Monday, October 27, 2008

A Wind Sprang High in the West a wave of unreasonable happiness, and tore eastward across [New] England, trailing with it the frosty scent of forests and the cold intoxication of the sea. In a million holes and corners it refreshed a man like a flagon, and astonished him like a blow. In the inmost chambers of intricate and embowered houses it woke like a domestic explosion, littering the floor with some professor's papers till they seemed as precious as fugitive, or blowing out the candle by which a boy read Treasure Island and wrapping him in roaring dark. But everywhere it bore drama into undramatic lives, and carried the trump of crisis across the world. Many a harassed mother in a mean backyard had looked at five dwarfish shirts on the clothes-line as at some small, sick tragedy; it was as if she had hanged her five children. The wind came, and they were full and kicking as if five fat imps had sprung into them; and far down in her oppressed subconscious she half-remembered those coarse comedies of her fathers when the elves still dwelt in the homes of men. Many an unnoticed girl in a dank walled garden had tossed herself into the hammock with the same intolerant gesture with which she might have tossed herself into the Thames; and that wind rent the waving wall of woods and lifted the hammock like a balloon, and showed her shapes of quaint clouds far beyond, and pictures of bright villages far below, as if she rode heaven in a fairy boat. Many a dusty clerk or cleric, plodding a telescopic road of poplars, thought for the hundredth time that they were like the plumes of a hearse; when this invisible energy caught and swung and clashed them round his head like a wreath or salutation of seraphic wings. There was in it something more inspired and authoritative even than the old wind of the proverb; for this was the good wind that blows nobody harm.
--G.K. Chesterton, Manalive
Today at work a Jesuit came to our office (not an uncommon thing at all at a Jesuit school!). He came in, spoke with the appropriate person, and arranged the meeting he needed. But before he left, he and I struck up conversation. 'Turns out he is from the Oregon province of the Society of Jesus, so he was quite familiar with our dear Pacific North West! It was fun to talk about my favorite area with him. It felt as if we were old friends, almost, reminiscing about the same places, the same professors (he taught at GU prep for a while), the same loveliness of the region.
So here, in the middle of this rather dull (but beautifully clement!) October day, I got a breath of fresh air from the West. A wind trailing with it the frosty scent of the Olympic Cascade forest, and the cold intoxication of the Pacific Ocean :) What graces God gives us when we least expect them.. and most need them.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Dancer In Me

Looking for pictures for my last post (I wanted some waltz move that was wild and extravagant--something I can't teach and my friend's won't have time to learn--just to be silly), I came across this quiz. Here are my results:
You Scored as ChaCha

You are Cha Cha! Flirtatious and fun, you are the life of the party. People tend to add syllables to your name and count you incorrectly. You are versatile, approachable, and best when syncopated. For someone so sexy, you are a lot less of a tramp than most.

Cha Cha - 92%

Rumba - 83%

Samba - 75%

Viennese Waltz - 67%

Jive - 67%

Waltz - 67%

PasoDolble - 58%

Quickstep - 58%

Foxtrot - 58%

Tango - 50%

The first time I took the quiz it said I was Viennese Waltz. Which (honestly) I thought was just funny. That's one of my least favorite dances (too fast, stiff, and jerky). Of course, this quiz doesn't have West Coast Swing, which is (naturally) the best dance ever, so they couldn't get it right no matter how many times I took the quiz! They also didn't have Salsa, which is my second favorite dance. After those, though, here's how I would rank the dances they had:
Cha Cha
Samba (actually this one could be first--it varies on my mood and my partner)
Tango (and Argentine Tango!)
Jive (I don't know Jive. I put it here because I imagine it's like swing. Somewhat.)
PasoDolble (I don't know this one either, but it sounds Latin-y and therefore outranks Viennese Waltz)
Viennese Waltz
Quickstep (Don't know it--but even though it might be "swingy" I don't think it's jazzy enough for me. I don't really like Lindy either. Even less than Viennese Waltz)
Which dance are you?

