Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tea For Two

Well, it was more like tea for twenty, but it was loads of fun! In fact, I think the only people we were missing were Mic and Mike, which was too bad, because there was lots of yummy food and tea and treats. All in all, there were about 17 of us. Not bad for one family, huh?

We had the tea on the back patio, early in the morning so that it wasn't too hot (even so, it was a bit warm if you sat in the sun). We had tables under the porch roof and under the newly-shade-clothed pergola, and on the red brick patio under an umbrella. Some of the little kids ate on the grass on a blanket and then played in the grotto area. I have to say, Momma's done such a good job planning her back yard. When we moved into the house it was just desert all around (except for the plain back porch and the garage pad). She planned the around-the-house pergola, the cement patio out the back door, the grotto for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the flower beds. Of course, she also has relied on the help of her many children to realize these plans, but I think she was the leading master mind behind it all.. it's simply beautiful outside now!

I should explain why my family has High Tea now (it was not something we did growing up). When Momma and Summer went to Alabama to attend Joella's (my oldest niece) First Communion, Joella had chosen a tea house for the reception. There were many different kinds of loose-leaf tea to order and several assortments of tea snacks. There were also all sorts of hats for people to wear as they had their tea. They all had so much fun that Momma and Summer decided to continue the fine tradition with twice-monthly High Tea Parties with the fam! Normally they do it on the second and fourth Sundays of the month, but Momma made an exception since T and I were there :)

Another fun thing about having a tea party is that Momma gets to use all her pretty china. I know it may seem very worldly to enjoy using pretty things so much, but I have grown up with an appreciation for true finery. When we were younger, our birthday parties would be tea parties and we got to use Momma's fancy china--the small teacups and saucers, dessert plates and the sterling silverware. For holiday meals we pull out all the stops--fine linens (including cloth napkins), crystal stemware (even cognac glasses for the small children to hold their Martinelli's sparkling cider!), Momma's and Daddy's wedding china (with the real-gold rim around the edge), and the bronze silverware. We didn't have family dinners or big parties very often, but when we did have them, it was a beautiful occasion.

After the tea party, Ray and his family left to head back east (via Vegas where Heather's family is). It was so good to see them! I'm glad that Heather and the kids decided to come along as well. I know we would have seen Ray even if the rest of his family hadn't come, and that we would have seen the rest of the family over Christmas (though Ray will be gone). But it was still nice to see them all together. Families are just better when they're all together, I think :)

The rest of our Sunday was pretty lazy.. the way Sunday afternoons should be!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

You're Only 11 Once

Tomorrow is my oldest nephew's birthday. We celebrated it today, though, since he and his family have to head back to Vegas tomorrow to catch their flight back east. T and I will be heading back east soon enough, too. It seems this visit has flown by... The party was great, though. As a treat, Colum's parents treated everyone in the family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents!) to a movie. We all headed in for an early showing of Wall-E, the new Pixar movie. It was such a good movie--especially considering there was no dialog for the first half of it! I think the cockroach is one of my favorite characters, though Mo is pretty cool, too (sometimes my sister reminds me of him!). It was a great film, much enjoyed by all of us--from grandparents down to babies (actually, I think Noni fell asleep, but better that than her being fidgety and making mommy and daddy miss the movie). Highly recommend it! After the party we all headed back out to "Grandmama's house" to have lunch and cake and ice cream! Heather got a Wall-E cake from Albertson's (they accidentally made it twice as large as she had ordered, so we had LOTS of cake!) and it was pretty yummy (except that the blue frosting stained a little too well). If you click on the picture below, you can scroll through the 10 or so birthday pictures in the album. Be sure to let the video of us singing happy birthday play :) When we were finished with cake and had relaxed a bit, we all went back into town to go to Mass. We are going to have a big tea party tomorrow morning and we need to do it early so Ray and Heather can get going on their way back to Vegas. Mass was very nice. It's always good to go back to your home parish, even if it isn't "home" in the same way for you anymore (I think I consider Ss. Cyril and Methodius home now...). It's good to get back to your roots, to feel and see where you "got started" as it were. I have so many memories associated with St. Ann's church--so many key moments in my journey to God. Of course, it was also fun to take up almost two full pews with family members--and all the skittery little grandkids! Tomorrow's the tea party. Gotta wake up early!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Babies, Babies Everywhere!

