Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Run-Down on July

1) I still have a few loose ends to tie up in the morning (and a 10-minute video presentation to shoot in my dining room), but I'm pretty much done with the essays. I just finished an essay (for my ecclesiology class : "Church:Meaning and Mission") which could well be one of the ones I'm most proud of. So lets hope I pass all three, kids, so that I can graduate.

2) Lori comes tomorrow night at 5:40pm. There will be marching. And ass-grabbing.

3) Suprises all around : my MOM is coming to visit next Wednesday! This is the first she's EVER actually been out of the United States of America, and she's coming for (erm, hopefully) graduation. She was intending to show up as a surprise, but when Ruth flew to Brussels suddenly, she was lost without a contact to arrange things. So it was still kinda a surprise, just a little early. What's almost as exciting as Mom seeing Scotland and Edinburgh is Mom meeting Peter. Peter is understandably slightly nervous. I'd like to think, however, that this is decent payback (since relationships are all about paybacks of course) for Pete making me meet *his* folks in a few weeks at 7am after a 7 hour coach ride to Birmingham. Oh yes, I'm going to be looking LOVELY.

4) Speaking of Pete, he gets back from Wimbledon in only one more week, on Thursday. Reports tell me that he's not yet seen Sir Cliff Richard yet this year, but he HAS seen not only Terry Wogan (be still my heart) but SIR SEAN CONNERY. Not only did he serve Sir Sean food, but he actually had a conversation with him.

I heard the conversation went something like this:

Sir Sean: "So, where are you from?"

Mr. Pete: "I'm originally from Birmingham, but I'm living in Glasgow these days."

Sir Sean: "Ah! Bonnie Scotland! Glad to hear that. So, what do you think of today's matches?"

Mr. Pete: "Pretty good from what I've seen. Shame Andy Murray is out, but it looks like Britian has someone besides Tim Henman to cheer..."

Sir Sean: "Ah yes....good Scottish boy he to see that....."

Mr. Pete: "Good to see some more stars come out of Scotland...!"

Sir Sean: (Hearty chuckle) "Oh, you extremely English young man, you're so witty, I bet you have an extremely hot and really amazing girlfriend back in Scotland, don't you? Not that I'm interested."

Mr. Pete: "Yes, yes I do, Sir Sean, a lovely American girl. But you can't have her."

Sir Sean: "Damn it all. Well, thanks for the strawberries and champagne."

Mr. Pete: "Anytime, Sir Sean."

Sir Sean: "Look forward to seeing you up North. Next time, bring your American Filly."

Mr. Pete: "As you wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish......"

OK, so it didn't quite go like that. Not at all, actually. But I think they did actually talk about Andrew Murray, if my memory serves. My friend Kari: "So, Sean Connery asked for your phone number, Mic? That's what I heard." So yes, let's start spreading that rumor, and see how far we can take that one.

5) I already mentioned the trip to Birmingham to visit the Fosters. And did I mention that I'm having to meet them at 7am after a 7-hour bus ride? Oh, I DID mention that you say? Well there, I said it again.

(Actually, I don't mind this much. We all know how annoyingly chipper and spring-fresh I am in the mornings! Hurrah! Smashing! Brilliant! Other English Phrases!)

6) From Birmingham, it's on to Gretham, to L'Abri, where I (as previously mentioned) will be staying for a few days. I'm in the middle of reading Edith Shaeffer's book on L'Abri (which up to this point has basically only been read on buses and at bus stops, as most momaents at home have been spent on work or essays), and it's such a great read. I'm definitely exited for some renewal that I hope to find there.

But on the way to Gretham, Pete and I are hoping to stop in London to see Pete's granny. It seems she's quite excited about us. Excited enough, even, to give Pete a kiss on the cheek when she heard the news.

Now, you can't tell me that isn't adorable. Because it is. Precious, even. Bless her heart.

So that will take me through most of July. Needless to say, blogging will be sparse, but then you guys are pretty used to that by now. I'll be taking a lot of notes though, particularly about the G8/Make Poverty History marches this weekend, and my travels here and there. So I do hope to give you guys some good detail when I can.

Thanks for contuniuing to read, kids. Come on over, and I'll take you out for a pint.


