Thursday, March 31, 2005
Bad Taste and Bournemouth
I was looking through the paper today, and saw the most horrible advertisement. Or, maybe not the MOST horrible, but it's right up there on the list for me. Said advertisement is for some shopping centre. You see a mom, pushing a baby stroller (or pram, depending on where you're from) full of shopping bags from various stores. And behind her and the stroller is the baby, crawling on the floor! How twisted is that?! Your SHOPPING is more important than your CHILD!? Do these people not know about the neglect so many children face everyday? Good grief people. It's not even terribly original.
In other pressing news, I leave in 2 hours on a trip to London and Bournemouth that will, in total, take about 18 hours. (It's somewhat ironic that in that amount of time, I could FLY HOME, but nevermind.) And I have no MP3 player. Or CD player. I've looked everywhere, twice, and cannot find either. I've been freaking out for hours. I am now closing in on the "acceptance" phase, though I'm still considering calling my friend in Glasgow at 8am to see if I can borrow her CD player. And yes, that would be evil to do, on Spring Break. But I mean, she's not THAT good of a friend. I can afford to piss her off a LITTLE, right? Maybe? I don't know. I'll see how I'm doing at 8am.
In leiu of music, sermons and comedy routines, I'm bringing:
-Lots of pens
-Biography of Martin Luther
-Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
-The Magicians Nephew by CS Lewis
-Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance by Don Miller (Always a fantastic road trip book...)
-Issue 12 No 4 of Modern Reformation Magazine
I'm also throwing in Not Without Laughter by Langston Hughes, in my rucksack. I'm in the middle of it (and I like it), but there's no more room in my carrier bag. If you haven't read any Langston Hughes, I highly recommend him.
So, this is me, away for the weekend. And no, I'm not taking my laptop, I refuse. I should be able to read your emails though,and your comments here, even on the bus (from my phone), so if you want to keep me company....if you feel sorry for me without my tunes...please, write me long and good emails.
I'll be back on Tuesday with lots of good stories (hopefully) and lots of photos.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
If you want to....
You can email me (forbieland at yahoo dot com) your postal/mailing address.
It might come in handy for me in the next few days.
Only if you want.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Baby Got Book
I realize that nearly every Christian on the internet (with a sense of humor) has seen this already, but just in case you haven't, I present to you:
Baby Got Book
(Of the 2 or 3 times it's been sent to me, this is the first I've gotten it to work.)
I think it's funny.
Monday, March 28, 2005
This is officially disturbing. Maybe I'm jumping the gun here. Perhaps I am still slightly jittery from that whole Left Behind fiasco. Since when has NBC gone all dispensational on us?! We do NOT need more of that, thanks.
Jeeves, get me NBC on the phone.
"To suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect." (JOHN OWEN, III:433)
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Oh Happy Day!
1) For some reason, 5 years after high school, I remain on the mailing list for Liberty University, from when I was looking into where to go after graduation. (I will readily admit Liberty got crossed off the list when I realized I had to dress up to go to class. I rather enjoy going to class in my sweatshirt and jeans. And skirts were the rule back then. And that’s outrageous.) This means, of course, I will forever get mailings from Dr. Jerry Falwell. They always go directly to my SPAM box anyway, which is just as well, because I never read them. This week though, the subject title caught my attention: “WE’RE DANCING AT LIBERTY – AND NO ONE’S IN TROUBLE!” It made me laugh. At least Dr. Falwell has a sense of humor. I hear there are even ways to get around the haircut rules now, but I won’t tell you where I heard that. And don’t forget, as my friend Adriene says about the mantra of the Baptists: “Sex can lead to dancing!”
2) Has no one else noticed that Two and a Half Men is NOT funny? I find it a travesty that here in the UK, Arrested Development floundered at 11:20pm on Sunday nights (I don’t even think they showed the entire season), while Two and a Half Men and Joey took the primetime spots. TRAVESTY. Charlie, dear Charlie, this is a new low. And that’s saying a lot for you these days.
3) I was recently told that my voice always sounds like there’s laughter behind it. I think it was the best compliment I’ve receieved in a very long time.
4) I’ve booked my tickets to London and Bournemouth for next weekend. I’m pretty excited about this, because I *really* need a break. Whenever I tell people I’m doing the whole trip by coach, they groan. I’m actually looking forward to it. Chances are very high I’ll have two seats to myself, and as much as I hate the idea of being stuck on the bus for hours, it means I can get a lot of reading and sleeping done. I sleep so much better on a bus than on a plane. I don’t know, maybe I just feel it’s more “travelley” than going by plane. Getting there is half the fun, right? Of course, I realize that my mind will definitely change after all these bus trips are done (Edinburgh to Glasgow, Glasgow to London, London to Bournemouth, over an entire day), but let me have my fun. If anyone wants to hang out in London for an hour and a half between 6pm and 7:30pm on Thursday, let me know. (FTR, Elin and I are going back into the city to be touristy on my way back.)
