpleasant.  They've decided they just might want him back in Florida--not for a specific position, necessarily, but they're just not sure they want him here. So he has a month to decide what he wants to do--he's come up with a plan, a rather daring plan, to try to stay both in California and with the company.
Chris is the only human being I know who seems excited at the thought of unemployment. He doesn't see it as an end but as  chance for new beginnings, a chance to pursue his dreams and something new. Then again, maybe we won't be unemployed and there will still be something new . . .
It's an adventure.

Me? Chris has a friend who sent him some links to help get us started as freelance writers.
I have no control over getting anything published or making any money at all.
What do I have control over? My own fear.
The terror that squeezes my chest every time I think about writing again. The fear that I have no idea what I am doing. That I will fail again and again and again. That people will laugh. That I will be useless and unimpressive and no good at all. 
You see, I used to write because I thought I could make something of it, that I was talented.
Then I read real, beautiful, life-changing literature, and I fell down and never got back up. These humans wrote things that wriggled into my soul and planted seeds--they burrowed, blossomed, and altered the landscape.  How could I hope to create anything like that? How could I have been so arrogant to think that I could even dream of scribbling words like that? Of those living, breathing things that leapt out of ink and parchment?
And so I tossed around the phrase, "I want to be an author or a freelancer" and thought I meant it.
But I never wrote a word.
I hid behind Netflix marathons and Pinterest and did nothing at all. For eleven years.
Because I was afraid.
I'm still afraid.
Typing this makes me sick to my stomach because I know now that, if I don't, I am a liar, a coward, and a sloth (and not the cute, fuzzy kind).

So here's to new things.
Here's to the present.
Here's to the unknown.

Here's to a grand adventure.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Sharon and Jesse: Engaged!

I'm going to be honest: you people who have photography blogs, who take pictures of human beings and then write a post about it--props to you. It's hard. I mean, how you find those words to gush about couples as you present the images you've captured of their love?

Because, seriously, the kids in these photos are awesome.  No matter all the pretty phrases I put together, I can't really do them justice :]

Chris and I met these two seven months after our move.  We were confused and lonely--we'd been trying to months to make friends and kept coming up empty.  So one summer night we nervously walked in the door to one more small group and sat down, terrified and little hopeful.  We stayed until nearly eleven o'clock and left giving hugs. As soon as we were in the car, I was giddily texting my mother (at 2 AM her time), "WE MET NERDS!!! WE HAVE FRIENDS!!!"

Jesse and Sharon (her name's actually Rose of Sharon--isn't that the coolest?) are a delight.  They're smart, funny, warm, and totally comfortable in their own skins. They have a way of making everyone in the room feel completely at home and laughing.

 If you read this post, you know I was privileged enough to capture Jesse's sweet proposal at Yosemite. So, when they asked me a couple months later to take their engagement photos . . . I was terrified. I don't typically photograph people. They make eye contact. And move. And stuff.  Landscapes and cats are much less intimidating. More than that, I was very much afraid I'd do poorly. Engagement is such a special time, and engagement photos become treasured keepsakes--the last thing I wanted to do was give them something crummy.

We ended up doing two photoshoots. For the first, we just wandered San Juan Bautista and had fun.

While we did get a couple of fun photos, we decided to do a second shoot to see if we could get better shots.  Sharon had the BRILLIANT idea of trying the stunning Point Lobos outside Carmel.

I mean, seriously, for a setting, does it get any better? No, it does NOT.

The only issue?  This stuff.

Most people would call this little green bugger "poison oak." We call it DEATH. And there were HOARDS OF DEATH all frickin over the area. For every photo opportunity, we had to scour to make sure this stuff wasn't anywhere nearby. I'm proud to report that our careful work paid off and no one developed the demon rash of itchy doom.

And now for more of Sharon and Jesse! Congratulations, you two! I can't wait until the wedding!


I still wouldn't call myself anywhere near professional, but they were happy so I am happy.  :] Huzzah for romance!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Letters to Myself

Dear Six-Year-Old Me, 

I know that people think it's adorable when you answer the phone singing "Somewhere Out There," but it's not going to jumpstart your singing career. I know you'd like to think you're a "prodigy" (thank you, Oprah, for the term), but you'll learn pretty soon that you're pretty much average. But you keep doing your thing and having fun! Dream your dreams and soak in that imagination!
I'm glad you love Godzilla. In fact, you love him so much, he's your imaginary friend (though you'll rename him "Gadzilla" so as not to be "blasphemous" by your definitions). Sadly, the other children on the playground aren't as in awe of him as you are (meaning you can't threaten to have him eat them--they won't believe you). Don't say I didn't warn you. They also, tragically, will not appreciate your ten minute bathroom renditions of "Part of Your World." Sweetpea, just because the stall door is closed doesn't mean it's soundproof.
Also, just a sidenote, the boys your age do not want kisses. They enjoy them even less when you decide to use it as a weapon. Just a thought.

