Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tag! I'm it.

Denise tagged me, so I thought I'd reply, if only to spice up my blog.

5 things in my bag:
(I'm going with my school bag, which is more interesting than my purse)

1. Book of Jumbo Crossword Puzzles-I never know what I will be doing on a given day, so I always try to have these with me to escape complete boredom.

2. Book of Sudoku puzzles. (See Number 1)

3. God's Politics, by Jim Wallis. (Also see Number 1). I've been working on it for a while, and it's a great book, but I have to be in the right "mood" to read it.

4. Hot pink Nalgene from Yosemite Sierra Summer Camp (where Michael worked during college) with an Obama sticker I picked up while visiting Hope, PA.

5. My cell phone, with a picture of my niece, Isabelle, as my wallpaper.

5 Things in my Bedroom:

1. A mattress on the floor. We don't have a box spring because we couldn't fit one up our very narrow staircase. We planned on finding a split box spring, but 8 months later it still hasn't happened...

2. Bookshelves. We use these as dressers. They are much cheaper than dressers, and also serve as a night stand.

3. A chair and ottoman. Recently we discovered we can get Internet from one very specific corner of our bedroom when we put the ottoman in front of the window with an upside-down egg crate on top. This way the laptop is level with the window, and makes for excellent wi-fi signal. ( case you were wondering, yes, we're getting Internet from an unsuspecting neighbor. Not sure the moral implications there...)

4. A wall hanging from China. When we lived in Alaska for a summer our friends we were living with traveled to China and brought this back for us.

5. A quilt. My mom made us a quilt for our wedding, and it's currently on our bed. We have a heavy comforter for the winter, but recently we switched to this lighter quilt, because we live on the second floor of a non-air-conditioned apartment, in a place with high humidity.

5 Things I have always wanted to do:

1. Travel to more European countries. I visited France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany during college, but I'd love to see Italy, England, Ireland, and actually, I'd love to visit some of the same places as before, especially Paris. We lost our backpack towards the end of our 3-week trip, and along with the backpack we lost our camera and all the film from the trip (we didn't have digital yet).

2. Live in another country. This will probably be happening in a few short months.

3. Have a healthy baby. Be a mom.

4. Be really disciplined about working out and eating well. I'm always working on that. I have a little problem with self-control, and a soft spot for sweets, and the two often go too closely together. But, I think I've worked out more consistently this past year than I have my whole life (not including being a part of an athletic team), and it's easier to eat better when we're on a tight budget and create weekly meal plans.

5. Become a morning person. I don't know if this will ever be possible, because I am very much a night owl, and married to one. But, I've heard it could happen after I start having kids.

5 Things I'm currently into:

1. Listening to The Swell Season, and the Once Soundtrack (see my previous posts). Usually I can only listen to a CD a few times before I need a break from it, but I really can't get enough. It's always on in the car and/or at home on Repeat.

2. Watching Lost online. I started watching Season 1 of Lost a few months ago. It gives me something to watch on the Internet, since we don't have a TV, and also something to do when Michael is doing lots of reading for school. I'm in the middle of Season 3 right now. The only bad part is that I hear bits and pieces from this season from friends or online, and I know that some of the characters will be dying at some point...and I keep waiting...

3. Scrapbooking. Although, it's been a while since I've done it because I really need to print pictures. But I love it! It's a therapy for me. I got our entire wedding album done after our miscarriage. Like I said, it's therapy.

4. Reading. I'm always going to the local library and checking out multiple books to read. What can I say? I'm a bookworm tried and true. I usually get through a few books each week.

5. Trying to site-see as much as possible on the East Coast. We have been here for 9 months and haven't come close to visiting all the places we want to see. We have less than 3 months left, and are trying to figure out how to fit it all in with our busy schedules.

5 people who need to do this:

1. Bev. I have tagged her before, and I, like Denise, am tired of reading the same entry from almost a year ago!! (And I know you have time-You're on vacation!)

2. Michael. You need to update your blog. Seriously. You have readers and we have nothing to read.

3. Ricker. Because your posts make me laugh, and we need more of them.

4. Tim. Because your last post was in February. And because I've tagged you more than once, too. And I know I'm not alone when I say that I want to know what's in your bag.

5. Sherry. Because I like reading your blog!

Friday, May 23, 2008

If you've caught the Swell Season fever (like me)...

For those of you who want to hear what Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from The Swell Season sound like, there are a lot of videos on YouTube you could watch. I'm not that great with uploading videos, so I thought I'd give you this link to another blog with videos posted. Also, this blog has a great review of their show in Portland from a month ago, with details that I didn't give but were the same at the show we saw. And, here's a good review of the movie, Once.

