Fun is Fun: Lectures and escargot

Activity: MFA lecture and French dinner
Dress code: Academic chic

Our December “Fun is fun” event took a different angle. Adam and I have always been intellectually curious, loved museums, and been game for learning deeply about irrelevant things. (Ask me about the time we hired a tour guide for a day to give us the low-down on the Albigensian Crusade). So I decided for our December “Fun is fun” event we’d go to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. I found this particular event (“Complex Relationships: Egypt and Nubia“) by deciding on venue first, and seeing what was on their agenda second. This might have been a special exhibition, costume party, or lecture on pretty much any topic. I AM rather fond of Nubia from the African History class I took in college, but much more interested in the complicated history of Nubian Christianity.

I digress.

We showed up to the museum right on time, and through some miracle of time and space got STREET PARKING. Astonishing. I went to the main window to pay for our entry – the tickets had been free, although I had to formally sign up for them. But in an amazing loophole, it turns out that the free tickets included entry to the museum. SCORE! Cost of the date so far: $4 in parking.

We thoroughly and deeply enjoyed the lecture and presentation. It was a very cogent and interesting discussion that mixed ancient and modern questions of identity, categorization, the connection between science and labeling things, and what makes Nubian pottery Nubian. The lecture was short – 45 minutes – but really engaging and well delivered and thought provoking. It was so much fun, I was sad when it was over.

After the lecture concluded, we had some time to spend in the MFA which – despite loving museums and living within a 20 minute drive for the last, uh, 20 years, we’ve only been to a handful of times. We barely hit three and a half galleries – our appetite still wet for bizarre and beautiful and interesting artifacts. But it turned out the museum closed at 5. Who knew!? So we headed early for dinner, vowing to return some day with more time.

A rattle in a museum case made of the top of two human skulls connected together, with a fabric element hanging off it
Human skull rattle

I’d tried to pick the closest French restaurant to the MFA, which was in Back Bay. I’d planned on walking – we usually enjoy a nice stroll and parking in Boston isn’t in my list of fun things to do. But it was quite cold and we were underdressed for the weather, so instead we attempted to drive in. I swear we walked nearly as far from the nearest parking garage, and it was very stressful, but it worked! Our table wasn’t ready, so we sat at the bar and listened to the French-speaking bartenders chat as we contemplated the topic we’d just heard the lecture on and agreed that …. we really like attending lectures like this and we need more time at the MFA.

A man sitting at a bar with a cocktail in front of him with a thyme sprig
Waiting for our table

The drinks were excellent, the restaurant was noisy and the menu was adventurous. Note to self: you are an audacious eater, but you do not like liver. We were sated in mind and body when it was time to return back to the suburbs and our distinctly tweed-free lifestyles. But this was a real winner in terms of both the enjoyment in the moment, and the longer term feeding of the mind – it’s the sort of thing you can think about later that helps deepen and richen your experience of the world. I’ll never think of Nubian pottery shards the same way!

A middle aged woman wearing a gray dress with a bright red pendant, eating escargot
I admit it. I adore escargot. And the bread was phenomenal.
A man looking at an art exhibit in a museum
It’s astonishing how many cool and beautiful things there are in the world.

Sons and Fathers

I don’t write a ton about my husband, Adam. There are many reasons for this: he says fewer cute things than my kids, he rarely brings home cool artwork from work, etc. But the primary reasons I rarely write about him is because he is fully capable of writing about himself, and rarely chooses to do so. But I’ll break my self-imposed embargo today to talk about him, because it’s Father’s Day, and it’s a time where we sit down to say the things we think so often and say so rarely.

Four generations of Flynn men: three fathers and one baby

My husband has had some great fathering role models. His father was also a good father. He talks to me often about the walks they took on warm Saudi nights with his dad and his dog – talking about everything and nothing. I miss Mike a lot – today especially. He was always convinced that we were the most amazing, the best. I often think of how proud of me Mike would be, which says a lot about how supportive he was of me while he was here. Mike died four years ago, but he remains with us in memory and thought.

My dad

I’m fortunate that my Dad is still around and doing cool stuff. I talked to him this morning, and his newest book is doing well. He did a book signing this weekend! But my Dad was always there – at every sporting event, schlepping me from location to location, teaching me how to drive or reminiscing about the layout of the streets in Seattle in 1969. He reaches out every time there’s wild weather in my area to make sure I know. He usually knows my forecast better than I do!

All this is to say, there are a lot of great dads in our lives. But the one I see the most of, whose work I can most appreciate, is my husband.

The day my husband became a father

Adam is a great father to our two sons – whose very looks are stamped unmistakably on his boys. There are so many things they do together: he’s their teacher in aikido, their “tickle and snuggle time” favorite, their morning-breakfast-short-cook, and their gamemaster. He is with them every day, and in every way, in sickness and in health. I love watching him wrestle with the boys. (80% of my family pictures involve the three of them locked in some manner of combat).

A hike on another day. I didn’t bring the camera yesterday.

