Thursday, December 30, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
So, here it is, folks. You take James and me, put us together, and this (for better or worse) is your outcome:
Monday, December 6, 2010
Ingrid Michaelson - You and I
Alannis Morissette - That I Would Be Good
Mormon Tabernacle Choir - Homeward Bound (the long story of why I love this song is below) and Take Time to Be Holy
The Beatles - Life Goes On
Billy Joel - almost anything
Rachmaninoff - almost anything but especially Variations on a Theme of Paganini (here's one of them, 18 is the most well known) and his second Piano Concerto
Verdi - Nessun Dorma
Shortly after we moved to Madison, I got to feeling homesick. So, as was my daily custom at the time, I decided to call my mom, who answered her phone (miracle of miracles) and she told me she was listening to my song. I didn’t know I had a song. She played part of it for me, but I’d never heard it before. Then she read me the words of the chorus and said it describes me. She doesn’t even know what it’s called because she just calls it “Melanie’s Song.” Of course, I had to look it up and read the lyrics. Then I cried. Then I downloaded it. And I still cry every time I hear it. It really does fit me. These are the words:
In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.
When the summer’s ceased its gleaming,
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure’s lost its meaning,
I’ll be homeward bound in time.
Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.
If you find it’s me you're missing, if you’re hoping I’ll return.
To your thoughts I’ll soon be list’ning, and in the road I’ll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end.
And the path I’ll be retracing when I’m homeward bound again.
Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I’ll return to you somehow.
In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I’ll be homeward bound again.
I guess I’ve always had to go off on my own way and find out what it was I needed to do. I’ve always been independent, known where I was, and been determined to get wherever I was going. My mom loves to tell stories of me being lost as a small child. Whenever she would find me, she would tell me how worried she had been. And I would always reply, “don’t worry Mom, I wasn’t lost! I knew where I was.” Little comfort for a mother, but it made perfect sense to my little mind. I was only lost if I didn’t know how to get back where I came from or how to get where I was going. I was a little quick to lose sight of other people’s interest in where I might be.
And now I’ve wandered away again. But I still only feel lost when I lose sight of where I came from or where I’m going. I was excited to move away to college, two hours from home. Mom told me that when she dropped me off for my first week of college, she cried as I walked away from the car. I was just excited about what lay ahead. I did cry when I came home for my first visit a mere ten days later.
My emotions were similar when I left on my mission to Italy. It seemed like everyone at the MTC was crying, except me. I was just excited to finally be leaving on my mission and beginning my great adventure. After a few weeks within the confines of the MTC, it finally set in that I wasn’t going to see my family for eighteen months. And then I really missed them. I think perhaps I couldn’t leave them if I didn’t look ahead to what I was gaining. But I do always have to leave. There’s just something about me that always has to go and do. I tried to explain it to my mom once. It wasn’t that I wanted to leave my family or my home, I just had to go and see the world. I wasn’t trying to get away from anything, but I had to go.
I came home for a while after my mission, but that was hard on both me and my parents. When I left again, it was to Virginia. Somehow I had no fear, even though I’d never been there and did not know a soul. I still can’t believe I did it, but I had to go. As my parents drove me to the airport, my mom said again how sad she was that I was leaving. She said she thought I’d never be back. And I guess I never will, at least not to stay. But I never thought much about what I was leaving behind, only what I was gaining. And however many times I fly home for a visit and leave again, it’s always hard to go. But I just know that I have to go.
I love to be home. One of my favorite things in the world is Sunday dinner with my family, where we all just sit around the table and talk long after we’ve finished eating. I love to be with my family and in a familiar comfortable place. Nothing will ever be home in quite the way my mom and dad’s house is. And as much as I always leave, I will just as surely always come back. I depend upon that home being there for me, however far I may wander.
And my mom probably doesn’t realize that she is one of the ways I get my bearings. I’ll call her for a pep talk, or just a regular talk. I can remember several bad days when I’ve called her and just cried on the phone. She has no idea at all, but I just sit there and cry and listen to her tell me about whatever. I just need to hear her voice and have a piece of home.
