Sunday, October 16, 2011


If I could just stop sneezing long enough to write this... My fall allergies have been so horrible this year! Last year was the first time I've ever had fall allergies, and it was awful, but this year seems even worse. They are taking all the fun out of autumn!
Anyway, I finished Dracula, by Bram Stoker, about a week ago, but I have been too busy (or lazy) to blog. Regardless, it was a wonderful book! I really enjoyed it. I knew I would like it in one sense because it is a Victorian Gothic romance. But I wasn't sure about the whole horror genre. I'm not gullible, and I don't scare that easily, but I feel that my common sense prevents me from watching horror movies and reading horror stories for a reason. Dracula is definitely a scary story. It involves a man (or thing) who is the essence of pure evil, thriving on the destruction of others, who corrupts what is pure and ruins beauty and innocence and causes others to become like him. That he can take the shape of an animal or travel as a mist, and the fact that he comes when the victim is sleeping, makes him seem all the more impossible to stop. But he can be stopped. The heros of the story band together and work as a team to stop Dracula and essentially redeem the souls that he has stolen. There is mystery, action, romance, heartbreak, and redemption, all mixed together in as well-written a work of Victoriana as can be asked for. I really liked how Stoker used the technique of telling the whole story in journal entries, telegrams, and newspaper articles. His vivid descriptions of the wild lands around Transylvania were especially interesting, and his imagination throughout the whole story was impressive. We take "Dracula" for granted as a stock Halloween character now, but when the book was first published, I'm sure it caused a sensation. And for those, like me, who thought it would just be a scary story about a guy I already pretty much knew everything about, read it. You'll be surprised by what you find!

 P.S. I turned on the TV last night and guess what I saw? Bela Lugosi in his famous role.

 Next Book: Conan by Robert Howard. Fantasty, like horror, is not my favorite genre, but I'm willing to take a chance on a classic. Anyway, the Frank Frazetta illustration on the cover piqued my interest. I'll let you know how it is.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Book is Always Better Than the Movie

The last book that we read in my book club was The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton, which I loved.  I was surprised that I'd never read it before, and enjoyed everything about it: the rich language, descriptions of the opulent Edwardian society-girl lifestyle, the tragedy of unrequited love... By the end of the book I was crying harder than I've cried over any book I've ever read, I think.  I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good book to read.  However, I feel the opposite way about the movie!  The movie, starring Gillian Anderson, is just horrible.  The scenes are gorgeous, the costumes perfect, and Anderson is very good at playing the Lily Bart with a furrowed brow, especially at the end when she is so haunted and melancholy.  But the rest of the acting is just horrible--slow and stilted.  The actor who plays the love of Lily's life comes off as preachy and sissified, with a high-pitched voice.  Some major characters are combined into one person, events are similarly topsy-turvy, and the end is just all wrong!  I can't tell you why, because it would give it all away, but the moment of redemption for Lily in the book is completely gone from the movie, which casts a completely different light on the whole tragic end, but for the worse.  I didn't like it at all.  So, read the book but skip the movie!

Next up for book club is The Help, which I've already read, so I've decided to do something different, starting now.  I'm going to read every book of my husband's.  Not all in one month, of course.  He has a lot!  No, I'm going to start now and read them all in however much time it takes, even the science textbooks.  I might save "Mein Kampf" for last, though, in hopes that I'll never get through them all in my lifetime!  C has a wide and varied taste in books, everything from politics to sea-stories to poetry to classic literature to Mad magazine compilations.  Where to begin?  I thought I'd start with Dracula, this being October and all.  I've never read it before!  Best of all, C's copy is annotated, so it's full of illustrations and tangents, which I love.  I'll review it here when I'm done.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Owl

