Sunday, February 19, 2012

Big Announcement

Well, here it is:

We're moving back to Texas!  Back to DFW, our old stomping grounds.  Back to the (general) place where we met and fell in love.  Back to the place where our families live.  Back to the world of Blue Bell and Pantera and Dubya. 

Andy has secured a job with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where he served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member before coming out to Pittsburgh.  It's a full-time position in Dallas, working with many people he already knows from before, including his former supervisor / mentor. And so, finally, we don't have to worry about what will happen after graduation (at least, that is, Andy doesn't), or that maybe grad school was a mistake, or that we'll just have to spend the rest of our lives biding our time until something happens to come along. 

It feels strange.

It's the first "career" job either of us has had, and it feels strange to know that it won't just end after a year, or when we graduate, or after a semester, or anything like that.  It will be there, indefinitely.  So surreal!

He begins on March 12, and will be flying out on March 9th.  We are very excited!

The sad part of our story is that I will be staying in Pittsburgh until the end of July, to finish out my AmeriCorps service year.  I've so enjoyed my time at Prospect Park, and I don't want to abandon my post and put my colleagues in a bind.  Besides, the extra few months give me time to earn income while I figure out what to do once I get to Dallas myself. 

So, we'll have 4.5 months of a long-distance relationship.  This is the part both Andy and I have been trying to forget.  I keep reminding myself that people do this sort of thing (deployments are a good example), and that we have phone calls, emails, Skype, snail-mail, and a million other ways to keep in touch in this day and age, but when I think about coming home to an empty apartment, and not having anyone to talk to after work . . .

Tears have been shed.  But we agree that this is the best for us in the long-run, and it's worth it to both of us. 

Plus, you know . . . Blue Bell Cookies 'n Cream.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Frobscottle and Whizzpoppers

[Andy and I have been reading The BFG, a book neither of us have read by one of our favorite writers.   The subject matter is quite juvenile, but it's presented in such a charming way that I can't help but love it.  I love the creative use of language, and the deep-thinking side of me likes the interest in cultural sensitivity. When I read it aloud, I had to stop in several places because I was laughing so hard. Maybe I'm really just as mature as a fourth grader.  Still, I think it's worth sharing.] 

"Here is frobscottle!" he cried, holding the bottle up proud and high, as though it contained some rare wine. "Delumptious fizzy frobscottle!" he shouted.  He gave it a shake and the green stuff began to fizz like mad.

"But look!  It's fizzing the wrong way!" Sophie cried.  And indeed it was.  The bubbles, instead of travelling upwards and bursting on the surface, were shooting downwards and bursting at the bottom.  A pale green frothy fizz was forming at the bottom of the bottle.

"What on earth is you meaning the wrong way?" asked the BFG.

"In our fizzy drinks," Sophie said, "the bubbles always go up and burst at the top."

"Upwards is the wrong way!" cried the BFG.  "You mustn't ever be having the bubbles going upwards! That's the most flushbunking rubbish I ever is hearing!"

"Why do you say that?" Sophie asked.

"You is asking me why?" cried the BFG, waving the enormous bottle around as though he were conducting an orchestra.  "You is actually meaning to tell me you cannot see why it is a scrotty mistake to have the bubbles flying up instead of down?"

"You said it was flushbunking.  Now you say it's scrotty.  Which is it?" Sophie asked politely.

"Both!" cried the BFG.  "It is a flushbunking and a scrotty mistake to let the bubbles go upwards!  If you can't see why, you must be as quacky as a duckhound! By ringo, your head must be so full of frogsquinkers and buzzwangles, I is frittered if I know how you can think at all!"

"Why shouldn't the bubbles go upward?" Sophie asked.

"I will explain," said the BFG. "But tell me first what name is you calling your frobscottle by?"

"One is Coke," Sophie said. "Another is Pepsi. There are lots of them."

"And the bubbles is all going up?"

"They all go up," Sophie said.

"Catasterous!" cried the BFG.  "Upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe!"

"Will you please tell me why?" Sophie said.

"If you will listen carefully I will try to explain," said the BFG.  "But your brain is so full of bugwhiffles, I doubt you will ever understand."

"I'll do my best," Sophie said patiently.

"Very well, then.  When you is drinking this cokey drink of yours," said the BFG, "it is going straight down into your tummy.  Is that right? Or is it left?"

"It's right," Sophie said.

"And the bubbles is going also into your tummy.  Right or left?"