Today was Summer and Mic's surprise baby shower. They, of course, arrived precisely on time and were so pleasantly surprised we threw them a shower :) I'll let the pictures do most of the explaining, since there was so much going on the whole time. Just click on the photo below to view the album. If you have any comments, please leave them--I love to hear from people! Any questions, leave those too :)
Couples Shower!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Thursday at Home

Today most of the guys went for a bike ride in the mountains. My brother, my brother-in-law (who is part of a very innovative bike company), two of their friends, and my husband (who hiked) headed out early this morning, and we just got a call from them saying they're done with the ride, are going to eat dinner and then head home. Sounds like they had a blast. Apparently T went trail running and swimming in a river (his favorite) and it sounds like he had a great time too! My Thursday, however, was much quieter... sort of. Since we're still surprising my sister with the couples baby shower, and she came out to Momma's house today, it was a bit tricky for us to plan and prepare food ahead of time without her getting suspicious. Colum's birthday party is on Saturday, though, so we just pretended we were making food for that instead. Summer even helped with some of the dishes! ;) Also, we had to go shopping for prizes and activities with out Summer knowing about it. Luckily, just when we were ready to get started, she took a nap with Giulia, her daughter :D We headed in to town with me, Vivian, Heather and her kids Liesl, Therese, and Noni, and Bethany and her kids Michael and Rachel. It was an eventful shopping trip (Noni was asleep for part of it and I actually got to hold my God daughter!). And we managed to get a little of everything we needed. Pizza for dinner (we had to tell Summer something explaining why we went all the way into town!) and a nice quiet evening before the mayhem of this weekend begins: baby shower, birthday party, mass, and high tea!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If I Had A Hammer...

I'd climb 15 feet into the air and tack shade cloth onto Momma's pergola :) Actually, we used a drill today, and T was the one so high up, but it was still 15 feet high! Some of you have heard the saga-esque stories of my parents' pergola (a trellis-like structure with no roof--just rafters, posts, and beams--that goes around 3/4 of their house), and the saga continues still. Construction began, I think, before I left for college, but I can't remember anymore. After we got the initial structure up, we've added on here and there. We added shade cloth in strategic places along the three sides; we put finishing touches on the ends; we've repaired the old shade cloth and added more; and when Momma designed the back patio, she planned in another taller, 4-post pergola (separate from the one around the house, much taller, but still in the same style), which T and I build when we were visiting last summer (I think). This summer, our pergola task was to put shade cloth on top of the tall pergola and also add rafters from the house to the pergola, putting more shade cloth across those. So we woke bright and early, ready to do or die (not really to die) and get a nice tan in the 6:00 sun, and began! Actually, it went very smoothly. Daddy had shown us where all the tools were, the 15" drill bit, the huge nuts, washers, and bolts, all the fun air compressor tools (I think my favorite is still the pneumatic nailer--putt-putt-putt and you're done!), the air compressor, wooden clamps, squeeze clamps, ladders, extension cords... you name it, my daddy has one :) and we may have used it! We got the rafters up no problem: attach brackets to house; fix clamp to post; rest rafter on clamp and secure to bracket; repeat for second rafter. Drilling bold holes in the ends, however, was a bit more difficult as the hole had to go through two 2x6 rafters and a 4x4 post (hence the 15" drill bit). But we managed, and secured the bolts (with another nifty air compressor tool--the impact wrench. Cool!). The shade cloth was a bit more tricky because it has to be stretched tight enough to not be vulnerable to the high winds in the area. T is a master, though, and we were able to get that up easily, too. See how high T is?! He says he likes to climb up there and sit on the rafters as he tacks the cloth because he's lazy (yeah, right?). He doesn't like to move the ladder around to get at the various places he needs to screw in the boards.. Silly husband :) Anyway, the whole process went well and we finished by 11:00 a.m. We went swimming with some of the nieces and nephews (after we showered) in my parents huge pool (which is a fabulous pool--above-ground, but filtered and maintained with a salt-water system. No nasty chemicals.). Later in the afternoon, I went out back with Momma and picked a couple baskets of apricots from her heavy-laden tree. These apricots are ripening late in the game, since the tree is in shade for a large portion of the day, but I think it was very nice of the tree to be late, because now I get to help her pick them. We'll do some canning later in the visit, I hope. I love bringing back home made jam :D This evening we headed into to town for a nice family bbq at my sisters' houses (they live right across the way from each other). My brother-in-law, Mike (can't use initials--there's a Mic and a Mike who both married older sisters) makes fabulous ribs! OH MY GOODNESS they were so yummy! I think I ate about 5 of them, along with all the other food! We had a yummy pasta salad from my oldest sister and a green salad, and corn on the cob.. There's always so much delicious food when my families (yes, in-laws too!) get together, I think I gain 10 pounds every visit! But it's still really good. And the kids even got spider man Popsicles (from the ice cream truck!) as a treat. I asked for a bite and they all wanted to give me one--except they got a little too excited about sharing and tried to smear me with popsicle. Whatever :) So we're ready for bed after a wonderful family-filled day. It's great to be back with my parents, all my siblings, their spouses, and all their little kiddies! I love that families always keep growing! Tomorrow the boys are going on a bike ride (T is hiking--he's the chauffeur service) in the mountains. Maybe T will write about that on his blog :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

