Sunday, December 31, 2006
Too many choices! Happy New Year everybody!
Saturday, December 30, 2006
So welcome, another new year. We all await to see what you will bring this time.
Friday, December 29, 2006
The Problem of Pain
For suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character, hope.
St. Paul: The Letter to the Romans
In the beginning, we are told, humans were created in God’s image. They were to be the stewards of the land, and over other animals, and in that state of perfection “they felt no shame.”1 Unlike the rest of creation, man was given free will. Even though God walked with them in the Garden of Eden, our ancestors had a choice to commune with him or not. For them the choice was very simple; to love God above themselves, or themselves above God. To them the will of God was a presence that seemed to carry them along, and a delight to do so, but as the woman in Perelandra discovered, “I thought that the good things he sent me drew me into them as the waves lift the islands, but now I see that it is I who plunge into them with my own legs and arms.” This free will, which allows us to distinguish ourselves from God, though he is everywhere and in all, was the gift that God gave humanity. When mankind fell, it became the cause of pain.
Lewis sums up the Doctrine of the Fall of Man thus; “He made all things good, and for the sake of their goodness; that one of these good things…the freewill of rational creatures, by its very nature included the possibility of evil, and that creatures, availing themselves of this possibility, have become evil.” The first sin was naturally the most simplistic; that for the first time humans chose themselves over God. Humans were convinced of the lie that we all believe so readily, that God is withholding some happiness, and by our own power we intend to get it. That striving for what we think we want is the root of all the suffering, pain and misery we experience. We can see that all around us. Every time we choose to do something, and to hell with the consequences, we have twisted something that may have been meant for our good. Sometimes God will say no, and we’ll go ahead with our own plans, only to find out that the path we wrested from him by our own will was the path he intended for us all along. The action isn’t as important as the will behind it. In everything we do we must add the preface,“Your will be done, and if it isn’t what you want, take it from me.”
While suffering is a natural byproduct of the fall, it also serves as our redemption from it. Pain is the means by which God alerts us to our present state of wretchedness. “It is true that everything teaches man his condition…what are we to conclude from all our darkness but our unworthiness.” Pain serves three functions; to help us surrender our self will: to shatter the illusion that we have all we need; and in an extreme case, to force us to act (for our own good) in opposition to our inclinations. Pain is not good in itself, but like all in our fallen world, it is used by God for our salvation and development of character. The danger of free will is that humans can still choose how to react to the pain they encounter. Either we can use the opportunity to submit to God and refine virtues such as patience or charity, or we can rebel against Him. We can say with Job, “though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” or with his wife “curse God and die”.
One paradox that Lewis introduces, but doesn’t solve is the good aspects of suffering and the Christian (and Judaic) admonition to alleviate suffering wherever it is to be found. Throughout history God has been concerned with the sufferings of those who cannot defend themselves. Judaic law protected the widows, orphans and foreigners. The prophets often mentioned abuses of those laws as one of the key reasons that Israel was allowed to be overrun by the reigning nation du jour. In Christ’s wake “blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and good news is preached to the poor.” Lewis does not address this issue in The Problem of Pain except to say that the paradox exists. It is certain that suffering in others allows us to practice the virtue of Charity. Our own suffering, if we will let it, can not only benefit ourselves, but allow those around us to come to our aid and offer support, encouragement, and expressions of Faith. Speculative charity will “soon become the corroding rust that will destroy the best feelings of our nature.”
The chapter on animal pain is the section that Lewis addresses the least. Since animals are incapable of sin and virtue, they neither deserve pain nor are benefited from it. We tend bestow on animals our own human emotions. They do feel pain and react to it, but not on the same level. Biblically speaking, animals were said to be herbivores until the fall, but scientific evidence shows that animals were carnivorous long before humans were in the picture. Animal immortality is not mentioned in the Bible, but that hardly serves as evidence since human immortality was a concept introduced only at the very end of the Old Testament. It is only with the coming of Christ that the Kingdom of Heaven becomes a real place. Perhaps one of the purposes of unfallen humanity was the redemption of animals. In Perelandra the Green Woman is surrounded by animals that are almost rational. The woman says, “we make them older every day…is that not what it means to be a beast?” This process of making animals more rational is theoretically what would give them immortality. “In her they became themselves. And now the abundance of life she has in Christ…flows over into them.” Perhaps animals will be saved, but it will not be on account of the suffering they endure on earth. That is the sole prerogative of humanity. It is hard to picture heaven without other creatures. But as Aslan says we are never told any story but our own.
What struck me most, was in the section on Heaven; the idea of that something “other” that we catch glimpses of in books, movies, music and nature. Sometimes while reading I’ll come across a passage that reminds me of something I’ve never seen. “I don’t know what it is. But sometimes I see something. And maybe it’s beyond.” I find the beyond at the end of Lord of the Rings, when Frodo leaves for the grey havens; in The Blue Castle when Valancy lives on the island; when Wendy and Peter fly off to Neverland as the music swells; throughout Marc Adamo’s Little Women; and at the end of John where it supposes that all the things Jesus did were written down there wouldn’t be room in the whole world for all the books that could be written. Numinor. The numinous. That sense of awe we feel when for just a moment the curtain drifts aside and we catch a glimpse of something beyond ourselves and our small lives. It is that longing that makes me yearn for heaven. That longing makes all of the suffering more bearable. It is that sense of beyond that makes all of the wonderful small blessings we come across so special: because in them we see reflections of that which is waiting for us, if we can only “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” and one day, to cross over. “One day you will either find that you have attained it, or that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.”
Monday, December 25, 2006
Check out this new microfinance organization -- you can loan a small business the money they need. View pictures of the entrepreneurs, and read a summary of their business needs. They also provide an anticipated repayment date. This is a loan, not a donation!
Check out the founder's blog for more information.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Ahhh the joys of adulthood.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I've begun my first class. I've just finished reading The Problem of Pain and am halfway through my first paper. I bought a book by Pascal called Pensees which I used for a few quotations in the paper. It's not really a book, so much as a collection of notes for the book that wasn't written.
And tea break.
And that's about it. Christmas is coming. My shopping is done. And most of the cards have been sent. I think. Actually I got halfway through the list, put it in a drawer, and forgot about it. Maybe I should check that out before my head goes back into fuzzy mode. oh. oh. Too late.
I'm not a big fan of medicine. I mean for the small stuff. Usually my preferred plan is suck it up and wait it out, because, after all, if we dope ourselves up for every minor illness, eventually it will take bigger and bigger guns to cure the bad stuff. And what happens when you run out of guns? Well, anyway, Fuzz. And besides, the study somewhere says that rats in the wild are actually far better able to combat illness than lab rats because their immune systems were allowed to come in contact with diseases and build up antibodies. (Is that the right word? Antibodies?) So, go immune system, go! And if it gets really bad, I'll spring for an Ibuprofen.
Little Red Boat is back from vacation, and pithy as usual. Hurrah!
And now I'm off in a quandary about what to do after the holidays. I'm exploring options again, and there's always the deal in California, which may be smart, but I won't have the chance to see it for myself before I have to be down there to work, and I'm running out of tolerance for "just a job." I'd sort of like to start focusing on whatever it is I want to do. Hm. Plan one, decide what it is I want to do.
Not so easy. I've been doing that for six months now (at least) and can't come to any conclusions. My only plan now is to keep exploring options for the time being and see what comes to the forefront. Reality is sinking in and telling me that I have a limited amount of time at my disposal (and likely shorter than I'm allotting). How much longer can I continue this inability to PICK SOMETHING.
The deal is, and maybe this is more a dear diary moment than a blog moment, but I made a mistake in high school. God called me to *something unspecific* and I chickened out and ran. I decided that I was going to be a performance person, and maybe tell somebody about him sometime. If I felt like it. And it was miserable. Not the performing part, but the everything else part. And I'm glad of that, because if it hadn't been, I wouldn't have told God to have his way because my way sucked. Then I took some time off, healed a bit, toured in a ministry capacity - that was nice - and then failed at a ministry after that. Badly.