This last move, to Madison, was the hardest ever. For the first time I had no reason to go, and I really didn’t want to. But, for very different reasons, I knew I had to go. This time the ties of my husband were pulling me away. So I got in the car and drove away. But for the first year I called home nearly every day, and I depended on my next visit coming. I longed to be there more than I can express. And I still often long to be nearer my family, even though I have found a wonderful home here. In some strange way, even though I'm always leaving, I'm simultaneously longing for home.
I depend upon my visits home, and upon my cell phone to keep me connected. And I still talk about living near family, because I can’t let go of the possibility yet. It’s hard to admit that I will probably never live close to my family again, to accept that reality that my mother articulated years ago. Now that I have a daugther, I’m even more sad that I will be so far from my family. I don’t know why I feel such a need to go off crusading around the world (as my mom calls it), but I do. I have to pursue the adventures that, I hope, will make my family proud and allow me to improve the world. But just as surely, I have to check in and go home as often as possible. I need my crusades, but not any more than I need my home.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
When I was a missionary in Verona, you happened into my life. It was pure chance, really. My beautiful companion, who really couldn't speak much Italian but smiled at everyone, met you on a bus. This was not uncommon. She seemed to have conversations with men of questionable intentions several times a day. I was continually explaining to men that we were essentially nuns, that she and I were always together and that if they tried to call her, I would inevitably answer the phone. But you were different. She told me you wanted to talk with us, and you really did. So we got off the bus at Porto Vescovo, we sat on a bench, and we talked.
We told you about God and how much he loves each of us. You told us about coming to Italy from Romania seeking a better life. You had come to Verona with a woman, but she recently took everything you owned, kicked you out and called you some not very nice things. So there you were, stuck in Verona without a friend in the city or a dime in your pocket. Our usual work was to see to the spiritual welfare of the people we met. We dealt very little in temporal needs. But without food or shelter, it's hard to worry about spiritual things. It's hard to do much of anything besides worry about surviving tomorrow. What you needed at that time was not God, though you found it interesting enough. You needed a job. None were available; this we had heard from everyone. I think you also needed someone to listen and someone to be sympathetic. You needed someone to understand that your circumstances were not entirely of your creation. And so we listened.
As we spoke, you told us of your brother in Torino, several hours away. He had a job for you, but you would have to get to Torino that week. You had a whole new life waiting, if only you could get there. And so, in the end, you asked us for train fare. It wasn't a whole lot, but it was enough that we didn't have the money on us. We explained that we're not allowed to give people money, though we would like to help. We offered to teach you more about God in the meantime, and you said you'd be happy to hear. But it was clear that what you really needed was the 23 Euros to get you to Torino. We exchanged phone numbers and parted ways. And I kept thinking.
I thought about your life and your story. I thought about Jesus and his life and his counsel. And I hoped and prayed that 23 Euros would never be the difference between hopelessness and a new life for me. I also prayed that you would somehow get the money. Unfortunately, everyone you knew was as poor as you and could barely buy food, let along loan someone 23 Euros.
Near our apartment there was a monastery where Franciscan Monks served breakfast to those in need every morning. At night the monks would lay out mattresses in front of their gates and we always passed men sleeping there, often smelling strongly of boxed wine and the need for a shower. But they had nowhere to go and no way to keep warm. As the crowd was gathering for breakfast the next morning, I looked out my window and thought I saw you in the line. I picked up our phone, watched you answer and asked you to meet us at the train station at three that afternoon. I could not bring myself to be the reason your hope slipped away. I felt it would not have been consistent with the name on my tag.
When we met at the station, I used my personal money for a ticket to Torino. All you had in the world was slung over your shoulder in a duffel bag. I doubt it took you fifteen minutes to gather your possessions and you were ready to go right then. We shook hands and you insisted that you would find a way to pay me back. I pointed to my tag and said you could always find a church with that name, and pay back whoever you found there. More than restitution, however, I hoped that someday, when your temporal needs were less, you would find that church and, knowing that those inside it were good people, be able to see to your spiritual poverty as well. I still think about you and hope that your life has changed for good.