California Dreamin'

Well, we made it to CA! What a trip it was. We woke up quite early yesterday morning, in order to make our 8am flight. Luckily we were all packed on Sunday, so we just had to wake up, shower, and put the last few miscellaneous things in our suitcases (toothbrushes, phone chargers, etc). A good friend drove us to the airport and we were on our way! The in-flight movie was Chocolate with Johnny Depp, but I wasn't too impressed with it. I think it was trying to be like Babette's Feast (AWESOME movie!), but it fell short in in the area of soundly-reasoned conclusions. Whatever. When we got to LAX, I got to call Melissa, my BEST friend from grade school, for the first time in twelve or so years! I mentioned in an earlier post how it was so good to hear from her, out of the blue a few weeks ago, and we decided to see if we could meet up as we crossed paths in the jungle that is Los Angeles International Airport. Melissa and her husband got married this past Saturday and were on their way to Hawaii for their honeymoon! It was such a treat to see her after so long, and to chat with her, meet the man of her dreams, and introduce her to my own other half. We only got to talk for 45 minutes before T and I headed off to beat traffic out of LA and the newlyweds had to file through security, but it was such a blessing. It's so, so, so good to get in touch with old friends. So many memories, so many shared jokes and stories. I can't wait to see them over C'mas, next time we're in CA. I want to get to know her all over again! After our nice reunion, T and I picked up our rental car and headed north into the raging wilds of the high desert. Long, straight roads aren't much to look forward to, but it had its own beauty :) We arrived at my parents house that afternoon and had a nice dinner with just them. The next day T and I secretly made plans for re-arranging the spare bedrooms to sleep two families in the house. Momma and Daddy didn't know my brother AND his whole family were coming to visit (they thought it was just my brother). Furniture arranged, we sat down to dinner and were just finishing up when my brother's kids walked in the door, much to (almost) everyone's surprise. It was a fabulous treat to have the WHOLE family together in the same town (a feat which is becoming more and more difficult, as we all seem to spread farther and farther apart). Not only was it a treat for my parents, though, it was great for T and me to see all the little kids again, especially Noni, our God daughter. She's such a sweetie (a bit on the shy side, but cute nonetheless). Oh, and don't mind the ears, her dad's a pilot! :) It's been a whirlwind two days! Tomorrow T and I will put up some additional rafters on Momma's pergola and add some shade cloth in time for my expectant sister's surprise baby shower. Gotta get up early to beat the heat. Supposed to be over 100 (again) tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot!

At least, we will be feeling hot, hot, hot when we're in CA! T and I are going to visit my parents next week, which should be lots of fun. Looking at the weather forecast for my hometown shows "average" temperatures in the high 90s/low 100s (par for the course in June). Luckily, though, it's a very dry heat, which means that, for instance, if you go swimming and the wind blows, you're instantly cooled off (sometimes you get too cold, even though it's 120 degrees outside). Also, when you dry off after the shower, you actually get dry. Amazing. The weather also says it should be very sunny. That's also par for the course, but not just for June. The Navy (!) christened my town the sunshine capital of the world (not just the western hemisphere, but the world). It's sunny more than 355 days per year. It's so sunny there that you can get sunburned in the shade, from the reflection of the sun on the bright, glistening sand or mercilessly reflective concrete. In the summertime, you can burn your feet on asphalt or concrete, and cars in the sun get so hot you can cook sausages to sizzling temperatures inside. We will get to see the nieces and nephew there, and go hiking with my brother and brother-in-law, I'll get to cook up a storm, and T can hopefully get nice and tan on his morning runs in the desert (gotta love that vitamin D production with just the right amount of sun!). And we're leaving in just 5 days! It's so good to be able to visit family :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