So what do I do now? I love working in ways that allow my life to be a benefit to others. And I enjoyed the dinner theater because it combined the two - theater and ministry - but I've turned down two tours now since then. I have an aversion to "Christian" drama because it's often cheesy, and being in the forefront of "popular christiandom" has never been my thing. But then, do I want to go back into performing, which may have been a vanity thing. I can't tell. Was it the right profession but wrong then because I was determined to do it whether God wanted me to or not? Is it right now, or should I completely give it up and find something more worthy of what little time we have -- because after all, performing really is a very selfish job. So much of it is self-promotion, and while some people may be able to perform without turning into a raging diva, but many can't. If you become really famous that's another thing, because then you could "use your powers for good" though many don't. I have all this talent that I feel like I'm squandering. And then there's academia. I'm good at school. I like studying and learning. But what do I pick? I love theology, and english literature, and there's even a third-world economics and politics course that looks interesting. But that's several years of my life to dedicate to going back to school. I still haven't paid off the last degree that I only use occasionally. And then there's options like YWAM vs seminary vs public university programs. Or working for charities I already support.
Oh what a downer. But that's where I am, and could use some prayers because I need to pick something, and nothing's coming. Nothing's obvious. And I don't want to choose-- I, as usual, want to do it all.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Van: Julia, would you be comfortable in helping Frasier learn how he could
have related to you in a more office-appropriate manner? [Julia is staring
down, paying no attention.] Uh, Julia?
Noel: [rising] She's playing solitaire on her palm pilot, Van.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR THE DISTURBED *
1. Schizophrenia --- Do You Hear What I Hear? *
2. Multiple Personality Disorder --- We Three Kings Disoriented Are*
3. Dementia --- I Think I'll be Home for Christmas*
4. Narcissistic --- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me*
5. Manic - Deck the Halls and Walls and House and Lawn and Streets and Stores and Office and Town and Cars and Buses and Trucks and Trees and.....
* 6. Paranoid --- Santa Claus is Coming to Town to Get Me *
7. Borderline Personality Disorder --- Thoughts of Roasting on an Open Fire*
8. Personality Disorder --- You Better Watch Out, I'm Gonna Cry, I'm Gonna Pout, Maybe I'll Tell You Why *
9. Attention Deficit Disorder --- Silent night, Holy oooh look at the Froggy - can I have a chocolate, why is France so far away? *
10. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder --- Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle,Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells , Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jing
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
This was me today, trying to make a left turn out of the Big R parking lot.
"Oh look at that. No one's coming either way. Cars in front of me though. Maybe someone will let me in. Nope. Not letting me in. Now there's cars coming. Oh.........Ok. No cars coming. Maybe I can get in now. Oh, they're slowing down in the turn lane. May..be..I..can.....nope. Cars coming. Maybe this nice person will let me in. Or that one. Hm...."
Five minutes later....
"Nice Lady? Nice Lady? Nice Lady in green car going to let me in? Oh. Not nice lady. Mean lady. Lady in blue car? Nice lady in pretty blue car? Not nice lady. Nice man in suburban? Oh! Oh! Ohhhhhh. I'm WEARING Makeup!!!!"
Eventually I gave up the ghost, made a right turn, then turned around down the street in a parking lot. Was there anyone at that light THEN? No there was not. Go. Figure.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The Top Ten Principles of Good Consumption
©2004 Worldwatch Institute, www.worldwatch.org
Consumption is one of life's great pleasures.Buying things we crave, traveling to beautiful places, eating delectable food: it's all icing on the cake of life. But too often the effects of our blissful consumption make for a sad story. Giant cars exhaling dangerous exhaust, hog farms pumping out noxious pollutants, toxic trash heaps nudging into poor neighborhoods-none of this if there weren't something to sell.
But there's no need to swap pleasure for guilt. With thoughtfulness and commitment, consumption can be a force for good. Too long have we consumers been a blushing bride overwhelmed by business suitors. It's time for the bride to assert herself. We've got the dowry; we have the purchasing power. We can require our suitors to comply with our vision of environmental stewardship-or we can close the door behind them on their way out. Through buying what we need, produced the way we want, we can create the world we'd like to live in.
To that end and for the future, here is a Consumption Manifesto:
PRINCIPLE #1Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. This brilliant triad says it all. Reduce: Avoid buying what you don't need-and when you do get that dishwasher/lawnmower/toilet, spend the money up front for an efficient model. Re-use: Buy used stuff, and wring the last drop of usefulness out of most everything you own. Recycle: Do it, but know that it's the last and least effective leg of the triad. (Ultimately, recycling simply results in the manufacture of more things.)
PRINCIPLE #2 Stay close to home. Work close to home to shorten your commute; eat food grown nearby; patronize local businesses; join local organizations. All of these will improve the look, shape, smell, and feel of your community.
PRINCIPLE #3Internal combustion engines are polluting, and their use should be minimized. Period.
PRINCIPLE #4Watch what you eat. Whenever possible, avoid food grown with pesticides, in feedlots, or by agribusiness. It's an easy way to use your dollars to vote against the spread of toxins in our bodies, land, and water.
PRINCIPLE #5 Private industries have very little incentive to improve their environmental practices. Our consumption choices must encourage and support good behavior; our political choices must support government regulation.
PRINCIPLE #6Support thoughtful innovations in manufacturing and production. Hint: Drilling for oil is no longer an innovation.
PRINCIPLE #7 Prioritize. Think hardest when buying large objects; don't drive yourself mad fretting over the small ones. It's easy to be distracted by the paper bag puzzle, but an energy- sucking refrigerator is much more worthy of your attention. (Small electronics are an exception.)
PRINCIPLE #8Vote. Political engagement enables the spread of environmentally conscious policies. Without public action, thoughtful individuals are swimming upstream.
PRINCIPLE #9 Don't feel guilty. It only makes you sad.
PRINCIPLE #10 Enjoy what you have-the things that are yours alone, and the things that belong to none of us. Both are nice, but the latter are precious. Those things that we cannot manufacture and should never own-water, air, birds, trees-are the foundation of life's pleasures. Without them, we're nothing. With us, there may be nothing left. It's our choice.
— Contributed by Umbra Fisk, Grist Magazine
© 2004 Worldwatch Institute www.worldwatch.org
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
I was at Inklings, checking on my Volume III which was supposed to be out three weeks ago. (Mine is backordered and out of stock and I ordered it in July. Bugger.) The owner spent some time checking on things, and found me in the Inklings section perusing the complete letters of Tolkien. She held out a little plastic baggie with a hand addressed tiny envelope inside. "It's a letter from C.S. Lewis to a lady in town," she said. "It was donated to us."
Monday, December 04, 2006
I finished The Complete Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II yesterday. And read several of Jane Austen's unpublished fragments today, along with a quick perusal of Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl. All of this over several giant bowls of hot chocolate with my feet on my fake fireplace. Ahhhh.
I'm off now to a Christmas party for my Monday night Bible Study.
Saturday I was in Portland all afternoon filming Minute Zero. Film is an entirely different creative process than theater. How odd to stop mid-stream, and then pick up minutes later trying to remember what your face felt like, and where your hands were at the last "cut." The director kept commenting on my intensity, which threw the other actor off, because I'd get my game face on as soon as the film rolled. It caused him to break character several times. Our three pages of dialog were shot in five sections, three takes each, with five different camera angles. The only quick part was my closeup shots; I could do the whole script in one take.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Pride and Prejudice
``Marry well'' is Bennet tenet: Bingley singly must remain
Since classy Darcy (Lizzy-dizzy) thinks he's far too good for Jane.
Rummy mummy, jaunty aunty, these would drag both gallants down
--Plus the younger siblings' dribblings over officers in town.
