Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
And a prayer for peace on earth
Within our time
Oh, the sidewalk angels echo hallelujah
And we understand them
Now more than ever
Ah, New York City. Before Bonnie, Caitlin, and I departed for Manhattan, someone asked me if I'd ever been to the City at Christmastime. "No, you haven't? Well, you'll love it. Its magical!"
Thursday, December 11, 2008
i got to share that wonder with my mom this week. all political appointees got to take a guest on an east wing tour of the white house in all of its christmas glory. the theme this year is red white and blue christmas.
i don't care who you voted for in 2000 or 2004, or if you think he has been incompetent as president - the majority still elected him and it is so cool to see democracy in action. i so wish my dad could have been there, and maybe my brother too, and everyone else i know and love.
my mom teared up in the blue room (where we watched the action) after the ceremony was all over. we were in the white house when the president walked thourgh doors one floor below us!! all that he has sacrificed, all the lives that have been sacrificed during his presidency, just to think about all of that makes it pretty moving to witness marine one landing.
enjoy the photos. merry christmas. and, as dubya always says with a smile, god bless america. and god bless you.
my mom has just left this district after three days of fun. she got in on monday evening and left this morning. (well actually her flight was delayed, sorry mom!) the above is a text message i recieved from her tuesday morning, sent to freak me out (as a joke ha) because i had specifically asked her not to wear her "fur" on our christmas white house tour that afternoon.
my mom and look exactly alike. see below.
on the street, in restaurants, in shops, wherever - people ALWAYS feel the need to comment "oh wow, i can tell you are mother and daughter." "oh my gosh, you look so much alike." "that must be your beautiful mom over there. you are the spitting image of her."
to most of the thousands of people, i always respond with a smile, a laugh, a nod, or a thank-you. but on the somedays, after hearing it 5 or 6 times, i just want to say -"thank you for pointing that out. we come from a society that does not use mirrors, so i never really knew i looked like my mom before today." ha.
it doesn't bother me as much as i act like it does. she's bright, bubbly, always smiling. but before i tell you about our adventures, let me pause to point out - we are different. despite my need to talk to her for at least a few minutes everyday, or my need to run all important decisions by her, we are different. for one, i don't call everyone (including the grocery stork cashier) baby doll or sweetie. i typically don't have problems balancing my checkbook. i don't look at a pile of absolute crud in an antique store and think "HMM! TREASURE!" i can't shop for longer than an hour. i do believe there is such a thing as an excess of hairspray. she finds my dad a lot funnier and cooler than i do. you might say she thinks he hung the moon. i think he's a big nerd who needs to realize that mack brown neither personally knows him nor can hear him while he is yelling at the television.
all that said, she's my favorite person in the whole world. my biggest problem is that she knows this, and uses it to her advantage. haha. but really - my mom is kind, thoughtful, and rarely meets a stranger. i do get my loud voice and obnoxious storytelling skills from her. this is why i think i am so frequently perturbed at her inability to control the volume of her voice or get to the point - its like watching a video of myself. awkward.
Monday night in DC we met at my house around 6 p.m. She got out of the cab looking glam - fur coat, big hair, etc. We went to dinner and, without the boys to rush us, talked and talked before we ordered, ate some shrimp and vegetable combination at a fun restaurant near my house, and talked and talked some more. We then wandered down Wisconsin and looked in some windows while freezing, grabbed dessert, and headed back to the T street and my harry potter room.
(if you're wondering how we fit into my 5x9 room, its easy - her suitcase became the new rug we walked on, and katherine let me sleep in her wonderful sleeping bag in her room, all this while she was studying for finals. as a thank you, i apparently talked to her in my sleep, but have no recollection of that.
tuesday was the big white house east wing tour. but i have lots of photos and a good story so i might just save that for another post, since this is turning into a NOVEL. sorry.
the rest of our trip was great - tuesday night we drove out to mount vernon, only to find that their website lied and the lantern-lit christmas tours are weekend only. but we went to target to grab a few things and had fun in the aisles. of course my mom thinks its okay to sing loudly in public when there is no music playing. later that night we distracted/disrupted the doctor (katherine) from her studies and had funny convos.
