Thursday, October 30, 2008

unoccupied time

Andrew has had to work late twice this week. And I don't do well when I'm alone with nothing to do. I come from a family who doesn't handle down time very well. My dad hibernates when the days get shorter because there are no more outside projects to be had. My mother goes on cleaning frenzies when she's not teaching because she knows that sitting still probably isn't a good thing. And one of the saddest summers of my entire life was when I was at Carolina and summer school was finished and I was only working 15 hours a week. Yikes.

But the good Lord has showed me that I can prepare for down time and find great joy in it. So this week, I planned ahead: grocery shopping, a girly movie, some laundry, etc. I laugh looking back on Tuesday night...

1. I bought Gerbera Daisies for myself
2. I bought Oreos for myself
3. I rented PS. I Love You. Geez...cry fest coming right up...
4. I painted my nails

Don't worry, I recovered. Tonight has been much more joyful. I decided to use a gift card to Crate and Barrel so I headed to the mall after work. And what I found was pure bliss. (WARNING: Random tangent ahead) Believe it or not, it was decorated for Christmas. My first thought was, "Really? How about we get past Halloween?" I've always been the strongest proponent of the whole Christmas post-Thanksgiving tradition. But in my little hour at the mall, I convinced myself that this isn't necessary. I bought a Christmas ornament. I spent my gift card on Christmas cookie cutters and a Reindeer coffee cup. I called Andrew on the way home and told him that the Castrodale tradition should be celebrating Christmas whenever you want. What a beautiful holiday and why do I only get 3 weeks to enjoy it? I don't like that. And he agreed.

So here I am, sitting in my sweatpants and my husband's t-shirt. I can smell that the heat just kicked on. I'm finishing up some leftover lasagna and listening to James Taylor at Christmas, the most amazing Christmas CD...EVER. And I am completely full of joy because it's October 30th and children will change their identities for candy tomorrow, but I have been sweetly reminded that Christmas is right around the corner. I do get lost in the commercialization of it all, but mostly I love that I can celebrate Jesus. I always think about Mary and how totally freaked out she must have been this time 2000 years ago. My heart always does little flips when I remember what Christmas is about and THAT should not have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving. So in the words of my friend James, go tell it on the mountain. That Jesus Christ is born.


Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Hal - oween

This weekend, we carved a jack-o-lantern. We didn't really want a scary one (I didn't want to scare off any of our potential trick-or-treaters!), so we opted for a silly one. And we're calling him Happy Hal.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

a fair occasion

As you know from last week's post, we went to the fair this past weekend. It was Andrew's first time and although it may not seem like a big deal, I was very excited to share the experience with him. And believe me -- it's an experience.

After checking out a few of the exhibits - namely the Green Tent with all sorts of eco-friendly booths and some random exhibits selling general merchandise, we decided it was time for Fair Food #1: The Turkey Leg.

(Don't worry, we shared!)

Then it was on to the produce and livestock exhibit, which was very cool. Here's the blue ribbon pumpkin, weighing in at 667 lbs! (Any ideas on how you actually transport a pumpkin like that to the fair?)

And snack time again: a cortland apple. Very tasty.

We also shared a roasted ear of corn and an elephant ear. Fair food can't be compared to anything else, so we came hungry. We didn't ride any rides, but we did go through a fun house. The moving stairs didn't move and the conveyer belt didn't convey, so it was mostly just a regular house, but still fun. We enjoyed all of the exhibits, but I think our favorite was the Village of Yesteryear. We spent over an hour walking around to look at all of the handmade crafts - pottery, carved wood, leather art, Christmas ornaments, baskets, was amazing. And everyone was dressed up like they were from another century, so that was entertaining too.

As we wrapped up our fair experience, we had a pretty cool ending. Every night of the fair, at 9:45, they shoot off fireworks. We made our way to where the fireworks were, but all of the good seating areas were roped off. We decided to just hang out until they actually started going off and then we could move accordingly to get a good view. We walked to the top of a hill and found two folding chairs leaning against the building - perfect for a little break. Turns out, we had the best seat in the house and we didn't even know it.

We were tired and slightly smelly when we got home, but it was totally worth it. Maybe, this can be the start of a fun tradition. (As long as there are turkey legs and elephant ears)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

it's almost the weekend...

And that means many things:

I'm attending a scrapbooking party on Friday night with Mir. I get to sleep in. I plan to start a new book. I'll see my parents and brother for a Sunday afternoon visit. AND I get to spend some time with that boy who's been working too late this week. And we're going to the State Fair. Andrew's never been and I'm sure that after a few turkey legs, elephant ears, fried twinkies and apple cider, he'll never be the same.

Welcome, weekend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

welcome to nahunta, georgia

That's where we spent our weekend. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere. If we drove straight through, it would have been about six and a half hours, but once you calculate gas breaks, bathroom breaks and dinner breaks, it ended up being about eight. YUCK is what I have to say about that. Luckily, the end result was a fun weekend with Andrew's awesome family. They've been so welcoming of me and I always have a great time -- lots of food and laughing, can't get much better, right?

With a long car ride, we had to come up with fun things to enjoy about the trip. Which is hard to do when 90% of the trip is on I-95...home to inappropriate billboards about adult bookstores and South of the Border.

YUCK is what I have to say about that also.

So we played to expression game...

"Hours and Hours of Driving"

"Ryan's Steakhouse for Dinner"

"Cracker Barrel for Dinner"

And we found this place somewhere along the way. I thought it was funny. "Hey, are you having car trouble? Just take it to OK Service. They do an alright job. Pretty mediocre, but it'll do."

It could have easily become torture being on the road for that long, but we managed to still love each other in the end. That's good news, considering my hatred of being in any car for over an hour. Good thing I didn't marry an annoying guy :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

I just finished reading it and it was amazing. I HIGHLY recommend it. I had never heard of it until about a month ago and in one weekend, it came up three times in conversation. Then on that Monday, I heard about it on the radio and found out that a friend of mine was reading it. So I decided to get it myself. I had no idea what it was about, but I figured that anything that organically makes it to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List is worth a shot. And it totally was.

I won't go into any detail about it, in case you read it, but it definitely goes in the genre of "books that shape your faith." Right along with Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and Kingdom of Couches by Will Walker (both of which you should also read, right after you read The Shack) It took me a few weeks to read it, as there is some pretty heavy stuff in there, but every time I read some I would stop several times and read parts to Andrew because I thought it was all so profound. He's next in line to read my copy.

Oh, and don't get it at the library. Buy it to keep. I'm so thankful that I bought a copy because I know that there is going to be a season where I need the encouragement that this book offered. And I can flip right back to the underlined portions that I left behind.

So that's my shameless plug for The Shack. I hope it refreshes you like it did me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

cookies, courtesy of the castrodales

Last night, thanks to a quick and easy dinner, Andrew and I had quite a bit of down time. You can't possibly understand how much we love having time to do nothing.

This particular occasion, we were both in the mood to read. As I was sifting through my Real Simple magazine and he was perusing the Wall Street Journal, I stumbled across a picture of chocolate chip cookies. Just like that, I instantly wanted my own. So off to the kitchen we went to make a batch of cookies. And they were totally worth it. We decided that it is absolutely necessary to always have the ingredients for cookies on hand, because what a wonderful treat it is to be able to give in to such a craving.
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