See the specious Wickham trick 'em with his tales of birthright gloom,
See how hideous Lydia's ruin looms before she gets her groom;
Glassy Darcy saves the bacon, shaken out of former pride:
Is he Lizzy's destined love, to shove her prejudice aside?
Has she clout to flout that matron, patroness of priestly coz
(He whose ludicrous proposing Rosings rules -- like all he does)?
Darcy oughter court her daughter, destined his through two decades...
``Mulish, foolish girl, remember Pemberley's polluted shades!''
Dare she share his great estate, or can't Aunt Catherine be defied?
Yes! and ere the bells ring jingly, Bingley too shall claim his bride.
by Mary Holtby
from: How to Become Ridiculously Well-Read in One Evening, compiled by E. O. Parrott (Viking, Penguin Books, 1985)
[Note that this works best when read with a British accent; also "ludicrous proposing" is the object of the verb "rules".]
Miss Bates's answering machine:<BR>
"It's so obliging of you to call, but then we have so many obliging friends that we are truly grateful, not that we wouldn't be grateful just for our health, but all these friends are so kind, and I know that you will forgive us for not being here when you called, except that my mother might be in but she can't answer the phone because she's deaf you know, not that she has anything else to disturb her, in fact she's remarkably healthy for her age, and she would answer but she probably hasn't heard the bell, so I'm sure you won't mind, and where was I? Oh yes, if you'd be so good as to leave your message just after the beep, that's the fourth long beep, not the first one, there are three short beeps and then a long one, that's the one to speak after, otherwise the machine won't record your message and we'd be ever so sad if we didn't receive it because I'm sure that it's very interesting, and I will call you just as soon as I get in ..."
The following is an interesting scene from an unpublished fragment dated 1803. Does it remind anyone else of a future similar scene with roles reversed?
At the conclusion of the two dances, Emma found herself, she knew not how, seated amongst the Osborne set; and she was immediately struck with the fine countenance and animated gestures of the little boy, as he was standing before his mother, wondering when they should begin.
"You will not be surprised at Charles' impatience," said Mrs. Blake, a lively, pleasant-looking little woman of five or six and thirty, to a lady who was standing near her, "when you know what a partner he is to have. Miss Osborne has been so very kind as to promise to dance the two first dances with him."
"Oh, yes! we have been engaged this week," cried the boy, "and we are to dance down every couple."
On the other side of Emma, Miss Osborne, Miss Carr, and a party of young men were standing engaged in very lively consultation; and soon afterwards she saw the smartest officer of the set walking off to the orchestra to order the dance, while Miss Osborne, passing before her to her little expecting partner, hastily said: "Charles, I beg your pardon for not keeping my engagement, but I am going to dance these two dances with Colonel Beresford. I know you will excuse me, and I will certainly dance with you after tea"; and without staying for an answer, she turned again to Miss Carr, and in another minute was led by Colonel Beresford to begin the set. If the poor little boy's face had in its happiness been interesting to Emma, it was infinitely more so under this sudden reverse; he stood the picture of disappointment, with crimsoned cheeks, quivering lips, and eyes bent on the floor. His mother, stifling her own mortification, tried to soothe his with the prospect of Miss Osborne's second promise; but though he contrived to utter, with an effort of boyish bravery, "Oh, I do not mind it!" it was very evident, by the unceasing agitation of his features, that he minded it as much as ever.
Emma did not think or reflect; she felt and acted. "I shall be very happy to dance with you, sir, if you like it," said she, holding out her hand with the most unaffected good-humour. The boy, in one moment restored to all his first delight, looked joyfully at his mother; and stepping forwards with an honest and simple "Thank you, ma'am," was instantly ready to attend his new acquaintance. The thankfulness of Mrs. Blake was more diffuse; with a look most expressive of unexpected pleasure and lively gratitude, she turned to her neighbour with repeated and fervent acknowledgments of so great and condescending a kindness to her boy. Emma, with perfect truth, could assure her that she could not be giving greater pleasure than she felt herself; and Charles being provided with his gloves and charged to keep them on, they joined the set which was now rapidly forming, with nearly equal complacency. It was a partnership which could not be noticed without surprise. It gained her a broad stare from Miss Osborne and Miss Carr as they passed her in the dance. "Upon my word, Charles, you are in luck," said the former, as she turned him; "you have got a better partner than me"; to which the happy Charles answered "Yes."
Friday, December 01, 2006
I believe that Christianity can still be believed, even if Evolution is true. ~C.S.Lewis
I see no need to disbelieve evolution on the principle that it diminishes God's place in creation. The accounts of creation in Gensis leave a room for speculation: The Genesis creation is entirely Earth-centered. The Bible is not God's plan for the universe, or God's complete and total account of all of his workings everywhere; it is a very specific story of his workings on this planet, specializing in one particular group of people that live here; how he worked through them and for them; and what became of those that he directly affected while walking around for a few years on our little swirling rock. Even that account leaves gaps. Other than a few speculatory passages, there is no account of what he did with the rest of the population in the same little history. Nor what he intends to do with those that won't get a chance to hear this little history now. Since the Bible is only intended for a very specific purpose, it is the hight of ego to assume that nothing at all happened until the moment before we appear into the universe.
The following little story is the image of creation in my own head, influenced liberally by Tolkien's Silmarillion and Lewis' The Magician's Nephew. It isn't intended to be doctrinal, but a fantasy that allows for both creation and evolution. (That having been said, it doesn't matter one bit whether one believes in one or the other, so long as everyone agrees on the core beliefs. But western Christiandom specializes in majoring in the minors, and it would be good to remind ourselves from time to time that passionate fighting on the minors both detracts from our witness, and takes time and resources away from helping those we're meant to help)
God spoke, and all the matter that would become the Universe burst outward into the void. And God and the Angels watched as the matter began to form together. Some globs swirled together and burst into flame. These lighted balls began to dance through the heavens. Some bits of matter were pulled into their dance, and began revolving around the points of light. And the great Celestial dance was made, each ball of matter, large and small, taking their place. And the stars sang together while all the angels shouted for joy. A few balls of matter erupted, spewing clouds that wrapped around the bare rock, concealing the face. Plates of rock ground together. Mountains pushed up from under the surface. Lightning struck the rock and pools of mud began teeming with microscopic life. And God looked down, and caused streams of water to come up through the rock and flood the entire surface. He pooled the waters together in places. He breathed and small points pushed through the newly exposed earth, small at first, then growing larger, and spreading green branches toward the sky. In the new moisture small tufts of heath covered the bare earth. Bright points of color appeared, dotting the ground. In the waters, the microscopic life took on new shape. Large creatures, and the small ones, and ones that could not be seen. God beckoned and some swam toward the shore and changed shape. Their scales hardened. Their fins became feet and claws instead. They grew in size. Some grew strength in necks and tails and began rampaging through the foliage. Others grew stumpy and muscular. Some developed spines, and sails, and ridges. And they lumbered around the new fresh planet. God beckoned again, and more creatures emerged from the seas. These ones lost their scales and hair sprouted. Fins and flippers morphed into all kind of claw and hoof and pad. Flippers sprouted feathers and became wings. Some ran, some galloped, and a few walked upright. And God took interest in one such creature, and changed him the most of all. He drew him into a shaded glade between four rivers. He caused the animal to shed its fur, and changed its shape. Into its mind He poured parts of himself; his desires, creativity, and love of beauty. He breathed a soul into the man, and woke him.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Ah, the carpetbaggers. The locusts who descended upon the destitute South to make a profit while there was still money to be squeezed. It's nice to know that still exists.
Go figure that those with more money than they can manage, at an interest rate sky high in point 3 font, would find a way to benifit even from Habitat for Humanity.
