At the beginning of this week, I took a mini-vacation to D.C. to stay with Kelsey and Alex, visit with Mom, and see Grace off for her summer in India and Nepal.
Alex and Kelsey’s apartment is this peaceful, minimalistic oasis in the middle of the city. I was delighted to finally be able to see it!
I had most of Monday to myself, so I walked to the National Mall,
and spent the majority of my afternoon in the National Gallery (west building). Delighted to see so many paintings I had only seen before in books.
I particularly enjoyed: the exhibit on Rodin’s sculptures, the pre-Raphaelite exhibit, Van Gogh, and noting how very famous paintings are often nonchalantly placed in a strange corner of the room.
On Tuesday, Mom and I got to spend the morning at the U.S. Botanic Gardens, which was delightful, as I now share her great love of plants.
We killed time here while Grace fearlessly navigated the Metro to Georgetown to apply for her visa, and then we met up again and had the famously delicious lunch at the Native American museum.
- The quiet car on the train! The best invention. Also, the ride from here to D.C. is really beautiful. I caught up on my New Yorkers and finished The Gospel According to Woman (Karen Armstrong).
- Dinner with Eric, Cristina, Emily, and Brian on the night I got in. So fun and lively!
- Dinner with Patrick, shortly after Mom and Grace arrived. Just adding to the list of family time, and surreptitiously celebrating his birthday.
- I don’t think I could make it in D.C., but I’m glad that Kelsey and Alex aren’t very far away, and I love their sweet, streamlined lifestyle there. Visiting their apartment felt a bit like visiting an upscale resort (the rooftop pool! You cannot even imagine this pool/deck area). Love those two so very much; they are perfect hosts.
And now I am looking forward to seeing (almost) everyone again in June, for the family excursion to Hatteras! It cannot come too quickly.
Getting our next foster on Thursday night; a 10-month-old male found as a stray in Stanley. That’s all we know about him, except for the fact that the shelter staff described him as “very gentle, sweet.” Which is encouraging, at the very least. Expecting an adolescent tornado. Just hope he can keep the humping to a minimum. That is one dog behavior that Pyrrha and I cannot abide.
Kelsey and I are going to do an e-mail Bible study together on 1 Peter. (One of the more interesting, aggressive little letters in the New Testament.) What a sweet and genuine sister I have. We should go visit them in D.C. Anyone want to watch Pyrrha for a weekend?
I read a New Yorker profile on Rob Bell from November 2012 that has me thinking a lot. How he interests me, how I don’t know what I think, how I don’t personally want to “become merely one more mildly spiritual Californian.” I gravitate toward about half of the things he says; the other half make me turn up my nose. (His disdain for tradition and beautiful church structures I find particularly grating, having grown up in a wannabe megachurch with the same Gen-X ideals.) In the last line of the profile, he is quoted as saying about the Church: “‘It is the most frustrating institution in the world,’ he said the next day. ‘And yet, when it’s firing on all cylinders, there’s absolutely nothing like it.’”
It’s about time gender roles were under attack. (More on that later, perhaps.)
On the nightstand: Anna Karenina, which continues to be marvelous; The Age of Wonder, by Richard Holmes, which I am somehow struggling to pay attention to; and a whole spate of books about how not to kill houseplants. Can’t focus on Spring Torrents (I. Turgenev) right now, so I will attempt that later in the year. One Russian at a time is enough.
What should we name our next foster? A masculine name ending in “o,” to keep with our current trend (Brando, Laszlo)?
We had a lovely, peaceful weekend with Kelsey and Alex, who are just the best and were supremely helpful with all the dog-wrangling.
(On Friday, just moments after they arrived, Alex came with me to drop off Brando and Vera the puppy with their new foster while Kelsey stayed at home and managed Pyrrha and Laszlo. Such a blessing! I could not have handled Friday without them!)
They loved on and cared for our new foster, Laszlo.
