Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Choosing HOPE

De Hoop (Hope) windmill about 15 minutes' walk from our apartment here in Holland.

The week in between Christmas and New Year's Day is one of those weird weeks of the year one hardly knows how to describe. If you have to go to work, you wonder why. If you get to stay at home, you hardly know what to do with yourself.

Since the camera never lies, you can see (above) that we did indeed have snow here in Holland, even on Christmas day, for the first time in 30 years, Astrid says. I think it snowed just for me! Now it's all gone, after several days of warmer temps...but Hope still stands tall.

This is the same De Hoop windmill from above, taken a week before the snow fell. It faces the setting sun of the Old Year.

While saying Good-Bye to a tumultuous 2009, I am reminded of a Christopher Reeve quote: "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." I'm living proof of his words! And so, once again, I choose Hope for the new year, 2010. It's possible. I wish it for us all.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Dennenboom Reprise

Hopefully you'll get as much of a kick outta this as I did today!

Yesterday I was out-n-about buying pillows for the couch. I only needed two but when I found €9.95 pillows on sale for €1 each, it was a no-brainer to buy 4, which I did.

In the process, I saw that one of the stores was selling their floor-model fake Christmas trees. One €44.99 ($64) model was on sale for €10. Mental note to myself: mention this to Astrid just for the halibut.

When I did mention it to Astrid at suppertime last evening, she immediately asked if I had bought it and why not! To which I immediately responded that I didn't think there was a snowball's chance in hell that she'd even agree to it! She's like some of you...a REAL tree is what Christmas trees are all about.

Maybe it was a no-brainer to her, I don't the pillows. Our real tree (see last post) was €30 and weighed the dickens for her every time she had to lift it while I positioned the table or stand. Suddenly a real tree wasn't that important anymore...and we both started talking about the benefit of keeping it up as long as we wanted each year and storing it downstairs in our cubicle, etc., etc.

So, yes, this Christmas we have 2 Christmas trees! I took the same hand cart from the last post and walked it to the store 15 minutes away to see if the tree I wanted was still there. It was. Do I care what people thought who saw me walking it home behind me? HA! Let's just say I like saving money too much. With a bit of primping, this one will look as good as new next year!

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Much pleasure thou can'st give me...

While I'm at it, a treat was left at the back door to our apartment building after our snowstorm on Sunday. Since we all are 55 or older, I wonder if kids did this for us or if some of us are kids after all!

See the red bulb (eye) in the snow? Today it was back where it belonged.
How fun is that!

Yes, Virginia, there is a Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

O Christmas Tree, O Dennenboom

Merry Christmas week! And yes, perhaps you've heard that we, too, have had our first snowstorm of the season, with frigid temps I haven't experienced since I don't know when. Astrid says the cold and the snow are early even for Holland. We'd expect this in January.

But I digress because this is a post about buying our first Christmas tree together at the nearby outdoor market on Saturday, December 12. These are live trees in the photo and not huge...but remember that our apartment is small. It was easy to pick out a good one...not as easy to take it home when Astrid realized how heavy it was. So she went back to the apartment, 2 blocks away, to get the hand cart, which made all the difference in the world. Easy for me to say, while she does the hard work and I take the pictures!

We weren't ready to decorate the tree because my TruckPacks hadn't arrived yet (in which my Christmas box is!). However, early in the next week, last Wednesday, we found out said TPs are not yet ready to be released until a couple other hoops are jumped through. SO we went to Plan B, which was for Astrid to retrieve some of the lights and bulbs she had left with her ex-husband. By Friday night we were ready to decorate the tree!

What is it about Christmas trees! I always say they're so so quiet, which is true. They calm my heart and soul. They bring peace to my world, whether I need it or not!

A funny thing about this tree....did you notice the icicles (click to enlarge)? When was the last time I had them on one of my trees, if ever! So you can imagine my shock when Astrid pulled them out of her box and said we had to be careful with them, since you can't buy them here anymore. Actually, I think I started to protest and then stopped. Who gives a hoot if there are icicles on the tree! Apart from the lights, the tiny red and silver bulbs and only 12 larger silvery-white bulbs, the icicles were all that was left to sparkle up the tree. And it worked. Even I was able to admit it!

