Friday, July 29, 2011

For My Mom

Visiting Mom and awesome coworkers at the office
Today I want to highlight a very important milestone for our family. My mom, Jane Holston, is retiring! After eight years of service as Executive Director at Literacy Advance of Houston, and decades of career steps before that, she is trading in the often 70-hour workweeks in order to do, well, whatever she wants. Of course, if I know my mom (someone with whom I proudly share many traits), I bet she won't be sitting still for long. It's only a matter of time until her next life assignment sends her spinning into new networking circles, making connections with people and places, and putting scathingly brilliant ideas into action.

Celebrating after another successful fundraiser!
One of the hardest parts about living in Guam is having to miss out on important days like this. I wish so much I could be there at her retirement party in person to hear all the wonderful accolades from learners, colleagues, and friends... and to see Mom in action in her leading role one last time.

But 18 hours of flying (each way) for a 2-hour party just doesn't add up :(

Love you Mom!
So Mom, as you close this chapter in your life, know how proud I am of you and all you have accomplished. In my mind I can see a photograph of all the faces of people who have learned to speak English or read their native language for the first time. There are thousands. Each of those individuals have returned to their homes, their jobs, their communities with a greater ability to communicate in and to contribute to our world. Your time and talents have enabled all that empowerment. Your relationships and ingenuity have invited the funding to sustain these life-changing programs. And your attitude of service has impacted so many.

I am SO proud of you, Mom, and so excited for what's to come next. Especially since rumor has it, it will include plane tickets to a small island in the middle of nowhere :) Congratulations and have fun doing whatever you want. Please come see us soon, before you inevitably become busy again. So much to celebrate!!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Southern Coastline

Saturdays are great days for Boonie Stomping, especially because it means our guys can go too! This past Saturday Nick and I joined our friends Crissy and Dave to hike to Sella Bay and back. Looking at our hiking guide that morning, we figured out you can hike from Sella Bay all the way down the coastline to Umatac near the southern tip of the island. There seemed to be some sort of trail connecting everything. So rather than hike in and back out, we dropped a car at Umatac and started our hike down to Sella Bay.

The great part about this hike was that we started high and ended at sea level. We had a bit of a muddy descent getting down the first 1.5 miles of trail, but it was so nice knowing we wouldn't have to trudge back up it later in the hot sun. Another bonus was having a waterfront view for our hike. Every time it started to get really hot (and we were all dripping with sweat in the first 10 minutes), we could look up and remind ourselves that a dip in the ocean was not too far away. Here are the pictures from the rest of the 5-mile trip down the coastline:

Interesting tree roots

Spanish Bridge at Sella Bay

Sella Bay

Palm growing parallel to the ground = perfect sitting tree

Thick jungle we had to hike through to get around Cetti Bay.
Had to be a little creative with this here "trail"... 
often waded through the ocean or made our own.

Crissy & Dave dancing across the rocks... aka the "trail."

Hiking along the coastline, we ran out of sand (and trail) when we hit this wall. I was reminded of the little kids chant: "Can't go under it, can't go through it, can't go around it, must climb over it!"

Actually we could totally go around it, which is what the rest of us (except Nick) did (show off). It just meant wading waste-deep in the ocean. And there are no pictures because I did not trust myself to not drop the camera (which sadly was not in its waterproof case).
 Awesome snorkel-ready lunch spot we discovered. 
Nick looked down and immediately saw a turtle chilling on the bottom

After lunch, dessert! 
Fresh rainwater dripping over cliff = surprise waterfall!

So many different terrain changes across the five miles

Lots of wading across rivers where they meet the sea.
Hey Crissy, good call wearing all white on a hike through the ocean & jungle...

Wait, where's the trail?

Hey, I think we lost the trail...

Still no trail, but we found this really cool rock archway...way better than a trail.

Choose your own adventure (aka, make your own trail)

All in all, a gorgeous hike with lots of different land and water features to feast our eyes on. Nick and I had previously seen this coastline in its entirety from our boat, but nothing beats trekking it on foot. We spent three hours out there and hardly saw another human or even evidence of a human. In fact, some of the only people we did see (fishermen) said hi, introduced themselves, and immediately offered us some kelaguen (food!). (Side note: After they offered us the food, they realized they had already eaten all of it, so we didn't get to try it... but still a nice gesture). The folks down south are known for being extra hospitable round these parts, and they live up to their reputation every time. This is probably my favorite little section of the whole island... pristine jungles, beautiful beaches, and friendly faces (though we hardly saw any of them).