Monday, November 27, 2006
1 Cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup vanilla almond granola
Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla in food processor. Add egg. Add cinnamon, baking soda, salt. Add flour 1/2 cup at a time. Add granola. (The recipe originally called for chopped nuts, but adding the granola tastes great and is a wonderful way to get rid of the small bits of granola after you've eaten all of the good chunks) Chill for up to 24 hours. Roll out on lightly floured cutting board. Heat oven to 375. Cook until golden brown on lightly greased cookie sheet.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
I'm watching the Monk Marathon today as inspiration to clean during the commercials. So far I have a clean living room and kitchen, clean dishes in the dishwasher, and fresh baked brown sugar granola cookies for Flogamockers this evening.
Next week, if we don't flag over Psalm 119 (all 127 verses or whatever), we'll be DONE WITH THE OLD TESTAMENT. It's taken us a little over a year but we read the WHOLE OLD TESTAMENT. OUT LOUD. With voices, hand gestures (wave offering), and much sloughin over the names (Sherubabababal), and group sayings (THUH priest!), the occasional themed party, and whatever else it took to keep us engaged. I'm hoping Jesus doesn't plan on coming back in the next week, because I would lack closure.
The tree is up (only one, though) and the garland at the folks' house. It was a slow year for additional Kunzepalooza-ers. Only Bean came over. Denise is in the doghouse.
And I'm off tomorrow after other Bible study to finish filming the music video. Pray much and wish me luck. There was over a foot of snow on the pass last night.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
We were recounting stories after dinner, and here's one of mine from my days off in Seattle
I've never been in a locker room. As an adult. As a kid I remember walking around the athletic club or the YMCA and seeing saggy middle aged women walking around naked. At Baylor, I'm sure there was a locker room, but my dorm was nearby, so I dressed there and went over the to equipment room. I'm not a modest person after years in the theater, but the last time I was really naked in 'public' was when Crissie and I went skinny dipping in my grandparent's pool on our senior trip.
The Logsdons gave me a weeks free pass to their Athletic Club. I did two yoga classes and worked out on the elliptical machines one morning. And there, in the locker rooms, were more naked women. Walking around. Talking to each other. Drying their hair. Toweling off. And after spending time trying NOT to look, I noticed something. These are all women much older than me, all of which have clearly had children at some point.
So one night Becky and Miles took me along to a swim class. Aha. A bathing suit moment. So I slunk over to my locker and changed quickly into the bathing suit Becky lent me. I did it. I was naked in front of people.
So, I got into the pool. I did five laps, and decided that I had enough water up my nose to last a while, and got back out. I decided, since I had time to kill, and Miles and Becky would be swimming for a while, it was my time to be brave. I went back to my locker, disposed of my suit, wrapped my towel around, and headed for the group showers. And I saw myself in the mirror. And I saw the other ladies. And I realized something. I have the best body in this room. So I hung up the towel, and walked into the group shower. I was alone. All that bravery for nothing. But after I'd shampooed, I turned around and the room was full of women. Showering. Talking about their kids, their instructors, and the errands they needed to run.
Flush with success, I decided to go try the steam room. I've watched Sex and the City enough to be intrigued. This was a cedar hot room with a little rock bucket to make steam. I took in my Interview with a Vampire to kill time. I spread out my towel, and streched out on the cedar planks. Nice. Then a lady walked in. AND STARTED TALKING TO ME. I was naked. She was naked. It seemed like an odd time for a chat. But we did. About the temperature of the room, and how much she wanted one of these things at home. And other inconsequential matters. And after a few more minutes, I was warm enough. I braved the showers a second time, and got dressed.
But for a few minutes I was reveling in it.
Monday, November 20, 2006
I pulled in from Portland last night at about 6:30. I was down there to shoot a movie called Minute Zero. Which actually didn't get shot. My co-actor had to go to the hospital and get stitches, so the shoot got moved to next weekend. Perhaps now would be a good time to let the director know that I'm coming in from out of town...I'm still very interested in the project, and happy to have another week with the character before filming. I was inspired by Emma Thompson's performance in Stranger than Fiction. Time to come up with some creative gestures and character quirks.
Tonight after Bible Study I'm driving to Seattle to shoot a student music video on Capitol Hill. The shoot runs from 12-6am at a bar...I'll be an extra. Then I'm crashing at Miles and Becky's before trying to drive home. So far I'm not getting paid, but I'm glad to have the experience.
I'm off now to the store to buy frosting and liverwurst for a bridal shower I'm organizing tonight. And I've got to clean my house and do some laundry before I leave town again, and again this weekend!
Oh, and I talked to Steve two days in a row. Last night he sent me his latest paper, which got him invited to speak at a national conference in February...I critiqued it for him, in typical tongue in cheek fashion. The night before he'd called because I text messaged him about my shoot. Tasha walked in from seeing a show an hour later, right in the middle of a conversation about the importance of context to the meaning of any text, and how the classical Greek philosophers mistrusted the written word (as opposed to oral tradition) because it opened the text up to misinterpretation. I got off the phone soon thereafter, because it was very late....and Tasha was laughing at us. Ah well. It's really nice to be able to talk my head off with someone about Literature and not have him glaze over!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
I woke up this morning at 4am, and left for an audition in Vancouver, BC at 10:15. Which was great, except that I had no time to go to Tim Horton's on my way out. Because I had another audition in Seattle at 2. I did manage to stop for Austin at the Beer2go place and grab some honey brown beer.
Movie auditions are a whole different animal. My total audition time for both was under 15 minutes. And I'd imagine I drove 7 hours today. And bought two tanks of gas, one double latte, 9 chicken strips, and one vanilla milkshake. I'll know in the next three days if I've got any of the parts I auditioned for -- and all three possible films will be finished shooting before the 1st of December which was my hope - so it doesn't conflict with my supposed move.
One of the auditions is for a music video, set to Modest Mouse, and taking place in a bar. Funny, they mentioned as extras they need waitress/bartender types. I told them I've done both. Most actors are waitresses by default, but rarely is a person an actor BECAUSE they've waitressed.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Wow. You'd think that being unemployed I'd be, I don't know, resting or something. Instead, life has unfolded unexpectedly for the past few weeks, and "the whole house is in uproar!" My sister is attached to my hip until her grades come up, so less out-of-doors-ing for me. (You would think, as a consequence, that my house would be clean, but no. Both it and my car are steadily getting worse)
Today (I'll preface all this by saying that he apologized) I had another go around with the band leader at church. I like him, but find him difficult to work with because he changes his mind constantly. I hate having my time (oh Lewis would jump all over the notion of "my time")wasted in every way (start late, run an inefficient rehearsal, then run over as a result -- I find that incredibly frustrating). I often find it difficult NOT to have a poor attitude. For example, today I was told to "take ownership of my keyboard" when the sound wasn't working. I'd pushed, pulled and jiggled every chord. The tech guy did the same thing I'd done, then ran back to check the equiptment. As soon as he emerged in the balcony I started playing so he could check the system, and the same director reached over and TURNED MY SOUND OFF because I was INTERRUPTING HIS CONVERSATION. I told him afterwards, "You know, I wasn't playing for my own amusement." He wanted to talk to me after church. I was afraid I was walking into a chewing out, but he apologized. And I had a chance to explain my frustrations. I'm hoping things will be better in the future.
Flogamockers was tonight. We're meandering around Daniel, Ezra, and Psalms. Soon we'll be in Nehemiah and Esther.
I have an audition in Vancouver, BC on Tuesday for a student film (assuming once I see the script that I want to be a part of it) and another audition for an extra in a music video later the same day. I have one part that's been offered me in a short film shooting in Portland this weekend (they had an actress quit last minute due to family problems and need a replacement). I'm still waiting to hear back from the director about whether he thinks my character must swear (It's completely understandable in the scene -- daughter confronts dying father who abused her, but I think it could be acted just as strongly without most of it). If they'll cut all but one, I think I'll do it. Fun, huh?
