Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Road Tripping

Before we head to NY for our 3 months of training we're taking a few weeks to travel across the country and visit family. We drove to Vicksburg on Sunday. On our way through Atlanta it just so happened to be lunchtime. So we stopped for a quick bite at Home Grown, a restaurant that my cousins introduced us to a little while ago. Man, if you're in the area, that's some tasty food!

The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. I was exhausted so I slept most of the way. I did wake up, however, to see my husband get pulled over for a speeding ticket in Alabama. $174 for going 88 in a 70 MPH zone! Seriously!? Grrr..

On Monday we made settlement on Chris's mom's house! This is a true blessing, more-so than selling our own house. It's one less thing to think about while we're gone.

We've had a good time visiting with family, hanging out at the best coffeehouse in the South and chilling out. I even got my wonderful husband to swim in the hotel pool with me yesterday!

Tomorrow we head west for Arizona!

**P.S. We heard from MKLM that we've raised over $600 so far toward our fund raising goal! We were so psyched to hear that because last we'd heard (about a month ago) we'd only received about 3 donations. They've not told us who has donated, which I feel bad about because I'd like to send individual thank you's. So thanks to everyone who has donated so far! We can't express how much we appreciate your financial support!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Where's all our stuff?

So, I mentioned that our yard sale went well on Saturday. Despite that, Saturday night I found myself wide awake all through the night (unheard of for me!) inventorying everything we sold/donated.

What happened to that DVD of Hook? Did we sell or donate it? We should've pulled it out of the donation pile and sold it at Second Spin....

I wish we'd held onto those small plastic bottles. I could've used them for the upcoming traveling we'll have....

Damn, that suitcase that I accidentally got rid of...

And on and on and on.

It's funny because several people have made comments to me about how calmly I have been handling everything. And, seriously, I think I have been. But I guess it's caught up to me a little bit. It's kind of funny how my mind is playing tricks on me. Like stuff=stability or some semblance of control in one's life. And now that I'm without stuff I have less stability and/or less control, which is obviously bunk. And, not that I think I need (or particularly want) most of the things we got rid of. I've never really wanted a lot of "stuff." So that makes it even more odd that I was obsessing about it the other night.

I guess this is just gearing me up for the big push because, in fact, those trinkets are minor compared to the family and friends we'll soon be leaving behind (NOT getting rid of).

I found particular solace in the readings from Mass yesterday. "Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matt 16:25.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Yard Sale 2

Our second yard sale was a great success! Thanks to Allyson and Carrie again for helping out! Y'all are gems!

Now our house is pretty close to being empty, which is surprisingly not depressing. Yet, I'm fixated on the fact that I sold a large suitcase and forgot to look inside of it. I have a sneaking suspicion (as in, I know for a fact) that there was another suitcase stashed inside of it that we wanted to keep. Damn! Oh well, someone got that deal of the day. Anyone have a suitcase that they want to get rid of?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's getting real

After saying goodbye to most friends, leaving my work, and making all kinds of very real transitions toward moving, it's remained a very unreal thing that we'll be leaving Columbia (in less than 3 days!). But today I've sold a bunch of our things and the house is starting to look empty. We don't have a microwave or any table to eat off of. Those are definitely things that we use daily to function in the house. And, as I'm walking around the house, The situation is just now gaining a sense of immediacy. It's hitting home (pun not intended) that we're actually leaving this place. And as much as I'm looking forward to all the great things to come, it's definitely very sad to be leaving Columbia, our home and all the things and people that are here.

Dear Craigslist Buyers,

When you say you're going to come purchase and pick up an item for sale, please follow through on your promise. It is inconsiderate to not show up, show up an hour late, or text to say never mind and you don't want the item. It's also really annoying if you call a dozen times beforehand to continually reschedule the pickup time.


A Craigs List Seller

Monday, August 22, 2011

Going Away Party

I just finished up a bowl of homemade ice cream, made by Carrie Draper for our party, while I'm posting some pictures of our going away party.

As I said before, the party was awesome. It lasted 9 hours, so Chris and I were utterly exhausted yesterday. But we have some of the most amazing friends and we had a great time. Thanks to everyone who came out! And a special thanks if you brought food or drinks! It was so helpful to have all the food taken care of! I normally handle all the food for our parties, which I enjoy doing. But I have to say, it was really great to not have to deal with any of that. And everything was so delicious. People kept complementing me on the food and I had to keep saying that I didn't do anything!