Heck, we hardly even saw any trash. Until we got to our end destination at Umatac... and Nick made the "random crap in the jungle" find of the day. Could have used some roller blades on the trail earlier...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Peyt's Island Turns One!

Following closely on the heels of our one-year anniversary on Guam is the one-year mark of this here space which I have grown to really love in so many ways! So today's post is a reflection on Peyt's Island, sprinkled with some of my favorite pictures from the last year. Yes, friends, I have hit a new low and am blogging about my blog.

I actually started the blog kicking and screaming a bit. There's a bit of self-centeredness that can't be avoided when you say you have a blog, or worse, "you should read my blog." It's one of the reasons I still don't blast links to my posts all over Facebook for the world of acquaintances to be privy of. And "success" in blogging is typically measured in how many hits are on your page, how many followers you have, how many comments you have on each post. It can be easy to get caught up in the numbers and trying to think of ways to get people to read or comment more. And while I do LOVE your comments and can't believe I have over 15,000 hits, I have to remind myself, that is soooo not the point here!

I started this blog for three reasons. Initially it was intended to be a way to keep in touch with friends and family back home. In terms of assessing that goal, I think Peyt's Island has been a tremendous success! I absolutely love putting a post out there and getting an email or Facebook message a few days, weeks, or sometimes even months later commenting on the pictures or just wanting to say hi. It gives me a chance to check in and see what's up in your world too. It was also really nice when I found myself back in the States recently and didn't have to spend a lot of time catching people up on what we have been doing or what life has been like here on Guam. Of course, none of this is my doing. I just put it out there. It's all of you who take the time to read and stay engaged, which is what means the most of all. Even though we're 7,000 miles away from our closest family members, we still feel connected and loved when we find out you were thinking about us way out here.

The second reason I started Peyt's Island was to have a way to keep my writing skills current. When we moved here a year ago, one of my biggest fears was that I would be bored. ...? Looking back now, I have to laugh at that. I STILL don't find enough time each day to do everything I want or plan to do. And it's not because I waste time (okay, maybe a little), but there's just so much out there to do! I will say that very little of it involves writing or any level of critical thinking, so in that regard, Peyt's Island has been a great way to stay in shape outside of the gym. I have been able to challenge myself in some ways and use my creativity in others.

The third reason I started the blog was to have a record of this two-year adventure to take with us on the other side of things. In fact, while I've positioned this as a keep-in-touch blog, many of these posts I've written primarily for moi. I have always been into journaling and particularly love reading my old journals to see what I knew then or have learned since. But my journaling is often sporadic and left until evenings when long days in the sun have tuckered me out. Keeping these records on Peyt's Island has an accountability factor in that, if I know people are taking the time to come see what's going on, I want to have something new to share. In addition, Peyt's Island has allowed me to interweave pictures and stories together, and it's way more efficient than scrapbooking. I already love looking back at old posts and seeing if things panned out as I thought they would or reflecting on how things have changed.

And on that note, I can't help but look back over my very first post, July 21st, 2010, our First 24 Hours in "Paradise." It's funny to see how many of my first impressions were right. I still think this place is absolutely gorgeous, especially since we've had so much rain and the hillsides are lusciously green again. I still run into people I know all over the island, much moreso now that I know even more people. Things definitely run at a slower pace here, but it's one I've grown to appreciate. And there are some decent restaurants here after all, you just have to ask around to know which ones are worth going to. And my reason for wanting to come here, to have more time with Nick, has panned out beautifully. So I have to say, all in all, my first post had a pretty great outlook considering what I know now.

In fact, the biggest surprise to me when I read that first post comes not from anything I've written, but instead, from one of the comments:

Clay said: "glad y'all are having fun! See you when you come back."

And this one little comment, to me, sums up all that we did not expect to happen this past year and all that I did not expect Peyt's Island to be. In all, I have written five posts dedicated to friends and family members who have transitioned to the next world, and one post about my good ol dog Blue. Two of these posts were for grandparents who lived long, inspiring lives. Three of these posts were for friends under 30 whose day came much too soon. This is probably the area where Peyt's Island has taught me the most. It has given me a place to sort out my thoughts, to grieve with others, and to honor a life by piecing together a few words in the right order. And it is the feedback from loved ones of those written about that I have found to be the most rewarding.

