Thursday, June 17, 2010

in a stormy mood

I have been pining for Germany. 
For the rolling hills, the blumen fields, the cherry trees, and the afternoon thunderstorms. 
The other afternoon, the mood was perfect for a good thunderstorm.  The skies were grey and moody, the air was warm and a little damp, and we were all home with nothing to do. 
I sat in Garrett's room and I was sure I heard the pitter patter of rain on the roof.  But it was just the ceiling fan clicking with each rotation.  Now that I know that the fan sounds like rain, I know not to jump up and look out the window expecting to see rain.  Because every time I look, I just see our car in the driveway bespeckled from the sprinkler and the man across the street in his yard with his dogs.  He is literally ALWAYS outside with those dogs.  I wonder how his wife feels about it.  I digress.
I have been looking at our pictures of beautiful Deutshland and it only makes the pining worse. 
What I wouldn't give to hike from Riedlingen to Holzen through the forest and the grape vines. 
Or to walk into Kandern, through the golf course to buy groceries or maybe just ice cream. 
Or to make our way along the winding two lane roads on a drive to nowhere with flowering trees waving at us from either side of the lane. 
Or a salad from funfschilling sitting at a community table with strangers clamoring away in Deutsch all around me. 
Instead, I look at the pictures and dream of a life that doesn't involve Anaheim, endless freeways, strip malls, and a general sense of concrete at every turn.  The rush of Southern California is disenchanting. 
I long for an evening where there are no car alarms, blaring stereos from cars driving entirely too fast on our residential road or rowdy neighbor kids...
just the blissful hum of rain on the windows and the rumble of distant thunder.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Unnamed

I have dipped my little toe into the book world and almost drowned.  It is an overwhelming torrent of an impossibly large number of pages, blogs, books, magazines and all things penned.  Had I plunged my whole foot in I would have been ripped from solid ground and been lost.  But in dipping my little toe in, I discovered a book about which there was much hype.  That book is Joshua Ferris' The Unnamed.  Upon its release every outlet that I follow that talks about books was talking about this one, so I was naturally excited to get it.  I believe that the hype was well placed and that this book satisfied as any good story can.

First of all, it is wholly original.  The protagonist, Tim Farnsworth, is a powerful lawyer for a powerful firm.  He has a beautiful wife who loves him, and a typical teenage daughter who tries to avoid contact with her parents as much as possible.  Tim is a genuinely satisfied man.  Except for his disease.  He walks.  And it is this unique conflict that the reader must simply accept, and suspend belief in an irrational, illogical disease.  If you are unable to believe in a walking disease then don't bother.  But Ferris' words are quite convincing.  Tim spontaneously starts walking, while at work, while in court, wakes up from being asleep, and just starts walking.  Not even exhaustion stops him, his body carries him further than he imagines possible.  After a walking spell he collapses, falls into the deepest of sleep, and then wakes up and calls his wife to come and get him. Wherever he might be.

The second satisfying aspect of this book is that it is about marriage; and that marriage is good.  In a society where divorce is rampant and the Christian culture isn't immune, it is stunning and refreshing to read a book that praises a strong marriage, and encourages staying together in the face of struggles-especially in the face of struggles.  One passage in particular gave me an image of what I would hope to experience with Laura in 20 years.  Tim and his wife, Jane, meet up for lunch after their working mornings, "Later that day at an early lunch they talked about what had transpired since breakfast, which was nothing, really, but they talked as if they hadn't seen each other in a while.  They had lived another half a day and that time had gone by without incident and they were together again, and this alone made them talkative."  It is the simplicity of this scene that I love.  They had been through the most difficult of times and yet here in an unremarkable moment they take joy in nothing more than the company of each other. 

But that is by no means the end of the story.  Without giving too much of the story away, it is easy to see how Tim's walking disease is really just an allegory for cancer, or Alzheimer's, or some other disastrous malady that can plague a person and wreck a couple and a family.  But this story's strength lies in the hope of the strength that a loving, committed family can provide. 

At first, I fell in love with the way this book took on the challenge of showing the thrill and struggle of marriage.  As it progressed into more of a drama I was surprised but captivated by the plot, and when I was tricked into a sense of sympathetic recovery I couldn't wait to get to the real resolution.  I wanted to skip ahead, and I didn't really care about the journey through the remaining pages that I would miss.  Except that I did care.  I just wanted to stay up all night to finish this story.  So I give this book a solid recommendation.  There is repeated use of the big eff, but it is grouped into bursts and then ignored for some time.  Also, there is sex in this book.  There are no graphic, drawn out descriptions, but there are passages about the nocturnal joys of marriage. 

The Unnamed is 310 pages.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our little SWIMMER

Last night, we tried Garrett's sun hat and swimsuit on him.  You can see how thrilled he is with the hat.

Well, we had to make sure it fit for our swim date today.  We both donned our swimsuits (scarier for Mommy than Garrett, I am sure!), launched the float toy, and next thing you know, he was swimming.  Ok, he was just kicking his legs, but that is sure a start!

Since Adam couldn't be there (someone has to work to pay for the little swimsuits), I was under strict instruction to document the day.  So, here is the video proof of Garrett's first swim.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I know what you are thinking...

that woman is spectacular!

She makes cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, chocolate souffle cupcakes with mint whipped cream, chocolate cake dips, delicious corn, delicious sticks.  But all those desserts are just the icing on the cake!


Icing on the cake...desserts..get it?  She is spectacular because she'd also laugh at that joke.  Or at least laugh at me while looking at me in a loving/pitying way.

This woman is spectacular because she is a master of finances, keeping our household in the black and still finding ways for us to have a few occasional treats. 

She makes my lunches during the week.

She enjoys going to book stores.

She enjoys making delicious dinners.

She is so darn cute!

But mostly she is spectacular because she is an incredible mother.  This weekend I've been able to see first hand, many times, just how good she is at mothering.  She has been having "tummy time" with Garrett every day and helping him prepare for rolling over.  If it was left to me I don't think I'd ever think of such a thing.  I'd just keep placing him on his back and expect him to just one day figure it out. 

She has conversations with Garrett.  She narrates her day to our son and tells him all sorts of interesting things.  I'd just stare at him hoping he would smile soon. 

She named the stuffed animals in Garrett's room and has him play with them.  I'd never think to do that. 

Last night, Laura, judge at the church's chili cook-off, was smart enough (and kind enough) to thrill many women by passing him around.  She said she was socializing him.  Garrett needs to be used to the arms of others, not just Mommy and Daddy. 

She is spectacular because, not only is she a great mom, she still makes time to take Bobby out on a walk everyday. 

I love this woman!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Scenes from graduation

Saturday was a very exciting day for the DeClercq family: Ricky graduated from Biola.  He is the third (if you count me, except I was a Bostwick when I graduated) of us to graduate.  And Joey is prepared to be the fourth since he is transferring there in the fall. 
Here are some pictures from the big day...

listening to Joni Erickson Tada speak

Ricky getting his empty diploma cover from President Corey

waiting for Uncle Ricky

there he is

it's bright out there

we survived another outing!