St. Anna

We finally got an icon of St. Anna! We have been meaning to for some time, since T got an icon of St. Thomas for a C'mas present when we were engaged. We have him (St. Thomas) hanging up next to Jesus in our icon corner, and Mary was all alone on the other side... until now!In searching for a St. Anna icon, I wanted to get something that complemented St. Thomas. I wasn't deliberately avoiding Monastery Icons or anything (I know that some people do not prefer the "modern" looking icons on their site--I don't mind so much since I think the "old" looking icons we have now used to look bright and shiny when they were brand new), but I wanted to shop around a bit to see what was out there. I did, however, eventually settle on Monastery Icons' St. Anna, because they had a size that matched St. Thomas' exactly and the image was similar--just a torso with a similar-sized figure. (Click on the pictures for a better image of what they look like.) When we have children, I will get a small icon (probably 3" by 4") of each of their saints and hang them in our icon corner. It will be fun to decide which saint to choose, since many of our children will have more than one saint name, and will have been born on the feast of a saint, and may eventually choose a patron not related to their name (like a confirmation saint). We'll just have to find out! In any case, I'm happy to have an icon of my patron, at long last. You could even say I was married as "Anna" and not "Anne" since Fr. Josef kept calling me Anna. I think his grandmother's name was Anna, which is why it stuck for him. I didn't mind too much, though. T and I used the right names in our vows, and even if Fr. Josef was a bit confused, God understands :D (Also, I do have an icon of St. Michael. T's mom got us one a few months ago. One of the ladies in T's home parish writes icons and she wrote this one of St. Michael (that is, she wrote one icon and copied and reproduced it to sell at the parish gift store). It's beautiful and we have it hanging in our bedroom!)

Monday, June 16, 2008

ISN Conference and Lonergan Workshop

This weekend T and I attended the 2nd annual conference for the Institute for the Study of Nature. It was a very enjoyable two days! Not only were the talks interesting, but the eclectic, enthusiastic, and entertaining attendees were great fun to get to know. The conference began on Friday afternoon, and we met up with our friend M and her sister and father, who were also attending the conference. Dinner that night (at Bertucci's--such good food!) was a loud and energetic variety of conversations and we stayed well past our bed time. Partially due to the lateness of the evening before, and partly due to my need to clean the house, we skipped the morning sessions (which, when we got there, appeared to be a shame, since everyone was raving about the second keynote speaker's lecture!) and got to the conference in time for lunch. Mostly all I did was listen to the discussion of the previous talk, since I had nothing to contribute, but it was fun to listen and watch. Two of the afternoon sessions were divided up between two or three rooms to facilitate concurrent lectures, and from all accounts were all pretty good. Dinner that night was a blast, too. It was held at the Kendall Hotel's Black Sheep Restaurant, which was converted from an old firehouse. Quite charming, in its own right! Home again, way past our bedtime, but after a very yummy dinner and more fun conversations and good connections. All in all, a very delightful conference. We were going to go to yoga on Sunday morning, but we decided to catch up on a bit of sleep instead. We had a nice breakfast listening to (and watching) the rain pattering outside our kitchen windows (and watching the cute little birds hop through the rain to get at the bird feeder we put up on our fire escape). We went to Mass at St. Clement's, and the father's day homily was excellent. After Mass we hung out downtown and ate brunch at a friend's house. Then we toddled off to the airport via the T to pick up Dr. S, who's here for the Lonergan Workshop... which is this week! (It's been a month of conferencing.) My sweet husband is the "gopher" for the Lonergan Center here at BC, but he definitely loves it. The only problem he has so far is being torn between different lectures and having to figure out how to record both without bi-locating (though he's still working on the bi-location bit). He also has to wait for some bookshelves to be delivered at the Lonergan house, which might interrupt a lecture. Last week, he typed up a four-section essay for a professor (and Jesuit) who doesn't use a computer. Now Fr. F says that T could work for the CIA, having successfully deciphered such difficult handwriting! T loved that, too, though. There's not much that discourages him.. he's an eternal optimist! So that's our plan for this week... Next week we're going to CA to visit my fambily :) which will be wonderful. Until then, I must somehow manage to finish the report that's due for work this Friday (eek!) and coordinate details for events while I'm gone. Exciting times...