On Saturday, we took the dogs on a short walk at Pen Park (where these photos were taken). Sunday, Laszlo spent much of his day sleeping on our various laps and being generally adorable.
We were lounging around, eating good food, watching TV, discussing current events, playing with dogs, and NOT running the 10-miler (which may have been one of the best parts). Perfect.
It’s really about time these two high-tailed it out of DC and moved to Charlottesville! I will be a tireless campaigner for that move to happen. How nice it is to have a sister and bro-in-law that you just adore!
Come back soon, K and A!
(c) Grace Farson.
This past weekend was so perfect in every way. I was blessed to witness my beloved sister marry one of my dear friends. I was overwhelmed by her happiness, by the love that exists between them, by the idyllic weather, by the community created by our families and friends. The wedding couldn’t have been more beautiful.
I cried at multiple points and could even cry again just thinking about the two of them. This was surprising to me. I didn’t cry in my own wedding. (Instead, I was busy hissing at Guion not to cry during our vows, because then I would really lose it.) I started crying when Kelsey walked down the aisle, when she was saying her vows, even when Grace and I dropped them off at the hotel! (And for this, I was much mocked by Grace, who has no heart.) I just LOVE THEM a lot, OK?
Even though the ceremony was everything we hoped and dreamed it would be, I am far more thrilled by the fact that Kelsey and Alex are married. They have a whole lifetime together, to love and be loved, to make each other more and more into the likeness of Christ. I am so happy for them and I can’t wait to see them over the upcoming winter holidays. (I am a little peeved that they wouldn’t let me stowaway on their tropical honeymoon, however… Why can’t I tag along and lounge on the beach for a week? Come on, guys. You wouldn’t even know I was there.)
(Here are my few photos from the weekend, if you care. I was much too busy to take many, but the few I have are special to me.)
Click for source.
“That odd capacity for destitution, as if by nature we ought to have so much more than nature gives us. As if we are shockingly unclothed when we lack the complacencies of ordinary life. In destitution, even of feeling or purpose, a human being is more hauntingly human and vulnerable to kindnesses because there is the sense that things should be otherwise, and then the thought of what is wanting and what alleviation would be, and how the soul could be put at ease, restored. At home. But the soul finds its own home if it ever has a home at all.”
— Home, Marilynne Robinson
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And with that, today I am headed to my old home to watch my sister get married to one of my good friends. What an unexpected blessing! The weekend will be one crazy, happy whirlwind, and I can’t wait to celebrate with and for them. See you next week!
Kelsey’s bachelorette weekend in the misty mountains = Lots of good, edifying conversations; lots of loving on the very sexy bride-to-be. I felt like it was really intense woman time, because it rained every day and so we were all stuck in a tiny house together, which fostered many good conversations, many gin and tonics, many viewings of many very bad movies*.
Even though I very much missed my husband and my German shepherd dog, it was very pleasant to keep the exclusive company of women for a chunk of time. Being cooped up in the cabin with 10 other women made me think of Emily’s poem about our harem, the girls’ bedroom at my parents’ house—a harem in the sense of a separate sanctum for women, not as a storehouse for one’s concubines. A separate, exclusively female space, but not A Room of One’s Own—rather, a female space intended for community, for sharing. I liked how this weekend felt like that.
I had also just started The Second Sex, which is maybe why the weekend hit me the way it did. Even amid Simone’s tangents about the implications of asexual organisms on historical feminism, I felt content, easygoing, unencumbered. How nice it is to be a lady, to keep the company of ladies.
*Vicky Cristina Barcelona excepted.
Click for source.
“What have we been doing all these centuries but trying to call God back to the mountain, or, failing that, raise a peep out of anything that isn’t us? What is the difference between a cathedral and a physics lab? Are not they both saying: Hello? We spy on whales and on interstellar radio objects; we starve ourselves and pray till we’re blue.”
– Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard.
