Archive for category Roadtrips and Travels
TweetThe combination of being pregnant and growing older makes me more attached to being at home. More and more, I take restorative comfort in the familiar couch, the wooden frames of our dining room threshold, the little nooks and crannies that make home HOME.
No matter how exciting the roadtrip, no matter how great the people we are venturing off to see, no matter how climactic the event we attend, these days, the thought of leaving home means two things: it’s going to be a long trip because we have to stop all the time for me to stretch or use the loo, and, if we’re staying overnight, I will lose sleep and be even more tired the next day.
So, you can imagine how excited I was to get through this past weekend which marked the absolute last planned roadtrip for me. On Saturday, I headed to Columbus for a conference I was to present at and have been preparing for diligently for weeks (hence the few blog posts in October).
My plan was to head to the heart of the heartland on Friday when I get an odd text from my buddy Christy whose house I was to be staying at Friday night. In the text she informs me she is sick but I am still welcome to stay.
Clearly, she has not been informed that I am the lead consumer of Purell’s hand sanitizer and the most informed citizen reading the CDC’s website. (Center for Disease Control)
How sick, I ask?
“…well, it’s knocked me off my feet this week.”
Christy, my childhood friend who was the first person I met when I moved to Ohio when I was 8 years old, was the lead point guard on our basketball teams. She was an athletic volleyball player and is a general knows no sickness kind of gal. For her to say she was knocked off her feet means for a pregnant, low immunity system waddler like myself these days, there was a 35% of my collapsing Saturday morning from her bug and a 100% chance of my getting SOME sort of viral infection.
It was a no brainer.
So, I had no place to stay in Columbus Friday night and ended up getting up at 5:15am Saturday morning (OOOOUUUUUCCCCCCCHHHHHH) and driving to Buckeyeland for the conference that started at 8am with registration. My presentation wasn’t until 9:40am, but I wanted to get there early and test out my AV equipment and relax.
At 5:15am, I expected to crawl like a cavewoman out of bed, dreading the cold, and trying to leave Nick undisturbed. To my sweet surprise, Nick, the loyal cheerleader he is for all things I try to achieve, pops out of bed when the alarm sounds, turns on all the lights, and starts fist pumping. I was putting on my jewelry and make-up with the speed of a tortoise when he begins blasting Kanye West’s, “Stronger,” (my favorite pump me up song) and starts clapping like it’s game day. I smile.
I make it to Columbus without any problems and my presentation on feminism, race, and politics in the Midwest goes beautifully. I receive countless compliments from professors from all over the country and even an invitation to submit my work into an academic journal. The raving strokes my very tired and dusty ego which hasn’t been activated in a long time. Around 2pm, I duck out when I feel Isaiah happily kicking his excitement and my already low bank of energy begin to go into the red.
I head home to Cleveland.
Nick and I celebrate Saturday night with a dinner date at Anatolia Cafe, a mediterranean restaurant not far from our house and beam like stars at our table. It was wonderful but I was glad that the traveling piece was over. That night, I nearly drowned taking a extra bubbly bubble bath to relax because I nearly fell asleep in the warmth of our new tub. (I guess I’m not used to such luxuries.)
And so, here we are, approaching week 30 of pregnancy, and continuing our efforts to make room for Isaiah and prepare the nursery. As he gains momentum, weight, and strength with each passing week, my appetite and fatigue are skyrocketing. I believe I slept 11 hours straight Saturday night and still felt like I could use a nap in the afternoon. Knowing, though, that I have no plans for the rest of the pregnancy relaxes my body and mind.
Nick I agreed last night that each week of pregnancy feels like you’re counting upward toward 40 weeks. 5 weeks. 10 weeks. 20 weeks. But once you hit 30 weeks, it suddenly feels like you’re counting down. Very similar to New Year’s Eve, we’re just anxiously waiting for the Big Apple (Big Baby) to slowly drop and make his way into the world.
TweetThis weekend, Nick and I travled to Cincinnati for a wedding that I was shooting. Thanks to Julie Ryan, who referred me to a friend and co-worker, I was hired to work with a terrific couple for their August 1 wedding.
Now, I’ve shot weddings before and am co-shooting another one with a friend in a couple weeks, but this was one in which I had total responsibility from beginning to end with no back-up photographer, just moi. And Nick, who was my assistant.