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Wheels on My Bike Go Round and Round

So, I have a bike. T bought a bike because he is sick of driving the car and it takes too long on the bus and it's too far for him to walk/run everyday to work. After he bought a bike, and was having so much fun with it, I said, "Can I play too?" (We thought about getting a tandem bike, so that I can put my feet up on the handle bars and lean back and wave to people we pass as T does all the work (like T's mom did while pregnant!), but those are more expensive and we can't go different places. I also thought about getting one of those 1/2 bikes for kids that you attach to the back of an adult bike, but we couldn't really find any made for grown ups.) And T said yes, so on Wednesday we picked out my very own, cute little blue Cypress bike! I've been enjoying it very much so far! There are some complications, though, like the fact that the road to work is perfectly split between uphill and downhill. So it doesn't matter if I'm going or coming, it's still a hard uphill at the end. Another difficulty is how to do my hair in the morning so that it 1) looks nice all day, 2) will fit under a helmet, and 3) will be cool during the summer. (I think I have one that works.) (And the hair thing might seem silly to a lot of people, but those people probably don't have really curly hair. My hair isn't as easy to comb out and put up/take down as straight hair (in fact, I can't comb it out at all). If I put it up, it dries that way and is kinked if I take it down (the same thing happens if I left it down first and then put it up)). Another complication is the extra time it takes to change into my work clothes (I wear skirts a lot) from the pants I bike in. I do have pants that I wear to work, and I wore a pair today, but I smudged them against the tire and they've got a spot on them now (it will come out, thankfully, but it's still inconvenient). I'll just have to keep trying different things! The last two aren't complications, though, unless I'm going to work. T and I want to bike downtown to do yoga on Sundays, and clothes and hair shouldn't be a problem then! We'll bike downtown, do yoga, shower at the studio, change for Mass (the church is right across the street from the studio!), and then change again before we bike home after Mass . T also recently found a nice pilates place (which is closer) so we might try that too. The other great thing about having a bike is that, even though it was a big investment (not horrendous, but still big for a poor student couple), we'll save lots of money by being able to bike almost anywhere during the summer (and quite often during the fall, spring, and maybe even winter--depending on the precipitation). We'll save $3.40 each if we bike instead of taking the T somewhere, and we'll save a whole gallon of gas (soon to be $8, right?) per week if we bike to and from work everyday. AND! Not only are there monetary benefits, but I'll be getting in better shape! The hill problem mentioned above is only a problem while I'm still an out-of-shape-weakling. I'm really looking forward to using my body to get places without the frustration of the slowness of walking. Suddenly "3 MILES?!" becomes "Oh, 3 miles? That's nothing." Also, carrying things on a bike (except when riding up a very difficult hill) is a lot easier than carrying them while walking. So, grocery shopping should be easier :) Finally, biking gives me a lot more flexibility while the BC shuttle is on its summer schedule. During the school year the shuttle is ideal: it's free, quick, and it comes often enough to make it realistic (every 10 to 20 minutes) and practical. The summer schedule is... less practical. There is only one shuttle during the summer (the two normally-separate routes are combined into a huge, complicated, three-holed loop) and it only comes every hour. If you miss it, you have to wait for an hour or walk home or take the $1.70/ride T. Sometimes, it doesn't even come. So... having a bike means that I can 1) leave work whenever I want and 2) get home without waiting for 40 minutes at a bus stop, or giving up on the shuttle and walking half a mile in nice dress shoes to catch the T that gets ordered express past my stop and having to wait for another T, wait some more for it to start its route, only to sit on it for just the 7 minute ride to my stop. Not that that's happened or anything ;) Anyway, in short, I like my bike!

