May 31, 2008

want to instead of should do

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but when it comes to housework I've discovered that whenever I focus more on what I'd like to do than what I should do I actually get more of what I should do done. For instance, giving into the urge for self-fulfilling housework, I cleaned about a quarter inch of dust off of my baker's rack and completely reorganized it. There's tons of other stuff that's probably a higher priority like cleaning out the laundry area, picking up my bedroom, and wiping down the kitchen counters. BUT! When I make up a should do list my ninja powers of procrastination kick in, and I can hardly make myself get two things done. My want to list? I can fly though it in about an hour or less because I'm doing things that make me feel better about my home. Although they might not be the things that my mom would want me doing if she were standing over my shoulder, part of the point is that she isn't. My home. My chore list. It's not about what my mom thinks I should do anymore. I'm an adult. I can make decisions. It's about time I started taking a little ownership of my own life.

May 30, 2008

Hilton Head- coastal life

Here are a few of the coastal/sea creatures we saw along Hilton Head Beach.

We saw hundreds of these little fiddler crabs in the marshy ground under the boardwalk. Those are snails on the stalks of grass. They climb up the grass to get away from predators.

Apparently the horseshoe crabs were molting around the time when we got there. Allen and I had thought maybe there were just a lot of dead ones washed up, but when we went to the aquarium in Charleston they told us it was molting season. We must have seen nearly a dozen shells washed up in places on the beach.

Here's a picture of what typically washed up the shore's edge. It was neat seeing all the different crab shells.

I mentioned seeing a whole tidal pool of tiny hermit crabs (the one day I forgot to take my camera out with me). Well we stumbled across the granddaddy of them all. I didn't know it but there are actually different species of hermit crabs. Can't remember the names, but if you come across a tiny one that doesn't have striped legs you cannot in all honesty tell your small child they will grow up to live in a conch shell. It's the stripey legs who do that.

Speaking of which here's a picture of the smaller sort of hermit crab. If you look closely you can just see its trail.

There were a bunch of whelks scattered around on the beach. I caught this one in the surf with his front door open.

Tomorrow, I'll try to get up some Charleston pictures. They might wait until Monday though depending on what it going on around here.

May 29, 2008

Always time for one more

more cat pictures

Thoughts on friendship and marriage

It's interesting the trade-offs we make. A single gal can surround herself with other young women of similar tastes with whom to travel, eat, talk, etc. A married woman is companioned by this amazing man that she wouldn't trade for the world who nevertheless listens to very different music, doesn't have the same burning desire to take a walking tour of England, and doesn't get excited about farmer's markets. There's a few as might think the former picture is nicer, but the prevailing sentiment (and rightfully so) is that marriage is the preferred state. I think this just points out though how much we women really need each other whether single or married. Face it, there are times when it seems I have three interests to Allen's one. Which is not to say that he's single minded by any means. I've yet to see a subject on which he couldn't talk. It's just that I'm something of a jill of all trades with a huge area of interests that really aren't even on his radar, and some of this is simply because I'm a woman. They keep saying it, and it's true. Your husband can't be everything. We need our friends to help us keep going and growing.

Hilton Head- sea and sand

Here are more of the promised pictures. It's taking me longer than I thought to post them. For one I'm having to choose from so many. For another thing I'm trying to clean them up as I go along.

Aaron demonstrating his deep appreciation for seafood. Incidentally those guys were all over the place. Aaron and Andrew found this one down the beach and brought him back in a bucket for photo ops.

Having rescued poor Mr Crab from Aaron's appetite for seafood al fresco, Andrew bids Mr Crab farewell.

Oh, this little light of mine. I'm going to let it shine. This was my sandcastle. For some reason I keep building lighthouses.

Aaron catching a wave. They were all out there at one point, but by the time I got my camera pointed in that direction this was the only decent shot I got. There really wasn't that much wave to catch anyway. The sea was pretty calm the whole time we were on the coast.

The guys trying to build a larger model of their successful prototype arch. Unfortunately our engineers hadn't made the proper stress and strength calculations, and the whole thing collapsed.

So they decided to bury Aaron. Actually Aaron gets buried on every beach trip. It's something of a tradition. Last time I built a little mountain village complete with volcano on top of him. Oh irony of ironies. It was an earthquake that destroyed my poor rustics and not the volcano they feared.

