Friday, 19 July 2013

Of Seven Blessings

It's quite hot here in Minnesota! If you reside in moderate temperatures, blessings upon you for living the life you lead. As for me and this house, we ward off heat with an old AC unit in one area. Despite that, I've been showered with blessings.

Wireless - For those of you who have no idea, I am thankful for wireless internet. Very thankful. For the last two years our family has been living with a mere 4 Gigabytes of surfing data per month. And boy are you in trouble if you go over. The other day I brave the wires and initiated the system (which, I admit, is not that difficult).  Now, we have almost 62 times that data space for even less. I could go on, but it's a blessing enough.

Poultry - We acquired two different breeds; Barred Rock and Golden-Laced Wyandotes. Next come ducks. For now, I enjoy sticking my hand in the pen and watching the rapidly growing fuzz-balls rush to peck at my ring, only to find nothing tasty. They're adorable and will lay well.

Finishing Books - It leaves a sense of accomplishment. Even if the book wasn't that great, I am reminded of the greater things that I am to set my mind on. In that way, I am encouraged, even when a book does not meet my expectations of worthwhile.

Refreshed Bonds - A childhood friend approached me a month and a half ago and wanted to correspond by means we had years ago. I gave her my address, and I received a letter last week. I remember the last letter I found in the mail, but it has been quite some time, so I was quite delighted when I was handed the note. What better way to keep a relationship where one can't always schedule "dates" with another? What does it matter that letter-writing may be considered old fashioned? No matter; the point remains that I am blessed to be writing again, with a purpose.

Saying Yes - Maybe it's just because I am getting better at growing up...but I have found how it's so easy to just say "yes" to my parents when they ask me to do something. Even if the big "I" is in the middle of something seemingly important. I admit this was a struggle when battling (yes...battling)  PSEO classes, but it's not that difficult.

Success!! - I got the job! I applied to serve at a Nursing Home and had my orientation on Wednesday, from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Long day, but I met some very interesting people. And that is an interesting in the best way.

Time with Mum - I don't spend enough one-on-one time with her, and last Wednesday, I was exceedingly blessed. I walked 1 1/2 miles to Caribou in the 95 degree weather, and when Mum met me and bought her smoothie, we just sat and talked. That simple. I like simple, and this was precious. 

Then we went shopping for scrubs.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Monday, 15 July 2013

A Title-less Poem: Its Tale

After indoctrinating myself with Relient K’s new album with “Don’t Blink” swirling around in my head, I am getting over soreness acquired from landscaping and roofing.  I admit it is fun to stand atop a roof, clad in tie-die and ratty shorts wielding a nail-gun that makes the gangster-looking people in the alley below observe with some trepidation, but my hands are stiff, and Debussy must, unfortunately, wait to be more discovered than it already has.

Meanwhile, I write, work, read, cook, and wait: Write poems, work with family, read Julie and Julia, O Pioneers!, and Sherlock, cook summer delicacies, and wait for my employers to finalize my schedule.

When we arrived home last Friday after our contracting escapades, having the family back together again was exquisite. The best activities we do together are a) working, and b) laughing; and in that order, too. Teasing is sometimes biased…but I digress. Our arrival had been late, and we wearily stumbled out of the extended 4x4 cab, into Mum’s arms, and up the stairs to bed.  I lay there, finishing up a chapter of Amos, and heard the best sound I had heard in a week: My parents laughing.

It made me smirk. I did not know what the goings on were (and upon asking, they don’t quite remember what it was they thought so funny), but the fact was that they were happy. We were home, together, and being the sometimes emotional-event-inspired goofball that I am, I got creative and wrote a poem. Not quite a sonnet, not quite metrical, but a poem all the same.

Working on the large, tin-roofed chicken coop the next morning before the clouds let loose their raindrops, I ran down the hill barefoot clasping a piece of paper and calling for Daddy to read it. He appeared from one end of the coop in his orange shirt and lopsided hat, and after making his way over, grasped the drafted poem scribbled on old school paper and began to read:

We are home again after much working.
Signature, joyful noise sounds from the hall;
Jubilee quite displayed through their laughing, 
Carrying itself; unable to fall.

Together again, at last we do find
Deep sleep for the brain; sweet rest for the mind.
The contracting conquered by bright fervor 
Gives satisfaction to those who serve her;

Though itchy arms and sun-burnt ears
Have witnessed noise and shingle shears; 
Though bodies wake early and so weary
And little eyes adapt when so bleary, 
The heart is happy, and content
  To complete a goal, to see the end.