Monday, June 9, 2008


and the livin' is easy! ...or it would be easier if it wasn't so darn HOT here! It's supposed to get up to 97 degrees tomorrow, and the humidity is WAY up these days, close to 80% (R (in TX), it's probably worse for you on a regular basis. You have my sincere sympathy--and admiration for exercising on your lunch hour!). Having been raised in a desert close to Death Valley, I grew up dealing with very intense heat. It's the humidity I can't stand! I simply melt. It makes me cranky... T is a very good husband for putting up with such a moody wife. Hopefully I'll never be ragingly pregnant in humid weather. The weather (even with the humidity) is not entirely unbearable, though. We have a pretty good air conditioner that we keep in our bedroom. At night it cools the room down enough (but just the bedroom--it isn't strong enough to cool the whole apartment) so that we can sleep comfortably with a sheet, which is very nice. It would be no fun at all if we couldn't even get a good night's sleep! Luckily, we both have good a/c's at work, so we can spend most of the day in the cool of our office, and only have to deal with our hothouse for a few hours before retreating into our room to sleep. :) In fact, yesterday I spent the whole afternoon sitting in the cool of our bedroom, right under the a/c, sewing! I replaced a zipper in one of my dresses and made a camera bag for our new digital camera (which I made out of jean scraps in a patchwork pattern. It turned out rather nice! And it's gender-neutral enough that T can carry it around too (not that he has a problem with non-gender-neutral things though...)). I actually got cold at one point and went out to sit with T in the sauna that was our living room :) Oh, and in other news, my best friend from grade school recently got in touch with me and it's been such a JOY hearing all about the 12 years we've been out of touch! I'm very grateful she emailed me :) We never had a falling-out or anything, but she moved away and we lost touch after a few years of letter-writing and visiting during the summer. She's getting married next Saturday and T and I will get to meet up with her and her husband at the airport in CA (they're flying out for their honeymoon and we're flying in to see my family)! It's so exciting!!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

El Greco and the Museum of Fine Arts

Today, T and I toddled off to the MFA to view the special exhibit "From El Greco to Velásquez." We made a picnic lunch (caesar chicken salad wraps--YUM!) and caught the T downtown. It was rather warm outside, so it was quite nice to sit on the air conditioned train as it whizzed by leafy trees and big apartment buildings. Once at the museum we had a nice leisurely walk through the exhibit. Did you know El Greco (The Greek) was an iconographer before he became a painter for King Philip III? I think that explains why the figures in his painting were always so elongated (the style used when writing icons is very particular. The figures have long noses to smell the incense; they have large foreheads to show their knowledge of holy things; their eyes are always open and attentive to the Word of God; their mouths are closed because they are listening; etc.). I can't quite explain why so many of El Greco's works look so stormy, but it definitely makes them distinctive. I liked his painting of the crucifixion they had on display (I've forgotten which particular one it is). He painted all three languages on the sign above Jesus, saying He was the king of the Jews. Here is another of my favorites at the exhibit. I love the way he captured the real look of a stormy, overcast sky. This is his "View of Toledo," though you wouldn't actually see these buildings together in the real place. El Greco took quite a bit of artistic license and added the cathedral, which is actually on the other side of town, out of sight from the hill he was on. Then we browsed through the gift shops. I always love going through museum gift shops because of the wide variety of things they have for sale. I hardly ever buy anything, but sometimes I get great ideas for gifts I can make on my own. The coolest thing we saw this time was a multi-colored pencil. It was fat and had four colors in the tip (red, blue, green, and yellow). We wanted to get one, but couldn't think of anything to write with it, so we put it back :( I have to say that it's been great living in Boston so far. We are thoroughly enjoying the easy access to such great things like the MFA and the symphony. We are currently planning out the next symphony season, picking which concerts we want to go to and working out the details (we don't like to eat out a whole lot, but we have to get downtown early to get rush tickets, so we have decided to pack a picnic dinners and eat after getting the tickets while waiting for the performance to start). Should be a good summer! One day soon, I want to go back to the MFA and look through the regular exhibits again. We have only seen those once so far.

Friday, June 6, 2008

One Misty Moisty Afternoon

I know I said I had resolved to exercise in the morning, but I slept in today! Actually, it was quite nice to sleep in since we had been up late the night before making empanades for lunches. I figured I could always exercise "tomorrow" (a dangerous habit to form), especially since it will be a Saturday. I went to work (another long day of answering phones at the front desk, which is not my usual job, but the receptionist was on vacation all week) and came home a little bit early. It was still nice and cool outside, but ALL DAY I had been hearing reports about how H O T it will be this weekend. So I decided to go for my exercise this afternoon rather than tomorrow morning. Even in the early morning on really humid days it can be stifling. I'm glad I did, too! It was a good walk/run and although my shins hurt a little bit, I was breathing very well and felt great. The coolest part of my run, though, came about half way through. I was running along the reservoir and a bright orange and black thing flitted across the path and landed in the bushes on the other side. For a brief moment I thought it was a butterfly, but as it landed it realized it was a bird! I realize that some people, who are fortunate enough to have been raised where there such brighly colored birds commonly live, might think all my excitement is rather silly, but I spent the rest of my run (between agonizing thoughts of how out of shape I am) happily wondering what kind of bird it was. When I got home, I pulled out the eastern bird book we bought in Spokane (we didn't realize it was only for the eastern north american continent, but it worked out since we came to Boston), and began thumbing through the pictures until I found my bird--the Baltimore Oriole. And it was all very nice.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rain, Rain...

