Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Kids

We had a mellow Christmas here in Moose Lake, as the big snow storm kept us from traveling. We celebrated with snow removal, an attempt at skiing down on Sand lake through the blizzard and getting my folks hooked on The Wire. The following day my sisters and their kiddos descended upon us, and things became quite lively.

A bit too much light in the background here, but a sweet moment nonetheless with grandma and grand kids looking at digital photos

Avery, the youngest of the grand kids, cuddling with Josh after she had a bad puking episode (note Josh's classy Rebels garb, borrowed from the stash of old Warp t-shirts).

A brighter moment


Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Snowy North

video

We completed our first semester of work at Western Kentucky and loaded up the car to head north to Minnesota. The 13-hour drive did not seem so long, and we made it to my relative Nancy's house in St. Paul late evening, just in time to catch her wrapping up a game of bridge with friends. The following morning we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at a nearby cafe and then headed out to buy Josh underwear and socks, and to search for pants and shirts at Goodwill, as we (notice the "we") forgot his bag of clothes in Bowling Green. Later that evening I saw good friends for dinner, and much of the conversation was focused on being pregnant with two pregnant people in the room.
We have now hunkered down in Moose Lake, preparing for the big winter storm that is headed this way. We've already received around 5 inches, and another foot or two is projected. Josh and I couldn't be happier. In the mean time, we've enjoyed the few inches of white stuff on Sand Lake with our skate skis, and yesterday we zoomed around the whole lake with Winnie, my folks' dog (hence the video taken by Josh above).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Progress

The other day one of our new friends in town called to see if we were interested in having their crib. And now, there it sits outside our bedroom, half-assembled and awaiting its move into baby headquarters at the other end of the hall. I woke up last night on my regular 3 am trip to the bathroom and gave it a double-take, wondering where the thing came from. Reality is also sinking in to my waist and bust line. One by one, sometimes two by two, more items in my closet are becoming too snug. Today I sadly realized my favorite belt from México no longer fits. And I leaned over to tie my shoes and nearly popped the button off my pants. Apparently the babe is now the size of an avocado, and in a few weeks I might actually feel it jiggling around. I would post a photo of the belly status, but my photographer husband has frowned upon this. I am still awaiting his permission to release his new blog address.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Good Tidings


The other day we received a package from our eighty-something-year-old friend Edna back in Roanoke. She sent us elaborately decorated cookies, and each one was wrapped in a napkin and placed inside a plastic bag. She also sent her famous "stained glass window" bars, made with colored marshmallows and chocolate. I became a little teary as I unwrapped one of the cookies and thought of how much time she put into decorating each one. Josh met Edna on an assignment for the Roanoke Times a number of years ago, and ever since she has been baking for us for each of the holidays. Edna lost her husband to cancer many years ago, and never remarried and has no children. She lives on her own outside of Fincastle, a few miles down the highway from the dairy farm she and her husband owned (which is now divided by that highway). She is just one of many who are aging and facing the inevitable fact that she may reach a point where she can no longer live alone in her home. But she is embracing the time she has, and we feel fortunate that we are a few of the many whom she has touched with kindness.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mazel Tov

We just returned from a trip to Josh's hometown of Athens, Georgia where his sister Emily was married. We had such a wonderful time. Emily and Alan were married in a huge brick building, which used to be part of Kenny Rogers' ranch outside of Athens. It was a traditional Jewish ceremony where the couple was wed by a rabbi beneath a chuppah (symbolizing the new home the couple will create) with their parents standing close by. Emily circled Alan seven times (an interpretation of this is that circling represents the creation of a new family unit separate from each of their own parents'), and at the end of the ceremony Alan stomped on a glass (representing the fragility of marriage). The party afterward began with everyone dancing the Hora, where the guests circled around the couple over and over, and the couple and their parents were hoisted up in the air on chairs. The band then switched over to Latin music and there was more dancing, eating and drinking. My in-laws Angela and Richard worked hard along with Emily and Alan to ensure it was going to be a terrific celebration, and indeed it was.

Unfortunately I took very few photos!