 I this piece very much, as it encompasses the essence of what went on.  I muse a title will find its way here sooner rather than later.Until then, merci beaucoup for reading.

Friday, 12 July 2013

You Know You're Roofing When...

  • You go to sleep with hands shaped as if they are holding a utility knife, hammer, or nail gun
  • You can't tell if an itchy arm is irritated from sunburn or shingle dust (heh)
  • You start right before 8:00 am to avoid the sun
  • Everyone needs a break at 10:30, only an hour and a half after beginning
  • You not only acquire a "farmers tan," but also one at the wrist, where your gloves are worn
  • Your jokes involve tools. "RN" no longer stands for "Registered Nurse" but "Red Nail gun."
  • Everyone rests in the afternoon, when the temperature is at its hottest
  • You think of nothing but what it takes to get the job done

Yep. That and landscaping is what we've been up to.

Roofing! It is a bit more than slightly exhausting, and I have kindly refrained from displaying our hideous dirty selves across this page, so this photo symbolizes, or represents, that which we have risen early for. Too bad there's no nail gun (shots...) 

As this is all the post I can manage for now, au revoir!


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Landscaping (and Music)

Greeting from muggy and humid and breezy and cheerful Minnesota! I wasn't going to post today, but because of certain events, I wanted to do a random "share post" of what I've been up to. This means my Tuesday France recaps will be on hold for a spell, but that might make them all the more worth the while. Later.

During the past two days, I...
  • Dug and replanted Hosta cuttings
  • Was stung by a bee
  • Dug and Leveled a Boulevard
  • Read MORE Willa Cather
  • Dug up a dried, old rose bush (that bit me when I tried to pull it from the ground)
  • Trimmed Hedges so much fun!
  • Removed roots and mulched and laid gravel cover
  • Fell in Love (No, don't worry, I'm not that ridiculous, yet.t literally, of course. I adore my latest music library additions; Switchfoot's Oh! Gravity and Relient K's Collapsible Lung are great for Summer work (Switchfoot more so) and play, which would be Relient K all the way.
File:Collapsible Lung Album Artwork.jpg
until the morrow...

Friday, 5 July 2013

Of Seven Blessings

Downtime -  With Family at the Lake: Even if Rangers are grumpy, we can still enjoy the weather and water.

Extermination - Apologies for the quirky humor: I spent part of this week transforming a garden area, exterminating weeds and hedging our rose in the same area.  When the drive up our long driveway is completed, this little area makes one breathe easy as it sets the mood to calm organization...

Duet-Playing - My cousin and I spent part of the July Fourth evening playing Dvorak together. Duets are ever so much fun, and it's so great to be able to sit down and just play, laugh at timing mistakes, key changes, and skipped beats that we run after in the end.

Roses - We have four roses; one in the front garden area, and the other in front of one pasture. "Knock-Out" Roses they are: A bright, penetrating red, they're blooming in all their glory now and contrast so artistically against the grass. Yep. A blessing. ('Specially since we had to leave the other roses behind when we moved.)

Special Moments - They can't really be described, but the best way to do so is say that they are those moments when you are with the people God has blessed you with; the people who truly matter. You look into one another's eyes and know how good it is to just esse (Latin, be) with them. Family. Siblings. Cousins. Friends you want to keep forever.

Job Interview - (!!) I had a lovely Job interview Tuesday, at an Assisted Living Home. Everything went smoothly, and I will be starting in the next 1-2 weeks. It is a bit strange to have all of this come and go so quickly, but I'm thankful for what I have been given!

Major and Minor Prophets - I do not think they get read enough. I started reading through them, and I have now officially adopted them as my summer reading. Quite descriptive and seemingly "random" at times (i.e. where Amos talks of destruction and in the middle of the passage notes that people don't walk together unless they agree to do so), I have noticed the HUGE stress on how much God will bless

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

France: Mont-St-Michel, Day 3

Life is ever so exciting. I have a new job interview tomorrow and am finally coming 'round the end of a "bend in the road," as Anne of Green Gables would put it.

Mont-St-Michel from afar...
But I digress. Travelling to Mont-St-Michel was a four hour bus ride in which our tour guide interrupted many people's attempts to sleep. I just listened to her (partly because I was too tired to do anything else and partly because I wanted to force myself into France time as much as possible).

From the Bridge
...and the wind was rather blustery. I was very thankful for my short, light grey over coat which was worn for the entire day. Because I had fatigue hanging over me slightly, everything around me seemed surreal. 

Commissioned by St. Aubert, who built the oratory on Mont-Tombe in 708 A.D, Mont-St.Michel was not finished until around 1895.