I won't say "go away" though, because I like the rain. I woke up this morning (very tired, for some reason) trying to forget that I had resolved to start exercising in the morning rather than the afternoon, as the spring weather gets warmer and more humid. But, I'm glad I did drag myself out of bed to go on my 2-mile walk-run jaunt. Only when I got down to the entryway of our building did I realize it was starting to sprinkle :) I went out anyway, though, and made my way down to the reservoir for my mile-and-a-half loop. (By the way, I mentioned morning-time bugs in an earlier post. I think, at least, the bugs present were just gnats, not nasty mosquito bugs.) Maybe it's because I have done most of my running in a desert, but I love to exercise in cool, moist weather. Once upon a very-long-time-ago, when I was better at running, I would relish the rare days it rained--striding through puddles without a second thought (that's probably a bad idea since it soaks your shoes making you slip more, making the shoes heavier, making you run more slowly... but no such second thoughts for me!). It was simply delightful to splash about in the cool air with no sun beating down on my head!
And yet, while the rain was the same as those long ago days, I wasn't--my body is letting me know (now, as I sit here at the computer!) it is not as in shape as it used to be (which is why I'm exercising again). We're working on it.. hopefully getting there slowly.
But the rain was a real treat today, especially after a couple warm (not hot--I have friends in TX where it's actually hot AND humid, so I'm not complaining) days, and looking ahead to more warm, humid days through the weekend.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Kisses of Love

I don't generally like to write about romance and love and kisses and things, but I feel like I can make an exception this time. I recently had a conversation with a good girl friend of mine about boys, dating, getting married, Love, and all those sorts of things. It was quite enjoyable and made me remember a little bit about when T and I were first interested in each other as more-than-friends. These days, I think it's hard to balance the societally-pushed, romantic, passionate, feeling-based-gush of the romance in new relationships with the practical, discerned, prayed-about decision to truly be in love with someone, and remain in love with him for the rest of your life. I'm not saying either one of these "sides" of the coin are bad, but I think that they each can be over-emphasized in different situations (and have been). My discussion with my girl friend highlighted this for me. Falling in love cannot be solely based on a decision made in the logical parts of your brain. It must also be made in the heart. To fall in love means to stand on the threshold of new and exciting possibilities (indeed, on the threshold of another self, a person), and decide to cross over, to fall into the new world before you. So, one can be excited and "girly" and passionate and romantic, but she still must remain level-headed. Relationships should be exciting, but they won't be easy. They can certainly be romantic and spontaneous, but they should not lack prayerful discernment and openness to the will of God.
. . .
T often adds "of love" to phrases, people, objects, and names (making them titles). While the original source of the addition is not quite so philosophic :) T argues that he does it because, "Inasmuch as anything exists [that is, God allows it to exist], it is held in God's Love and is, therefore, 'of love.'" So I am his "wifey of love," and we use a "teapot of love" if we serve you tea. But sometimes his addition makes the word more meaningful--like "kisses of love." Kisses should mean something. Depending on the kind of kiss, you should be able to interpret the meaning. A peck on the cheek from a family member conveys one kind of love, but a peck from a friend can mean something different, depending on the friend. Basically, all kisses should convey love in one form or another, they should all be kisses of love. And that's the way all physical affection should be, too--meaningful: holding hands, hugging, catching each other's eyes, smiling, and of course kissing! I remember the giddiness of T's and my first kiss, but I also knew, even then, that he meant he cared for me very much. In our kisses now, the stomach-flip-flop is gone, but the meaning is much, much deeper. Not only does he care for me very much, but he has promised to be with me for the rest of my life. Yes, the giddiness has dwindled with most kisses, but a new kind of excitement has taken over this part of our relationship--the excitement of the known-unknown future. We do not know what lies ahead, but we know for certain we'll be there together.