The other night I was driving home after dark and when I was going through a sort of sketchy part of town I noticed some miscreants, as there usually are, up ahead crossing the street. I knew I was safe in my big car with doors locked and everything, but I was annoyed because the two men seemed to be walking as slowly as they possibly could across the street--the middle of the street, no crosswalk in sight. Jaywalking always irritates me, because my number one fear when driving is that I'm going to run over a person, but this made me even madder, because they seemed to be walking slowly on purpose, just to taunt traffic. By the time they got into my lane, I was feet away from them, and hoped they'd hurry on at the thought of impending death, but no. They ignored me and actually stopped in my lane, stood there and started talking to each other. My car came to halt, my hand hit the horn, and for a few split seconds I gave them the evil eye, then swerved around them to continue on my way. I suppose the three cars behind me had to do the same thing. And with incredulous anger, I ranted to myself about how annoying and stupid those men were.

 Almost home, I drove through a quiet neighborhood with street-lamps lit. Recent rain made the streets and trees glitter. Suddenly a large and spectacular owl swooped down from the shadows of an oak tree and attempted to land on a power line. It wobbled as it grasped the line, and beat it's massive, silent wings. Then it turned it's mysterious face towards me. All anger forgot, I was suddenly in a world of awe, contemplating the wonders of nature at night.

 C told me, "See? If those men in the road hadn't slowed you down, you might have missed seeing that owl. Isn't it funny how life works out sometimes?"

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Best birthday present ever! My awesome sister made me some banners for my etsy shop and my spoonflower shop, and so I decided to use one for my blog, too! And it's high time I wrote something here, anyway. I was trying to think of things to motivate me to write, and one of the ideas I had was to read all of my husband's books (he has a lot of classics that I've never read!) and review them here. Or, I could just ramble on about whatever, like I usually do. Right now I'm too busy reading self-help books about how to manage people, because I'm being promoted at work to a management position, something I have more enthusiasm about than experience with. I want to be a good manager! However, a few pages in to "The One-Minute Manager Builds Dynamic Teams" or something like that has left me with a few more questions than answers. I might need someone to explain all the jargon. Maybe I just need to keep reading. Anyway, I'm pretty excited about the promotion, even though it will be a lot of work. But I'm kind of sad that I'll have to give up my 7-3 schedule in lieu of regular business hours. Getting off work at 3 every day is wonderful! On the other hand, it might be nice to be able to stay up past 11 pm without feeling like a bus ran over me the next day. Still, I'm going to try and continue the "early to bed, early to rise" thing, and try to be really productive in the mornings before work so it will feel like I'm still accomplishing a lot.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Stuff

I was going to post a picture of a church today, but instead I decided to show you this house in my neighborhood. It's not a church, but whoever lives there felt the need to put signs up on their house telling people to believe in God. It's a great message, in any language.

Well, it has been kind of a crazy Sunday. C and I were all ready to go to church--I was wearing a newly-made dress and had just curled my hair and I was rushing out the door after him--when I saw his face and knew something was wrong. It was a big ol' flat tire on the car! I'm surprised C didn't notice it earlier when he'd gone out to check on the garden, but I know how it is to be oblivious. I'm always not noticing things! So we went back inside and changed out of our nice clothes and got some practice putting on the spare tire, which was great because I think this is the first time since he's owned the car that C has accessed and used the spare, which is normally attached to the underside of our car. I watched, and I think I could even do it now if I ever need to, which makes me feel good. It didn't look too hard at all. The flat tire, we saw, had some sort of thin metal spike wedged between the treads, which caused the puncture. We must have acquired it at some point yesterday on our trip to the grocery store.

So, we were late for church. But I wish we could have missed the last third instead of the first third, because in both Sunday School and Relief Society it was the chastity lesson! Not that I have a problem with chastity, but it was a little bit repetitive. Oh well, I am actually glad that the church has it as a lesson, because it is a huge problem in the world today, and no less for LDS people than for anyone else. I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who are friends or friends of friends whose marriages have been affected by pornography. And I am also often saddened to know young women and men who have been not kept the law of chastity in their dating years, and whose lives have been so badly scarred by all the trouble such activities bring. Families really need to do a better job of teaching their daughters to be virtuous and strong, and their sons to be valiant and pure. It's such a difficult but vitally important topic.