5) I was watching a special with Billy Connolly on TV a while ago, and he wondered why people never say hello to each other anymore. You say hello to someone and they look at you like you’re crazy, or you want to do something horrible to them. It’s so true. Well, it’s true in Britian, anyway. American are admittedly better about the random hellos, but it still needs work. So, spread the word, I say. We should get folks to start saying hello again. It’s like the High-Five Revolution……this one is the Hello Revolution.
6) I hope you all had a lovely Easter. I’m hoping this is my last Easter away from my family
Love’s redeeming work is done;
Fought the fight, the battle’s won:
Lo, our Sun’s eclipse is o’er!
Lo he sets in blood no more!
7) Question of the Week: Where do you want to grow old?
Friday, March 25, 2005
You had me at "Bean Enthusiast"
So, my friend Benj writes:
I had one of the best AIM conversations I have had in a long time with a new friend living in Scotland who knows some other friends of mine over there. This conversation lasted five hours and involved a fictional commune, some new words (friendationship?), and much talk of hot pants. I am tempted to quote highlights, but I’ll refrain.
So, that gave ME the idea of just quoting highlights, because I'm too tired today to try and think up anything deep or witty. Plus, I've had comments from folks telling me they especially like the IM conversations I've posted, so I aim to please my readership.
And I'm lazy.
[04:57] MVDoulos: So tell me, Benj (if I may call you Benj), what are you gonna do with your lif?
[04:57] MVDoulos: Or, life.
[04:57] MVDoulos: Either one.
[04:57] benjbenjbenjbenj: I am in the process of obtaining an "e" for my lif.
[05:23] MVDoulos: friendationship....
[05:24] MVDoulos: let me find that definition for you.....
[05:24] benjbenjbenjbenj: How many passengers does that thing hold?
[05:24] MVDoulos: a friendationship
[05:24] MVDoulos: ?
[05:24] benjbenjbenjbenj: Yeah.
[05:24] MVDoulos: Only two, my friend.
[05:24] MVDoulos: Only. Two.
[05:25] benjbenjbenjbenj: Sounds pretty fast.
[05:25] benjbenjbenjbenj: And badass.
[05:25] benjbenjbenjbenj: Do you have the spinny rims on it?
[05:26] MVDoulos: Well, the speed depends on the passengers.
[05:26] MVDoulos: Spinny rims AND a kickass booster
[05:26] benjbenjbenjbenj: Duuuuude.
[05:36] MVDoulos: What IS IT WITH THE SPINELESS MEN THESE DAYS?!
[05:36] MVDoulos: OK, I'm done ranting.
[05:36] benjbenjbenjbenj: I do not know.
[05:37] benjbenjbenjbenj: I can't relate to that.
[05:37] MVDoulos: You have a spine, I take it.
[05:37] benjbenjbenjbenj: *bends awkwardly to show off spine*
[05:37] MVDoulos: Hawt.
[05:37] benjbenjbenjbenj: Yeah, I know it, babe.
[05:37] benjbenjbenjbenj: Disturbing.
[05:38] MVDoulos: Or both.
[06:23] MVDoulos: We shall get married, and spend our lives writing, gatecrashing GMA parties, and watching Arrested Development....
[06:23] MVDoulos: While you wear your hot pants.
[06:23] benjbenjbenjbenj: Yes.
[06:23] benjbenjbenjbenj: Finally, you are seeing where the story leads.
[06:23] MVDoulos: Where have you been all my life?!
[06:23] benjbenjbenjbenj: My answer is yes.
[06:23] benjbenjbenjbenj: Yes.
[06:24] benjbenjbenjbenj: *tears*
[06:24] benjbenjbenjbenj: The ring is beautiful, thank you.
[06:24] MVDoulos: I hope there's also running through Indiana fields in this story.
[06:24] benjbenjbenjbenj: Oh there is.
[06:24] benjbenjbenjbenj: I can't wait to tell the guys back at Mandome.
[06:33] MVDoulos: You had me at "Bean Enthusiast"
[06:34] benjbenjbenjbenj: That is the hook for me.
[07:07] benjbenjbenjbenj: So what will you do after you graduate (in July, is it?)?
[07:07] MVDoulos: Yeah
[07:07] MVDoulos: Either..
[07:07] MVDoulos: Professional skateboarder.....
[07:07] benjbenjbenjbenj: No way!
[07:07] MVDoulos: Or I'll host my own daytime talk show.
[07:07] MVDoulos: Yeah I was lying.
[07:07] benjbenjbenjbenj: Why do you think I am majoring in journalism?!?!
[07:07] benjbenjbenjbenj: So I can skate!