Michael and I have been playing their music non-stop-in the car and at home. I can't seem to get enough.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Pictures from The Swell Season concert

Here are the pictures from the concert we went to last night. (See previous post).

In our seats.

The lighting made it hard to get a good picture, but this was our view.

Here we are getting their autographs.

Posing for a picture.

Happy Early Birthday Michael!!

This year for Michael's birthday (which is this Saturday), I wanted to find something fun to do to build a memory, instead of just buying him random stuff that he really doesn't need, and that we may have to get rid of when we downsize again to go overseas.

I was struggling to find tickets to anything at a decent price.

And then...

Last weekend we rented the movie Once. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. It's an Irish musical movie with amazing music and a sweet story. It's refreshing. It is rated R due to some language (common in foreign films), but there is no sex or nudity and is so easy to watch. And, if you are a music lover--even in the slightest--you will love this movie! One of the songs from the movie won an Academy Award in February 2008 for Best Original Song.

So, we watched the movie and I decided to find the soundtrack to get Michael for his birthday. On Monday I was doing some research and found out that the couple in the movie, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, had also put out another CD, The Swell Season, which included a few songs from the movie as well as a few new ones. I also discovered that they were touring in the United States. I looked at the dates and saw they were going to be in Upper Darby, PA (20 minutes from our apartment) at the Tower Theater the very next night (last night)!!

To make a long story short, I was able to find tickets on Craigslist for less than half the price, and I was able to find someone to cover both of our shifts at our jobs for Tuesday night (we were both scheduled to work).

Yesterday after school I got home and told Michael he was getting his main birthday present early. I told him neither of us were going to work (which was a surprise-I was able to pull it off!) and that we had plans. After attempting to get a little homework done, I gave him his present. In it were two CDs: the Once soundtrack and The Swell Season CD. Then he opened the card and found the tickets to the concert.

The concert was amazing. I can't even really give it enough credit. It was the best concert I've ever been to. The music was amazing. They had a piano, a cello, a violin, drums, guitars, and the voices all blended together so well. The set of songs they played were phenomenal. It was the last night of their tour, so they came back on stage after the Standing Ovation and played for another 45 minutes, saying they weren't in a hurry since they were finishing their tour. The opening band played from 8-9, and then when The Swell Season came on stage around 9:15, they played until midnight.

Granted, our seats were pretty far back (there were maybe four rows behind us), but it didn't matter.

As we were walking to our car afterwards, we noticed a small group of about 15 people waiting around by the back entrance, right across from the tour bus. We figured they were waiting for the band, and we thought, "What the heck? Let's stick around and see if we can see them."

We waited for 30-40 minutes, during which band members slowly left the building. And then Glen and Marketa came out. Marketa got on the bus, and as we all cheered, Glen stopped, said something to Marketa, and then crossed the street towards us. We got to meet him! And then Marketa got off the bus and came over too! We met them both, asked them to sign our CD, and took pictures with them. It was a small enough group that people were talking to them and asking questions. They were very down to earth, funny, and happy to answer questions, despite the fact that it was almost 1 am and cold outside.

Basically, it was an amazing end to an amazing night of music! I couldn't have planned it better if I had tried!! If you haven't seen the movie or heard the music, trust me, it's worth your time. (I will post a picture later tonight.)

Happy Early Birthday Michael!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My husband knows me well...

Last Friday I had decided to take a little nap before I made dinner. I was groggy when I woke up and needed a little "pick-me-up." And this is why I love my husband, because he knows me so well...

As I started moving slowly around the kitchen, Michael put a CD in the player and went back to his homework. The music? None other that the Backstreet Boys. Yes, I am not ashamed of being a Backstreet Boys fan. Every time I hear that music it ignites a spark in me. I can't help it. My body starts moving to the music, and I belt out the words. Within a few minutes I was dancing and singing and wide awake.

Whenever I have to drive long distances and need to stay awake, there are a handful of CDs that I always rely on to keep me awake (because I know every word and sing out loud to them as I drive). Backstreet Boys and Dixie Chix are my staples. Michael has gotten used to my taste in music, and I suspect that at times he actually enjoys my choices, though he may never admit it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pictures at last

I've been wanting to post some pictures from the recent family visits.

While Nick and Lindsay were here the weather was amazing, in the 80s. Here we are eating our Philly Cheesesteaks. There was a big rally going on for a guy on a death row and we sat and watched them march by. (Not sure what's going on with Michael?)

Amy and Isabelle stayed with us for over a week, and Tim joined us for the weekend.

Whenever I had a moment alone with Isabelle, and I had my camera with me, I tried to take a picture. A sampling:

Michael also had a lot of fun with his niece:

Michael was convinced that by the end of the week Isabelle would roll over. (She did, literally a few hours before they left!)
Here he is giving her a "pep talk."