Anyway, I'm testing out my computer and so far so good. I didn't replace the battery, because they wouldn't give me a free one, but I was able to get the faceplate and bezel around the screen (whatever these things are called) replaced, and so far I have been using it for 30 minutes and the mouse pad has not freaked out like it was doing before! The guy saw hairline cracks in the old one and thought that maybe it was what was putting pressure on the pad and it's click-button thing. I don't even know what these things are called, so I won't go on about it. All I can say is, I hope that was the fix!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Look, I coined a new word! I guess the word trivialities might also suit. Here are some:

My favorite show to watch on Saturday night is Keeping Up Appearances, an old BBC comedy about a pretentious British lady and her long-suffering husband. Hyacinth Bucket (it's pronounced Bouquet!) goes to great lengths to make sure the sort of people who eat off Royal Doulton china don't find out she's related to Daisy and Onslow who live in happy squalor with their other sister, Rose, who is dramatically fond of other women's husbands. I don't know why I love it so much, but I just do.

One of the reasons I can't blog much these days is because my computer freaks out in hot weather. It's doing it now! You don't know it but it just deleted everything I wrote, and I had to type it again. I have to hold my hands up high off the keyboard as I type or else the touch pad thinks I'm touching it, because it's all hot and can't differentiate what is what. Sigh... Also, the internet that I steal from across the street disconnects me every fifteen minutes, like it just did now. I will have to save these paragraphs when I'm done typing, reconnect, then log back on to blogger and publish my post. Sigh... We keep saying we're going to get real internet, but we never do for some reason.

Today my husband spent four and a half hours touching up scuff marks in the LDS chapel where we attend church. He's not a member. But he's very excited about the stain pens he ordered from an online company. He didn't finish all the pews--there are a lot and it's slow work, but we'll go back sometime and do the rest. While he worked on that I worked on genealogy in the family history center. I'm trying to find out when my husband's ancestors immigrated from Germany to Canada, but I have had no luck. I'm starting to wonder if there is any record out there with that information at all.

After our work at the church we visited with my family, and I got to see my mom again, back from her trip to Utah. Oh, that reminds me! I forgot to tell her that the airline called to say they found her lost luggage and would be delivering it this evening. Oops. Well, she'll get it. They had sent it to El Salvador instead, by mistake of course. My mom was staying with her mom, who turns 90 this October. My grandma lives all alone and I worry about her. Maybe she'll come out here and stay with my parents. I would love to see her again. Last time was a couple of years ago. I want my husband to meet her. Maybe I will write more about my grandma in a blog post of her own.

I don't even really know what got me to write tonight. Just felt like it, I guess. We came home from my parents house, I ate a zucchini, read the Wall Street Journal, wandered around for a few minutes sneezing (I guess from the cats at my parents' house), then sat down to write this. I guess I'll let my computer cool down now. I'm going to go watch my show, take an allergy pill, eat some ice cream, and relax.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I'm Alive, I Promise!

I guess I'm just not a blogger anymore. But I want to be! Blogging was easy in New York because there were so many strange and fascinating experiences to tell my faraway friends and family about. Now that I'm just living in a regular neighborhood, doing regular things, it doesn't seem like there is as much to say. Still, I guess there are interesting things that go on here.

My brother wants me to blog about how he had to film a re-enactment of a famous movie scene for a film class. He picked a scene from No Country For Old Men, asked my husband to be the star, and went on to win a huge A from his teacher for his perfect job. It was a lot of hard work, filming at a sketchy Durham motel for a few late nights, but it was fun. I got to help with the lights. Here is a still from the "movie."I could also talk about my garden. It's so fun to grow things, as my sister can tell you. Her blog is mainly about her gardening struggles in Arizona. Things are a little easier to grow in NC, but we do have our pests and problems as well. From the plague of cankerworms that rained from the sky and ate everything in sight to the mysterious case of the bee-balm that withered and died almost seconds after being planted, gardening can be perplexing. And yet, it is also so rewarding. We've just begun to harvest our beans and they are delicious!