The day was awesome but physically exhausting. I knew it was going to be a lot. I’m 4 months pregnant and not the same BOUNCY self as I normally am when unpregnant. But, I have lots of energy to give, still, and this wedding took all of it and then some. Basically from 10am – 10pm, I was shooting, directing, posing people, adjusting, crouching, and sweating like the world was my personal sauna. As I write this, Monday morning, my shoulders are still very sore and I can barely move my arms in a full circle with a small grimace. If you’d like a good shoulder/bicep/tricep workout, I’d suggest holding a DSL camera with an attached full lens and SB600 Nikon flash up to your face and running for 12 hours. See how awesome you feel. Let me know.
Overall, everything was great and only when I was going through one stressful moment did I feel any real sense of panic when my camera wasn’t cooperating with me. Usually an even-tempered digital gadget, my camera decided to have a temper tantrum for four minutes. My blood pressure sky rocketed to the blazing sun until I felt the little life inside me churning in the amniotic fluid, yanking on the umbilical cord for dear life and screaming, “MOM! BREATHE! I NEED OXYGEN!” And so, like the loving mother I am, I took a breath.
Nick as assistant and father to be could not have been more perfect. He chauffered me around from house, to church, to Eden Park, to reception with a car blasting air conditioning, cold water for me to drink waiting, and food so I didn’t pass out. He held groomsmen jackets, carried bridesmaid bouquets when the pictures didn’t call for flowers, and joked with the bridal party to relax everyone for the poses.
Nick carried my equipment, propped the church doors when no one in the recieving line did so the line flowed faster, spoke with the priests about the mass and regulations around flash photography, and took away my tripod when I was done with it.
More than one person asked, “Who is that cute guy with you? He’s not a guest is he? I don’t recognize him. IS HE YOUR HUSBAND?! HE’S SO CUTE.”
When someone compliments the good-looks of your spouse, it’s hard not to smile inside and shrug as if to say, “well, of course…”
But I just nod and say something along the lines of, “Yes, we’re married and yes, he is handsome.”
As with many challenges, I couldn’t have done it without Nick’s unyielding support, sound advice, and unwavering belief in my artistic perspective. To create art, to see something beyond what most people see, you have to believe in your own capacity to create something amazing. To do that, you have to relax. Nick does an unparalleled job of relaxing me, helping me remember why I decided to pursue this passion of mine, and believe in me.
Gracias, mi amor.
We left the reception at 10pm and headed to wish my friend Mary Kay a Happy 30th Birthday. We could only stay a brief 30 minutes or so because we were off to Cleveland from there. Still kind of wired from the day, we rode in silence back up north and I soon drifted off into an uncomfortable sleep in the passenger seat. Dreamy scenes floated across my brain of backdrops, family portraits, tuxes, dresses, and flowers. At 3am, we arrived home and I could barely make it into the house. My body hated me. The baby, I knew, hated me.
Nick, juiced up from caffeine, opened the windows and rolled the bed down for me where I collapsed. My muscles decided to stiffen up and not work and I laid in bed wondering how I could be so fatigued and unable to return sleep.
My poor abused spouse descended from his iced coffee high and fell into a deep sleep while I realized at 5am that I was not able to sleep. My stomach growled. The baby growled.
I tiptoed to the kitchen and stared at the dismal display of food options in our regridgerador. We’d been out of town for four weekends which means no serious grocery shopping had occurred in over month.
A toasted English muffin with cheese was my 5am breakfast snack. Once in my belly, I drifted off to sleep.
Sunday was a much needed day of being in Cleveland, seeing our house in the daylight hours of a weekend, and breathing in the rare Sunday morning air from our own bedroom, our own church, our own backyard. We quietly worked on landscaping, finding escape in the pruning of our trees, uprooting overgrown weeds, and catching up with our neighbors. It felt wonderful to be home.
Instead of restaurant food, fast food, or eating at someone else’s dinner table, we made simple spaghetti for dinner and loved sinking into our own couches and watching rented movies while we sifted through mail and aired out the house.
I hate cliches. I hate cliches as much as I hate ignorance, snobby attitudes, and drivers who turn without using their turn signal, but I must use a cliche this one time and one time only:
there’s no place like home.
