Wednesday, August 29, 2007

8th Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our 8th wedding anniversary. We take turns planning our celebrations and it was H's turn this year. In previous years, he's taken me out to dinner or a movie. Well, this year, he went quite a bit further, and it was all in secret. First, we took a motorcycle ride over the mountains and back. Then, we went to a downtown center. As we were entering, he told me that he hoped I liked the singer performing in concert, though he hadn't heard of him and doubted that I knew who it was. When finding our seats, I glanced at the tickets......and it was JOSH GROBAN!!! Of course I knew who that was, even if I only really knew one of his songs. So, we settled in and the concert began. It began a bit slow and I was a bit bored. But then it got a lot better. He performed some songs in Italian (beautiful), his violinist did an amazing solo that launched into a rendition of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin (recorded the last of it, vid below), he roamed the crowd during a song, he joked around with the audience, and he topped it off with three encores. It was very enjoyable. We were in the balcony, but I got a few pics. The best ones were when he showed up in the crowd, right under us. He is an amazing performer that gives his all in his concert. They were also filming the performance for his tour video, so that elicited some excited energy in the crowd. I told H that he did good in his planning this year.

It's hard to imagine the number 8 attached to my time with him. It hasn't flown by, but it hasn't dragged on either. I think I am in awe that we've made it this far and done so well. We married when I was quite young, we had only known each other for 4 months, and I was already a mother to a 2-year-old. We've had good times and bad. But, in it all, he is still the best person I've known. He loves me, he loves our children, he treats us well, he provides for us, he supports me in everything, he works hard, he finds me extremely attractive, and he has a good heart toward everyone. For all this and much more, I love him more everyday. His bright blue eyes and muscular form don't hurt either! ;)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A very full day

I kicked some serious butt on the house today. I mean SERIOUS! I cleaned for at least 6 hours straight today. I even baked and shopped a little. Yesterday afternoon, we invited my brother-in-law and his girlfriend over for dinner tonight. The house has been in a mild state of chaos lately since I have not felt very pressured to do a million things at once (ie. school, home, kids' school, etc). So, today, I really whipped it into shape. I tried a new dessert recipe that is a peanut butter/chocolate combination. It turned out pretty darn good and the bbq was delicious as well. We had burgers, hot links, and chicken. My BIL and his GF just moved here from California and are just getting set up. It was nice to have them over as they are both fun folks.

I'm trying to organize one last LonDolls get-together before Hobby heads back to Denver to finish up school in about a week. With three of the girls back in school, Nobby being a newlywed, and two of them working, it's proving more difficult to organize our outings.

In my reading pile, I have the following:
Bringing Tuscany Home by Frances Mayes (you may know her from Under the Tuscan Sun)
It's about her experiences in Tuscany, the food, the people, and the way it has all changed her life. Very engrossing.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (for the second time)
Better Homes and Gardens: New Decorating Book (I like to look for new ideas and tips)
Those are a few of the many I am currently perusing. I am also loving the piano solo radio channel on itunes. It's very calming and beautiful.

As for movies, we've recently seen:
The Astronaut Farmer with Billy Bob Thornton and Virginia Madsen. This is a great family movie, inspiring and surprisingly good. I found myself really wrapped up in the main character and his strong belief in fulfilling his dream of going into space. Definitely a good rent.
Shooter with Mark Wahlberg. I rented this because it sounded like a good thriller along the lines of Bourne. The first 3/4 of the movie seemed to meet my expectation, and then it went down another road, like a Chuck Norris/Steven Seagal vengeance story. It has a lot of action, too much violence for young viewers, and would definitely please the male viewer. I probably wouldn't watch it again.

Well, my full day of work is catching up to me and I think I will have a slice of dessert and then head to bed. Goodnight.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Two Great Women You Probably Know

Those of us who spent a good amount of our childhood in front of the tv each had a favorite character on a show. I had two characters that I looked up to. I didn't realize that those characters had more than just the power to make me laugh and think, they also had the power to inspire me as a woman and what I believed I could aspire to. The first was Margaret Houlihan. She was the tough-as-nails, excellence-driven major in M*A*S*H that also had a soft center to her.
Like her, I was a military brat that always foresaw a military career for herself. I admired her self-motivation, her ability to lead others even through her own fear, and the tenderness she only shared with a few lucky comrades. She was beautiful, strong, smart, respected, and loved what she did. I really wished these qualities for myself, to know who I am and never let anyone or anything get in the way of becoming the person I hoped to be. I still love to watch the M*A*S*H reruns, especially the ones focusing around her.