Posts could be written about the neighborhood cat soap operas, the strange local architecture, the challenges of fixing up my home, going to the beach to eat Krispy Kreme's fresh from the factory, coming in first place at a local restaurant's trivia contest, the books I read, the dresses I make, or my baby brother's crazy wedding. I guess I do have a lot to talk about here. Maybe I'm just too busy doing all these things to write about them. But I want to!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Rain, Rain, Go Away

For reasons I don't fully understand, I can never sleep when it's raining. If I don't know it's raining and I can't hear it raining, then I can sometimes sleep, but usually I'm restless and uneasy. It's strange, because growing up in Oregon, it rained more often than not. There, however, the rain is gentle and soft, quiet and misty. When I moved east with my family, I was exposed to violent thunderstorms, nor'easters and hurricanes. But it's not just rain that creeps me out. When I was living in the dorms during college, the downside of having my own private room was the fact that water from the bathroom on the floor above would leak through my ceiling every now and then. It made me very uneasy to never know when a pipe was going to malfunction and water start coming down. When I graduated and found a job at a nice art gallery, it was a common practice to walk around the store after a rainstorm and make sure buckets were catching the puddles caused by the fashionable but leaky roof. My apartment had a strange leak in the kitchen ceiling, where water would emerge a day or two after a heavy rain, after traveling through some sort of secret passageway in the old roof. When I moved to New York, my first home was a house where my bedroom ceiling caved in, caused, I'm sure, by water damage from the washing machine on the floor above. After I fled that place, my next apartment was brand newly renovated, but it was on the top floor, and the first heavy rain caused the living room ceiling to swell up with water from a leak in the roof. Now I live in an old house with a foundation eroded and probably shifted by rain, with a yard that requires causeways and channels to divert the water so that the soil doesn't all travel away. So, you see, water and I are not good friends.

My husband continues to assure me that our house has a new roof, which he personally and painstakingly helped install a few years ago. Often, in our bedroom here, I can hardly hear the rain at night, the house's walls are so thick. Still, there is a strange pinging sound that I hear every now and then when it rains and the droplets hit the metal chimney of the water heater that extends from the wall of our kitchen. This chimney was built by idiots, my husband says, and just the other day he was pointing out to me that if the wind and rain hit the chimney just right, the water runs down the pipe into the side of the house instead flowing away and dripping onto the ground. I guess the conditions were right last night, because it rained pretty hard and, though I slept all right, I woke up early and went into the kitchen to get breakfast and stepped into a puddle of water. C was awake but not at all happy to have me pull him out of bed to inspect a puddle. He's been muttering about idiots and cursing under his breath ever since. And it's a darkish damp Saturday, so I think the best thing to do is retire to my sewing nook, turn on the radio, and do some work. But first, a shower.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Musings of a Sick Mind

I've been bedridden for days, in the grips of delirium, wondering if I will survive the long ordeal or succumb to the dreaded cold. Actually, I've only had a cold for a few days, but when I get sick I just sleep and sleep and sleep. I slept on Wednesday, then I went to work on Thursday because I felt like nobody was getting anything done without me. Then I came home and slept, and today I have barely left my bed. It's so warm in here and so cold and gray outside and I have everything I need all around me: tissues, books, i-pod, salt and vinegar potato chips, chocolate chip cookies... why should I get up? Unless there is a bright warm sunbeam somewhere to lay in, I am not getting up!

My husband, who would like for me to refer to him as "Biff" on my blog from now on, in order to further protect his identity (but I have not decided if I will or not. I'll probably forget) has been taking good care of me, bringing me food and telling me stories, and actually I thought I was delirious and hallucinating because when I came home from work the other day, he was cleaning! I mean, he was organizing! We have more floorspace in our bedroom now, and the bathroom closet is completely reorganized. He was actually throwing things away! Like old medicines and stuff. It was fantastic!

