Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We'll miss you, Maggie Lou

Maggie: Sometime in the fall of 2000-9/23/09.

We never intended to keep her. In the fall of 2001, Eric's parents went on a vacation for a week or two and needed a cat sitter. They came home, and she just stayed with us. At first, I struggled with liking her. I had recently said good-bye to my childhood cat, Joy, who was a dainty, princess-like creature who had been a part of my life for sixteen of my twenty-two years. Maggie was a fat, lumbering, snappy kitty who didn't seem to want to get close to anyone. She'd had a hard year of life behind her already (due to illness and the affections of a particularly obloquious toddler of the previous owners before Eric's parents), and it took a while for her to warm up to a human relationship. But we loved her through it, and eventually, I even came to like her.

She was extremely independent in spirit, all the while being terribly dependent upon us for her care. We loved her through an eating disorder, issues with bladder sands, a liver infection that almost killed her in 2005, and finally an infected abdominal cyst that would ultimately mark the end of her life.

When we found the cyst earlier this summer and received the dire prognosis from the vet, we decided to make her as comfortable as possible and let her enjoy the summer. Since we had recently fenced in our backyard, she was allowed to roam freely while basking in the sun, chasing (and even catching!) chipmunks, and arguing with contentious squirrels. One such squirrel really hated her. Anytime she would walk outside and he was around, he would climb to a high point above her and chatter at her incessantly, even resorting to throwing acorns at her at times. Sometimes she would chase him, sometimes she'd chirp back, but mostly she would just ignore him and walk around the yard as if to let him know who really owned the property.

On the afternoon of her death, she was buried in the northwest corner of our backyard, behind some rose bushes. As she was removed from her box and placed in the ground, that very same squirrel came out of hiding, perched on the fence above her, and began his customary scolding. Maybe he didn't realize she was gone. Maybe he did, and it was his way of saying goodbye. Or maybe he just wanted to get in the last word.

Eric and Ian saying their goodbyes before taking Maggie to the vet. 9/23/09

We'll miss you, Maggie. Rest in peace.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My poor zucchini

So, we had a garden this summer, which was only semi-successful. Since the plot of land recently used to be in a trailer court, the soil was not so much, shall we say, fertile? Anyway, half of the 15x30' plot was great: zucchini, pole beans, tri-color snap beans, eggplants, hot red chili peppers (as opposed to Red Hot Chili Peppers....don't even get "Dani California" in my head -- I'll go crazy at approximately 2am tomorrow morning), and cucumbers all had a hay-day and produced like mad for at least a little while. The other half produced, well, not much: my tomatoes were sparse, my green peppers non-existent, my watermelon was eaten by something else, my lettuce and basil didn't even bother coming up, and my experiment with tomatillos was a complete failure. But, hey, I had TONS of zucchini. Well, at least dozens of pounds, especially when I let them grow too long and they became mammoth, like scary zucchini from Giant Land. In the midst of my mourning for produce never to be enjoyed, I was consoled by the fact that at least I wouldn't have to buy zucchini for, like, a year. I even chopped, shredded, and sliced them, then dutifully froze them in freezer bags for future use, all the while dreaming of the enchiladas, zucchini bread, and stir-fries I would be able to make all winter. Take a look at all this lovely zucchini, ready to be frozen:
Then, the unthinkable happened. Somehow, the freezer door in the basement was left ajar....for at least a day or two, who knows how long. What I found was nothing but bags of drippy, water-logged zucchini that will almost certainly never be good eats. And remember all those blueberries we picked? Yep, blueberry mush. I nearly cried.

But, since everything was still at least cool, we cleaned out the drippy freezer and tried to freeze everything again. We'll see what happens. At this point, what's lost is lost.

Oh, and after cleaning up the mess, I shimmied up the front of the freezer, which apparently had been tilting ever-so-slightly forward on our sloped basement floor, so that the door now swings shut with a nice "thump." Hopefully, nothing like this will happen again.

And maybe next year, our garden will produce more than just zucchini.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Here are Ian and his buddy A.J. at the IU football game this past weekend:
A.J.'s mommy and I were both pregnant during the fall of 2005, when we all met for the first time at tailgating, and we've been tailgating together ever since, even though Eric and I are only able to make it to a couple games a season now. This time, the boys had a great time playing catch at the new Knothole Park, the scaled-down replica of the Hoosiers' football field. Hopefully, these boys will always associate IU football with each other!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We Will Dance

This past weekend we had the privilege of taking a trip to Bloomington where we got to enjoy an IU football win on a beautiful sunny day, eat some of our favorite food, and see some of our favorite people. On Sunday, we visited our former church, where, I swear, they knew I was coming back and decided to play all of my favorite songs during worship.

As an added bonus, Pastor Bob preached a killer sermon (as usual) on Philippians 2:12-21 about Paul's joyful and eternal perspective in the midst of and even because of his imprisonment for the gospel. Here this guy was in prison, chained to a guard, sitting in his own filth...and rejoicing, simply because the good news about Christ was spreading and God was being glorified through his suffering. Sounds pretty crazy and super-human, huh? Pastor Bob encouraged us by pointing out that while Paul was exemplifying the perspective we ought to have, he was just as human as we are and didn't feel this way all the time. He surely had his moments of fear, doubt, and weakness (see the "thorn in the flesh" passage in 2 Corinthians 12), but by the grace of God, he was able to see things with an eternal perspective and therefore, was actually joyful that he was suffering at times and had sufficient courage because he had hope that God would be glorified through it all. That's all that mattered to him.

In response to the sermon, we sang with joy, "We Will Dance," an ECC classic that is usually sung after communion. They get all rhythmic and clap on the 2nd and 3rd beats, skipping the first...which is pretty progressive and difficult for a bunch of white people! I couldn't find a version to share with you that was up-tempo the way the ECC band plays it, but Clay Crosse's rendition is close. Enjoy:

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

10 years later

Labor Day 1999 at Warren Dunes: a Bethel tradition fosters the start of a glorious history.
Labor Day 2009 at Warren Dunes: We've only just begun....
And now we have a cool little kid to share life with! So blessed!
Swimming with Mimi and Papa. The water was freezing!!!
What's more fun than digging in the sand?