While I can't remember your name anymore, I often think of you, particularly when I see men whose lives have not been what they hoped. I remember how much you needed someone to listen, someone to understand a little, and someone to give a little help to make such a great difference for you. More than a benefactor, you needed a friend. I hope I was and will continue to be that friend.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I wouldn't just let the police do such a search. They would need a good reason. Is the fact that I want to fly a good enough reason? Maybe so. Of course I'd be subjected to much worse if I were arrested, but is getting on a plane suspicious enough activity to be treated like a criminal? Perhaps it would help me to know that several would-be terrorists have been caught or deterred by the scans. Instead, it seems like terrorists just keep devising ways around our security innovations. Perhaps it's time to say we'll do our best but we just don't want to give up any more civil liberties? How much must we give up in order to obtain peace of mind?
I'm not sure. I think I still don't find the body scan all that unreasonable. And, from what I've heard, I'm willing to do quite a lot to avoid the pat down.
A colander makes a great hat.
Mom's purse becomes a favorite toy.
What would have been a duck costume had Scout not grown so much before Halloween becomes a two-headed monster.
She was still pretty cute, even if she was too tall to put on the duck head.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
1. A goal I just accomplished: goodbye law school weight (been working on this one since Memorial Day, finally dumped the last 1.5 lbs last week--before Thanksgiving, we're not going to talk about after)
2. Short term goal: finish my cross stitch by Wednesday (this shouldn't actually count as short term, since I've been working on it for a decade, but I'm REALLY close)
3. Longer term goal: finish reading the Book of Mormon by the end of the year (just under four chapters a day--maybe I'll go read now)
Thursday, November 25, 2010
I once watched Strictly Ballroom ten times in the span of a week. Nope, not exaggerating. I think I have the how memorized.
As Legolas. And only as Legolas. Okay, maybe a little bit in Pirates of the Caribbean, but once he paraded out in that ridiculous hat at the end, it was all over.
Yep, I joined the craze. Then I saw him in The Man in the Iron Mask. And the craze ended.Two words: Will Scarlet
Took all of my friends to see Never Been Kissed. Rented every movie he was ever in (and he wasn't the star, let me tell you what). I really liked him.
Honorable Mention: Hugh Jackman, Val Kilmer, Bill Pullman (saw While You Were Sleeping in the theatre six times), Tom Cruise (back before he was crazy, and mostly because my husband looks like him so it seems he should get a mention) and Patrick Stewart
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
You are one of my heroes. I admire what you accomplished, but I also admire that you worked so hard to accomplish it and that you kept trying, despite failure. For me, it is as important that you represented young, penniless men accused of heinous crimes because of their skin color, and lost, as it is that you argued Brown v. Board of Education and won. I would ask about those days when you lost. How did you continue? What did you learn? What would you change?
I would ask about your life on the Supreme Court. What was it like to be the first? What great weight of responsibility you must have felt. Did you feel triumph at the changes you were able to effect or tragedy at those that remained the same despite their injustice? How did you feel the day you dissented to Wilbert Evans' sentence of death through a denied writ? Every time a death penalty case came before the Court, whether the Court agreed to hear it or not, you dissented, never giving up hope nor surrendering your position. Do you think it will ever be abolished? I suppose that has no bearing on your position. Popular or not, you held to your ideals.
Once I met a lawyer named Joseph McCarthy (no, not that Joseph McCarthy) who defended indigent criminals. He talked of the tragedy of being caught up in the system at all. Once someone needs a defense lawyer, guilty or not, we've all lost and there is no winning for anyone. He had such dignity and poise defending a client who wanted him fired. I was fascinated to learn that earlier in life he had helped prosecute wrongful convictions. Perhaps that is why he seemed tired and sad, though still eloquent, determined and dedicated to his work. Our brief encounter changed my approach to my profession. I imagine speaking with you would be equally illuminating and life altering.
Today I decided to read your biography. I'm not really a reader of biographies, but I think yours will be worth it. It will not, I expect, replace the conversation I would like to have, but it will have to do.
Melanie McKay, Esq.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
The Candyman Can - I think this one stuck with me because I did NOT understand it.