Yesterday we went for a lovely family hike in the Breakheart Reservation, where Adam and the boys talked about snakes, beetles, optimum swinging mechanics and other related phenomenon. Today, we decided to spend Father’s Day being a family by going to the Museum of Fine Arts to check out the Samurai exhibit. (And the mummies. Because Dude! Mummies!) Once again, I got to watch my husband with my sons – explaining canopic jars, pointing out historical references, sharing the enthusiasm of the kids. It was – it always is – a pleasure and a joy.

Thank you, Adam, for the joyful and loving time you spend with our sons every day. I can only hope that they grow into men and kind, as loving, and as fun as you.

Explaining Roman coins

Pictures of today’s journey to the past can be found here! We had a great time at the MFA!

Three cheers for Marmee!*

My mom has come out to visit. I know Holy Week might seem an odd time for a pastor to be a continent away, but Spring Break coincided with Holy Week this year and she is also a teacher, and so she came! My father is coming out in a week or two. My mother-in-law is coming out towards the end of April when I am going to FRANCE (and Amsterdam) for WORK with an agenda that has a bullet point for WHITE ASPARAGUS SEASON. This whole work thing is going fantastically, if you ask me.

Anyway, it’s sort of feast or famine with help for us. For reasons I’m still attempting to work out, our relatives are less inclined to visit us in February? Why on earth do people not feel downright DRAWN to New England in February? The mind boggles.

But it’s been awesome having my mom around. I sometimes feel guilty for how hard it is not to take my mom’s time and help for granted. Like of course she’ll make me my favorite cinnamon rolls. And of course she’ll get up with the kids so I can sleep in. She’s my MOMMY. She’ll take care of me FOREVER. And then I think about 27 years from now, when I’ll be where she is now, and wonder if I’ll be so gracious. It’s a sobering part of parenthood to remember that everything you expect from your parents, your children should have a right to expect from you. Do you hold your folks and yourself to the same standard? I hope my husband and I can live up to the ones set for us!

She took the kids on Sunday, after church, so my husband and I could be cultured dilettantes. We went to the Museum of Fine Arts, courtesy of a neighbor who gave us tickets. We wandered the dim remains of The Secrets of Tomb 10A and marveled at the items which have traveled so very far through time and space to arrive before us. We ate overpriced pastry at an artistic table and drank cappuccino and no one interrupted us. Then we had dinner in Cambridge, followed by an evening of gaming and hanging out with friends. We didn’t get home until late. It was AWESOME.

I think a little more concerted attention, as well as the final arrival of his in-process molars, has really helped Thane. He’s developed a deep and abiding love of apples. You wouldn’t think such a little guy with so few teeth would be able to eat an entire apple, leaving nothing behind, but you would be wrong. “Appa! Appa! Appa!” Happily, it also keeps him occupied while a grownup type person cooks dinner. It will be interesting to see if he’s permanently leaving the “Cling to mom’s leg and weep while she prepares dinner” stage behind, or if he’s just taking a hiatus with it while he has Grandmama to shower attention on him. He has started talking a mile a minute. I was trying to remember if this was 18 month old standard, or if it’s Thane-specific. The nice ladies at daycare comment on it nearly every day, though, so I’m thinking Thane specific. One of his favorite phrases is “E-I-E-I-O”, which means exactly what you think it means.

Grey is just full of awesome. I LOVE LOVE LOVE 4 years old. He’s so much FUN. The imagination is off full tilt. The knock-knock jokes rise to new levels of zany. He’s solicitous and loving. He’s finally ceasing to NEED the naps that he dropped nearly a year ago, so is less tired. He remembers everything, and we start to get precious glimpses of his life without us. [DIGRESSION: including the fact, which we’d completely missed, that they don’t heat up his lunch at preschool. They do for Thane, so I ASSUMED they were warming Grey’s lunches of soups and casseroles which all were designed to need heating. But no. Cold spaghetti. Cold potato casserole. Cold everything. NO WONDER he didn’t eat his lunches. I wouldn’t like cold macaroni and cheese either! So after a bit of foaming at the mouth followed by a bout of self-recrimination I took the blessed opportunity of another grownup in the household to run to Target and buy thermoses. Star Wars themed. Because I pay attention to the patter, which now has a strong, if ill-informed Star Wars bent. “Did you know that Annakin cut of Dark Vader’s head?!?!?” /END DIGRESSION] Grey plays these wild, imaginative games with other kids. Yesterday one of his friends came over and they disappeared and were playing games with shifting rules defined by parameters grownups can’t possibly imagine. Delightful. With me, in the blessed space cleared by mom making dinner, Grey and I turned into Annakin and Luke Skywalker, with Thane playing a surprisingly convincing R2-D2. There were laser noises and epic light-saber battles up the stairs. Even Thane got into the laser-noise action, bopping around saying “pew pew pew!”

And after the truly epic deluge of the last week, today the sky has emerged washed clean. The lawns are greening up. The forsythia is out in shocking yellow to color-deprived eyes. My hyacinth waft perfume on the afternoon breeze as I return to my home in daylight. I will not be TOO cold in my Easter dress this Easter, for possibly the first time EVER. And the Easter Bunny has brought some fun stuff for two little boys. I’m in an Easter spirit and frame of mind, this Good Friday.

Anyway, there – sans thesis statement of unifying theme – is what’s up with me lately. How about you?

*Bonus points if you catch the reference