And one final picture of the beach that day.

Tomorrow - images of coastal life.

May 28, 2008

Hilton Head- evening pictures

Since these pictures were taken in something of a higgledepigglety order I'm loosely grouping them by theme.

The boardwalk over from our condo. In the mornings you could see all kinds of birds along with a few thousand snails and fiddler crabs. I never saw so much coastal/sea life on any trip as I saw on this one.

The sun setting behind a tidal pool. One pool Allen and I found on a morning walk must have contained 50-100 tiny hermit crabs. All but one or two of them were smaller than my pinky nail.

Allen playing frisbee with his dad and brothers. Except for the first night when the wind was outrageous things were pretty calm for our stay at Hilton Head.

Allen and Aaron decided they were going to try building an arch out of sand. Of course when they finished it was pitch dark. Hence the picture. It stood up though. As you might guess, Aaron loves sandcastles. That's one of the reasons he wanted to come to Hilton Head -the sand is so much better for building than what you normally get on the gulf. The boys also enjoyed getting to see the old house they'd lived in as young'uns along with their old pastor and a few other places they'd remembered.

Tomorrow -fun with sand and sea.

May 27, 2008

Vacation pics

Tomorrow I'll post some of my Hilton Head pics.

Dresser redecorating

I did this a week or so before we left to go on vacation, but I'm just now getting around to putting up pics.

This is my dresser before. Pretty crowded and chaotic.

Here is my dresser after I've organized my jewelry on my pretty new rack. All my pretty little doilies (all four of them-three in that pic) are grouped on top of the dresser. The mirror is thumbtacked to the ceiling. I wanted a tiny little mirror just to check my earrings and such. I was going to put it on the wall, but since my dresser is positioned at a slight angle it worked out better to hang it from the ceiling.

And here's a close up of some of my favorite earrings hanging in their new home.

May 23, 2008

An ivy'd hall dream

If only one could come back to this quiet place, where only intellectual achievement counted; if one could work here steeadily and obscurely at some close-knit piece of reasoning, undistracted and uncorrupted by agents [and] contracts...abolishing personal contacts, personal spite, personal jealousies; getting one's teeth into something dull and durable; maturing into solidarity like the Shrewsbury beeches--then, one might be able to forget the wreck and chaos of the past, or see it, at any rate, in a truer proportion. Because, in a sense, it was not important. The fact that one had loved and sinned and suffered and escaped death was of far less ultimate moment than a single footnote in a dim academic journal establishing the priority of a manuscript or restoring the lost iota subscript. It was the hand-to-hand struggle with the insistent personalities of other people, all pushing for a place in the limelight, that made the accidents of one's own personal adventure bulk so large in the scheme of things.

-Harriet Vane contemplating life at Oxford in Gaudy Night

May 22, 2008

Happy Graduation!

My sister Julie just graduated from high school tonight. I'm afraid I don't have good picture to share with you though. Anyway, she was valedictorian and got two or three scholarships plus some other award. Now she's off to nursing school. Julie with needles.....that's a scary thought :p I'm sure she'll be a terrific nurse though. Julie, we're proud of you.

P.S. Tomorrow I plan to start posting vacation pictures. Right now I'm off to reread Have His Carcass.

May 20, 2008

Loving my church family

Reading the blogs and reconnecting in small ways with the people I take communion with every Sunday has been one of the best things I've ever done. These people are like sandpaper for my soul stripping away the rust and challenging me to think and be in ways I never before dreamed possible. Thanks to Tom (pastor) and everyone else I'm learning that I really can like and love these people who are so different from me. Ever so slowly I'm learning that I can be me without looking down on everyone who isn't me. I'm also learning I can be me without feeling totally backwards and weird. It's a humility and an exaltation at the same time. Thank you RMC.

