Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bungee Your Projectiles!! Do it!!

We are home safe in the house, and everything outside has been battened down, in preparation for the coming hurricane. Yesterday I bungeed down our potential projectiles, including the plants hanging on my fence. I feel pretty good about our hurricane preparations, although I would never say that (and certainly not say it online) because it seems like that would be asking for trouble. I hope we've thought of everything though.
This being new england, everyone is talking very tough, saying that it's going to die out before it hits us, laughing at people who prepare. This is something we hear before every blizzard, too- "it's new england, get over it!! If you can't drive in a blizzard, you should move to Florida!!" but this one does seem to have the weather people riled up pretty good, and I feel like I'd rather prepare than not. I remember watching the coverage of Katrina, and thinking "why didn't they LEAVE???" We can't say we haven't had a LOT of warning. It's not even really supposed to hit here until mid-day tomorrow. I mean, I'm not being hysterical, but I don't want it to be my lawn chair that crashes through the neighbor's window, and I can always use the water I have in pitchers and pots. No waste, no harm, no foul.
Best case scenario, we'll have a good little show, and make it through unscathed, and... have to stay home from work, due to the state of emergency? Stay safe everyone and charge yer phones, just in case.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh look, it's Friday, and I can do this legitimately!

I just saw Scott off to a bachelor party-camping trip, and now it's thundering out there to beat the band. This week has been a roller-coaster of emotions, so you might as well come along for the ride, in 7 stops.

1) First, on a happy note, I celebrated my 43rd birthday (holy cow, 43? I haven't given that much thought but it does seem old, now that I'm typing it... or at least, really adult!). I am so blessed with such great friends- we went on a sushi crawl, four places (two of which begged us to stay, promising better sushi than any other place). We went to one place for apps and drinks, then two more places for their specialty rolls, and then pulled up to the 4th place which was to be the top of the list- but it was closed. How disappointing! But we did all right, ate a lot and had a TON of fun. I smiled all the way home, glad and grateful for such friends and my sweet husband, who dressed up to be the chauffeur and even changed his tie for each new restaurant.

2) I know I've mentioned here that this has been a year of bad news, and just in the last week we've gotten a couple more gut-punches. I've been wondering lately if this is what happens: you know how at some point, in a couple of year's span, everyone you know gets married? Then, a couple years later, everyone starts having kids? Well I've been wondering if in the same way, over a span of a year or two, all the shit starts hitting all the fans? 4 or 5 of my friends have lost a parent this year, or experienced some sort of parental trauma. I see now that as we're all getting older our parents have hit this stage of need at the same time too.

3) This year when a friend of ours was diagnosed with something serious, I was gutted. I spoke to a mutual friend and told her the bad news, for which I got in some minor trouble. I know my friend must have felt that I'd gone over her head with the news, but when I told, it wasn't because I wanted to tell her story- it was because it was now my story. The news I shared with this friend was about my sadness, my worry, my concern. I was a mess and needed to talk about it- I never even thought that I was betraying a confidence. I wonder how much people in crisis know that their stories become part of the stories of the people who loved them. This year, my story is having chapters added with some regularity. In a way I'm grateful to be able to be part of the lives of these good people, and honored to be invited to share even in the bad news.

4) My parents seem poised to move out of their house; they now have keys-in-hand for their new place, and my siblings and I are anxious to get them moved. I know this will be emotional time, and stressful, and a lot of hard work. I think we are all looking forward to having it over with, and ready to move on to the next phase of this journey. Still, I'm pre-emptively tired and wondering if there's some way I can't just make it all go smoothly for everyone, while they're off a lunch or something. For now, though, I have an urge to hunker down and take cover while I can. With the place to myself this weekend I'll get lots of reading and some chores done and spend some time in silence, gathering strength for whatever comes next.

5) My brother is getting married, and I'm so thrilled for him and for his bride. They seem like a perfect fit, and so happy- it's thrilling to watch, even from afar! I keep thinking about our wedding, I guess that's natural- I mean, when I think of romance, I think US! But overall I can't wait to celebrate with my family, this exciting and happy occasion. This week on a random trip through a nearby town, Scott spotted this sign, with my brother's and future-sister-in-law's names. Hurray for coincidences!

