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October 19, 2011

Then the MAIN ATTRACTION: Seeing Jason after 6.5 weeks apart

We did so many wonderful and fun things on our October break adventure, including seeing my brother and his new home, meeting David's step-sister for the first time, visiting with Emily's school friend who had moved away back to NYC this summer, getting a little fall clothes shopping done, getting Emily's hair cut, introducing Emily to NYC for the first time (and seeing where David works when he travels to NYC), and admiring New England fall foliage, but hands-down the very best part was the main goal of the trip - being reunited with our son after his first 45 days away at college! Phew, I made it (through those many weeks and that run-on sentence). 

We really enjoyed:
- meeting a bunch of Jason's new friends
- joining in with the ballroom dance club to learn some salsa and foxtrot (Jason is jumping into competitive dancing and loving it)
- having some good Mexican and Indian food together
- being shown around some of Jason's frequent haunts
- witnessing new befuddling card tricks Jason has learned
- church together Sunday morning (a challenge to have soft hearts, which both encourage and result from obedience)
- early birthday shopping for Jason
- a trip to Ben & Jerry's (see below)

The view from Jason's dorm room window.


 So this is a Vermonster BEFORE:



- 20 scoops of ice cream (you get to choose 5 flavors)
- 4 bananas
- 4 ladles of hot fudge sauce
- 3 chocolate chip cookies
- 1 chocolate fudge brownie
- 10 scoops of walnuts
- 2 scoops each of your 4 favorite toppings (we chose Reese's Pieces, oreos, marshmallows and chocolate chips)
- topped with lots of freshly made whipped cream

 "It contains 14,000 calories, and 500 grams of fat." Bring it on! Yum. I thought the scoop shop guy was just kidding when he threw out the 14K number. But no, I find it here on wikipedia, too.


So we skipped dinner and did our best...


But by the time four hungry ice-cream-lovers are getting really full, it's starting not to look so appetizing anyway...

But it was very tasty and fun. Must be done with several close friends who are healthy and very comfortable with each other. Must skip a meal to be tackled. Must focus on the healthy bananas and walnuts and other fruit (cocoa and coconut being fruits) and beans (vanilla being a bean).


 Did you know that "Ben & Jerry's was the first brand-name ice cream to be taken into space aboard the Space Shuttle"?

We will remember the Vermonster together, but the best part was the hugs from Jason all weekend, the face-to-face update, now knowing more ways to pray for him, and being able to picture him about his business in his new environment. Thanks for showing us your new life, Jason.

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October 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New England fall foliage - and my late grandmother's aubergine house

At David's newly acquired step-sister's house (his mother married her father in 2010 - a wonderful match, and a wonderful sister) - some beautiful foliage welcomed us. 

We squeezed in five minutes to stop by and gaze at the house my mother grew up in from age 12...and where I visited my grandmother every summer as a child. The new owners appear to have painted it "aubergine" (my mother tells me it's not referred to as purple). It looks gray in this photo, but I tell you, it's that color between red and blue).




But they left the sign out front that names the house, "The Enchanted Cottage." It's partially hidden by the dogwood tree.



We got some sandwiches in the town before moving on:



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October 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (4)

New York City - Emily's first visit

In combination with our visit to Jason at college for Family Weekend (which coincided with Emily's October Break, hurrah!!!), and a business trip for David to NYC, we were able to show Emily a few of New York City's sights for the first time. We took the Staten Island Ferry (isn't it amazing that it's FREE to ride that back and forth to/from Manhattan as much as you like???) which goes right by the Statue of Liberty. Emily likes boats (so do I). The lady's still holding her torch out. Always makes me think of the Rich Mullins song, "Land of my Sojourn."



And the lady in the harbor she still holds her torch 
Out to those huddled masses who are yearning for freedom that still eludes them 
The immigant's children see their brightest dreams shattered 
Here on the New Jersey shoreline in the greed and the glitter of those 
High-tech casinos, but some mendicants wander off into a cathedral 
And they stoop in the silence and there their prayers are still whispered 
And I'll sing their song, and I'll sing their song 
In the land of my sojourn 

Nobody tells you when you get born here 
How much you'll come to love it 
And how you'll never belong here so I'll 
Call you my country and I'll be lonely for my home 
And I wish that I could take you there with me





New York on the right, New Jersey on the left.



I think my favorite thing was the view of the city at dusk from the "Top of the Rock" - 70 floors up on the GE Building roof, at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. It's better than going up the Empire State Building, because, well, you can SEE the Empire State Building from there :-) And, well, I had already been up the ESB (or else I would probably have wanted to do that anyway). I like views and being high up and pretty lights. And my husband's tech skills that can get a camera to take pictures in any light. Go, David (I lack this skill).

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October 19, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 18, 2011

Paris, Part 4: Versailles Palace & Gardens

We spent our 2nd Parisian day at Versailles. It definitely takes all day. First you have to get out there on the train, then wait in line to get in (a lot of people are interested), then tour the first half of the palace, have some lunch, and tour the rest of the palace, then just a part of the immense gardens, before getting back on the train again to get back into Paris. Well worth it.

This is the queen's bedroom. Flowery and golden, as opposed to just golden in the king's bedroom.

 We found a painting of the Battle of Zurich, which was interesting since we live in Zurich and have seen some monuments to battles involving the French.



Outside, the fountains were running on a limited schedule due to drought, but we arrived just in time as they turned on, along with booming classical music emanating from the bushes as we strolled around the majestic grounds, which seemed neverending. We were only able to visit a small portion. We should have brought a tent and made a week-long trip of just the gardens.



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October 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Paris, Part 3: Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame

You can see the typical photos of the Arc de Triomphe & Notre Dame Cathedral anywhere, so I'll let you google image those if you like, and just show you what it looks like when you look up from underneath the arch, and one of the lovely stained glass windows inside the cathedral.

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October 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Paris, Part 2: Les Tuileries and L'Orangerie - Monet's Waterlilies

We walked through Les Tuileries park, with the gold-tipped obelisk at the Place de la Concorde in front of us, towards L'Orangerie, a museum new to us.


L'Orangerie has two rooms designed specifically to showcase 8 huge Monet waterlily paintings. The rooms are oval and lit by huge skylights, so you can walk round and round in natural light, admiring the 4 long, dreamy works in each room.



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There were other rooms, too. I liked this Renoir of a bowl of peaches:


And also Renoir's "Young Girls at the Piano"



October 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Louvre Museum in Paris, the first weekend of Emily's October Break from 8th Grade


Napoleon crowning Josephine, by Jacques-Louis David. We discovered there is replica of this painting in Versailles (which we saw the next day), where this original hung from 1807 to 1889 before being transferred to the Louvre.



Winged Victory of Samothrace. No arms, which she has in common with the Venus de Milo - whom we saw in another room. I sort of got them confused until Emily pointed out the obvious - the Venus has a head & face, which Victory lacks; and no wings, which Victory sports majestically.



I've loved Caryatids ever since we saw the Erechtheion in Athens, and I learned the name for them.



 And just what would you name this creature, a man-horse-sea-serpent? A Mahorserpent? A Horserpentman? A Centaurpent? A Serpentaur?



 I liked this mural in the apartments of Napoleon III in another wing of the Louvre. The impression of being outside.

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October 18, 2011 | Permalink | Comments (0)