I ran what will very likely be my "last American race" Sunday, (I was going to run it no matter what). One of the very best people in the world met me there for it, Jill, who has been nothing less than inspirational to me. With her rooting for me (and booting me from behind) I ran my goal of 4 (hilly/ cross country) miles in 34:04, and a 2nd place ribbon. Truly she is one of the most enthusiastic, live-your-life, beautiful women I have ever met and she enjoys a good run, a good coffee, and a good beer. Did I mention she also heals the sick and comforts the dying?
One thing about knowing your time in your homeland is limited; your priorities and loves become clarified.
Time with friends (pizza with the wonderful girls who let me blab pretty much nonstop about Dubai), a quick movie with another busy friend, (SATC: I tried and tried to like it, but it just left me feeling used.) The company was fabulous, even if the movie wasn't.
Time with family (dinners and get-togethers and farming the kids out to Grandma so we can get things done)
getting stuff done what are we taking, leaving, and what are we dumping as fast as we can...anybody need anything?
Then the other stuff
We went to the Washington Brewer's Beer Fest because it was close and we had no kids and were too exhausted (and therefore useless) to do anything but sample beers anyway. Iron Horse Brewery 's Irish Death is an amazing Imperial Sweet Stout and I would buy it by the keg if I could.
Mike asking for a week (!) of camping as the only thing he wants for his 40th birthday. Technically this qualifies as family time, but it does combine that love with our love of the great NW outdoors. So we will rush around and kill ourselves...and then go.
Again Mike: planning a bring-your-own-picnic in Kent for friends & family where there just happens to be outdoor racquetball courts (OK, so perhaps it's not really a coincidence). That's on June 29th, by the way, in the afternoon. Best time to say ma'is salaama to the VanCleaves.
Most of our planning energies are going towards making this a great experience for the kids. (I admit it, they've been at Grandma's for all of 2 1/2 days and I miss them terribly).
So there it is, the VanCleave defining factors. For me, running. For Mike, racquetball. (and no worries, we've been welcomed by folks in Dubai who are eager to do both with us!) For the both of us: family, friends, (beer) and the great NW outdoors. It's not original, but works for us.
Our stuff that we're packing and arranging care for and stressing over, eh, just stuff.