[07:08] benjbenjbenjbenj: Oh.
[07:08] MVDoulos: You actually skate?
[07:08] benjbenjbenjbenj: I don't dream to skateboard either.
[07:08] benjbenjbenjbenj: No.
[07:08] benjbenjbenjbenj: I was always called a skater growing up, though.
[07:08] MVDoulos: Perfect, at least our web of lies is starting to synchronize.
[07:08] benjbenjbenjbenj: It is like knitting.
[07:08] MVDoulos: I was always friends with the skaters.
[07:08] MVDoulos: Skater kids are still my favorites to work with, actually.
[07:09] benjbenjbenjbenj: I was always labeled a skater.
[07:09] benjbenjbenjbenj: I never could skater, though.
[07:09] MVDoulos: I'm taking a bunch of guys to a skatepark up in Perth in a few weeks, I love it.
[07:09] benjbenjbenjbenj: I did have some rad roller skates as a kid, but they were pretty gay.
[07:09] benjbenjbenjbenj: Is skating big over there?
[07:09] MVDoulos: Yeah, fairly big.
[07:09] benjbenjbenjbenj: I guess I think of that as a mostly American thing.
[07:10] MVDoulos: But they all wear kilts when they skate here.
[07:10] MVDoulos: While playing bagpipes.
[07:10] MVDoulos: So its all good.
[07:10] benjbenjbenjbenj: Of course.
[07:10] benjbenjbenjbenj: And saying, "Good'ay, mate!"
[07:10] MVDoulos: yeah wrong country.
[07:10] benjbenjbenjbenj: Oh, it isn't foreign?
[07:11] benjbenjbenjbenj: There are only two countries.
[07:11] benjbenjbenjbenj: USA and foreign.
[07:11] MVDoulos: lol
[07:11] MVDoulos: brilliant
[07:41] MVDoulos: At what age is it approprate to teach your children to smoke cigars?
[07:42] MVDoulos: That's totally hot.
[07:42] benjbenjbenjbenj: That question makes a pretty big assumption, dear.
[07:42] MVDoulos: It assumes....
[07:42] benjbenjbenjbenj: That they won't be smoking from the womb.
[07:42] MVDoulos: they did not come out of the womb....
[07:42] MVDoulos: WOW, you beat me to that.
[07:43] benjbenjbenjbenj: You are gonna be smoking in utereo thank to your increase smoking endeavors during the third trimester.
[07:43] MVDoulos: I hear it's good for their metabolism
[07:43] benjbenjbenjbenj: They will be aching to get their mouth on a Cuban right after the cord is cut.
[07:43] MVDoulos: That's my baby.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Annoyance of the Day:
People who keep repeating themselves in a single conversation AND/OR keep talking for no real reason at all
A: Hey, B. I was just wondering if you wanted to come to the String Cheese Festival in Podunk with me on Saturday.
B: No thanks, A, I have to go save starving children in Bosnia that day. But thanks. If you want to do something after, that’s cool, I should be back for dinnertime.
A: Oh, cool. OK. I just thought you’d want to go to the String Cheese Festival, because you like string, and you like cheese, so, I mean, string cheese seems like the perfect pl—
B: Kids. Bosnia.
A: Right. Yeah. That’s good too…..Have you tried Kraft’s “Twisters” string cheese? That’s good stuff. See, they take the yellow cheese, and the white cheese, and they TWIST them together, isn’t that clever? It’s still string cheese though, so you still get you, you know, pull it off and stuff….still…stringy….they’re gonna have a hell of a lot of string cheese at this festival on Saturday, too….rumor has it….I mean, it could just be a rumor…but they found a way to make blue cheese into string cheese….wouldn’t that be amazing? Think of the possibilities……we could make….
B: Maybe we could feed starving children in Bosnia with it.
A: Oh yeah, that too. But like…think of the opportunities in….like…..gas stations….and schools…and….space travel…..you should really come to this festival, A, because then you can see this blue string cheese I’m talking about, because then we could….
B: GO AWAY!
A: Cool, okay, see you later, let me know if you want to go to that string cheese festival though ….we’d have to be there by noon…..I was thinking of maybe camping out on Friday night when the tickets go on sale, just to make sure that I can get some…..
If you have iTunes...
Eisley is the Free Download of the week.
Get yer ass on over there!
Monday, March 21, 2005
Am I going crazy?
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Porky is Back
And I added some links.
This means you, Paul and Sonya.
And you, Mike.
And you, Aaron.
And a few more.
:) Now you can leave me alone.
Saturday, March 19, 2005
Porky Is Without Power
Porky is the name of my laptop. And he's not charging. Dell is sending a new AC adaptor.