Dance Dance

Well.. not really. We're actually waltzing. A lovely engaged couple T and I know are doing a (traditional!) waltz for their first dance at their wedding reception in December, and I offered to give them a few dance lessons. Even though they're paying me, it's really a great deal for everyone. I get to teach dance, they get to learn (at least, they get to try to learn from a not-professional teacher) for a great price! I don't think you'll find $20/hour private dance lessons anywhere else, but I may be wrong. Who knows? 
However, I think I got the better end of the deal :) It's not the $20 at all, but I get to teach dance again! I've decided I really love teaching, especially dance. Is there anyone in the Boston area who wants private dance lessons?! I'll teach you! 
I asked T if he'd take dance lessons from me. I want to teach him foxtrot because there are a lot of fun songs you can do to foxtrot (those songs that are not quite swingy enough for swing, even if it would work alright). He said he'd be glad to take lessons from me! He'll even pay me--his whole weekly salary for just one hour a week! How's that for a screamin' deal? :) But I guess that's the priveledge of spouses, right? 
We're having our next lesson on Election Day.. at least I'll have something to look forward to that day, huh? :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Divine Liturgy

At the gentle urging of Fr. DePaulo, the married Byzantine priest whom we helped move into his house, T and I attended the Melkite Cathedral again this Sunday. How we've missed Divine Liturgy! It's not that we don't like the Roman Mass. In fact, we love attending St. Clement's liturgy. A well-done Roman Mass is beautiful, satisfying, complete. But... the Roman Mass is only part of the story. We must "breathe with both lungs" as John Paul the Great said! 
We arrived early for the service and had the good fortune to meet Fr. McLaughlin there. Fr. McLaughlin was one of the first priests we met at BC, more than a year ago when we visited in the summer to scope out the housing scene. He is a very knowledgable man and (if you let him) will talk forever. Don't get me wrong, though! Fr. McLaughlin is so widely read and so knowledgable about so many different things, he's bound to stumble onto something you enjoy hearing about. For us, of course, it's Eastern Catholicism. Father knows all the ins and outs of Boston Catholicism. He was attending the Melkite Liturgy yesterday because he just wanted to stay "in the loop" and know what was going on. We love to listen to Fr. McLaughlin, and we passed a happy 45 minutes (we were really early--we got the times for Liturgy confused) in the parking lot. 
The Melkite Cathedral is beautiful. First of all, it's quite large (for a Byzantine church), with very high ceilings. There are, naturally, icons everywhere, and the stained glass windows, over the years, have been dedicated to the faithful departed, adding more and more light to the inside of the church. The sanctuary is a vast and open space, with a hole-y iconostasis :) That is, it's not solid and we can see through a lot of it. 
And although we don't know the Greek tones as well as the Slavic tones for the Liturgy, we were able to follow along (mostly) in the Divine Liturgy book (I really miss singing everything on Sunday!). This Sunday was special, too. The patriarch [bishop] of the Melkite eparchy [diocese] celebrated Liturgy and gave out certificates of appreciate to the choir--which was in great form for the occasion! I can't describe the chant, really, except to say it was beautiful, and so... eastern. Not Eastern European, though--Middle Eastern. It's the kind of chant you would expect to hear as you walk through the street of Jerusalem. It's foreign to me. But it draws me in; it points me to Heaven. Which is just what Divine Liturgy is supposed to do :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Projects I'm Still Working On (For Those Who Are Interested)

