Last week at the fabric market

Last week, we made our yearly run to the fabric market. Actually, I went twice last week, but I’d rather not dwell on that… I’m sure you can understand.

I took my camera for practice, and this is what I left with. They’re pretty blurry (it’s dark down there!) but they were fun to take.

Scenes from a Summer

I didn’t have my camera for long this summer–the battery up and died about two weeks in and wouldn’t ya know I left my charger in Asia–but I did get a few photos before that happened. And then I stole the pictures from my dad’s camera during our beach trip, so I figured I should stick a few of those photos up here as well.

Here ya go!

Mary Emily being all healthy and stuff during an afternoon picnic/hike.

Profile pic! For realz, though.

Maybe my favorite picture ever of my dad.

Amy and her new(ish) husband, Lee.

So sweet: Mary Emily and Mama.

The parentals at the beach.

Me being weird with Helen. Who knows.

While there were some really cute family pictures of all of us, I kinda like this one, which Michael took while testing the lighting. Reality, y’all.

Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters! (Maybe.)

And finally, the requisite couple shot. Which I love.

It’s so hot that…

-Our favorite coffee (OK, technically donut) shop was closed for business yesterday because it was just too hot to go to work.

-It’s “too dangerous” for gas stations to fill cars/scooters up in the midday heat… you have to wait until after 4.30 pm.

-Our town is known far and wide as one of the “furnaces” of this country. Maybe it’s humidity, maybe it’s something about the terrain; all I know is it is steamy.

-When I made a midday run for some ingredients to the shop around the corner, the owner (who I’m friendly with) looked at me like I was crazy and asked why on earth I left the house during the middle of the day. All local people know that summer heat is made for staying in the house!

-My friends pull their pillows and sheets off their bunks to sleep on the slightly cooler ground; most school dormitories do not have AC.

-After dinner at our favorite restaurant, we walk outside and greet our friend the cook. He is shirtless, his round belly (the result of all that good food) on display. He shakes his head. “It is so hot,” he says. The best (worst) part: he grabs his shirt, which was draped over his shoulders, and twists it in his hands, wringing a small puddle of his own sweat on the ground. We avert our eyes and quickly walk away.

-Heat rises off the ground like steam over a pot of bubbling noodles. It’s the kind of hot where ceasing motion means you’ll melt like a pat of butter in the skillet, but it’s also the kind of hot when your sluggish body refuses to just go, already. The quickest and nimblest of motions seem no faster than a slow motion replay on TV. The air is dense, heavy. Sweat slides down my cheeks, my arms, my stomach like drops of water on a glass of ice water at noon. Through the grime of smog, the sun bears down.

From the Mixed-Up Files

Did anyone read that classic of children’s literature, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? In the book, the two children have to navigate the confusing and seeming-orderless filing system of Mrs. Frankweiler to solve the mystery (about a priceless display at the Met in New York). I feel like I am Mrs. Frankweiler, and her confusing filing system is my brain. There’s not much rhyme, but there is reason. Somewhere. So here goes a peek into the madness of my mind.
-We’re back! And oh so glad. After what some seriously flawed flight planning on my part (overnight layover in New York–which actually was great although we missed the friends we’d hope to see–and non-connecting tickets from New York to Atlanta, which of course = baggage fees), we arrived at our home last Tuesday night. We spent the next days in a haze of jet lag, but at this point have finally re-calibrated to normal.

-After a whole summer apart, our first order of business on Wednesday morning was going to pick up our sweet puppy. Oh, it was so good! And while we had feared that his summer at dog camp would leave him unmanageable, we’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that he’s actually grown up and calmed down. Oh, and also, he’s now bilingual: turns out this summer Albus learned to respond to basic commands like “sit” and “come” in the local language. We always knew he was smart.

-I woke up a few days ago with a nasty eye infection/stye. Interestingly enough, the same thing happened at the exact same time last year. I’m not sure if it’s environmental, due to travel stress/weariness, or just a fluke. I’ve been spending lots of time with hot compresses on my eye, but the weirdest and most useful tip has been dropping green tea in my eye. I promise I didn’t make this up myself (learned it from a friend!) but have been so surprised and thankful at how well this works.

-In addition to my eye infection, since returning I’ve also come down with some sort of nasty hacking cough. I’m not sick, just sound like I’ve been smoking for 40 years. Which led to some late-night Internet investigation (never a good idea) and the discovery that our city has made several top 10 worst air quality lists. And also that living here means my chances of someday developing lung cancer have spiked by like 20%. (The Internet told me so and we all know that the Internet is a good place for people like me with hypochondriac tendencies! Right???) All those years of cigarette fear, for nought!  In the same vein, yesterday Michael went and got our air purifier repaired, so that’s now running 24-7 in our apartment. And we bought a used treadmill from some friends who left this summer, so my outdoor exercise time will probably greatly decrease this year. –sigh–

-This time of year is slow going for us, and I am grateful. After a wonderful summer jam-packed with people, it has been equally wonderful to have time without so many people around. My introvert side is relishing the down time, and hopefully stocking up for the busy season that awaits just around the bend. In the meantime, we’ve been cleaning our apartment (despite double bagging everything in our kitchen, I still returned to a bug infestation which required two full days of bleach and washing–blehhh), stocking up on goods for the year ahead (this requires several half-day trips to various grocery stores located outside of our immediate vicinity), and organizing/cleaning the apartments of our soon-to-arrive neighbors. It’s been nice to literally get my hands dirty with preparations for the year.

-Speaking of projects, I’ve also gotten to do a few crafty things that had been on my list forever but which I never got around to. Hoping to share a few of those projects soon….

-Last Saturday, Michael and I, along with our friend Gunter, hopped on the motor bikes and took to the hills surrounding our little suburb. It was awe-inspiring. Michael brought his camera; here are some photos he took of a 2,000-year-old Buddhist temple we found. Seriously, never even knew there was a temple in the area. Crazy.

-In other crazy news, it is freaking hot. Like, hotter-than-Alabama-in-August hot. I’m so glad we have an air conditioner.