In the meantime, I only have the local Internet cafe. This is probably a good thing, since I need a computer break. But to hold you over, I have typed up a few days worth of posts here, of things I've been writing in various notebooks recently, at various times. The reason I asked you for words was that I was going to use them to write on them, from memories and free-writing. So you can see, I won't be able to use them all. In fact, I may not get to many at all. But they will come in useful. (They already have, actualy.) I've written on some. Here, I've started with Balie's word: Swing.
Please excuse mistakes and such - it was typed in a hurry, and without much editing.
Hope this tides you all over til Porky is in good working order.
In the meantime, write me a letter.
Email me if you don't have my address.
When I was nine and a half, my grandfather was killed. A year later, my great-grandmother – his mother – died of a broken heart.
Grandma Bray, as she was known to me, was one of the sturdiest women I have ever known. That’s a lot to say for a lady who was 5 ft tall, maybe 100lbs soaking wet. I towered over her, even as a nine-year-old.
She was 93.
She lived with us for a while, and I mostly enjoyed this. Grandma taught me how to play dominoes like a champion. She had a cleft palate all her life, so when she cursed – “Oh shit!” was a favourite – her speech impediment made it terrifically funny. It was hard to take her sudden plight so seriously, then. To this day, my mother is the only family member who can accurately imitate her speech.
Grandma attributed her longevity to a glass of Bailey’s each day, for most of her life. Personally, I believe this particular Fountain of Youth to be preferable to, say, yoga, or 4 glasses of green tea with chilli peppers and lemon.
My grandmother cared greated for her great-grandchildren, and wanted to start them off right. This proved to be a slight issue, however, when I was left to babysit my almost-2-year-old brother one day. (Granted, I was 10, but a highly responsible 10, and Grandma still had her wits about her. Between the two of us, we were probably the equivalent of a competent 18-year-old. Besides, Mom was just running to the store.)
This particular day, Grandma sat on our cool-in-1975-couch of various browns and yellows. She was always so tiny, she seemed swallowed by her surroundings.
My brother waddled around in his diaper, playing with various toys, occiassionally stopping to watch Winnie the Pooh on videotape. Grandma had just returned from the kitchen – her waddle quite similar to Grant’s – with a cappuchino glass full of Bailey’s. I watch this all, being the studious young babysitter that I was.
Grandma carefully sits back down on the couch, with the old-person “flop and settle”, and takes a sip.
“’Mere, Grant,” she says with her familiar cleft-palate speech, and Grant toddles over, hands on her knees.
“Here, try some.” She puts the glass of Bailey’s to my brother’s mouth.
“Um, Grandma….I don’t think that two year olds are supposed to drink alco—“
“Oh shoosh! He’ll be fine! See? He likes it!”
He did, in fact, like it. He’d placed both hands on either side of the glass, for a better hold. Thankfully, she didn’t let him down it. More importantly, Grant did not grow up to be a drunk. At least, not yet.
In the following months, Grandma moved in with my aunt and uncle, on their farm. Within weeks, they placed her in a home. This was to be a major point of contention between my mother and her sister, and only part of a large chasm that formed after their father died.
They were still close then, however, and we still spent holidays at the farm with them.
That July 6th marked the year anniversary of my grandfather’s death. The 4th of July was often spent on the farm, with BBQ’s, swimming in the pond, and plenty of fireworks. That July, we’d gone to pick up grandma from the old folks home. She was in between hip-breaks, and doing okay but rapidly declining. That home quickly killed her heart, which was already broken, killing her body soon after.
We were suspecting this might be Grandma’s last Independence Day. The “men-folk” – Dad, Uncle Charlie, and my cousin Jonathan – were off doing man-things, while the women – me, Mom, Aunt Fawn, my cousin Jennifer, and I, sat on the double-swing, facing each other. Jennifer held my squirming brother and called him “Granums”, as she still does 12 years later.
We were singing – our family is a family of singers, at least on my mother’s side. Favorite hymns, songs written by Mom and Fawn, silly songs, Top 40’s, favourites from when my mother was young.
Fawn asked Grandma Bray what she would like to sing. There was little doubt as to what she would choose, as we all knew her favourite hymn. She started to sing it:
I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses; And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me and He talks with me And He tells me I am His own And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.
He speaks and the sound of His voice Is so sweet the birds stop their singing. And the melody that He gave to me Within my heart is ringing.
I'd stay in the garden with Him Though the night around me is falling. But He bids me go; through the voice of woe, His voice to me is calling...
And that moment, on the swing, with the sun going down, and the fireflies arrival….the women of my family praising God…
I knew this was a memory, and it would stay.
Grandma died less than a year later. At her funeral, my mother sang…
“And He walks with me…and He talks with me….and He tells me I am His own…..”
And that’s the thing, Susanne….
That’s proving his mind…
If he thinks I left on the 16th, how many post offices can vouch for the fact that I was there on the 30th?