Behind those drapes, BTW, is the courtyard of our senior-living complex here. The day (Wednesday the 16th) we found out my TruckPacks probably won't get released till just after the new year, we had our first snow. Look at this image below and add another 6 or more inches that fell this past weekend.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Astrid says this is their first white Christmas (witte Kerst) in 30 years! O Christmas Tree, O Dennenboom!

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Handy Vrouw

I can just see it now: suddenly there will be loads of things to post about and you won't be able to keep up with me. HA! But I want to document it all and will make sure I keep up with myself, I hope. In one week's time I have so much to tell you!

Let's start with the other woman of the house because IK BEN ZO TROTS OP HAAR (I'm so proud of her) and all the things she can do. And she loves doing it! That's the treat of it.

Astrid had told me she was planning to build a little cabinet/stand for all the contraptions with wires that sit in the corner of the living room: telephone, Internet modem, and emergency call box for this senior complex (a nurse will come to visit us if/when we press the button!). Saturday she did it.

And that was in the morning! Mind you, she works for a cabinet company and is able to get all her wood for free, which is such a wonderful perk. This is just ONE of the cabinets she has made for the apartment. But isn't it so cute! I love that she can do these things that benefit our space and add to the aesthetics!

After that, we took an afternoon train to nearby Dordrecht, half an hour away, to see the Christmas Market and city center. The train was free all day Saturday...something they do from time to time throughout the year to increase ridership. You don't have to ask us twice. Take advantage of it when you can. DUH! But Dordrecht is another post altogether. As is the buying of our first Christmas tree which we did before the cabinet was made...and now waits for my Christmas box in the TruckPacks that we plan to pick up at the end of this week.

Today I wanted to introduce you to the handy woman who adds a big spark to my life! When was the last time I said it doesn't take much to make me happy! :)

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Small Pleasures

First of all, I'M HERE! I have made it safe-n-sound to the Netherlands. The landing on Saturday morning was so smooth, I didn't even know we had touched ground. It felt like a good omen...and I smiled knowingly.

Little by little I will tell you the important things, of course, but today I have to start with food items that have delighted me to no end! Since I'll be the chief cook and bottle washer, my biggest goal for yesterday, Monday, was to find the grocery store, check it out, and then compare it to Monday morning's outdoor market (once a week, just 2 blocks from the apartment!). I needed to get the lay of the land.

In the top photo, I was like a little kid who had died and gone to heaven: a 3-pak of Grote (BIG) Speculaas cookies left over from Saturday's Sinterklaas day and reduced half price. I have them next to one of Astrid's windowsill plants for scale. €.30 for the pak, or €.10/cookie (the equivalent of $.13 each). Guess how many paks I bought? N I N E of them. You need to understand...this is one of the best-tasting cookies I've ever had and even grew up on them in Michigan as a child. We called them windmill cookies because they're usually shaped like windmills. These will keep forever and will be what we'll use when people come over for coffee/tea (very European). One cookie is big enough for 4 people!

It doesn't take much to make me happy!

At the outdoor market I then found a kilo box of dates and once again was in heaven. I kid you not: these are things that take me back to my childhood as though they were in my genes. I can't remember when I last bought dates, can you?

It doesn't take much to make me happy!

If you have a spouse/children who like the same thing you do, you'll understand why I got so excited over finding Brussels sprouts in bags like I was able to buy in Hannover and Amsterdam (but had to eat alone). Does Astrid like Brussels sprouts? YES. So it will be a real treat for me to whip these up in olive oil and garlic. Talk about hog heaven!

It doesn't take much to make me happy!

On Saturday we bought a printer and a chopper/blender and today I bought a toaster. This is the time to buy the things we need before Christmas when things are on sale. It would have been nice to bring over some of my small appliances but with the different electric currents between America and Europe, it didn't make sense. That's why the estate sale was so important. Sell appliances, get money, buy new appliances.

It doesn't take much to make me happy!

Wait till you see the pictures of churches I took today...just minutes away from our apartment. Actually, wait till I tell you all about this charming city of Gorinchem (35K pop.) south of Amsterdam. I find I want to tell you everything right now! Am I excited or what!

It really doesn't take much to make me happy...which is, after all, why I find myself here right now. These are the things I ponder in my heart....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Moving Right Along

Another milestone on the road to a new life: the 2 ABF TruckPacks are now gone. Soon they'll be on a ship to Rotterdam in the Netherlands!