wednesday mom had lunch with our fun family friend lisa parcells (the parcys live in mclean, we were good friends in houston 3rd - 6th grade before they moved) and i cut out of work a little early. we went shopping at a downtown christmas market - while she was waiting for me some dude came up and asked my mom if he could take her to dinner. she politely declined. earlier that day someone had approached her and told her she was what a real American woman should look like, beautiful. ew. creepy. and probably not 100% true. haha i crack myself up.
wednesday night we had dinner with all my faves in dc - katherine, caitlin, bonnie, lauren, emma, and charles joseph caulkins. i miss the days when groups of peeps hung out at my house talking with my mom and playing pool with my dad into the wee hours of the night. i don't so much miss her telling people where my nickname "lolly" came from.
it was so easy to say goodbye to mi madre on thursday. i'll be seeing her in exactly a week! normally i've only seen her for two or three days, not nearly long enough, and have say goodbye for another month or six weeks or so. knowing that i'll be home for two weeks in a week from now? it's like, okay, mom, peace, see ya, bye.
yep, i call her mom. but you can call her crazy.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
True Story - a woman living in Maine with four children dealing with the sudden death of her husband, a state trooper who died in a car accident. She goes to seminary to fulfill her husband's wish for himself, and becomes the chaplain for the Maine Game Wardens. It winds numerous stories of death together as her family moves on from their own experience with it.
It is not a Christian book, per se, because Kate is a Unitarian Universalist - there is one point in the book that i literally closed it and was thinking "WHAT!" because -her son had asked her what it meant to follow jesus, and what would his life look like if he did that, and in her head Kate is thinking "Oh please, please dont do that..." I was shocked. Turns out Unitarians believe all kinds of things - and she believes that God is Love. She believes in Jesus, but not that he is God. At least that's what I've gathered from further reading about the Seminary she attended.
Anyways, it is a marvelous book if you are dealing with death or not. Its short and moving and funny and more light-hearted than you would imagine. It is beautifully written and will tug at your heart. For me, i walked away from it clinging to my faith and aware of the need of God's grace to understand why people die.
Kate doesn't avoid the fact that death SUCKS. But she also doesn't give in to the modern day mentality that death can be avoided. At the end, I felt as though the author was really my friend, someone I knew and trusted, who was ready to grieve by yourside at any moment, or to just share a laugh and a story from the woods of Maine.
Read it!! You can borrow my copy anytime. (Added incentive: the cover is really pretty.)
Recommended by a friend, it is really funny. and really bitter. and drops the F bomb alot. But I'm not not recommending it. If you need a beach read, its pretty good, and isn't so bitter the second half.
7) American Poems, Compiled
400 great poems, both famous and not so much. Some favorites: "If" Rudyard Kipling, any Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson. I checked it out from the library, so sue me.
8) A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
by Betty SmithApparently an American classic, I had to force myself through the first 100 or so pages. But the writing is superb and the characters are memorable - but the book is somewhat sad. Definitely points out the need for good teachers and kind-hearted people. And paints an ugly picture of early 20th century low-income life in New York City. All that sad, you should read it. I give it 3 1/2 stars.
9) City of Glass, Paul Auster
I borrowed this from roomie Katherine. The author is brilliant in a twisted, this book is off its rocker sort of way. I read it right before I spent the day wandering around New York City, so it was perfect. And its a quick read, if you're into mystery/detective stuff, read it. Someday I plan to read the other two books in the trilogy.
10) Marley & Me, John Grogan
My mom read this book when it first came out 5 or 6 years ago, and quickly passed it on to several friends, so I had never read it. Good timing though, to read it a few months after Sam died. Helped put my hurt into perspective - dogs really can teach us invaluable lessons. Don't call yourself a dog lover and tell me you haven't found time to read this book. Two thumbs way up!! (ps movie coming out christmas day with jennifer aniston and owen wilson, so you better read before then...)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
When I transferred to Texas A&M University, I could not have told you who was President of my new school for one million dollars. But, after I read the Texas Monthly cover story on him (published immediately prior to the annoucement that he was the President's nominee for Seecretary of Defense in Nov. 2006) I developed a huge soft spot in my heart for him.
Unassuming. Non-political. Respectful of tradition. Honorable. Inspiring. Brilliant. Loyal. Determined.