Drea is in town for the weekend. She leaves tomorrow. I wish she could have stayed longer. She helped move furniture around. Mom and Allie switched rooms today (bedroom and sewing) and Drea took over the move. I've been "in charge" so much the past couple of weeks, I was ready for someone else to take over. *sigh of relief*
I'll keep you updated.
Friday, November 10, 2006
I'm working on a project in my unemployment (which I love, by the way. I can't wait until I'm debt free and, if this job works out, able to make all the money I'll need for the year in 4 months, and then do whatever for the rest of the year!!!). The scrapbook is coming along well, and I'm making at least one trip a day to Craft Warehouse!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I turned down an audition today. I submitted myself for a short independent film that in the synopsis, sounded interesting, but upon reading the script last night, is about a woman who, while adopted herself, has an abortion so that she can go to art school.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
I was in a movie today. It was very exciting. Actually, moviemaking is a very dull process, and benefits a lot from editing.
The call was at 8:00. I was there a few minutes early. They put all the extras in a greenroom, and the costumer came through to check on our outfits and make sure we were all within the color scheme. The AP brought us snacks and showed us the bathrooms. Then we waited.
The lights were shorting out the circuits at the winery, and the generator was not working because of the heavy rainfall. So we waited.
...At 12:45 they pulled in half the extras for wine tasters in the background of the scene in which the lead actor meets the woman he will have an affair with...
At 1:30, after three takes, they yelled, "Cut! Lunch break." Half hour lunch break featuring catered jumabalaya and coleslaw.
At 2:30 the cameras began rolling, same scene. Same TWO LINES. I counted 45 takes. Four hours. Two lines.
Break to move the camera to the next shot.
4:00 they bring in the last of the extras (that's me) to stand around holding wine glasses in the background of the scene where the lead actor gives a glass of wine to his wife, who comments on the blonde lady who just flirted with him.
Ten takes, and they send us home.
On the plus side of all that waiting around, I got to have a really cute guy who worked at the winery for my partner in my scene. We were brilliant by the way. We stood talking naturally, and then he'd indicated over my shoulder, and I turned around and smiled and handed one of the wine glasses to the girl walking in from off screen. Stellar acting. You'll be able to see it if you look closely in the background. But watch for the blooper in the movie. Because they shot the next two lines of him handing his wife the glass, while in the background we did our little routine. Then they decided to do an establishing shot of him walking from the last take, into the new scene, and with no instructions, we did the same schtick over again. So, if they use all the takes we did, you'll watch him walk across the room while a woman walks onscreen and is handed a wineglass, then in the next closeup, it will happen again.
I get the credit for this in the Nitpickers Guide.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Day two of two days off, I spent all day yesterday sleeping - except for a break to go to Bible Study number one. Today I'm going to be scrapbooking at the parents' house while watching Allie do her homework. Fun stuff.
Last night at Bible study (a study on intimacy) we discussed the old phrase that fathers used for centuries; "Young man, are your intentions honorable." But in a day when young women leave home at 18, and don't get married until almost thirty, who is going to ask that question? Well, maybe we should. I mean, most of us begin relationships in the dark about "where things are going" and why the guy is interested because we're afraid we'll drive a guy off if we ask. No guy wants a girl who is always asking "what are we doing exactly." Right? But how much time do we waste on relationships that are going nowhere because we don't ask the question right up front - "what are your intentions?" I know I would have saved my self several months of emotional f---wittage and a case of mono if I'd just been point blank at the beginning, and not accepted non-answers.
So, my new policy, embroider "Are your intentions honorable" and frame it on my front door. That should finally clinch me as a confirmed old spinster, and drive away any waffling insincere guys...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
Heifer International has a gift registry at their site. Instead of countless appliances and bits of silver that you'll never use (at least, most people won't -- I have a silver tea strainer that is a regular part of my recreational activities) you can have livestock shipped to a foreign country. You can even have your own donation page with a picture of the happy couple and a message to friends and family...
I think that's a great idea!
But I looked at the featured websites expecting a whole collection of Sunday Paper style happy couple photos. Instead, there were a lot of couples in wool socks, birkinstocks, and had knit hats in very beachy or woodsy settings. It would seem that the type of people who would give up gifts wrapped in silver and gold paper in favor of their favorite charity, also don't believe in waxing and pedicures.
Do you think it's a prerequisite?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Last night at midnight a BMW ran through the front gate and into the corner of the house I'm staying at.
Miles and Becky were in bed, and I was heading there, when this huge crash and shudder went through the house. At first I though it was another Puyallup-based Mt. Rainier earthquakes we've been having around here. But, no, it didn't feel right. I've been through a California one. The driver was not intoxicated, but claimed the break pedal had broken. It was quite a night. The driver tried to back the car out and leave, but several of the neighbors helped Miles and Becky yell loud enough to make him stay put. Four police cars and a fire truck were there within minutes. Then a tow truck had to be called to extract the car from the side of the house.
All damage is cosmetic to the house itself, the porch is a goner as is the front gate. And the police had to put up yellow "Police Line Do Not Cross" tape for liability purposes, so it looks like there's been a homicide.
The only upside (strictly for me) was getting winked at by a cute fireman - in my pajamas with no makeup on. LALALALA!
Monday, October 16, 2006
It's hunting season. And Monday night football. The combination of the two means that the chances of my being able to go to my Monday night 6:30 bible study are pretty stinking slim. Which almost made me cry at work tonight. Because it's at Nancy's. And I really like all the girls in the study, and the study we are doing, and this will be three sessions in a row that I've missed. I tried to broach the subject with the management today, but was told that the schedule is not up for discussion at this point, and plan on working long hours because we're understaffed through hunting season. Good for the money and debt payoff. Bad for moi...unless 9 other people want to rearrange the study so that one person can go. How is it that employers can keep changing schedules without so much as a consultation. The only way to have this type of job is to be available at all times, plan on nothing, and start no non-work activity. Because you might be called in. So tired of this!
Updates on the Spiritual Slump: almost 2 years and counting. Really. Thank God for Flogamockers and Lewis or I'd be completely adrift. I keep telling myself not to panic. God went for whole centuries without direct contact, why am I expecting regular updates. The practical part of me tells myself that God will make himself perfectly clear when he wants to, and until then to sit back and assume I'm on the right path unless I hear otherwise. The other part starts whimpering in the background that perhaps my spiritual malaise is indicative of a greater catastrophe. How funny (not ha ha) to sit back and watch people who became Christians long after me grow, mature, and find copious amounts of purpose. Meanwhile I keep treading water hoping that sometime soon I'll either touch ground or find a boat. My personal devotions (of which modern Christiandom makes such a guilt trip) consist, often, of staring at a section of scripture that is color coded, highlighted, personally referenced and footnoted, and wondering what on earth does it mean. The words, I mean. Because I'm staring at a page that once unlocked a new truth every time I went over it, and now I can scarcely make sense of all those little squigglies we call letters. Putting them together into words is harder, and whole sentences float in and out of my brain without actually registering. This happens in most of the N.T.
Reading things chronologically has had its own effect. Now I don't want to read anything NT at all because we haven't got there yet!
Lewis is great. Another excellent quote by him, this time on Jane Eyre. He'd just reread it, and is remarking on a young unmarried woman's naivete about the joys of conjugal life, quoting a passage in the last chapter, "We talked, I believe, all day." Lewis' comment, "Poor Husband."
Tomorrow I'm supposed to go to Seattle after work for three days. I have things I need to do around here, but I also need to get far away for a little while. Adrian may or may not be coming into town on Friday, but I've already phoned Michael to let him know I'll be around (He's the guy I went out with a few weeks ago).