I met some of Josh's relatives that I had not met before, including his only cousins Matt and Andy. We caught up with them, and Josh's aunt and uncle, and vowed to head up to Toronto and Montreal to visit them some day soon.

Matt and his girlfriend Georgina.

Andy and his parents (Josh's aunt and uncle) Dale and Bob

Josh's great uncle and aunt, Johnny and Carol

Instead of invading Josh's folks' house, we stayed in a beautiful, new, LEED-certified hotel downtown. Josh and I had a chance to head over to the University of Georgia campus to go swimming, and visited a favorite Athens restaurant called The Grit. We also bought our first official item of baby clothing at a craft market: a tiny sweatshirt with a hand-sewn moose on the front. We had so much fun over the weekend that I was beginning to believe that I was on the mend from all of the nausea I've been experiencing. But then I had another episode last night, and sadly marked it up to week 11 of puking. On top of that, it rained very heavily all day today, and I could not stop thinking that it would have been snow if we lived further north. And I tried not to think about Emily and Alan enjoying the warm Caribbean waters in Aruba. But enough feeling sorry for myself, and another big "mazel tov" to my sister-in-law and her new husband!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

165 Beats Per Minute

I can't think of many more exhilarating moments than what happened today in the doctor's office. As my doctor ran a sensor over my lower stomach, the unmistakable sound of a quick chugging heartbeat rang loud and clear through a speaker. Josh stood by my side recording, and Dr. Lyons proclaimed, "It doesn't get any better than that."
Through that heartbeat, it is reassuring to know that our now peach-size babe is working so hard at growing bigger. It made my episode of upchucking my lunch an hour previous to that fade into distant memory.
I am afraid that Josh is soon to trump me, as he works on creating a blog with images and sounds from the pregnancy. Once he has that up and running, I will surely provide a link so that you are provided the whole multimedia experience.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

This Time of the Year

Josh and I celebrated Thanksgiving on our own for the first time in our 11.5 years together. It was quite momentous, as we determined how we wanted to cook the birds (Cornish hen and a regular old chicken) and whether to go with traditional fixings. We ended up with apricot-glazed chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, green beans and cranberries. And custard to end. All very wholesome, and all made from scratch. As Josh can attest, I crashed on the sofa soon after the meal's completion, and have an even deeper appreciation for the ladies that have cooked this meal for me/us in the past.

I also turned a year older a few days ago, hence the photo above, which was taken [ahem] 29 years ago. I am surrounded by my neighbor friends (all boys. Tiffany Manty had not yet moved to the neighborhood). And there's Sarah, with red hair. She was one of my best friends for years, and I believe she taught me how to tie my own shoes not long before that fifth birthday. This year we had a few friends over too. I decided against the silver crown, but a cake was present, along with the birthday theme music and a wish after the candles were blown out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pit Stop

We had a great treat these past few days, as our good friends Naomi and Jose stayed with us on a stopover on their long, roundabout journey back to California after living in México for over a year. It was so much fun to have them in the house, and we made hearty meals together and had great conversation. Jose also taught us how to play the card game "Oh Hell," which brought out our competitive sides (well, Josh's and mine anyhow). In the photo above Jose and Naomi are preparing rice pudding, and following below are shots of us making homemade pasta for ravioli, filled with kale, ricotta and chicken.






We tried to encourage our friends to move in with us, or buy a house on our street, but they had family to travel and see, and plans to return to California. So we will look forward to the next time we cross paths, which we hope is very soon.

To end, Josh spent a number of years competing as a swimmer, and last Saturday he experienced another side of the sport. He stood over the lanes and watched carefully to ensure that each swimmer touched the wall with both hands during their turn to return to the other side. WKU was holding an invitational swim meet, and came away winning after three days of competition.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Changing Shape

