1. Simply being at home does not get things done. You have to think and physically put your body to work in order for any actual change in your environment to occur.
2. Timing is critical if you want to wash towels, wash dishes, and scrub tile all with hot water.
3. It feels really good to provide your loved ones with clean clothes!
4. I enjoy cooking when it's not after a long day of talking to grouchy people.
5. It's easy to let the computer distract you...
6. Audio books make things move along much faster.
7. Idleness is definitely the devil's workshop, at least for me. If I'm not busy I start to overthink EVERYTHING.
8. I didn't realize how much time 9 hours really is.
9. I can focus a lot more on my husband and what his day was like when HE gets home when I'm not consumed with how horrible my day was when I get home.
10. It's a lot more challenging to plan a budget-wise grocery list than I thought!
11. My few efforts at taking at-home surveys have all been a flop because I know nothing about tires, don't shop at the mall every 2-3 months, and we don't have cable. I am a very unexciting person.
12. I googled "What to do with odd socks" and discovered that there are many cleaning applications for them. And that you can turn them into monkeys.
13. Trying to catch the blender soaking in the sink mid-tip results in soaking one's clothing.
14. Dried beans and rice is REALLY GOOD if you add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese!
15. Our house gets unbearably hot on sunny afternoons -- except on the couch in front of the tv.
16. And I just learned seconds ago that if Terminix comes but you're not able to answer the door immediately, don't go step out on the stoop in your bare feet when you get to the door because they spray it with poison.
I have been quite stuffy for several days now. Today has been the first day I really had no breathing...er...obstacles. And when I got home after church, my Chick-fil-A sack in tow, I sighed deeply as I went to put on my PJ pants and suddenly it struck me: I COULD BREATHE!!
And then I thought, "Wow, how many times do I take a breath during the day, and am kept awake and alive by the oxygen that fills my lungs, and I don't even notice it? Yet today, I take a large, relaxing, comforting breath of air and feel like it is the greatest feeling I have had today." And then I thought, "You know, I never would have enjoyed the breath I just took if it hadn't been for the fact that I haven't been enjoying breathing in about six days." And then I thanked God for my cold.
Because, even though on the one hand you could say, "Man, I must have had a REALLY bad cold, for it to feel that good to do something as simple as breathing," my first thought was, "Wow, that felt amazing -- and I get to do it every single second of every single day. Bad days, good days, hard days, quiet days -- I get to breathe every single day."
People say all the time to "be thankful for every breath you take," and I think today was the first time in my life that I felt genuinely thankful for the very breath in my body.
And if you let that sit long enough, and think of all the things like that around you -- like smelling brownies baking in your oven, fixed by your friend who knows you like chocolate but don't bake it much when your husband is at home -- you could become so full of absolute gratitude that you could cry.
And man, that is some good stuff.
Better than brownies.
And quite worth a case of the sniffles.
I have been putting off writing about our visit to New York because I am not certain what to say about it. There's no way I could list everything about it without boring everybody, so I think I will just list the things that I think I will never forget about the trip.
Central Park. Arguably my favorite part of the trip. It's HUGE. It has its own police station, a rec center, a reservoir, two museums, a zoo...the list goes on. No part of the park looks exactly the same. There are hills, bridges of every sort (wooden, iron, stone), fountains, and my favorite -- the North Woods. It was very similar to Mt. Cheaha in Alabama. And watching and listening to the people was fascinating. Runners, walkers, readers, musicians, people simply reposing on sun-speckled patches of grass and rock, like they hadn't a care in the world. I loved it so much I went on four different days. We went to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) on Friday, and took a short walk through part of the park around it. On Saturday we wanted to see more of the park, so Jared and I went in the south end at 57th St. and walked up through The Mall to Bethesda Fountain. On Sunday Jared was at JTS (Jewish Theological Seminary) most of the day, so when I got out of church I went to the park and just explored for about 3 hours or so. And on Monday jared was at JTS again, so I explored some more, but mostly sat on The Mall reading Ender in Exile.
The Subway. As a note, you do not ride a subway car in New York. You ride "The Train." You take "The Train" from one point to another. But you get on The Train at the subway station. I loved riding the train. I'm not sure why...so many people who touch things and sneeze and cough and do all manner of things that spread the germs of New York City EVERYWHERE (every time we popped above ground again I sanitized my hands). But it was absolutely amazing to me, in my simple Southern-bred mind, how you could pop into a large sardine can, and with some loud clattering and whooshing sounds, suddenly find yourself somewhere else. It was like stepping into a magician's magic box and suddenly disappearing, except that it really happened, to a hundred people at once.
