Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kayaking at Mission Bay

The day after Thanksgiving, we went down to Mission Bay with Knight, Leonie, and Leonie's parents. We rented kayaks and just went around the bay and Fiesta Island. The weather was beautiful and we had a blast!

As we were coming back into the docks, we got to visit with some seals!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks and Gratitude

In honor of Thanksgiving, there's no better time than now to highlight those things we are so grateful for in our lives.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Black Mountain

Today we took a trip down to Black Mountain, where we hiked the Miner's Ridge Loop. The weather was a bit chilly and overcast, but it turned out to be a great day. Nessie was able to run around off-leash (breaking park rules...haha) and had a blast.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I Love Taking Leave

This week, since Sean just returned from sea duty, we both decided to take leave for the entire week (we already get Thursday and Friday off for the Thanksgiving holiday). On our first day of leave, we took Nessie down to Dog Beach. She had a blast, as usual, and lost two tennis balls! I swear there must be a huge pile of tennis balls somewhere under the bridge where they've floated away to their grave!

After Dog Beach, we took Nessie to the awesome Do-It-Yourself Dogwash! She really isn't a big fan, but Sean and I definitely are! It's a quick way to get the sand off of her and make her smell less like a dead fish.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In loco parentis

Now for a positive blog! When my parents passed away, although I lost my biologic parents, I definitely am not lacking any love from moms and dads! First of all, Betty and Gray Petree, parents of my best friend Lynsey. We've known them since high school and they have always been second parents to Jen and me. Whenever I need some parental advice, I know I can count on them to be there! I love you both.
And on 23 November 2006, I married my wonderful husband, Sean, and have been a part of their family ever since. Dody and Garland live in South Boston and Rich and Maureen live in Warrenton. Living in Maryland, we were able to visit both families on a pretty regular basis. It's always great to have a place to go where you can spend time with loved ones. Trips to the lakehouse and to Williamsburg, always a ton of fun!

Not only did I get two more sets of
wonderful parents, I also got another sister, Haley, and a brother, Liam (FINALLY!). They are both hilarious and so much fun to hangout with.

So, although I lost two of the most important people in the world, I'm never alone. I'm surrounded by people who love and care for me like their own child, so incredibly blessed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Hero, My Friend, My Father

Jai Hyun Ryu

27 October 1940 - 11 October 2006
Not to be forgotten, I want to take a minute to honor a man that I loved and admired in so
many ways. Here are a few words about my dad from the memorial service.

27 October 2006.
Truly a hero to all those who came into contact with him, my dad will always be remembered for his love of family, courage, hard work and dedication to teaching, and so much more. There is not enough time to go through all of the qualities that made him such an amazing man, but I would like to highlight just a few.

Love for his family - To watch my mom and dad together was to witness true love in its purest form. They worked through everything together and their love for one another was evident in their every action - whether it was a kiss goodbye in the morning or the amount of thought put into a Christmas present, you always knew that Jai was the most important person in the world to Jacquie and Jacquie was the most important person in the world to Jai. Then along came his three girls, ultimately the cause of his white hair. No man has ever loved his children as much as my dad loved us. No matter how many times we got into trouble (which was a lot!), he was always there for us. As a stern father, he expected us to work hard in every endeavor and to always bring home straight A's. However, that sternness was always rewarded with praise from Dad when we accomplished our goals. He encouraged us to always challenge ourselves and was always there to support whatever decisions we made, providing his wisdom and guidance along the way. Dad's mentorship and unconditional love was the foundation that lies beneath the women that we are today. And how could I not mention the last great addition to the Ryu household - Jackson, the Super Jindo Dog. Dad loved that dog as much as he loved his children. I remember when Jackson was little and I would come home from college to visit my family. I always slept in the room downstairs directly below the kitchen when I went home. In dad's typical fashion, he rose at 4:30am and one morning I thought I'd heard him talking to someone. I knew that mom was still asleep, so I quietly went upstairs only to find that dad was having a very serious conversations with Jackson about the day's news report. With all three of his daughters out of the house, Dad finally had another boy around to keep him company.

