Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Family & Heritage

Today my parents celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. I’m blessed to have a rich heritage of long marriages. My paternal grandparents hit 54 years and my maternal grandparents just celebrated 59 years together. In a day and age where everything goes so fast and presses to go faster and where things are produced to be disposed, its nice to look at the rocks of age that punctuate the landscape of life. And the family that colors the garden of life.

We’re going to be moving to upstate New York in a few weeks and for the first time in a lot of moves, we don’t really know how long we’ll be there for sure, but we plan on it being an indefinitely long time. That’s kind of nice! As we move closer to family, we're looking forward to being an active part of my niece's life as she grows and spending more time with my brother, his wife, Emrys' brother and his mom.

Tonight we’ll celebrate with my parents and their friends and family. Emrys and I will be cooking and serving dinner. What’s on the Anniversary Menu you ask?

Parmesan Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Pesto Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Romaine greens topped with avocado, mandarin oranges and almond slivers with a sweet red onion dressing

Bacon wrapped Filet Mignon or
Dunedin Chicken (see February archives for recipe)
Both served with fresh green beans and garlic smashed potatoes

Molten Chocolate Cake with Homemade Vanilla Ice-cream

I’m looking forward to playing in the kitchen. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a kitchen project like this and I really enjoy it! Something therapeutic about cooking: the aromas, the work, the finished product.


(Last weekend all the Wheat's were together - be it ever so briefly - but we have a photo to prove it.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Reese the Niece

After Nineveh came a visit to Sara's brother's place in Fairfield CT. Sunday night was spent playing a game called Quelf (look it up if you need a laugh!) with Sara's brothers and sister-in-law. It was great fun. And the other portion of this stop was to spend time with Reese, our niece, who is now 6 months old and so much fun! We enjoy her smiles and her toys- fun things for kids these days. It's also been fun spoiling Adam & Lara. They got to go see a movie last night for the first time since Reese arrived.

Reese was my walking buddy this morning - I got my walk, she got her nap and everyone was happy!

We're off to the beach today and back to NH tomorrow!

Nineveh ... New York that is.

Last weekend we went to visit Nineveh, NY where Emrys preached for the Pastoral Nominating Committee and First Pres- Deposit, NY. Nineveh is located about 2 hours southwest of Albany and about 3 hours northwest of NYC in the rolling hills of upstate New York. The area was hit with severe flooding earlier this summer and evidence of the disaster is still visible. Heavy rains on saturday night while we were there had folks worried again.

Nestled among the hills are villages, one right after the other. Sidney, Bainbridge, Afton, Nineveh, Harpursville, Colesville and the list goes on. A 20 minute drive will present you through two or three of the villages. A quiet area of our country.

We'll see if it's our new home.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Reunion at Fry’s

We arrived back in Phoenix from Durango on Thursday evening in order to connect with friends from Fuller who would be in town to visit family this weekend. Emrys was very excited when this opportunity arose as Rob had moved to Washington when we moved to Colorado last summer and while they talk on the phone, it’d been a year since the soccer buddies had gotten together.

We’re staying at my parent’s house, which is a ways away from – well – anything and kind of confusing to find the first time you visit. So we made arrangements to rendezvous at a supermarket. Promptly at 11:00AM we walked into Fry’s. I wander over to the right towards the produce displays and to my left I hear Emrys exclaim- ‘He-ey!’ I look to the left and there’s Rob and his wife, Casie, sitting at a display patio table. Rob jumps up, and runs towards Emrys in a fashion reminiscent of the slow motion reunions you see in those sappy movies. Emrys is grabbed into a bear hug and I watch as Emrys’ feet leave the ground. Mind you, Rob is about 5 inches shorter than Emrys. Casie and I watch in amusement as the boys reunite. The service desk staff watched with a little more confusion mixed with their amusement. It can’t be every day you see two men grab each other in bear hugs in the middle of the supermarket. “Old friends we haven’t seen in a while” I toss over my shoulder as Rob turns to me.

We had a wonderful visit with them and spent the day catching up and enjoying the amenities of our temporary residence!

Monday, August 07, 2006

What Next?

Well we’re back in the United States after 7 months overseas of amazing experiences and travel. Check out our blog for a mouse directed vacation: http://saraemrys.blogspot.com. What now?? Well, today we got the “all clear” PET/CT scan from Sara’s oncologist so with Sara in full health and 1 year into remission –praise God! So now we look eagerly towards settling down somewhere.

But for that to happen, Emrys must pass the gauntlet of the Job Search. He is looking for a job as a pastor or associate pastor in a Presbyterian church and the search is underway. He had a phone interview the end of June from Geneva Switzerland with a church in New York State. He has another phone interview tomorrow with a church in southern New Jersey. The church in NY has invited him out for in person interviews and preaching the weekend of Aug. 20. God only knows where we’ll land out of all this but our two regions that we were looking at (Northeast & Colorado) are looking promising at this point.

