Wedding Update #2

We decided on colours–Green and Gold.  Yay!  Only took me forever! 

Part of my hesitation in picking green was that it’s considered bad luck!  It surprises people that for a traditional Irish wedding green would be considered bad luck, but it is.  Here’s why–fairies.  I’m going to call them the Gentry from here-on out because using the “f” word tends to get there attention, and that’s not always a good thing!  ~winks~  The Gentry are mischievious.  They love beautiful things.  Nothing, NOTHING, is more beautiful than a bride on her wedding day.  Green attracks the Gentry.  What do they do with beautiful things?  Steal them, of course!!!  You don’t want a bride to be taken away on her wedding day by the Gentry–so you avoid green. 

I have decided to buck tradition in this particular case, and so Green it is!  With my red-hair and white Irish skin, I’m considered Gentry-born as is.  (All creatures who are red and white are considered so.  i.e.  White pitbull with red ears, etc.)  So, that will either protect me or attrack them all the more!  However, I’m not worried!  ~smiles~

We’ve scoped out a possible reception site not too far from the wedding chapel–but I’m not 100% sold on it yet.  We want to check out a few more sites first.  I know what I really want, but it’s not feasible.  I want the Celtic Room at Conor O’Neill’s!  But that’s in Ann Arbor.  (The only other Conor O’Neill’s in the US is in Boulder, CO…and that’s even less practical!) 

I’ve contacted a baker–she specializes in Celtic cakes.  I have an appt. with her next month. 

I also go back to see my dress-maker next month!  I’m excited about that!

I contacted the photographer Chris and I wanted to use.  However, he’s retired due to health reasons.  He gave me a recommendation so I’m going to follow up with that.

My bestest friend, Erin, is going to be the matron of honour!  (We’ve been friends for over 20 years now–scary, huh, E?)  Chris’s cousin, Mike, is going to be the best man! 

I’m waiting to hear back from my dad as to whether or not he’ll be able to attend the ceremony.  (He lives in Cali.)

There’s lots more to do and plan…and we’re working on it!

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Life in the Burbs

I’ve been living in the burbs now for just over 3 months.  I’m still adjusting.  I’ve lived in big cities, small cities, small towns, and in the sticks!  This is the first time I’ve ever lived in the suburbs!

Understanding and experiencing the idea of suburban sprawl are two different things.  Everything is spread out willy-nilly!   There’s no downtown.  (Think I was spoiled with that living in downtown Ann Arbor!)  Having lived out in the sticks before, it’s not such a foreign idea that you have to drive any kind of distance to get anywhere.  (That or walk for a couple of hours…something I used to do in my younger days!) 

The thing I’m experiencing and having the most difficulty dealing with at the moment is the isolation.  I feel very isolated.  The majority of my friends are back in Cali.  My family is far from close-knit, and those who I am closest to in my family are all out of state.  Having been in Michigan for only a few years, I have a few close friends here–and they’re all out in Ann Arbor.  (Last week saw that number dwindle!) 

What I’m lacking and what I need is a sense of community!  I don’t need a lot of friends–I never have.  Probably a good thing since I lean more towards the introvert side of the scale.  (Once I get to know people I come across as more extroverted–but I’m really an introvert!) 

Our condo complex is small, and I don’t really know anyone here.  Most of the residents are older than Chris and I.  Being the winter, everyone is playing it smart and holing it up in their warm homes!  What would be nice would be to have a neighbor here who I could be close to.  The kind of neighbor/friend where you just drop in each other’s houses a few times a day for coffee and tea or what-not.  Or not at all depending on the day.  I’ve had that before, and I miss it! 

Since moving out here with Chris, I’ve met a lot of new people.  And I’m meeting new people all the time.  We just joined a small group at church.  I’m going to be meeting his cousin Mike and Mike’s family here soon.  (Mike’s going to be Chris’s best man, btw!)  But I have yet to get really close to anyone.  (People’s crazy busy lives may have something to do with that!)

That’s not to say that the burbs are all bad!  They’re not.  I’m just still in that adjustment phase.  And I’ve had a lot to adjust to lately, so that tends to slow down the adjustment curve on any one thing.  So for the time being I’m going to attempt to reserve my judgment of living in the burbs until I’ve adjusted and had time to experience it more. 