Interestingly enough, I ran into a lovely couple, he’s an orthapedic surgeon, but one of Doug’s friends.
Did he not EVER appreciate what you did for him?
Well, now we can tell you, there were six of us on that boat, and John arrived with his jar of apple jam, and with that, immediately ostrasized himself.
He’s not showing his true colors.
Now, I have the confidence of Nicky…and I don’t need the book.
You’ve been with Tom now for how long?
13 Mar 05
I’m not sure if I should ask if she’s okay.
I feel somewhat awkward, because I keep looking at her, to see if she has exploded yet, but she hasn’t. She remains in the same position for much too long – you want to give her a prod, like grandpa asleep in his chair in front of the TV, when you can no longer hear him breathe, and you briefly consider he could be dead. He never fails to wake up with a snort and a curse word.
But, well, she’s not dead. No need to prod, I suppose. She’s still blinking. She remains on the other end of the couch from me, having finished her hummus and bread a long time ago. She seems to have given up on her oversized hot chocolate. Her right knee is pulled up to her chest, her left one almost perpendicular to it, foot reaching away from her knee, under the other. Her left hand is being kept warm between her knees and her right props up her head. The eyes – surest sign of life – stare straight ahead. It takes me a long time to follow her art-student eyes to the television screen showing one of the Die Hard films – completely out of place in this over-styled and moody coffeeshop. And she can’t hear it – not with the blaring samba tunes and a TV on mute.
Her only movements include an exasperated hand through her shortish, layered hair, overgrown in a purposeful way. The hand returns to the side of her cheek.
The other movement comes only from her wiggling toes, free from her slip-off shoes, on the wooden floor, protected by her army green socks. Otherwise, she stares at the screen on the wall-of-no-sound.
And she remains, for an hour. Two.
What is she waiting for?
Scattered Thoughts On Writing
Writing? Who does that? For a living, I mean.
Well, of course, loads of people do.
It doesn't seem fair though, does it? Slap a few words on paper, type a few letters into a computer, send it off, and people buy it, people read it, and you can eat the following day. Complete crap is wandering around on paper this very minute, and yet people are still buying it, still reading it. Some even praise the magnificence of the crap.
And, great stuff is made and is never paid for. Life, of course, is unfair. Life IS pain, my dear Buttercup.
I read a recent article in The Big Issue, an interview by a young writer only about to get published, but one of those guys being touted as "the next big thing" and all that. He was giving advice to new writers, despite the fact that he looked only slightly older than my 14-year-old brother. (Gee, he must be so experienced.) But the only part I really remember (and I read the article about three weeks ago) was the apart that said:
"Once you decided to be a writer, you have to start thinking of yourself as a writer."
It is, of course, no real genius thought there. If you're going to be an electrician, you may as well start thinking of yourself as an electrician, no?
One quickly learns, however, that it is actually slightly harder to do so than previously thought. Usually, one has to keep a "day job" while writing, as do many in music, or any kind of art. So you can't really feel like you *are* a writer - you can't fully identify with the career choice, as you make another grande latte with a shot of vanilla, or mop another floor behind a counter. I've read similar advice -specifically on writing- before, so it must somehow be a little true. If it wasn't difficult, it wouldn't be mentioned by established writers.
Here is my problem. (As if I only have one. Doubtful.) And I'm having a slight issue getting past the whole deal...
It seems to me that writing is ridiculously self-absorbed. I realize it doesn't have to be, of course. One can write any number of things -abused women in the Sudan, for example, the theological implications of the Council of Trent- and not write a single thing about yourself. But it is still coming from your perspective, your vantage point. My friend Aaron says that no on stands like you do. Well no one writes like you do, either. The entire idea of writing implies that you have something to say, something to take to the masses that no one else can.
It all reeks of self-importance. I don't care what you're writing about -theology, women, children, technological advances, medicine, or a story about kicking small dogs- you still feel the need to inform.
The other side of this is, of course, that we are created to create - some of us, more than others. Sometimes, that births itself in culinary arts or music, and sometimes it is meant to take on words. It's not as if you invented them, mind you, anymore than a painter creates paint or musicians the notes on an instrument. But you feel this urge to put them together somehow -on paper...tangible....readable.
And so, if we are created to create, perhaps therein lies an obedience in writing, at least to those of us who believe you should obey. And there will be, of course, an element of self-importance, and all kinds of impurities of equal or lesser value. But this is because we are human, we are fallen, we are sinful. But we are also full of grace. We are vessels. And perhaps if we write long enough, God shows up. (Or maybe, he shows up either way, invited or not.)
Ruth and I were watching TV the other day - a show about a pair of ice dancers (the BBC loves that kind of crap). Ruth comments: "See, I think that's what people should do for a living - they should do what they love."