The second character I admired was Claire Huxtable on the Cosby Show.

She was a good lawyer, a strong woman, a devoted wife, a mother that always knew what to say and do when it came to her children's happiness, and also a person that loved life. I didn't realize that these two characters probably played a large role in the reasons why I wanted to enter the military and attend law school. Funny.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream....

I have got to stop drinking energy drinks after 7pm. As you can see from the time of this post, the one I had tonight has yet to fully wear off. I never have trouble sleeping. I could be right in the middle of an argument, really upset, and still nod off at bedtime with no problem. However, it seems that the lingering caffeine is the only culprit that will keep me awake. So, there I was, laying in bed with a million things running through my mind and nowhere near sleep. I was mostly thinking about paint schemes for different rooms of the house, and where to build bookshelves, how to replace some of the trim, if I should strip some paint, replace sections of drywall, and where I could find more of the existing tile in the downstairs bathroom. Now do you see why I couldn't sleep?

Today was pretty uneventful, minus the power outtage. While the kids and I were eating breakfast, we heard a loud boom and all the power went out. I looked outside to see our powerlines bouncing up and down. On the corner of our street, there are construction guys tearing up a lot to resell. While they were removing an old tree, it fell and hit a low-lying powerline and took down the whole pole. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the power was only out for about a half hour. Other than that, we had a late picnic in the park and browsed around Barnes and Noble until closing time. Mister is very much into the Dinotopia books now and I will need to be ordering more of those soon.

The fall semester started today (er, yesterday). I listened to Mody and Trippy telling me about their new, super-busy semester classes and was about to gloat that I wasn't in school and didn't have to worry about classes and homework, but then I realized that I would love to be in their shoes right now. I miss school, reading texts, having class discussions, and learning. Grad schools seems so far away. The kids start school next week and they are really excited. When they are gone, I really won't know what to do with myself. Maybe I'll keep working on the house some more. Well, that's all for now. Maybe I'll try sleeping again. Goodnight/morning.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Longing

Do you ever just want to get on a plane? Just pack a bag and jump on a plane to wherever you long to go? I've been feeling that a lot lately. I've been seeing pictures of my friend who is getting ready to make London her permanent home and another friend who is plane-hopping from London to Paris to Amsterdam and they all make me want to fly away. I miss London so much. I miss the parks, the laughs us LonDolls had as we began to knit our strong bonds of friendship and I especially miss wandering through the London streets, wondering what I will discover around the next corner or when I emerge from the next tube stop. I want to stand by the Thames at dusk again, across from Parliament, with its lights beginning to softly illuminate the emerging dark. I want to sit in a pub with my girls, drinking in the laughter and submerging myself in the realization that I am half a world away from my everyday life.

And sometimes, I just want to see old, familiar faces. I want to surprise Jen in Maine and squeeze the cheeks of the two little boys that are filling her with such love everyday. I want to walk on the beaches in her pictures, hard stones under my feet and the cool ocean air spraying against my body. I imagine the streets to be filled with rows of small shops with lighthouses painted on their windows and antiques hiding on their shelves. I would stay up until dawn, curled up on a sofa and talking with her over every detail of our full lives, of her happiness and maybe how I can soak up enough of it to take home to see me through the sad days that sometimes come. Her smile and kind voice would be a refresher to my soul and I would leave with, I hope, a portion of her contentment to bless my mind.

