Moses Floating in a Basket: A Follow-Up to Skits and Donuts

Interestingly, “Teaching Moments with Skits and Donuts” has been one of my most popular posts over the years, but not necessarily because of the VBS experience that spawned the post. A lot of readers end up in the comments there searching for the apparently elusive lyrics to what I remember only as “the Moses song.” At least once a year I get an email asking for the lyrics!

After my mother kindly sent me the video last year of 6-year-old me belting this out with my VBS class, I transcribed the lyrics we learned and shared them in the comments of the original post. The inquiries didn’t stop, however, so I’ve decided to make them their own post in the hopes of helping out others who just can’t remember how that song goes. (And if anyone wants to repay me by pointing us to the lyrics of “More Joy in Heaven,” that would be great, because Bird and I can’t remember much beyond the refrain and what Bird calls “every second-grader’s Mariah Carey moment,” the ear-piercing key change in the line “With 99 safe in the field the shepherd set out to rescue the stray.”)

Anyway, without further ado, here are the lyrics I learned many years ago to the Moses song:

Mama had a baby
A long time ago
But she couldn’t keep him
‘Cause the Pharaoh said “No!”

She took him to the river
In a basket boat
Said a little prayer
“Lord, help him float!”

CHORUS:
Moses, floating in a basket
Drifting down the river Nile
Who will, who will save him?
God will save this little child!

Pharaoh’s daughter
Was bathing in the Nile
She looked in the basket
And saw the little child

“What a cute little baby!”
She tickled his chin
“Now who will help me
Take care of him?”

CHORUS

Moses had a sister
Who loved him so
She told the Pharaoh’s daughter
“I know! I know!

I’ll go and bring you someone
To give him food!”
She ran and got her mommy
Yes, that was good.

CHORUS x2

Depression 2.0, Now With Fun New Features

I haven’t written here in a while – longer than a while, really, but let’s ignore the specifics. I haven’t written because the words have been gone.

I’ve reached for them, certainly. I could show you all the drafts I’ve half-started, all the snippets scribbled in an optimistically blank notebook that promise this time I’ll truly Start Writing Again, this time the words will be back for good.

But I’ve been busy with other things.

Shortly after finding gainful employment that fits beautifully with my past experience and skill set, I entered another major depressive episode. Except it was different, so I doubted myself. It didn’t seem like Last Time, more like a vaguely distant cousin of Last Time, and I wasn’t sure if I should be worried yet. Then my counselor announced she was closing her practice, and I burst into tears in my new boss’s office, and I had to leave church because I was shaking, and I thought perhaps I should be worried.

I found a new counselor relatively quickly, whom I am still seeing, and in my intake appointment she asked the usual series of questions. I told her I had depression, I already knew that, and she said she would ask anyway.

Turns out I also have anxiety and a touch of a panic disorder. Neat.

I’ve been learning what my new symptoms look like, what works for me in this season of life, and what old coping methods I can no longer lean on. One thing was the same, though. I wasn’t reading. And with me it’s a short distance from reading to writing.

So I’ve been absent here, not because there’s been a shortage of things worth writing about (in fact I tried, many times, to write about the things I was feeling, suspecting that if I could pin them to the page I might process them better, but they slipped out of my grasp) but because my brain did not want to give me that option.

I think I’m back now. We’ll see. But this post came easily, and that’s a start.

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Found on Pinterest from The Paris Review. It expressed the sentiment well.

 

Review: Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Knowing how obsessed I am with C.S. Lewis and his works (I plan to one day own them all. ALLLLLLL.) my wonderful mother gave me this book for my birthday: a fictionalized account of how Joy Davidman grew into one of “Jack” Lewis’s best friends and eventually became his wife.

I will admit, I was cautious about my excitement at first. Sometimes I’ve found that digging into the biographical facts behind a favorite author reveals disappointing details, like the literary version of “don’t meet your heroes.” I knew from other books about the Inklings’ group dynamics that some of Jack’s friends disliked Joy or thought her a bad influence on him, so I wasn’t sure how well this book would go.

Still, like Joy herself, I wanted to get to know a great man whose writing had moved me. So I plunged ahead.