And so today, Peyt's Island enters its second year. I can't thank you all enough for your encouragement, your interest, your enthusiasm that has followed us on our journey here. We have packed a lot of life into one year, and the best part is, we've managed to do much of that together, even despite the great distance that separates us. And the second best part is that I happened to start Peyt's Island on Liberation Day, which means there will be ice cream and fireworks tonight to celebrate. Woohoo!

Monday, July 18, 2011


This past weekend was the one-year anniversary of our big move from San Diego to Guam. Part of me can hardly believe a year has already gone by, but the other part of me is overwhelmed when I think of all the new things we have done, places we have gone, and people we have met in 12 short months. It's been quite a year, to say the least! Rather than recap everything that's happened (which I've already done throughout previous posts!), I thought I would use this anniversary space to fill you in on the many ways our daily lives have changed since leaving life on a bustling continent in exchange for island-pace life in the middle of nowhere.

Wouldn't be caught dead in this anywhere else!
Wardrobe Change. Much like San Diego, the weather here is pretty consistent. Same forecast every day: highs in the lower 90s, lows in the upper 70s, 30% chance of rain, and Florida-like humidity. Completely unlike San Diego, though, every day we wake up knowing it will probably be either be scaldingly hot or it will be tolerable heat but pouring down rain, or some combination of both. Add that to my flexible work schedule and daily workout routine, and there's hardly a reason to get up and shower and put on something nice. I just did a load of laundry and put away nothing but workout clothes, pajamas, bathing suits, and golf clothes. That's pretty much all I wear here except for once a week when I get to dress up (and put makeup on!) for church. And I have even started wearing my golf skirt to that to save the hassle of changing clothes between there and the tee box. The girls here talk about how much we miss putting on a nice pair of jeans and blow drying our hair (which I suppose still happens every now and then for a nice dinner out). But there's another side of me that loves having zero pressure to have my nails done or have makeup on. Instead I wake up every day and slather on sunscreen and bug spray (I am going to need a year of facials to recover from this tour). There's no reason to shower before sunset, and workout clothes are blissfully acceptable at staff meetings!

Lunch with Guam friend & neighbor Amy... in Houston!
Make new friends but keep the old. The friend situation here has been somewhat tricky to figure out. No question I have met a lot of fabulous people, many who have the same interests, hobbies and values that I do. Not having family nearby or even longtime friends, the friends you meet here are everything. When you're the newcomer, they're the ones who tell you where to find fresh fish, beautiful waterfalls, and a good cup of coffee. They're the ones who motivate you to stay on your workout routine with daily trips to the gym, the ones you can vent to about missing something important going on back home, and the ones who fill your evenings with bad TV and a glass of wine when your husband is on a work trip to some place you've never heard of... that our military somehow has an interest in. Friends here are great. The problem with friends here, though, is that, like us one day, they leave. So pretty much all the wonderful people you meet when you get here are destined to have a departure date sooner than yours. This last year I found myself finding great friends, getting used to having them as a part of my week, and then saying goodbye to them as their next set of orders took them away, back to the land of Trader Joe's, Starbucks, and shopping malls worth going to. And each time they leave, I feel like I have to reinvent this island all over again. Luckily, when dear friends rotate out, they often introduce you to other friends they're leaving behind. And it inevitably won't be too long until new neighbors move in or that new couple shows up at the command, creating whole new worlds of possibilities for frozen yogurt dates, boonie stomps, and golf outings. The transcience of this place has proven to be both a blessing and a curse. And at the same time, I get a sense that saying goodbye in a year from now won't be much easier than it was a year ago.

1 Yr dinner: Steak & Rosemary Parm Sweet Potato Chips
Party Animals. So Nick and I have never been big party animals, per se. But living in San Diego, weekends were still filled with dinner downtown with friends, staying out late, happy hours, dinner parties, beach bonfires, etc. There were very few Friday or Saturday nights spent at home just the two of us. Due to some practical logistics here (like a restaurant district 30 minutes away from base), some lifestyle changes (playing golf or in the water until sunset most Saturdays and Sundays), and our affinity for home cooking (more on that to come), we hardly ever go out to eat. And in fact, since the weather is so variable here and we want to get the most outside time out of our weekends, we hardly ever make plans with people until the day of. If at all. At the end of the day, we are usually exhausted from golf, diving, or hiking in the hot sun. In short, we have become quite the homebodies (at least in the evenings) compared to when I think of our San Diego days. We like eating dinner at home. We like going to be early. And we are really enjoying this time for the two of us to be together. So sure, we still cater the occasional dinner party, or head to game night in the neighborhood. But generally speaking, once the sun goes down, we turn into boring, old people. [yawn]