Michaela @1:18 AM :: Comment

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Graduation from Crazy Go Nuts University....


More essays...

I'm drowning....!




Michaela @1:14 AM :: Comment

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Hodgepodge and Such

1) Ruth recently picked up a copy of Captivating, the new book by John Elderedge and his wife Stasi. I was, of course, forced to take a look at it. For those who don’t know, this is the Wild at Heart for women. For those who don’t know about Wild At Heart, well…that’s another story. I read it years ago, before my theology radically changed, and liked it. I still think it has many good things to say (and several of my female friends would agree), I just don’t think it goes about things in the right way. Plus, I think part of the problem is that the ideas presented are largely self-focused in the guise of being God-focused (aka “God makes you feel warm and fuzzy” theology). It’s very…self-help book. (Lots of “validation” talk…. “And gosh darn it, God likes me!”) But like I said, I think it has a lot of good things to say, too.

I think my bigger problem these days is the cheesy emotionalism that both books are written in. This cheesy emotionalism totally won me over at the ripe old age of 19. The 23-year old self is now older and wiser. (I do hope you can hear the slight twinge of sarcasm here, though.) I think the pinnacle of this cheese came when the new book quoted the breathtaking Dan Fogelberg song “Longer”. I think you know it:

Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens
I’ve been in love with you.

What’s worse is that in the context of the book, it’s meant to be the words of God to us. James Earl Jones as the voice of God? Maybe. Dan Fogelberg as the voice of God? Not quite, thanks.

I know, I know. I shouldn’t be mocking the book, and I’m sure that it has been helpful to many women, and I’m sure I’d get something out of it if I were to read the whole thing.

But I cringe at any book that makes reference to being a “Warrior Princess”, unless its taking the piss and placing “Xena” before that phrase.

(And while we’re at it, is it allowed to recommend a book you haven’t read? Because if so, I’m pretty sure I’d recommend Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney, largely on what I’ve read of hers in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ and of her husband’s books. But if I’m not allowed to do that, disregard. That, or you can buy me the book. That would be great. Or if it sucks, let me know.

Discussion note: The following quote was found in Elderedge book, in the chapter entitled “Romanced”:

“A woman becomes beautiful when she knows she’s loved.”

This sentence does not sit well with me. What about you? Thoughts?

(Side note: I encourage a reading of the Amazon reviews of Captivating by Challies Dot Com (someone I trust - great dude, great blog) and "ddworak" on the above link.)

2) Peter is now down in London, warming up to start work at Wimbledon. His mission this year is to find the perfect strawberry (strawberries and cream are a staple of Wimbledon, for those who don’t know), and to have it in the Royal Box. (The original idea, I think, was to eat the perfect strawberry with the perfect cream in the perfect Royal Box, but I think that’s been amended. The new idea is to keep the perfect strawberry frozen forever in a film canister. I think.) So everyone can be praying for that.

Previously, my male friend has come into contact with some fairly famous and powerful people, it seems. He was impressed at my Inaugural Ball stories, but I’m afraid they don’t hold a candle to some of his Wimbledon stories. I’d tell you the Boris Yeltsin story, but I’m afraid of the KGB, and of Pete losing his job. It was funny, yet unsurprising.

I also realized that due to the Ball and Wimbledon (and, of course, the assumed meeting at some point between Yeltsin and Bush), Peter, Me, George W. Bush and Yeltsin have an odd 6-degrees-of-separation foursome thing happening. Very bizarre.

3) While walking past the west playground in the Meadows yesterday, I saw two little boys – maybe 4 years old – cornering a little girl and throwing piles of cut grass on her (large handfuls, since the grass had just been mowed). The girl was pretty much in tears. I looked around for parents or someone supervising and didn’t really see any – it looked like a school or playgroup of some sort, with only a few adults around. Certainly didn’t look like enough adults for all those kids. Anyway, risking backlash from parents, I went up and stopped it, and gave a stern talk to the little boys, and made sure the girl was okay. The boys didn’t say anything, and I suspect they did it again after I left. But man…it struck me… are so mean. Even when they are so small.

