Friday, September 24, 2010

Melancholy Friday

It's been a big week.

1. My mother-in-law had a successful quadruple-bypass surgery on Tuesday. She moved yesterday out of the ICU and is on the road to recovery. God continues to supervise her healing but I think we as a family stand a little shaken. I had not anticipated the emotional toll of her surgery: it feels like a hole has been ripped out of my life. In the 13 years of my marriage to her son, MaryLee has always made me feel loved and like I belong in the Webber family and I now know how much I have relied upon her to just be there. We would go yard sale-ing and book shopping and running about and it was a joy to be with her. I expect we will do so again, but it will be a while until she is able to run around like she is accustomed to. It's not that it is impossible for me to remain standing; I just had not realized until this week just how dependent I was on the pylon with her name on it.

2. I have a dear uncle who is ailing and it is hard to watch his illness from so far away. He had a miraculous rally this week and my mother was able to go and spend some time with him, but no one lives forever. I pray Christ's spirit is ever present for however many days are left.

3.My mother's book Bathsheba's Lament is now in print and available for order here. It seems so strange to have this fierce joy mixed with pain of the events of the last several weeks but that is the normal progression of life.

4. Another very clear joy in my life is my continuing work with the High School students at church. Hope Youth Ministry kicked off its regular season last Sunday night and I was excited to see new faces and old friends and remind them all how much I care about them. One of my spiritual gifts, modeled to me by my mother, is one of encouraging others. Loving these students, writing to them, caring about them, praying for them is truly a joy. I love to start and end my weeks with them on Sunday nights.

5. Movie Update:

March 12
Green Zone (never managed to see it-we were too sick to go out when my folks were visiting for Easter; waiting for video)
April 2
Clash of the Titans (poor reviews; may see it on video)
April 23
The Losers (saw it by myself and really liked it)
May 7
Iron Man 2 (loved it!)
May 14
Robin Hood (it has received poor reviews so we do not plan to see it)
May 28
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (went to see it by myself and enjoyed it more than I expected to)
June 11
The A-Team (we saw it together and while I liked it, I think I liked The Losers better)
June 18
Toy Story 3 (we liked it but since we were older when the series started, we've rather identified with Andy's mother rather than him, so it did not effect us so much)
June 23
Knight & Day (never managed to sneak out and see it)
July 14
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (I enjoyed it)
July 16
Inception (We both enjoyed it)
July 23
Salt (still would like to see it)
August 13
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (I missed it; the closest theatre it's playing in is an hour's drive away)

Upcoming movies
October 15
Red (the trailers look really good)
November 19
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)
December 10
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
December 17
Tron: Legacy

I have not had a favorite movie this year like Star Trek was last year. Of course, the year's not over yet, but all I have to do is play the opening title soundtrack from Trek and I smile. Nothing from 2010 has moved me like that yet.

6. The US network television season started this week and I have yet to watch most of the premiere episodes, although, I will say, somewhat ashamedly, I loved the pilot for Hawaii Five-O and expect to watch it happily throughout the year. I did finish the fifth series of New Tricks, but, like all maturing series, it got more serious as it went along and isn't quite as happy-go-lucky as it was in the beginning. I still like it, but I'm not tearing through it like I was before. Still, as story-telling goes, it's really top rate.

7. I picked up Marilynne Robinson's Absence of Mind from the library this week and really need to sit down and read it. I read some great reviews about a month ago, which is when I requested it from the library's inter-library loan system, which is still kind of functioning. Perhaps more than my brain is these days.

And here's Jen.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Friday of Ennui

1. Remember how I said last Friday that it was the calm before the storm? Well, that seems a remarkably apt description. I have a dear uncle who is very ill so several family members are traveling tomorrow to visit him and bring him cheer. Marshall's mother has triple-bypass surgery scheduled for next Tuesday so my sister-in-law and I are trying to plan ahead about how make sure Rick eats supper next week while MaryLee's in the hospital and how we'll organize meals for both of them when she is home. Several dear friends experienced various traumas this week. And the list goes on.... I did a lot of praying this week, which isn't a bad thing, but there was a lot to be praying about.

2. I finished another section of White Lilies on Red last night. Every time the confetti nature of the pattern makes me crazy, I look at the picture of the finished product and am amazed how well it translates into a beautiful image. Here's my progress pic:

I'm still very pleased with the emerging result.

3. Youth Group started last Sunday night with our introductory evening to 6th and 9th graders and it was a lot of fun. The first large group meeting is this Sunday night and I'm really excited to be back with some of my favorite people. Unfortunately, almost as soon as I left the house last Sunday, Miranda bounced herself off of our very small trampoline and smashed her face on the concrete, giving herself a very impressive fat lip and badly scraped elbow. She is healing but Monday morning I was apprehensive about putting her on the bus. My mother wanted me to take a picture so she could see the damage but I was hesitant to document the carnage. We'll get Skype up and running between here and my parents' house soon so Grandma can see all their boo-boos for herself.

4. I am still struggling to get all the necessary paperwork and other assorted items together for Alex and Miranda at their individual schools. As they are both in special ed. self-contained classrooms, the usual "need for school" items and lists published by the district don't apply and we get the lists for each individual class after school starts. And....

5. Unfortunately, yesterday, my "I'm so glad my children are back in school" energy departed. I am having terrible difficultly getting myself to do all the things I've been planning to get done out and about as well as at home since I am home alone from 8:42 - 11:50 am. I did get back to my Women's Bible study on Wednesday morning and committed to being their for the current semester. We will be working through Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I've decided to stop trying to make myself do the homework in the evenings (it never happens) and plan to work on it in the mornings when I have the time and my brain is functioning.