The People. You know how people say New Yorkers have horrible manners and they individually have social blinders that prevent them from being aware of anyone who does not affect them directly? Don't believe them. We met some of the most kind, friendly, and generous souls in New York. For one, we stayed with some distant relatives of Jared's -- Dru, with her sons David (17) and Sam (10), Dru's ex-husband Chris (he stayed at the house part of the time because Dru was out of town), and we spent time with Dru's parents, Doris and Paul, and her sister, Susan, and her husband, Michael. Though Jared had met some of them before, it had been seldom. They all treated us like we'd been close our whole lives. We were taken out to dinner, given the master bedroom, waited up for, picked up and dropped off at the airport, cooked for, given TONS of advise on getting around the city, given metro passes...the list goes on. However, we also ran into tons of nice people on the streets, in stores, on the subways. Some of them were from out of town and were happy to find someone else who was just as much a fish out of water as they, but several were natives. One man in Greenwich Village approached us on a corner while we were looking at our map, smiled and said we looked lost, and gave us a brief outline of the entire area. If we liked shopping, we could go right, if we wanted to visit Strand Bookstore (which we did -- I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who likes books of any kind -- I bought four books on crocheting, LOL), If we wanted something to eat, anything in the general area was good. Our waiter at Bouchon gave us a complimentary cookie because he ordered up the wrong dessert for us and we had to wait -- GASP -- five more minutes before we got what we originally ordered. And when I say cookie I mean COOKIE. The thing was half an inch thick and was the diameter of small honeydew. AND he remembered we specifically asked if the dessert we ordered would have any chocolate on it because Jared didn't care for it, so he brought us an oatmeal raisin cookie. I also loved visiting the church and meeting/seeing the people there. I KNOW some of the Christians in New York! How cool is THAT?? i know at least a dozen people already who we would be friends with if we moved there.
The Food. Ohhhh, the food. If you tracked us on Facebook at all, you saw some of it. (I hear people tired of the pictures of food. I say get over it, that was one of the best parts!) Some places we visited: Kabir's Bakery on Newkirk in Brooklyn, Lenny's (which is everywhere), Bouchon in the Shops at Columbus, Paulie Gee's in Greenpoint (part of Brooklyn), The Water Club on the East River just north of the Manhattan Bridge, the Met in Central Park (which is a museum, but the food is really good too), a little street vendor in Little Italy selling gelato and canolli. One thing I did not know about New York: eating there does not have to be expensive! It certainly CAN be, but if you stick with the little shops on the side of the street it's not so bad. Lenny's was $10 each, including a 20 oz. soda. At Kabir's we got these scrumptious chicken pastries for $1 each. Even the Met was only about $10-12 each, for a 20 oz. and a really good, unique sandwich (mine was turkey and watercress with cranberry citrus spread).
I think I could live there. Well, technically, I could live anywhere God wants me to be. But I don't think it would be too bad. I'm sure the magic of it all would wear off, and that once it was no longer a vacation but trying to build a normal life it would be a completely different ball game. But we'd have Jady and Julianne, and the other members of the church there, and all our relatives, and each other. I pretty much got the hang of the subway by the end of the trip. The only thing that scares me is that Susan said spanking your kids is very looked down upon. But Jared says it's getting that way in many places.
Well, whether we move there or not (Jared is still hoping for Cincinnati at this point), I do wan to go back again. And all our relatives there have already been making suggestions for "the next time" we come. :-)
-- Said goodbye to Jonathan Engel
-- Finished mixing the fruit salad I began last night
-- Felt relief when I discovered the fruit dip I dreamt had curdled was perfectly fine
-- Went to Miss Hope's for Crystal's Baby Shower
-- Sat and talked for an hour alone with a very dear friend with red curls
-- Ate lunch with said friend, another dear friend, and husbands of those present who are currently married
-- Did laundry and dishes
-- Am currently on the computer while Jared plays Modern Warfare 2 with his brother and while my sister and her friend Sarah hang out in the kitchen (Lauren and Emily have momentarily disappeared to the Coopers'.)
-- Daydreamed of New York and told many people of my upcoming exploits thence
-- Pondered our predicted state of existence in about 10 months...Tampa? Cincinnati? Chicago? New York? (On that note, one of the ladies at church said she is going to start praying we stay here! LOL!)
And finally, felt satisfied that I succeeded in one of my recently-set goals. To do whatever my hand finds to do. Yes, I cut that phrase off. Too often I take that proverb to mean "Whatever you do, do it with all your ability." However, the proverb begins with "Whatever your hand finds to do." In other words, don't shirk responsibilities. So, when I have come home to a sink full of dishes, I try to do them, rather than deciding to leave them for another day. When Jared decides to leave the house for two hours, instead of just taking it easy and watching a movie, I need to clean something. This week, our living room has been dusted and vacuumed, our bathroom cleaned, and all our tiled areas (which include an entrance, a long hallway, a large kitchen, and two bathrooms) swept and mopped. Next on the list is dusting and vacuuming the bedroom, and writing my Bible lesson for Saturday morning. I also need to try to crochet at least two rows per day on my current blanket.
If you have been to NYC, what was your favorite part?
If you have not been but want to go, what have you always wanted to do there?
So I went to a baby shower today and it made me kinda sad that if we move next year we probably won't be around all our Tampa friends when we have our first kid. It still makes me a little sad that only a few of them could share our wedding with us, but at least we came back right after that...
Although, I have a feeling this sadness still wouldn't be enough to make me say no to New York if that opportunity presents itself.
But since New York seems like a bit of a pipedream for now, it makes me a little sad today. :-)