1) Pea Coat 
Cut out, ready to sew together!
2) Linen Shirt (from pants) 
Cut out, ready to sew; needs sleeves or someway to finish armholes without them. 
3) Silver Shirt (from pants) 
Need to cut it out. Still not sure I have enough material in the pants to do it. 
4) Secret 
:) I'm about 3/4 done with this one. 
5) Surprise 
Need some help still, but coming along nicely. Should be finished in time. 
6) Burp rags (about 4 of them) 
Two cut out, two more waiting to find out the gender of the baby :)
7) Nursing Cover 
Baby Bettale is due this month! Get on it, Annie!
8) Formal shirt/skirt  
Cut out, ready to sew. Need a reason to wear it as motivation to sew it. Hm... symphony concert, maybe?
9) Knitted baby hats and booties for various people  
Slacking somewhat in lieu of the burp rags. I've been thinking about knitting baby leg warmers--those should be fairly easy, right? 
10) My Noah's Ark 
Goin' well! I have about 5 more sets of animals to finish and then I can glue it all together. Fun!
11) Mending/tailoring (not Taylor-ing) all my old clothes 
I've fixed two pairs of dress pants and one shirt. I still have about 10 garments to go! :-[
12) Kimono 
Still sitting on the chair next to my sewing machine, waiting to be small-ified (Hobbited). 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Maine III

Well, so much for seeing the sunrise. We woke up on time--and got out of a nice, warm, squishy, comfy bed to brave the moist cold outside--and drove up to Cadillac Mountaion this morning. I imagine it would have been something wonderful and magical like the picture above, but, because it was cloudy and misty and rainy, it looked more precisely like this:

Yet even though it was cold and windy and we didn't get a golden sunrise today, we still made it up there! In fact, the ornament we chose from all the possibilities was a little magnet picture (we'll take the magnet off) of Cadillac Mountain. Maybe we can pretend it was a bright sunrise or something :)

After our cold adventure, we quite understandably went back to bed. We slept for another hour or two until breakfast was ready and then headed downstairs for another yummy meal (this morning they had banana muffins; yogurt parfait; and a tomato and pesto quiche with bacon and toast or sour cream cherry waffles). 
T read more of the Lord of the Rings to me while I packed up all our clothes and shoes and the things we had purchased in Bar Harbor. Once we checked out of our dear little inn, we roamed around looking for a picnic lunch to bring with us into Acadia. T saw most of it yesterday on his run, but I hadn't seen any of it yet! We got some sandwiches and said farewell to Bar Harbor...

Acadia, though, was simply beautiful! The trees that had started to turn were on fire with color! We drove into the park on the loop road and parked to take a short hike along the shore path. It as lots of fun to scramble over the rocks along the shore. If I go to the beach, I prefer rocky beaches by far (rocks have a harder time getting into the places sand seems to find so easily!). It was a perfect afternoon for hiking--sunny, cool, breezy. Most of the time driving was spend with the windows down (both for the fresh air and being able to take pictures).

How beautiful is God's creation! It is amazing and humbling to be in the midst of such beauty--especially in contrast to the ugliness that humanity so often creates.  I appreciate most of the accomplishments of mankind, but I want to be closer to the earth, closer to nature. I want to be more Hobbitish ("If you take my meaning, Sir," said Sam)! I think one of the main reasons T and I want a farm someday is that it is easier to remain grounded (yes, pun intended--grounded literally and figuratively) when one works so close to the earth...

The drive home, as you can imagine, was filled with more Tolkien. By the time we reached the outskirts of the greater Boston area, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli had long since tracked Merry and Pippin to Fangorn where they met Gandalf the White; battle had been waged and won at Helms Deep; and Gandalf rode to Isengard to make a peace offering to Saruman--whose great black tower of Orthanc was a pillar in a sea of flotsam and jetsam inflicted upon it by the roused Ents.

Now we're home, all unpacked, ready to get to bed--all before 10 pm! It's been a wonderful weekend, and we are very glad to have been blessed enough in our married life to be able to go! But we're also glad to be back in our own home, our own bed, our own blankets (most especially my supernifty buckwheat pillow!).. our own little corner of the world.