Catch a Wave (Beach Boys) - Really, the whole album. We loved Surfin' Safari too.
Copa Cabana (Barry Manilow) - We loved this record so much it was shattered one day in a small altercation between me and one of my siblings.
I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair (South Pacific) - I always pictured a little man running around on this woman's scalp. The idiomatic meaning was completely lost on my young mind.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
"I'm glad she likes books, but I wish she would play with her toys more."
"Aren't you tired of reading?"
I just put Virginia to bed. She took Goodnight Moon to bed with her. I'm pretty sure she's still in there turning the pages, even though there's only a night light to see by. It's doesn't much matter; we've read it so many times that she probably has the pictures memorized anyway. I know it's common for kids to stay up late reading in bed. I just didn't think it would begin at eighteen months.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Best 30-Minute Recipe Books (by America's Test Kitchen)
The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
The New American Plate by the American Institute for Cancer Research
The Garden Fresh Vegetable Cookbook by Andrea Chesman
And just because I feel like I ought to include at least one recipe, here's something I've been loving lately. You may not be familiar with kohlrabi, but you should become familiar. It's wonderful stuff, especially braised. And it's good for you. And once you have the skin off, it's pretty easy to make. So, when you go looking for it at the grocery store, this is what you want to find:
from The New American Plate Cookbook
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1/4 in. strips
1 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Fresh ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional)
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the kohlrabi and saute for 5 minutes to coat with oil and begin the cooking process. Add the broth, bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the kohlrabi is tender. The cover may be removed during the last 5 minutes. Season to taste with pepper. Sprinkle with a few drops of fresh lemon juice, if desired. Drain off the broth and serve.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I'm just going to come out and say it. You ruined me! Okay, maybe not ruined exactly. But you sure did hurt my chances at a regular old romance. Your portrayal of love, romance and dating, well, it just doesn't match reality. Not much at all. And, you see, I spent a lot of my young life watching your romantic comedies, reading your books (okay, maybe that wasn't you exactly, Holly, but it was certainly a relative of yours). And from this media, I got a completely skewed idea of what I ought to be looking for and how this dating thing happens in real life.
It took me a lot of years to get things figured out, with no help from you. Because you never told me the truth. You never told me that, in actuality, he probably WAS that into me, but media had so corrupted my idea of love that I was never able to recognize his feelings, my feelings, or what may actually have been (but fortunately wasn't) the best opportunity I was going to get in this lifetime. Here are just a few of the lies you told me instead:
Lie #1- If you take long walks in beautiful places, the man you love is sure to come along and kiss you (see Pride & Prejudice, the Keira Knightly Version).
Reality: I took a lot of long, lonely walks in some lovely places. Not once did I encounter the love of my life, or even my current crush. If I didn't invite him along, he never showed up. Not even once. And I took a lot of long walks.
Lie #2- Men are inescapably attracted to intelligent women (see Pride & Prejudice, any version, and Ever After).
Reality: Men are almost inescapably intimidated by intelligent women.
Lie #3 - Pursuing famous or semi-famous perfect strangers is a great idea; he's likely to pick yours out of the pile and be your soul mate (see Sleepless in Seattle, Under the Tuscan Sun and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton).
Reality: Whether the celebrity you adore is married or unmarried has almost no bearing on the likelihood that he will ever date and/or marry you. He won't. Unless you're Katie Holmes. You're not (and that's a good thing).
Lie #4: Repeatedly insulting and rejecting men makes them ever more in love with you. You can reject them a lot of times, and they will keep coming back, waiting for your love (see Hitch, I Hate Valentine's Day and Anne of Green Gables--the movie, I haven't made it through the books, so I can't really say).
Reality: I had a roommate who adored these books and lived by this credo. She was very single. Guys would actually leave when she came into the room just to avoid the hostility.
Lie #5: If a guy likes you, he will do absolutely all the work. You need never encourage him, reciprocate or even realize what he is doing. It's okay inadvertently to be a little rude sometimes. He'll still drive fifty miles in a blizzard for you (see Little House on the Prairie).