I had already shown you what happened when I chose ABF for shipping my heirloom furniture back to Michigan in a ReloCube. It was such a good experience I quickly decided to choose them for shipping my personal goods to the Netherlands. Two different types of packaging but the same overall good customer service. I couldn't have asked for a better process from A to Z. Each box had a 3,000 lb. limit but I'm guessing they were less than 1,500 lbs. each. No matter, they were filled to the gills with the things that matter to me...little touches that will make our home a home.

The weird thing is that I expected them to bring out a forklift truck, not a pallet jack. To be honest, watching the man maneuver the huge boxes "by hand" was pretty scary. There were a couple times I thought one of the boxes would surely tip over and spill out all its contents. O me of little faith. The guy knew what he was doing and did a fine job. Within a matter of minutes, I waved Good-Bye...and that was all she wrote!

If all goes as planned, we'll be driving to Rotterdam on December 11 to pick them up, hopefully without any hitches. Which reminds me...I now have a flight scheduled for Friday, December 4, leaving at 9:35p and arriving the next morning in Amsterdam...on Sinterklaas day. The Day of Gifts. How appropriate, don't you think?!

I sign my quit-claim paperwork on Monday next week and then on Tuesday head south of the city for the Thanksgiving holiday with friends Peggy and Bob, coming back on Friday. My kids will be away in LA (Amy's gang) and Sarasota (Mark), so I'll do my own thing.

Speaking of "my kids," we had a delightful mountain-cabin getaway this past weekend up in the GA Blue Ridge mountains. It was our last hurrah, so to speak, before my departure: Amy, Dennis, Nicholas, Mark and me. We played cards, watched a movie, played cards, ate good food, shot pool, sat in the hot tub...and, did I say, played cards! We'll never forget it. The photo album speaks for itself, if you have a chance to look at it.

And oh, on another note, I was accepted today for my international medical insurance...with an exclusion rider on anything that may happen with my left knee (after my knee surgery in June, 2008). "Pre-existing issues" has a new meaning for me in all the health debate right now! But something is better than nothing and I'm thankful. Which reminds me...HAPPY THANKSGIVING next week to all who celebrate it. We have so much...for giving thanks.

Pinch me: I'm down to 2 weeks away to liftoff. Still miles to go before then, but watching the TruckPacks leave today felt major-major. It really feels like it's happening!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Strome Hetch

If you like spoonerisms as much as I do, this is one of my favorites: I'm in the "strome hetch," finally!

Halloween is now behind us...when once again we did what's become a family tradition, carving pumpkins, roasting seeds, eating a great lunch and playing cards. I love it that Nicholas is growing up with these memories, with Uncle Mark included.

That was October 31, two weekends ago.

This past weekend, Friday and Saturday, was my estate sale, put on by a professional family "gang" I found on the Internet. I was particularly drawn to the website and how it was set up: Good Buys. And once I called the contact lady and met her, I was sold. It was as easy as that. It helped, of course, to know that I didn't have to do anything (other than to get things ready!). I knew up front their minimum take would be $1,500, but it was a no-brainer that it would be totally worth it. It was! My only hope was that I, too, would make that much. I did...and more. AND I still have pieces of furniture and small items left that my flea-market lady wants for her shop and she's willing to pick it all up for me next week. So the opera still isn't over, in a good sense! It's a win-win situation for both her and me.

The pure joy of the weekend was fantastic, sunny weather both days! It felt like the heavens were smiling down on us. I didn't have to hang around but I did, directing traffic off the side of the drive all day long, from 9 - 4. The "gang" said it made all the difference in the world. I knew it would, which is why I did it. I wanted it to be a good experience for everyone.

Today it's raining! Cozy, cozy for me (terrifying for those elsewhere in Atlanta who will get more flooding, yet again). Little by little I am adding to my 2 ABF TruckPacks that will hold the rest of my earthly possessions.

In the beginning, I actually had to get inside the boxes to pack them compactly. I love puzzles, so the entire process has been a delight, fitting each piece in place. They will be loaded to the gills by next week, when they'll be picked up for shipping to Rotterdam. Estimated date of arrival is December 7 and we'll drive to Rotterdam to pick them up on Saturday the 12th. That's the plan.