Blogging has not been the same these past few months, as I have avoided revealing something that has taken over much of our focus. Yet rounding the corner to 13 weeks, I figured that those of you who have stuck with me this past year and beyond, deserve to know this fact: we got pregnant. Hence the "emergency trip" by my mom in October, when my morning sickness was at its height. And the stuff is still lingering, lucky me. Fortunately I was prescribed an anti-puking medication, which has helped prevent dashes to the nearest toilet. Or tree.
I am in no way concerned about documenting this experience, as Josh captures all the details. He has been following me around the house with his Leica, and now there are a number of photos of me like the one above and below, in my new favorite places (I hope he doesn't mind that I stole a couple). And maybe some day some of you might be lucky enough to see the photos of me clutching the toilet.
Despite the sickness, this is exciting. At 10 weeks in, we heard the heartbeat. And as the title suggests, I am indeed changing shape. Apparently this being inside of me is currently the size of a kiwi, and is starting to make fists and wiggle its toes. Pretty amazing to imagine.
So now, this blog will certainly have yet another focus, one which I hope remains interesting and a little entertaining. And I will continue to try and sneak a photo or two in from Josh's stash.
I will leave you with this closing shot.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A little piece of México

This will deserve a sequel blog posting, but for the time being I need to write Part I. A few days after my previous Mexican food craving posting, Josh and I headed out on a bike ride. And on that bike ride, we crossed the railroad tracks and passed through a little neighborhood that is coined "Little México." In Little México there are a couple of Catholic churches, a Mercadito (Latin American food market), a tortillera (tortilla-producing shop), and convenience stores advertising calling cards. And as we sailed through the neighborhood out of the corner of my eye I spotted something familiar. At a little road-side stand perched next to the tortillera was a large hunk of meat turning on a spit and cooking under a flame. Josh and I hit the brakes and turned around to inquire. Sure enough, they were preparing tacos al pastor, and it just so happens this Mexican family cooks up the tacos for sale every Friday through Sunday. For this particular culinary delight, we may not have to travel all the way to Guadalajara after all. But before I get ahead of myself, we will surely visit the stand this weekend and I will report with Part II.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ode to the Juicer


While responding to a friend's e-mail requesting restaurant recommendations for Guadalajara, I started longing for the quick trips to our local tamale and taco stands, as well as the corner restaurant with pozole. I can vividly remember employees of each of these culinary establishments, and can imagine they are going about their work just as they did while we were living there, busily tending to a long line of customers. The thought of a torta ahogada (drowned pork sandwich) has suddenly stimulated my taste buds. And this is coming from a former vegetarian. And oh how I miss the fresh bulk mole that Josh an I bought at the local market and cooked with fresh chicken. Sigh.
So these past few days, as the prices of oranges and tangerines have dipped lower than usual, I am stocking up and am enjoying another item that I have missed: fresh squeezed juice. We brought this simple yellow juicer back from México with us and it has been put to good use these past few weeks. Though I feel a bit guilty that the oranges have had to travel a greater distance to get to me, it is helping me to get past these other cravings that won't be satisfied until I am back in Guadalajara.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Homecoming

It was homecoming weekend at WKU, which brought much activity to campus. Josh and I watched the homecoming parade on Friday night, complete with floats for the fraternities and sororities, one of which came through half-charred, after an unfortunate incident with a hot bulb coming too close to tissue paper. After the parade we headed over to a Mexican restaurant called Puerto Vallerta with some photo students. Josh and I were two of the oldest, most sober people in the place, and snobbishly tried to enjoy the not-so-Mexican food.
To end the evening, we biked back over to school to see the volleyball team play a match against Florida International. Florida had an amazing hitter who seemed to magically rise over the net to pound the ball into unattainable places for our team. Because of this, and a night of poor serving, we lost.
Yesterday we headed back over to school for a School of Journalism picnic, and then had a fun time of people-watching. Campus was packed with tents where various organizations were picnicking. Sorority girls walked awkwardly across the grassy field in high heels and short cocktail dresses, while the fraternity boys were dressed up in suits and khakis. And what was most interesting to me was seeing students walking with cases of beer and coolers, as this was unheard of on the dry campus of UMD, my alma mater. The guys pictured below not only had coolers, but a thermal-lined shopping cart to hold more ice and beer.

Josh and I were happy to discover beverages that were free for the taking, and snuck by for a second round of these yummy chocolate milks.

