8/31/10

On Being Old


As Blake reminded me yesterday (ever so kindly): I look perpetually 12 years old. This is why I'm convinced that I will be carded, even when purchasing wine - the most grown-up of alcoholic beverages, until the day I die.

But sometimes I don't feel young. In fact, most of the time I feel exceedingly old.

Like tonight, for instance. As I sit in our apartment freezing my butt off (thank you, Blake's friend the air conditioner), drinking a glass of wine, feeling the aches of pilates and reading Sinclair Lewis, I could not feel older. Tonight, I think I'll go to bed at 10 if I get all my reading done. Tomorrow, I'll stay away from carbs because I know how they make my stomach turn. The next day, I'll bundle up because it will be an ungodly 70 degrees in the rain. This weekend, I'll probably spend a substantial amount of time thinking about my future, making sure my (school & career) affairs are in order, and going for nature walks.

Let's face it. If you're only as old as you feel, right now I'm 107.

"Oh, I'm dreadfully old. I expect to take to a lip-stick, and to find a gray hair any morning now." Carol in Main Street

8/29/10

Discovery

I've decided that this semester will be about discovery in a few distinct areas:
  • Cooking (Becoming at least proficient at making a meal - this seems to be a recurring goal)
Progress...
Blake (mostly) and I made Italian and Mexican food this weekend. We completed the picture with music from their respective countries. Our new neighbors love us.
  • Wine (This is low priority on a low budget, but is most certainly a prerequisite to classiness)
  • New England (Sailboat-watching, fairs, apple picking, etc. - all things I've done in Connecticut, but want to do more of in Massachusetts)
Progress...
I spent Saturday afternoon on the beach (10 minute walk from our apartment - beautiful) with a few of my favorite girls. Today, Blake and I walked around Rockport after church.
  • Yoga (I really need to tap into this source of stress relief)
  • Reading and Writing (A discovery with promised application through my course load)
Progress...
I spent the afternoon reading about the Modernist literary movement and the ethics of kairos - depressing. Nicholas Sparks and Jodi Picoult are starting to look like pleasant alternatives - even more depressing.
  • Studying Proverbs (A devotional on purpose-filled life suggested by a friend)

8/26/10

Senior Year

It's been a long day. Or, rather, it's been a long string of days - starting with Monday's last-minute goodbyes, followed by Tuesday's packing frenzy, Wednesday's 3 1/2 hour drive (through pouring rain) to get to Gordon for a class, and ending (please, God) with 2 days of heavy lifting and unpacking. My shoulders hurt. My muscles are swollen. The splinter in my foot has become an unholy shade of rouge. I don't dare look in the mirror.

This is what my "heavy box" search produced.

But I'm back.

Yesterday I spent some time getting reacquainted with my good friend Melissa. We reminisced on friendships past and present, years that seemed to fly by, and the future that awaits us. It struck me that students at Gordon and everywhere, I suspect, live in constant search of their "future". So much so that the present is gravely overshadowed.

Those of you who know me well are guffawing. Yes, guffawing. This word is the only accurate descriptor of that mix of amusement and hypocrite-recognition which I have prompted.

It's true. I'm just about the worst poster child for "living in the moment". I've got a continuously and conscientiously updated resume and cover letter to prove it. I've got the fellowships, honors programs, scholarships and work experience that put me in the category of "likely to get hired post-graduation" and also "most likely to have a panic attack at age 22". In the last four years, I can think of very little that I've done without purpose toward the future. To put it quite frankly, I'm tired.

As I sit here in our first apartment, freshly decorated and full of love, I'm finally basking in the present. It's a glow that I've carried with me for the last 24 hours - I've run into good friends on campus, appreciated two wonderful jobs, fell in love (again) with the school that showed me faith in a whole new light, and embraced my course load as the education-lover I've always been. I can step back and say that I'm truly happy. Blissfully and remarkably so.
Senior year - I'm ready.

8/22/10

Hola.

Though I intended to update the blog while in Honduras, that obviously didn't happen.

Last night, Blake picked me up from LaGuardia and we arrived home at 4 AM. It was a tedious end to what was otherwise a pretty painless travel experience. We got some excellent footage of meetings, homes, interviews, and tours in Honduras which will no doubt become a compelling promotional product for the Exodus Project.

Some highlights from the week...

Fording the river that borders the Teupasenti village.

Befriending the beautiful Honduran children.

Having some very informative meetings in Tegucigalpa.

Bonding with the crew in near-death road experiences and overpacked cars.
Filming local businesses.

New discovery: I really need to learn Spanish.

8/11/10

Honduras

In less than 48 hours, I will be leaving for Honduras.

One week of...