I'm not yet exactly counting the days, because I'm still waiting to find out the quit-claim and refi date on the house. Once that happens, I'll be counting, trust me. God willing and the creek don't rise, I hope to fly out of Atlanta on Friday, December 4, arriving in Amsterdam on Saturday, Sinterklaas day. The day of gifts! Somehow that seems so appropriate, don't you think?!

But I'll post at least once more before then to say Happy Thanksgiving and bid you all adieu from Atlanta. THEN I'll be saying something like "Tunce upon a whime in a coreign fountry...."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sophie's Ginnie's Choice

Don't you love it when someone else's post inspires you to write your own! So thank Linda/Shoreacres at The Task at Hand for this one. In a convoluted sort of way, one thing led to another as I started thinking about what we collect around ourselves when we decorate our homes.

And now that I am packing up what I want to keep of years and years of collecting, getting rid of everything else and getting down to the bare bones of what's soulful to me, I have had to make some choices. No choice was perhaps greater than picking which of these 3 bronzes I would take with me to the Netherlands.

It started in the mid-90s after Mom and Dad died and I had a bit of an inheritance to invest. As a rule, I tend to be more of a saver than a spender, but I decided to make a one-time splurge on 3 Mark Hopkins bronzes that absolutely whispered to my Soul. I can't even tell you how I found them. They probably found me.

The first one I bought was this wolf, called Northwoods. At that time in my life, when I was still in the throes of coming out as a gay woman after a 21-year marriage, the Wolf had become my Animal Guide. She was teaching me about change and adaptation and transformation. She was teaching me to trust my intuition and to embrace the lessons of my life. She really was my guide and I howled with her.

At the same time I was reading...very slowly and deliberately...Clarissa Pinkola Estés' Women Who Run with the Wolves. It was a time of joining the lone wolf that was separated from the pack, howling at the moon, longing for Home.

Then I found Shaman's Vision. I had been teaching a class on "Homosexuality and the Bible" for several years in my church and community. I had previously done the same with "Women in the Church" back in Wisconsin and found the same principles at work, marveling how I had been prepared to exegete and interpret ancient texts. Are women allowed/forbidden by our Holy Scriptures to preach? Are men and women allowed/forbidden by our Holy Scriptures to live in loving, monogamous same-sex partnerships?

In the process of studying this issue from the different world religions, I became fascinated by the Native American approach to homosexuality. For them, a gay man or woman is in "two spirits" and therefore is the most logical person to be the shaman/healer of their tribe, better able to understand both sides of a situation. So when I found this bronze, it had my Soul written all over it!

To be honest, I don't remember if I purchased Gathering Wisdom before or after Shaman's Vision. All I know is that as I continued to read and re-read Clarissa Pinkola Estés' book, I became La Loba, the Wolf Woman, gathering up my dry bones in the desert:

We all begin as a bundle of bones lost somewhere in a desert, a dismantled skeleton that lies under the sand.

It is our work to recover the parts.

So now I ask you: if Ginnie can take only one of these bronzes with her to the Netherlands, which should she take! What is Ginnie's Choice?

It wasn't that hard, actually, when I started to analyze it. The wolf will always be my Animal Guide but, by now, I no longer wander alone. Years ago I joined a new pack and found Home. The same with the shaman. There was a time in my life when I filled that role for many who were struggling, but it's no longer front and focus for me.

However, as regards my Life's Journey, I suspect I will always need to visit the Desert to find the dried-up bones that need life breathed into them. Never-ending. Ad nauseum. From now until eternity. Ad infinitum. It's a process that will never stop for me, I know. It's my Destiny.

So all 30.5 lbs of this Loba Wolf Woman will find their way into one of my TruckPacks headed to my new home in Holland. And that, I realize, is another post altogether...coming up sooner than you think!


As an interesting aside, a gentleman my age came to look at the house a couple months ago and immediately knew it was not the right one for him and his wife. BUT he was really fixated on my 3 bronzes. When I asked him how serious he was about them, since I was planning to sell 2 of them, he immediately bought them on the spot. A man buying a house ended up buying two of my bronzes! He said it was something he had never done in his life...but he bought the wolf for his wife, who is a teacher and runs a daycare center; and he bought the shaman for himself, in honor of his nephew who is a medical doctor in Peru, near where I served the Campa Pajonal indians back in 1969. How's that for breathing life into old bones!

