Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Now List

Some days, there's something strangely satisfying about filling in the answers to a questionnaire. Especially when the questions are really easy to answer. This is one of those days. And so, here's the Now List, borrowed from Jason Boyett over at his blog.

What I am listening to right now:
The muted sounds of a train rumbling by on the Union Pacific West Line a block away.

What computer I am using right now:
The one at work. It's a Dell. I'm not technical, so that's pretty much all I know about it. It's black. I like it. It's good to me.

What I am eating right now:
My lunch, which consists of pasta salad and baby carrots with hummus. [As an aside, I think baby carrots are one of the greatest "inventions" of the last quarter century, and I'd like to give a shout out to Mike Yurosek who came up with the idea back in the late 1980s. The vegetable section of my food pyramid is visited a lot more often because of him.]

What I am drinking right now:

What I have just finished doing:
Printing labels for data CDs filled with resources for mission education in the local church.

What I will do immediately after posting this:
Wrap up my lunch break and get back to work.

What I am reading now:
Recapture the Wonder by Ravi Zacharias
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
Proverbs by King Solomon

Last email I received:
Was two minutes ago, from a friend who'd like me to edit a letter for her (which I am happy to do).

Last text I received:
Was last night, something sweet and profound from my boyfriend.

Last blog entry I read:
The one that came after the one where I got this list, a cautionary post about injuries one might sustain from a case of mooning gone awry, entitled "This Is Why You Don't Do That." It made me laugh.

What I did last night:
Enjoyed dinner with Travis, followed by my weekly bookseller gig at Barnes & Noble.

What I'm doing tonight:
Sorting through some stuff at home so I can start packing. Really. I mean it this time.

What I just looked at right now:
The tub of hummus.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

He Had Me at St. Clarence

Though most in my blog's small circle of readers are already aware of this significant development in my life (one of them even having played a significant role in bringing it about), I feel like it's time to officially introduce into the boyfriend. Meet Travis:
I did, back in February. Allow me to explain how it all came about. We were introduced by my friend Rachel, who's married to Eric, who's friends with Jon, who's married to Jamie, Travis's sister (when explaining this part I usually map out a little square diagram on the table or whatever surface is nearby...feel free to do this if you're having trouble following along). Rachel subsequently become friends with Jamie as well, and heard her talk about her brother now and then. Rachel told me, "Every time she's spoken about her brother, Travis, and told me of his interests and adventures, I've thought of you. I think it will be great for you two to meet." Needless to say, she was on to something there, and I couldn't be more thankful that she took the initiative to introduce us! (Thanks again, Rae!)

Several months actually passed between the conversation in which Rachel first approached me with the idea and the night Travis and I first met when the six of us went out to dinner. In fact, during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season I all but forgot about it. Looking back, both Travis and I now see God's perfect timing all over the beginning of our relationship. We both feel we would not have been ready--emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally, even "schedule-ly"--back in the fall of 2007, but by the end of February the Lord had brought us both to a place where we could give ourselves to a relationship and open up our lives and hearts to another person. I also see God's tender timing in bringing Travis into my life just before the very difficult season in which I had to say goodbye to my grandpa. In the midst of all the sadness and uncertainty of Grandpa's last days, Travis was a tremendous support and what I like to call "a divine distraction." While so many guys would have backed away when a girl they'd just met was all of a sudden traveling through a valley of grief, Travis took a step toward me and walked through that valley with me. That's the kind of man he is.

The past 3 1/2 months have included LOTS of introductions...I've met his friends and family, and he's met many of mine. In fact, we've tried to be really intentional about entering into one another's circles and carrying out our relationship in the midst of that community. One question we've been asked on more than one occasion is, What was it that first grabbed your attention and really attracted you to the other? Well, I guess you could say he had me at St. Clarence.

The Tuesday after our first date (on a Saturday) Travis sent me an email with a poem inspired by my Valentine's Day blog post, in which I mused about what people might say to one another (rather than "Be Mine") if Valentine had been named St. Clarence or Rufus instead (names much harder to rhyme with). With his permission, here's what Travis composed:
For raising a woman
of joyful countenance
a deep thoughtful mind
and lovely appearance
It is time to give honor
and praise to your parents
I send warm regards
this day of St. Clarence
The poem was sweet and made me laugh, and demonstrated his thoughtfulness, creativity, and sense of humor. He had my attention, and from there began to grow in my affections. About a week later, after we'd gone on our second date, Travis sent me a text with a limerick about our date. It was witty, creative, and a LIMERICK, for goodness' sake! At that point I found myself grinning like a fool and thinking, "Lord, only You could bring me a guy who flirts with limericks via text!"

