Friday, February 27, 2015

Catching up, again

I cannot seem to write consistently.   I think often of things to write,  but never transfer the thoughts to keystrokes.   So here is the abbreviated version of recent events:

We've officially moved into a house which we are buying rather than renting.  Prior to moving in the interior was painted top to bottom,  literally.   We also replaced or relocated nearly every light fixture,  replaced carpet and had the furnace and ductwork cleaned.   The house was not well cared for, so these were the minimum requirements for moving in.   There is a long list of projects which will need to be undertaken over time.

Of course there was a trip to Italy from which I should be sharing pictures. The trip was brought on by the fact that my husband was recently promoted to a position which has him managing people in many countries,  one of them being Italy.   The new position means he's working more than ever, sigh.

Homeschooling is not going as well as hoped.  I simply don't have time to teach.  Thankfully my son is disciplined enough to do his work without me, but it's not an ideal situation.   He will go back to public school next year.

Complicating everything, on Monday we learned my Dad has cancer.  I'm not sure what that will mean going forward.  Surgery is scheduled next week and some time after that we will learn the full prognosis.  

So I guess life never slows down!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Hello from Sicily! I am in the midst of a whole new style of traveling. I am accompanying my husband on a business trip so, while he has built in some time for tourism, I am on my own most of the time. The first few days of our trip were spent in Virginia, where we are in the process of selling our home. I was able to catch up with many friends while there and so thoroughly enjoyed my time. We are currently in Catania, Italy. I'm trying to write this post on my phone, having left my iPad on an airplane, so please forgive spacing, spelling or other errors. Before I write much more I will share a few miscellaneous photos: Early on in my time here, I discovered a wonderful combination of cappuccino and Cannollo, a local dessert.  Other than that, I have been disappointed in the food.  I think the issue is that I am used to American style Italian food which, as usual, is very different from the real thing.

One interesting food note: last night we dined with some of my husband's colleagues.   One of them ordered horse meat as his entrée.   The idea horrified me, but I understand it is normal here.  My husband actually tried the horse and he loved it so much that he wanted me to try it.  Unfortunately  (or fortunately,  perhaps) I was unwilling to try it.  Even now thinking of it turns my stomach.

The part of Catania that I am most enjoying is the sound.  My favorite thing is to go into a piazza and just look and listen.  The atmosphere is always festive. There are groups of people, men mostly, standing around talking and sometimes gesturing wildly;  there is always a man playing an accordion  (which brings a smile to my face and seems quintessentially Italian ); and there are church bells ringing frequently.   I have tried to no avail to figure out the schedule for the bells.  I thought they would ring on the hour, but it seems to be on the half hour and they do not ring consistently from one hour to the next.  On Sunday (while enjoying cappuccino and Sicilian Cannollo with my husband) the bells began to ring and suddenly there was a loud explosion.  Eric and I looked at each other in alarm.  There was another explosion at which time Eric observed that no one looked the least bit alarmed.  Reassured, we continued with our cappuccino.   The explosions continued for several minutes.  Last night at dinner I asked the reason for the explosions.  No one knew.  They guessed perhaps they were in anticipation of a religious remembrance that is upcoming.  Explosions? Apparently no big deal in the life of Italians!

Monday, January 5, 2015


On Christmas morning, Eric and I were up long before the children.  That is the first time that has happened probably since Anna was 2.  It was very odd to be sitting up enjoying a cup of coffee and waiting for the kids to get up!

On New Year's Eve we had dear friends visiting.  We think we may have a new tradition, since it has now happened twice, of homemade creme brûlée.  Two years ago it was made at our friends home, this year at ours.  It was much easier than I expected and it is a much loved treat, so I'm sure I will be making it again.

Two nights ago my brother and I sat in an emergency room with our father until 3:00 a.m.  Although he quit smoking 4 years ago (in very impressive fashion: cold turkey!) approximately 60 years of the habit have left their mark.  Thankfully for now his issues are very treatable and he should be back to normal within a few days.

In a few hours we return to the routine of school and work.  Not sure how my side of that will go, since sleep has once again eluded me!

Next week Eric's aunt arrives.  She has graciously agreed to stay with our kids so that I can accompany Eric on his first business trip to Italy.  I'm supposed to be excited about the trip but I don't seem to be.  Perhaps it's the apprehension of leaving the kids; perhaps the fact that, other than 1 day with a guide in Rome, I have no idea how we will actually spend our days.  In a little more than a weeks time we will be visiting 3 cities.  I've been unable to come up with a "must see" list for 2 of them despite asking a travel agent and a total stranger for help.  (I heard a woman in a store say she had just returned from Italy.  I approached her hoping for advice.  She was happy to talk to me but the only city I'll be visiting that she was familiar with was Rome, where we have the guide.)