Though the volleyball team had another game, we decided to instead watch the WKU swim team in a dual meet against Xavier. Our swim team is huge, and is made up of a number of talented swimmers, and in the end, both the men and women came away with wins. Our football team on the hand, was once again unsuccessful and their chances of a win this season is looking bleak. We did not stay for the game, but could hear the sounds from the stadium from up on the hill at the Crump house.


Lastly, we have had a beautiful weekend, and took advantage of the weather to fit in a couple of late fall bike rides. So many of the rides in this area are along narrow little roads like the one above, where our only worry are loose country dogs, which never fail, come running directly toward and in front of our moving bikes. And yesterday we had a close encounter with a spooked horse who galloped across the road in front of us. Other than these unwelcome animal run-ins, it felt great to get out on some country roads.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thanks Mom

There's my mom getting swallowed by Big Red. She stayed for a week, and before flying out had the opportunity to meet the WKU mascot at a volleyball game. Along with that, we watched a quick three games to complete the Hilltopper's win over Troy University (Alabama).

Though I was a not the most fun to be around during this past week of sickness, we managed to get out on campus and around Bowling Green a bit. The meals were kept pretty bland, and mostly white (potatoes, chicken, white bread, cream of wheat) with an occasional color thrown into the mix. Thankfully, the week ahead looks brighter, as I graduated to chili at a friend's pumpkin carving fest yesterday, and tried out waffles and blueberries this morning. I never gave food so much thought as I have over these past weeks. After dropping my mom off at the airport, I returned to a quiet, lonely house. She definitely made my week of feeling sorry for myself a happier one.

The sun is sitting low in the sky, and I have raked about all the leaves that will fall from the large trees standing over our house. The weeks ahead promise to be busy, with daily meetings with students, and a whole slough of athletic and arts events coming up in the evenings. Josh is due back from western Kentucky any time now. I am looking forward to seeing him again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chicken Soup

While Josh is out of town for the Mountain Workshop, my mom has come back to town to stay for the week, as I've been under the weather. It's been great to have her here. Not only did I put her to work cleaning our bathrooms and floors, cooking meals and running errands (kidding about the putting to work part, but she has done all of the above), we also fit in a nice trip back up to Mammoth cave, where the leaves are at their prime, and we took a beautiful hike on Sal Hollow Trail.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A whirlwind weekend


This past weekend Josh and I visited the Adirondacks for the first time, along with our great friends Pete and Angie. The occasion was our friend Jessica's marriage at Elk Lake Lodge, a place coined by National Geographic as "The Jewel of the Adirondacks." It certainly was beautiful, and reminiscent of the Boundary Waters, but with mountains. All of the guests were provided lodging in the various lodges and cabins scattered on the shore of the undeveloped lake. Jess and Lytton's ceremony was unique because there was no officiant; everyone present married them by contributing a blessing. We then had a cozy evening in the main lodge with dinner, numerous toasts, and a bit of music provided by guests. So many of those present were graduates of Swarthmore (where Jess attended college) and Columbia (where Lytton and Jess are working on their doctorates in medieval literature), so we felt we were in the company of many driven intellects.

The following morning Josh and I took a walk around the east shore of the lake. It was quiet, sunny and beautiful, with lush moss covering much of the path and great strands of birch trees standing over us. We wanted to make our way around the whole lake, but we needed to return to our friends, and then back south to Kentucky.

The second part of this story highlights the amount of travel we packed into this weekend. Josh and I first flew into New York City and upon arrival, we hopped on the M60 bus, bringing us into Manhattan, and then we caught the subway down to meet Josh's sister and brother-in-law to be, and Pete. We all walked over to a Korean restaurant strip near Penn Station and picked a place where we were served a spread of various types of kimchee, tofu, rice, seaweed salad and more. We walked the city a bit, and then Pete, Josh and I took the train our to Long Island, to pick up Angie and began to drive north. On Sunday, we drove the 5-6 hours back south, then Josh and I hopped on the subway for an hour and a half ride to JFK. We caught our flight, landed in Nashville, and drove the hour north to Bowling Green. I walked through the door and continued walking until I fell into bed. It was all worth it, but the next time 'round I think we might take an extra day to make it happen.
Below follow photos taken by Josh:





