30 March 2008

Blogging retroactively

Because I don't have brilliant ideas for blog posts at the moment, and by way of fleshing out the story of my stateside visit (retroactively filling in the gaps of those not very bloggy two weeks, especially for the benefit of my grandparents, who like to know what I'm up to--hi, grandpa and grandma!), I shall make post-trip comments on my pre-trip lists. As you shall see, I did a remarkably good job of accomplishing everything. That is the purpose of lists, and that is why I love them.

This was the to-do list:

Admire some pregnant bellies: We managed to get together with my sister-in-law and a dear high school friend, both named Jen, both pregnant, in a Mexican restaurant (see below--multitasking!) in Boston. Neither knew the other was pregnant, and it was fun for all of us to catch up. Also, regarding this note: upon arrival in Vermont, my dad, eager to detect some baby envy, immediately grilled me as to what exactly I meant by admiring pregnant bellies. Will I be getting pregnant any time soon? Ah, now there's a question.

Cancel a credit card: Even though I had to listen to a series of other possible credit card offers, at least they gave me the (exorbitant!) annual fee back. Also regarding the credit theme: In college I cosigned a loan for a friend who has no family. Hadn't thought anything of it for eight years, having completely lost touch with her. Now I discover that she has not been paying her bills, and that this can affect my own credit, informed thusly by several loan people who kept calling my parents' house. Not terribly fun news. And how on earth can I find her and beg her to pay her loan and not wreck my credit?

Solve the case of the missing Pottery Barn comforter delivery: In the category of best customer service ever, we went to see the people at PB to ask them about a wedding gift (I bought it using gift certificates) that never arrived, almost TWO years ago. According to their records, it had been delivered two days after the order was made, but they STILL reimbursed us for the whole amount. I LOVE American customer service!

Watch one of the nephews walk and listen to the other one talk, shower with as much auntly attention as possible: This was the principle activity whenever they were around. The little guy is walking like crazy, always with this grin of sheer joy on his face, joy at his self-propelled mobility. The older little guy is at such a vividly intense stage right now. We had Spanish lessons, and danced, and I taught the kiddo some cool moves like the crabwalk. One fascinating world-of-the-imagination thing that he has being doing lately is that he has some sheep, but he lost them. So he's always asking people, "Where are my sheep?" "Does mommy have my sheep?" "Do you know where my sheep are?" This is all very serious business, and you have to help him in his mission to find the missing sheep. He's like a little boy bo peep. This of course fit in nicely with the Easter theme, although I hope that it didn't mess with his mind that we had solid chocolate sheep for dessert on Easter and bit off their heads in due course.

Get certified copy of marriage certificate so stupid Spanish consulate will finally be happy with our paperwork and give us a Libro de familia: There are a lot of good reasons to be from a small town, and this is one of them. Instead of long lines and a huge embassy and bored people and red tape, we just waltzed into our little clapboard town hall and asked for a marriage certificate copy. The lady there, the one who does everything, asked me how Brussels was, and if I had gotten my absentee ballot for the primaries, and if I knew so-and-so, who is living in France. Five minutes, ten bucks, and a pleasant conversation later, I had my copy. If only things were this easy on the Spanish end of things.

Eat Mexican food: I ordered burritos and tacos and black bean anything every chance I got, even at not-exactly Mexican places. And we made quesadillas and taco salad, and I was happy.

Eat mom's food: I'll say. She made some of her classic dishes, and we all were super happy. She and I pored over cookbooks and food magazines and more than once, when one of us said, "Ooh, we should make that!", the other one had already bookmarked it in her head.

Drive back and forth between Boston and Vermont a bunch of times, soak in beloved scenery: Besides the trip up to Vermont and back to get to and from the airport, the Mister and I just made one fast trip, and crammed it all into two busy days. But I just love that drive, the views from the highway, the way the mountains welcome you as you travel further north, how the snow goes from nothing to little islands of snow in shady spots below trees, to full blown white coverage.

See some snow: Lots of it! We had some fantastic snow/slushstorms for the driving, which made for slippery roads and slow going, but we made it all in one piece. And it was worth it to see all the snow. And we went sledding! What's winter without a good slide down the hill in a flimsy piece of plastic? Infinitely better if a two-year old is sitting in your lap and you're both screaming and laughing.

Shop: Um, I'll say. Due to the fabulous exchange rate at the moment, the Mister and I were like pigs in slop. I am embarrassed to say that I got FIVE pairs of shoes, effectively doubling my footwear wardrobe. This should last me for at least a year or two. (Remember, I have yet to find a shoe store in Europe that carries shoes in my size, so it was kind of a necessity.) But everything was such a good deal with sales, and then with the exchange rate it was crazy cheap. The Mister bought two beautiful suits at one of those suit warehouse places, lots of dress shirts and ties, and blazers and pants. Clothes-wise I got a few things, including jeans, an adorable velvet blue coat lined in polka-dots, and a dress that hopefully will work for one of the weddings we'll go to this spring and summer.

Rifle through my things in my parents' basement, soak in beloved books (and snatch a few for expatriation): It's always kind of bittersweet to do this because I end up wanting to take all my books back with me. This time, besides a few that I grabbed for thesis purposes, I decided to take Anne Carson's translation of Sappho, If Not, Winter. I love that book and I can't wait to read through it again. Besides that, my parents gave me a bunch of novels to read, and I bought a good pile of books at our favorite Burlington used-book store. When I got back to Brussels, and stacked up all the books I had carried with me, I was amazed I had been able even to lift my suitcases. Oh, and the pile includes a Vermont cookbook, from which I have already made two recipes involving maple syrup and craisins, which I also carried back in my suitcase.

Hang out to the max with family and friends: As should be evident by now, I did lots of this! It was amazing to have the whole family together on Easter weekend, and just as fabulous to have my parents to myself during the week after Easter.

Celebrate Easter: Easter at our little white-steepled New Englandy church is so beautiful, and since I hadn't been to that service for years and years, it was especially nice to be there. My mom directs the choir, and it speaks volumes of her skills that a motley crew of singers from the church, including the requisite warbly old ladies and off-pitch "operatic" tenors, can sound as good as they do. In fact, they sounded fantastic. Plus, as always on Easter, there was a brass quartet, and at the end of the service, anyone can go up and sing the Hallelujah chorus with the choir. I sang with them, and just couldn't stop smiling as I watched my husband take pictures, familiar faces beaming from the pews, and a certain little two-year old who was stretching his mouth as wide as he could in imitation of our oval-mouthed hallelujahs.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

There IS a question, indeed! :)