While I've been laying here in bed, I read a book about this Spanish conquistador named Orellana, who was the first Westerner to traverse the Amazon River. It is an amazing book, and I recommend it to anyone who loves adventure stories. It's nice to read stories like that when you are sick because it makes your own troubles seem not as bad. When I read about starving men devouring raw manioc and then dying of the poison while being attacked by cannibals, it puts things in perspective. And it makes me realize that humans are strong enough to endure so much more than what I complain about from day to day.

I've also been listening to radio podcasts of my favorite programs, including Bob & Sheri, a duo based in Charlotte NC, who I've listened to for years and years. They make me laugh out loud most days, and recently they had people calling in to tell true stories of weddings that turned wild. Some lady called in and said that when police came to arrest a drunk-driving guest and tow his car from the wedding she was attending, the other guests tried to tip over the tow-truck, and laid down in front of the police car wheels to prevent the guy from being taken away! Then some other guy called and talked about his own crazy wedding and how his wife is a taxidermist and is planning to stuff him when he dies and prop him up in the corner. If I don't die of this cold, I will probably die laughing because of these people. But if laughter really is the best medicine, maybe I'll get well soon?

I'm just delirious and making no sense. Maybe I will do my taxes now. I figure I might as well do tedious stuff now, while I'm sick, so as to better enjoy my time when I am well.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


The most inspiring time of the year is Spring, and no where is that more apparent than outside in Nature. I love seeing everything come to life again (except mosquitos!) Last week the garden looked like this:

Now it looks like this:

C and I planted peas under the February full moon, lettuce which I don't think is going to grow because the seeds are 20 years old, and a ton of dill for some reason but oh well--it probably won't grow either. We also got some straw bales to try straw bale gardening with (you water the straw until it gets all hot and fermenty inside and then you plant stuff in it and it's supposed to be like a raised bed that you can later turn into mulch. We're going to put tomatoes in ours.)
Last week I went crazy at Lowe's and bought a ton of sunflower seeds, so we're going to have lots of those this year, and my favorite zinnias. And now I'm planning a section of the garden for herbs, since there is already a crusty old rosemary plant growing there. At Lowe's they had flats of frostbitten pansies on sale for 25 cents, so those are planted in everything. Also, until we are sure the frosts are over, we are starting squash and pepper seeds in an old record player that C turned into a baby plant incubator.

Meanwhile, the buds and blossoms of spring are going crazy. Crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, snowdrops, tulips... each is popping up one after the other in the ancient but ever young song of Spring.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Bird's Eye View

C is finally getting over his flu, and now that the weather is warm he's been working outside all day. My mom hired him to refinish a cabinet for her bathroom, and we've also started putting our garden in. Between those two projects, he's been a constant presence in the backyard, and the birds at the feeder are getting very used to him. Yesterday he wondered how close he could get to the feeder without the birds being afraid. As he had the thought, a sparrow landed on the feeder and began to eat seeds, and C decided to creep slowly towards it. Beginning at about 15 feet away from the feeder, he slowly moved closer and closer, until he was a foot away from the bird! Still, it ignored him and kept eating sunflower seeds. He looked closely at the little bird, and suddenly realized--it was blind in one eye! The eye that should have seen him was completely cloudy and useless. When C made a noise, the sparrow turned its head around, saw him, and flew away, lighting clumsily on a high branch of the oak tree. Of all the birds that come to our backyard, the one half-blind one happened to come right when C wanted to get close to a bird. What are the chances of that?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

History is History

Yesterday I had to go to the Post Office to mail my scissors to Gingher to get sharpened, but C is still suffering from a bad case of the flu, so I went out alone. "Be careful out there!" he said. The post office is only about 2 miles from my house, but it's in a strange neighborhood which requires a lot of defensive driving. It's more like an obstacle course. While I was driving there I encountered a car being pushed by five Mexican guys, a pack of teenage guys walking their bikes and taking up the whole left lane of the road, and a car that was parked in the road while two people were casually putting suitcases in the trunk.