Dear Ten-Year-Old Me, 

I'm not sure if you've picked up on this, but the other girls your age do not drop everything to chase lizards and frogs.  Of course, you won't pick up on this for like three more years, but whatevs.
You've become obsessed with Star Wars and that is awesome. Keep up those action figure games with your brother. You'll be joking about those seventeen years later. "Bail out! Bail out! BAIL IN!! BAIL IN!!!!!"
Also keep writing those stories but avoid the blatant Disney ripoffs.
Oh, and, um P.S. Contrary to popular belief, middle school is going to be awesome. Seriously, they'll be your favorite academic years before college. So don't be afraid of turning into a teenager--you don't turn into a jerk. You just get super nerdy and have fun with it. It's fantastic, seriously. You won't have that much fun being a geek for a long time afterwards. Embrace it and enjoy it, kiddo!
P.P.S.  Use the talking storm trooper to barricade your room. Catherine hates it, and the two of you will share lots of laughs over it later. "HEEEEELP!!! THERE'S A STROOM POOPER!" Yep. Just like that.

Dear Fifteen-Year-Old Me,

Boys are stupid.
High school hierarchies are even more stupid.
Really, really, REALLY stupid.
I'm sure you've started to figure out that high school is not like those ridiculous Olsen Twin films you binged on over the summer, but, allow me to reiterate: high school is not a fairy tale.
At least you've stopped stalking lizards in the church landscaping. That's a plus.
Eventually, you'll cut your hair, get your braces off (then partially on, off, partially on again), and you'll ALMOST learn to not dress like a homeschooler. You will, however, keep on singing, playing the piano, scribbling, doodling, and you will soon have your life changed FOREVER in more ways than one:
1. You start reading Lewis again, and HOLY CRAP SO GOOD
2. You read Lord of the Rings for the first time. HOLY CRAP SOOOOOOO GOOD. Obsession material, even.
3. You decide you absolutely MUST study in London and visit Oxford because um, Eagle and Child pub, and um THE INKLINGS. And accents. Yes, definitely accents.
4. You'll finish your book, spend a year editing it, and then leave it alone for eleven years debating on whether you'll actual rewrite it or not (the jury's still out on that one . . . )
5. You meet your future husband.
No, it's not who you think it is.
Be ye warned: if male classmates ask for help with English homework, they're not doing so because they sincerely want a conversation for like the first time ever. They just want you to explain the symbolism in the poetry assignment they didn't read. You are being used. Smile coyly and ignore them.
But you won't.
You'll be too excited to be noticed to care.
And I suppose that's okay.
Oh! And you get to be a big sister again! Next year, you'll meet the first of your two new sisters. It's amazing! And, just a plus, they're pretty stinkin adorable. If you can, find an age-defying solution now. They just keep growing up . . .

Dear Eighteen-Year-Old Me, 

Well, now, we've had some adventures, haven't we?
You found the alcohol stashed in your roommate's dirty clothes pile (that's the last time you surprise her by doing her laundry, isn't it?), read Harry Potter, got your ear cartilage pierced (Dad argues he never gave you permission to do that but you know he TOTALLY DID), skipped classes, spent weekends on the beach in Pensacola without adult supervision, and have found yourself one of the few sober almost-adults on campus.  You've also discovered that there is way more of a culture gap between Florida and Mississippi than you ever expected.
Sure, your new experiences are mild and, all-in-all, fairly harmless. I mean, you don't do drugs, smoke, drink, or even date, but the fact that you're even in the presence of alcoholic beverages is such a scandal for you.
Keep up your gig, though. Your standards are weird, but, as much as you get teased for them, your friends adore and respect you. You'll be pals for ages. Plus you're getting a bunch of awesome stories you'll remember even if you wish you didn't. 
Also, take that link to your Xanga blog off Myspace. 
You know, the one with all your angsty, pubescent rants?
Mom finds it.

Most awkward Thanksgiving break EVER.

