Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Drumroll Please!

The drumroll will run for 2 more days until closing on Thursday. Then this cute little house in the woods, with a babbling brook, garage, garden boxes, washer, dryer, dishwaser and screened in porch will be our new home! We are very excited and will move next Monday. Look for an email with all new address and phone numbers. If you don't get on by next week e-mail us for the info :)

Next week we finally get to unpack all those boxes that we packed in April 2005, when we started this blog! It will be Christmas all month long!


Sunday, November 26, 2006

The United States of Europe

I do not spend much energy observing or pondering world politics and economics. This absence of attention to global affairs stems in part from my semi-intentional abandonment of sources of information that proffer the details of distant goings-on—newspapers, websites, television, and radio. Relative to what I understand to be the average American lifestyle, I take in minimal news and media influence.

This lack of investment in world news does not correlate directly, however, to a lack of interest. (It reflects more accurately my time prioritization.) Since Sara and I just spent seven months on an intriguing journey across opposite sides of the globe, and because I have a brother who pursues a fascinating degree in international business and finance, I harbour more than a little appetite for international matters. This appetite—along with several fascinating and eye-opening conversations in my ancestral mother-land across The Pond—led me to pick up the book, The United States of Europe, by T. R. Reid.

Reid offers an intense, savoury, and honest look into the history, politics, and economics that gave rise to what is now called the European Union. As I read the first chapters of his book I experienced a growing humility in the face of what I do not know—not just in the textbook matters of economics, politics, and history, but of the deep abiding humanness of the origins of the EU ideal.

Reid’s description of the rise of the EU as “The Invention of Peace and the Pursuit of Prosperity” and the research that supports such a description opened my perception to the EU as more than an economic pet project. Now it becomes to my vision the developing consummation of a difficult history—filled with war, ethnic conflict, evil and mistrust—shot through with courageous and brilliant leaders. The European Union becomes an entity that offers life in a history where so much death has been dealt. While nations give up crucial aspects of their sovereignty, they also gain a great peace and slowly emerging prosperity.

I found the narrative quality of Reid’s work enthralling. Though he writes with the goal of “waking up America” to what’s going on in Europe, he does not let a narrow agenda deprive him of his story-telling gifts. In a few places I found myself on the edge of my seat while reading this popular history, turning the pages to find out what happens next (as in the chapter describing the debacle with Jack Welch and a GE-Honeywell merger). What’s more, Reid does not dispense with the quirky stories that texture the hard-hitting historical miracles: he doesn’t just tell us how twenty-some countries all switched to a new currency in less that 24 hours; he also tells us the strange story of the design of the now-renowned symbol for the Euro. This kind of attention to personal detail and powerful anecdotes keeps the book from approaching the boredom level of textbook status and staying in the “fun but informative” category.

If you’ve got room on your reading list for another book, and you’ve ever wondered about that big wide world across The Pond, check out Reid’s book. It will be worth your while.


Feet are on Cruise Control: Brain Wanders

Yesterday I walked my longest training walk yet: 18 miles. So for about 4 ½ hours my feet knew their path and my brain wandered. I started out with a book on tape. Usually I’m plugged in to a mystery or some other piece of brain bubble gum to pass the time. This time I had downloaded A Treasury of Royal Scandals; a non-fiction account of old scandals among queens, kings, tsars etc.

I never really liked history class as a kid, so I’m not sure what made me think that this was going to hold my attention for hours on end but I set off walking to it. And the first 10 miles were less than high energy. So much for People magazine meets the history book.
After mile 11 it was time to switch over to something with a bit more energy- it was on to the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack. Ahhhh, much better! So I jammed out for the last 6 miles, with Jack Sparrow loud enough to drown out my screaming muscles! And finished with enough energy left to get home and collapse and watch a movie.

Not a bad walk. My brain worked on decorating the house, coordinating the move, shopping lists, stuff for my web site/business, friends, family… 4 ½ hours of stuff that flitted in and out of my mind while my feet took the rest of me through 3 towns and 2 counties.
Not a bad way to spend a beautiful Saturday afternoon.


P.S. I’m still accepting donations for the marathon. I’m about 2/3 of the way to my goal. Donate online with the link on the right or e-mail me for mailing address for checks :) And many thanks to everyone who has gotten me 2/3 of the way!

Monday, November 20, 2006

A Whirlwind

Reverend K. Emrys Tyler

We are winding down a wonderful weekend in Durango, CO. Emrys’ Ordination service was on Sunday and it was an event reminiscent of past graduations. The day was filled with bitter sweet emotions of one chapter ending while another begins. Moving away from our Durango family is hard, but we know that we have lifetime friendships here and it will always be a favorite place to return to visit and spend time with friends.

Along with the ordination service, we’ve hopped around town visiting friends and getting one more clear check-up from Sara’s oncologist; now everything will be transferred to Binghamton.

We leave early on Tuesday to return to NY and if all goes well, we’ll close on our house on Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!
emrys & sara

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Traveling – ugh!

So we skidded, fishtailed, bumped and bounced across the country today and I can say that the flight from Binghamton to DC was the roughest flight I have ever been on. The pilot’s statement that it might be a little bumpy on the climb was an understatement and he failed to mention that it would be worse on the decent. I think I experienced new shades of green. Fortunately the other two flights were remarkable smoother by comparison. Mmmm, not a fan of the puddle jumpers!

But now we’re in Durango. Saw a great orange sunset on the way in and a beautiful yellow banner outside the fairgrounds. It announced the Gardenswartz semi-annual clearance sale! I’m so excited! Added surprise bonus for the weekend. I’m glad I packed like a girl and have extra room in the big duffle bag!

We have arrived safely and are happily visiting with friends.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Our lives have settled into more or less, normalcy, with a bit of chaos hanging around the edge.

We saw a local production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum last night- very funny! That at the end of a Saturday filled with meetings, craft fair vending and grocery shopping.

Days peppered with projects, walking, cooking, baking. Settling in has become more of a process than I expected. And it's taking a while.

Fall is racing towards winter. Warm afternoons are more rare; rain and mist threatens to be snow and sleet. Hot cocoa a great companion.

Not much more to tell today, it's just normal.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It's Ba-ack...

So last week we decided that we were going to withdraw our offer on the house that was becoming a nightmare and we hadn't even gotten in it yet. 4 days later, we got a call from our realtor that the seller was taking some of the major repairs on herself and still giving us the credit to take care of the other stuff. So we reconsidered and now it looks like we may take it after all. I'm not getting my hopes up until we have a set-in-stone closing date!

In other news I went to my first "craft-sale" of sorts as a vendor on Saturday. I got a good response to my candles, learned a few lessons and am looking forward to taking another stab at it on Saturday at a larger, better publicized craft fair. We'll see how it goes!

Emrys is busy visiting and getting to know church members and marathon training will take me on 16 miles of country roads on Friday. The miles are stacking up!

We're looking forward to a visit to Durango for Emrys' ordination and Thanksgiving with my family in CT. Time to spoil the niece- although there'll be all the grandparents in the house to compete with- I may not even get to see her! Maybe if we get out there early enough on Wednesday...