I hosted guests for a week...and survived. I guess that means we're officially moved in.
Granted, our guests - my dear friend CJ and my mother - were lovely people. And we had a fine time together. Friday CJ took us to the Matt Nathanson concert, where I discovered that [a] concerts at venues within a mile of your home are awesome
, and [b] to his credit, Mr. Nathanson plays just as hard to a small college-town crowd as he does to a big-city sold out one. (Personally, I kind of preferred our experience in Tempe - less crowding, more intimate, and the opening act was rather better - but I know a sold-out crowd is far better financially/reputation-wise for the performer, so I can't really complain too much. And it was sure nice to be able to just walk the half-mile home afterward rather than having to book a hotel/drive four hours the next day.) Saturday Mum came in, and CJ and I took her coat-shopping; somewhat amusingly, she couldn't find anything she liked but I found one I quite liked for $165 that goes rather well with my new look (more on that in a moment). Sunday we had early-Thanksgiving dinner. And Monday Mum and I took the train up to Evanston to see the Ba'ha'i House of Worship.
That last was an experience I'd almost describe as "surreal", except that has negative overtones that are completely inappropriate. The building itself
is architecturally stunning, but what the pictures don't quite get across is the sheer...well, glory
of it. Some of it is the size - looking at it on Google Maps
gives an idea, though it's entirely different seeing it in person. The presentation, too, is amazing; even with the reflecting pools and fountains drained and garden pruned back for winter, the afternoon sun hitting the white-quartz concrete exterior is enough to make it painful to look at without sunglasses. And the interior...I don't have pictures of my own as they disallow photography, but frankly I wouldn't want to post them anyway, because they can't do it justice. It's not just that the decorations and calligraphed stonework are visually amazing, but the use of light, the symmetry of the design, and the amazing acoustics (we arrived during the 12:30 prayers and could hear each of the readers perfectly from the back to the front)...even for a not-particularly-religious pragmatist like me, it's the sort of place that induces a sense of elevation
. Though I think my favorite thing about it is that, unlike certain analogues from other religions
I've been to, they have signs everywhere saying "All Are Welcome", and it truly feels that way - there's no cliquish sense of "oh, well, you're not a member of the club, you can't come inside, but here watch a video about how awesome our club is and if you join maybe we'll think about letting you in". It's a truly beautiful manifestation of what human dedication and love can do, and the people who built it want to share that sense of joy with everyone.
The surreal part kicked in on the way back, realizing that this place - this place that felt like it was not of this earth - was all of a forty-minute train ride away from my new home. The woman running the bookshop mentioned that the House of Worship Choir doesn't require you to be Baha'i in order to join; after seeing their venue I may well audition, just for the chance to sing there.
On a more earthly note, I've cut my hair short-short for the first time since early college, a good twelve years ago (gack). I never thought I'd go back to a pixie cut, as the one I had then made me look like a lollipop, but after seeing so many girls in the area it looked great on I thought I'd see what a real stylist (as opposed to the Supercuts one I had back then) would suggest. She came up with a great longish-on-top/layered look that works far better and helps balance out my cheekbones. (Though there was one stage partway through, before she started the thinning/layering, where my hair was sort of in a helmet shape that looked fabulously 60s mod. All I needed was a geometric-print or silver lamé minidress and white go-go boots and I would've been a perfect pink-haired Star Trek alien love interest.) I don't know if it's the skill of the stylist or the fact that I'm older and my face has more definition now (or both), but I look far less round-faced this time.
Similarly, the coat I mentioned earlier is a Kenneth Cole A-line black wool number with silver studs on the shoulders - a very 80s asexual silhouette, so it goes rather well with the hair. I find this fairly entertaining, since up until now I've been pretty unabashedly girly (even my t-shirts are form-fitting), but with this particular combination, walking through Boystown (the local gayborhood) the other day, I noticed a dude start to check me out until he got to my face. I guess it was time for a change. Though I've been joking with Brian that we can't move again, since every time we move my hair gets shorter and at this point I'd have to buzz it all off.
And on a more pragmatic note, now that I've gotten settled in, today is the day I start up HabitRPG and tracking my daily goals like yoga and guitar that I've been slacking off on (the former more than the latter, but still, my consistency's taken a hit). So it's off to go start correcting that. And possibly call the trapeze school about classes, and write a bit of the short story that's been bouncing around my head, and take other steps to start accomplishing things. I would say "wish me luck", but this is all entirely under my own purview, so instead...wish me motivation!