Indulgence is Many Books

Day’s Verse:
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…
Philippians 3:7-8

Here is the latest and, barring unforeseen emergencies, final major (cost-wise) change to our home for the near future: Bookshelves made by Kenis Loven.
Bookshelves
This is essentially the final design of shelves that will be built some time mid-October. They’ll go into the library (below), along the right-hand wall, where we currently stack all our boxes of books.

Library
Of all our home improvements, this is the least necessary but most exciting. I’ve seen some of Kenis’ work before, and it’s quite beautiful, true craftsmanship. I have complete confidence in Kenis’ ability to create shelves that make our library feel cozy and complete. It’s been my great joy to welcome people into our home and have it feel truly homey, comfortable enough that guests help themselves to a glass of water without asking. Maybe this seems odd, but I think these shelves will give a sense of solid and calm. My goal is for the library to be a quiet oasis where friends and family can curl up with a good book undisturbed and just relax for a while.

Now I’m off to Value Village to look for pictures and lamps. Guess it’s clear where my priorities are!

Fun Friends

Day’s Verse:
Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.
Philippians 1:3-4

I have been having way too much fun to spend time posting on my blog lately. I took Friday off and therefore get a four-day weekend — the longest break from the Bike Alliance I’ve had in a while. Not only that, but after last weekend’s intense house-related effort, we decided to take this weekend totally easy. Accordingly, we have…no plans. None. It’s a beautiful thing. I thought I’d have to work on Monday for a little bit, tabling at a bike ride, but then at the last minute a volunteer stepped up and said he’d do it, freeing me from work for four glorious days.

On Friday a designer from the Blind Alley* came by and we decided on blinds for downstairs; the rest of the day, I worked hard neatening up the house for a BBQ our Journey Community had here. I did my first few loads of laundry and found that The Marshmallows clean our clothes quite acceptably. In the afternoon Rachel came over and we finished reading The 13 Clocks aloud, went for a walk and found a few alluring blackberry patches, and got food ready for the BBQ. People started showing up about 6:15, and eventually we ended up with maybe a dozen people, including a couple small kids. This definitively demonstrated that our house is not child-proof. That went well and I think everybody had a good time.

Then Saturday we slept in (aaahhhh! First time in a long time) and I read The Bourne Identity all morning (much more enjoyable than the movie), followed by taking a walk with Ian to the Woodinville Farmer’s Market. I tried my hand at making wheat tortillas in the afternoon and although they turned out tolerably like tortillas, I just wasn’t excited about them. I need to get a different tortilla recipe, I think. Rachel spent the afternoon and evening with us; she and I harvested some of the blackberries we’d seen earlier, turned them into a gooey, delicious blackberry-peach cobbler. We also tried our hand at deep-frying some of the tortillas I’d made to turn them into tortilla chips, and that’s when we learned that (a) The oil on the tortilla keeps cooking it after you pull it out of the pot, so you have to take it out looking a little less cooked than you think ideal; (b) Oil goes from hot to producing a column of smoke in no time flat. Fortunately our column of smoke didn’t set the fire alarm off, since Ian was off getting the stuff we needed for taco salad. He also picked up his friend Ryan, who lives right next to the grocery store, and when they came back we’d converted tortillas into tortilla chips and had the cobbler about ready to bake. The rest of the evening we spent laughing a lot, and we all agreed it was a great time.

For me the last couple days felt like pulling a very large splinter out. I’ve had this long-term, low-grade doldrum hanging around my head (if that’s possible); I just haven’t laughed very much. Funny things may happen and I’ll smile, but nothing’s really relaxed me enough to let me just feel happy and laugh freely. It was a huge blessing for me to spend time with Rachel, Ryan, and the people from church, all of whom have been a balm on my lonely heart. God made people for relationships, and throughout my tenure in Massachusetts, I sorely felt the lack of friends to just share life with. This weekend marks a turning point, I think. And there’s still 1.5 whole huge days left.

* Don’t let their dorky, old-fashioned website lead you astray — they know their window coverings, they have a service department to die for, and the Better Business Bureau gives them an A+ rating.

What My Evening Looked Like

Day’s Verse:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others..
Philippians 2:3-4

I guess I should really say this is what I looked like yesterday evening.

Ready for the Attic

After putting down two batts last Sunday, I found the flying fiberglass fluff too much to handle. I came out of the attic coughing and uncomfortable, and perhaps more than a little worried that breathing small fiberglass fibers wasn’t good for me. We had 28 more batts to put in, just from this load, not to mention the estimated 65 more to install later. The picture above shows our solution to the breathing-fiberglass-fragments issue. Mom supplied the safety goggles (which also protected my forehead from…um…dangerous attic things) and the masks came from McLendon’s for like $1.

Here I am crawling around in the attic. I did a lot of that for each batt, since they tend to want to just flop down rather than sliding into place. Try sliding a thick pad of compressed denim along 6″ of soft fiberglass fill without being able to stand on most of the floor and see how easy it is.
Attic Monkey

I have today and Monday off of work, an exciting mini-vacation. This evening our Journey Community (what another church would call a “small group” or “life group”) is coming over for a BBQ on our big back deck. Aside from that, I hope to fix our leaky toilet (the food coloring test definitively demonstrated leakage; now I just have to figure out how to fix it), vacuum, decide on some colors for our blinds, clean up around the house, get the battery for my bike looked at (it’s rattling around loose inside the case), mow the yard, clean out the overgrown plants in the raised bed… Man, when I read over my life, it sounds hideously boring and domestic.

It’s Twins!

