Monday, July 23, 2007

three oh

July is a month of birthdays. My grandmother's is early on, then a brief respite, followed by: Angie, Emily, Megan, and Lane. A series of worthy celebrations, people close to our hearts.

Chris and I woke after few hours of sleep to stumble onto our flight and journey back to Minnesota, a land I hadn't realized I was so glad to belong to... there is a part of me that is entirely confused by geography and belonging. I was not like the military children, the nomadic, yearly movement, but I did belong to the south once and then belonged here (and, because of my mother's history, a part of me also strangely longs for the northeast).

It was a safe flight, with one hiccup, a shuddering of turbulence that led the stewards to crouch down (I'd never seen that before) in a safe position. We are here, and I have the newest Harry Potter to lure me from my bulging month-long to do list (being gone, with just weekend glimpses of home, has left laundry and mail to pile up, weeds to grow, and carpet to repair).

I took a brief nap (thank you for allowing this small rest) and we were back in travel mode again, only this time, The Fiance and our two dogs were my traveling companions. I read on the way down to Winona; I couldn't resist plowing on (and even now, with the book in my lap, I must continue to resist reading the Epilogue--one woman was revealing secrets to her teenage granddaughter from this Epilogue, as she could not resist finding out if Harry died or not, and I wanted to slug her, but managed to maintain teacherly composure and slid away, closer to the baggage claim).

For this celebration, the birthday people were the ones who hosted, who cooked, who gave us homebrewed beers. We had barbeque chicken and chipotle corn. We popped strawberries in our mouth and marveled at the little homegrown onions.

Our dogs bolted through the yard, teasing one another with toys, reveling in the companionship of their best friend, Bear. She's one of the reasons we jumped into dog ownership so quickly after buying a home. The companionship she provides is so valuable, so sweet.

Here, the birthday boy.

And here, the birthday girl, her hair the longest I've ever seen it.

I also brought home snaps of their cats. There are three, but Amber is painfully shy. Jasper, however, with an Ewok meowl and a strange resemblance to my parents' cat Ernie, was willing to peer back at my lens.

As was Simon, their stately male cat, who doesn't like dogs, but does have a secret crush on our friend Chad.

I love it when they sniff the camera lens.

The Fiance's gift to Lane was a series of beer: here, chili beer. Inside a box, individually wrapped oversize beers. Lane pulled each one out, peeling the wrapping off. This, confirmed: wrapping paper isn't recyclable, so if you receive gifts from us in newspaper, please do not be offended. :) We want to be more green too.

We also learned you can request more wind powered energy from your electric utility. Ours, like theirs, is Xcel, and I plan to sign up. I truly believe it is well worth the money to try to lessen your impact. Now, if only we could do something about the heat rising, filling up our second story. It becomes stifling in the summer.

Sadly, Lane and Angie are preparing to move. I think it was Chris who asked if I would miss them when they moved; they hope to find jobs in the Twin Cities, which is equidistant from our home as their Winona residence. I think I will miss their city the most, though the last handful of visits have not gone much beyond their home. So those missed restaurants have been unvisited as of recent.

I do very much so love their home. They have spent so much time and energy changing it. But Lane and Angie are also a bit less emotionally attached to these things than I am; I tend to want to cling to the curtains I finally put up or the coat of paint I eventually slapped on. Perhaps it's because I am so slow to change, so lackadaisical about these investments of time, energy, money. I have deep desire for change, but such a hard time with the transition.

I am glad we made our way to this home tonight. Tomorrow, I will sleep, I will lounge, I will curl up into myself as I've needed to do for quite some time. It is summer, time to recover from a torrential school year, but I haven't had much of a chance to recover. It's one adventure over, and on to the next, all blending together in (mostly) happy memories.

To friends and family who do not hear from me, or who receive abbreviated replies in the next few weeks: know that I am sorry for this. Next week, I have that week long poetry workshop, and in less than three weeks, I get married, followed by our honeymoon, followed by the start to a school year in a brand new school with brand new preps. I am not frenzied with stress, but I could be. :) So be patient with me as I try to keep up. So much needs attention these days.

And, of course, the Wii. Chad and Lane boxing. Me and Angie playing tennis. Ryan and Lane golfing. Bodily involvement, such a strange way to play video games. We are beginning to step into places that are strange, almost creepy. Those futuristic places, the ones where we stumble to keep up.

On the way home: a brilliant thunderstorm, right through the heart, and through the first half of our return home. Visibility was lacking, cracks of thunder nearly simultaneous with the lightning. This is my favorite kind of storm, though I prefer being curled in bed with a good book, the blinds flung open, rather than fighting my way home. The Fiance was good company, entertaining me as I nervously splashed (hydroplaned, that is) my way back, the Mississippi much closer than I'd like in this kind of weather.

And a note to all: I've recently piled on a few posts at once. I wanted to add photographs to my posts while I was gone, so there is a flurry of activity at a certain slant of light. I hope you don't mind the overwhelming amount of reading material as I posted saved drafts; I thought it would be nicer for illustrations to accompany thoughts. I truly had a lovely time (thank you, Nikki and Chris! Also, thank you Jenny and Leo and Tiko!) and hope you enjoy some of those impressions and photographs of my southern adventure.

Tomorrow: I will tell you something else, something I came home to, but I want to save it for tomorrow, with better light, and, of course, photographs.

Happy birthday, Lane and Angie!

PS: Chris, I've got the difference between then and than. First, it was good and well. Then, it was fewer and less than. Now, it is then and than. I need to be called on these moronic mistakes! :) Others I still need to work on: affect and effect, lay and lie. What a tricky language (don't tell anyone I'm a teacher, OK?).


Anonymous said...

I was NOT being b*tchy, just an observation. I would hope you would correct my silly things too! Food in my teeth, zipper down, etc. :)


Molly said...

I didn't think you were! I think it's incredibly good for people to let me know I'm making mistakes... :) I shouldn't be making them, if I'm teaching English. Poor example and all!