NH Day 3: UUs, Cheap Books, and More Family

On Sunday, we opened the day with raspberry picking, having found some little raspberry bushes down by the road. The berries are tiny, and much less tart than raspberries in the store. Kent loved these so much that when Jack found one and was going to bring it to me, Kent grabbed it and ate it before he had a chance. So it goes. There were plenty more.

We had plans to attend church and then spend some time lunching and shopping. Most of us were going to go to an Episcopal church, while Chris and Cat were interested in finding a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship to visit. During talk of who'd be going where and in what cars, I started thinking about how much I had enjoyed Chris and Cat's wedding at the UU church in Greensboro and realized I was more interested in sharing a new experience with them than I was in going to an Episcopal service. I've started feeling lately that I'm getting less and less out of the Episcopal experience each time I go back, preferring a more spontaneous or at least less rigid service, in contrast to one where everything seems to be done by rote and loses its meaning to me over time. I piped up about wanting to go to the UU church instead, and then everyone decided it would be simpler if we all went there, so that's what we did.

It was a small group, maybe 30 or so people gathered in what reminded me of a tiny independent bookstore, or maybe a reading room in a tiny independent bookstore. The nine of us, trying to sneak in after everyone was already seated, made an impact. They welcomed us with open arms and invited us to introduce ourselves, and then we proceeded through a service that revolved around what's gained and lost in interpersonal relationships/communication in a digital age. The talk (a mix of sermon and seminar) was given by a guy about my age who had grown up in the church, and he solicited ideas from all of us about how digital communication was making an impact on our lives and on how we treated others. He talked about Facebook a bit, and I got so much out of everything he discussed and my subsequent reactions to it that I momentarily wanted to join Facebook just so I could keep in touch with him. There was no mention of God in the service, but I don't think it's a godless place. I just had to work a little harder mentally to locate the spirituality than I would in Christian worship, though I believe strongly that human relationships can be indicative of our relationship with God, so frank discussion about the changing nature of our relationships with each other was not at all far removed from how we can explore our relationship with God. I also believe that my own self-awareness is at the heart of understanding the One who created me, and the process of self-discovery can only bring us closer to that understanding.

Now, onto less spiritual matters...

After church, Bill took us to the King Arthur Baker's Store, home of King Arthur flour, which is the only type of flour that my grandmother likes to use. She used to order it from their catalog and may still do that, though I'm not sure, since I'm woefully out of touch with all her grocery shopping habits. It was a brief stop, but a fun chance to play with some kitchen tools and see their big displays of flour, baking mixes, and the like. I bought a pair of very simple but very useful kitchen toys, one for me and one for my grandmother, which I'll wait to reveal until after I've mailed hers to her. We'll be twins when we bake.

Rumbling stomachs then led all of us to lunch at Lui Lui in West Lebanon, where I somewhat reluctantly opted not to get a wood-fired pizza, being drawn instead to the lobster ravioli. I think I made a good decision. It was so yummy that I wolfed it down, then said out loud after I finished, "Dang. I should have taken a picture of that!" They served us bread with a delicious dipping oil, and when I could only identify parsley and something salty in the oil and was curious what was in it, I asked our waiter. Anchovies, he said. That's what they put in the bottle of oil that had a label for their restaurant, but no ingredients list. Guess who had been eating it already? All of us. Including the vegetarian. I looked ruefully at Jack immediately after the waiter revealed the secret ingredient and asked him if he needed to go purge, but he seemed okay and just kept the oil beyond arm's length for the rest of the meal. Despite their subterfuge, it was still a delicious lunch that everyone seemed to enjoy.

After lunch, we headed down the street to Encore Books, a store I had found online that sells used books and also remainders and other reduced-price books directly from publishers. If a page is printed wrong, or something else about the book is defective in some way, it can't be sold for full price, and places like Encore are happy to sell them at a discount. We were happy to buy them at a discount. We spent a lot of time perusing their kids' books, and I didn't even make it to the big-people books because I was so engrossed in new stuff for Kent. Jack's and my favorite of the five books we bought is Nobody's Nosier Than a Cat, which has whimsical illustrations and features everything strange/beautiful/hilarious about cats. There were many excellent finds at that store.

One extended car trip later (including a return to the restaurant, where we had left Kent's water bottle), we were all back at the house and getting ready for a dinner of chicken, burgers, and hot dogs on the grill. Bill's nephew Jamie and his family came over, along with Sue and Tony again (Jamie's parents), so it was a rather crowded but very fun meal. Jamie and Melissa's daughter Larkin is three and a half, and she has a new baby brother named Silas, so she's been doing a lot of reverting to babyhood lately, wanting to sit in a high chair and drink from a sippy cup, and even asking if she could nurse on her mom after she saw me nursing Kent. Upheaval of adding a new sibling to the family has got to be hardest on a little kid who's used to being the only kid. Despite that, though, Larkin was delightful, always asking very politely ("'Suse me...") if we'd read her some books, hold her in our laps, let her watch while Kent took a bath, etc. Funny girl.

We snapped a few photos of Kent and his newly discovered cousin riding a rocking horse together, though it was not designed for two kids and was kind of off balance. Larkin kept slipping off the back, then asking whether Kent could ride in the back instead. I don't think she understood that he wouldn't know to hold onto her and would probably break his butt or worse if we let them ride that way. Still, they were cute together. Whenever we go back and Kent and Silas are a little older, the three of them can wreak some havoc together, and hopefully Nicholas and Travis can get in on the action as well.

More pictures from the day (and a few from the rest of the trip) include the following:

Kent's obsession with the Heineken box

Carlos in Morgan's lap at breakfast. He sat in her lap for just about every meal. Such a sweet, funny dog. Kent thought he was hilarious.

Morgan said something about Carlos not being photogenic, so I was determined to get a good shot of him.

Morgan and Brian on the sofa in the evening. I hate using flash on people, but there wasn't really enough light, hence the dark faces. Incidentally, notice how they're wearing the same shirt? That happened more than once. Morgan did all the packing.

Jack studied much corporate finance while we were on the trip. Here he is having a bright idea.

Kent rode the rocking horse a lot. He got the hang of it pretty easily, but I still spotted him when he started standing up to do his trick rider moves.

Next up: Monday, wherein there were many crafted things of all shapes and sizes.

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Kent is too cute on the rocking horse. He is looking more and more like a little toddler than a baby, it just kills me that time is flying like that!

Glad you enjoyed the UU church. We were married in one, so we obviously like it! I went to one a few times after I moved here, but in the end, I couldn't give up my weekend sleeping in. Maybe we'll revisit the idea whenever we have a kid and we're up anyway! :-)

You should totally make a Facebook account. It's so much better than any of the other social networking sites.
Jack's bright idea just really cracked me up this morning. I bought a new camera last night, but haven't really looked at it yet. More on that to come.
Great pictures--I am totally jealous of your jaunt to the King Arthur Baking store.
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