TweetThe truth of the matter is that life is complex. Life is complicated and busy as a pesky summer bee.
I feel that is all I can say after I look at the unimpressive amount of blogging done in the past few weeks. And sometimes I get so behind in this particular blog that I end up just drifting by important events – like the Charleston trip – without really showing the true brilliant colors of the experience.
So, let’s just start with what’s most recent: this past weekend.
Nick headed to Russia with his family immediately after Charleston for Abby Cordonnier’s wedding, his cousin, and I flew home to Cleveland to work two days before joining him in Russia. The two days were uneventful and full of sleepy catch-up days in the real world. Charleston is kinda magical. I felt like the architecture of the south has some sort of time-travel element built into its columns and bricks. I felt like I was in Gone with the Wind, Sweet Home Alabama, or Forest Gump at times. The houses were just beautiful. Our time there was filled with a lot of beach, exploration, Tripoly, and an euchre tourney.
But, we eventually returned to the real world and headed to Abby’s wedding. It was beautiful, as anticipated.
One thing I noticed is that I am getting much better at being on time for a wedding than I used to be. Now that the Borchers house is getting more and more snug with an expanding family, I have learned when to aggressively hog the shower first in the morning and iron my clothes before everyone else notices they need these amenities. With me, Nick, ( + Baby), Kelly, Tim, Jay, Keith, and his girlfriend Anna, it’s a tight run ship on Voisard street. Luckily, after 4 years of marriage and about 6-7 years of Russia trips, I’ve learned a few tricks to being on time.
Abby and Marcus’ wedding stood out for a few reaons, but like I’ve written before, there’s always one thing that will catch my attention. For this wedding, it was the speeches. Quite possibly, this wedding had the best speeches I’ve ever heard overall. And there were plenty – both of Abby’s parents spoke, Marcus’ father, the matron of honor, best man, and even Abby and Marcus themselves spoke. That’s a lot of talking and very impressive for each and every one to hold the attention of the audience with their wit, insight, and words. Bravo!
When I got home, Nick had to scoot off to work for a meeting and I decided to weed and prune some landscaping outside. I guess this was sorely needed because FOUR different neighbors stopped by to tell me what a great job I was doing and how wonderful it was that I was spending so much time taking care of our landscaping. Soon, the 30 minutes I had planned for myself became a 2.5 hour vendetta and I stopped only when Nick came home from his meeting and the sun had all but disappeared.
As Nick happily reviewed my hard work and the piles of branches, twigs, and greenery set out for pick-up, he threw his arm around my shoulder, “Great work, babe!”
I smiled an exhausted smile and mumbled how I wanted to go to bed.
Then he said, “Hey, what’s lighting up inside your shirt?”
I looked down to see a curious yellow light blinking, sandwiched between my green tank top and skin. All my gardening tools crashed on the driveway as I yelped and screamed and nearly tore my shirt in my frantic attempts to get whatever was in my shirt off my skin. Images of spiders, centipedes, and event tarantulas flooded my brain.
As a lightning bug innocently flew away from my shirt, Nick whooped a hearty laughter and picked up my gardening tools scattered on the ground. Too tired to tell him to stop laughing at me, I headed inside and collapsed on the couch.
Next weekend: Stacy Condon’s wedding and golf tourney for the Borchers clan.
TweetLast night I woke up at 5am with a terrible pain jetting across my stomach and the driest mouth in the free world.
I was moaning and wailing and then crying helplessly on my side of the bed, looking pathetically at Nick who was sleeping soundlessly on his side.
I guess after I scooted down the bed like an old lady, holding my stomach like it was going to fall off my body and grabbing Nick’s right leg like a hand rail to guide me toward the edge of the mattress, he woke up.
“What do you need, babe?” He sounded wide awake.
I start practicing deep breaths even though I haven’t taken any birthing classes, “I just need some water.” Nick gets up and tries to help me up but I tell him to get back in bed.
I trapse to the kitchen and run the water bill into the hundreds as I turn into a camel with a pink bathrobe draped on my shoulders. I drink glass after glass of water. I can’t get enough.
Now I am wide awake.
I think about the past few days. My temper’s been flaring over small things. Then I get weepy. Then I’m elated. Then I am depressed because I don’t know why I’m sad. Then I’m elated again.
