Friday, December 28, 2007

Andrea comes to Brooklyn

My dear friend, Andrea, is visiting from Arizona. She's blogging about our adventures here!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas decorations

Because of my looming due date, Mr. Miller and I stayed in Brooklyn for the holiday. The few Christmas decorations we own are still in Phoenix packed for our move to California next year. In their absence, we decided to stick with simple decorations here in the burrow. I found a pattern for 3D paper snowflakes online. All you need to make them is white copy paper, scissors, a stapler, and Scotch tape. We hung them all around the apartment; the effect is magical for sure. Maybe the real thing will make an appearance outside tomorrow! I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...just like the ones I've never known...

On Broadway

My parents blessed us with an early and NYC-exclusive Christmas gift: tickets to The Lion King! We had heard good things about the Tony award-winning musical, including glowing descriptions of the costumes. Thursday night we saw it for ourselves. The opening number literally took my breath away as the "animals" streamed on stage. There are plenty of pictures floating around the internet, but they do not convey the extraordinary beauty of the costumes in real life because many of the costumes have mechanical parts that must be seen live. The dancing, acting, and music, including many songs that appear only in the Broadway version, were all captivating.

And, of course, my husband provided running commentary on the worldview. For example, the shaman sings that Mufasa "lives in you" and "lives in me." While the play wants to promote ancestorism and pantheism, the idea of an important male king who died to save living within us seems to be borrowing from a certain tradition within monotheism...

Outside the Munskoff Theater in Times Square

Our evening also provided an opportunity to celebrate Mr. Miller's completion of final exams and his birthday. We finally used the gift certificate to Noodle Pudding that my parents gave Mr. Miller for his birthday back in September. The restaurant is a famous Italian eatery just down the street from us in Brooklyn Heights. The food was fantastic if you can just get over the name! We couldn't pronounce most of the menu, but were still thrilled with all our selections, from the house wine and opening salad to my Strozza Preti Alla Siciliana and the chocolate mousse with hazelnut ice cream we shared to close. Our table was nestled up against the window overlooking Henry Street and the restaurant was literally drenched in garlands and twinkle lights. Around us were families with small children sharing supper, which was a sight for sore eyes because we see so few children in the City.

All in all, the evening was the perfect conclusion to a wonderful year. 2007 marks the event of our marriage, our first pregnancy two months later (woot!), and our first homes in such disparate places as Newport Beach, CA and Brooklyn, NY. Thank you, Lord, for your many kind gifts.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Final exams

Mr. Miller finished classes today and is headed into final exams. Because we are a one-computer family, the blog will be quiet for the next nine days so that he can use our laptop to study and take his exams. If you think of it, please pray for Mr. Miller in the meantime.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas music

Our 2007 Playlist
  • Christmas Songs (Jars of Clay) These guys get everything right! In addition to well-rendering old favorites like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and "O Little Town of Bethlehem," they revive obscure titles like "In the Bleak Midwinter." They also make some novel additions to the seasonal arsenal with the delightfully retro-sounding, "Hibernation Day," (think Bing Crosby) and the celebratory, "Peace is Here."
  • Songs for Christmas (Sufjan Stevens) The quirky Brooklyn artist should be thrilled to know that small children are not only singing along with his self-proclaiming "singalong" album, but also dancing.
  • Let It Snow Baby...Let It Reindeer (RelientK) The chorus to their punk-version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" cracks me up:
Whats a partridge? And whats a pear tree?
I don't know so please don't ask me
But I can bet those are terrible gifts to get.


It's SNOWING!!!!!!!!!

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the city,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and parks, the river, and the heaven,
And veils the brownstones at the street's end.
The car and traveler stopped, the courier's feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant furnace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of storm.

~From "The Snow-Storm" by Ralph Waldo Emerson w/ revision by me (apologies to Emerson purists)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Thanksgiving re-cap

Mr. Miller and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday with my grandparents in northern Virginia. They live in a lovely colonial home just outside the beltway. As young children, my sisters and I romanticized the house because, unlike our home in Arizona, it had a stairwell and everything in the house is beautiful, from the fine china and hardwood furniture to the oriental rugs and heavy drapes. Though I still love all those things, my tastes have matured and what I really enjoy about visiting that home are the conversations with my Oma and Opa. They are a treasure-trove of fascinating stories and wisdom. Oma is an Arizona-native whose family came to the area before statehood. She grew up as the belle of the small mining community, Hayden. She met Opa at a dance at West Point, where he was a student. After winning and wedding her, he whisked her away from Arizona to travel around the United States and abroad as needed by the U.S. Army. Among other things, Opa served our country in the Vietnam and Korean Wars while Oma stayed on the home front to manage her home and raise my mom and uncle. I am so proud of both of them and their model of faithful service to their country, to their family, and to their marriage.

We shared the actual Thanksgiving meal with our dear friends the Lorences. The Lorences recently left Arizona to return to Fairfax, VA, their home of many years. My family spent quite a few holidays with them while they lived in Arizona so seeing them was a reunion of sorts! Though the location had changed, the food and conversations was excellent as always. I was struck at how quiet the house was compared to several years ago. The high-pitch chorus of children's voices that used to greet us at the front door has vanished. Instead, Nate, the oldest son, is driving and Jenna, the oldest daughter, is well into her college career. Thankfully, Brent, my special boy and the ring-bearer at our wedding, still gave me lots of hugs in spite of having graduated into big-boyhood.

Mere minutes before digging in (l to r, Justin, Marilyn, Josiah, Chloe)

Josiah, the littlest Lorence, being cute

Thank you, Lord, for this meal and these people!
(l to r, Mr. Miller, me, Nate, Josh, Brent, Justin, Jordan, Josiah, Chloe, Jenna, and friend Marie) Not pictured: Marilyn - hostess, wife, mother, friend and chef extraordinaire

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wintery blessing

We woke on Sunday morning, looked out the window, and saw this:

The snow crunched under our shoes as we walked to church! The experience was straight from the pages of Little House on the Prairie, except for the addition of row houses and cars.