When we return from our trip the sellers of our new home should have moved out, so I'll be able to get to work there.  I haven't scheduled movers yet, and won't until I return and have some idea when the house will be ready.  Eric has another business trip shortly after Italy, so chances are good we will be moving without him.  That is taking the fun out of it for me.  I think I need to adjust my thinking on that score! I have pictures from Christmas and New Year's Eve, but they're on another device and I don't think I retrieve them without waking the house, so today I can only post words.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

It's late Christmas Eve as I write.  In my family Christmas Eve has always been the main celebration, so I'm winding down from an exciting day.

This has been an extremely meaningful Christmas season for me.  For some reason I have heard more about Mary this year than I noticed in the past.  Thinking about Mary always reminds me of one of my last conversations with my Mom, when it was clear she would be going to heaven soon.  I asked her who she was most looking forward to seeing in heaven and, without hesitation,  she answered Mary.  It took me awhile to grasp the fact that she meant THE Mary and not some random friend.  I have to admit I didn't understand the interest in Mary.  In some ways I still don't.  I have reflected several times this season on why my Mom was most anxious to meet Mary.  I can think of several more adventurous types from the Bible that I would like to speak with.  Abraham, Moses and Jonah come to mind.  I believe the different interests are rooted in the ways my Mom and I are different.  Mom was content at home and loved having babies.  I doubt anyone would use the word content in a description of me.

Hearing so much of Mary this year and thinking about my Mom's desire to meet her caused me to ponder what types of questions Mom would ask Mary.  I am certain the questions would be along the lines of those in the song "Mary Did You Know?"  I had never before contemplated "did you know when you kissed your little baby, you kissed the face of God" or "did you know your baby boy would save our sons and daughters? ".

Today at the Christmas service we attended (which was, by the way, the most meaningful I've ever attended) the pastor quoted Max Lucado as he talked about Emmanuel meaning "God with us".  He talked about God coming into the muck and mire of our world and said we prefer to think of God only as divine because that keeps him at a distance.   That struck a chord in me.  I don't know if I've purposely wanted to keep God at a distance, but I certainly have never tried to contemplate his humanity.  I wonder how this new realization might affect me in the coming year?

I believe that in my head I know much of what there is to know about God, but I've experienced very little of him, because in my one dimensional view of him I've never considered how much he is able to understand of my weaknesses,  emotions and humanity.  My heart opened up to this possibility tonight because of the emphasis on Mary and My Mom's desire to meet her.

Mary is not and never has been worshipped in my family, but I  am grateful for this new awareness I've had of her, which has stirred new thoughts about Jesus  in my heart.

I hope any readers still with me are also experiencing Jesus in a fresh way this year.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

We begin again

We had a nice Thanksgiving. Eric suggested we go out to a restaurant for the big meal because we have had so much going on lately. I happily agreed. It was just Eric and I, the kids and my Dad. It was an enjoyable, relaxing time.

 Today I began packing for our move. It is 2 months away yet, but I work in fits and starts so thought I had better get started. The next 2 months will fly by. Of course Christmas will take up a good share of my time, plus Eric's birthday and a trip to Europe will be thrown in for good measure! I should be quite excited about the trip but I haven't had time to think much about it. Fun times ahead!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Snow day

Just another picture from my back yard; sorry!

We had a snow storm last Thursday and Friday which left us with 7.8 inches of snow.  That is the largest November snowfall recorded in Boise since they began keeping records in 1892!  It gave the kids a day off from school on Friday, and gave me a nice opportunity to rest.  I even got to take a nap in the afternoon, a rare treat.  

The picture was taken before the majority of the snow fell.  I have some from after which I'll try to share later.  Everything was fully blanketed in white.

I remain extremely busy, but it promises to slow down soon.  My friend has found an apartment which she will be moving into this weekend.  We are scheduled to complete the purchase of our new home next week.  We've decided to go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner in order to alleviate the pressure of preparing the feast.  It will likely just be my immediate family.  My brother who lives in town recently became a grandfather and since 2 of his children are married it makes sense that they have their own expanding family to entertain. My Dad recently drove his friend to Arizona and it's unclear whether he'll be back in time for Thanksgiving. For his sake I hope he stays in the warmth of Arizona!

Stay warm!

Monday, November 10, 2014

1.  I was going to write every day, but have been absent for nearly a month.  Oops!

2.  My computer is set to "go to sleep" in 7 minutes.

So I give you this picture of a recent sunrise.  I heard that people get bored of sunrise/sunset pictures. I'm sorry, I never get tired of them!

Life is more hectic than ever.  Husband is traveling.  Friend who is getting divorced is living with us.  Thirteen year old is being... a thirteen year old.  (Grumpy face.)  Son likes homeschool but misses interaction with classmates.

Signing off before computer goes to sleep!