Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Yearly Mainenance - Day 76

Once upon a time there was a little man born on the stormiest of days. His hair was blonde and his eyes the clearest blue. First he learned to breathe, then to eat, then to smile, roll, sit, ask, crawl, travel internationally, talk, then walk. He's wasn't the most advanced baby, nor the slowest. He was a beautiful perfect average. He nearly never cried, except when he needed something or got his body stuck in the crack between mattress and bed in the middle of the night. He was steady and content; ever curious and inquisitive. When he thought about things, he'd turn them over in his clumsy fingers, chin to chest, lips sticking out, thinking. He'd twist and turn and roll and hit and taste until he had become more familiar with that object than the back of his own hand, which he had yet to take such time looking at. He became his Mother's constant companion and they had many adventures of discovery together with his Father. He was a friend to everyone he met. There was no one else his parents knew that could so quickly gain access to the heart of strangers; it wasn't even just old men and women, or even parents that he could win a friendship with... Even goth kids listening to their goth music on the bus or students in their first year of Uni would be a friend to him. He was exceptional; not in a loud, superstar kind of way, but in a quiet, still, spirit-shines-through-his-eyes kind of way. Nathaniel James: Gift from God, Changer of Stars. Happy Birthday.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Synopsis - Day 65

Oh what a week!

Last Saturday:
 (a) Cambridge. A glorious sunny day with only a slightly chill wind was spent walking around trying to find the punt rental. In contrast to Oxford, it is much more "towny" with it's colleges grouped together along the High Street instead of scattered 30 some odd places around the city. There are lovely public gardens along the back of the colleges called the "Backs." We didn't really do much other than the guys trying their hand at punting us girls down, then back up the river Cam. It was eventful, but in much more of a "you had to be there" way so I won't bore you with details.

(b) Italiano Birthday. Back in Oxford we went over to the St. John St. house to have Nathaniel's preemptive birthday party (since most of his friends will be out of town for break on his actual birthday). In order to have the party funded by the school we also called it a "end of term" party and I chose a theme that could fit both accordingly. Italian - mustaches required. We ate spaghetti (the boyo's fav), mozz tom and basil, had baguettes with oil and balsamic, and olives. The more equipped played poker, then later moved to the more theme appropriate game Mafia. For the cake I made a pasta frolla crust, filled it with almond pastry cream and topped with berries. Nathaniel didn't really like the singing or the cake but I think he ate about 100 raspberries so it was okay.


1st Place

After a day in town I run about a half mile (pushing the stroller) to catch my bus, only to get a call from Jon while on my way home that some of the St. Clare students are going to a play in an hour and have a open place if I want to go. I couldn't say no but didn't have a sitter, or supplies for Nathaniel even if I found one that fast. With a lot of rushing, Joelle finally was able to take him last minute (she's a saint) and I ran to catch the bus to meet the others. Not until on our way did I realize that the play was in a town an hour away, not Oxford. I also didn't know that it was the Shakespeare play King Lear being played at the newly renovated (30 million pound renovation no less) Royal Shakespearean Theatre by the Royal Shakespearean Company in Stratford upon Avon (Shakespeare's birth and burial place). Classic. I couldn't have gotten more authentic than that without time travel. To be honest, I had never heard of that play before, but I appreciated and enjoyed it immensely. I laughed and cried and was frustrated and overjoyed in turn and am utterly impressed with that man's ability to arrange words. So inspiring. After all five(?) acts we drove home and I went to bed around 2am.
A whole lot of boring details, Nathaniel dropped off with his Swiss babysitter, we go to London to see the Decemberists at the Hammersmith Apollo. It was a grand venue and there was no one behind us. Never the less, we could still hear surprisingly well (thank you sound man) and had a great time dancing hip dances and laughing at the band. Because I hadn't taken into account the difference between "doors open" time and when the band actually comes on, at the end of the last song we ran down dark flights of the back exit stairs to the epic outro of the Mariner's Revenge Song and croud screaming. It was like we were really being eaten by the whale. Then sprinted through the Lon-derground to catch our scheduled train back home. We went to bed at 1:30.
I took the longest non illness induced nap of my life.
I've caught you up to real time now. I've cleaned and uncluttered and accomplished today to make up for yesterday and the previous busy week and to prepare for the arrival of a Bethel friend (from here) who is visiting for the weekend. Thank you for reading my longest blog ever. The End.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Khookies - Day 56

In a quest to replicate the expensive but undeniably tasty cookies of Ben's Cookies here in Oxford, Jonathan and I scoured the internet for any recipe leaks. If I'm being honest, these aren't even close to the sheer lip smaking delight of Ben's Orange Chocolate Cookies, but they are good. I'm including instructions just in case you would like to share in the experience.