Reality: You have to encourage them. A lot. I've read the book about twenty times (literally). It's a great story. But I really do think it ruined my approach to dating and relationships for at least several years. It's not the 1800's anymore. So I'll say it again, you have to encourage them.
Lie #6 Your boyfriend/husband should be able to read your mind, not because it's his superpower but because he can just intuit what you're thinking and what you want (see Twilight).
Reality: Men actually do want to be able to do this. They can't. If you don't tell them what you want, you're very unlikely to get it. If you don't tell them why you're mad, or that you're mad, they won't know. If you don't ask him to take out the trash, it's probably not going to happen.
Lie #7 All males are attracted to clumsy, complaining girls with no personality, no self-confidence and no interests whatsoever especially if they're new in town. The more clumsy and insecure the girl is, the more amazing the guy who will seek her out (see Twilight, The Wedding Date and My Big Fat Greek Wedding).
Reality: If there's nothing interesting about you, people probably won't find you very interesting. And, consequently, guys won't be interested in dating you. Even more importantly, the single most consistent quality that guys find attractive: confidence. It's true, from the mouth of an unquestionably hot male friend.
Lie #8: If the person you're in love with was ever in love with someone who died, they're probably still actually in love with that person and you're just a stand-in (see A Walk to Remember, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Titanic and probably a lot of other movies that aren't coming to mind right now).
Reality: Wouldn't that be sad?
Lie #9: If you have a random crush on some hot guy and never ever even talk to him, he and his even hotter brother are likely to propose to you (see While You Were Sleeping and Win a Date With Tad Hamilton).
Reality: If you never talk to him, he'll never have a chance to fall in love with you. So get out there and take a risk. What's the worst that can happen? If he rejects you, then you still won't be together. And you'll be no worse off than you are now.
Lie #10 - Spending enough time with a person of the opposite gender will inevitably lead you to fall in love, even, nay especially, if you hate each other in the beginning. Taking an arduous journey together increases the likelihood of realization that this is, in fact, your soul mate (see Win a Date With Tad Hamilton, Two Weeks' Notice, The Proposal, Leap Year, Stardust, Romancing the Stone, Chasing Liberty and Letters to Juliet and All About Steve and probably some others that aren't coming to mind).
Lie #10b: Your best platonic friend is really in love with you, whether he knows it or not. There is, in reality, no such thing as a platonic relationship (see Valentine's Day, Some Kind of Wonderful, He's Just Not That Into You,Post Grad, When Harry Met Sally and Keeping the Faith).
Reality: I tried this one out. Several times over. Sometimes for a long time. Some things aren't meant to be, some people don't find other people attractive. Some people just want to be friends. You can spend all the time together you want, but if the person is annoying in the beginning, they're usually still annoying months later.
Lie #11: The person you're in love with is probably, in reality, completely shallow and a real jerk, but someone who really is completely amazing and much better than the loser you're with is just around the corner so just keep waiting for that perfect person to come along (see The Wedding Singer, Enchanted, Serendipity, While You Were Sleeping, Stardust, Leap Year and Letters to Juliet, 500 Days of Summer).
Reality: Nobody's perfect, even you.
Now, Holly, I'm not going to pretend that I didn't enjoy a lot of these books and movies. They're funny, heartwarming and, in many cases, just perfect for making me feel good and sappy. But they are not a good guide for navigating the dating world. It's complex enough without you skewing the perception of millions of young, impressionable girls. So from now on, when you're assigning a genre to these movies, would you please just label them FANTASY? Life's not like it is in the movies. Really.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
E-Mail (Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL)
News (NYT, BBC, Local News)
Financial (banks, insurance, loans)
Cooking (Allrecipes.com, Cooks Illustrated, Homemade Baby Food)
Madison Public Library
City of Madison
GHC (my doctor)
CSA (MACSAC and Vermont Valley Community Farm)
Eagle Heights Community Gardens
Wisconsin State Law Library
Recipes I want to try, articles I want to read, etc.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sorry I was so obsessed with you for so long. It seems like if you ask a girl to dance once, you shouldn't be subjected to a year of her staring you down all the time. But then, that's the sort of risk you run in junior high. In the end, I'm glad we became friends, and just friends. The only thing we had in common was that one dance anyway. I probably loved the song we danced to every bit as much as I thought I loved you.