I can't help but feel a little like the Scottish runner, Eric Liddle, in the pivotal scene in Chariots of Fire that everyone references. He is having to justify his decision to run in the Olympics rather than go back to China as a missionary. He says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure."
God didn't make me terribly fast. But when I write, I feel his pleasure.
They are the most beautiful of old women, with accents that speak of Aberdeen and Inverness, rather than Edinburgh and Glasgow. Proper, yet casual old women, the kind that do a lot of travelling, but do cross-stitch on the plan to where they are going.
They each carry a days shopping and 25 roses.
They have hair of silver, gold, and bronze, with jewelry to match.
They speak of driving, of walking, of family and of whisky.
The one with the bronze hair tells about getting stuck on some skiing expedition, and the lovelyAmerican couple who helped her. "Maaa'am!", she exclaims, in her best imitation-American accent, to the uproarious laughter of the others.
They speak of their increasing numbers of friends who've undergone operations, of spending time in the hospital...
"...But she's doing well..."
The prettiest - the one with the gold hair - is the quietest, the best listener.
But she laughs the loudest.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Please know that I WANTED to blog today, but the day was too darn beautiful to be sitting behind my computer. So I wrote, but not here. And it's time for bed now. So I will soon post here, honest. Really.
Thank you for all your words. You'll see some of them used soon. Not all of them, but some.
Now go high five at least three people today.
Monday, March 14, 2005
Oh hey. And I need a word, any word, from each of you.
UPDATE: The more usable the word, the more likely your word will be used. Thanks.
Only one more week of this, and I will be temporarily free.
By "free" I mean "I'm on Spring Break but I'll have two papers to write so it doesn't really count".
But it WILL mean I'll have a little more time to blog again.
As for right now, I feel like I'm running on autopilot, and I don't like that feeling.
I did have a really snazzy diddy that I wrote yesterday and was going to put up here. But it's in my notebook. And where is that notebook? It's in Penicuik. My friend Alex offered to take me home ("I'm taking Michaela home. To her home, that is. And I'm not going to stay there. I'm going to my home." "Me thinks he doth protest too much....")and in the desire to make sure I had my other two bags, and in the busy-ness of the conversation with folk, I managed to forget my bag. It made for an extremely interesting night, since I didn't have my keys to get INTO the flat. So it meant some phone calls and a trip to the airport and to the chippie and then finally back to the flat after Dave had returned. And my bag is still in Penicuik.
So, you know. There's that.
I think I need another roadtrip with Cameron. That would be cool.
Back to work.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
Too Much, Too Little
So last night, I went out to the Walkabout for my friend Benita’s going away party. I arrived at 6:30, with very little money in my pocket, which was good, since I’d said to myself I would only stay an hour or two, then I’d go to work on a paper I have due on Tuesday. (I know! My Friday nights are HOT!) So, no money, no time, means only one or two beers, right?
Well, first of all, it was 2-for-1 drinks til 8pm. Second of all, my friend (and Benita’s boyfriend) Dermot took it upon himself to start paying for me for everything. Yikes.
(By the way, I can no longer recommend the Mango and Chicken Salad at the Walkabout. Man, that haunted me all the rest of the night. Or, more appropriately, it haunted whoever was walking behind me.)
So, all this is to say, I probably had a little too much to drink last night. Nothing out of control, mind you, so don’t go letting your imaginations run wild. But still, too much. Now, the reason I tell you this is not to brag, or even make this a confessional. But you’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute.
The weird thing is that I shared my faith with two people last night. Now, I can hear you all say what I bad witness I am, but I was not *drunk*, certainly not at the time I spoke to these girls, anyway. (Which is obvious in the fact I’m remembering them, I suppose.) And by “share my faith”, I mean it in the sense of, I got to tell people what was important to me, what my life was about.
Lucy and I started chatting because I couldn’t bear to see her sit alone. She was a fairly quiet girl, so not one to go chat to people. Now, I don’t really like just up and introducing myself either (which is why Dermot and I spent much of the evening together…we already knew each other), but if someone needs someone to talk to, I want to help out. She was a lovely, lovely girl. God usually comes up quite easily in such conversations, because people ask me about my traveling, and why I have come here, and why I traveled Asia, that sort of thing. Of course, the answers are that I was a missionary in Asia, and here I work for a churches youth project, and go to a Christian college. This is where people have the opportunity to take it from there. Sometimes, they want to talk “religion”. Sometimes, they skip right over it. Many times, they have sincere questions. Lucy started telling me about her neice getting baptized, and going to church for that. She told me that she liked it (even though it was a generic, boring church), that she felt a kinda spiritual high from it. But at the same time, she felt like a bit of a fraud. She felt very welcomed by the church members, so that wasn’t it. But she felt like she didn’t belong, because it wasn’t something she was raised to believe - that it was "their thing" and not "her thing". It was a point of view I hadn’t heard before, actually. This idea of non-Christians feeling both welcomed and foreign in a church. I think it’s a very valid and understandable position, and not one that those in the “emergent church” or “seeker-sensitive” church movements always take into account.