6) I'm almost at the end of my studies for my Master's, and I'm stunned to realize that my theology has gone through some twists and turns through it all, and has surprisingly ended up with LOVE. People in my generation are mocked for having been given sloppy CCD in the 70's, with the insufficient message of "God is LOVE" as the main idea. Of course, it was a tumultuous time, just post- Vatican II. There was confusion, I reckon, on what to teach- but there was still one dependable truth, that of God being Love. Older people found this to be rubbish, and despair at the fact that the people of our generation don't know much Catholic vocab, and can't answer the questions in the Baltimore Catechism. But I have a feeling that it was just that God-being-love stuff that might have helped people like me hang in there in this Church, even through some pretty awful times. And little did our parents know how radical a message this Love business was. Only now, in my last year of grad studies in theology, I'm starting to grasp the hugeness, and the radical-ity of it, myself.

7) which makes me feel like the people of my generation are people who could save this Church from falling further apart. We have seen how our parents' 1950's faith stories are turning out, we looked the scandal square in the face, we made decisions to stay or to go. We have been given the Good News that God is Love, and we have the capacity to understand how life- and world-changing that Good News is. We have a unique perspective, very different from our parents' or our children's. We, I think, more than any other current generation, will come to know what will have to be done.

Wow, this is not where I expected these quick takes to take me, thanks for bumping along with me on this one. Read more at Jen's Conversion Diary blog, and may you have a decidedly un-interesting week!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

For the Love of Reading

In August, we catch up on all the birthday presents we've neglected to give over the past several months. We are pretty bad at giving gifts on time, and I blame this on the fact that we are both youngest children. If I've missed your birthday, do let me know, I'll get something right to you!
Anyway, I bring this up because lately, in the face of all this gift-buying, we've been talking about buying books for the kids we love. I can't keep track of whatever is the latest thing for kids these days (I think we had some hits during the whole silly band phase but that didn't last long), and it feels like something personal to buy someone a book that I loved or that Scott loved at their age.
So we bought our 3-year-old neighbor a copy of Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel (he is a truck lover), which is still in print! At a used/antique book store, Scott looked for Ribsy, and I poked around for The Diamond in the Window and The Swing in the Summerhouse (out of print, sadly, and expensive!). I loved these books and can still remember how it felt to read them. We bought Scott's niece a copy of A Wrinkle In Time, another book I adored. For my niece Nina, copies of The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) and The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues by Ellen Raskin.
I don't even know if kids read real books anymore- do they? But what I do know is that my sister Nancy was instrumental in gifting me with a love of reading, and introducing me to some wonderful YA books, and I'm forever grateful to her for that. I do have one tiny beef to register, about the newer printings of these books- they put illustrations of the main characters on the covers. I see why they do it, but... I feel like there's a lot of value to letting the reader conjure up their own mental picture of Meg Wallace. Maybe that's just a curmudgeonly thing all my own, but seeing the illustrated cover of Ramona the Pest made me object: that's not what Ramona looks like!!!
It's been fun revisiting my YA friends. Such good memories of many many hours spent together! I hope our kid friends fall in love like we did, way back when.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Leaving Home

Woah, what a roller coaster of emotions this trip home has turned out to be! I'm writing from my parents' computer room in what is soon to be their ex-house. They're moving closer to me, closer to most of my siblings, and into a much easier situation. The move is a good thing, good for everyone, and I'm relieved and excited about how it's all falling into place. Still, it's a big change.
We moved to this house when I was a young teenager, from a much bigger and older (and better) house across the street. I don't feel a lot of attachment to this house- it's too new, too ranchy, and I didn't want to move here in the first place. It wasn't designed with the kids in mind- it was built to be a place my parents could ease into their older age in. All one level, easy to heat and brand-spanking new. Unlike our old house, it is small, and outside of the custom touches my Dad has added (Scott says he has a little wooden shelf for everything!) it's pretty bland.
But now that my parents are leaving our home town, and it's kind of emotional for me. I shouldn't complain, it's been many years since I've spent any time here at all, and I haven't even visited enough to call it my home in a long time. But driving through town tonight, sitting in the car at the Dairy Queen, hearing the sounds of the fair through the trees, it's all so familiar, like knowing my way around my own house. We have lots more trips up here to come, as we start to empty the house and prepare it to be sold, but it feels as if a switch is being flipped this weekend, and there's lots of "last time" vibe in the air, for me.
You can go home again, I guess, but not forever.