What I found was not a book so much about falling in love with a man or even a favorite author, but a book about a woman falling in love with God and with who she knew herself to be. Joy struggles in her first marriage both because of her husband’s faults (alcoholic, abusive, absent) and her own perceived lack (prefers the title of “writer” to “wife,” is not a good housekeeper, resents putting her own work aside for her husband’s). Her conversion to Christianity and growing understanding of God bring her to acknowledge her own needs and to recognize that they, too, are good. I enjoyed reading about Joy’s own journey of realizing the need for constant surrender to God’s love, particularly her epiphany about seeking destructive love because true Love (in God and in a virtuous relationship with someone like Jack) is frightening.

Despite the full title (“The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis”), the story was thoroughly Joy’s own, and not too focused on falling in love with a famous man. Too often the women beside historically significant men are erased or diminished and deemed important only because of who they married or slept with. But Joy was a writer and a scholar before she ever met Jack, and she had a mind of her own.

The beginning of the book did move a bit slowly with the author’s decision to include excerpts from Jack and Joy’s letters every few paragraphs. It made the story feel very choppy, with near-constant interruptions. But once Joy went to England, it smoothed out and became an engaging read.

4/5 stars on Goodreads


Do you think there’s danger in learning too much about the authors behind your favorite books?

December Book Blizzard

The lovely thing about vacations is I get to read so much more! And when that vacation is also Christmas, where I usually receive even more books, well

This year, between stocking up for long plane trips and receiving some wonderful gifts from family, I ended up devouring 7 books over 2 weeks, which is an average of a book every 2 days. Not my best record (thinking back fondly to the Christmas break when I reread the entire Harry Potter series in 2 days) but a respectable amount!

Here are the books that made up my blizzard of reading at the end of 2018:

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

I want everyone to read this book. I so admire and deeply appreciate Ijeoma Oluo’s willingness to create this work, particularly given that people of color are already frequently required to take on the often exhausting role of educator in racial encounters. Oluo weaves her personal experiences and research together into all the drawn-out, in-depth conversations you wish you knew how to have with people. She presents advice for having these conversations in your own life, reminding the reader that they will fail and be wrong at some point in talking about race. It’s just going to happen. The important thing is that talking about it anyway and learning from those conversations will improve our nation’s systemic racism and give us ways to address other institutionalized forms of oppression.

Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

This was an absolutely gripping read as I followed Johnson’s lyrical, mythical writing in her telling of a mother and daughter and how they both remembered and misremembered a pivotal event in their shared history. It read like modern mythology, which was apt since it is a retelling of a myth. I didn’t know which myth Johnson was dealing with until almost the end of the book, and when all the pieces fell into place, it fit perfectly. I just happen to have a strong dislike for the myth in question! I wished it was something else, since the new association left me with mixed feelings, but the experience of the novel up to that point (and setting aside my personal feelings about its basis) was incredible. A minor plot point about the mother making up words shared only between her and her daughter and how that singular language isolates the daughter later in life was also an interesting concept to consider.

Pandemic 1918: The Story of the Deadliest Influenza in History by Catharine Arnold

I began this cheerful read on the plane back to the Pacific Northwest, probably scaring my seatmate. I’ve been fascinated by the 1918 influenza pandemic ever since a friend had me read Gina Kolata’s book about it in 8th grade. (We even made our parody assignment of “The Night Before Christmas” flu-themed. “‘Twas the year 1918, and all through the world / A virus’s wrath was about to unfurl…”) Arnold gathers firsthand accounts of the flu’s devastating waves throughout the world, demonstrating how the war facilitated both the virus’s spread and research into defeating it. The timeline was difficult to follow, nudging toward Armistice Day and then suddenly jumping backward as we visited another region, but overall it held my interest. The anecdotes from civilians and institutional workers alike were what made this book great for me.

The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson

I have wanted to read the first translation of Homer’s Odyssey by a woman ever since it came out last year, and my wonderful mother-in-law gave it to me for Christmas. I dove in and finished all 24 books in about 24 hours. Wilson not only strives to eliminate the male biases that come with male translators, but she uses plain language because, as she points out in the introduction, flowery antiquarian English is no closer to actual ancient Greek than our modern speech. While I’m not exactly afraid of old-fashioned language, the plainer words definitely made it easier to get into the story – especially since I have a strong apathy toward Odysseus himself. Wilson does not excuse his infidelity while praising Penelope’s opposite behavior; she merely presents the story and its moral ambiguity.

