Thursday, January 31, 2008

Miss Us???

Many of you are thinking... What?? Miss you?? Susanna has posted more often this week than ever before, and GK's mug grins at us every time we log on the blog (assuming you log on as often as I do :). But those of you who have tried to call know we have effectively cut ourselves off from the outside world.

A few weeks ago during a heavy storm my cell phone happened to be charging in our kitchen right in the spot where a small drip started from sitting water on our roof. After a few drops too many, my phone stopped working except with the earpiece. No problem... I used my earpiece. Until one morning when I was sleeping, Reggie ran out of toys (or just got bored) and chewed up my earpiece. So I was reduced to only texting. Still, I didn't take dynamic action because GK and I have two different providers and I wanted to take my time to research our options before we got new plans and new phones. So I texted my little heart out and used GK's phone when I made my calls.

Well... on our lovely walk home from the seminary train this morning, GK took his phone out of his pocket to check the time. Unfortunately, as his hand came out of his pocket, his phone flew out of his hand and flew to the ground several feet in front of us. The body of the phone and the battery separated and we watched in disbelief as the battery teetered on the edge of the storm drain and then fell in! The solutions seems simple enough... get a new battery. Except that his phone is ten years old. So we're hoping that even though we're in the land of no customer service some of the phone numbers of GK's new surfing buddies are still in there and still accessible and that some angel in Brooklyn will help us get them.

So we've reached a critical point in the land of no phones. Stay tuned and hopefully we'll rejoin the 21st century... tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I love the mountains, I love the rolling... sea

This morning for the first time since I have known GK, he had the chance to go surfing and didn't. There are several factors at work here. One, he went yesterday. He got some good rides in but the water was frigid cold as you can imagine, and even with his beautiful new wetsuit (see above) he got pretty dang cold. And two, when he looked at the live feed that he checks daily online it looked a bit like yesterday... good waves with long flat spells in between. Usually that's enticing. I think sometimes he likes talking to the other surfers as much as he does riding the waves. But this morning with a winter ocean-inflicted sinus infection from the huge frozen waves, he decided not to make the trek.

He'll get another chance soon, that's probably the third factor. He goes quite often. But the extra fun thing about yesterday was that I went with him. Before you think I'm really brave (or crazy), see the photo below. We took the train for a little over an hour transferring twice. We got off at Beach 90th street, and as the name suggests it's about a block and a half from the beach. Once on the beach, I set up camp in my awesome chair that we inherited along with our apartment, my warm clothes and my cocoa.

This picture captures the cold, but what it doesn't adequately capture is how beautiful it was. The sun was shining, the water was beautiful, the sky was clear. And after a short time on the beach I warmed right up and even shed some of my layers.

It was fun to watch GK surf. I really love the effort he makes to continue doing it out here. I love it when he comes home from surfing and is exhausted but ecstatic. There is something in the ocean that recharges him. But the waves yesterday let me see a new level of ability in my surfer. He's really good. When people ask if GK wants a boychild or a girlchild, he just says he doesn't care as long as it's a surfer. I'm excited for him to be able to share that with our little one.

And I'm grateful to be close to water.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

At a Loss

Tonight I was on the phone with my brother Paul. We were talking about our lives... well come to think of it, my life. We were talking about little Risser and about what our lives will look like in the next several months as far as we can see. All of the sudden he said, "Susanna I have some sad news for you." I made a stupid joke about Hilary Clinton and he said, "I wasn't ready for this, but President Hinckley died tonight." Even as I type the words, tears of disbelief come to my eyes. I mean we all expected it sooner than later, but did it really finally happen?

Immediately GK and I tried to get onto which seemed to be flooded by those equally shocked. I don't know what I expected to find. But I found articles detailing his incredible life, the changes in procedure and protocol and focus that occured during his administration. Nothing more about his actual death was mentioned than that it occurred at his home surrounded by family.

Of course in my heart I feel gladness that he is finally reunited with his sweet wife. Marriage has taught me a little of what a difficult separation that must be. I think of the wonderful humor and tender insistance that filled his voice when he urged us to walk a little taller and be a little better. I think of how I felt when he said those things. I believed that I could walk taller and be better, and after hearing him speak I knew better how.

I loved President Hinckley. It was during his life and presidency that I gained a personal testimony and grew in my knowledge and understanding of the gospel. I will always remember him with fondness and profound respect. I am also grateful that the work will continue. I am grateful that he will be able to continue his work where he is and that we will be guided and encouraged and chastened by one who has the authority of God.

I am at a loss. I feel incapable of truly expressing the gratitude and sadness that I feel in my heart. I don't feel that they contradict each other, but that they complement each other to testify to me that President Hinckley was called of God because He loves us and recognizes what we needed in the leader of His church.

When GK and I were engaged, my little sweet niece Abby said, "Is Susanna marrying Gordon B. Hinckley?" I laugh at the innocence of her little question, but thought at the time what a beautiful thing it was that this little child knew who our Prophet was. I hope that I can teach my children to love the Lord and His Prophet.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Things to Look Forward To

Once when my sister and I were little girls, we went to the pediatrician for a check-up and Elizabeth walked in holding her baby doll by one arm. She was a tiny little thing and the doll was fairly good sized, and looked pretty real. The nurse at the front desk glanced up and immediately ran towards Elizabeth thinking the doll was a real baby.

