Friday, October 31, 2008

Brief Overview of My Life

So, judging by some of the commentary being posted (thanks friends!), I have been doing a very bad job of keeping people informed about our whereabouts. I hereby post this mini-timeline to help anyone who is just discovering or rediscovering us:

1995-1996 - I serve as a missionary in Hong Kong. I love Hong Kong - big cities make me happy, Chinese (people food, language, art, etc.) makes me happy. Overall, a tough, but happy time.

1997-I marry the fabulous Erik and we move to China to teach English.

1998 - back to the States (Falls Church, VA to be specific). Erik gets an MA in Linguistics at Georgetown, Markie gets a BA in Psychology at George Mason.

2000-2008 -we move to Pittsburgh (hooray for Pittsburgh!). I get an MS in Social Psychology at University of Pittsburgh. I teach classes at Carnegie Mellon (CMU) and at Pitt. My friend Ruth and I also get more serious about our Quiet Book Business ( Erik gets his degree in computational linguistics at CMU.

August, 2005 - Go-go (Cantonese for 'big brother') is born. Such a sweet, mellow boy.

October, 2007 - Mui-mui (Cantonese for 'little sister') is born. Much more dramatic than her brother, but just as sweet. Especially when she finally decided that playing is more fun than screaming.

May, 2008 - Erik gets his dream job in Chinese computational linguistics - who knew that it would be in a suberb of Buffalo, NY!? We had two weeks to find a place to live, clean out eight years of junk from our tiny Pittsburgh townhouse, pack up, and get ourselves here. Truly, an excersise in humility. My wonderful friends came and sorted, swept, cleaned, and scrubbed (thanks Valerie, Zoe, and Rahel! And extra-big special thanks to Christine!). And they did it all without judging me or my mess - a super-human feat of true charity. Then, the profesional packers and movers boxed everything up, put it in the truck, drove it up here, and unloaded it - I don't think I can ever go back to an Elder's Quorum move (I don't think they'll mind).

Now - I'm teaching two sections of Social Psychology at Daemen College. It helps relieve the suburban mailaise I keep feeling. I really hate driving everywhere, I miss the city, I miss my friends, I hate owning two cars, etc., etc., etc. But, I'm getting used to it, I'm meeting new people, making new friends, developing firmer opinions about what neighborhoods will be good for us when we buy a house and which we must avoid at all costs, and learning to appreciate and even enjoy my new life. Teaching makes sure that I get dressed up and interact with adults at least twice a week and reminds me that I really do have a brain. It's been a very good thing for me. Go-go goes to preschool all day on T/Th and Mui-mui stays with a woman in the ward on T/Th afternoons. Go-go loves school and I think the structure has been really good for him. Mui-mui likes it at Tara's house and likes to play with (OK, near) Tara's 10-month old daughter. She has more separation issues and it took her a few weeks to stop crying when I left, but now she wants to go right for the toys (or for the lunch). Erik still loves his job. Sometimes he'll come home shaking his head with disbelief that they actually want to pay him for doing what he loves.

So, that's my life in a nutshell. Do you feel all caught up? Good. Now, I'll just proceed from here in future posts. This is Markie, signing off from Williamsville, NY.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hooray for the Pumpkin Farm!


So, Go-go's birthday was over two months ago, but I didn't post any pictures because I didn't have a blog then. On the other hand, Mui-mui's birthday was just last week, and I do have a blog now. Since it would be unfair to only post cupcake photos of one of my cuties, you get a two-for-one photo extravaganza. Enjoy! (note that I haven't yet figured out how to turn the picture vertically).

Friday, October 24, 2008


So, I've noticed that every single post I've written begins with the word 'So.' Now i have to figure out whether I should make that my signature intro or make a concerted effort to avoid it. Feel free to vote.

Welcome to my blah, blah, blog

So, I have finally given in to the peer pressure and started a blog (thanks Janelle - you finally got to me!). Who knows how often I will post, but I'll give it a shot. I will attempt to at least put up a picture or two every week. Here's to happy blogging!

Bare Walls

So, two months ago I came home from my new ward's R.S. book group and told Erik that I would be hosting on the 4th Thursday in October. I looked around at the bare walled and toy-strewn living room and mentioned that I'd like to hang up some of our art and pictures before then. "I know what we'll be doing on the 4th Wednesday of October, don't I?" was the reply. I protested that I was certain that we could pull it together before then; that I did not need an external deadline to do what would be best for my own soul and my own home.

But, really, who was I kidding?!? Now, on this, the 4th Friday of October, I am looking around my newly decorated home and I am loving it. The furniture has been rearranged, we got a new entertainment center, our pictures and scrolls are up, and it feels like home. And it only took us five months! Of course, my back is killing me from moving the big (my father believes that if it's worth making, it's worth making out of heavy, solid oak) bookcase, but I think it's worth it. Everyone in the book group seemed fooled by my lovely and clean home and a grand time was had by all.

Now I just have to convince them that REAL book groups read tomes that stir up controversy or passion and that everyone leaving at 10:00pm is just wimpy, but I'll have to take it one step at a time.