All the best,
I'm so glad I summoned all of my courage and asked you on a date. It was truly an empowering experience. You were very nice to go with me. And just as nice about not ever reciprocating my devotion. But I will always remember you as the one I did something about. And for that I'm glad.
All the best,
When we met, I was a mere freshman and you were a newly returned missionary. And you were older than my brother. I'd never gone out with anyone older than my brother before. I'm pretty sure 75 percent of the girls on our floor were in love with you. Possibly more. And I was one of those girls. But they were my friends, so I couldn't just go pursuing you. And I was a lowly freshman, so I certainly didn't have the confidence to come after you anyway. So, instead, for months you would flirt with me and I would flirt with you. But all the other girls would flirt with you too, and I never did like competing. And I didn't want to hurt my friends. And, after all, you never did ask me out. And that just doesn't make a girl feel wanted.
Then the year ended, we all moved home, and you only called me once all summer. Was it a date we had? I guess now I know it was, but I didn't know then. And when we all moved back to school, there I was the only girl in the building who knew you. No competition. And you came to see me, but you never told me you were coming so I was never home. And you gave me rides home on the weekends, but you never took me anywhere else, so I figured you were just being nice. And you called me once for a date, but I couldn't go. Then you called back and asked my best friend to go instead. That just doesn't make a girl feel wanted. So I waited for you to call again, but you never did.
All year, I kept waiting. You wanted me to edit your papers, but while I was editing them you flirted with my roommates. That just doesn't make a girl feel wanted. So, maybe I never put myself out there enough, but neither did you. And after two years of angst, you moved on. While I was waiting for my mission call, you got engaged. And I have to admit that I cried and I wondered. But I also think that by then we had drifted into two very different people, and it's a good thing we're living very different lives now.
I guess it might have worked, but you'd have had to take me on a date to find out.
All the best,
We sure had a lot of fun together, didn't we? Maybe you're the reason I did so much better in physics in college than High School. It was a lot more fun to study the second time around. I have to admit that I was shocked when you started flirting shamelessly on that long car ride back to Logan. After all, my roommate was completely in love with you. But you probably didn't know that, and she wasn't there. Thank you for supporting me as I prepared and left on my mission. I guess I never knew whether you wanted me to stay or not, but the important thing is that I wanted to go more than anything else. And I was nothing but happy to receive your announcement during my first transfer in Italy.
All the best,
You were irresistible. Too bad a lot of other girls couldn't resist you either. Too bad you were more concerned with dating three Ashleys than dating anyone seriously. But what a dancer! I'm glad your missionary came home and you married her. You were probably too much of a cowboy for me, and I wasn't enough of a cowboy's wife.
All the best,
Knowing you was certainly exciting. But I never did know whether I could trust you completely. And that's not a great foundation for a long term relationship, is it? So it's probably better that things didn't work out between us. I hope you'll find someone who you need desperately as you never did need me. Some things just aren't meant to be.
All the best,
You never were very good to me, or very good for me. At least your stay in my heart was a brief one.
All the best,
*with thanks to Alannis Morissette for inspiring this interpretation of the assignment.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Before that, I grew a baby. This picture is exactly 18 mos. old today. Glad I'm not doing that again tomorrow!
Here I am all dressed up for Law School Prom (also called Barrister's Ball). James and I decided to go at the last minute, and my fabulous visiting teachers scrounged me up about twenty dresses to wear. Here's the winner.
Here I am at a mission reunion. I don't seem to have taken many pictures in the year and a half between my mission and law school. Erica and I were companions in Verona where we would frequently wonder whether we could, at last, just be whelmed.
And here I am in Verona, just about time to go home (I wasn't as happy about it as I look).
And now, ten years ago...Actually, I think the former picture was the ten year shot. This is eleven. Freshman Melanie and my roommate Jess, dressed up as long lost twins writing to the same missionary.Just before High School graduation.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
"These mashed potatoes are so creamy."
