My aunt’s house in Dryden, NY is like something out of a storybook. It is perched on a hill in the rural up-state area. Homes and farms dot the rolling landscape. The house itself is tiny, white, old. I think it is still heated by a central furnace.

Step into the backyard, a small vegetable garden boasts cucumber and squash during the summer. There is a solitary large tree from which a swing made of twine and and a plank of wood hangs down. The whole backyard is framed by tall ryegrass and milkweeds. At dusk we like to whack the milkweeds until their seeds float off into the sunset.

The house overlooks a valley framed by rounded old mountains. There is a glistening pond down on the neighbor’s property. Birds are chirping, and you can hear the occasional cow moo as it approaches the pond. The air is clear, the sun is mild, and the temperature not too hot even though it is summer. Everything is perfect.

At night, you can see the stars. I’ve never seen so many stars in my life. You look up, the sky goes on forever and you can see it all because you’re in the mountains and there are no buildings or trees to block your view. It’s overwhelming, you may even be moved to tears.

I wouldn’t mind living in Dryden some day.

Going to Spain

Every two years, the school choir goes in an international tour. My Freshman year, it was Italy. Before that, it was China. This year, it is Madrid, Spain.

I didn’t go on the trip to Italy. I was still suffering from depression and cripplingly low self esteem at the time. I also had a mental dependency on Jacob. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to go out of the country for two weeks and not be able to talk to him in that time. It sounds stupid now, but it was the right decision.

Everything has changed for the better in the last two years. I am fully recovered from depression, and I think I am ready to go on a cultural trip and get that experience. I will miss Jacob, but we will have Skype etc.

The trip will last 10 days. One of those days will be my birthday. What a bummer… Jacob is sad that he won’t get to spend my birthday with me. I am too, but I can’t control the dates of the trip 😦

I wonder if he really doesn’t want me to go. This morning he told me he was “on the fence” about me going. I’ve already made a commitment to go, so I’m not sure how to interpret that. I think we. Feel the same way: it’s very sad that I will be gone on my birthday and we will miss each other greatly, but it’s a great opportunity that I shouldn’t pass up. And like I said, we have Skype. That is, if I am ever available to talk while he’s not at work!

Everything will be ok. Right?

Southern Cross Ranch

This weekend I am staying at the Southern Cross Ranch in Madison, GA. It is a lovely place. We first visited here in 1999 and have been coming back frequently ever since. In February my dad accepted a manager position on the staff and has since been living here!

Today, several members of my family are here to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday. Most of the beds here are really fancy and thus too high for a 90-year-old woman to climb onto, so after some rearranging my sister and I have been moved to this fancy room called the Charleston.

I am bad at pictures. The second pic is a shot of the huge bathroom. It’s AWESOME. Here are some other pics from a trip to the Ranch in May.