Here are my pictures from the weekend: 
Here is Taylor's album: 

(There, Kayleen--I got all the many lables in from my first short post!) :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Maine, Part II

Sunday, Sunday! With a golden morning to greet us! The only reason we set an alarm this morning was to ensure that we woke up in time for the complimentary gormet breakfast our inn serves. I must say--it's well worth waking up for! The breakfast room here is bright and sunny, and the food was great. A nice way to start our day! 
After breakfast we walked around town some more, stopping here and there to browse in the various shops. There were lots of sales this weekend since it's close to the end of the vacation-er season. We got mugs to brew our loose leaf tea one mug at a time, so we can have good tea at work. 
Mass at the local parish was at 11. It was a good Mass--the priest had a deep, booming voice, that was great for chanting the parts he sung. The church was beautiful, too--simple but very striking and lovingly cared for. 
After Mass, T went for his run in Acadia while I moseyed around town some more, looking for Christmas gift ideas (there were a few shops that were Christmas All Year type store), hoping to find an ornament T and I could take home. We like to get a Christmas ornament from the places we visit. We have a beatiful glass ornament from our honeymoon, a rock from the Ginko petrified forest in WA, a collectible stamp from June Lake, etc., etc.  I got a $10 fleece sweater and a $5 tank top, too. I love sale season. 
After moseying, and T still on his run, I went back to the inn and knitted myself a scarf. It was nice to just sit and be quiet and enjoy breathing, living... I had the windows open and watched people outside, enjoying the fresh air. Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons (because I like cold weather!), but it's always struck me as odd that it's also a season of such vibrancy and life--when things are preparing to go dormant or hibernate for the winter! Before too long, though, it started to get chilly so I closed the windows and turned on the stove in our room :) I think I want a stove or fireplace like that in our Hobbit house someday.. Besides, I didn't want the room too cold for our MASSAGES that afternoon. That's right--T got us both massages for the weekend. What a thoughtful husband :)
After a fabulous run and feeling great, T got back just before my appointment, and was able to settle down before his. The massages were great, very relaxing and energizing at the same time. During T's massage I went downstairs to the very comfortable sitting room and had a good phone chat with my folks. 
Dinner toinght, at Cafe This Way was SO GOOD! If the food yesterday was less than exciting, today's food made up for it easily--especially this dinner. Oh, my. I got fish and chips with a twist. The chips were sweet potato chips, and the fish was ahi tuna, breaded and pan fried medium rare (I'd never had medium rare fish before--it's all been cooked through or sushi!) and I loved it. It also came with mashed butternut squash and broiled asparagus on the side, which was superb.  Every bite was wonderful. 
Then, as we usually do, half way through eating we switch plates! T had ordered Asian salmon on seaweed coleslaw with mashed potatoes and mashed butternut squash, which was really good too :)  
The atmosphere of Cafe This Way was quite enjoyable. T and I were seated in a little corner of the room next to bookshelves filled with old and varied books. Momma--they even had the Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley cookbook! They had children's books and games for little ones; they had philosophy, poetry, essays, bad novels, good novels, classics... We loved it. 
We also ordered a slice of Maine Blueberry pie (al a mode) to go. We still had a wonderful bottle of wine in our room with truffles to munch! We headed home and had a little picnic on our bedroom floor, sipping wine, munching pie and truffles, and enjoying the un-hurried leisure of vacation. 
We read a bit after dessert, but now it's time for bed. Tomorrow we're waking up before sunrise and driving to see it from the top of Cadillac Mountain. Hopefully the threatening clouds cooperate. 