Truly one of the greatest movies of all time. They do not make movies like this anymore.
If you haven't seen a Hitchcock, you haven't truly been thrilled, just frightened. They don't make movies like this anymore either.
5:45 Virginia woke up. James got up and put her back to sleep.
7:15 Virginia woke up again. James got up and I kept sleeping.
8:15 (I know, but this almost never happens.) I finally got out of bed, took a shower and got ready to face the day.
9:00 I got Virginia changed, dressed and packed for a morning of fun.
10:00 Madison Children's Museum!! Tish and her boys met us there.
10:45 Madison Public Library! Virignia tried to climb into the fountain to see the frog statue. Who wants to play with boats, trains and trucks when there's a frog spitting water?
12:00 Home for lunch. Leftover pasta and Colcannon. Yum!
1:00 Nap for Virginia. While she napped, I made good progress in the book I'm supposed to be reading for the Book Club I'm hosting next week.
2:30 Virignia woke up. We built a train, read books, played with balls, sang, danced, ate snacks and I read about a page and a half of the aforementioned book.
4:45 I started dinner. Virginia was not pleased with this development, so James had to emerge from the office and remind her how fabulous her toys are for a few minutes.
5:45 Dinner on the table just as Alex, our guest, showed up. Perfect! We broke out the Thanksgiving tablecloth Mom found on clearance last year. I was feeling festive!
6:45 I changed for the opera. The dinner guest actually came so we could go to the opera together. Her husband works for Madison Opera and gets comp tickets. I think he's one of the best people to know in Madison, but maybe not for the same reason as Madison Magazine.
7:15 Left for the Overture Center. The parking ramp was full, so it took a long time to park.
7:40 We arrived in pick our favorite wedding cake (the opera was The Marriage of Figaro, so there was a cake competition in the lobby), greet Alex's husband Brian and avoid some people we did not want to see.
7:55 The usher was not very nice about us having only a general idea where we were going, but we made it to our fabulous seats. The woman next to me seemed to have a cough, so my opera experience was rather aromatic. Ah well, as the opera said, il perdono no merta chi agli altri non da.
8:00 Because this was opening night of Madison Opera's 50th Anniversary season, the Lt. Governor gave a little spiel at the beginning, and even gave Brian a little shout out.
9:30 Enjoyed some celtic art and met up with friends during intermission.
11:00 All agreed that the opera was hilarious, very entertaining and well cast. Alex went to the after-party to eat the wedding cake, and the rest of us headed home.
11:20 Got home, read scriptures, talked to James, got ready for bed and fell asleep.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Day 1: Introduce yourself
Day 2: A bulleted list of everything that happened in your day
Day 3: Your favorite movie
Day 4: A photo of you taken over 10 years ago
Day 5: A letter to your crush
Day 6: A list of what you ate today
Day 7: A youtube video you find funny
Day 8: A photo of you taken recently
Day 9: List some of your favorite blogs
Day 10: A letter to a person who has caused you pain
Day 11: Share your favorite recipe(s)
Day 12: Self portrait
Day 13: Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 14: A song from your childhood
Day 15: A letter to someone you wish you could meet
Day 16: Provide pictures of 5 celebrity crushes
Day 17: A photo that makes you sad
Day 18: Set or share a goal
Day 19: Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 20: A letter to someone that changed your life
Day 21: Your favorite television program
Day 22: A photo that makes you happy
Day 23: Share one of your favorite tunes
Day 24: Time to face morph
Day 25: Someone you judged by their first impression
Day 26: Favorite books
Day 27: A talent of yours
Day 28: Favorite places to shop
Day 29: Your favorite color
Day 30: The friendliest person you knew for only 1 day
Day 31: Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 32: A photo you took
Day 33: What you're craving right now
Day 34: Your favorite quote
Day 35: A letter to an ex
Day 36: Some hobbies of yours
Day 37: A song that you like to dance to
Day 38: A photo of your parents
Day 39: Zodiac sign and do you think it fits your personality
Day 40: A deceased person you wish you could talk to
Day 41: Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 42: A bad habit you have
Day 43: A picture of your favorite place in the world
Day 44: Something that fascinates you and why
Day 45: A letter to yourself a year ago
Day 46: Photos of personal things in your life (pets, family, house, etc)
Day 47: Birthday wish list
Day 48: A photo of you right now
Day 49: Hopes, dreams, and plans for the next 365 days
Day 50: A letter to your reflection in the mirror
And so, the introduction. Let's be honest, if you read my blog it's very likely that you already know me. Nevertheless, here it comes. I'm not actually very good at this sort of thing, so we'll just see what comes out.