It also reminded me of how glad I am that I’m not in school anymore. Heartbreak, family problems, job issues, whatever – none of that seems to emotionally compare to the horribleness of childhood playgrounds. I have terrible memories of them, more bad than good. Being an adult doesn’t always suck.

4) Yesterday I got a tooth refilled, one of the ones I got done in November that had started to come out. She did the whole thing, and then says: "I'm not happy with it. I want to redo it."


I mean, I'm happy enough that she's willing do to it again, and be humble and say she'd rather do it better. (The first time was done by another dentist, who has since left the practice at that location.) But many times can you drill and fill a tooth before it starts frickin FALLING OUT?! I swear, dentists will be my doom.

So while most of you crazy kids will be celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks and hotdogs, I'll be laying under the glaring dentist pointy-light, with drills and "composite" and bubble-gum mouthwash fun.

I can't be too angry with her though, she's just so darn cool. She can't be that much older than me (no more than 30, I'd say), the kind of person I wouldn't mind being my friend. In fact, a large part of the discussion between her and the dental assistant during my filling was over the cute guy who had the appointment before me. Apparently, the dentist had been sent on a mission by the assistant to find out if he had a boyfriend, and today he admitted he had. They were nice enough to include me in the discussion, especially after they realized I'd seen him in the waiting room (I'll admit, he was a handsome enough fella, but me and the dentist agreed that the earring completely threw the whole thing off. Plus, you could tell he was a guy who KNEW he was hot, and that's just no good.). This made my dental appointment kinda fun, sorta like a slightly unpleasant coffee afternoon with the girls. Except that it's hard to join the conversation when you have a clamp, lazer beam or hands in your mouth at any given time. I made a lot of strange noises one makes at dentists. Thankfully, they were both well-versed in such language.

Then again, maybe if we hadn't all been discussing hot guys, she could have paid more attention to my actual tooth. Hm.

(I kid. Most of that was after she'd done most of the work. I think.)

But hey, she's cool. And coolness is EVERYTHING in dentistry, you know.


Michaela @1:55 AM :: Comment

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"I think that most Christians in the west believe that the world revolves around them. We are so wrapped up in the idea of our country that we've started to mistake Christianity for a heightened sense of nationalism. It's very much in the whole "God bless America" idea. It makes for bad foreign policy and even worse theology. There's much still to repent of here in the west, and I want to explore that to the ends that I would be a more faithful follower of Jesus, and an honest patriot." -Derek Webb

Michaela @2:32 PM :: Comment

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Slices of Life

So what a great couple of days. I got very little done on these essays that I need to get crackin on, but....meh. They'll get done. ;)

Friday morning, I woke up deathly ill. Sinus crap, which was surprising, since I don't get that a lot in the summer, and haven't been sick for a while (by that I mean...a few months...that's doing well, for me....). The bigger bummer is that I had a full day planned. I managed to get some extra sleep which helped a LOT, and I was able to go shopping with Ruth later that day, after the best management meeting I've ever had (my boss was in a good mood).I've been in dire desperate need of some smart clothes, and Mom was nice enough to send a little extra for that. So on Friday, I went clothes shopping for the first time in Edinburgh, in three years that I've lived here. (Seriously. I always have to wait til I go home to get clothes.)

So as not to bore my male readers, I'll just say I got some great, cute clothes. And the cutest pair of shoes I've ever bought. (No, seriously. EVER.) (Don't worry guys, there's a poker game later on.)

Peter is off on Thursday to work at Wimbledon for a few weeks, so we'd planned for him to come to Edinburgh this weekend to spend some time. So on the way back from shopping I picked him up in the West End and we walked back to the flat, grabbing some Mexican on the way. (By that I mean food ingredients. Not an actual Mexican.) We met up with Marian for drinks at Favorit and talked about "ship stuff" for a few hours, (Pete was on the Logos II when Marian and I were on the Doulos) before heading back to the flat for food and "So I Married An Axe Murderer" ("Heid! Pants! Now!") and "The Best of Mike Meyers" SNL clips. ("Yes my name is Simon. And I like to do dwarwrings!"). (Which reminds me....not enough people are laughing these days. Especially in Britian, so a recent news article said. How shall we remedy this?)