So, today at work, I look up, “Symptoms for Week 14 in Pregnancy.”
After reading this is what I text to Nick at work:
“I read today that it’s COMPLETELY normal to have severe mood swings as pregnancy progresses and it’s probably all hormones.”
Nick texts back, “Well, that’s exciting.”
The pregnancy so far, physically, has been uneventful – just the way we like it. Other than my emotions being everywhere, I haven’t been sick (knock on wood) save a handful of bad headaches, and my energy is returning to where I am able to exercise somewhat regularly without problems or fatigue.
But the belly bulge is peaking and I’m NOT repeat NOT going to be posting any ridiculous pictures of my pregnancy stomach. I think that’s something a former anorexic patient decided to do once she began a healthy pregnancy and gained weight. No…call me reserved or a little shy, the only one who gets the side angles are me and my full length mirror.
Big weekend approaching. Family Borchers is heading south to Charleston for our family vacation. I am looking forward to literature that doesn’t matter, games of Tripoly, and yapping my head off with the Borchers.
Another plus about being pregnant — for this trip, instead of driving the 11 hours and stopping every hour to either use the bathroom or stretch my legs, I’m flying while the rest of the clan hits the road. Ahh, I’m too pampered….
TweetOur 4th of July weekend was terrific. It was terrific in a kind of firecracker way, not big boom fireworks kind of way.
Nick came back from his week long service trip Friday afternoon and we both needed a quiet evening at home before a long weekend of activities. So we made dinner and rented Revolutionary Road and invited our friend Alexis over who brought three boxes of ice cream to share. We feasted on just mint chocolate chip and gave the movie a B rating for compelling themes but mediocre acting. Nick, who obviously read the book, kept commenting how much one loses in cinema as compared to literature. He likes to rub it in that he’s such a book worm.
That night, I think I fell asleep face down in my pillow. I was exhausted.
Saturday afternoon was spent cleaning up the house, running errands, and enjoying the beautiful weather. I know my energy level is depleting as my pregnancy marches on when I have to take a 1 hour nap after mowing the lawn. Apprehensive as my Dad on prom night, Nick wondered if it would be safe for me to mow the lawn. I assured him that as long as he can rev the motor up for me, I can take care of the rest.
The jittering and jostling may have taken more out of me than I would care to admit, but I laid on the couch afterward and fell asleep. Snoring as loud as the mower itself.
Then we headed off to Christina and Brian Emerson’s for a BBQ. Nick dominated at cornhole while I ate a hamburger like I’ve never eaten before. My appetite, to put it lightly, fluctuates. Somedays I can barely swallow three grapes without feeling like a stuffed cabbage. Other days I feel like eating a rhino would not suffice. Saturday was a rhino kind of day.
Then we watched the fireworks and I got all sappy and happy sitting on the lawn and thinking how by next year, we’ll have a little live firework in the flesh of our own.
Sunday afternoon was spent in Canton, Ohio where Nick and I went to a baptism reception. My highschool friend, Becca, married and now lives in England but her son, Logan was baptized here in her hometown and had a gathering to celebrate the little tyke’s induction to the holy Kingdom. I saw a bunch of highschool buds and it was great to catch up after so many years.
And that was our weekend.
Upcoming weekends are going to N-U-T-S.
July 11-15 Borchers’ family vaca to Charleston, SC
July 17-19 Russia bound for Staci Condon’s wedding
July 24 -26 Russia bound for Abby Cordonnier’s wedding
July 31 – Aug. 2 Cincy bound for a wedding I’m shooting (like, for money!)
And if you’re wondering how everything else is going — all I can say is the God honest truth: splendid.
Nick is wonderful.
I am wonderful.
Baby is wonderful.
(You are wonderful, too, in case you need a pick me up.)
TweetJune 4th unfolded much like every morning of our previous anniversaries. We wake up, greet HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and then look at the clock, wondering what part we were at in our big day 4 years earlier.
After a few minutes of reminiscing, I’ll say, “OK, let’s watch the slideshow.”
And Nick always says, “Yes, good idea.”
So we hobble to the TV, put in our slide show from our reception and watch the pictures go by. From the opening chords of the background music, it’s just floodgates from my end of the couch. OH PATHETIC. I am bawling before my childhood pictures are even over. When I see pictures of my parents, I think, “OH those poor people! What they sacrificed to raise four children! I was so ungrateful and now our children are going to think the same of us! How naive we all are until we ourselves become parents!” The bawling continues.
