Sunday, February 24, 2008

Drowsy Chaperone and Family Shout Out

So, M and I just got back from a showing of The Drowsy Chaperone, which played in Hartford's Bushnell Theatre. I have a great regard for the Bushnell- I have always found it produced great shows that I have enjoyed as much as the big-Broadway versions thereof. Case in point- I've seen Phantom in both The Bushnell and on Broadway, and I would go to the Bushnell any day. It's just a cool theatre.

Not to brag, or anything... well, actually, totally to brag...

My cousin, Richard V, performed the role of George and he was just totally cool and fantastic. It was probably one of my favorite roles I've seen him in, although it's the first time I've gotten to see him tap dance. He's captivating when he tap-dancing. So, cousin Richard, you rock! Have a safe trip home to the Big Apple, and invite us over for coffee so we can tell you in person how cool you are!

Same goes for my cousin, Kevin V, who I ran into in the lobby. He does awesome work as a PA for a heart bypass team, and he's a cool guy. If you are in St. Francis getting your heart bypassed, Kevin is the guy you want harvesting your veins. He's fabulous. I'd trust him with my own father. Oh, wait... we did! Go, Kevin!

Portuguese people rock.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wet Snow Epiphany

We got home today after the storm and of course, faced a long driveway to snowblow and shovel. We decided not to opt for the plow, since he charged $35 a storm. A bit too rich for our poor grad student blood. Looking at the long horseshoe driveway, I despaired.

Then I noticed the light grey veins running through the snow. ... Wait! What if they were in fact mini-rivers? On a whim, I shoveled along the line of grey, and unearthed water several inches deep. In fact, the more I shoveled that grey line, the more water started flowing. Soon, little icebergs were detaching. I nearly ran down the driveway, shoveling only the grey veins of water, and soon, the freed flood waters were streaming away from my house and gushing... simply gushing into the streets. Visions of Narnia (from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) in the miraculous thaw danced through my head.

"Stop!" I yelled to M, who was firing up the snowblower. "It's not a snow problem! It's a water problem!" Soon, we had unblocked the key parts of the driveway where the ice had jammed the water, and the rushing, thawed water nearly cleaned our driveway automatically.

Perhaps that's how it is with our churches sometimes... perhaps our major arguments have nothing to do with the problem at the center of the arguments. Perhaps the problem is that a major thaw is waiting to happen, and we need to get the crummy snow out of the way so the thaw can run wild and clean everything in its path. The end is a driveway we can actually live with... and a church that is actually the sort of place we like to be.

You'll excuse me now. One of my kitties has decided it is "pet me now" time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Slight Brag...

Got a note recently from the awesome artist who worked with us to design and craft our wedding and engagement rings- she let us know that our rings are going to be in a magazine! (ooooo!)

She is Cynthia Corio-Poli. She works out of The Torpedo Factory in Alexandria VA, which is always worth the trip. She is adorable and always makes me feel completely special. Now, I know that Martin and I kept our wedding budget small on purpose, and that we didn't pick the most expensive anything, so it feels so great to have worked with someone who was interested in our stories and in helping us create something totally unique. (And not someone who would be grumpy because our wedding wasn't HUGE.) I wish I could order a piece a year from her- she's FABU!

You can find info on her at www.torpedofactory.org, and click on JEWELRY. Our rings are the ones next to her name! If you live in that area, go take an art class. The Torpedo Factory is community the way it should be in a city, and J, if I were in your house, I would be there EVERY DAY!

Brag over. Warm fuzzy feelings continue.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Revitalization of Downtown Hartford

All right, now... anyone who knows me has heard me harp on community. A major part of my theology of life includes this idea that God creates us because God loves community. Jesus had that community of friends around him. Noah didn't go on the ark alone. Even God, in the very beginning, created Adam and added Eve because it is good for people to have others with them. (Of course, adding the caveat that life does include introverts who need some alone time. We love you, baby.)

There is an interesting article in today's Hartford Courant: It's called "A Very Elusive Embrace". Let's not focus on the odd naming of the article, but on the content.

Essentially, there's a big apartment complex that is slowly filling up, but downtown is facing the problem of retailers not wanting to move in and a developer who won't rent to them if they won't open 7 days a week. Meanwhile, the residents are hesitant to rent apartments if there are no amenties. No one wants to live in a ghost town. The downtown redevelopment is just not taking off.

As a former apartment dweller, I freely admit to mourning my free-wheeling life in Arlington. I lived on the 7th floor. Just below was a FABULOUS 24-hour diner, the famous Bob and Edith's. I walked to work. I biked to the gym (only a mile away). There were several grocery stores and big chain stores within walking distance and a funky movie theatre just down the street. And coffeeshops! Not Starbucks, but local stores, with free wi-fi and yummy sandwiches.

My two cents? Figure out how to mix up the 'free stuff' with the 'not-free stuff'. I wish Starbucks would just suck it up and start offering free wi-fi. I rarely stay there more than half an hour, but I used to spend HOURS in the coffee shops in Arlington. (Spent a lotta money there, too!) I love my gym, but I really love the free parking. Comp us on the parking, like the Y's great idea of $2 parking for 2 hours. That's worthwhile to me.

Invite me into your community, and make me feel like I've come home. Sure, I'll pay for it... the secret is to not make me FEEL like I'm paying for it. Yes, I paid an arm and a leg for my apartment in Arlington, but I got a GREAT deal with feeling like I had so much free stuff: bus line, coffee shops, diner, movie theatre, all within walking distance.

Is the answer to the revitalization problem perhaps in a re-casting of our question? Instead of "How do we get people to move into the luxury apartments and get the retailers to pay to be there?", try, "What does a fabulous community look like in Hartford?"

I'd consider moving to a place like that.