(The Northwoods and Shaman's Vision images were taken off the Internet.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adventures or Not!

Awhile back, g'son Nicholas told me that what he likes about his other grammy is that they go on adventures. So when Nicholas was with me this past Thursday through Saturday, I asked him about two of the things we did...if they were adventures.

First, we went to the Cumming Fair on Thursday, which was the opening night this year. We have done it every year in October since he was 2 years old, so this was his 8th time in his 9 years (you have to use your fingers for the math, trust me). Because it was opening night, they had "specials" -- like no entrance fee and only $18/person for unlimited rides. We saved a bundle!

AND Nicholas had no school on Friday (or Monday) because of the Columbus Day holiday. So, we had a blast. All 6 hours worth! We were there by 4:15 and left at 10:15. Talk about tired puppies. Was it an adventure? "Sort of."

Believe it or not, this was the only picture I took of him on a ride because, well, because I rode all the rides with him! I rode the above ride with him (the "airplane" ride) but he wanted to ride it again and I told him this time I would take a picture of him.

We always go to the big barn to see the animals, year after year. The billy goats are the ones who eat up the attention!

We even saw a totally new clown/circus show with pigs and dogs .

And then we ate up the homemade ice cream. It went back-n-forth between vanilla, chocolate and strawberry...until we got to the head of the line and he decided on chocolate. Good choice! One bowl is really plenty to share amongst THREE people, but we managed to finish it just fine.

We had earlier eaten our prerequisite turkey leg (this was the second year in a row that we were able to finish one between us) and corn on the cob. But my hands were way too messy for that photo op.

Okay. That was Thursday night.

Now segue to Friday afternoon when we went on a 2-mile-each-way trail walk in the neighborhood that was just finished a few months ago. Was it an adventure? "Not really."

So, when I asked him why it wasn't exactly an adventure, he said because it wasn't exactly in the woods. We had a defined boardwalk or biking trail the entire way. IT told us where to go, instead of us telling it where we wanted to go. I asked him if our woods here at the house is an adventure, and he said "YES!"
Okay, I'm getting it. Made sense to me.

I think I learned something from Nicholas this weekend about what adventures are! They are NOT clearly defined events or places that are straight-forward or predictable. They are "off the beaten path" and a bit of a surprise as you make your own on-the-go choices.

I've decided that means I can safely describe my life at this point in time as an Adventure!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

It's been on the evening news the last 2 nights so perhaps you have heard that Atlanta has had historic flooding after days and days of relentless rain.

In my 22 years here in Atlanta, I've never seen anything like it. Typically we are in drought alert and on water rationing, year after year. So for g'son Nicholas to have had 2 school days off for flooding in the county, that's saying something. Thus far, 10 have lost their lives in Georgia and Alabama due to the rain. Countless others have lost their homes/possessions. Back in 1993 I lost my condo to fire and have been wondering what would be worse, fire or flood!

Personally, I've been fine! The yard was becoming a jungle as the rain started several days ago, but because it wouldn't stop raining, I could never mow it. Yesterday, however, we had a day of sun, so I decided to cut the grass. The grass was dry BUT the ground was so soggy, the mower wheels left muddy ruts:

Now I ponder which was worse...the jungle or the ruts!

Switch gears now and let me update you on something else you may have been wondering about: the house selling and my upcoming move to the Netherlands.

After 7+ months of no bites of consequence on our For Sale house, the decision was made to refinance it back to a 30-year mortgage and Quit-Claim me off the deed, buying me out. It was a win-win situation, lowering the monthly mortgage and allowing me the freedom to move on with my life.

God willing and the creek don't rise, I expect to be out of the house and moved to the Netherlands by the end of November. The estate sale, getting rid of the last of my earthly possessions that won't go with me, is scheduled for the first weekend in November. After that, my car will be sold and...that's all she wrote!

In the meantime, I'm checking off the list all those things that came to mind the last weeks/months when I couldn't get to sleep. It's one thing to move to another city but to move to another country?! That's something else.