We had a lot of fun "girl days," site seeing and hanging out.

We were in Lancaster County, home of many Amish. Who could resist putting a bonnet on this adorable head?

Amish Buggy

(Tim and Michael were with us, but we took another girl pic)

Random late night...Do you think they are related?

To be fair, here's one of us all (We were playing motorboat. If you don't know what that is, you are missing out on many laughs).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Yesterday was a "blah" day for me.

I can't explain it, I just felt blah. We slept in and Michael made me breakfast. I didn't really feel like going to church on Mother's Day. As I've said before, in so many ways I'm doing really well. And granted, there are a few other things going on in our life right now that added to how I was doing emotionally that day. But I just felt like staying home and spending some time with Michael. So we stayed in.

I found myself thinking about all my friends and family who have suffered some kind of loss or miscarriage, or even those friends who are currently "trying" and frustrated. To others we may not "count" as being mothers yet, but the day holds meaning to us, too.

To you I want to say, Happy Mother's Day. Our time will come.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Summer is getting so close I can almost taste it!

It's been a crazy few weeks. Today Michael will turn in his last paper for the semester, and has a break until the middle of next week, when Summer Term 1 begins.

I've recently changed my work schedule again so that I can have weekends off (mostly-I still work Sunday evenings). I'm down to three days a week and am really excited about having more time on weekends to hang out with friends and just enjoy our time here. Michael and I are both realizing how fast time has gone-we've been in PA for almost 9 full months-and have not done the kind of site-seeing we've wanted to. We're hoping to take advantage of the last few months, along with the warmer weather, to experience different parts of the East Coast.

We'd like to take a trip to Washington (As in D.C. Out here they simply say "Washington," and if ever there's a reference to the state, it's "Washington State"). We're probably going to a Yankees game (Sorry Ken!) in a couple weeks, which will be fun because they're playing the Mariners, so we can represent for the Northwest. We'll also see "the city" (New York City), as neither of us have been there either. In June we'll be traveling up to New Hampshire for a wedding and hope to see some of the beautiful sites of New England. I really want to go to Boston.

Hopefully with all these plans we'll have some pictures to post. I'm also going to try to post some pictures from the family visits we've had recently. Now that Michael is done with finals I may actually get to use the computer at home to upload pictures!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mother's Day

This morning I was reading Jim Wallis' blog (see previous post), and I came across this discussion about Mother's Day.
According to the blog this is how Mother's Day began:

Julia Ward Howe, the creator of Mother's Day, pleaded with women to speak out against war, not only for the sake of their sons, but for the sons of mothers across the globe. Today, mothers must not only seek peace for their sons, but for themselves.

And yet another reason I have a hard time with the (especially American) military mind-set:

60 Minutes did research in the 1990s that found that domestic violence was five times more common in U.S. military families than civilian families. And that was during "peace time." During war, the numbers become far more gruesome. During the Rwandan genocide, UNICEF estimates 150,000 women were raped in the 100 days of conflict. Today, the remnants of that violence have ventured into the Congo and 27,000 sexual assaults were reported there by the United Nations -- in just one year, in just one province.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Getting into heaven

I'm reading this book right now (God's Politics: Why the Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get it, by Jim Wallis). It relates directly to my recent posts regarding politics and Christians. It's awesome. I've been wanting to read it for a while and finally picked it up.

In the first chapter Wallis discusses how the "conformity of many conservative evangelical leaders to the political Right and its agenda that favors the wealthy over the poor and middle class just doesn't make sense..." to Christians and non-Christians alike.

Then he shares this:

In Matthew's twenty-fifth chapter, Jesus speaks of the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, prisoners, and the sick and promises he will challenge all his followers on the judgment day with these words, "As you have done to the least of these, you have done to me." James Forbes, the pastor of Riverside Church in New York City, concludes from that text that, "Nobody gets to heaven without a letter of reference from the poor!" How many of America's most famous television preachers could produce the letter?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Food for Thought

On Poverty:
"All those people who think that food stamps are debilitating and lead to a cycle of poverty are the same ones who want to leave a ton of money to their kids."

-Warren Buffet (richest man in the world as of February 2008)

On Politics:

"I have always thought we had outlived the need for the Electoral College, and now that I am going to the Senate, I am going to try to do what I can to make clear that the popular vote, the will of the people, should be followed."

-Hillary Clinton

Is that so?

Popular vote
14,418,784 49.2%

13,917,318 47.5%

On the election:

A Democrat and a Republican walk into a bar to discuss health care and national security.

This shouldn't sound like a joke.