Monday, September 27, 2010

Since I last wrote...

A week ago Saturday I helped throw my sister's bridal shower. Her big day is less than a month away!

How adorable are these two?
It was so fun to be able to spoil my sister with love and attention. She's seven years younger, and I was tempted to tell embarrassing stories from childhood, but I didn't. She's a grown-up woman now, and I'm so happy for her and the love of her life. Our friendship is one of the most important and valuable relationships in my life. I can't even explain. If you have a close sister, you know.

Both our grandmothers were there for the shower, her future in-laws came (mom, grandma, step-mom) plus her mentor-friends, and life-long-girlfriends. We hadn't all met each other before, but there was instant camaraderie. They all love my sister so much, I had fun shining the spotlight on her. Women celebrating relationships: it's a beautiful thing.

My husband and I started a 13-session class last Sunday called The Truth Project. The basis of session one was the question, "What is truth?" Deep stuff. My faith tends to be mainly emotional (on a good day? I BELIEVE! On a bad day? The world is a cruel, meaningless place). I'm prepared to be challenged and stretched in this area.

Caught a cold last Monday, felt gross all week. Thanks to powerful over the counter drugs, my head doesn't feel like a balloon anymore. Darn seasonal germs. I blame the time of year.

Took an upholstery class Wednesday night. Stay tuned for photos of The Most Beautiful Ottoman In the Whole Wide World. I have wanted to learn how to upholster stuff for years but never knew how to start. Read a book? Boring. Offer myself as an apprentice to a professional? Too 19th century. Trial and error? Too expensive. And then. I discovered. THIS. I'm hooked.

Had a crummy couple of days this weekend, but life is bustling and busy and I have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Loosening my grip on summer: Football

Oh very well, Fall.

Be that way.

Force me to appreciate you.

Football season has begun so that means I need to start studying again. This book has become my manual:

Coming from a non-sports-observing household, I have a lot to learn. My husband is an avid fan, and studying football is like learning the code for understanding his brain. Still a foreign language, but I'm getting there.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fall, reluctantly

Yesterday was a cold, stormy day and I'm still pouting about it. Our Northwest Washington summer has been beautiful and I have enjoyed all the highlights: lunch breaks outside in the sunshine, watering my garden at 9pm while it's still light and warm, an entryway littered with flipflops, fresh fruit and vegetables from the produce stand. But I'm not ready for summer to be over. 

I can respect people who love Fall simply on principal, who espouse the glories of changing leaves, longer nights [shudder], more hours as a homebody, beef stew simmering on the stovetop, whatever. But break it to me gently, okay? I'm still enjoying bare feet and watermelon and tan lines. Don't force your love of autumn on me yet. I want a few more weeks.

But I have a feeling it's a losing battle. The air is different, cooler. It's already dark by 8pm. I'm trying to remember the positive things about autumn, but it's hard this year for some reason. In years past, I've loved the changing seasons. It just feels abrupt this time around.

So I'm reminding myself of Nice Fall Things.
  1. Playing in the leaves at the park. From the house we lived in when I was five years old, our local park was a block away. The ancient maple trees dropped leaves as wide as my arms could reach. They blanketed the park, knee-deep. Walking with Mom required shuffling and kicking and all manner of leaf-upheaval. My brother and I threw armfulls (armsfull?) of leaves in the air and watched them fall again, with twirling seed pods. But watch out for slivers! Those furry, twirly-bird seed pods were dangerous, like fiberglass.
  2. Hot cocoa, apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes. No explanation necessary.
  3. Foggy mornings. Eerie, but beautiful. We used to get up early as a family before Dad went to work. He read aloud from the Bible and we had family devotions. We were sleepy and chilly but I knew we were the only ones awake in the neighborhood, except for the dairy farmers across the street. As the sun came up, we were ready for a new day.
  4. Dinner time: lights on in a warm kitchen while Mom made dinner and listened to Jurgen Gothe on CBC radio. In my mind, his voice symbolizes so many of the things I love about my childhood. Fresh bread and bean soup and classical music mean all's well in the world.
  5. Heating with a wood stove. Every January, my family was tired of chopping kindling, dusting the house daily, and trying to circulate heat all the way to the back bedrooms, but during the first few weeks of fall, the fireplace was still romantic. I'd hear Dad build a fire before I got out of bed and knew the house would be warm soon. The sound and smell of cedar crackling and snapping as it burned meant the deep, permeating heat of firewood burning all day long.
  6. Crochet. Some craft projects are just better on chilly nights in a cozy house. These pictures are almost 2 years old already.
  7. Family photos! Preparing for the Christmas newletter (which I've desribed fondly here) included an updated picture, usually taken in the fall.
  8. Circa 1992
  9. Wardrobe change. It's always satisfying to bring out the cooler weather clothes. Sweaters, tights, long sleeves, curduroy pants...and any excuse to supplement last year's ensemble with a few new pieces.