Day’s Verse:
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush.
Philippians 1:9-10

OK, don’t get your panties in a twist; we’re not having any kids yet. I’m talking about the appliance delivery we took today.

Here they Come!

Washer & Dryer

Yep, that’s our new washer and dryer, happily ensconced in their new home in our laundry room. Aren’t they cute? Now we can wash and dry our clothes at our home, which means we have to come up with some other excuse to hang out with my parents for a few hours every week.

Dogsome House Guest

Day’s Verse:
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Ian and I are dog-sitting for my parents this week while they’re in Cannon Beach. This is our barter system: We do laundry at their house; we watch the dog for free when they go on trips. Here are a couple pictures showing how agitated Carmel gets when Dad isn’t around.

Earlier:
Carmel Earlier

A little while later:
Carmel Later

This morning I decided to take the day off and/or work from home a bit, and had the morning free. It was cool and shady in the front yard, so to keep Carmel from pining after Dad, I tied her to the tree in the front (which is dying because we aren’t watering it) while I weeded. There’s way too much beauty bark and small shrubbery in our front yard, if you ask me. At first I gave Carmel a good long section of rope, but she immediately tangled the rope in a shrub and I had to come untangle her. When I shortened her leash, she immediately headed back for that same shrub and, when the rope stopped her short, strained against it anxiously. She even came over to me and whined and walked back to the shrub. Well, that seemed like pretty clear communication, so I let her off the leash and grabbed her collar. She lunged for the bush, shoved her huge schnozz under there, and emerged with a large bone. It looked like leftovers from somebody’s rib BBQ. I took it from her — boy was she reluctant to let it out of her mouth — but decided, well, she eats sticks and pebbles, and chews on marrow bones; what the heck? So I gave the bone back and she made very short work of it indeed. I hope we don’t have any negative repercussions from this episode. But boy was she happy for the 20 seconds it took her to crunch that thing down. Yum. Makes you wonder how it ended up back there.

Then of course Carmel endeared herself to all the neighbors out on walks by barking and snarling viciously at them, particularly if they had dogs along. I had to shorten her rope even more to keep her off the sidewalk, as she was ready to dash out there and do…something. So we won’t use Carmel as a way to get to know our neighbors, I guess.

Lifebits

Day’s Verse:
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love.
1 Cor. 16:13-14

I’ve had a blog post open and partly written for days. That’s why I haven’t updated my blog in such a long time — I’m halfway through a post and I keep trying to squeeze it out, but you know, you just can’t rush some things. So in the meantime, I thought I’d post a quick update on all those meaningless things that make life meaningful.

I just read a fascinating book called Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, which expands on an article of the same name in the Atlantic Monthly. There’s a blog post brewing in me somewhere about that book. Some main things I came away with: Astonishment at how picky some women are about men; the different ways of going through life — either satisfied when you meet your criteria or always trying to get the best possible deal — have a huge impact on how you feel about life; your expectations going into any situation dramatically color your experience of that situation.

Rainier cherries are fresh and local; we got a box from the Woodinville Farmer’s Market and I just ate way more than is probably healthy for me. Also apricots, which I’ve only recently been able to eat again after finding half a worm in an apricot years ago. Also bok choy, which is excellent because Ian’s favorite salad is bok choy salad (a recipe similar to this one) and I refuse to buy bok choy — or, at this point, pretty much any produce — from more than 200 miles away.

This Friday my high school friend Zoe is getting married.

This Saturday I’m helping run Go, Dog Go! as part of my AmeriCorps Community Action Project. After that, I’m out of hours for helping, so anything else I do is real volunteering. Please come to Go, Dog Go! if you can to at least say hi. Bring your dog, if you have one.

I met a lady at the park near our house yesterday. Her name was Danielle. She had a 16-month-old Golden Retriever named Mia (or Maya…I forget) who totally charmed me. We — Danielle and me — spent 45 minutes chatting. It was nice getting to know somebody new. Dog people tend to be very nice, and they always love talking about their dogs.

Artemis is at Cascade Bicycle Studio getting a rack put on. It’s taking 3 days. I have faith that some day, I will be able to carry things with my primary bike without hurting my back. In the meantime, the Red Bike and I are bonding. My favorite thing about the Red Bike: Wearing sandals while riding. Mom always said not to, but it’s so comfortable in the summer!

I put 2 coats of off-white paint over the dark dusty rose in the downstairs bathroom. The walls still have a pink tint. Curse you, 1990s color choices!

That’s the news from Lake Wobegone. Tune in the same place, some other time, for the exciting continuation of this thrilling life.

Moving On

Day’s Verse:
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
John 14:2-3

Today is moving day.

Yes, the last week and a half we’ve spent moving this and that from here and there. People keep asking, “Have you moved yet?” –to which we have no short answer, since yes, our stuff now occupies the house (in boxes still), but we continued to occupy the bedroom in my parents’ home.

Today, we put that last piece into place.

We packed up all our remaining necessities and have shuttled back and forth, moving everything. The last load of laundry is drying. I scrubbed the bathroom, have bedding in the washer, and vacuumed the bedroom. When the laundry finishes drying, we’re moving out.

I feel this strange sadness at leaving home, even though we’re only moving 3 miles away and I eagerly anticipate living on our own again. Yet the close, familiar, comfortable relationships and habits we’ve developed over the past 6 months will, I think, prove difficult to break. In short, I’ve really enjoyed living with my parents again, after we worked out a few kinks, and I’m sad (and happy) to be leaving. And I’m going to miss having the dog so constantly in my life.