Dear Twenty-Two-Year-Old Me, 

Welp, you did it.
You studied in London (life goal! CHECK!)
You got your Bachelor's a semester early (life goal! CHECK!!!)
And you married that man. ( CHECK CHECK AND CHEEEEEEECK!!!)
HUZZAH!!! WHOO-HOO!!! HECK YES!! and all other cheering sentiments.
Don't worry--you guys will figure out how to work out the stuff that seems impossible. You'll go to counseling for it, but you'll make it. In fact, you learn stuff, get better at that communication thing. It's all good. It gets better.
Keep track of all those crazy library incidents--they make great stories. Like the woman who cast out the demons who stole her DVD, the fellow who wouldn't read the Bible because he'd seen the movie, the cockroach in the DVD case, the gentleman who told you that you should model for Black Man magazine, the flasher, and many more. Also, remember those ridiculous romance novel titles: From Here to Paternity and The Playboy Sheikh's Virgin Stable Girl especially (I mean, REALLY?!?)
Also, stop buying pregnancy tests.  Just because your period is two days late does not mean your birth control failed. Stop peeing on that stick! No, not another one! STOP IT!!!! You're ridiculous.
But don't worry about it right now.
Also, when Chris recommends hiking Lake Jessup instead of Blue Springs (because, um, MANATEES), tell him you will hike Blue Springs and ONLY Blue Springs.
Five miles is only a small number on a computer screen. Also, fourteen-foot alligators. Like lots of them. AVOID LAKE JESSUP.

Dear Twenty-Seven-Year-Old Me, 

Well, we've made it this far. Now what?
It's been the most challenging and rewarding year so far.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah, I hear you whining and I will kindly remind you that your hormonal teenage crap ain't got NUTHIN' on my twenty-six-year-old crap so SHUSH.
Maybe it doesn't get easier.  Maybe Chris's job never quite fits, maybe his ears just keep getting worse, maybe you never get this whole maybe-one-day pregnancy thing figured out. Maybe those relationships you're struggling with are never resolved, maybe you never get to say everything you've ever wanted to say.  Maybe there's never a house, never deep roots, never the standard American Dream nuclear family thingamabob. 
But you know what? That's okay. Who ever said you're defined by those things anyways? That they make you valid and valuable? They don't. 
Because life is an adventure, and any adventure worth its salt has tears and dark tunnels and the kind of uncertainty that makes you sick to your stomach.
But it also has sunshine, and a Hero who comes to your rescue, because, really, as hard as you try, you just can't save yourself.  Your swords are twigs and your battle cry is a whimper.  But you've got that Hero at your side, and He's holding you up, making you of sterner stuff that no dragon can withstand.
So drink in the sunshine.  Breathe in the beauty around you. Treasure the good relationships blessing you. Take the sweet, laughing moments with that hubs of yours and hide them in your heart. Pocket all these shining things, take them out when the road is dark, and marvel at them. Aren't they lovely? Isn't it worth it all just to hold these things a little closer? Oh, so very, very lovely.
The road is long and hard, but you've been given such gifts. There are always good things in the bad.  There's always light in the darkness, even if it's peeping through the cracks. 

Because God is good, so good, and He is so much bigger than all of life's question marks.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

On Infants

I have a confession:

I don't know what to do with babies.
Does that make me a horrific bearer of ovaries? Am I disqualified?

They're adorable and I think they're great, but I have no idea what to do with them.
So I sit here while the people around me talk to babies, entertain babies, hold babies, change baby diapers, all that jazz, and I feel as awkward as a teenybopper at a middle school dance.

No, really, I kinda sit in the corner and watch, waiting for someone to, I dunno, toss me the child.  I DESPERATELY wish I were good at it. I wish I were that woman who begs to hold babies, who can't keep her hands off them.  Who breaks into song just at the sight of them. Who squeals over the tiny shoes and the gurgling smiles.
I wish I were all that because babies deserve that.  They are sweet and precious gifts, and I ADORE them. Really, I do. None of this is that I dislike them. I just don't know what to do.
I get all nervous and I have this sudden nagging fear that I am a clumsy bother, that it's best that I sit back and let the experts do their thing.
Chris's nephew, Reilly, was here for a visit with Chris's mom and sister
Yeah, I don't typically think about how to handle babies until I have one right in front of me.
He's a completely chill and adorable child . . . I just had no idea what to do . . .

Mostly, I just watch.
You see, everyone ELSE is playing and caring for the kiddo. He's peeking and booing with three different people at once, and I sit there thinking, "There is absolutely NOTHING I can contribute to this. Nothing I offer can improve on the fun he's already having."
The child begins to cry, and, as everyone else consoles him with toys and food, I sit quietly because I feel like one more pleading voice adds to the noise. Does that make me a terrible person? I'm not trying to just let the child cry. I just don't know how anything I do could possibly make it better. Four people calling your name instead of three? Would that really fix it? I want him to feel better, I don't want him to be unhappy in the least bit. I just don't know what on earth I can give that could add to the good things everyone else is giving.