Nick remains relatively calm until the music switches and the pictures turn to an adorable pretty blond baby (clearly that is not me) and it’s Nick’s turn to lose control. Nick doesn’t say anything, but he gets all choked up and his eyes fill as pictures of Russia, his siblings, his parents, his sporting events, his life parades on by…
It’s a good thing we only do this tradition once a year, because we wouldn’t get anything done in the mornings otherwise.
We head off to work for a 1/2 day and then celebrate later that afternoon with small, thoughtful gifts, dinner at J. Alexander’s, and then Dairy King for soft serve ice cream. We cap off the evening watching the Lakers demolish the Magic.
The weekend takes us to Cincinnati. Nick and I haven’t been to Cincinnati together in nearly a year or so and it was terrific to see everyone. Nick had Eric Rosenbeck’s bachelor party and I was to house-hop, seeing friends and catching up and then going to a Patty Griffin concert with my friend, Claire Mugavin at Riverbend.
Cincinnati hasn’t changed, but Xavier continues to respond to a “rapidly changing global society,” (that’s in their mission statement and I heard it 294874729 times over the four years I was there) and it’s looking entirely different since Nick and I were there. Good ol’ XU. It felt great to revisit our old home.
We concluded the busy weekend in southern Ohio with lunch at Arthur’s in Hyde Park with all the Borchers siblings. Over a ridiculous 2-serving order of fried cheese, we caught up on the latest job updates, friend updates, spouse/significant other updates, and anything else we thought critical to say. It was so nice to just relax and spend time with family.
Albeit wonderful, there’s nothing like heading home and unwinding in your own house. Nick replaced all the storm windows with screens so there is a lovely breeze moving through our house and my allergies have subsided.
As summer slowly approaches, Nick, Plum, and I continue to be extremely grateful for all the friends and family in our lives.
Hope your summer is unfolding as great as ours!
TweetIt has been back to back weekends that we’ve hit the ROOSH, aka, Russia, Ohio…the undeniably tiny but lovable town of Raider pride.
The weekend of May 9th, we headed out there for Lindsey Grogean’s wedding. As a wedding photographer and technology geek, I always pay close attention to innocuous details that I am certain no one in the free world would care about — like what camera the photographer is using, or how well-edited the slideshow was done. While every wedding is different, this one stuck out to me in particular for a few reasons. One of them was how genuinely happy the bride and groom looked at the altar. I know that many folks are uncomfortable with a zillion people staring at you, but IT’S YOUR WEDDING DAY! Not the time to be pulling a shy act.
And this couple just looked so peaceful and joyful, I was already tearing up when they took their seats at the beginning of mass. Hands down, this was the most smiley groom I’ve ever seen in my life, possibly even surpassing Nick when he told me, “I Do” four years ago. (That’s A LOT of smiling.)
The second thing was their slideshow. It was terrific because at the end of it, there was a lovely montage edited snippets of family and friends talking to the camera and sending their well-wishes, something I tried to pull off for Kelly Borchers now Kelly Norris, but when I proposed the idea to Nick and his brothers, all of them agreed with three words, “TOO MUCH WORK.” Not for me, but to get everyone to submit something on camera, on time, and with creativity. Too bad for Kelly, it would’ve been awesome.
Anyway, these two lovebirds have some real characters in their life because each person was so unique with their well-wishes, it was hard not to be captivated by their humor. One person was doing a sock puppet show, another was by the railroad tracks, another had a gigantic stuffed animal he kept kissing…it was hilarious and heart-warming to see how beloved two people can be.
I love weddings.
And this particular wedding kicked off the wedding season for Nick and I. And what a terrific start it was…
TweetOver the weekend I went to Hocking Hills for the first time. I went with a group of women who dubbed the getaway, “Wild Women’s Weekend.”
Believe me, there was nothing wild about it, except how we got CRAZY and ate sweet potato quesadillas, cheesecake, lasagna, and about thirty pounds of fresh carrots with hummus.