Rejected Princesses: Tales of History’s Boldest Heroines, Hellions, and Heretics by Jason Porath

I’ve loved Rejected Princesses since discovering Porath’s comics online, so I asked for the book version for Christmas, and my brother-in-law tracked it down. This one was a quick read, since the illustrations are usually a full page and the language itself is so funny and relatable that I just wanted to keep going. The book includes not only historical but mythical and legendary women from various cultures as well. Porath also organizes the stories on a spectrum of “maturity,” from 1 (happy endings, good triumphs over evil) to 5 (the heroine herself is probably morally ambiguous, depressing content, probable death). Aside from learning about intriguing women throughout history and cultures that I was previously unfamiliar with, I appreciated that Porath doesn’t make the women saints or put them on pedestals. He acknowledges their realness and their flaws.

Disney’s Twisted Tales by Liz Braswell

My other brother-in-law also knows me well. Last year he gave me the boxed set of the Disney Villains series, and this year brought books 1-3 of A Twisted Tale. These books imagine what might have happened if a key plot point in a Disney story had gone a different way. In this case, Aladdin never gets the lamp from Jafar, Aurora doesn’t wake up when Phillip kisses her, and Belle’s mother was the Enchantress who cursed the Beast. These were intriguing – and also extremely violent. Far more Grimm than Disney usually gets. Surprisingly, the Beauty and the Beast story was not my favorite, but I loved the new take on Sleeping Beauty. I’m always up for dark fairytales, so these were fun for me.

 

 

Finishing a Series…15 Years Later

I first discovered Tamora Pierce’s Circle of Magic quartet during the Dark Ages of my local library. Our beloved brick building had been torn down and the library relocated to a former auto shop, where many of the books had to be left in storage because there was simply no room.

Sad as this was, the cozier shelves made the newly narrow choices stand out. I discovered some new favorites I would revisit again and again, including the four young mages of Winding Circle. Following them in their journeys to claim their strange magic, I read Sandry’s Book, Tris’s Book, and Daja’s Book. And until recently, I thought I had read Briar’s Book too.

Thanks to PaperBackSwap, I know better.

I bought the first three books at a used bookstore in my little college town a few years ago, eager to revisit Pierce’s masterfully crafted world. Her worldbuilding is still incredible, reminding me with each little detail of how fully developed these cultures and magics are. The relationships between the four central mages and their teachers were beautiful and believable. All of the kids have understandable abandonment issues, and all of them deal with that in their own ways, from pushing others away to becoming a people-pleaser. I don’t even like all of the kids; Tris annoys me to no end with her so very teenage insistence on knowing best and dismissing authority. And yet they and their world captured my heart so that I remember it well. Revisiting Winding Circle, the temple where they live in a cottage called Discipline and learn their magics, felt like remembering an old song where the lyrics come unbidden as you sing.

Until I finally got Briar’s Book in the mail and began to read.

It turns out, since I have no memory of this plot, I probably never read it before. In all the years of checking out and rereading these books, I never actually finished the quartet. As I got deeper and deeper into the plot, I kept waiting for that sense of familiarity, of buried memory to resurface as it had with the others, but it never did. Vague memories surfaced of three books – not four, how could I not remember that there were only three? – on a library shelf.

Briar’s story is a nice end to the quartet.  Instead of exploring their bonds and magic (and bonded magic) as something entirely new, Sandry, Tris, Daja, and Briar begin to grow into new ways of helping their society. It moves the foursome out of discovery mode and points them toward the future.

But I’m still going to have to go back and reread the whole quartet.

It’s Always Once Upon a Time in New York City

2017-10-27 19.41.54The Engineer surprised me back in May with tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway for our anniversary this October.  (If I hadn’t already known, this would clinch it – he’s a keeper!)  So last weekend we flew up to New York for an anniversary weekend trip.

For me, New York as always been something of a mythical place.  It’s the setting of so many stories, from Disney’s Oliver and Company (where astute readers will note I got the lyric to title this post) to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and it’s a place where so many stories get their start, with all the publishing companies and magazines headquartered there.  I’ve read about it and seen it pictured so many times it felt almost unreal.  But as I was absorbing all those different versions of New York City, I failed to realize just how much actually visiting it would mean to me.