Tiny Blue Eyes

When Hannah Rose wants to be scary, she makes her “tiny blue eyes.” 

She starts with her eyes looking like this:

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 Notice, they aren’t blue.  In case you missed it, here’s another pic of her NOT blue (but rather hazel) eyes:

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 Here she is making “tiny blue eyes”:

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 When I asked her how she makes her eyes blue, she responded thus:

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 No words, just demonstration.  (Geez, I wonder where she gets that one from!!!!  lol  Can anyone say Daddy’s girl???)

Xaxu’s New People

Xaxu is fast approaching his 11th birthday!  Amazing, eh?

For those of you who haven’t seen Xaxu since we left Cali, he’s no different really! 

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He loves Chris and Hannah Rose!!!  Every night he joins us for Hannah Rose’s bed-time story and often looks like this:

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This morning, Hannah Rose was telling Chris that Xaxu used to be just my cat, but now he’s my cat, her cat, and Chris’s cat cause we’re one big family!  She’s also taken to calling Xaxu her brother! 

 She’s also re-named him.  His name is now (according to her!) Xaxu Aladdin. 

One-Two Punch

My day just keeps getting worse! 

Wake up with the no water thing.  (Although that appears to be fixed.  I have water again.)

Then I get an email from a friend concerning a matter we had settled.  Or so I thought.  I guess I thought wrong because now for the price of a $40.00 library fine, she has thrown our friendship away.  She no longer wants to hear or see me again. 

Does it stop at that?  No.  Another friend from my old building back in Ann Arbor has called to tell me that the doctors have given her two months at best to live.  She has cancer.  It’s spread.  It’s now in her liver, neck, and other organs. 

I need this to be it for the day.  No more.  Things come in three’s.  This is three, right?  No more, please!  Not today!

No Water

Chris and I discovered last night that about midnight that we had no water.  Chris checked the basement first to see if there were any burst pipes and leaking water.  (Ever since that burst pipe on my first Christmas here, which ruined half of my stuff, I am paranoid about burst pipes and flooding!)  No evidence of any burst pipes or flooding in our basement!  Thank God!!!

Since we don’t pay water directly–the condo association does, we called them.  The operator of the emergency line was going to get in touch with the property manager–and it might not have got dealt with until 8:30 this morning because there was no leaking water.

 So I called Bloomfield Township water dept.  When I got ahold of someone and told her that my water was out, she asked if I lived near Square Lake and Woodward.  Uh-huh, I do!  Turns out they had a water main bust and they were working on it…had been working on it since 10 pm. 

I get up this morning and it seems at first that we have water again.  Toilet flushes, water (and a lot of air) rushes out, and it all seems to be ok.  I go into the kitchen to feed Xaxu (Yes–he still demands that I feed him first thing every morning.)  There’s no water in the kitchen.  I check the front bathroom.  No water. 

 I call the Water dept. again.  Tell a different woman I have no water.  She asks if I live in the (name of my condo complex).  That would be a yes.  It’s the water main break–she has no estimate as to when it will be fixed.  I did get a more exact location on the break.  It’s a street on the other side of Square Lake from us. 

I’m not without water–we happened to have a gallon of bottled water in the house.  Will probably need to get more, though.  Hope it’s fixed soon, but who knows???

Baby Teeth

The other day when Hannah Rose was brushing her teeth she told me, “I need a whitening strip.” 

I managed to convince her that she’d be fine until her next dental cleaning and that in the meantime she should brush her teeth well to keep them white!

Love and You Will Be Free

Just got out of philosophy.  We are studying a section on the meaning of life.  We just finished studying Epicurus who is a hedonist (although he’s not concerned with a profligate life, but a prudent one).  He believes the way to THE GOOD is found through pleasure (and avoidance of pain).  THE GOOD is that which philosophers are interested in obtaining.  It’s defined differently by different philosophers but usually entails live a tranquil life/obtaining peace of mind.

We just started studying Epictetus (What is it with these Greek names?  What were their mothers thinking???) who is a stoic.  Stoicism is also concerned with finding THE GOOD and living a tranquil life, but it gets there differently.  Stoicism teaches that we should resign ourselves to fate, submit to our duty and thereby we will obtain peace.