It’s been a long time since I shared a big house with 16 other women. Of the sixteen, I knew three very well and the rest by connection or acquaintance. It struck me that I was one of the oldest among them, at a ripe 30 years of age, and as I continue to wear my thirty crown, I am blessed to have weekends where I just giggle, write, exercise, and go for hikes around caves and waterfalls. I don’t have a neurotic husband who doesn’t know how to feed himself or have the lovely grace/burden of children who need their Mama.
It was the first time in a long time I had back to back nights of 2am/3am bedtimes. This morning, Wednesday, was the first day I felt really recovered. Whatta wimp I am.
When I returned home, my voicemail message box was full (no phone reception in the woods) and it suggested I delete messages to make room for new ones. Considering I am eagerly waiting for interviews and job prospects, that might be a good idea.
Some messages were quite hilarious. Of the several I received, here were the classics:
[insert angry tone] Hi, Leese. It’s Victor. I don’t know where you are or why you’re not picking up the phone, but I’d like to wish my sister a Happy Birthday on her actual birthday. So, pick up next time will you?
[insert exasperation] Hey, Leese, it’s Tricia. Why don’t you pick up your freaking phone?! Pick up! Pick up! We have to talk. You won’t believe who called me. I know it’s your birthday, but I have to tell you something.
[insert happy] Heeeyyyy, Leese, it’s Jennnniiiifffeerrrr! How are you? Just calling to say Happy Birthday. We really need to chat! Why do we wait so long to talk? Here’s an incentive to call me: I think I might be in love! AHAHHAHAAH – how’s that? Call me!
[from Mike, a childhood friend] I swear, back in the day, I once gave someone a humongous New Kids on the Block card. If I could get another one I would give it to you now. Happy Birthday.
[from Leslie, former colleague] At 30, I was dating ugly men and making bad decisions, you’re doing awesome!
[from Kristie, good bud] I hate to tell you this on your birthday, but you might be crazy.
TEXT AND VIDEO MESSAGES
[from Amanda, one of my best friends] records herself singing and dancing to, “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves
[text from Alexis, friend and former co-worker] writes: HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY FAVORITE MUFFIN IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE.
So, a big thank you to all those who sent me wonderful and fun-filled greetings. It was a birthday I shall never forget.
TweetAs some of you may recall, Nick and I often go on trips with our awesome friends Vanessa Lombardo and Tom Ball, recently married and even more recently prego. (Due date – July 09)
The halfway point between New Jersey and Ohio, respectively, is Schellsburg, PA. So, we packed up, drove halfway, and stayed last Thursday – Saturday in a lovely and charming old country house in the…well, country. There’s not much around in Schellsburg.
We arrived Thursday evening and immediately began on what we do best: talk and eat appetizers.
In addition to the great company and conversation, we took a trip to Gravity Hill.
I was so excited for this, I feel asleep in the car on the way there.
Apparently, on this “hill,” if you put your car in neutral (read, it shouldn’t go anywhere), your car defies gravity and begins rolling UP HILL.
(Inside joke for Tom and Vanessa) THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE.
Well, it’s apparently possible.
While investigating Gravity Hill, a little miscommunication between Nick and I ended in a small ruffle. While I jumped out of the car and said, “I need to take a picture.” Nick heard, “I want to take pictures.”
He heard plural. I meant one. Usually, when I say I want to take pictures (plural) that means I need at least 15 minutes to snap a few good landscape shots. But I didn’t want a lot, I just wanted one. Nick thought I said otherwise.
Leaving my jacket in the car, I hobbled out into the cold winds of the mountain and proceeded to take a picture of the pretty outdoors.
Then the car left.
With my sweatshirt on, I ignored them, thinking they were just joking and starting walking toward them.
Then the car takes off.
Not sure what to do, I stand in the middle of the road and notice a menacing looking dog galloping toward me and starts sniffing my legs, greedily wanting my bone marrow, I’m sure. This whole episode takes about 8 minutes resulting in me jumping back into the car when it returns and bursting into tears. I *hate* being out of control and cold.
Nick is apologetic. I am embarrassed.
We get over it and Tom buys us whoopie pies, which are basically Suzi-Q cakes on steroids with enough frosting to kill an army of kindergarteners.
So, the weekend continues with more chatter about Baby Lom-ball-do, Tripoly, and enchiladas.
On Saturday afternoon, Nick and I took off and headed right into the snow mess that was blanketing NE Ohio. Terrific.