Lastly, I wanted to end with good wishes for my mum, who is celebrating a big birthday today. This photo features her about 32 years ago. She hasn't changed a bit and I love her so.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Cabin


We have reached fall break and decided to make the trip to Josh's folks' cabin outside of Asheville, NC. In order to get here from our parts of Kentucky it is a beautiful drive along the Cumberland Scenic Highway, which turns to highway through the Daniel Boone and Cherokee National Forests, and at the end of it all (nearly six hours later) one follows a 21-switchback narrow road up a mountain, and upon arrival at the top is a locked cattle gate. Beyond the gate are acres of land with trails and a lake, and around 20 houses whose owners inhabit their share of the land cooperative up here. It is a development in a very undeveloped sense. My in-laws' place is set back from the dirt road that winds up to other houses, a log house that appears as though it was plopped down in the middle of a small clearing of trees. There is no lawn to speak of, nor much other "grooming" around the outskirts of the house. I did add a few of my grandpa's raspberry plants, which are cautiously taking root 20 feet from the house.

We have been up here catching our breath in a sense, before diving back in to work in BG. This evening our good friends from Roanoke will be joining us here, and tomorrow so will Josh's folks. One thing missing this whole while has been Sally, our dog. We never came here without her, and to be here now without her sitting out on the front deck steps staring out into the woods makes us sad. On our walk on the trails yesterday an old golden retriever visited us, and we attempted to lure her along just for the canine companionship.

Last night we headed down the mountain and into town. Each time we do this, it never ceases to depress us a little. We are disheartened because Asheville is always hopping; Tuesday nights and Saturday nights can look the same. There are always new restaurants that have opened since our last visit, and there are many "old" restaurants that are doing just as well as always. There are great coffee shops and galleries and a thriving bookstore and movie theater. The reason this gets us so, is that both Roanoke and Bowling Green do not quite match up to this vibrant downtown standard (though Roanoke's certainly getting there). But we sure are happy to partake in this scene once in a while.

The field at the top of a hill adjacent to Flattop Mountain

A lonely apple tree in the field. Apparently there was an apple orchard at the top of this mountain once upon a time.


The view from an overlook on one of the trails near the cabin. Mount Mitchell, the highest point on the east coast, is in the distance

Closer view of development down below. Similar to Roanoke, Asheville faces serious mountaintop development issues. One threat in particular that we are worried about is a proposed luxury golf course development in the field that I photographed above.

The small, spring-fed lake on Flattop Mountain. Josh's folks' place is directly across the lake, beyond the trees a ways.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Introducing...


...Three of our new friends. Just when I was lamenting the lack of them, we found some. Josh and I headed out for dinner on Friday night at a lively, locally-owned cafe near our place, and happened upon Ingrid. We hit it off and ended up spending a few hours talking over dinner. Then Ingrid invited us to go to a bluegrass festival today with her friends Scott and Rachael, and we hit it off with them too. Things we have in common? We are all new to the area and are employed by WKU. And we all learned today that nearby Ohio County is a dry one, where possession and consumption of alcohol is illegal. So we sipped our ice tea and ate pulled pork sandwiches in the company of other wholesome folk on the old Bill Monroe homestead while band after band performed.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Things I Like

Well, my husband, yes. I like him a great deal. But I realized I had not yet posted a "full body shot" of our house. After a week of rain, the sun poked out and we took advantage of the opportunity to take a walk up the street to the lovely...

Water tower. Isn't it great? A funny welcome back to the U.S. after our year in México. If I am lost while driving around Bowling Green, I look for it, as it sits on one of the highest hills in town. And "our" hill is historic, as I mentioned in another posting (note sign below).

Think I better note, Kentucky was a divided state during the civil war, with both Union and Confederate supporters. That is something I like too.

This is something I like and dislike. It is terrific to see so many bikes parked outside of our building every day. It just isn't fun trying to pull it out of the heap when leaving school.

Speaking of bikes, yesterday I was biking around campus and topped a hill to the theme music Chariots of Fire coming from the campus bell tower. That was pretty nice.

I also like the Hilltopper volleyball team. They won again last night in a close 5 game match against Xavier. They are a strong team, with friendly-looking gals.