Filming a pilot for Wall Street Exodus.
Brainstorming.
Meetings in the capital.
Eating exotic food.
Touring the Tegu factory.
Praying with the local people.
Playing with children.
Attempting to jump the cultural barrier.
Applying my minimal Spanish. Hola.

8/9/10

New Furniture


It's official: we're grown up. I know this because we've purchased half of our furniture for our new apartment!

As of September 1st, everyone will need to come visit us in Beverly, Massachusetts so that they can see these fine furnishings in person. Please disregard the mess and "The Pit" signs - they are a small price to pay for the small price we paid!

Chairs for our bar-style counter.

Desk for the living room.

Mirror for the mantel. Hello, legs.

Rug for the living room.
And...

The new baby of the family - our sofa!

8/8/10

Better Than Sunshine




Nothing beats that New England summer weekend. I say this because I've just experienced one of those shoes-off, sun-covered span of days that made up for some extreme Vitamin D deprivation. Perhaps best about these weekends is the opportunity to reflect on life - what we think it should be, what it has been, and what it is.

This became especially poignant at the funeral of a dear family friend on Saturday. As we crowded into the historic Congregational church on the Madison green, I was touched by how the life and passing of one man effected so many. I watched stoic business men crumble in remembrance. I watched daughters mourn the loss of their "Daddy". I watched as the life of one tired widow changed so drastically from one day to the next. It was humbling. And, as the day developed into one almost perplexingly pleasant, I wondered at how a wife moves on from something so distressingly mortal.

I wondered if, perhaps, a person doesn't ever really move on.

A number of years ago, I watched the movie "Fight Club". While, in many senses of the word, this movie is what you might call "trippy", it did have one quote good enough to stick with me through the years. An actor compares something in his life to "the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it, but you can't."

The scratch may change, but I, like you, probably, have a hard time letting some scratches heal. The scratches are ugly, unkind, and horribly painful. We know that once we stop picking at them, they'll heal on their own. Maybe not in a day, a month, or even a year - but they'll heal.

I don't know what it's like to lose someone I love so much that they are a part of me. I would imagine that it's more like losing an arm, a leg, even half of you. Maybe it's not something that heals on its own.

I find comfort in knowing the existence of blissful eternity, and knowing that it is mine through the sacrifice of an Almighty God. This I do know. I know also, that, as one person said, the number of people in the church on Saturday was a testament to a life well lived.

I think life should be incredible - it should be filled with countless sun-laden days, at least a few loving friends, and a supportive family. There should be bike rides by the beach, hours spent at book sales, meals at delicious restaurants and weekends in Newport. There should be Christmases with everyone you love, birthdays with your favorite kind of cake, Thanksgivings in Virginia and jobs in New York City. There should be hugs, snuggles, and babies to hold. There should be joy in every moment, because inevitably, it goes by far too quickly.


I think life has been blessed - I've had all I've ever needed and more. In the last year, I've married my high school sweetheart, lived in 5 different homes in 3 different states, watched a sister get married, completed an internship at CBS, traveled to a foreign country, and found a career path that I love.


I think life is wonderfully and terrifyingly unknown - it changes in the blink of an eye. In light of this, I think all we can do is hold on to the people now who will either stand in the church to celebrate mortal life or stand on the other side to celebrate the eternal. This, and trust in God's promise to provide. I suppose that's better than sunshine.



8/4/10

Homemade


Homemade Grape Jelly

I love anything with copious amounts of sugar that you can smear all over a scone.

Ingredients:

1 can (6 oz) of Grape Juice
2 ½ cups of water
Powered Fruit Pectin
4 ½ cups Sugar
½ tsp of butter
Canning Jars and Lids
Water Bath

Steps:

Boil water in Water Bath.
Sterilize canning jars and lids.
Mix juice, 2 ½ cups of water, butter and the Fruit Pectin in a large saucepan.
Stir constantly over high heat until bubbles form around the edge.
Add all the Sugar and stir.
Skim any foam off of the jelly.
Ladle jelly into canning jars.
Wipe rims of canning jars.
Place the lid on the jar and screw on the screw top.
Process the jars of jelly in Water Bath for 15 minutes.
Remove from Water Bath and cool

Lately, I've been very focused on natural ingredients. This, you might say, is a big step for a girl who has basically lived off of poptarts, crackers and muffins for the last 21 years. But I'm proof positive of life-altering eating habits.

This brought me to the purchase of mixes to make my own pickles and spaghetti sauce. It fills my head with ideas when I see fresh tomatoes and cucumbers from my brother's garden. It makes me want to make omelets from fresh eggs every morning.

I have a feeling grape jelly is only the beginning...