Yesterday was a mixed bag. Pete and I both have a lot of essay work to do, so after bacon and egg sandwich breakfasts (well, before for him - he was up at 8:30 to get crackin on it) and a walk through the Meadows, we hunkered down with books and paper for a few hours, stopping once in a while to talk about the Atonement, or whether or not society actually believes in sin.
(Pete and I study. And by study, I mean...I apply my lipgloss.)
(Note: Click on the photos to see larger versions.)

Now, don't pity us TOO much, because that evening, it was time to PARTAY!!!!!!! (And now, it gets good.)

But wait! Intermission!

On the way to catch the bus, Pete and I were walking down Lothian Road, about 3 or 4 feet apart from each other though, due to some scaffolding. And then some kid SLAPPED MY ASS when he walked past! Seriously, that hasn't happened since HIGH SCHOOL. I was not impressed. I actually turned around and shouted at him. (For a second I thought maybe it was a weird accident, til I saw the look on his face.) He just kept walking, but I think he was sufficiently embarrassed that he got called out. (I mean, what else was I gonna do?) Pete felt bad for...something, I'm not really sure. Not being closer, I guess. But there wasn't really anything to be done.

Besides, that doesn't happen to a girl EVERYDAY! I'm sure the day will come when no one will slap my ass anymore. I better get em while I'm hot. (Ha!)

ANYWAY...last night was the 21st birthday party of our friend Evonne from college, and her parents threw her a massive bash - a ceilidh (scottish dancing party) with friends from college, work and well...heck if I knew where everyone was from.

And yes, in three years was my first ceilidh.

I was told it wasn't the best ceilidh, because the band wasn't the best and neither was the caller (the guy who teaches the dances to those who don't know them), but it was certainly the most fun party I'd been to in a long time. Dancing, free food, cheap drinks, and great company...fantastic! Thankfully, I was feeling well enough to get dancing. (I'm still sick, but significantly better. Vitamin C is my friend.)

(James takes a swig of the golden drink, as Pete looks on in jolly laughter. [In other news, how did I find myself surrounded by so many flipping ENGLISHMEN last night?!])

The highlight of the evening...

At one point, the band starts a song, and Pete wants me up for a dance. Except NO one else is going to the dance floor. "Yeah but as soon as there's one couple on the dance floor, then everyone else comes. We might as well be the first." So we go out...and NO ONE JOINS US! Thankfully, we are not easily embarrased folk, and we just laughed and danced for a while. If there was anyone left at college who didn't yet know we were together, they do now. James tried to take a photo and failed, or else you would have all had photographic evidence of our shenanigans.

There was also issue with a guy named Steve. I think he offered to marry me, when Pete wasn't around. But I'm not sure.

Bonnie and Jamie had joined us halfway into the party, so we hung out with them quite a bit after that, along with James and Abe and, when she could pry herself away from the Malibu, Elaine. And there was much dancing.

(Jamie and Abe share that Look of Love.)

(Sideshow B- I mean, erm, Abe and Elaine.)

Quote of the Evening: "Ladies, watch out for the guys coming up from the rear!" (As actually said, by the Caller.)

After the ceilidh was over, Bonnie, Jamie, Abe, Peter and I head back to the college for a late-night game of poker. There were no cigars, and we had no whisky, but we had tea. I was out first, but I was fairly thankful, since I was really too tired to play. There was no money involved anyway, and Pete won anyway, so it would have all worked out either way.

(Peter concentrates on dealing, as The Man with the Tortoise/Turtle.)

(Jamie shivers with excitement over his mound of chips. Too bad he lost in the end anyway. Muah ha ha!)

So that was the lovely evening. Bonnie and Jamie drove me back to Edinburgh and I fell fast asleep til too late today, meaning I'm getting precious little done on my essays.

But they'll get done. :)

Michaela @2:13 PM :: Comment

Mom, Dad, Other People......

Meet Pete.

(Because Mom hasn't seen a photo yet, but has talked to him on the phone. Weird? Dad hasn't seen him or talked to him. So this way, I kill a total of like 30 birds with one stone. Which sounds like a big stone, really...)