Courage - from his childhood to the last moments of his life, Dad displayed courage rarely found in people these days. At the beginning of September, after he had been diagnosed with cancer, I was about to return home from Iraq in order to spend two weeks of leave with him. When I got to Dewey, I was shocked to see how much weight he had lost and how frail he looked. Now, most people would have been disheartened or scared by the diagnosis he received from the oncologist - not my dad. He was determined to fight as hard as he could to beat this. After all, he had beaten the odds 36 years ago when both of his kidneys failed and he had his transplant, despite the fact that the doctors thought he would only live a little while longer. During my leave period, I went to a doctor's appointment with him and watched as he listened patiently to what the treatment would consist of, asked questions, and said to my mom, "I will do whatever it takes to beat this". That's our dad, the most stubborn man I know. He displayed a physical and moral courage throughout his life that made me admire him more than he ever knew.
Hard work and dedication to teaching - Dad was one of the hardest working individuals I have ever known, whether he was doing yard work, writing a research grant or tutoring Julie in math (a task that required not only hard work, but a lot of patience too!). The example he set for Juilette, Jennifer, and me is a direct result of who we are today. During his time at Spring Ridge Academy (a school for troubled girls), where he taught high school math, he impacted the lives of so many girls. Even after starting his chemotherapy, Dad spent countless hours at the computer ensuring that his lesson plans for the entire week were typed out for whoever would be substituting for his classes. He wanted to ensure that the girls would not fall behind in their classes while he was going through his treatment, never taking a day off (to include the weekends, where he again spent hours at the computer typing up his notes, just in case he wouldn't be able to make it to school).
Those girls meant the world to Dad and knowing that he was impacting their lives gave him a great purpose in life. When I would call home from Iraq to talk to him, he always had a funny story to share about his students...usually describing them as "Good or Bad Apples". I was able to go to school with him while I was visiting home and was about to witness first hand how important he was in the lives of his students. In his own unique way he reached out to everyone of his students in an individual way, reminding them that they could turn their lives around just by learning geometry or algebra. He was convinced that a good grade in math would get them on the right path.
The best way to describe his dedication to teaching is by sharing a story with you about the last day he spent at SRA. On the morning that he had his heart attack, Dad took Jackson out for his normal 6am walk. Although his shoulders were really tight and he was having some chest pain, he wouldn't neglect Jackson. As he walked him down the street, as usual, he picked up five of his neighbors newspapers and carried them up to their doorsteps (something he did every day for them). At the corner, he became very tired and sat down on the curb to rest for a minute. When he reached the house, he sat down on the front steps and mom said, "Honey, why don't you stay home from school today; you look tired." To which Dad replied, "No, the girls need me and I'll be ok." He went to school and taught all day long (though his students did mention that he nodded off a few times in class). Once school was over, he drove home and my mom finally convinced him to go to the hospital. So dedicated to his students, Dad had spent the entire day teaching, all while suffering a heart attack. To me, this story epitomizes the man that he was - selfless, dedicated to his students, tough as nails, and the most courageous man in the world.

Dad, I could only have asked for one more thing from you and that would be to have more time with you here on earth. You have taught me more than you'll ever know and you will always be the yardstick that I will measure myself against. Thank you for always being there for us. Thank you for the difference you made in so many lives. Thank you for continuing to watch over Mom, Juliette, Jennifer and me. You made the world a better place to live in and we will carry you in our hearts always. I love you and Happy Birthday.
Dad, you have no idea how much you are missed. You'll be happy to know that Jackson is still happy and healthy and doing well in Michigan. We do our best on a daily basis to live up to the expectations you set for us so early on in our lives. We love you.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Missing my Mom

Jacqueline Ellen Ryu
23 March 1950 - 5 October 2008
I'm a little behind on this and had wanted to post this on the anniversary of my mom's passing, but better late than never. Not everyone could attend the funeral and I wanted to share my memories of my wonderful, amazing mother.