Friday, October 13, 2006
"I might agree that the Allies are partly to blame, but nothing can fully excuse the iniquity of Hitler's persecution of the Jews, or the absurdity of his theoretical position. Did you see that he said 'The Jews have made no contributions to human culture and in crushing them I am doing the will of the Lord.' Now as the whole idea of the 'Will of the Lord' is precisely what the world owes to the Jews, the blaspheming tyrant has just fixed his absurdity for all to see in a single sentence, and shown that he is as contemptible for his stupidity as he is detestable for his cruelty."This was from a letter to his friend Arthur on November 5, 1933.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Lest it look like I'm grubbing for presents from all my friends, acquaintances, and people online I don't actually know, my family likes me to come up with a list of things I want several months before ye olde birthday (26 this year). Here's some ideas, family.
1.The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers. Five Volumes (not four, hmmm. We women must write more than men as well as talk more. Lewis only has 3).
2.The Letters of J.R.R.Tolkien (One Volume, 459 pages).
3. DVD - Peter Pan 2004.
4. Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Ridley Pierson and Dave Barry.
5.OPI Nail Laquers.
6. Yankee Candles: Favorite Scents Cinnamon Sage, Vanilla, Buttercream Frosting, Mackintosh Apple, Pumpkin Pie, Gingerbread, Spruce.
7.Dar Williams, Immortal City CD.
8. Any Buffy Seasons that people want to buy.
9. Bath and Body works Warm Vanilla Sugar or Sweet Pea Body Creams.
10.And of course, Drea, there's always Givenchy Indecense and a Calendar...:-)
11. DVD-American Beauty
12. Someone (like Grandma) might consider something like a massage or spa day.
13. Or really, you could just all pool together and give me a joint Christmas/Birthday Scholarship so I could take that C.S. Lewis and his Writings course I've been wanting to take.
I'm working my way through volume 2. And now I've realized, that not only do I have two more volumes (and yes, I know I'm saying this like it's a bad thing, but it isn't -- I'm really enjoying them) of Lewis, but now I'm going to have to read the complete collected letters of Tolkien (2 Volumes) and of Sayers (4 Volumes). I think it's time to buy a couple of bookcases.
Lewis is going to start writing his Space Trilogy in a few hundred pages!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
So, I got my stuff together, so to speak, and put in all on a website designed to connect actors with people "iso", etc. Two days later, I've had an email! I'd tell more about it, but I don't believe in jinxing yourself that way -- I'm not superstitious (duh), but there's something to not saying you've got it until it's in writing, otherwise you're in for a let down. The offer sounds promising, though.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I've been reading Lewis' Collected Letters for the past few weeks. The Scobells bought them for me and mailed them. Isn't mail wonderful? Especially surprise packages. I've finished the first of three volumes, about 1,000 pages apiece. I wouldn't do this for just any author. It's been so interesting watching Lewis develop themes that will become major works later in life. So far I've caught hints of Perelandra, Out of the Silent Planet, Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Allegory of Love and Surprised by Joy. The most astonishing thing of all is how much like Lewis he sounds, even as a teenager. Pompous, arrogant, full of himself, priggish, and an atheist, but still Lewis. Same vocabulary. Here are my favorite Lewis quotes from the first volume:
"Of course Handel is not your ideal or mine as a composer...Of course the inappropriateness of his tunes is appalling - as for instance where he makes the chorus repeat some twenty times that they have all gone astray like sheep in the same tone of cheerful placidity that they'd use for saying it was a fine evening." (From a letter to his brother, 22 December 1914)
"It's just a sign, isn't it, of how some geniuses can't work in metrical forms - another example being the Brontes." (Letter to Arthur Greeves 7 March 1916 - In the same letter he says, "you may even make a Christian of me.")
"...Style is the art of expressing a given thought in the most beautiful words and rhythms of words. For instance a man might say 'When the constellations angelic spirits loudly testified to their satisfaction.' Expressing exactly the same thought, the Authorised Version says 'When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy'. Thus by the power of style what was nonsense becomes ineffably beautiful. See?" (To Arthur, 4 August 1917. From Job 38:7, which in my Bible has a note by me noticing how Tolkien that section is.)
"The trouble about God is that he is like a person who never acknowledges one's letters and so, in time, one comes to the conclusion either that he does not exist or that you have got the address wrong." (To His Brother, 1 July 1921)
Discussing what pleasure he got from knowing that several of his favorite authors knew each other...a foreshadowing of the Inklings "...How delightful to find out suddenly that the Wartons and Collins were at school together and made a sort of poetry club there as boys and had evolved it together." (To his father, 5 January 1926)
"I should like to know, too, in general, what you think of all the darker side of religion as we find it in old books. Formerly I regarded it as mere devil worship based on horrible superstitions. Now that I have found, and am still finding more and more, the element of truth in the old beliefs, I feel I cannot dismiss even their dreadful side so cavalierly. There must be something in it: only what?" (To Arthur, 22 December 1929)
"But it is a real book: i.e. it's not like a book at all, but like a thunderclap. Heaven defend us - what things there are knocking about the world!" (Letter to Arthur 13 January 1930 - referring to Phantastes by George MacDonald)
"Tolkien is the man I spoke of when we were last together - the author of the voluminous unpublished metrical romances and of the maps, companions to them, showing the mountains of Dread and Nargothrond the city of the Orcs." (To Arthur, 9 February 1930.) Describing the members of Kolbitar, a group that met to read the Norse Myths in the original language.
"Terrible things are happening to me. The 'Spirit' or 'Real I' is showing an alarming tendency to become much more personal and is taking the offensive and behaving just like God. You'd better come on Monday at the latest or I may have entered a monastery." (To Arthur 3 February 1930)
"Why do women write such good novels. Men's novels, except Scott, seem to me on the same level as womens' poetry." (Arthur, June 22 1930)
(at the end of a discussion about the difference between German Myths based in the earthy and metallic, and Celtic Mythology based in elements and frivolity. Paganism is ultimately shallow because it will never grow into a religion) "In fact, add Roman civilisation to [paganism] and you get - France." (3 August 1930)
Friday, October 06, 2006
The other day at work (I can't remember which because I spent most of this week working my shift and another girl's who was out sick), at the end of a double shift, I had an incident with the owner.
He was drinking with friends, and eventually it degenerated into gambling for who bought the next round of drinks. At some point, one of the guys lost, and bought two drinks, but wouldn't buy for the third guy with a full glass. He settled up with me, then left. He left a tip on the table. The owner got irate that he hadn't bought a drink, and (long story short) demanded that I take the money left on the table and buy the guy's drink since I hadn't forced him to buy the drink. (The drink was unpoured, since I wouldn't serve it until someone offered to pay). The "remainder" was twenty cents. I went to my GM, and he said "aren't drunk people fun."
I'm rather upset.
Monday, October 02, 2006
I paid off one of my loans tonight. And a bit more of another one. That's three paychecks in a row that I've been able to divert directly to loan payoff.
But I celebrated by buying a Christian Lacroix skirt on ebay.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
For months now I've been hearing the same song playing fromt he upstairs apartment. Somewhere over the Rainbow, the Hawaiian Ukelele version. I could not for the life of me figure out WHY my neighbor, who is on workmans comp and does nothing all day, would play the same song over and over all day.
One day I had a brainwave. Commercials. Of course. They'd play every half hour or more. So I've been watching lifetime, I mean, CNN, (nope -- really Lifetime -- old Will & Grace and Frasier Episodes) for weeks hoping that bloody commercial would come on. Nada.
Tonight It Happened. Just as I was about to mute the tv I heard that old familiar intro.
Organic Rice Crispies.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The off season has hit in full force. Today I spent several hours on my hands and knees in nylons and a short skirt no less, scrubbing table bases and the underbits of chairs. This part of work drives me insane. If I could only work, and make money, and then go home when there's nothing to do, all would be a lark. Instead, when people aren't there, I run around inventing things to do (ie: merge tabasco bottles) to look busy enough that the boss won't decide that I need to do something even "funner" and more useless (ie: scrub down the baseboards with a toothbrush and wood polish). Why is it unacceptable to stand and read a book? When all the sidework for the day is done, and there's nothing more to chop, merge, clean, polish, wipe down, pick up, squeeze, restock or roll, why can't one stand still? And since I spend almost two hours a day without pay getting to and from work, it stands to reason in my own brain that all non-customered time, after the sidework is done, should be guilt-free. Think of all the books one could read in between breakfast and lunch, otherwise spent picking lint balls out of the carpet.