6. I watched Flags of Our Fathers on Friday night and really enjoyed it, although I should have known it was a 5 kleenex movie. I even liked it better than Letters from Iwo Jima, although I do agree they should be seen together. Excellent movies. I'm still working my way New Tricks; only one episode left from Series 4 and then I'll move on to series 5. I'm even starting to think in English idiom; scary.

7. I also read 3 Georgette Heyer books this week (I love my library!) and I was in the mood for some of her mysteries. I read Behold Here's Poison, They Found Him Dead and Detection Unlimited. I enjoyed them, although the solution for the murder in that last book didn't quite work. But I read her books for the delightful character interactions for the most part, anyway.

And here's Jen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The First Friday of School

1. Well, 2.5 days of school, but it still counts! Both of my children are much happier with me and the rest of the world and when they are happy, my life feels easier. We went to the zoo yesterday (our pass expires in a few weeks and I wanted to make sure we got in at least one more good visit) and had a wonderful time. I even treated Alex to a face painting:

His tiger costume from Halloween two years ago is still in circulation and he will wear it to bed at least twice a week. Big fan of tigers, that boy of mine. Adorable, too.

2. Spent the week watching British television, again. First, I watched series one of New Tricks and while I was waiting for series two to arrive, I watched all six episodes of Ultraviolet. Even though it was made 12 years ago, it examined and discussed mortality and morality in a far more interesting and nuanced way than I've encountered since, well, Buffy. And, half of the time, Joss Whedon was playing it for laughs, while Ultraviolet is in no way comedic. Still, I challenge all other vampire fanatics to watch it (available for free on Hulu) because even though I am no fan of Twilight, True Blood or Vampire Diaries (they don't deserve links or italics!), somehow I doubt they consider the vampire question in such a well-measured fashion.

So, then, I was still waiting for the second series of New Tricks, so I watched the first two episodes of Luther. (Perhaps this year has just been an exploration of the work of Idris Elba: The Wire, The Losers, Ultraviolet, and now Luther.) Anyway, it's amazing, he's amazing; they even cast an Indian woman as his wife! How come American television doesn't give projects like this to black men?! Or, perhaps, this is why I watch so much British television. Oh, and BTW, Law & Order: UK series 3 started last night; go Freema! And the second series of New Tricks was excellent, so now I'm waiting on series 3. Dang. I still watch plenty of American television but most of it doesn't impress me like these shows. I think part of my problem is that I hate sitcoms (seriously HATE) and most of the best work in America is on sitcoms, or so says the reviewers. Bummer.

3. Since I was watching so much television this week, I did get some more stitching done. I should finish the next section in a couple more sessions. Progress.

4. And Marshall continues to make progress on the shed. We have decided our next home project will be taking apart the living room, reinforcing the floor and building in bookshelves, which will enable us to have more flexibility with the space. Did I say we? I meant my husband. I am a passable painter, but that's about all I'm good for.

5. Youth Group starts up tomorrow with a long Leaders' Meeting and then activities with the students start Sunday afternoon. I will be glad to get back into a regular rhythm with the girls I am mentoring.

6. Finally got Flags of Our Fathers from the library and so I should be able to watch it this weekend. I'm hoping it will help fill in the gaps that watching Letters from Iwo Jima left in my brain.

7. There's really nothing else going on around here. Perhaps it's the calm before the storm.

And here's Jen.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Just Because It's the First Day of School

Here's an extra special post for you.

I cannot describe my life in humorous terms; I'm just really good at whining. Bill Cosby, however, is brilliant.

Brain Damage

Kill the Boy

The Same Thing Happens Every Night

And, an old favorite:
Natural Childbirth

Laughing is always better than crying.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Friday Before School Starts--Hooray!!!

1. Both Alex and Miranda will have some time in their classrooms on Tuesday (Alex has a half day with his new teacher, Miss Pam, while Miranda and I will go in together for a meet and greet with Miss Barbara and her new classmates) and then there will be a regular day on Wednesday with separate buses, different pick-up and drop off times and everything. Thursday we have no school because of Rosh Hashanah (Mt. Laurel schools observe Catholic and Jewish Holidays) but then they are back in on Friday. (Thankfully, this year, Yom Kippur is on a Saturday so no classes will be missed.) Still, we have all been dying to be back on a regular schedule, so next Friday should be much happier. Here's hoping.

2. We had 3 friends over for a lovely dinner last night and finally kicked them out at 11:15 pm so we could go to bed. A little beer, some enchiladas and a lot of fun conversation. It really perked me up because...

3. It's been a rotten week. I don't want to enumerate all of our problems because I would be whining. But I will give an example: this morning I woke up expecting an easy day to discover Alex had picked all the scabs off the bug bites on his feet again and bled all over his sheets again but managed to get it all over the floor as well. This, however, is why we own a carpet steamer.

4. I did get in a couple of hours of stitching this week, though. And hopefully will tonight as well.

5. Marshall spent all day Sunday (seriously, 8 am to 8 pm) roofing the shed. Then Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evening, he painted it and the shed is starting to look good! This weekend he should be able to finish it up, especially since Hurricane Earl doesn't look like it will threaten us with more than a little rain.

6. Since my butterfly bushes are starting to take over the world (or, at least, the back porch) we have had butterflies and moths around all summer. They are so used to seeing us that they are almost tame and allow you to try to pick them up. However, I try to discourage Alex from doing this since he usually picks up bugs by their most fragile parts.

7. We have no real plans for the weekend. I'm sure Marshall wants to finish the shed. I'd like to spend the time sleeping but that may have to wait until both kids are back in school. I'm still trying to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Dang.

And here's Jen.