This post is dedicated to all the good friends that we've had the honor to make cookies with. Namely the Gentrys, the Georges, the Janickis and the Zints. Love you guys!!

The Sharp Depiction of Ben's Choco-orange Tastyness

175g Granulated sugar
175g Light brown sugar
175g Butter
1 Egg
Vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

300g Flour
Orange marmalade
Bar of milk chocolate
Preheat oven to Gas mark 5 or roughly 375F
Mix together the sugar and butter until nicely blended (The whole time I was thinking of when Ben George and I tag teamed on those disaster cookies). Add the egg, beat together further, add vanilla essence. Sieve the flour into the mix while stirring slowly. Add a pinch of salt.
Drop the cookies onto wax paper lined sheets. Press a square of the chocolate in the middle and spoon a bit of orange marmalade on top. Pull the sides of the cookie up over the top to cover.
Bake for 8 min or until not quite done. Let cool to just under "molten lava hot" and enjoy.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The Future - Day 55

Christ Church College from it's meadow.
With a productive start and nothing left on the to do list for today I sat myself down in front of the 80’s version of She’s the Man called Just One of the Guys with a bag of microwave popcorn. Nathaniel was napping and I was resisting the urge to join him. I decided to multitask while watching.

I talked to Krisann (and Aaron barely) on Skype this morning before I edited Jon’s second to last paper for Black Friars. It was so wonderful to see and talk to her and the unborn little lady. Thirty minutes after finishing my internet failed... Thanks for holding out cyberspace.

This weekend was particularly eventful. Saturday I met Jon in town around noon to go over to the Thames and watch the University rowing competitions. Three of our friends were rowing for St. Bennets (which isn’t a very good college, at rowing anyways) and I realized that it is a much more complicated sport than I imagined. Afterward we went to the Oxford Botanical Gardens with Emile and found most of the plants naked, or still under the cover of earth. We’ll have to go back in a month or two. Sunday we took a day trip to Stonehenge and Avebury (the lesser, but more populated counterpart of the henge). I’ve included some pictures from each day respectively.

Taking it Serious.
There are more stones than just this one at Avebury, we just didn't take pictures of them.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

The Boys - Day 48

High/Queen St at St. Aldates

Into town, key forgotten
At least one goal was gotten
We walked together.

Back home, inspired thus
At least I caught the bus
I’m still wearing slippers.

Jonathan means "Gift of God"... so does Nathaniel. These are my men.
Last week after a brutal "write a paper for every class" Jon decided to top himself in spoiling me. I was drowning in constant offers to change Nathaniel, make food, carry anything I was holding and the longest time alone I've had since we arrived here. After a breakfast in bed, he plugged the iPod in my ears and hurried me to the bus stop. I had enough time away to write two journal entries, draw the above picture of my view from the 2nd story of the Bux, and read two fairy tales (that were not short by any means), and then to start missing them. Meeting in town we then went to buy a new carrier for Nathaniel (thanks to the generosity of the Moore's) since he outgrew the one we brought for him and the straps would slice into your shoulders like razor blades. But back to Jonathan, I've been eternally impressed with him since school started this semester. He's been so dedicated to his studies. His fellow students constantly comment on how he's always in the library and working so hard, but then he wrestles and cuddles with Nathaniel every night, and on top of it all he is constantly comforting, chatting with, and challenging me. What a man!
Then the boyo, well he's following in his father's footsteps. He has an insatiable curiosity about everything, constantly inspecting, twisting, dropping, tasting and climbing. Earlier he was crawling around going "Mmmm......Mmmmm...Mmm" I expected it was just him talking, but after a glance at his pursed lips I checked his mouth and he had been chewing on a rock, rolling it around in his mouth. I'm also having to teach him to leave the trash can and toilet alone because he's always wanting to inspect the contents. I think he's recently hitting a big growth spurt, of his brain at least. I feel like he's so much more of a little boy every day and his dexterity and vocabulary are growing so quickly.