So, that's how it all started. Three and a half months later, I remain wide-eyed in wonder and overflowing with thankfulness at what the Lord has done in bringing such a godly, funny, intelligent, caring, responsible, creative, generous, and tender-hearted man into my life (just a few of the things I appreciate about him!). I'm excited to introduce you to him, as he will now likely be a frequent character in the tales recounted here in Suz's Musings. As Travis & I share our lives with one another--the exciting adventures along with the mundane--we are striving to lay a solid foundation of friendship and trust for a bright future. We desire wisdom and we covet your prayers as we continue to build our relationship and grow up into Christ, who is our Head (Eph 4:15).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kung Fu Panda: Two Opposable Thumbs Up

This past weekend I went to see Kung Fu Panda, the latest animated feature from Dreamworks. I’d been rather disappointed by the last movie I saw in the theatre (Prince Caspian) so going into this flick I tried to keep my expectations low so as not to be disappointed again. Turns out I could have raised those expectations a bit, and even then this movie would have exceeded them.

Above all of the other things that commend it—impressive animation, good character development, a solid story, engaging dialogue, and great voicing from terrific actors (including Jack Black, Dustin Hoffman, and Angelina Jolie)—this movie is FUNNY. I can’t remember any other movie I’ve attended in recent history where the audience was laughing so hard that everyone was collectively gasping for breath. Unlike a lot of animated flicks where the jokes are few and far between, this movie is consistently funny (and heartwarming and engaging and suspenseful) all the way through. Even so, there are still a few gags, jokes, and one-liners that produce an even louder outburst of guffaws. (See it, and you’ll know what I’m talking about. I don't want to spoil anything.) If you need a good comic release this summer, I highly recommend Kung Fu Panda.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Shower a Success!

On Sunday I threw a "Strawberries & Champagne" themed bridal shower for Allison. (The colors for the wedding are red and champagne. I get to wear a pretty red dress). Although I don't have the occasion to do so very often, I enjoy entertaining and have lots of fun running with a good theme (I have Melissa to thank for coming up with this one, while waiting in the emergency room feeling like her abdomen was going to explode, no less) and this shower was no exception. The menu consisted of:
  • Strawberries & Champagne Punch
  • Strawberry Lemonade
  • Strawberry Mango Salsa with Baked Scoops
  • "Margarita" Fruit Dip with fresh pineapple, strawberries, and Nilla Wafers
  • Angel Food Cake Squares & Brownie Bites Topped with Whipped Cream & Strawberries
(Follow the link above for the Margarita Dip recipe from Kraft, which was really yummy. I modified an recipe for the salsa, and it turned out so tasty I've included it below.)
We played an informative game of Bridal Bingo, where the guests filled their bingo cards by selecting words/phrases from a list of items having to do with the wedding and/or Allison & Alex's relationship. Allison was the "caller," pulling a slip of paper from a bowl, reading the word/phrase, and then sharing a little bit about its significance. Crowd favorites were "Asian it up" and "tea ceremony," which prompted an on-the-spot fashion show of Allison's dress for the Chinese tea ceremony & reception in L.A. The winners received prizes which were, of course, all strawberry themed (nail polish, lip gloss, body wash, and (my favorite themed discovery)Alberto VO5 "Champagne Kiss" shampoo & conditioner, of which Charity took a whiff and declared it would make her want to eat her hair).

Allison worked her way through a pile of gifts from Bed, Bath & Beyond and Crate & Barrel. She also received a beautiful purse to use for the wedding day, knit by one of her co-workers (see photo at right). Cleaning up and deciding where the gifts would go prompted Carol (her mother, in town for the shower) to undertake the spontaneous reorganization of all the kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Finally, the guests took home favors in the form of little plastic champagne bottles labeled with "Allison & Alex / August 9, 2008" and filled with strawberry cheesecake Jelly Belly beans.

Strawberry Mango Salsa
2 Tb balsamic vinegar
2/3 C orange juice
2 Tb lime juice
1/2 medium
red onion, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed
2 ripe mangoes, diced
1 pint strawberries, diced
6 or so fresh mint leaves, torn
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the balsamic vinegar and juices.
  2. Dump the beans and onion into the bowl. Gently fold in the mango and strawberries. Add the mint and mix well.
  3. Cover and chill at least 20 minutes before serving. Makes enough for probably 12-15 people.