So for a few more weeks we will live out of suitcases as we travel from the Southwest to the Northeast, spend time with family and friends and enjoy the end of summer.

Blessings to you all!

Sara & Emrys

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Laughs in Durango

We arrived in Durango on Thursday evening and have enjoyed catching up with friends and lots of laughing. We went out to Sonlight Camp (where we spent last summer) to visit with folks out there on their evening off and were treated to great homemade ice cream! Yum! Today it’s off to our home church where Youth Sunday is on the Order of Worship. Familiar faces and places and cooler-than-Phoenix weather are making for a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Warped by the Heat

I didn’t know my Grandpa Bonn all that well. The times we were together were precious few, though in the last years of his life I had the blessed opportunity to visit with him and even learn a little bit.

Grandpa Bonn was a colourful guy. He could describe things in ways that made you smile and, occasionally, made you cringe. It was part of his character. So in hanging out with him I learned some turns of phrase that really get the mind working. One of these—my favourite, I think—he used to describe both a notable habaƱero pepper and the cylinders of a motorcycle after he’d “seen what it could do.” That phrase is, and I quote:

Hotter than the hinges of hell.

Interestingly, that phrase also describes Phoenix, Arizona in August.

Most materials have certain quantifiable properties. Copper, when powdered and set to a flame, burns bright green. Plastic of types 1, 2, and 4, when cut into small pieces and heated over a gas stove (don’t ask) shrinks, curls up, and emits noxious fumes. Most things undergo radical changes when exposed to heat. And I think the human mind is no different.

An example is in order.

The last two days here in Phoenix have been hotter than the hinges of hell. You step outside the door and choke on the air. If you could grow tobacco in Phoenix, we’d be living in a giant cigarette. (Don’t give me any of that “But it’s dry heat!” stuff. Ovens are dry, and if you climbed into one of those when it was turned on you wouldn’t fare much better.) You can feel the wind like a river of molten air hit your face when you cross the soft asphalt streets. You can hear on the breeze the cackling chatter of the devil’s minions going about their daily chores. Phoenix is hotter than the hinges of hell, and we’re in it.

When the going gets hot, the hot go to In’N’Out for a burger. At least those who have been out of country and therefore deprived of their In’N’Out fix for too long do so. And the milkshakes are a blessing of cold in the heat. So we plodded our way through the thickening melt of the city to the classic burger joint of the southwest US.

We’re sitting in In’N’Out, savouring the sweet sensation of a cheeseburger and fresh-cut, fresh-fried chips—I mean, fries—when an employee of the establishment walks over to a regular customer sitting near us. She leans over the familiar client and says:

“Nice and cool today, isn’t it?”

I stop chewing. I look over. I think perhaps I’ve slipped out of reality and into some alternate universe where black is white and white is black. It could happen; there’s something sinister about this kind of heat, as if perhaps a worm hole is sneaking up behind you, breathing down your neck with the heat of a thousand suns.

It must be a joke. It’s like those cruel people who think it’s funny, when 100-degree heat and 95% humidity hits the East Coast, to greet you by saying, “Hot enough for ya?” This is just sick Arizona humour, like the sick humour of any other place in the world, only hotter.

But the familiar customer turns to the employee and says:

“It is! A very nice day out.”

The world is slipping through my fingers like the grilled onions that are slipping out of my open jaw. I thought for a moment; no, no I hadn’t misheard. One lady just said it was nice and cool; the other just agreed and called it a nice day. It wasn’t a joke. It wasn’t even sarcasm thickly veiled behind a dark shroud of dry humour. These two were serious. And disturbingly cheery.

Heat must warp the mind. It’s the only explanation I could come up with. Their minds—perhaps even their skin and the lobes of the brain in control of heat sensation—had been twisted by the heat. They’d been in Arizona too long.

It’s time to get out of this place, before I start climbing in the oven to cool off.


Facts & Figures

Since my brain works in logistics and numbers… here are a few to chew on for ya! It’s been an amazing 7 months and the experience was priceless. We’re now fully suited to settle down somewhere – yet unknown to us. Until then we’re still traveling: Phoenix, Durango CO, Manchester NH, Binghamton NY, Fairfield CT. So if you see your neck-of-the-woods on that list, get in touch. We’d love to see ya! ~sjt

Some of the numbers from our travels:

2 overnight trains
4 long haul flights
Sara walks 13.1 miles
15 Countries
16 Airports
19 Take offs (and an equal number of mostly smooth landings)
Sara’s --th Birthday
Emrys’s --th Birthday
37 Different Train Stations
40 Different Trains
Slept in 49 different Beds
198 days outside the USA