It hit me when the Engineer leaned over my shoulder and pointed out the lone statue I had somehow missed as we flew in.  “There’s the Statue of Liberty!”  And then I saw that iconic skyline, and I felt a swell of emotion I haven’t felt since seeing the Tower of London for the first time in person.  Without my noticing, New York had become something of a dream destination – and now we were here!

2017-10-27 11.56.40Like the Tower, which was so steeped in history I could feel the air thicken, New York seemed filled with palpable stories.  Actual stories of buildings gave a visual representation of the tales upon tales that have piled up here as people live their lives and visit and go away and set their novels and memoirs and children’s books in this city.  I wanted to roll down the window of the cab and hold my hand out the window.  I was sure if I did I would feel the texture of all the narratives floating around us.

Immediately, I felt at home.  I felt I could slip into the same stream and feed off the same energy as all these people surrounding us.  Part of this is my weird ability to navigate cities; I hate driving, and I can barely remember certain routes through my own hometown, but if I’m walking around a city or figuring out a train map?  Easy.  I led the long-suffering Engineer (he hates cities) on walks through Bryant Park where they were setting up the Holiday Village (complete with ice rink!) to the stone lions at the New York Public Library, then down 6th Avenue to find the Macy’s where they hold the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Some iconic places we just stumbled upon, like the Chrysler Building on our way to dinner before the show, and Tiffany’s with its own diamond necklace draping its facade.  We sought out the Empire State Building and the Plaza Hotel (though I didn’t go in to see where Eloise lived).  I took a picture with the statue of Balto, and when I read the plaque below it a little girl’s voice surfaced in my memory from the introduction to the animated movie.

Everywhere I looked in the city, I noticed a fragment of a story slipping by.  If it wasn’t a lyric from “N.Y.C.” in Annie, it was a line from From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.  And when I wasn’t thinking of my favorite fictional characters, I could so easily imagine the narratives taking place in the little diner where we went for breakfast, or among the people meeting their friends on a street corner.  Sometimes I didn’t have to imagine – the Engineer actually saw a couple get engaged next to the boathouse and overheard the whole story!

The Engineer liked wandering through Central Park, even going so far as to rent a boat so we could row about on the lake.  “We’re in people’s Instagram photos!” he joked as we glided past the Bethesda Terrace.  Sure enough, many of the tourists at the water’s edge were holding up their phones to capture the ridiculously picturesque day.  The leaves on the banks around us were in varying stages of turning color, lending some wonder to the buildings rising above them at the park’s horizon.  There was just enough sun to tempt some turtles to clamber onto the rocks near the lake’s edge – we spotted six in one cove, lined up by size like Dr. Seuss characters.  The air was crisp, a perfect temperature for Pacific Northwest natives like us.  Fall in New York City – in fact, New York City itself – was everything I had ever imagined it to be.

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Omnipresence

I was chatting with my dad a while ago about this blog when he mentioned that I hadn’t said anything about him or my mom in a while.  It makes sense, he said, because they aren’t really in my life anymore.  He said he understood, that it was logical for a person of my age and place in life.  It was just an observation.

And I thought about it.  It’s true, I don’t write explicitly about my parents very often.  And it’s true that as I’ve grown, particularly over the past few years since beginning college and leaving home, our relationships have changed as they need to parent me less and I cross that threshold into Seeing Parents As Actual Humans.

But I don’t think it’s true that they aren’t in my life anymore.

I don’t write about my parents precisely because their presence in my life is so ubiquitous that it would be like writing about air.  I don’t write about them because their influence, their values and ways of thinking and ways of challenging myself are so deeply ingrained that it seems obvious to me that those influences are there, unnecessary to state.  Anyone who meets me quickly learns how much I admire my parents, how both of them showed me how to be kind and work hard and stand up for myself and hold onto integrity.  Anyone who then watches me interact with either my mom or my dad then usually says to me afterwards, “Wow, you really are that close.”

I don’t call as much as I should.  I don’t always answer text messages.  (I’m trying to work on those things.)  I have even moved time zones, all the way to the other side of the country.  So, no, they aren’t as personally and directly involved in my life as they were when they were pulling me in a wagon around the state fair or picking me up from rehearsal in high school.  But, as much as I would love for them to still be nearby every single day, I do have the way they raised me, and so much of my vocabulary, my humor, my decision making comes from them that I forget that it needs to be stated.