Fifteen miles into our drive, we see signs for the Flight 93 Memorial from 9/11. Of course we stop and stay about 35 minutes to see what was there.
The pictures tell more than we ever could. We both got teary as we saw the pictures of the 40 passengers and heard their stories of love, courage, and final good-byes.
There is a plan to finish the memorial in 2011, the ten year anniversary of the attacks.
As we drove home, of course, I fell asleep and entrusted my life to Nick’s driving capabilities.
After about five hours, we are unable to enter our driveway because the snow is too deep. We park in the street and dig out the shovels from the garage. As we begin working, Nick stops and says, “Wait, let’s think about this.”
I wait. “Ok. What are we thinking about?”
Nick looks at the house, “What direction does our house face?”
I have no idea what in the hell he is talking about, “I really have no clue. What do we need that for? Let’s shovel.”
Nick is looking around, “What direction is the wind blowing?”
“How should I know? The wind blows in all directions. I’m digging, no more questions.”
He explains, “I’m just trying to figure out snow drifts and stuff.”
I counter, “This I realize, but I don’t feel like standing outside talking while we have a foot of snow burying our driveway.”
We get to work.
About 40 minutes later, we run out of steam and only have about half of the driveway cleared.
Good enough for now.
Yeah, winter’s here.
To say our eating habits have been questionable for the past week would be the understatement of 2008. Since Christmas Eve, we have been snacking, nibbling, eating, and tasting everything that comes in front of us. Nick and I are now in Virginia, visiting my folks after a another trademark hurricane Christmas season. The travels are adding a few inches to our bellies. But, that’s what the holidays are for – a little indulgence.
Christmas Eve mass was spent at our parish where we got 2nd pew seats because Nick was Eucharistic minister and one of God’s top ten. As wife, I get a special view, too. We ignored the warnings to avoid the 4pm mass, which was rumored to be a madhouse with all the children attending, and I should have brought peanuts to feed the wild things. It was a gorgeous mass, but, woah…it was crazy.
From there, we went to Massillon, my old stomping grounds, and opened up gifts with my sister, brother, and their kids. We had a meal large enough for the US Army and barely put a dent in it. Nick and I camped out on their couches and were awakened at approximately 6am to a 3 year old loudly whispering, “Is Santa going to come through the chimney or the door?”
We stayed to watch the kids tear into their presents which included the largest toy dinosaur I’ve ever seen. A little around 8am, we took off for Russia. As every year, we attended the Cordonnier side and then the Borchers and made off with great gifts including a beautiful print out of a Cordonnier family tree, iTunes gift cards, a printer, food processor, a new camera lens, and hefty gift certificates. Nick received, twice, his request for a DVD copy of A League of Their Own. HOORAY!
The Borchers family had an unusual debacle of cinematic proportions when we went to see Valkyrie, the newest Tom Cruise movie. We ended up splitting up, uneven orders of popcorn, and a disastrous miscommunication about seating. The results were Kelly declaring it one of the worst moments EVER and Nick straining his neck for a full minute to see if anyone was going to pass him a bucket of popcorn. Keith reappears from the bathroom just as the movie begins while Jay and I just decide to keep quiet and watch the previews. It’s one of those situations that doesn’t sound like a big deal but just is when you’re experiencing it. Lesson: always communicate before going into a family movie experience as to who is sitting where, how much popcorn should be ordered, who needs to go to the bathroom, and never ask questions if you get separated.
We all headed to Columbus to sadly watch the OSU Buckeyes get a spanking from West Virginia’s bball team and then headed to Champ’s for dinner. Kelly’s husband, Tim, was nearly drowning in excitement to watch the UFC fights that night and so we headed off to his place for good night of Bud Light and UFC blood. Happy Holidays!
Nick and I took off Sunday morning for Virginia, where we are now, to spend time with my parents who couldn’t make it up to Ohio for the holidays. It’s amazing outside – a near 65 degrees – and Nick and I took a hike this morning for fresh air. It feels like the middle of April.
We’ll be here until the new year to help celebrate a few things: our nephew Jesse turns the big TWO today. Tomorrow, my folks celebrate their 37th wedding anniversary, and, of course, we’ll toast 2009 in together as well.
Cheers to the holidays and safe travels!