Thursday, December 31, 2009

What ho, 2010?

What should I do differently in 2010? I don't make formal New Year's resolutions, but a swirl of thoughts keep poking at me the last few days.

Digression: I am finding it incredibly difficult to get this post written. I put it off too late today and now the house is full of people TALKING. I just put on my headphones and fired up iTunes and am hoping a little John Cougar music will wipe out the background noise to the point where I can think to type.

Explanatory Digression: My 47 year old ears can't understand one word in five that John Cougar sings unless I crank it really loud...effectively making his music into white noise when played at a lower volume.

In 2010 I want to:

1. Once and for all solve the Killer Dishes issue. I'm tired of worrying about whether there is lead in the old transferware dinnerware we eat off of (and microwave in) daily. Either Tom is going to come up with a test that will reassure us both, or we are going to replace them with something we know is safe.

2. Understand what holiness is. I know it is being like Christ, but I want to really know what that means. Not what people mean when they say "holy" and hold up their list of rules that I have failed to adhere to . Not what the hymn Take Time To Be Holy seems to mean...although the author lists some things that might be components of holiness. The idea of "taking time to be holy" scritches at my nerves like the spray-painted graffiti that says "Try Jesus". Yeah, try Jesus...if that doesn't work, maybe some Lipitor? Take time to be holy, and then take some time to exercise.

3. Knit a pair of socks. Tom gave me teeny double-pointed needles for Christmas. I intend to buy some sock yarn, perhaps even tomorrow, and make some socks. Perhaps very bad socks. Perhaps the last socks I ever make. But I will try it and accomplish it, even if very badly.

4. Settle for myself the whole issue of being busy. This may be related to holiness because I find myself feeling guilty for not being busy enough. Or not being as busy as some people I know. I need to come to find out for myself whether I am right or if I am shirking my duty.

5. Read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I know I read this back in high school, and I know the basic plot. I realized not very long ago that I think of this book as "Dickens Light" or "American Dickens"...the one story of his everyone knows. It's part of our culture, Scrooge McDuck and all that. In the last few years I've come to appreciate all the Dickens novels I've read. I need to read A Christmas Carol and experience it through the lens of that appreciation.

After I publish this post I will, no doubt, think of several more things I could add to this list. But this will have to do for now. The garage door just opened. (Hitting "play" button on iTunes) Colin and Tom are back from fetching Chinese food for our festive New Year's Eve dinner. Tonight we will eat yummy food, work on a puzzle, watch a silly movie, play some games, and who knows what all else.

I'm looking forward to 2010...Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baby, if you've ever wondered...

...wondered whatever became of me...

So, anyway, we went to Cincinnati for Thanksgiving this year. I think I could write several posts about our trip, but I'm going to try to fit it into one by dividing my thoughts into categories.

Family: We spent our Thanksgiving holiday with my brother Jim, his wife Julia, and three of my...there needs to be a generic term that covers both nieces and nephews. And, after a little Googling, it turns out there IS such a word: nibling. Which sort of sounds as though Rebecca, Andrea, and John are hors d'oeuvres. (Thank you, Merriam-Webster online dictionary.) Oh, and my parents traveled up there, also, mustn't forget them.

Food: What didn't we eat? Julia and the girls (Jim helped, too) kept us fed all weekend long with wonderful, yummy food. Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and ham and spinach casserole and sweet potato casserole and potatoes and gravy and real homemade crescent rolls and pumpkin pie (secret creamy recipe!) and pecan pie and caramel apple pie and whipped cream and other things too, but I can't remember everything. Stir fry that tasted like it was from a great Asian restaurant, shrimp Creole, pea soup, chocolate cake, chai tea, coffee...and all of it was totally delicious. It felt really odd to not be cooking on Thanksgiving, but it was also really fun to eat Thanksgiving dinner and actually feel hungry for it...having not been looking at it and smelling it and fussing with it all day.

Field Trips: (Uh oh...just realized I've got all "F" headers so far and at some point I will have to break the pattern.) Friday we went to the Cincinnati Art Museum and saw maybe a little over half of the exhibits. I would have to go through there with the map in hand and mark off each room as I went through it to be able to feel I'd seen it all. Colin was thrilled with the museum; it was his first time in an art museum and serendipitously it turned out to be just the right timing for him to visit. He loved almost every kind of art work we looked at, although furniture didn't enthrall him like the Egyptian carvings. When he draws pictures he always represents people as cats, a bus driver or pilot or any other character in the drawing will always have cat ears and whiskers. The Egyptian exhibit included several little statues of cat warriors/rulers/deities; he liked seeing that the Egyptians had a "cat theme" to their artwork also.

Saturday we went to the Cincinnati Zoo. Tom and I took Colin, Rebecca, and Natalie with us on this trip while Andrea and John went with my parents to the Creation Museum. Colin was less thrilled with the zoo than he was with the art museum which surprised me. After some discussion it turned out he was expecting the animals to be displayed closer together, not all spread out over a large area with lots of paths to walk on in between. This was our last day in Cincinnati and he had been getting less sleep than usual every night and trying to keep up with the adults and the big kids, so his enthusiasm was starting to fade. He did end up having a good time at the zoo, he just wanted to have that good time without the walking. (I agreed with him on that one!)

Cincinnati: I was a lot more impressed with Cincinnati than I thought I would be. I was there once before, 30+ years ago, but I remember very little about the city from that trip. In my mind I pictured it being a cross between Springfield, IL and Pittsburgh. (No offense intended to my former hometown or to P-burgh. Springfield is Springfield, and Pittsburgh might be perfectly lovely if you see parts of it other than the ones we managed to find on the trip we took there.) Instead Cincinnati reminded me much more of St. Louis...an art museum in the middle of a park in the middle of an historic neighborhood, lots of neat little gentrified old neighborhoods, lots of confusing highways all twisted together by a river... I'm sure there are seedier parts we didn't see while we were there. In fact, Jim kept saying as he gave us directions to different places "Yes, you could go all the way down Street X or Y Avenue, but not at night." But I liked the parts we saw and almost everywhere we went it seemed pretty straightforward to navigate...unlike say, Greensboro.

Other fun: We spent a lot of time sitting around and talking, of course. The kids went on numerous hikes around the neighborhood and to the handy nearby Starbucks. I'm sure Natalie will blog with pictures of some of their wild and crazy games. I'm not really sure what they were up to a lot of the time. We picked the busiest travel days of the year for our trip, so we fought traffic quite a bit both coming and going. Having three drivers makes a trip so much easier now, though. On the way home I was very sore and stiff from our expeditions to the museum and zoo so Natalie and Tom decided they would do all the driving and let me rest. It turned out Natalie ended up doing 2/3 of the driving, so Tom got more rest than he expected, too.

It seems like there was a whole lot more I was going to say, but this post is already very long. We had a wonderful time, we liked Cincinnati, we liked being with our family, our trip went smoothly. Thank you to Jim and Julia and the niblings for their hospitality!!

Now, I'll just be putting down some masking tape on the floor around my desk here...