There was a Dollar Tree right next to the Post Office, so I decided to go in and get C some Cheetos. When I have a cold I crave salt and vinegar potato chips. He craves Cheetos, and I thought it would cheer him up to indulge. So I grabbed the Cheetos and got in line. Now, I don't really think about it because it doesn't really matter to me, but it's true that I was the only white person in the busy dollar store. Come to think of it, besides the Mexican guys, every person I'd seen so far while running my errands had been a black person.

Anyway, as I was standing there in line at the dollar store, this big lady walked into the store and started saying hello to people. Eventually, she made her way past me and then stopped at the woman in line behind me, and this is how their conversation went:

Big Lady: Excuse me, I'd like to invite you to my Black History Month party.

Lady in Line: Okay, is it at a church?

Big Lady: No, it's at the library. Why, wouldn't you go if it was at a church? That's sad.

Lady in Line: Not for some people.

Big Lady: (clutching the Lady In Line's shoulder, and oozing false sweetness) Don't worry, I won't put you in any categories.

Then the big lady walked away, and the woman in line behind me asked me, "Did she invite you?" I told her no, she hadn't, maybe because I'm not black. The woman shook her head and said, "That ain't right."

Then it was my turn to check out, and I left the dollar store, but kept thinking about those ladies and Black History Month and how history is history, no matter who it happened to. We are all Americans, black or white, and we share a past just as we share a future.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Scissors and Thieves

Add to the list of random things my husband has at the moment I need them: a cardboard mailing tube, a pitchfork, thick brown wrapping paper, and a long metal ruler. He can also fix pretty much everything. A few weeks ago when I was visiting my parents' house, my mom sent me home with a round-bottomed copper bowl, used for chilling and whipping cream. It had a good-sized dent in it, and she wanted to know if my husband could fix it. Dents are tricky, but using a cushion of towels, an old softball, and a wooden mallet, C massaged the dent away until it was all but gone. He enjoys doing stuff like that, and is always looking for a new project. Unfortunately, I think I reached the limit of his skills this week, when I knocked my prized Gingher scissors off the sewing table, causing them to land hard on the wood floor and form a little burr on the blade. "You're going to have to take them to a professional sharpener," he said to me. I was already practically in tears because they are my best (and most expensive) scissors, still practically new, and I felt so bad for being careless. Then, surprised that my husband wasn't able to fix them, I was forced to confront the fact that he can't do everything. He's spoiled me up until now! But where do you get scissors sharpened?

Meanwhile, C has had problems of his own, trying to secure the yard from scrap-metal thieves, who snuck into our yard and took a few things last week, while we were in the house. Our neighborhood is full of empty houses, easy targets for thieves who steal and sell metal wires, pipes, and whatever else they can get their hands on. They were probably running out of houses to loot and thought our yard looked like easy pickings, with C's collection of old drainpipes, bales of wire, and metal roof sheeting, there for the taking. My dad said, "Oh, you got rid of some stuff!" which is true, but I would rather sell it myself and get the $2.50 (seriously, why not get a job instead?--scrap metal foraging does NOT seem worth it to me) than have strangers sneak into my yard (and possibly my house!) to get it.