Today was lovely. And I went to my first official ceilidh today. I danced til my feet hurt and ate finger foods til my stomach hurt, drank cheap wine and spent time with some of my favorite people in the world.

Who could ask for anything more?

Not I.

(More photos of the ceilidh and poker game tomorrow...or, later today, now....)

P.S. I promise I will not become a Boyfriend Blogger. I refuse to be one of "those people".


Michaela @3:35 AM :: Comment

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Not a Post

But a reply to the comments left in my last post. Why? Because I don't really have time to go into all of my crazy life right now. I can give you a summary, though....

1) I'm "seeing" a lovely young Englishman named Peter Foster, mentioned mainly so that you all know who I'm talking about when I talk about him. Just don't call me his girlfriend, he'll get a hernia. Or at least throw his back out. When you are watching Wimbledon on TV, be sure and keep an eye out for him, waving frantically behind the Royal Box, while serving chicken to Maggie Thatcher. Yep, that'll be him.

I'll be taking questions at the press conference called Comments.

2) I'm staying in Scotland another year. Reasons: Job. Wacky homelife in St Louis. Aformentioned young man. God. Prayer.

3) Do you have any idea how boring writing a paper on supervision and management is? I keep wanting to throw myself out the window when I even attempt this thing. For the LOVE.

4) The weather has been lovely in Scotland. Yeah, I know I'm talking about the WEATHER, here, but that means a whole lot around these parts. Sun is a novelty. It makes my life so much better.

5) Mmmmmm. Cooooffeeeee.

Now, in response to your comments:

Jared: I would, but I live in Scotland, so I can't. Thanks though! ;)

Balie. I miss you. We don't get the Splenda Diet Coke here yet. And this commercial isn't the Brody commercial, but rumor has it, it's nice. Email me, ho.

Cam: Yes, I remember it. And loved it.

Kari: I'm working on it. You know me though, I'm so anti-romance and all. ;)

Dave: Thanks for missing me. ;) The rest of it....OK.

Charles: I don't care what you say, it's totally "pee-on". There's peeing involved, and onning.

Re: "holy cow! THE sir cliff richard!? his brilliant duet with olivia newton-john from the xanadu soundtrack in 1980 probably earned him living legend status right THEN!

it woulda been cooler if you actually met him, though..."

That's the one. Apparently, my manfriend has not only met him, but served him dinner (this is news to me, but unsurprising). Does that count? Am I cool by association?

Sonya: YES! Exactly! YOU know what I'm saying!

Jeremy: All good thoughts. Depends on what you mean by "dealbreaker" though. What if they're okay with it? Maybe it's like an Arnie and Maria thing, they just manage to work through their differences?

And dueling crosswork puzzles sounds like a hot date to me.

And don't knock the USA Today for expats, man. For some of us, it's all the America news we can GET in paper form.

Gideon, I have to admit the only actual Christian "sex book" I've read at all - and only in part - is "Every Woman's Battle". It was GREAT, but I'm not sure if I could recommend it to girls under, say, 16 or so. Maybe 18. (Though your girls seem quite mature.)

As far as dating books (which really plays such a role in that whole chastity, modesty, etc talk) , I haven't read a ton of those either. I didn't care for I Kissed Dating Goodbye, though I thought it had some good points. I did, however, like Boy Meets Girl, which managed to illuminate the good points of IKDG. Both are too extreme, I think, though. Not Even a Hint I've also heard good things about, but haven't read. Oh the whole, I think Josh Harris is a solid guy with good theology, I'm just not sure his dating recommendations are always really very practical, and I would say border sometimes on being extrabiblical (read: it seemed the books were trying to make me feel guilty for things that I shouldn't have been feeling guilty about, that just weren't Scriptural...but some would disagree with me on that).

Personally, I think you can't go wrong with Lewis' The Four Loves, particularly the chapter on Eros. I think maybe your girls, especially Summer, would like it, even if it's a bit "heavy". I think I first read it when I was 18 or so.

Otherwise, I've heard Winner's book is really good. I just can't say from experience.

Joy: Word. Now I just need an iPod.