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Annie Dillard knows all the things.
Who’s really ready for this election to be over?? I am! I am! I don’t think I’ve ever been more exhausted by politics and its relentless charade. Someone on NPR referred to the Republican National Convention as “theater,” and I thought, Yes, that is what all of it is, regardless of your party. One big performance, predicated on fear.
I am going to the mountains this weekend to celebrate at Kelsey’s bachelorette retreat! Hard to believe lil sis is getting married so soon. Can’t wait to see her and spend some time in the Blue Ridge, hanging out and teaching her how lingerie works.
Talk to you later.
Pyrrha, prowling Juju and TT’s kitchen.
Our weekend away was a happy, full one. The family women accomplished lots for Kelsey and Alex’s wedding; Pyrrha acted like a normal, stable dog and became fast friends with Dublin; we missed Sam; Dad found a new method of receiving basic channels; we spent most of our free time walking the dogs; I nagged Grace to give me some of her clothes; she said she’d sell me her camera instead. At dinner on Saturday, I announced that I would stay for a month. If only I could.
I don’t particularly enjoy driving and nearly five hours in the car by myself (with a sleeping wolf in the back) was plenty. However, after you pass Lynchburg, the landscape suddenly becomes beautiful. The sky clears. The light is purer, the hills are greener and higher. I feel close to God when I’m driving back home in the mountains. “Virginia is God’s country,” my grandmother, raised on a farm near Amherst, has always said. I wholeheartedly agree.
My hair has reached that long, unmanageable point, but I’m too lazy to make an appointment at the salon. “I think I’m just going to keep it at this length for a while, and then I’ll cut it short,” I told Guion the other night, while I was looking at it in the mirror. “I don’t think that’s how hair works,” he replied.
Upstairs hallway at my parents’ home.
Pyrrha and I are taking a girls-only road trip to Davidson tomorrow, to be with family and to help Kelsey with wedding-planning festivities. (Guion has to stay behind and do man stuff, like brew beer and eat beef jerky, or something along those lines.) This will be Pyrrha’s first road trip, and here’s to hoping that it goes smoothly! I am really looking forward to seeing the dearly beloved, crazy family, whom I don’t get to see nearly as often as I’d like. I also go home to mourn the death of Saul Bellow, the three-year-old betta fish. Saul, home just won’t be the same without you.
Will bring back pictures and stories, for sure. Have a lovely weekend!
We spent the Memorial Day weekend trekking to the great Midwest for my grandfather’s memorial service. While the circumstances were sad, we had a wonderful time with Dad’s side of the family, remembering Papa John.
Rest in peace, Papa John.
On our last day in Indianapolis, we stood around his new headstone and talked about what we remembered. Remember that time he landed a helicopter in a tiny patch of grass in front of a Hilton, or in Aunt Shelly and Uncle Sean’s backyard, to the amazement of all the neighbors? Remember how he used to evaluate a car, running his hands along the sides, as if it were a racehorse? Remember how calm he was, how he never yelled at us?
The weekend was blazing hot, but we managed to distract ourselves with multiple games of deck tennis and lots of unhealthy food.
Wrangling the family.
We don’t get to see this side of the family very much, so this was a cherished weekend. How nice it was to be reminded of where you came from, the qualities and predispositions that you bear, silently and mysteriously inherited.
The Farson siblings with their mother.
We came home the morning before our second anniversary. To celebrate, we went to Ten for dinner. I’ve been waiting for two years now to go to Ten, and it did not disappoint (even though it made me miss Japan and my host mom’s cooking more than ever). We sat across from each other and smiled, marveling at how quickly time has passed. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were dragging luggage into a hotel, still decked out in our wedding garb?
This sushi is not messing around. Anniversary dinner at Ten.
And now we are happy to be back to our new home, reunited with Pyrrha and our sprawling garden and out-of-control lawn. I am looking forward to doing nothing in particular all summer.