This picture is not a real baby. It's my little friend Liv's baby doll that was taking a nap under her seat. I wanted to put a different picture up for this post, but my camera stopped downloading before the last few pictures were safely on the computer... so I opted for this one until trouble-shooting proves successful.

The picture I wanted to download is one of some t-shirts we recently bought to send to our families. They say on the front "Made in Brooklyn". When GK's mom got the package she thought it was for her dog, because although they would be way too big for Reggie, the itsy bitsy t-shirt is just big enough for either a half-shirt for Kayla or a full size t-shirt for our very own... little Risser!

That's right, right about the time I was philosophizing about the moral implications of carrying on the name of GK Risser (unbeknownst to me) a little parasite was attaching itself to my womb. Now if you're still reading you may be wondering what the final decision was on the handing down of the name. Well stay tuned. We've taken your opinions to heart and completely ignored them all and come July 23 we'll reveal what this little baby's cross to bear will be.

But all joking aside... we are thrilled to be expecting our first little one. We know we have been incredibly blessed, and we are grateful to be able to share the news with so many of our wonderful family and friends!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Only in New York City

The other day, I was on my way home from the play. There were several service changes on the subway lines because it was late Saturday night and weekends seem to be when they do the upkeep. Well, knowing ahead of time, I took a different line home. I soon discovered that there was upkeep construction going on on that line as well, and half-way home the whole train was emptied and all of us had to wait for 15-20 minutes for another train.

Lucky me, I jumped off right by where the little row of chairs is and got a seat to wait. A couple sat down next to me and started chatting. To my right a woman approached the bench. She was quite a large woman. She was all in black wearing a lace-up corset, skirt, and fishnets with big boots. Her hair was dyed dark with extreme highlights. She had heavy black eye liner on and several piercings all over her face. She sat down on the other side of the couple.

After a few minutes of just letting my mind wander, I caught a little snippet of the couple's conversation. They were talking about some show the man's friend had just done. He said, "Yeah, they did it in like the biggest mormon church in the world." I'm thinking, the Conference Center? Then he says, "I think he called it the Crystal Palace." Well, not really thinking, I leaned over and said (don't laugh), "Actually, that's not a Mormon Church, it's Scientologist." I wanted to set the record straight. But right after I said that, the lady in black leaned over and said. "No, it's not Scientologist, it's Televangelist. I know because sometimes I watch it just to get pissed off."

I couldn't believe that the conversation had just occured, and I realized that my previous obsession with Tom, Katie and Scientology needs a little factual help, but then again so did the lady in black. In the end I was just glad that neither the Hollywood Celebrity Center (that the Scientologists have for their stars) nor the Crystal Palace (Buck Owen's dance hall in Bakersfield, CA) nor the Crystal Cathedral (which is home to one of the largest Televangelist Dynasties) was confused for the largest Mormon Church. So although I hadn't had a gospel conversation, I did feel good for at least getting the facts straight (with the help of my friend in black).

Friday, January 11, 2008

My New York Debut

Well, it probably sounds more spectacular than it was, but you gotta start somewhere. Yesterday all day, GK kept saying "Tonight is your New York Debut. Aren't you excited?" I was feeling excited, but also a little nervous. I felt pretty solid about my part, but not totally sure how the thing would pull together or how an audience would like it. It is Greek drama after all.

The production is Oedipus at Colonus which is the play that comes between the tragedy of Oedipus the King (where he kills his dad, marries his mom and guages his eyes out) and the tragedy of Antigone (where his daughter Antigone meets an equally dismal end). We're doing a new translation that has never been staged before.

When I first got cast in November, I was a little disappointed. The Artistic Director of the company had said that I was being highly considered for the roles of Antigone and Ismene (Oeddie's daughters). But when he extended the role, I was cast in the chorus. I was a little bumbed but thought, "Oh well, you gotta start somewhere right?"

The chorus, it turns out, consists of me and two other women. At the first read through of the play we read all the lines marked "chorus" in unison, but as we delved into the rehearsal process, we scored them so that some we divided between us and some we said together. On top of our language, being three beings moving together, most of our movement is choreographed quite specifically. It's really cool. After a short time of rehearsing (we only practiced for a month), I quickly decided that I had exactly the part I would want.

GK came and saw the show last night, and although I'll let him tell his full opinion, he told me that he really enjoyed it. And though some might accuse him of having a slight bias, he said he liked the chorus parts best too.

Tonight is our second performance, and I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. The guy who plays Theseus showed up sick to rehearsal earlier this week and I've been throwing up with a headache and a fever all day. Not cool. Oh well, the show must go on!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Hi I'm Susanna, and I'm an Addict

I thought I'd start out this year by admitting something kind of embarrassing. I'm totally addicted to reading blogs. I love checking in on my brother's family or my cousins or my friends or people they know... I love finding people's blogs who I haven't talked to for years. I LOVE hearing the funny things their kids say, or things that they love (or don't love) about their lives. Every once in a while once I've checked in on all the blogs I know and just start clicking down the links on their blogs.

I even like those blogs. I just think it's fun to know what people think about posting for the whole world to read. I feel a little sad (and very aware of my addiction) when I click on a link and you have to be an "invited reader" to view that particular blog.

I don't have an addiction to updating my blog yet... I'm working on that. I thought about giving my Father-in-law a coupon for Christmas promising a new blog entry at least once a week, but I didn't know if I could validate it. So Pops... I'll try okay?