So, Dad, I love you, but you were wrong.  I don’t write about you and Mom because you are still so deeply a part of my life that it seems obvious to me that you are there between the lines of everything I write.

But I’ll try to say it more.

Before I Typed “Me Too”

I’m sitting on our brand new couch, staring at Facebook on my phone, thumb hovering over the text box to type my own post.  Thinking.

Of course.  Me too.

Except it might sound like a bigger deal than it is.  I mean, I’ve never actually been assaulted, thank God.

I mean, there was that one guy on my first day at my new summer job who drove past me when I was walking to lunch and turned around so he could pull up next to me, call me beautiful, and ask if I wanted a ride, and when I said no thank you he said, “Come on, honey, it’s me,” and I thought if he decided he knew me then I couldn’t convince him otherwise, so I did what my mom always said to do in that situation and I did a 180 and zipped back the way I came because it takes a car longer to turn around than a person, and by the time he did turn around again (because of course he turned around again, he didn’t let it go) I was across the street and almost back inside.  I didn’t eat lunch that day.  But it’s not like he actually touched me.

I never went out for lunch again after that.  Except in my car.  Except even in my car I’m not completely safe, because there were those guys in the pickup (way to match stereotypes, boys) at the stoplight who honked at me while I was driving  and tried to get me to roll down my window and then when I wouldn’t look at them they started screaming at me without caring who stared.  No one really stared, though.  I guess we were all used to it.  But it’s not like they followed me.

Except that’s happened before, too, where I’ve noticed a car behind me making the same turns, time after time, and I’ve counted in my head and debated whether or not to actually go home, and told myself that if they make this next turn too I’m going to drive straight past the house because no way am I leading them to my sister.  In those cases, you go to a police station, or a bank, somewhere well-lit with lots of cameras, and go inside where there are witnesses.

I told the Engineer all that, rattled off the safety tips I carry like the pocket knife he gave me and the mace my dad gave me, the things I hope I never have to use, the things I hope I don’t freeze up too much to use if I ever do need them.  I told him all this because when we left the movie theatre the other night he asked, a little jokingly, if I really always check under the car before getting in when I’m in a dark parking lot.  I told him I do it less when he’s around.  Then I told him it’s not just under the car, it’s the back seat and the trunk area too, and if there ever is an intruder you’re supposed to drive straight into the next light pole because you’ll be wearing a seatbelt and odds are they won’t so you can cause a scene and maybe hurt them and people might not respond to yelling and screaming but they’ll whip out their phones for a car crash.

My new husband looked at me and said he hated that I had to know all that.

But it’s not like I’ve ever been physically attacked.

I shouldn’t make the post.  I log out.  Then log back in.

Except isn’t it an assault on my autonomy, on my personhood, when those frat boys honked at me when I walked to class and made me jump out of my skin?  Or when that guy stroked my hair on the bus because it was crowded and he could get away with it?  Or when a guy friend (who was dating my friend and who knew I was dating the Engineer) tried to get me to send him pictures, yes, those kinds of pictures, by saying it was only fair since I had the unsolicited one he’d sent?

Isn’t it an assault on my personhood to convince me that all of these things are normal, or close enough to normal that it shouldn’t count?  Isn’t that the problem, that we’re supposed to hesitate, supposed to belittle our own experiences because at least it’s not x degrees worse?  That’s why women are posting, because they’re sick of it.

So, yes.

Me too.

What I Learned From My August Self-Challenge

It was Tuesday, August 1st, and I was sitting at the kitchen table with Bird, staring at my computer.  I’d meant to post something on Monday, but I forgot, and now the private goal I’d had of posting something every day that week was gone.  But another calendar segment had just begun.

I looked up at Bird.  “I’m going to try to post something every weekday in August.”

“Okay then.  Let me know how that goes.”

I didn’t make it the whole month without interruption.  Moving across the country and then being housebound once I got there (we don’t have my car there and I can’t drive stick, so the Engineer’s truck is out) made for less-than-exciting anecdotes.  But for a good 3 1/2 weeks, I managed to post something Monday through Friday.  So if anyone noticed that for the first half of August I was writing something every weekday, I thank you for your attention.