11 Oct 2008
My mom was an amazing woman. The most generous and loving mother we could have wished for. She was strong, beautiful and full of life. Though there would never be enough time for me to tell you all the things we loved about her, I will try to highlight a few.

Mom could always be counted on, regardless of the time of day or where she was. Back in April, when I was in the hospital, I was up at 5am my time, which was 2 am mom's time, and I called her just to hear her voice. She said, "What can I do for you?". I asked her to come out here to Maryland to see me. She immediately bought a plane ticket and flew out to see me. She came from the airport right to the hospital and stayed the next two nights with me. Just having her near me was reassuring to me. She was always here to help whenever we called.

In addition to being such a wonderful mother, she was a devoted and loving wife to Jai. As all of us married this summer, I know that we all strive to have as successful a marriage as they had. One based on love, trust and the ability to cook well enough to keep our husbands happy! Even after Dad passed away, mom's love did not waiver. She knew that one day they would be back together.

And though selfishly, I feel as if she has been taken from us too soon, I believe in my heart that she and my dad are together now as they should be. Mom, we will strive to be the women that you taught us to be.
Mom - I still think about you every day. I miss you so much. You'll be happy to know that we are all doing well. You have two absolutely beautiful granddaughters - Julieta and Reagan. You would be incredibly proud of Juliette and Jen and the mothers they have turned out to be. Just so you know, Betty has been keeping an eye on us in your absence to make sure we continue to have the support that every girl needs from her mother. Say hi to dad for me! (Don't worry, his post is coming!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

California Girl...

Today I had a completely "California Girl" day. This morning I biked from Carlsbad down to Encinitas for a yoga class. It was a class at Yoga Swami. This place is great! It's a cute little spot, right off of Pacific Coast Highway and you actually do yoga in a tent/building called a "yurt". It's free, but they do request donations if you can afford it.

After that, Leonie and I went to the Leucadia/Encinitas Farmers' Market, where I picked up some green beans, carrots and celery. Later today, Nessie and I walked down to Ralph's (the grocery store) and picked up some extra stuff that I needed to make lunch for the week.

Weather was perfect all day! I love this place!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In honor of those who have gone before us...

Si vis pacem, para bellum. -Flavius Vegetius Renatus, Roman Military strategist (c. 390 A.D.)

The above quote translates to "If you want peace, prepare for war." In honor of Veteran's Day, I think it's fitting to not only recognize the brave men and women who are deployed over seas, but those who work tirelessly on U.S. soil to ensure that no matter what comes our way, America will be ready to protect its own and those who cannot protect themselves.
Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don't have that problem. -Attributed to Ronald Reagan

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blue Water Triathlon

This weekend I ran my first every triathlon. Because it was my first one, I decided I'd better stick with the sprint distance. As you can see above, the spring was a .6k swim, 15k bike, and 4k a bit shorter than a normal sprint. The swim was done in the Colorado river on the border between California and Arizona.

Overall, it was a great experience and I'd definitely like to do it again. It took me 1 hour 10 minutes and 35 seconds to complete the entire least 3 minutes of that was wasted in the transition area because I'm not to skilled at slipping in and out of different outfits/shoes! I actually had to beg help from some poor woman to get the zipper down on my wetsuit! She was nice enough to help once she had hers completely off. My friend Leonie ran the long distance course and finished third overall for the women!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Learning How to Cook

Sean and I recently took a "Modern Vegetarian" cooking class at Sur La Table. It was so much fun! There were only six people in the class, which was great, because it meant more one-on-one time with the Chef - Leslie. Here is what we learned to make:

Black Bean Sliders
Pear, Walnut and Blue Cheese Salad
Eggplant and Mozzarella Stack with Heirloom Tomato Sauce
Roasted Poblano Chile stuffed with Creamy Masa with Sweet Potato Hash and Tomatillo Salsa
Ginger-Persimmon Lemon Semolina Cake with Compote (no picture)

We had a lot of fun and then got to eat the fruits of our my play on words! For anyone looking for something fun to do, this class was great!