I remember being really shy at first with my baby sister, Davie, who was nine months old when we brought her home.  I don't remember the transition between being shy and being her sister. I remember feeding her, changing her diapers, and playing with her like it was nothing at all.  She was mine. My mom gave me directions, and I followed them to a tea. I don't remember it being hard.  By the time Ellie came along, I was good to go.

They were mine. Maybe they weren't my children, but they were my sisters. I knew what to do. They needed me--my siblings and my parents. If Mom was momentarily unavailable, big sister Sarah was there to fix it. I had a place and a purpose.

Other people's babies? No clue.  I need like step-by-step instruction. I try my best, but I feel ..... I feel like I'm doing something wrong.

Toddlers I can handle. Adore, even.
Heck, I can even do teenagers.
But a wide-eyed, speechless, breastfeeding infants?
I have flashbacks to when I was fourteen and trying to talk to boys.
Oh, peeps, it's totally the same thing.
You go up to this adorable little stranger with baggy pants and try to start a conversation and all they do is gawk at you like you're insane.

The hubs on the other hand . . . .

The man needs a baby.
I mean, for real, folks. It's freakn beyond adorable.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Canoe Beast

Peeps, I think we're finally getting there.
I mean, I'm like one step closer to thirty.

 Not that it matters to me, really --except that I've noticed these two permanent creases between my brows. Chris says it's because, whenever I'm thinking or focused, my brows furrow. He says that now they're stuck that way. I say I need wrinkle cream. STAT.

I mean, I'm only 27 now, folks. Don't the wrinkles wait another few years?
Oh, well.
No use fighting it, right?
To fully explain my birthday, we have to go back to our anniversary a year ago during which Chris bought a fishing pole which he used for our anniversary weekend at Sanibel Island and then never again.
Until this Christmas when he decided he needed a new hobby.
But you can't just have a pole, oh no. Fishing, apparently, requires a great deal of random stuff necessary tools.

People, you know that book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie? Or, my personal favorite, If You Give A Moose a Muffin?
If you give a hubs a fishing pole, he wants a tackle box to go with it.
If you buy him a tackle box, he wants lures to fill it.
And once you buy him lures, he wants a license so he can use it all.
Then he decides fishing by himself is lonely, so he buys his wife a pole and license so she can come to. The lures he's willing to share, but only after he's bought one or two of every kind after deliberating for hours.
And once you have ALL of that, he decides he wants a Craigslist deal CANOE to put it all it.
Once he has said canoe, he realizes he wants anchors, ropes, and wheely things for moving and using the canoe beast that only fits in your townhouse "backyard" on a diagonal.
And once he has ALL of that, you will inevitably never use the canoe because it's too much of a hassle to get it through your house and onto the car, so you just stand fish from the shore instead.

My husband is Grumpy Cat.
For real.

Well, darn it all, folks, I was not about to have that money wasted.
So I asked for an adventure for my birthday.  I wanted to go canoeing, a childhood favorite, down the Elkhorn Slough--a marshland where freshwater and saltwater meet.
 It wasn't until we were attempted to haul Canoe Beast on top of my car that I realized this could bite us in the butt.
This took us an hour, folks.
An hour and a lot of blood, sweat, frustration, and trail and error.
 I hadn't requested a birthday adventure in four years because the last one resulted in my screaming  nonstop as we "hiked" through a "trail" next to a lake and flooded riverbed that was famous for housing fourteen-foot-long alligators. I don't mind sharks, I love snakes, heck spiders don't even bother me, but crocodiles? They scare the crap outta me. It's the eyes. They just look deep fried in pure evil. That and the whole death roll thing . . . ANYWAYS, as we battled the Canoe Beast, I worried that our canoe's "maiden voyage" down the Elkhorn Slough would turn into another "Lake Jessup."

Peeps, I am thrilled to say that it was a delightful success. Even getting Canoe Beast off then back onto the car wasn't so bad the next go-around.
We had tons of fun.  The weather was PERFECT--sunny but not hot--and we saw sea birds, seals, and SEA OTTERS!!!
We did between 5-6 miles round trip and learned Canoe Beast is sea-worthy.  Trying to cross the slough from one shoreline to another?? Big waves. Like this fun "up and down" movement suddenly got so intense we thought we were going to broadside/flip/ruin my camera (come on, that's all that really matters . . . forget the freezing water and attempting to right Canoe Beast, it's all about the Canon, folks). Peeps, I have never paddled with more purpose and fervor than in those desperate, bouncy, damp and terrifying moments.