I am a lawyer, a mother (just one, nearly 18 mos. old), a Christian (in all the good sense of the word, I hope), a wife and a reader.
I love poetry, music (especially Rachmaninoff), chocolate, cooking, seasons that aren't summer, walks, Italy, trees, books, thought provoking conversation and movies.
I do not like watermelon, meeting new people, going without sleep or food, paisley, flying, shoes that aren't Chacos (yes, I know this contradicts with my hatred of summer, but it's still true), making decisions and family law.
I like to listen more than to talk. I like to go to the opera more than the movies. I joined Facebook just so I could keep playing Scrabble with my law school friends.
And that is me.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Virginia is in a major mimicking phase right now. If you speak clearly, she will frequently repeat back the last word you say (provided it has two or fewer syllables). Aside from picking up a lot of new words, her desire to be more like mom and dad has had some entertaining effects.
Whenever she can get her hands on my cell phone, she puts it up to her ear and wanders around for five to fifteen minutes saying "hello" into it. I try not to talk on the phone while she's around unless it's really necessary. She helps with this goal by reaching for the phone and crying whenever I do need to call someone.
She also loves to use whatever we're using and wear our stuff.
I am always carrying bags around with me. I have a library bag, a church bag, a Relief Society bag, a diaper bag, a purse, a work bag and then miscellaneous bags for whatever else I need to haul around. It's convenient for keeping track of my various roles. Virginia's favorite of my bags is my purse, which she loves to empty and refill. She also flings it over her shoulder and struts around the apartment. But anytime a bag is accessible, she'll put some treasures in and carry them around. She also likes to admire others' bags, and help empty them.
If I'm using the laptop, she comes over and shuts it then throws up her hands and says "all done." In the event that her closing attempts are stopped, she just goes for the power button. She knows where it is and she knows exactly what it does.
Virginia does not like to be left at home if someone is going out. She picks up on the signals really well. If James or I put on our shoes, she immediately asks to be picked up. And she does not want to be put down. She has become very cuddly of late and is very good at using this to her advantage. If you're about to put her down, she lays her head on your shoulder and gives you a big hug. If we put on a sweater or jacket, she starts asking for her coat so she can come along. If I pick up my bag or start packing my diaper bag, she starts a chorus of "go, go, go."
It's quite entertaining when all three of us are going somewhere. She can't quite figure out which parent is leaving so she doesn't know who to cuddle/manipulate. Of course we're just trying to get ready to leave so James will put on his shoes, then she'll want him to hold her, then I pick my bag, so she wants me, so once I take her James gets his keys and wallet, so of course she wants to go back to him. I've learned it's best not to try to do anything on a tight schedule if you have a toddler. It just makes everyone happier.
In truth, Virginia just likes coats. She finds comfort in them, apparently. One day something upset her and the only thing she wanted was to wear her coats. Three of them. You can't tell but she's actually wearing another coat underneath the purple one in this photo. And it was about 83 degrees that day.
Virginia also likes to take our keys. One day James gave her his keys and she wandered off somewhere in the apartment. She came back without them and we searched high and low to no avail. About a month later, I was doing dishes and she walked over with the keys in her hand. She proudly showed me her treasure. "Keys," she said. We went and woke Daddy up to give him the surprise. And we still have no idea where she stashed them for all that time.
Okay, that picture had nothing to do with stealing keys. But it does show two of Scout's favorite activities (bathing and wistfully gazing into the bathtub). And sometimes she hides things in the tub. This week it was library books. Not good.