Don't rub your eyes after merging tabasco bottles. Hurts like the Dickens.
Monday, September 25, 2006
A new fall promotion at work has prompted an afternoon of terrible gags. Our owner brought in fresh picked corn to hand out after dinner as a thank you to our fall patrons. How to gracefully walk up to a table and deposit a couple of ears of corn in husk was the topic of conversation. Ending in the following "flare" button ideas:
Wanna hear something corny?
Can you 'ear me?
Then we debated whether we should dress up like pilgrims, as we were already in all black, but we decided feather in our hair would be more appropriate.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
A man walks into the bar, carrying Dickens. I ask him what he's reading, he tells me. Have I read any of him? I think he's obviously paid by the word. I get bored in his full length works. What do I like to read? You can guess where that conversation goes. He's from Toronto, but has lived in Scotland, BC and the US, wants to go to Asia next. He's in Issaquah now, getting together a hot places to eat website so he can afford to travel and read. He's also well versed in Musical Theater.
Before he left he asked if he could take my picture. I assumed for his website, since he'd eaten in the restaurant. He said as a reminder that beautiful, articulate, smart, well read women exist in the world.
I let him take the picture.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
The door opens. In walks a stranger carrying another kitten. "Is that a kitten?" "Yes, I found it on the side of the mountain." Speechless stares follow her down the hall.
The door opens, in walks my second roommate. "Doyou have a kitten?" "Nope, I wish."
Sigh. When did I become a mother? (PS, in case anyone is reading this that might report back to my father, the kitten will be out within a week)
Now that Atlas Shrugged is finished, I'm back to The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, volume 1. I'm about halfway through the letters covering 1905-1931. Most of the letters are to his Father or best friend Aurthur, with a few to his brother Warnie, and several classmates at Oxford. I've also check Jack, by Sayers, out from the church library to read concurrently. Yesterday I went to the Inklings Bookshop to buy Volume 3, but it isn't released until late November. I pre-ordered my copy, so Happy Birthday to me.
At this stage in Lewis' letters, he is an athiest, but beginning to reconnect to the mystical, or spiritual. He has recently read Chesterton and several years prior read McDonald, both of whom are huge influences to the writings of all the Inklings. Chesterton's Abolition of Man will later be credited by Lewis as his reason for conversion. He has also been introduced by letter to Owen Barfield, a fellow scholar at Oxford, and later a founding Member of the Inklings.
Lewis was an avid reader of the classics; reading many of them in their original Greek and Latin. He also could read fluently French, and less fluently German and Italian (at least at this point in his letters). As he peppers his letters with mention of his latest reads, it's amazing to me how clearly you can see themes develop which will later become the basis for some of his most famous books. For example, he discusses a poem that he is writing about the Greek Gods fighting "the gods of the air" which keep them out of contact with the Greater Good in space. (447) That will be a major theme of his Space Trilogy. Also some quotes from reading I've done and though, "wow, that sounds like Lewis/Tolkien/etc, have been quoted by Lewis. In Job is a line that reads, "Or who laid its cornerstone while all the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?" (Job 38:6-7) Lewis quoted it as an example of poetry accomplishing more than prose.
Steve thinks I should chuck it all and become a Lewis Scholar.
Friday, September 15, 2006
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand is the story of a society where industry and innovation are discouraged, and wealth is meted out by need, not merit. The heads of government and the media brand tycoons like Hank Reardon as individuals whose only interest is profit, at the expense of the “public good.” Under the new regime wealth is forcibly taken away from those who’ve earned it and given to people who are incapable of making it. Society collapses as one by one the business leaders give up and disappear.
Ragnar Danneskjold was one of the first to realize the futility of playing by the new rules, and gives up a dream of philosophy to patrol the seas, destroying shipments of cargo that had been legally stolen. He meets Hank Reardon, and tells him that if he could destroy one thing on earth, it would Robin Hood. Robin is immortalized as the man who “robbed from the rich to give to the poor … but that is not the meaning of the legend which has survived.” (532) Robin Hood has been turned into a symbol, not as the champion of property rights, but of need as the highest authority. One does not need to earn a living, when a living is provided without effort to those who can prove their essential worthlessness. Those incapable of producing will have the producers indentured to them. The innovators will be shackled by the uncreative. Those who have talent will be forced to perform for the entertainment of those who have none, and the ones being exploited will have no choice in the matter.
The culture of entitlement is personified by Phillip Reardon. Phillip was content to live his life by the provision of his brother. Their mother tells Reardon that because Reardon is so brilliant his brother cannot succeed. His poor self esteem did not stem from lack of initiative, but because he could not live up to Hank Reardon. Therefore, by the logic of entitlement, it was Reardon’s responsibility to give Phillip a job for which he had no aptitude, so that his brother could pretend that he was standing on his own feet. Phillip was not to earn a job through skill or education, but because he felt he needed one. Likewise, Phillip, their Mother, and Lillian all depend on Reardon for the necessities of life, feeling it their due to live off his wealth. It is his responsibility as a large producer to provide for those who are “less fortunate” than he. The price for being successful is to be shackled with the useless, who don’t feel even basic gratitude. Supporting the three in the lifestyle to which they’ve grown accustomed is his penance for being good at what he does, and they can accuse him of being unfeeling even while lacking gratitude for their own status.
The first experiment of need based arithmetic on the corporate level was the Twentieth Century Motor Company. “Those whose needs were voted to be the greatest, received the most…It required men to be motivated not by personal gain, but by love for their brothers.” (301) Under the auspices of self sacrifice, self was indeed destroyed. The producers, the workers, the talented and the energetic quickly learned that they were to be worked beyond their endurance for the good of those who would not lift a finger to help themselves. Eventually life itself is devalued. Births are resented as adding to the burden of the already overworked. Death is preferred to lengthy and costly illness. In a hopeless gesture of self preservation, reminiscent of Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron, the workers realize that the way to survive is to be just as mediocre as the person next to them; to pretend ignorance and incompetence, so as not to stand out. In Harrison Bergeron this mediocrity is directly imposed, in Atlas Shrugged it is the indirect consequence of need based policies. The company went bankrupt due to decline in production.
The culture of entitlement is imposed upon Reardon Steel by the government. Reardon develops Reardon Steel, a new product that is stronger than steel and cheaper to manufacture. The government rules that it is unfair for some businesses to have the advantage of Reardon Steel while others cannot afford it. Reardon is forced to sell equal amounts of his invention to each person that applies for it in the order the application is received. This equalization of opportunity negates the good of the invention, since no one is given enough of the metal to be of practical use. Those that desperately need the steel to keep their business afloat, fold while waiting.
The end result of a culture that rewards mediocrity and discourages creativity; which exalts need as the ultimate good, and calls anyone selfish who wants to profit from his labor, is the collapse of society. Being civilized requires a certain standard of value of goods and services. In order to live peacefully in society and survive there must be a standard which allots a certain amount of goods in trade for a certain amount of work. The only alternative is descent into violence, where he with the biggest weapon takes what he wants at the expense of the other. This is the end of the logical progression of Atlas Shrugged. The final image is a lone man in the shadow of the ruins of a factory, dragging a plow behind him.
Today we see much of the culture of entitlement. Our welfare system, originally intended as short term relief, has become bloated and ponderous as multiple generations of families have grown to depend on assistance, and lost the ability or desire to work. Programs to end the dependence on welfare have mixed success. Agencies force welfare users into short term employment where the paycheck does not depend on the actual quality of work, and altruistic employers train people with no skills how to have a job. The individual attitude of entitlement remains. Like Phillip Reardon, instead of direct assistance, we are now meting out jobs not due to skill, or a desire to work, but because we feel that is what their self esteem needs, not hand outs, but unsought work.