"Right again," Sophie said.

"And the bubbles is fizzing upwards?"

"Of course," Sophie said.

"Which means," said the BFG, "that they will all come swishwiffling up your throat and out of your mouth and make a foulsome belchy burp!"

"That is often true," Sophie said.  "But what's wrong with a little burp now and again?  It's sort of fun."

"Burping is filthsome," the BFG said.  "Us giants is never doing it."

"But with your drink," Sophie said,"what was it you called it?"

"Frobscottle," said the BFG.

"With frobscottle," Sophie said, "the bubbles in your tummy will be going downwards and that could have a far nastier result."

"Why nasty?" asked the BFG, frowning.

"Because," Sophie said, blushing a little, "if they go down instead of up, they'll be coming out somewhere else with an even louder and ruder noise."

"A whizzpopper!" cried the BFG, beaming at her.  "Us giants is making whizzpoppers all the time!  Whizzpopping is a sign of happiness.  It is music to our ears!  You surely is not telling me that a little whizzpopping is forbidden among human beans?"

"It is considered extremely rude," Sophie said.

"But you is whizzpopping, is you not, now and again?" asked the BFG.

"Everyone is whizzpopping, if that's what you call it," Sophie said.  "Kings and Queens are whizzpopping.  Presidents are whizzpopping.  Glamorous film stars are whizzpopping.  Little babies are whizzpopping.  But where I come from, it is not polite to talk about it."

"Redunculous!" said the BFG.  If everyone is making whizzpoppers, then why not talk about it? We is now having a swiggle of this delicious frobscottle and you will see the happy result." The BFG shook the bottle vigorously.  The pale green stuff fizzed and bubbled.  He removed the cork and took a tremendous gurgling swig.

"It's glummy!" he cried.  "I love it!"

For a few moments, the Big Friendly Giant stood quite still, and a look of absolute ecstasy began to spread over his long wrinkly face. Then suddenly the heavens opened and he let fly with a series of the loudest and rudest noises Sophie had ever heard in her life. They reverberated around the walls of the cave like thunder and the glass jars rattled on their shelves. But most astonishing of all, the force of the explosions actually lifted the enormous giant clear off his feet, like a rocket.

"Whoopee!" he cried, when he came down to earth again.  "Now that is whizzpopping for you!"

-Roald Dahl, The BFG

Friday, February 3, 2012

I just realized it's been a month and a couple of days since the last post.  I'm sorry. I've been somewhat uninspired lately, at least where blogging is concerned.

Part of it, though, is that we're waiting right now, and posts about waiting are not that much fun.  Especially if you don't want to talk that much about the thing that has you waiting.  We're at the stage in our lives that it could be a lot of things, so go ahead, kids!  Let your imaginations run wild. 

It's a quiet Friday afternoon, and I'm sitting on the couch next to two kitties (by the way, we are currently housing two kitties) who are snuggled in the warmth of the sunlight streaming in through the window.  It's been an uncharacteristically mild winter so far, much more like the Texas winters I'm used to, so the heat is off in our apartment today.  It's beautiful, actually, and I enjoyed my walk to and from the bus station today.  The groundhog must have been wrong. 

Work is still going great.  Unsolicited hugs and kisses from tiny humans are highly recommended.  We were able to participate in Read Aloud with our buddies in the apartment downstairs (South Hills Interfaith Ministry), and it was a lot of fun.  I really, really love these families. Check it out:

Yeah, it's awesome.  I am so fortunate!

I've been practicing a little more (i.e., at all) lately, too.  It's funny, though.  In a lot of ways, the time away from my instrument has relaxed my playing, so I feel like it's actually easier to play in some respects, even though I'm pretty badly out of shape.  I think it's removed some of the anxieties I have about my own playing, and a lot of the negative self-talk that so often came into the practice room with me isn't an issue at the moment, because I can count it a success that I'm behind the instrument at all.  The result, then, is that I can focus on dissecting my playing to make it better, which allows me to be more clinical about it than emotionally driven. Pros and cons.  Interestingly enough, though, this is probably the first time in my life that I have ever practiced willingly, without any attached (outside) expectations.  Maybe not having those expectations is good for me, at least for the moment.  The sad thing is that I don't always have time to practice, so even when I want to, I can't always act on it. The allure of the unobtainable, I suppose, may also add to the appeal.

Anyway, all this talk about practicing is making me want to . . . you know . . . practice. Bye.