Check out this spread! Mostly done by Carrie
The spread at the beginning of the afternoon. A TON of people brought food too, so we were definitely not without sustenance.

The Liggetts and Chris
Baldman's work friends
Chris's work friends. Sylvan (on the right) is his replacement!

Bernard, Doyle and Kara
Fr. Bernard, Doyle and Kara enjoying food and company.

Jenah, Erin and Carrie enjoying the home-made ice cream
Carrie gives her ice cream a thumbs-up.

Cheryl and Noah
Cheryl and Noah, as Erin escapes out the door.

There was a brief, albeit violent bout of rain during the party. That's when the numbers started to swell a little bit.
The crowd is growing!

Once the rain cleared, the weather was actually quite nice.

Omar, Adan and Hassan have grown a lot since we first met them!
The Somali boys have grown so much in the past 6 years that we've known them.

Chris and Paula steel a moment in the corner
Paula wins the prize for coming the farthest! She flew in from DC as a surprise.

Sara, Adam and Ena
Adam, Sara, and Enid came from Charlotte. A&S have only ever missed 1 Reid party in all the years we've been here.

Matt and Chrissy
Matt and Chrissy

Mrs. Dell and Dianess
Dogwood and Michael
Mrs. Dell (pictured above) and Dogwood (on the left) came from Greenville and brought yummy cookies.

Fabian and his wife (pictured 2 above) are from the region of TZ that we will be living in.

Thomas and Melanie
STSM in the house!

Kids playing
So cute
Erin stomping around in her crocks
The kids seemed to enjoy each other's company and have an all-around good time.

"Ruth, the tooth!"
Ruth, the celebrity, made an appearance.

Lucy and her friend with the Tanzanian shirt
Lucy's friend wore a shirt from Tanzania in our honor.

Allyson and Chris
Allyson came the shortest distance--5 houses away. :)

Me with the biker ex-neighbors, Shane and Josh
Me and the biker crew.

Zadok chilling outside
THe hubby, Manza, me and Lindsay
Chris with Christine and Bereket
Me and the hubby with Matsepo, Gelila, and Manza
PANASA had a good representation.

Dancing outside
Dancing finally broke out in the evening.

Charissa dancing

Hippies by a fire
The ubiquitous fire, a staple in all Reid shindigs.

Teaching the drunk party-crasher how to dance
The piece de resistance of the evening was the 2 really drunk and high neighbors who stopped by to introduce themselves. They were harmless, but made for great entertainment.

MIchelle, the photographer for the night
Thanks to Michelle for taking most of these pictures throughout the course of the night. Without her we wouldn't have had any shots!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Lovely Surprise

Guess who popped in from Washington, DC for a surprise crashing of our party?


Totaly Rockin' Party

Thanks to everyone who came out to the goodbye party last night. It was a great time! It was sort of like our wedding reception all over again--so many of our favorite people all in one location. How could it NOT be great!

Big THANKS to Carrie for organizing and planning most of the food and invites!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Minute Reminder

Our goodbye party is tomorrow! Hope to see y'all there!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nice weather!

The weather is so cool(ish) tonight that we have the windows open! What WHAT? I thought it was August!? LOVE IT!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Car for sale

Anybody know someone who needs a cheap around-town car?

**UPDATE: It sold! Wow, I never expected it to sell so fast. Within 30 minutes of posting it I had, like, 10 emails.

Friday, August 12, 2011

2011 Family Reunion

Two Sunday's ago was our annual family reunion in western Pennsylvania. I was able to have an extra long visit with my grandparents because my mother and I drove up on Tuesday. We went early so we would be able to get all of my storage stuff up into the attic before the onslaught of 18 members of the family arriving closer to the weekend.

I can't really say we did much during the week other than a few shopping outings and getting ready for the reunion. But it was good to be at my grandparents house to soak it all in. I've been going there pretty much every summer for my entire life. I don't know when I'll get back there, if ever. My grandmother and grandfather (my only living grandparents remaining), though very healthy, are 84 and 93 years old respectively. Who knows what condition they will be in when we return. Obviously, I hope for the best, but I have to be realistic as well.