For example, did you know that when you apply for emigration to another country and have to get certified copies of your important papers (birth certificate, divorce decree, name change, etc.), there has to be an apostille (pronounced ah-pa-STEEL) added to authenticate the certified copy? And it's not in the same courthouse where you get the certified copies!

So I took 3 hours today to go get certified copies that I already had (they can't be older than 6 months by the time you start the emigration application and mine were a year old) AND to get them apostillized (if that's a word). You can imagine my sheer delight in finding out what this mystery was all about...and talk about getting my education! Attached (with a brass-plated rivet!) as a cover letter to the certified document is this apostille, specific to the Netherlands, that tells them they can trust the certified document to be valid. And at the very bottom it states "THIS APOSTILLE IS NOT VALID WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." How's that for jumping up and down and backwards and forwards to get something validated!

So now you case you were wondering. I have NOT drowned or lost any possessions still remaining. And while the house still has no bites for selling (in fact, it's off the market while the refi is in process), it looks like I have an end in sight, at which point I can move on with the rest of my life.

Thanks for case you were!

Monday, September 14, 2009

NASCAR on Speed

Has it really been 2 weeks since I was writing about Frodo? What a segue, then, to NASCAR!

I had the good fortune of being invited to my first (and most certainly last?) NASCAR event ever over the Labor Day weekend a week ago at our Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Talk about an experience! It's funny how we can hear about something all our lives and even see the races on TV but it's not the same as being there up close and so many other things in life.

First of all, my friend told me that NASCAR is more popular and makes more money in its sport around the country than all our other sports put together. Can you believe that?

Did you know that Homeland Security sponsors a car? Our tax dollars put to good use! Did you know that all the cars in the races use the same chassis, the same SUNOCO gas, and the same tires? The only difference in the race is the engine (Dodge, Chevy, etc.), the driver...and the pit crew. You can have the best driver in the world but if his/her pit crew is one or two seconds too slow in changing the tires, it can make or break who wins the race. Seriously! I tell you, I really got my education.

Another interesting tidbit: Did you know that those fighter planes that streaked across the sky just as the National Anthem was ending actually started off from Louisiana and were timed precisely for this entrance? How do they do that? Who came up with that mathematical formula!

Well, as happens in real life at most sports' events, people-watching ends up being the bigger event. That's why I always say I'd rather see the game on TV if I really want to see the game! Once a year in the Braves' ballpark or one last time in U of Michigan's Big House is always very nice, of course. Nothing like the ethos of the actual game atmosphere, which you never quite get on TV!

How many people told me, "Make sure you take your earplugs!" I did!

But what maybe surprised me more than anything was how redneck this venue was. How Bible Belt. Not only was there an invocation but Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family gave it. Don't get me started but...not gay friendly! And in an estimated attendance of 111,300, I saw only one African American. Okay, I know this is the South, but come on! Give me a break!

Having said that, was I glad I went? You betcha. Friend and I stayed till only about halfway through. It started at 7:30p (AMS's first night race in their 49-year history!), we left at 9:30 and watched it finish at 11:30p. Luckily I was spending the night there so it was a perfect way to do it.

And guess who the winner was! #9 Kasey Kahne whose pit crew just happened to be directly opposite our seats!

So was it the driver, the engine, or the pit crew who won the race...or all 3 together!

And oh, yes...there really was a race! I saw a lot of it with my very own eyes. :) In fact, here's a little photo album with 34 pics.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Just Like Frodo

Remember in the LOTR, the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, when the movie opens and Frodo is leaning up against a tree, reading? It's when Gandalf rides into town for Bilbo's birthday (image from Google Images).

G'son Nicholas was with me over this past weekend and when we watched the movie, he immediately said, "G'ma, I want to read in the woods, just like Frodo!"

No sooner said than done, as far as this g'ma is concerned! All we had to figure out was when we would do it. That was Friday night and the when ended up being Saturday, late afternoon. Thank God, because by Sunday it was raining!

We even had LOTR books to choose from for reading. How 'bout that!

As an interesting aside, we went out into the woods after we came home from seeing the last Harry Potter movie at the theater (the second time for each of us). We started talking about all the similarities between the HP movies and the LOTR movies. Then we added other good-vs-evil movie sets, like Star Wars and X-Men.

Don't you just love how those little minds work?!!!!