When I asked her what she believed, she said she didn’t know, she hadn’t really thought of it. This kind of answer is always so beyond my comprehension. I really don’t understand the idea of going through life without questioning, without wondering about these things. But it’s very common, these days. Just believe in a vauge “Other”, be a good person, and go on with life….
I got Lucy’s number, since she lives quite close. I hope to take her for coffee soon, because we both could use more friends.
The other girl, Tara, and I got to chatting about life and travel later on. She told me her “life motto”, something snazzy and short like “Life is short, so just enjoy it.” But snazzier. “What is your life motto?” she asked. Well, um, this is tricky. It’s hard to jump right into: “To glorify God”, you know. But I didn’t want to sound like a Bible basher, either. So I took it easy, and had to set up the whole scenario for her. “Well, I’m a Christian….” And when I got around to actually saying it, it seemed to her to make complete sense, that it was a valid position to hold.
The funny thing is that we so often think we’re gonna get made fun of, or that these people will think we are completely insane – how can someone POSSIBLY be a Christian in this day and age?! Most of the times, when these conversations happen, the other person is happy to hear about you and what you believe. How much more would we talk about our faith if we kept that in mind?
My point is simply that today, on reflection, I was amazed. I drank too much, yes. But all of it further emphasized my inability to run away from God. Even at such moments, he uses me – even in failures, and even in our depravity and sinfulness, God is still God, and I just can’t shake him.
Friday, March 11, 2005
I promise, I'll update tomorrow.
Thursday, March 10, 2005
(For Katie, whom I sure misses this bit on my blog....she says this song always reminds her of me....this song always reminds me of Katie being reminded of me.... ;))
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be.
Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy.
And I use these words pretty loosely.
There's so much more to life than words.
There is a me you would not recognize, dear. Call it the shadow of myself.
And if the music starts before I get there dance without me. You dance so gracefully.
I really think I'll be o.k. They've taken their toll these latter days.
Nothin' like sleepin' on a bed of nails. Nothin' much here but our broken dreams.
Ah, but baby if all else fails, nothin' is ever quite what it seems.
And I'm dyin' inside to leave you with more than just cliches.
There is a me you would not recognize, dear. Call it the shadow of myself.
And if the music starts before I get there dance without me. You dance so gracefully.
I really think I'll be o.k. They've taken their toll these latter days.
But tell them it's real. Tell them it's really real.
I just don't have much left to say.
They've taken their toll these latter days.
They've taken their toll these latter days.
(I shall write you a "real" post soon, I promise.)
Monday, March 07, 2005
So, my Café and I are forming a bond.
I’m considering asking if it really is committed, or if it’s just going to move on to another new foreigner with a funny accent. (Reality, of course, tells me that the café has too many such relationships with many foreign ladies, particularly of Australian, American, South African and Kiwi decent…As any good and faithful woman, I shall of course choose to ignore them, and pretend Café only has eyes for me….)
My Favorite Table and I are still going strong. Miraculously, Table is usually empty and waiting for me, even during busy hours. Where’s the love? There’s the love.
The more I see of others, the more I see that Café is The One. I had a working lunch with a collegue of mine (don’t I sound all grown up?!) at The Elephant House on Friday, on George IV Bridge. It’s a lovely café and hugely popular, especially among the Edinburgh Uni smokers population. It’s claim to fame is that JK Rowling wrote part of her first book there. (Tragic, I think, to consider she can no longer do this. Lord, please don’t let my writing get so popular that I cannot write in my café anymore….Wait…..with that kind of money….I could BUY my Café….delete request…..) I like The Elephant House, of course. My coffee was good (Kenya AA) and my bacon roll was both economical and pretty. (Seriously, it was all fancy and….greeny….)
But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I felt as if I were cheating on Café.
So of course, after a detour through The Cowgate, I stop at The Paper Tiger - a horrifically addictive place, for notebook lovers such as me – and I picked up a pack of three softbound Moleskine notebooks, on Aaron’s suggestion. I headed toward my café, for an afternoon break before working that evening.
And all was well again.
Sunday, March 06, 2005
Hey Jazzy! He likes it!
I picked up a copy of Noise Magazine at Indebele (my café) today, one of those free local music/art/culture/movie magazines. Lo and behold, there on the back page lies an announcement : DJ Jazzy Jeff - of Fresh Prince fame – is going to play (perform, rap, whatever) at the Edinburgh Po Na Na on March 13th.
Be still my beating heart.