Our first picture together on Guam a year ago today!
There's no question our life here on Guam is extremely different from anywhere else we've ever lived. I feel like every day we look for ways to get the most out of our time here. And while often that's hiking to a waterfall, diving some crevice, or improving our golf game (I shot my best round ever on our Guamiversary - a 96!!), more often it's by putting on pajamas at 6p.m., making dinner, and watching Sportscenter. Together. Despite the fact that Nick has logged over 100,000 flight miles since January of this year, we have still eaten more meals together and slept in the same bed more nights in the last year than we probably did in the last three years combined. We finally get to be part of each others' daily experience. Which is why, on our Guamiversary, I am particularly aware of what this day means for us: the halfway mark. A year has passed of a two-year tour. And so every day that passes brings us one day closer to the end of our time here. Next summer we will return to San Diego and all the wonderful friends and experiences we miss there. But this time together, this time in paradise will have ended. And so, between now and that day, you can bet we will be making the most of every minute here. Every opportunity to travel. Every chance to ask our friends and family to come out and experience this amazing place with us (come visit!! you're running out of time!!).

One year down and one to go. Tick... Tock... Tick... Tock...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Stories of Liberation Day

On Thursday I went on a pre-Liberation Day historical tour, organized by the Outdoor Recreation department on base. They're the group that puts together the Thursday hikes I usually go on to explore more of this beautiful island. This past Thursday was exactly a week before Guam's biggest holiday, Liberation Day. Celebrated on July 21st, this holiday marks the day in 1944 the U.S. Marines first landed on Guam to fight against the Japanese, who had taken over the island in 1941. After 21 days of fighting, Guam was no longer under Japanese control, and tens of thousands of Chamorros who had been enslaved in concentration camps for several years were suddenly and immediately set free.

Interestingly enough, the tour started in our own backyard. Right on base, across from Sumay Marina, where we often launch our boat, stands a white cross monument that marks the place where a thriving Chamorro village once stood. Long before the Navy base was here, Sumay village was a bustling place positioned safely inside Apra Harbor where information, mail, and goods could pass from Guam to the rest of the world. In the 1920s, sea planes began landing here (which explains the restaurant name that's now perched by the cove called Clippers Landing). There was also a radio communication post where news could arrive from Japan and the United States much more quickly than it ever could before. This cross, and the history it represents, stands about a mile from our home.

Our next stop on the tour was right off base at the National Park Visitor Center. This is one of those places we drive by every time we leave base, and yet rarely notice it. We watched a 30-minute film that told the story of Guam's invasion and liberation. I was familiar with the story, but it pieced together some of the gaps for me... like how the U.S. got Guam as a territory in the first place. The U.S. acquired the island in 1898 as a result of winning the Spanish-American War. Since that time we had a small contingency of American Navy and Marine personnel who posed as leadership for the island. But the post was so small that when Japan started dropping bombs on December 8th and then attacked not long after, U.S. personnel were forced to surrender almost immediately and were taken to prisoner camps in Japan for three years until the war ended.

After the video, Ranger Dan started the rest of the tour. Much of the tour catered to kids, which made the day go a little slower than I'm used to, but also added a lot more elements of fun. Instead of getting stats and facts, the rangers told a lot of stories. There was one story in particular that really stood out to me that Ranger told as we sat on top of Asan Bay Overlook, imagining the Philippine Sea scattered with Navy vessels the day of that infamous attack. I'm going to retell the story now to the best of my ability, and though the pictures won't align with it, I hope you can see why I found this story so inspirational. 

In 1934 a boy named Jorge graduated from high school here on Guam. At that time there were no colleges, and being from a prominent family, he left Guam to go to college in Japan. There he learned Japanese and got a degree. After college he returned to Guam and the reality of few job opportunities here at that time. He told his dad he was enlisting in the U.S. Navy, a career route that many Chamorros still take today. Despite having a degree, he enlisted as a Mess Assistant. He left Guam to start his military service. On Dec. 7th, 1941, Jorge was serving on the USS California, a ship stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Despite the bombings that were going on, a higher up had called him to bring a sack of potatoes up from below deck. As he brought the potatoes up amid all the chaos, he witnessed the USS Arizona get bombed and sink in just nine minutes, entombing hundreds who did not make it above deck in time. Jorge survived that day, something more than 3,000 others did not.