Just a tip: guys, if you ever want your woman to paddle faster, start shouting sexist comments about her uterus. Even if she knows you're joking, she'll get so furious she turns into a flippin paddling MACHINE.

We were almost ready to give up and turn around when we found OTTERS!!!
We found a group of roughly six otters (maybe more). They were so cute! If you were really quiet, you could hear them smashing rocks against clam shells to crack them open :]

Can I just say that it is SO difficult to take in-focus pictures while your canoe is bouncing on the waves? Because it is.

Those lumps are sleepy seals!
We tried to get closer, but that was when the waves got too intense and we thought they were going to tip us.
We did, however, see a couple swimming on our way back. One kept peeking over the waves to watch us and then followed behind us a bit. It was so CUTE!!!

This little guy got close enough for me to get a decent super-zoom picture.
His mustache whiskers, peeps.
I can't handle it. I wanted to squeeze him and cover him in kisses!

Friday, March 14, 2014


Peeps, despite the weird deal that is adult life (am I seriously one of those?), we've actually been having a lot of fun.
For instance, in January, Chris took me for a weekend in Yosemite. Heck to the YES.

The only thing that makes hiking more fun? Hiking with buddies!
I totally said that last bit in Emmet's voice from the Lego Movie.
Yes, I am an adult.

Meet Jesse and Sharon.
I knew they were awesome when they picked "Shaun of the Dead" for movie night.
Nerd friend test SUCCESS
What makes a trip like this even more fun for this former Florida girl?


Yeah, there wasn't very much of it, but it WAS there.
The waterfalls, however, were slightly less exciting only because good ole California is going through a drought.
I mean, it doesn't rain here much as it is, but there's been even less this spring, apparently.
Not that I would know--we've only been here a year.
The point is, the waterfalls were dry and still gorgeous.
I think there was a drought in Florida when I was like eight or something . . . otherwise, winter showers and summer thunderstorms every day.  For real. Between three and five o'clock every afternoon, the sky turns black and the heavens tear open with buckets and buckets of wet. It's end of the world kinda weather, peeps.
But that's Florida. We're used to it. In fact, if it doesn't show up, we kinda miss it. 
Not California.
I can't figure the weather out. Some days are gray and overcast, and I sit there, at the edge of my seat, waiting, waiting, WAITING for the downpour I know just HAS to be coming . . . and . . . . Nothing.
Not even diddly-squat.
It's such a tease -_-
Then, oh THEN it's super sneaky and just drizzles all night. The only sign of its visit? The fact that my dog absolutely REFUSES to step outside. Drives me bonkers.

Anyways, one of the upsides to the drought was that the dry riverbeds made for great rock climbing. Take a girl with absolutely no coordination and have her scramble up and down boulders without breaking her neck? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Okay, I confess,  I was a bit of a wuss at first (and understandably so--if you've ever seen me attempt to walk in a straight line . . . well . . .), but I figured it out soon enough. It's one of my favorites, now.

Benefits of a dry riverbed with a bridge: YOU GET TO PLAY TROLLS!
Because we're totally adults.
And because "Troll Hunter" is awesome. If you haven't watched it, you should.
Day one, we wandered.
Day two, we wandered some more but set out to hike Vernal Falls.
Peeps, I confess, I was a party pooper. I didn't aim to be, but, doggone it, it was STEEP.
As in against gravity ("Oh gravity, thou art a heartless b*tch").
And, you know, Chris is kinda like the little engine that could--he sees a hill, thinks, "Ah-ah, a hill! A challenge!" and he decides to beat it by pure momentum.
You know how I tackle the battle against gravity?
I STOP, people.
I stop, gasp for breath, think, "Holy crap, all this cardio work and I'm still THIS outta shape?! Or is it just gravity? Can I choose to believe it's gravity's fault? Yeah, we'll do that."
Recover, then move forward ten steps.
Repeat process.
Take all day.
Yell at Chris to SLOW THE CRAP DOWN because he's half a mile ahead of me.
Favorite pic of our trip
We set up the tripod to actually get a group shot with Vernal Falls in the background (it was barely there . . next to my head, you can KINDA see it).  The gang thought it would be fun to do a mushy couple shot.
We were tricked.
But then the trip got better!

Proposals make everything more exciting. :] 
Yay for romance and weddings and all that lovely jazz!
Congrats, you guys! 

So that's our Yosemite trip. We can't wait to go back!