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Our Maine Getaway, Part I

We woke up this morning, refreshed after a fun night of friends and homemade pizza (which, by the way, turned out fabulously--I copied Momma's pizza dough recipe for all three ladies who were there!), ready to begin our weekend adventure :)  We didn't sleep in too much (only till 8), but we took two hours to get out the door--there was no rush. We had packed last night and had a nice breakfast together.  The drive north was beautiful, once we got past the Boston contstruction traffic. To pass the leisurely 6 hours on the scenic route, which was actually quite scenic, I read the Lord of the Rings out loud to my sweet husband, who's so good to do all the driving! (I'm sitting-in on a Philosophy of Tolkien class this semester and, instead of just reading the story to myself, T and I are once again sharing the journey together. The last time we read it out loud together was on our honeymoon.)  During our drive, Frodo and Sam set out on their own east of the river, and we followed Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in search of Merry and Pippin. We stopped for gas and got fast food for lunch (normally I wouldn't admit that we got fast food, but it has import later on!), and kept on driving, driving, driving. Finally, around 4 pm, we arrived in Bar Harbor, Maine! We checked into the lovely Bass Cottage Inn and went to stroll around the little town. It's very nice here and the weather is simply perfect. It is fairly cool, so we need coats, but it seems to warm up well in the afternoons, too. I decided the shoes I had packed weren't comfortable enough for the whole weekend, so we spent a little time shoe-shopping. It was actually lots of fun (so many crazy shoes out there!) and I got a nice pair of gekkos (like crocs) which are so. very. comfortable. :)
Dinner was at Chowdah's (at my suggestion).  I really don't want to sound like I'm complaining, because it was decent food, but it wasn't spectacular... and it was over-priced. (But, we hear they have good beer.) We wanted to get to bed early tonight, so in that respect, Chowdah's was a good choice. We won't go there again, though.  We've made reservations at a nicer place for tomorrow night. 
On the walk home tonight, slightly ashamed, I told T, "Honey... I think we're food snobs." 
And (to my surprise) he said, "Yeah. We are." 
Thinking about it a bit more, I don't think we're snobs like Frasier and Niles Crane are... at least I hope not :) but we just like good food. Good quality. Good ingredients. We don't go out to eat very often (mostly for budget reasons) and when we do, it's usually to a good place. We eat fast food only when nothing else is available. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be good for me and wholesome. Does that make me a snob? :(
Anyway, off to bed. Tomorrow T's going on a 20 mile run around Acadia National Park, and he needs his rest! It's simply delightful to be here, snuggled in our warm bedroom (with our little jotul stove on!), cozyily relaxing into the weekend... 
Here is a picture of a weird store window we passed on the way home. Notice the legs coming out of the cauldron with binties on her toes? Weird, right? 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gettin' Excited!

...for our trip to Maine!
This evening we're having friends over for collaborative home made pizza. I'll make the dough (Momma's recipe--so good!) and they'll bring the toppings! It's gonna be a great start to a fabulous weekend :) And Life is Good!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nieces and Nephews

I have to share these photo albums of my nieces and nephews. I just love those kids to bits.. little bacon bits :) My brother's family My oldest sister's family My next older sister's family Aren't those cute kids?!


This weekend's forecast:
Simply Lovely

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Is It Only Wednesday?

It's felt like a Monday every day this week. And there are still two more days to go. So much for working full time with a feverish cold. At least I get Monday off. And a sweet, wonderful, romantic, quiet, relaxing, soothing, fresh, bright, happy, fun, lovely weekend with my husband :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Maine Thing

This week, I'm working full time at the front desk in my office. Normally (these days, anyway), I just cover for the receptionist's lunch hour, but she's on vacation this week, along with two other staff members in the office. So it's a short-staffed week (In a double way. D and I are the only two staff downstairs and we're both pretty short). T is working a lot this week, too. Since he successfully completed his LSAT prep course and took the LSAT on Saturday (my supernifty husband! He's so smart!), he's making up hours at his job this week. And, for him, it's getting closer to that time of the semester when papers are due. We'll both be really busy this week. I hope I manage to feed us enough without eating out too often. Therefore, my sweet, wonderful, romantic, ambitious husband is taking me away at the end of this week. He must love me an awful lot! We're heading up to Bar Harbor, Maine and we'll stay at a nice little bed and breakfast whence we can explore the area and Acadia National Park for the three-day weekend. I'm so excited :) Last night we started talking about what we'll do while we're there. T has scheduled a massage for us on Sunday night (!) and we'll watch the sunrise from one of the first places the sun sees in north America. We'll eat seafood and take nice walks on the beach. We'll hike all over Acadia. We'll take lots of pictures. We might even bring our bikes so what we can see more of the park. Mostly, though, we'll just be together, with no obligations or pressures from work or school. It's true that we might be more tired when we get back, but it will still be a wonderful vacation from the Boston area. This time of year is supposed to be perfect for "leaf peeping" in Maine. It should be fantastic. Maybe even phantastic :)