Stoicism appealed to both slave and emperor.  (Epictetus was born a slave, and Marcus Aurelius was also a stoic.)  Stoicism is concerned not with what happens to us, but with our perceptions (as in judgments not the sensations that Epicurus was concerned with) of what happens to us. 

Seneca was also a stoic and I agree with his statement, “For mere living is not a good, but living well.”  That’s a concept I’ve been concerned with for as long as I can remember.  However, Seneca’s interpretation of this leads him to the belief that suicide is both ok and good.  I disagree.  If one’s life enters the condition of mere living Seneca would argue that one should then end it.  I would argue that one should work to make changes (in circumstances, perceptions, etc.) that would allow one to live well.

In reading what Epictetus had to say I think that Paul (of the New Testament) holds to some of these ideas within stoicism–namely that of being content within himself no matter what the circumstances outside of himself are. 

I don’t hold with all the ideas of stoicism.  Epictetus actually said, “Laugh seldom and about few things and with restraint.”  Science tells us laughing is good for the immune system, and those that laugh often are healthier.  For me, laughter is a part of living life well!

Nor do I agree with this idea that fate is unavoidable.  Being more of an existentialist I believe that humans always have choices.  In the extreme, if our choices are reduced there remains at least always one–the choice on how we will perceive our life, self, circumstances.  That choice is the only true choice that Epictetus believes we have.  He did get that right so I’ll give him some props there! 

Epictetus asserts that to be free one should focus on what one controls (“perception, intention, desire, aversion, and in sum whatever are our own doings) and that to attempt to seek or avoid what others control (body, property, reputation, political office and in sum, whatever are not our own doings) will make us a slave.  This led me to the thought–If you seek to be loved, you are a slave.  Love and you are free. 

Unsurprisingly, the previous thought led me to Viktor E. Frankl (an existentialist) who said that the poets were right when they said that “in and through love is man’s salvation.”  Frankl was not talking about being loved, but rather about loving someone (regardless of whether that person was present or even alive.)  In fact, loving someone is one of the three ways in which Frankl argues one can find meaning of life. 

You cannot make someone love you.  However, you can choose to love someone–whether they love you or not. 

Got my car back

Got my car back from Saturn last night.  I was supposed to have had it back on Monday, but when they went to fix the thermostat some intake tube or something like that broke during the repair process and they didn’t have one in stock so I had to wait till the next day (yesterday) for it to come in.  Wish it hadn’t cost so much to fix, though.  (They did an oil change, 60000 mile inspection, replaced the thermostat, spark plugs, and flushed the coolant system.)

Good news is that the light that would come on when I first started my car when it was cold did NOT come on this morning!!  Yay! 

With morning temperatures of 15 degrees when I’m leaving, I’m still dreaming of a remote starter.  However, that’s something that’s going to have to stay on “the list” for awhile. 

Love at first Dyson

Chris and I have been talking about getting a new vacuum cleaner for awhile.  The one I had was definitely better than the one he had, but it still wasn’t very adequate.  What’s worse is on this carpet (excepting the kitchen) the vacuum cleaner was very hard to use (and painful on my back and shoulder!).  It was supposed to be self-adjusting for different carpet types, but didn’t do so well.

We did a bit of research and finally decided to the get the Dyson DC15 Ball: Animal.  (Added bonus:  I had a coupon that let us save 20% off the cost at Bed, Bath and Beyond!) 

I love this new vacuum cleaner!  Those of you who have been so fortunate as to have Xaxu jump up on your lap know that he’s always shedding.  (No matter how much I brush him, either!)  This vacuum cleaner is supposed to be great for those with allergies (ME!) and with pets!  I vacuumed yesterday and could NOT believe the amount of stuff it got off this carpet!  It was pulling up stuff I couldn’t even see!!!  (Which is what you want in a vacuum cleaner, yes?)  It was also very easy to maneuver thanks to that innovative ball feature.

While Xaxu still does not like the vacuum, he didn’t run terrified from the room when I was using this one.  It’s not as loud as ones I’ve had before and I do believe the pitch is a bit different.

As an added bonus–it’s got a crazy crazy long cord.  I plug it in in the hallway, and I can vacuum the whole house without unplugging and replugging!!!

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