When my mind and heart start to wander to far away places and then begin to urge my body to do the same, it is hard to suppress the longing in my soul. It wants to see, to do, to feel. It wants to fill my eyes with wonderous sights, my ears with laughter and my heart with wonderful memories that I can take out every once in a while, dust off, and relive in my mind. I want to see my son sneak his fingers over the side of the gondola in Venice and shiver at its cold. I want to see my daughter stand in front of the statue of Lincoln at his memorial, read his words and to know that she has taken them to heart. I want to hold the hand of my husband while we wander the cities, observing every architectural detail and never being able to fully convince our minds that we are exactly where our hearts wanted to lead us.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A little update

I don't know who invented the adjustable waistline in pants, or who decided to put them in childrens' clothing....but they have my gratitude. I took the kids shopping today for school clothes. They attend a public school, but the school practices a uniform policy. I am all for the uniforms and wish that they had had them when I was in school. Anyway, the main requirements of the uniform are a specific group of colors. So, we went to two different stores and found just what we needed. However, if it was not for the wonderful expandable waistlines that are now in a lot of kids' clothes, I would have had to buy the size of pants and shorts that fit them precisely, and then had to return for new clothes in less than two months because they would have outgrown the length, the waist, or both. Thanks to the new waists, I can buy them a little long and a little big in the waist, cinch them smaller and not worry about it for a few months (they do still tend to wear them out). And that brings me to my next find...double-thick knees on the boys pants. Mister would wear out a pair of pant knees in less than 6 weeks. I am very interested in seeing how these new pants hold up against him. After only a couple of hours, I managed to stock them both with school clothes and backpacks. If they need shoes, that will be on another day.

What else has occupied my time lately? Well, tonight I babysat for a friend while they had a quiet evening at home for their anniversary. I was shocked to see this friend drop off the kids herself, considering she just gave birth four days ago. I remember not wanting to get off our couch for at least two weeks after Tiny was born. She's pretty amazing. Last week, I was busy cleaning house because I am trying to get rid of unwanted items and I was also having company over for dinner on Friday. The dinner went wonderfully. There was great conversation, a lot of laughter, and good food. Saturday morning, I helped a friend from church put a new roof on his temporary tool shed. He is preparing to build a new house and has been looking for some help. I figured that this would be my best opportunity to learn about home building and repairs, so I volunteered. It was a lot of very hard work, but I really enjoyed it and got to know him a lot better than I would have just seeing him at church. I'm hoping to learn a lot from him that I can use around our house.

So, we are pretty much just hanging out, cleaning house, and waiting for school to start. I am looking into grad programs more and am leaning toward going straight for my Masters of English. There is a competitive assistantship at my university. If you are accepted, you get to teach up to 3 or 4 classes in two semesters, you receive a nice stipend and a full tuition waiver. How sweet is that!? GPA-wise, I am at the lower end of the requirement, but that is no reason to not try. Also, the program requires 10 courses and a 6-hour comprehensive exam for the degree. When I am done, I can teach at community and branch colleges (most universities have large pools of Ph.Ds to choose from, so, usually, you need one to teach at that level). I get pretty excited when I look at the classes, so that's a pretty good sign of my interest.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blessings and Perspectives

I just wanted to share this beautiful post by Heather, who is fighting cancer, and is an inspiration to anyone that reads her blog. I have been pondering my mortality quite often lately. No's not for any specific reasons such as illness. I think it's just from being another year older and having two small children. I sometimes worry that if I were to leave this life soon, that they will all be okay and that they know how much I love them and that I have taught them the things I want them to know. I try to not dwell on these things long, but I am very realistic with myself that nobody knows when their time will come. It could be days or decades. But Heather's posting pointed out something that touched my heart.

"The worst that can happen is the best that can happen. Christians know the truth of that statement. For surely the worst that can happen is that we die- and that’s actually the best that can happen because we know that we don’t go from life to death. As singer Kathy Troccoli says so emphatically, when we die we go from life to LIFE! We sigh out that last earthly breath and breathe in the glorious atmosphere of heaven!"
-Plant a Geranium in your Cranium, Barbara Johnson

And, like Heather, I am certainly looking forward to many more years, to seeing my children grow and continue being the wonderful spirits they are. I want to see them marry well, hold their children, and see H's eyes light up when they visit. I hope that God will grant me these blessings. I am amazed when someone with so much on her mind and heart, like Heather, can find the hope and beauty in everything. I feel very blessed to have found her blog.