Meanwhile across the international date line, on Dec. 8th, the Chamorro people were in mass celebrating one of their traditional Catholic holidays. Out of nowhere, the sound of Japanese planes filled the skyways and bombs were dropped on Guam's shores. After the Japanese invaded, Jorge's family was told that U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor had been obliterated. They wondered if Jorge was alive and if they would ever see him again. 
Meanwhile Jorge heard the news about Guam and wondered if he would ever see his family again. Over the next few years, his family members, like many others, were forced to live with and work for the Japanese, who took over the island forcing their language and culture on the local people, beheading anyone who posed a threat to their occupation of the island. There was one American sailor named George Tweed who had not been taken prisoner by the Japanese. Instead, he hid in the jungle with his radio until a few weeks before the Marines showed up. Chamorro people brought him food, recognizing him as their hope for escaping their imprisonment. Tweed was later very instrumental in positioning U.S. forces ahead of the attack.

After Pearl Harbor, Jorge got picked up to be an assistant for Admiral Halsey. And a few years later when it became apparent that the U.S. would need to reclaim Guam from the Japanese, Jorge became a huge asset as the U.S. created their strategy because of his local knowledge of the island's terrain. Jorge transferred to the Marines so he could be part of the attack. On July 21, 1944, as his ship approached Guam's coastline, he saw his homeland for the first time in seven years. Guam's shores were emanating with smoke and flames from three previous days of bombings by the U.S., which destroyed towns and jungles in an effort to weaken Japan's infrastructure ahead of the attack. As he boarded the amtrak to head ashore with his fellow Marines, he prayed that he would make it to shore, to set foot on his homeland one more time. At this point in the story telling, Ranger Dan played an audio recording of an interview that Jorge did for the radio just 30 minutes after he landed on Guam's shores. At that point he still did not know if his family was okay or how the fighting would turn out. But he was grateful to have made it to set foot on his homeland one more time.

Many American Marines did not make it that far, as the Japanese fought hard to keep the island. The Marines who did make it to shore landed on beaches in Asan and Agat, both north and south of Orote Peninsula where the navy base and our home now stand. After 21 days of brutal fighting, the U.S. accepted Japan's surrender and freed the Chamorro people from Japanese concentration camps. In total, about 1,200 U.S. Marines gave their lives in the Battle of Guam amid a total of 8,000 casualties. It is this sacrifice that is jubilantly appreciated each Liberation Day here on Guam. Many of the elderly population emerge to tell their story of being held captive and then released from slavery under the Japanese. Had they not persevered, the Chamorro culture and language may not have survived.

A view of Orote Peninsula & Apra Harbor from Asan Bay Overlook

It was at this point I looked over and saw one of our hiking guides, Jesse, pointing toward the memorial wall etched with names. Amid the thousands of names enscribed, Jesse pointed out the name of his grandfather, one of the Chamorros listed who endured the Japanese occupation. I couldn't help tear up as it started to sink in what this day really means for these people. Like the rest of us, all they wanted was to live in freedom. That freedom was taken from them, and regardless of how you interpret the U.S.'s intentions for coming on shore that day, you cannot overlook the bravery and determination of the young Marines who fought to overtake this land and free these people. In terms of U.S. military history, it marks one of our nation's finest hours. 

And so to finish the story, Jorge was eventually able to find his dad (whose first words as he saw the uniformed man approach were, "Son, I thought you joined the Navy!"). Jorge continued serving in the military until his retirement in Florida, but he came back to Guam just a few years ago. Ranger Dan showed us a picture of an old Chamorro man speaking at a podium at Asan Bay Overlook where our group was standing. In his remarks, Jorge announced that despite being present for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and despite knowing what his family members went through under Japanese occupation, Jorge said he never once felt resentment or anger towards these people. He said (and I wish I could find the exact quote), at the end of the day, we are all human beings. All we seek is freedom and peace for ourselves and our families.

So this year, on July 21st, Liberation Day, I have a little better idea of what the big fuss is about: Freedom and peace. In all the world I can think of no better reason to celebrate.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Attacking the Mending Pile

Soooo this post topic is a bit of a stretch for something that poses as a travel blog. I am about to tell you about my awesome evening last night attacking my two-year built-up mending pile. Yes, mending. At this point I offer you every liberty to surf right along onto your next internet errand. Because I am about to attempt my first fashion-related blog post. You have been warned. 