From a lowly oratory to a Benedictine Monastery, Mont-St-Michel was positioned defensively. Over the centuries, it was besieged, assaulted, made into a political prison, and declared a national monument. If anything other than a mysterious and wonderful landmark, Mon-St-Michel is a picture of France and her development into what it is today. 
The Drawbridge

Doors! I shot a theme of doors for my trip, but here are two from the Mont. The teal is my favourite.

The Mont's Small Cemetery
It is almost impossible to get lost on the Mont. The stairs go up to the abbey, and once you have gone through the cloisters, you will find yourself going back down. That was only one wonderful part. Think about it; being able to enjoy your surroundings without worrying where you will end up and how you will get back to your starting point.  

This little cemetery was very quaint. Orange is one of my favorite colors and I thought that the orange was a perfect front against a cemetery background, as most flowers in France had not decided to grace the world with their presence...

The Abbey walls both up and down. A fellow photographer and I stuck together and adored the delicate ferns reaching out from the craggy rocks. I had wanted to update my camera before the trip, but instead, I made due with my present equipment and decided to just have fun. Design is an amazing aspect, and architecture is such a fun subject to take, even though I am a little bit obsessed with symmetry and contrast.

With the funny tree in the top left-hand corner, this shot (overlooking the English Channel) made me think it belonged somewhere in South America, not France.

The End! An Iron Railing End
The Abbey's Gorgeous Chapel
One of the best parts of Europe is its grand edifices. Everywhere we went we would see a church, and each one holds stories and characters we (sadly) did not have time to spend getting to know.  Thankfully we had a leisurely time, and I was able to simply sit and admire the tranquility as well as do my photo business.

Another door and the posing cat: This cat seemed to think (or know) for that matter, that he was in a perfect location for being photographed. Yes, it clogged up the traffic on the stairway, but it was humorous looking.

We reached the top (right) after ambling through the cloisters (left). The view was wonderful, but pictures would never do it justice. The entire floor was composed of massive stones engraved with the "signatures" or symbols of each carpenter who had worked on them. It made the entire lookout much more personable, as there was an engraving I could see; I didn't know who had written it, but someone from centuries ago had, someone who was proud of his work.


Dark Purple Irises in the Cloister

Pre-Salted Sheep
"Pre-Salted sheep!?" Yep. The water from the English Channel rushes up with the dangerous tides and waters the grass on the pastures on the border. Consuming pre-salted grass gives the sheep a delicious and tender texture. There is no other way to describe it. It is a delicacy in France and something one can buy on the Mont, but I found some in the Latin quarter of Paris and had a lovely meal of it. (Apologies to my vegetarian friends...)

All that is left to say is "See? Isn't it interesting?" There is no other place like it. After stopping to take these, it was time for the ride to Paris. I had created a play-list of new songs that would remind me of certain events in Paris, and I listened to that while I wrote about the day. My friends and I were getting ready to see Paris after riding around in enclosed entities in order to travel places, and we were quite interested when we saw the tip of the Eiffel Tower peek over the edge of random trees after passing Charles de Gaulle.

When we arrived in Paris, when brought our bags up to the respective floors at the Ideal Hotel and refreshed ourselves before going out to dinner.

Smoked Salmon
...was amazing. I ordered in French and also had a glass of excellent Alsace (though almost all wine in France is delectable) and was delighted when the waiter brought my meal on a cutting board platter. I had not had much all day on account of the "strange new time schedule."  We had a wonderful time making conversation about the day, and then we discovered that it was time for rest.

Paris Orleans (photo from site)

The Google/"I'm Feeling Lucky" Room (as it was dubbed)
Hotel Design completely. We also had a little deck/porch overlooking the street. We were next to a metro station, which was convenient though a mite noisy at times, but peaceful for the most part. The pillows were a bit hysterical, however. My friend had the Blogger pillow originally and I the Facebook, but we switched since I write and do not have a book of Face. 

(Oh my, now I am missing this room...Well!)

Thanks for reading, and make sure to check back for another France post. 
The next one's Versailles!

Monday, 1 July 2013

MIA Visit


I am in the middle of light remodeling and other such house projects, so to keep you busy...

Here's some old files from a Thursday Night at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. These Thursday nights are technically parties at the MIA in which many patrons and art-inclined people gather for more than just a visit. Anyway. It goes so far as adding streamers 'round the Doryphorous. Unfortunately, these shots were taken with an older camera and were not able to be cropped, but c'est la vie. Enjoy!

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts -
The awesome back entrance nobody's allowed to enter through

Doryphorous - One of four; the remaining four are in Italy. Props to the MIA!

Crouching Lion - Greece