Call for Wisdom: Time to downsize?

I have some great pictures to post from playing in the snow last week and Greg's little b-day dessert party last night. And I want to write more about our trip to Turkey and the awesome six people who are joining us in March. (And I will do all of the above...sometime.) Oh, I should also be practicing music for a women's retreat in a couple weeks (I get to lead the worship through music!) and going through the humongous pile of mail and finance-y stuff stuffed in the corner of the bedroom. (And again, I will do both...sometime.)

But right now I'm lying on the couch dozing in and out of sleep and thinking about whether or not we should move apartments this summer after Greg graduates. The American dream says to "move up," "grow," "expand." But that's not really our trajectory for the next few years. We LOVE our current apartment. It's great for hosting for daytime events and overnight stays; all the amenities are a plus; we use the indoor pool quite a bit; oh, and did I mention that we're comfortable and settled here? It has been a blessing, and we are thankful. So how much extra savings makes it worth going through ANOTHER move? That's the big question running through my heart and mind. Thankfully, God knows the answer. And thankfully, He will lead us on that path.

So as we walk this path, I have a question for you all -- any wisdom you'd like to offer us as we consider moving to a smaller apartment for the next year in order to save some money, pay off a few more school loans, and shed a few more "belongings" to make a probable international move a little less cumbersome down the road?


What's that smell?!

I singed our cat's tail today. What an awful pet owner I am!

Ayse was alone at home all day today, so when I arrived home from work, she was especially needy for my attention. Often when I make dinner in the kitchen after work, I bring in our bar stool and set her on it (to keep her off the counters which are forbidden for her). So as I was pouring the ingredients for rice into a pot, she was rubbing her head all over the pot and my hands. Cute, right? Of course. A few minutes later, I turned on the burner and noticed that she was sitting sweetly on the bar stool watching me at the sink -- no problem. Of course, that's when I made my mistake; I turned my back. A few seconds later, our kitchen is full of the awful smell of burnt hair, and Ayse is looking confusingly at the smoke rising above her tail which is lying on the side of the burner!

Poor kitty! I don't think she's hurt, but her tail sure looks funny now (and smells atrocious)! For the first five minutes, she was walking around holding her tail close to her body. Now I think she's mostly forgotten other than when she starts to clean her tail and notices the crisp charred hair.

Maybe I'm not ready to be a parent quite yet.


The Big Apple

Thursday morning, along with my boss, I headed to New York for a consortium event which Tufts (a.k.a. my boss and I) coordinated this year.  I was excited about being in the city but not so excited about the traveling.  Thursday turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  Robin and I took the Acela Amtrak train to New York -- boarded at 9:20AM in Back Bay and pulled into Penn Station around 12:30PM.  The train was spacious, quick, comfortable, had little waiting, and required no obsessive security measures; I was singing its praises.
(view from my hotel room window)

After arriving in the Big Apple, checking in at the Crowne Plaza near Times Square (what a location!), and a quick rendez vouz with our conference organizer, Robin and I grabbed lunch at a cute little French restaurant (the food was so-so) and took advantage of our only free minutes by walking to Central Park (pictures below).  Of course we had to name all the movies we could thank of which have scenes in Central Park!  Lots and lots of girly movies were named. :)

(Times Square as seen from the entrance to our hotel)

The event itself went well.  We wrapped up Friday evening and caught our 7PM train back home to Boston from Penn Station.  Somehow the 10:40PM arrival into South Station didn't quite work out as planned, and I didn't get back home until THREE A.M.!  It's actually a really sad story.  About 20-30 minutes after the train left Penn Station, a rail worker was struck by a train on our line and killed, consequently shutting down all train service through that area.  That delayed our train by a couple hours.  Then it was slow going for the next hour as the lines were backed up quite a bit.

Finally around 1AM we made it to the stop 30 minutes south of downtown Boston -- the end was in sight!  BUT when the train was trying to leave the station, the engines wouldn't start.  After an hour of waiting (it was now 2AM), Robin and I decided we would get off the train and try to call a cab.  We both started calling numbers (along with 20-30 other exhausted ex-passengers in the station), and no one was available.  A young lady walked into the station and said, "Is anyone going to Somerville? I have room for three."  Robin and I both ran forward and said, "Somerville's close enough."  Next thing we knew, we were riding in the back of a stranger's car at 2AM and laughing about the entire circumstance and how our friends and family would react.  Our new "friends" dropped us off at Harvard Square, we caught a cab to Tufts, and Robin dropped me off at home at 3AM.

"What do I think of traveling by train now?" you ask.  Give me a few months, and maybe I'll have gotten over this exhaustion.  I was on that train so long I could've flown to Europe by the time we made it to Boston!


Where did my vacation go?

This week has been somewhat of a cruel awakening to life back at work.  I did work last Monday through Wednesday, but the deadlines weren't as pressing last week.  I would love to simply veg now that I'm home, curl up with a book and some hot cocoa for the rest of the evening, but I'm making myself blog.  It has been way too long.

Holiday Highlights:
  • Hugging Dad and Mom after ten long months apart  (It was so difficult to say goodbye again.)
  • Hanging out with Drew and Carrie
  • Honoring family - reconnecting with grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins in Kansas
  • Hoping in Christ for the future and looking back with thankfulness
  • Hilarious wii fun with the fam
  • Holding a gun and shooting skeet in Kansas (Greg, not me)
  • Having jobs that are seemingly secure
My dearest parents and their lab Abby
The cat Reyna getting some much needed attention. (Drew and Carrie brought their two labs as well, so three big dogs in the house was a little much for this cat!)
The Wiles family gathered to let the missing Uncle and cousins know we missed them
Grandma Gimple opening some gifts.
Uncle Larry (one of Dad's brothers) helping Greg with his first shot.

Drew looks like he belongs here, doesn't he?
Carrie and I cheered the guys on. The guns were a lot heavier than I expected!
Modeling a box of shells (?)
This is really behind my Grandma's house, where my Dad was raised!
Back home to our still-standing tree and mischievous cat