All-in-all, it was a very good visit with everyone. Even though I think we all get along relatively well, tensions can get a little high when you have so many people staying in the same house. But it was great to see everyone!

We have a tradition of going out to Bruno's restaurant on the Saturday night before the reunion. We all look forward to going there because they have great food and are very accommodating. We can be a rowdy bunch. Plus, we've got a slew of special dietary needs, what with 7 vegetarians, 1 person who's allergic to dairy and nuts, and 2 who can't eat gluten. God bless them for putting up with us!

The family at our annual Bruno's dinner
The Family at Bruno's

Julia and Baldman at dinner
Nick hamming it up behind Julia

Having a great time at dinner
This may be one of 2 times I've ever seen Grandmom drink alcohol. Maybe the Italian-ness has finally taken over her good Southern background...Or maybe she just needs a drink with all these crazy family members at her house!

At Bruno's
Can you tell Hannah's our cousin?

One of the things that is a signature of my grandparent's house is that there are always a ton of animals, both inside and outside of the house.

G.G. is so cute!
This year almost everyone left their dogs at home and G.G. got the spotlight.

For the 60+ years that they have lived in that house, my Grandmother has fed "the critters." She puts dried corn, stale bread and food scraps out for groundhogs, deer, squirrels, and whatever other creatures come by for the buffet. She also feeds a menagerie of birds, including hummingbirds. So you can sit outside on the back porch any time of year and watch animals and birds going in and out of their backyard as they eat.

The one-eyed groundhog
This year there was a 1/2 blind groundhog that Chris fell in LOVE with!

And, of course, what visit would be complete without a game of poker? I chose to sit out this year, but enjoyed watching everyone.
The serious poker game

The reunion in itself was pretty anti-climactic this year. There was a smaller crowd than normal. And, Uncle Flint died the night before, so there was a somber feel about the event. Plus, there was no wiffle ball or bat this year because the person who holds them from year to year wasn't in attendance. I can't remember a time when there was no wiffle ball game. But we played BINGO and I won $10! Woot woot!

Grandad calling BINGO
Grandad calls BINGO.

Jen also organized kid games, though there were only 3 kids there. Adults and kids participated, though, and that was fun too.

Kids lines up to hit the pinata
The line for the pinata

Water race
The water game

And, of course, the reunion always ends in a crescendo with a water balloon war. There were some serious hits this year. Though, I am happy to say I stayed completely dry!

A water balloon fight is always inevitable at any reunion
Nick poised to attack

It will be at least 4 years before we make another reunion. There has been talk for years that the practice will be disbanded. It was started about 63 years ago because my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather were getting older and their children were dispersing. So the family set aside one day a year for everyone to get together. And, we have done that every year since. Now there are only 3 siblings left, my Uncle Ricki, my Aunt Phyllis, and my Grandfather.

grandmom and uncle ricki
Uncle Ricki is the last living brother of my Grandfather. At 99 years old, he's also the oldest of our relatives.

It will be very strange and sad for me to not be able to make the reunions for a few years. Leaving my family behind is going to be the hardest part about moving. I have fears that distance will come between us, while everyone else will continue to be close. But, gratefully, everyone is supportive of us going. I think their support will help us remain connected, even across thousands of miles and many years.

Thanks, guys. I love you and will miss you!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rest in Peace

Over the past two weeks 2 family members have passed away. My stepdad's mother died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sunday, July 24 while my mother was visiting us in Columbia. And my great-uncle, brother-in-law of my grandfather, died the following Saturday night.

charlotte cutshall
Charlotte Cutshall, my step-grandmother, as a young woman.

uncle flint
My uncle, Flint Gaston, at last year's family reunion.

Both of these family members were much loved by the family and they both will be sorely missed.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Back Home (for now)

I've been away for the past two weeks, driving (with the help of my Mom) our storage up to my Grandparents' house in PA and visiting family in NJ.

I've only been home for a few hours, but I have some conflicting emotions about being back. It feels so great to be home again (though it was a great visit with everyone!). I'm a creature of habit and I like to be in my own space with my own stuff and my alone time. So it's very strange to think about moving out of this house and I can't help but wonder how it will be in a few short weeks when we no longer have this home to come home to. I'll have to come up with all new habits; I'll be coming home to a new space and most of my "stuff" will be gone or in storage.

Even though this change is going to be good, it's certainly going to be tough.