Sunday, June 29, 2008


First full day in a new town. Daunting. Overwhelming. Feelings of isolation. Or that's how it was last time. Where do you shop? What are the good grocery stores? Where's the Target? ...

Today was different, and we feel blessed.
We went to church at the one church where we knew we'd know people.
We were greeted by the three people we knew during the coffee hour. A guy from S's new department, and the parents of a friend from NC. Then we were greeted by a handful of other interesting people, two of whom had connections not only to NC, but to the town we had just moved from! A chemistry prof at S's new school who got his PhD from S's school, and a woman who had gone to high school in our old town!

The parents of our friend from NC invited us to lunch. They were our gracious hosts for almost THREE hours! (Three VERY pleasant hours!) They gave us advice on everything from where to shop for groceries to where the best toddler playground was, to who was a good pediatrician/OBGYN. Delightful. They also gave us some insight into this new "Dutch" world we are entering. I explained that, I knew from growing up what Scandinavian-American cultural norms were, but had no idea what Dutch-American norms might be. They filled me in. I learned that there's a difference between WESTERN Michigan Dutch and other Dutch. I learned how to tell where in the Netherlands a person's family was from, just by their last name. I learned that, historically, Sunday sabbaths were kept very strictly, and one might offend one's neighbor by mowing on a Sunday. Never go grocery shopping on Sunday, either.

Then, to our house! We signed our lease and took a look at our new abode. It is just as pretty as I imagined. Our landlords are very nice people. They had our house in a cleaner condition than I expected, bemoaning when they noticed bits of dirt on the outside of the house that they'd overlooked. They BUILT US a half-door that goes at the top of the stairs to the basement, so that light could still go down the basement stairs while E could not.

When they took off, we started unloading the meager possessions we had in the car with us(cleaning supplies, my mandolin, etc.). It took about 20 minutes (mostly because E wanted to explore the yard, so only one of us could unload the car), and in those 20 minutes we met three sets of neighbors. THREE! They came to greet us, and all seem quite nice. The family across the street has a toddler almost E's age. The neighbor to our left, while weeding her lawn, told us she was on vacation for the week, so she was available to help us with "anything we needed" as we moved in. The neighbor to our right told us all about how he loved the Carolinas, especially the outerbanks.

E LOVES the echo-y house, the piano that we're "babysitting" for the owners, and the fenced in backyard.
S loves the foosball table that we are also "babysitting" as well as the reclining chair and the dart board.
I love it all. The raspberries and rhubarb plant have a special place in my heart, though. As do the planters on the front window, filled with beautiful flowers.

This is not like the last time we moved.

I feel truely blessed. Exhausted,* emotional,** but blessed.

*exhausted -- thanks in part to travel, but in larger part to the gang of motorcyclist who decided to party outside our hotel window last night from 10 pm to 4:30 am.
** emotional -- duh! I'm pregnant and have been worn to the bone, emotionally, with all this moving!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Green light on the windshield 

A lightning bug hit our windshield last night.
The poor bug died with his light lit.
The light stayed lit on our windshield, a green glow, long after the bug had passed.
I've never seen that before. But it made me think.
I hope I die with my light lit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I have the easy job now. AND! E talks! 

After a month or so of me packing and S not (so that S could write like a mad-man!) I have been relieved.

It began last night at 10 pm when my pregnant body could no longer keep up, and with only one room completely "done," I went to sleep. At around 12:45 am, S rolled into bed. I woke up to a "done"* house. With only an hour more of work, we were ready for the movers. I love my husband.

Now he is in our apartment, packing and moving all our worldly possessions in 90 degree temperature with three strangers. My job? Sitting in our neighbors' apartment, alternating between watching their adorable new kitten and E play, and just chillin' on their couch while the kitten and E nap. Oh, and I got lunch for the whole crew (except the cat, sorry oh kitten-with-too-many-names). Rough life, I tell you.

MANY MANY thanks to our neighbors!
(1) For lending us your apartment for the day
(2) For having an adorable kitten
(3) For having the A/C on
(4) For having Internet in your apartment.

E has LOVED playing with the kitten. At one point the kitten went hiding (can't blame her). E looked up at me, and shrugging her shoulders with her hands up in the cute way that only toddlers can, said "Whed she go?!" with all the right inflection. "I don't know!" I replied, and E was off looking for the kitten before it dawned on me .. Complete sentence. That was a complete sentence! My daughter SPEAKS IN COMPLETE SENTENCES! (Her first complete sentence was "hi daddy!" followed a few weeks later with "bye bye, NO!" ... but those two PALE in comparison to today's feat!) Wow. They grow up fast. Kittens and kids.

Wish I'd brought my camera. It's probably packed in box #89. Oh well.

*"Done" is in quotes because, as anyone who has moved knows, a house is never really DONE until you've moved stuff out and discovered all the junk underneath and behind furniture.

Friday, June 20, 2008


My apologies for no recent pics of the young one. Things have been busy. Only one week to go!

E saying "hi" to the new one.

E looks good in the dress given to her by "Aunt E"

P.S. Photo credit goes to LN. Photos from this site may not be used without express permission of the photographer. Unless you're me.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Book Review: After the Service by Timothy Goddard 

The most recent book I read was a fun murder mystery written by my friend Timothy Goddard. After the Service places an intelligent and capable, but otherwise totally unprepared, church intern into a whirlwind adventure as he tries to solve the mystery of a murder that takes place at his church.

Unlike many book reviews, there will be no spoilers in this review. The following will have to suffice: there are a couple of very satisfying and entertaining plot twists, just as one expects in a good mystery. Goddard lays the groundwork necessary for the reader to piece things together on his/her own, but if you guess the ending before it is revealed then you are a more savvy reader than I am.

Goddard does a good job writing about things that he knows (Baptist churches, student newspapers, college life, entertaining dorm-mates, etc). The result is a setting and characters that are very believable, even down to the entertainingly awkward romance. This is certainly the strong point of the book. Many authors can believably portray a gritty police detective, but how many can believably portray the aftermath of a murder on a church body?

As a side note, it is not often that I read a book where the romance has both an authentic feel to it, and is entertaining. Goddard pulls it off by not trying to get into the head of his female characters, instead he writes the romance entirely from the perspective of his hapless protagonist.

So anyway. Enough of my thoughts. To see the neat book website Tim put together go here. Information about how to order the book is also on that site. If you are into reading things on your laptop or electronic book gadget, you can buy the book for a bargain price in electronic format. I however, think this one is worth the few extra bucks for the print edition.

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