Monday, May 28, 2007

Snappy and Clever title

I wanted to be clever this post. I wanted to think of a smart, snappy title and a clever opening paragraph. Instead, this is what you get. Sorry. I haven't written for so long that there really is a lot to say; things about arriving in Virginia, moving in, getting ready for Samuel's reception, settling it. But I just summarized it in the previous sentence, and I think that will do for me. After all, I've never been one to spend a long time on catching up on the past.

I do want to write a about a couple of things. First off, Lydia is walking now. She really began last Monday, but I think the idea occurred to her last Sunday. She's very cute at it, like all new walkers I am sure. She can walk about the distance of a room before she falls down.

Then, I also wanted to announce that I have a garden. Yes, a real garden with growing things. At least, hopefully the correct growing things. I planted all starters or sets instead of seeds, so I've kind of cheated all ready, but I've never grown anything before, and I didn't want to mess it up before I've even begun. I'm growing Tomatoes, yellow and green bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, rosemary, and mint. Also two petunia plants from Mother's Day at church, because I didn't know where else to plant them. I saw my first weeds today, but they're just little grasslings, and so I'll need to find a hoe to get rid of them. I tried pulling them out of the ground by hand, but that was almost impossible. Avram tilled the land for my garden, and Lydia usually comes out with me while I tend it. She'll just sit in her stroller in the shade, and seems to really enjoy that. I feel very homemakey having a garden; I like it. I just hope it makes it to the fruit-bearing stage.

And now for a list:

Things I don't like about Virginia/My new home

1. Ticks. I HATE ticks. I hate them on me, I particularly hate them on my daughter, I hate searching for them, and I hate it even more when I find them. My hatred of ticks extends far beyond that of mosquitoes, although still behind cockroaches because at least ticks stay outside, but cockroaches come into my personal space.

2. Driving many miles to get anywhere. This is because we live in the country. Not the picturesque "country," with an acre of grass and a house with dormer windows. No, this is wooded, bug-infested, mice-living, tick-inhabited country.

3. Living in the true country. It turns out I'm much more of a picturesque country kind of person. Or better yet, living like Matt and Sarah, where the country it across the street, and just adds to my view. I hope living in the country in England will be picturesque. I think it will be; I'm sure the British invented the word picturesque for their countryside.

4. The air staying warm and muggy during the night, instead of cooling off, like in the desert.

5. Greater DC area traffic; traffic jams all the time, all over the place.

Things I like:

1. How green everything is.

2. There are lots of flowering bushes, which are very pretty. And they stay flowering, at least as long as I've been here.

3. My garden

4. Not having to worry about the water I'm using to water the garden with.

5. The rain. It's only rained a couple of times since I've been here, but it's nice.

What I miss about Utah/Provo/BYU

1. The mountains. Immensely.

2. All of my friends and family. Along with this, having places to go, and people to see, activities to do.

3. My ward. Oh, yes my ward. Living within a hundred yards of my entire ward; our Sunday schools, the young and idealism of it. Just thinking about it makes me sad. Mainly because I don't think we'll ever be in a college ward again. I loved it. Sniff, sniff.

4. People wearing clothes. Although since I usually don't go anywhere, this isn't a big one, because I almost never see random people. I realize this sentence may be confusing; I mean clothes that cover the body.

5. Having Avram in school; he always goes crazy when he's just working, and isn't in school.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wherein there is little writing

This is just a teaser, because I don't have time to write a real post right now. Part of this is because we live out in the country, where dial up internet is the only option. "Surfing" the internet is more like floating slowly through the internet. Reminds me of my childhood. Regardless, I must go. We have our own computer set up, now, which mean twice the accessability to the internet in the house. Also, this one is in the living room, which means Lydia has much room to play; also a good thing, being the number one reason I've been silent in Virginia until now.
Until later.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Nauvoo the Beautiful

As I walked back from seeing Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo, a musical production presented by the couple missionaries in Nauvoo which made me remember why I like seniors, missionaries, and community theatre so much, and came up the hill that leads from the flats on the river peninsula of the old city to the temple and current town I truly felt the meaning of the epithet of Nauvoo, "Nauvoo the Beautiful."

To my left I saw the red remnants of a sunset over the Mississippi, reflecting on the waters and clouds, seeming to be an otherworldly experience, as I am not familiar with sunsets being from Utah, where the sun just goes behind the mountains. In the near foreground I saw the remaining brick and frame houses of the pioneers on their one lot allotments, the birds calling their night calls over all. To my right rose the majestic Nauvoo temple, lit up in the dusk and shining like a beacon over Old Nauvoo. Before the temple stood the bronze statues of Joseph and Hyrum Smith on horses, representing their ride from Nauvoo to Carthage before their martyrdom, which path took them past the temple into the east.

I don't quite know how to express my thoughts on Nauvoo. Nauvoo is a ghost town, large empty stretches of grass and streets, with an occasional brick home rising in the famous Nauvoo style of a two story home with the stepped chimney sides, restored but still not truly inhabited, never to be a living town again. At the same time Nauvoo is a place of the pioneers, a place that feels as I descend from the bluffs into its familiar-through-story-streets caught in the 1840s, to where I am in the 1840s as well. Avram a teacher, with an attached school to our home, us with Lydia in a small home, probably log at our age and station. We have a garden, and the beginnings of an orchard, our home right on the street with no front lawn, like is the style of Nauvoo, and all of our land in the back. As I push Lydia in her Winnie-the-Pooh stroller I see all of this, even as I see the cars pass with the line of license plates; in an Midwestern state there are many Utah's and Idaho's. We enter the printer's office, ran by John Taylor and I see me reading the Times and Seasons, the Nauvoo Neighbor and having that be my only source of news.