Better yet, readers can register (by text or email) to win two free tickets. Of course, I immediately do so. And while I cannot imagine who on earth I will be able to pay to come along with me, you know I’ll be praying extra hard for this one, lighting a few extra candles in mass, probably even helping a few extra old ladies (above my weekly quota, of course) to cross the street. And I’m not even Catholic.
The best part is, of course, the photo of Mr. Jeff.
Jazzy (I’m sure he won’t mind me informally calling him by his given name) stands threateningly, arms crossed, looming over the camera, appearing to be taken from about waist height. He of course wears the obligatory sports jersey (Philly, basketball) standing in front of a dirty rusted chain link fence, and a sign which appears to have snippets of the words: “pipe”, “street level”, “underground”, and “Danger, Will Robinson!” (OK, maybe not the Will Robinson part.)
It is, of course, about as menacing as seeing that Mikey kid from the Life cereal commercials coming out of a sewer with an Uzi, in a camouflage tank top, with magazine clips on his belt. (Do Uzi’s even use magazines? I have no idea.)
So, if anyone is up for coming as my date to see Jazzy Jeff , let me know. I’ll give you a call if I should win those tickets.
Friday, March 04, 2005
your secret stain.
Are you allowed to have favorite things about yourself? Is that too narcissistic and/or vain? Perhaps sometimes we're allowed such things, in order to balance out the times we want to beat ourselves up. Aren't we all on both sides of love and hatred of ourselves?
Anyway, if we are allowed favorite things about ourselves, one of my favorite things is me is my notebook fetish. I have notebooks everywhere, filled with silly and serious and mundate notes and phrases and words. Sermon notes, lines that would be great for a poem (usually left without the poem, though) quotes, (lots of quotes), words. Phrases. Snippets. I find notebooks from years ago, and they tell me more about my life at that particular time than my journals actually do.
All this is said to introduce a bit of a random quote. I just ran across it in a notebook, and remembered writing it down in December, somewhere in Missouri I think. And on my Douglas Coupland theme, this is as good a time as any to include it here. That, and I'm too tired to write a decent, original blog post.
Where does loneliness come from? I’d hazard a guess that the crapshoot that is family has more than a little to do with it – father’s a drunk; mothers an agoraphobic; single child; middle child; firstborn; mother’s a nag; father’s a golf cheat….I mean, what’s your own nurture/nature crapshoot? You’re here. You’re reading these words. Is this a coincidence? Maybe you think fate is only for others. Maybe you’re ashamed to be reading about loneliness. – maybe someone will catch you and then they’ll know your secret stain. And then maybe you’re not even very sure what loneliness is – that’s common. We cripple our children for life by not telling them what loneliness is, all of its shades and tones and implications. When it clubs us on the head, usually just after we leave home, we’re blindsided. We have no idea what hit us. We think we’re diseased, schizoid, bipolar, monstrous, and lacking in dietary chromium. It takes until thirty to figure out what it was that sucked the joy from our youth, that made our brains shriek and burn on the inside, even while our exteriors made us seem as confident and bronzed as Quantas pilots.
(Douglas Coupland in Eleanor Rigby )
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Unpleasant Snow Attitudes
Yeah, today was about as fun as being hung upside down by my toenails. After about 45 minutes sleep last night, it took me 3.5 hours to get to college in Glasgow, thanks to the snow. It looked pretty at first. But no, this was not nice snow. It was not catch-the-flakes-on-your-tongue kinda snow, but the kind that slaps you upside the head and tells you to get back into the kitchen and make it a pie. It was like flying slush, rather than snow. Really, the most annoying snow possible. And I LIKE snow. Usually.
So then it gets fun. I arrive, look in my box, to find this note:
"Dear Michaela. Thank you so much for the link to ICC from your website. Please, if you could, could you change the link to the new one? Thanks again, Ted."
Ted is our Vice-Principal, and was my Old Testament lecturer.
My OLD TESTAMENT LECTURER has READ MY BLOG!
This is, of course, slightly disconcerting.
But hey, Ted. Good to see you! You were always my FAVORITE lecturer. I promise. Really.
Anyway. It wasn't all bad. (Not that Ted's note was bad, more like funny...) I did get my paper in on time. I celebrated by using my 15 quid Gift Card from Borders (given by my dear friend Allan, for my birthday in November). Hurrah! I picked up Another Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn, and 31 Songs by Nick Hornby (published as Songbook in the U.S.), both of which I'd been wanting to read for a while.
(Oh man, now my OT lecturer knows I use bad words on my blog! Crap!)
So I'm gonna go read those in my warm bed, and get ready for a very busy day tomorrow.
Your quote of the day, which I discovered in my notebook, jotted down from a phone coversation held weeks ago:
"I'm a big fan of girls putting up with guys who try to flirt.....in that "Come on, Timmy, ride the bike!" sorta way." - Cameron