And on some levels this post is highly relevant to my time on Guam. After all, one of the things I wanted to do here was sew, which I've succeeded at. One of my goals after returning from the trip to Manila was to organize all of my craft supplies and fabrics into one place. After six hours of organizing, sorting, folding and compiling last week, I now have a fabulous sewing closet! And it rivals the golf closet for favorite storage space in our house. (And I am fully aware that last line means we sure are lucky to have such a great house here).

Doesn't look so bad, right? Just wait...
Compiling everything sewing related meant I could no longer ignore the heap of clothes that had accumulated over literally years in the mending pile. Most of these items were given to me as gifts and just didn't fit right, but I liked them enough to hang onto them. Some of them were favorites that broke and as a grandchild of Great Depression survivors, I just can't bear to throw it out and buy a new one. But for one reason or another they landed in the mending pile where I swore I would get to them one day when I had free time.  For some reason Sunday at 8p.m. (when I should have been making myself dinner), I found that day had arrived.

Enter Tragic Frock #1. This sweater from Anthropologie was a Christmas gift from my mom LAST year when we were living in San Diego. I tried it on and immediately thought Mom was trying to tell me something. I look like completely prego! The button-down sweater bunches at the neck and has a tie that creates a clown ruffle collar. Plus it has massive pockets that hit at the hips, creating a baby bump where there most certainly is not one. With any hope this will be the worst picture of me ever posted on the Internet (aside from the subsequent ones I am carelessly about to share).
 I really didn't know if there was hope for this one when I started, but figured I'd give it a shot. I started by trying to remove the maternity-ness from it by slashing out the waste-magnifying pockets. Snip snip...

 Then slashing out the baby belly sweatband cuff on the bottom. Side note: It's really hard to take pictures of yourself cutting something. Slice slice...
And I live near the Equator, so if I have any hope of wearing this thing in the next year, these long sleeves have got to go. Chop chop...
 At this point, I tried on the shirt and played around with it in a zillion different ways. Finally, I realized I could unruffle the clown collar and wrap one of the neck ties through the hole where the pockets had been... and suddenly I realized I was working with a future wrap shirt... hope at last! Now to clean it up.
Buttons have got to go

Sew up those pocket holes

Pin off the areas to trim

I played around with the sleeve length a bit, and just like that, a wearable wrap shirt that I actually really love. At this point, I finally cut the tags off the shirt (surely returning it would have been much easier... but not nearly as rewarding.)

The back came out pretty cute too... neck tie through the pocket hole. Who'd of thought?

 Enter tragedy #2. Another Anthropologie shirt that I really loved the fabric for, or I would have ditched it much earlier. This one was a birthday present from my mother-in-law (which apparently my mom helped pick out) and it ALSO makes me look prego. What's the deal, Moms?? These little hints aren't getting you any closer.

So here we have another tragic shirt that I have put on a zillion times to make it work, tried belting it, adding ties, etc. To no avail. It's completely unwearable. Of course I could give it away... or keep dragging it along with me to various spots on the globe until I really am preggers (and FYI, Moms, every maternity-like shirt I get as a gift adds a YEAR to that prospective date). But since I liked the fabric so much, it was also worth a shot.

And again, what's up with the belly-button level pockets? Am I supposed to put my cell phone in there or something? 'Do you know where I can store a pea?' 'Yes, I have some spaces available.' (~Mitch Hedberg)

After assessing my altering options, I realized my best place of attack was along the straight back seam. So my first step was pinning where I wanted to bring it in. Sadly, this is one of the hardest pictures I have tried to take for this blog. You have no idea. And looking at it now I realize it wasn't even worth the effort.
After pinning and stitching the new back seam, it's time to snip snip once again.

And voila! Tragedy #2 is now going to be a great edition to my wardrobe for my upcoming girls trip to Korea. Instead of going in the trash. That is something to celebrate, people!

P.S. Taking timer pictures of yourself is super awkward

New seam does not bunch. Or suggest babies are coming. Sweet.

Okay, so if you've read this far, hopefully you don't think this post was as much of a stretch as I did. Or you just couldn't turn your eyes from the train wreck. With any luck I will go hiking or diving or do something adventurous soon to get this post off my home page. But I guess despite all my hesitations, there's a part of me that will always love sewing, even mundane stuff like mending. Creating something out of nothing. Turning useless into useful. Triumph from tragedy. Okay, so that's also a stretch, but hey, you can't argue that I totally conquered Tragic Frock #1.
Before - ewwwww!
In addition, I also walked away from my mending session with a new dress, a new workout shirt, and a new workout bag. So basically I went shopping in my own house :)