The Church history of Nauvoo also grabs me; here is where the endowment was given, in the Red Brick Store on Water Street, on the second story. Here too was the Relief Society organized, and where the Prophet met with many church leaders. Down Parley Street, where the saints left Nauvoo on the frozen river, leaving their homes, lives, and even climate for the unknown. Here are the graves of Joseph and Hyrum, although their bodies are actually in each others graves, which gives the phrase "in death they were not parted" a new meaning. Here my ancestors walked, gossiped, sewed and farmed, set type and received their endowments. Here is my history, my church, and yet...

And yet... Nauvoo remains a ghost town, always a town of remembering, never a town of living once more. The church left Nauvoo, and although we've come back to restore the temple and some houses, the strength of the church, President Gordon B. Hinckley and the Apostles remain centered in the Valley. The keys of the church is in the west, and will never return to Nauvoo again. Avram and I have discussed how Nauvoo feels cursed; that having driven out the saints the town cursed itself, that the proverbial dust was shaken off of the shoes of the Saints. Today Nauvoo's residents number 1100. At its peak its residents numbered over 10,000.

Hence, Nauvoo the Beautiful is also Nauvoo the Bittersweet, Nauvoo the Lost and yet also Nauvoo the Refound.

Sealings, Sickness and Sight-Seeing in Old Nauvoo

We've been in Nauvoo for four whole days now, and I feel like I'm just starting to really see it. This would be the result of having a wedding here, I suppose. Weddings take up a lot of time, it turns out, and so although having a wedding in a tourist place/church history place is neat on the one hand, on the other it feel like there's never enough time to see all of the historical things. We did do a session in the Nauvoo temple, because Samuel's wife Aleatha was endowed there the day before the wedding, and that was very nice. For those who will understand this, Avram and I were the witness couple for the session, which I'd never been before, and was a nice place to do it; the Nauvoo temple moves you from room to room during the session, although it is not live.
Famous Mormon Moment:
I spied Susan Easton Black in the temple, and stared at her, because I wasn't sure, and I didn't know why she would be here, because she's a professor at BYU. Then on Sunday in the program at church we saw that she was here, because she's giving lots of lectures, one of which we're attending tomorrow. I know that she loves Nauvoo, so I suppose she's just here during spring term, or something.
Part of this difficulty of sightseeing can also be contributed to sickness. We've decided to emulate the pioneers by getting sick like they did. That way we'll have the true Nauvoo experience. The stomach flu I caught from a friend (see Sarah's blog) has subsequently passed onto six others here, including Lydia and Avram. We've only two left who haven't caught it, and probably by tomorrow they'll have it too. It's quite the epidemic, and I've decided that we need to go and lie down by Joseph Smith's old house, like the Saints did when they first arrived in Nauvoo and contracted Malaria, while Emma will pass us water. Actually, since I've previously recovered from what everyone else has, I suppose that I should be Emma, and I can carry Lydia around with me as a pass around water.
Also, it has rained at least part of the day every day that we have been here, which also makes going out more difficult, although not impossible. It's actually quite sunny currently, which means the hot humidity has appeared. After Utah it's quite the adjustment, but overall I like humidity, just as also in its own way I really like dry heat.
I don't mean to compile complaints in this post. Actually, although there have been setbacks, being in Nauvoo has been a very good experience thus far. For one thing, Lydia while here has doubled the number of words she can say. Previously her repertoire consisted of Hi and Bye, or Bye Bye, learned in that order. On May fourth she learned Uh-Oh (and says it whenever she drops something. It's darling) and on May fifth she learned No. She says it whenever she doesn't want food offered to her, while firmly shaking her head.
I'll tell about Nauvoo in the next post.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

End Notes on Utah

Moving went well, thanks to much help; Camilla and Soren came down and saved my life shortly before I moved, and Avram's Mom did much, especially with cleaning the house. Before we moved my life became a comedy of errors. First, Lydia teethed horribly for about four days straight; she got a fever, screamed relentlessly (even after Tylenol) and just was generally sick. We did get one tooth that actually cut out of the experience, for which I am grateful. However, this all cut into our packing time and ability, and so while I had begun the week far ahead in my packing, I ended it far behind. Then we graduated, which went well, and was nice because I finally walked, and now I finally feel as if I have graduated, although I actually graduated in December 2005. That experience went well, and was not an error, but rather just complicated and busy. However, on Monday at 1:30 in the morning I threw up, and continued to do so two more times before the morning. (I believe I caught a bug from a friend).
We called our home teacher at seven in the morning, and he came over and helped Avram give me a blessing, and I didn't throw up any more, which was a nice change, but I was weak for the rest of the day. Yet, this day was our First Moving Day, wherein we moved Samuel and Aleatha's belongings from our apartment to there's, also in Wymount, because they had already left for Kansas, and so needed somewhere to put their things. Also, we gave them most of our furniture, and so we were moving that as well. Luckily we had already arranged for people to help with this, and so others came over and moved everything while I lay around, first on the couch, and then, once that was moved, outside on the grass. Many women in my ward saw me lying there, and once they found out the situation were very helpful. My relief society president, Susie Larson, came over and washed my lower cupboards while her son slept; my up door neighbors made us dinner, and other's husbands helped move belongings, while Avram's mom, Kate Shannon, did most of the work around the house in preparation for moving.
On Tuesday I was feeling better, and so our moving day went much more smoothly, at least as far as I was concerned. Avram's brother Joshua came down and helped us load our Relocube (like a trailer), and we were done with everything by about six thirty at night.
So on Wednesday, we did leave Utah, and all was well. In the hustle and bustle of it all, leaving never did really sink in, but I think that was actually for the best, because sentimentality is always time consuming, if only emotionally time consuming.