Here’s what I learned about myself (and blogging) in this little challenge I told no one about:

  • I can’t not be a perfectionist, but I can reassign the Perfection Value to something else.  Rather than trying to write amazingly polished pieces or having a word count goal, consistency was the “perfect” thing I strove for.  Focusing on one aspect of the blogging process helped me give myself more leeway with the other parts.
  • I need to use the good ideas I have.  I’ve had topics sit in my drafts for months before I finally wrote them, simply because I thought I had to save it for the right occasion or it needed more tweaking.  In August I took the time to actually pursue those topic ideas and publish them because I needed to write something that day.  And it felt good to use those ideas.
  • Because not all the ideas I have are good ones.  I didn’t like all of the posts I made this month, but they were part of the Write Something/Anything process.  There’s a part in Gail Carson Levine’s Writing Magic where she talks about respecting every idea that comes forward, even the really stupid ones.  She says that once your creativity sees how you treat those mediocre ideas, it will start sending out the really good ones.  Other writing teachers have stressed something similar over the years, but that’s the image that stuck with me: the Not So Great Ideas are the brazen ones that come forward immediately, while the Great Ideas are shy and need encouragement from seeing how I receive the others.  And once I started using those mediocre posts (again, because I just needed to write something that day), better writing came through in the following days.
  • Life gets in the way, but that doesn’t bother me unless I really wanted to write that post.  Even after getting to North Carolina, when we had just set up the internet, I managed to keep posting for a week and a half, even though we had no furniture and there were boxes everywhere and if I had forgotten to post it would have been from busyness and exhaustion, not laziness.  I really wanted to keep writing, so I did.  And when I didn’t have any ideas that gave me that energy, and I finally stopped posting every weekday, I wasn’t kicking myself for it, because I wasn’t missing an opportunity to say something amazing.  Life just happened.
  • People do actually read my blog.  I keep forgetting that when I show people something I posted, they might start reading regularly.  And I actually gained some followers (welcome, new friends!) during this month of posting consistently, and my reader traffic increased as well.  While that truly wasn’t a goal of my little challenge, I like knowing that people enjoy my writing!
  • There are topics I stay away from.  I feel like they might not match whatever theme my blog seems to have, or I feel like other people could say it better because they’re more experienced/informed/well-known/etc.  Going forward, I probably won’t post them here, but I do want to write out those thoughts and explore them more.
  • I like writing every day.  I forget that sometimes.

Thank you all for reading!

 

 

Reminders of Robin Hood

I’ve been thinking a lot about Nottingham, randomly remembering the curve of our street between the park and the cemetery, picturing myself suddenly there at random moments throughout the day.  I miss it.  I miss the Left Lion at the courthouse, my nondescript little room in our flat, the tea places tucked into every spare shopfront, the wide sidewalks around the university, the way the castle was just suddenly there when you turned certain corners.

This could be partly because the neighborhoods around here are full of streets named after various British Things – Robinhood Road, and Guinevere Lane, and Sherwood Forest Elementary School.  Then there are the fairytale names, like Fernhaven and Friendship Circle (not joking), which somehow don’t seem too saccharine because of the stately mansions lining both sides of these streets.  With every turn onto another Yorkshire or Greenbrier Farm, you think Yes, that makes sense here.

In Notts, I never knew where I was going to spot another beautiful, astoundingly ancient building.  Our flat was in a boring block of similar brick buildings, but it only took a short walk to reach the historic part of town.  The castle, of course, was the most obvious, stumbling into the old moat where the Robin Hood statue stands, which made me feel like a villager living in the shadow of Castle Rock way back when.  But there were also the pretty neighborhoods where our architecture tutors took us walking, the twists and turns (our new town isn’t laid out like a grid either, and I can’t quite make sense of it yet).

Here, in North Carolina, our house is in an early-aughts subdivision sandwiched between two parkways.  It’s pretty enough, especially compared to our old apartments, but a few minutes’ drive from us is a castle-like hotel with sweeping grounds, a mews, a stable, and guesthouses that look like mansions in their own right.  When we were house-hunting, when we got tired of the depressing reality of homes within our budget, we would get lost in the Robinhood Road neighborhoods, oohing and aahing over the columns and wraparound porches.

So once again, I’m living on the edges of grandeur.

I’m happy that this new place in which I know no one reminds me of another place in which I knew no one that turned out to be one of the most wonderful places I’ve been.

(No matter how long I live in the South, however, I will never be able to pronounce it Notting-HAM.)