Sunday, November 30, 2008

Busy days

Washing the dishes today reminded me of archaeology. "Ah, I used this glass for dinner Wednesday!" It has been a busy few days.

Joe and I had various adventures, but I did not bring my camera. If I had, I might be able to show you pictures like these:

  • Our baby nephew Timmy reaching for my mom to hold him after dinner on Thanksgiving, when parts of our families were in one place together. I made way too many pumpkin rolls, but they were very good.

  • Bright lights along the busy sidewalks in Chinatown, where we went walking Friday night with friends. It was a nice night, but finding parking was MADNESS.

  • The long staircases of Lynchburg, Virginia, where buildings run up and down steep, steep hills.

In Lynchburg, we stopped into a warehouse with some used furniture outside. "What are you looking for?" the man asked. "Dining chairs," I said, and he showed me some in the back. 

A minute later, he poked his head back there. "There's a phone call for you," he said.

I took the phone. It was the owner, Fred. "There's more chairs on the fourth floor," he said. "Wing backs, Quee Anne style, all kinds." The other guys in the store would take us up there, he said.

The building was an old one, and many of the lights had burned out in the stairway. Joe went first, then me, then one of the guys behind us. Eventually we got up to floor four, where there were dozens of chairs -- some broken -- in piles, and water on the floor.

We did not find the dining chairs we wanted, so we went back down. Fred was there, in person this time, showing some other people around the furniture piled high.

It was the strangest place!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Measure twice, cut once

Joe playing with blocks

He is actually starting to make a compost bin.

Okay, now he is really playing!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kite flying

Sunday afternoon, Joe and I went down to Smallwood State Park. We took in the art at the Mattawoman Creek Art Center and the beautiful scenery all around.

Then we pulled out the kite!

Shortly after that last picture, the kite flew into a tree, where it stayed. If it comes free and you find it, please let us know.

Looks like this

We went home and wrote a letter, which wasn't the worst way to end the day.

Eyes wide

Snowflakes! Little white ones, going past the window!

Hip, hip, hooray!

Happy 90th, Latvia!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

New folks

After Mass was over, someone announced that it was Friendship Sunday and there would be snacks and a chance to meet people downstairs. So we went and got donuts and juice and agreed on a mission: to meet someone.

I tried complimenting a girl on her hairstyle, but she looked distracted. Everyone was in little bunches. We went and sat next to some people at the edge of the room, and though they were talking, we eventually broke in to trade names. It turns out that one of the women lives right in our neighborhood, so we gave her a ride home, talking about crime and the weather and the way the town is repainting the water tower.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Surprise in the pipes

As Joe was plunging the toilet to discover the cause of our plumbing problems, he came up with this:

Ai ai ai! It was not the source of our problems, however, which Joe and his auger unplugged some 22 feet further down the pipe. It seems tree roots might have broken in... but we can't figure out what trees they might be!

A broad table

I know some of you might have seen it already, but this article warms my heart!

I'm annoyed by the lack of stats, true. When it comes to adoption-related issues, I often crave more information than is out there. But it's really interesting anyway, at least to me. The subject is adoption of children with Down Syndrome, and I've been really interested in it since I read Choosing Naia (which was fascinating!) some time ago.

Friday, November 14, 2008


On chilly mornings, the horses along the road on the drive to the monastery all wear coats! 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

End of autumn

I drove to my parent's home in Cloverly today, where I spent a long time with my grandmother. I did get to play the kokle, and she sang along to the folksongs in her high grandmother voice, as she does. "Kur tu teci, kur tu teci gailītis mans?"

I'm getting to know the road there and back pretty well. Over the last weeks, it's been nice to see the trees rusting over, but now the leaves are mostly brown and starting to fall. It only seems appropriate, then, that the fog came on them today. They were mysterious all over again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


My copy of The Hidden Art of Homemaking was a wedding present from my beautiful friend Rose.

In the note accompanying the book, she urged us to at least “nibble” on the chapter about food, and as soon as the book came in the mail I did. I read it again to Joe that evening, sharing the author’s thoughts on what a lovingly prepared meal can do to bring together a family, to cheer a roommate, to move the world of a stranger. Joe asked if my specially arranged vegetables that evening were inspired by the book, and the answer was yes. Tsk, it’s so hard to keep any secrets now!

I had stopped halfway through the chapter on flower arranging, an art close to my heart, so I finished reading it today. Then I fixed dinner and flipped to the chapter on music, which starts like this:

"You are not a great musician, but you do play an instrument - or you did. It is dusty at present, because you could not go to a Conservatoire, you could not continue lessons, you have not found an organized group oto play with, you are busy as a businessman, a gardener, a lawyer, a teacher, a housewife or a graduate student. All the music you make is in your daydreams..."

Ohhhh! I put the book down and went running through the house to find my kokle. When I found it, I played three songs I knew and one I didn’t.


The kokle is what Joe heard as he came in the door today.

(I am not very good at the kokle, but it is the kind of instrument that sounds beautiful anyway.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Off I go to vote! Wheeee! Democracy!