May 19, 2008

yearning after others

Having just come from coffee with a friend my brain is burbling over with fresh thoughts. That's one of the reasons I love my friends so much. Every meeting renews me and sends my thoughts whirling about in new directions. Even the most commonplace conversations can lead to fresh insights. On the way home from visiting with this particular friend my thoughts turned to the question of intimacy. As a married woman I am in the most intimate of all relationships. I share my living space, my daily experiences, and my body with one person. As the Bible says, "Abraham knew Sarah," and Allen knows me. And yet I still crave intimacy. I want to dig into people's heads and find out what they're thinking and feeling. I want to see their bleeding, brilliant, throbbing hearts and hear their stories about the scars on their souls. Sometimes. I admit that I'm not always the most compassionate and involved person. At times it's easier to camp out with my novels and my web comics than get out there and really try to care. Despite my apathy though there are some people who make me want to dive into their lives. I want them to pull me in and teach me to hear the voice of God and find His footprints in their lives. I want to find a tiny part of myself in this person who is so different from me and who yet has been bound to me by the waters of baptism and wine of Christ's blood. Unfortunately there are so many times that just doesn't happen. Sometimes conversations lag and struggle to find ground. Other times we completely fail to invest in the other person, to catch the clues to their struggles because we are so caught up what we want to say and all we have to tell. I suppose I should say "I."

What struck me on the way home though was that this painful struggle for real friendship and intimacy with those around me is itself a sign that God is redrawing my heart to look more like His. When you consider that, being triune, community is an intrinsic part of God's nature it's not so surprising that as humans its one of our heart cries. We are, after all, created in His image and are therefore like Him in every way that it's possible for a created being to be like God. I admit that with all the heartbreak that can go on in this search for friendship it can seem easier to go stone-faced and just deny our need for other people, but we were no more created to be stones than we were to live alone. Somehow out of all the everyday heartbreak that had me curled up and crying in a corner as a lonely teenager God has managed to pull a living heart that refuses to shut up and let me muddle through life as gray shadow, and tonight I find I can draw encouragement from the very fact of my longing since it represents one more little way I look like my Father. I'm alive and not dead, and however much my heart may break it still looks a little bit like the loving, communal heart of Christ.

Seeking out community hard, and it hurts. There are so many ways in which my desire for intimacy is thwarted and frustrated, and I know that my desires will never be truly satisfied this side of heaven. However I take encouragement in two things. Firstly in that I've discovered yet another mark of God's likeness on me and secondly in that this desire, springing as it does from God's work in my life, is bound to be satisfied in God's good time.

May 18, 2008

We're back!!!!

Allen and I are back from our vacation. Now I think I need another one we were so busy. First we went to Hilton Head with Allen's folks to see where Allen and his brothers were young. (This was Aaron's graduation trip.) Then after they left to go home Allen and I headed north to Charleston where we spent a very pleasant few days. From there we took a day trip to Hunting Island (don't bother) while meandering down to Savannah. Two nights in Savannah plus a change of plans led us to Jekyll Island (a place from my childhood). Another change of plans involving rain and mosquito swarms led us back home last night. Lunch/afternoon spent with friends with church afterwards. Back at home deleting endless freecycle and flylady e-mails and catching up on blogs.... I'm tired. Pictures and musing will be posted later this week in between unpacking and scrambling myself back into a routine of sorts.

May 5, 2008

At least I've cooked supper (or where did my day go?)

I need to be getting the apartment clean and things ready for our trip. Instead I'm tired and half brain dead. All that stuff I was going to do. Barely started. That special surprise I was working on for a friend. Haven't touched it. Long week + time of month + lots to do = tired Natalie. And I would just come across Anna's inspiring post about housewifery today. Too bad I'm too brain dead to feel more than slightly guilty about it. Maybe we'll try for inspired tomorrow. For now I'm just glad that there's a great big pot of soup bubbling on the stove for a very easy supper. That salad shooter makes fast work of carrots and zucchini. AND! There will be plenty to freeze for reheating later at the campsite when I just don't want to lug out the dutch oven. Hmmm, supper made and camp prep in the works. I don't feel so guilty now. I think I'm going to retire to the back bedroom with a Pratchett book until I work up the oomph to face that stack of clothes again. I have some serious sorting and putting away to do. Serious.

May 4, 2008

Congratulations Aaron!

My brother-in-law, Aaron, graduated cum laude with honors in Mechanical Engineering Saturday, and we are all so proud of him. He's a really great guy to know and often a lot of fun (when's he's not talking to Allen about memory allocation and such -goes right over my head). Pretty good dancer too. And if you think he looks tall. Yes. He's 6'8" I can truly say I look up to the men in that family :P

Here's a picture of him dressed up for our wedding

And Aaron engineering sand assisted by yours truly.