Peter: I'll let the Cliff(+God+Shorts)=Legend comment go the way of my cricket comments. We'll just put those in the Box of Things To Pray About. (Though I'm again impressed that you served him at Wimbledon. Did you touch him? Can I touch you? Have you washed your hands since then? Erm.....never mind.)

That'll be all for now. Keep your chin up, youngins. Only a month left of college for me. Hurrah and all that.

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that lowered upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

(William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of King Richard the Third)


Michaela @7:44 PM :: Comment

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Four or Five Moments

1) Yeah this is the longest I’ve gone in a while without posting. What’s worse is that no one complained this time. Hmm. I’m not sure what to think about that.

That said, this has been the absolute craziest week I’ve had in a very, very long time. Funny how life can change so rapidly. But then, maybe that’s what I like about it. One of many things I like about it, that is. My cousin once quoted from a movie I’ve never seen, in which a character says that life is really just 4 or 5 moments that change everything. (Or something like that. Like I said, I’ve never seen it. Anyone know what I’m talking about? You know what I mean...)

2) An email with the title “Michaela Forbes, can you imagine all your wrinkles gone?” landed in my SPAM box today. Let’s think about this, really. ALL of my wrinkles? EVERY SINGLE ONE?! First of all, I’m only 23, so I don’t have a ton. I happen to like my wrinkles as they are, and hope they multiply in all the right places, namely, the corners of my eyes, like those really joyful old ladies. I prefer not to have the frown lines, like the lady who helps me at the Western Union window at the travel agent. Why did no one tell her: “Seriously, Madge, if you keep making that face, it’s gonna stick. No, I’m serious.”

Thanks, but no thank you, Mr and Mrs Spammer.

3. On the way to work a few days ago, I passed a coffeeshop in which a couple was sitting in two chairs, right next to each other. They were each reading a newspaper. They were also holding hands. I wasn’t quite sure if this was lovely and romantic or if it was just ridiculous. It was like they were ignoring each other….together.

4.) I actually really love the new Coke commercial here, in which a guy goes around with a cooler of Coke, handing out cokes, hugs and high-fives.

I’m kinda embarrassed to admit that I like it.

5) I’m still having problems with British TV. I turned on the afternoon news yesterday to find a news segment on Sir Cliff Richard. They were interviewing two old ladies in a car park. The interview went something like this:

Interviewer: “Now, why are you here? Is it really for the music, or are you just wanting to see Cliff in tennis shorts?”

OL #1: “Well, I really like Cliff…I mean, everyone seems to say he’s just a really great guy, I think he’s a really great guy and I just love his music. But (*chuckle*) I like the shorts too!”

Interviewer (turning to the other lady): “And you?”

OL #2: “The shorts. I’m just here to see Cliff in the shorts.”

I’m not kidding, this is how the segment went. What’s worse is that I flipped the stations, came back a few minutes, and the segment about Cliff in shorts was still going. The final straw was when they showed a clip of Cliff giving an interview about the whole thing, something about him wearing shorts or playing tennis for charity or something. I don’t know. Anyway, at the bottom of the screen, which generally tells us who the person is (Example: “Pablo Picasso : Painter”) it says: “Sir Cliff Richard : Living Legend”.

Oh for crying out loud.

6) (Bonus): Humorous conversation excerpt of the week:

Peter: “Guess who I got an email from.”
Me: “Who.”
Peter: “Claudia Schiffer.”
Me: “Really? How’s that goin for ya?”
Peter: “Yeah, well, I had to email her back and tell her she was just a few weeks late, that I’m sort of seeing someone now.”
Me: “Wow, shame. I thought she was married?”
Peter: “Pssht! Does it matter?!”
Me: “Good point.”
Peter: “Yeah. Actually I did get one from her….for the Make Poverty History Campaign.”
Me: “Oh I SEE. So you and 4 million of her other closest friends….”
Peter: “Exactly.”
Me: “Now that you mention it, Brad Pitt emailed me for the same reason. What are the odds?”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, you non-celebrity-email-getting-pee-ons.


Michaela @1:38 AM :: Comment

"In the city you will find that the poor and the broken are often much, much more open to the idea of Gospel grace and much more dedicated to its practical outworkings than you are." (Tim Keller)

"Always On Your Side" by Sheryl Crow