So we've been thinking of ways to secure our little homestead, and this was the list I made of possible solutions:

1. Get a mean guard dog
2. Put up better fences
3. Set booby traps
4. Put all our metal items in one pile and electrify them
5. Put up motion/infrared detecting alarms
6. Put up video cameras, or signs saying we have them
7. Spend a lot of time doing target practice in the backyard so everyone knows we have guns

I like the booby-trap idea (covered pits, bear-traps, etc.), but apparently they are against the law. So are pellet guns in Durham, as it turns out. In fact, I don't think you can really do anything to hurt a trespasser these days, because they can sue you, even if it is their fault for trespassing. But this whole incident has made me think that it might not be a bad idea to brush up on my shooting skills and get licensed to carry a weapon, in case anyone were to break into the house. Meanwhile, I think the motion/infrared detecting alarms are the best solution. C's idea? He cut down the brush in the woods behind our house, put up No Trespassing signs where the men came onto our property. Then, underneath one of the signs, he hung a dead squirrel. So far, the thieves haven't come back.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Year!!!

Well, I'm a little late, because I've been so bad about blog writing lately, but anyway, I just want to write down my New Year resolutions because they always say that if you write stuff down then you are more likely to do it. So...

1. Do my visiting teaching. I'm assigned to visit one woman in my church--just one! And yet for six months I have not visited her. I have no excuses. I resolve to visit her every month this year. (And actually, I'm off to a good start on this one, because I visited her last night.)

2. Do family history. I'm really excited about genealogy, and always have been, but with a really bad internet connection, it's pretty impossible to work online at home, and I'm too lazy to drive to the family history center, so for Christmas I bought C a new computer (well, it's for both of us) and we are going to sign up for our very own internet connection so we no longer have to steal the neighbor's, and then I'll be all set to go online and research both my family tree and his. I'm excited about doing his! Also, we have afternoon church now, so what better way to spend my Sunday mornings than doing family history, or indexing so that others can do theirs?

3. Go to the temple. This is a personal goal that I won't really talk much about here, but it's something I want to do and plan to do soon. I think it will make a big difference in my life.

So those are my goals, and I don't think they are overwhelming or anything, so I should have no problems, as long as I remember them and stay focused.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Meet Me At the Met

Even if you don't live in New York City, I encourage you to become a member of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Not only will your contribution help care for an immense collection of the world's finest treasures, but you will receive the quarterly Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. Catching up on my periodicals, I've been reading mine from Fall 2010, devoted to highlights from among the museum's recent acquisitions. With gorgeous photos and captions written by the Met's experts, I feel like I've spent an afternoon strolling through the museum itself, though I haven't had to leave my comfortable chair.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

The turn of the new year is always magical. For some reason, we as people like to mark days, record time's passage, and celebrate the closing of another chapter and the opening of a vast, unwritten page. It's also amazing to look back at a past year and remember everything that happened in that space of 365 days.

For me, this time of year now holds even more significance, as I look back at last New Year's Day, and remember that it was the day that I acted on a most incredible feeling. Home from New York City for the holidays, I had suddenly and unexpectedly been struck by the knowledge that I was going to marry my longtime friend, C. I explained it to him on New Year's Day, as we sat together on a desperately cold winter night, warmed by the fireplace inside the art gallery where he worked. The gallery was closed for the night, dark and still, but comfortingly full of beautiful artwork, made more intriguing by the firelight. However, C and I had our minds only on the future, and then-unknown possibilities. Could it work? How? Was it crazy?

Nothing was settled, but when I arrived back in New York the next day, I couldn't keep it from my roommates. "The strangest thing has happened, and I think I'm going to get married soon!" Nevermind the fact that C and I had never dated. I just knew, as certain as I knew my name, that it was going to happen. And it did. Six months ago we were married, and each day since then has been a treasure. It's hard to explain spiritual gifts, but this year I feel I have been inundated with them. My husband is a blessing, a wonder to me, an incredible gift, as well as a challenge. This year I was reminded that God knows me, has a plan for me, and has more blessings and miracles for me, if I will only look to Him.

Last night C built a fire in the backyard, and we sat together in its light, with warm hands and warm hearts, amazed at everything. Sometimes we feel like children, led along by a great Father, who we trust. Childlike, we listened to all the fireworks going off in the neighborhoods around us, the sirens, the lights, the loud booms and crashes, and we were thankful to be there together.