Danneskjold wishes to rid the world of Robin Hood, as he has survived in the cultural memory. But Danneskjold and Robin Hood are like-minded in purpose. Robin Hood did not steal to relieve need; he merely took back what already belonged to the populace. Robin was not an altruist, but in early versions is said to have been a nobleman, the lord of Loxley who was deprived of his lands by greedy churchmen. When Danneskjold, John Gault, Fransisco D’Anconia begin to rebuild the world, rather than eradicate Robin Hood, he should be reclaimed as the symbolic ancestor of their philosophy.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Yesterday, Aimee picked me up from work and we went into Seattle to see the opening night of the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour. It was amazing! I mean, aside from the scores of teenie bopper girls in skimpy outfits screaming at the top of their lungs and holding signs asking Travis to have their children. The dancing was spectacular, great music, great costumes. I was really glad I got to go. The Latin dances and couples dances were my favorites, and the Broadway (even though it was Fosse). The costume group dances were well choreographed and big crowd pleasers.
We spent the night at Bill's house in Seattle. He treated us to homemade chocolate mousse when we showed up at almost midnight. Today we woke up late (or Aimee did. I slept in a bit and then worked on my scholarship essay, having finished the book during intermission and waiting for Aimee to find me after the show) and went to lunch at Coho. I had the best semi-Waldorf salad with strawberries I've ever tasted. We visited Pacific fabrics, the Mad Scrapper, and the North Bend Outlet stores.
Now time for another flogamockers.
Today is the day I've been working for and dreading all week. I must begin my scholarship essay for the Ayn Rand competition, due byt he 15th. I have an essay topic in mind, but I don't believe I'll be able to twist any of the proposed questions to fit it.
Off to outline.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Last night I had Aimee over. We were supposed to watch a movie at her place if I could get enough done, but her depressed roommate was in the living room watching....Nascar....and so we opted for mine instead. We were talking musicals (ok, we were talking Hugh Jackman) and I pulled out my old VHS of the Cameron Mackintosh concert where Hugh makes a brief appearance singing Oklahoma! which had just been re-opened in London. We both said at the same moment, "That's Wolverine singing Oh What a Beautiful Morning."
Not enough progress on the book last night. I'm only to page 720. But it finally because uplifting after two dozen chapters of hopeless struggle. I'm interested to see how it resolves, but I'm afraid that given the author's philosophy, and that this is a contest for the Ayn Rand foundation, I may not be able to write any sort of essay that they'll want to read.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
I finished section two last night around midnight. Three hundred pages to go. It is a difficult read, not because of its length, but because the main characters are so close to happiness and so close to the truth of what is happening, and they keep grasping after the determination to keep what they've built going, even at a loss and to their own detriment. Dagny has almost been convinced to let her railroad run itself into the ground twice, but every time the death toll rings, she runs in and saves it for a few more months at greater cost.
I'm still allowing myself limited doses of C.S. Lewis' letters over breakfast. The hero of his first full length book in old English was named Wan Jadis. Jadis was later used as the name of the witch in The Magician's Nephew and The Lion the Witch and the wardrobe. He and his best friend Arthur have had several discussions about religion. Lewis strongly advocates that scientific discovery proves and all myths are grown up superstition and educated men need no longer believe in them. It's very interesting to read arguments that he will later refute in Mere Christianity.
I'm off to work. Saturday mornings are usually very slammed. Perhaps there's money to be made today. If not, I've had an offer to go down to Palm Springs for six months and work in a winter resort for snowbirds.
Friday, September 08, 2006
I'm now officially halfway through the book, chapter wise. My goal is five more chapters tonight.
I bought my vintage brown fur hat with brown grosgrain ribbons. On my way out I found a white rabbit tam with a poof on top. I bought it, too.
Today, after I dropped my car off I read for an hour in Essencia. Then I walked to the bank to withdraw cash, but it wouldn't open for a while, so I walked back to the park on 2nd and Yakima and read there for an hour. Then I accomplished my banking and walked eight blocks to church to use their restroom, after passing all my vintage stores that weren't open yet either. Another half hour of reading in the back parking lot by the roses. I ran into Tamera on her way to Mops and scheduled lunch with she and her husband a week from Sunday. Then back to the vintage shops. Lunch and errands with Mom, then she had pity on my nomading and drove me home. I did some more reading and Dad took me back when my car was ready.
And it only cost my $50 more than I'd expected. My serpentine belt was about to go out on me. That's apparently a fancy way of saying fan belt. And I need four new tires. $600 more to save by Thanksgiving.
Poofy, frizzy big hair is back in again.
Belts this year are worn cinched around the waist over the top of your tweed suit or sweater set (hurrah. I look good in that).
Fur is in. (Think I will go buy that vintage fur hat I couldn't decide about before)
Smoky eyes and glossy lips are trendy, but makeup should look natural otherwise.
Compassion International has added a new icon to their search for children page. Now, a red heart indicated a child that has been waiting more than a year for a sponsor.
Heifer International offeres shares of all of its high priced items. Can't afford a llama? You can still contribute to part of one (which will be combined with other people's donations -- not shipped to peru in pieces. Gross)
Marie Antoinette starring Kirsten Dunst and directed by Sophia Coppola looks like it is going to be a beautiful movie. Vogue ran a beautiful story about the teenage queen, and then a photo shoot with Dunst. Beautiful costumes, and beautiful haut couture dresses.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
An excruciatingly slow day turned into a nice little lunch rush.
On the way to work I vented my sunroof (which hasn't opened in two years) to let out a giant mosquito eater, and opened all the way and got stuck. Denise and I drove to work with the sun roof open and the heat blasting. On the way home, at 100 degrees, hitting the close button worked. Darn it. I don't dare try again or I'll be driving to work in a parka all fall.
I'm on page 362 or 1100. Chapter 11, section 2. Tomorrow, while getting my 100,000K tuneup I intend to get to section three.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Another Labor Day in the service industry under my belt. I ran my feet off Sunday afternoon on the patio and yesterday. I served breakfast and lunch, then my boss asked for a volunteer to stay through the dinner rush. I made good money. Not great percentage-wise, but Heather told me to expect that on monday. All the campers are out of money and stiff you.
I'm sitting at my folks' house waiting for my insurance company to deliver my new phone. Mine took a spin in the delicate cycle. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I have to complete an essay on it by the 15th for a scholarship I'm applying for. I've asked the church for help, but no one's told me if they want me to come talk to a committe. Kurt said to type up my letter again and he'll make sure the right people see it again. I'm hoping to start the CS Lewis class within the next few weeks. Hurrah for scholarship. Steven thinks I should forget theology and go back to school as a Lit major and become a foremost Lewis scholar. Hmmm.... appealing.
Another financial report. I'm planning for working through the fall. Right now I'm making enough in tips to live on, and able to divert entire paychecks into debt payoff. If I can contine that through Christmas, I'll have reduced my debt in half again by January 1st. Here's hoping. I'd rather have it over and done with, but I'm doing my best!
The Scobells sent me volumes one and two of the collected letters of C.S. Lewis. I'm pouring through them at night. He was a bit of a twit as a kid, but obviously brilliant. It's really exciting seeing him discover for the first time things that will become life themes for him. Recently he's discovered Chivalry in Mallory. His textbook was on the development of Chivalry in medievil times. In another passage, he discusses a book he's just read, loving the evocative names and the creatures that existed with 'sons of men but loved them not.' I caught myself thinking, "Oh Lewis! You would have loved Tolkien!" Which of course he did.
I'm off to do laundry and read. I'm 32 pages into Ayn Rand, and I hope to have a good chunk done by dinner.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Worked 20 hours in the last two days. 12 Saturday, 9 today. Drove my Dad's truck to work to pick up my new (to me) washing machine! Hurrah!
Went to Target to buy some detergent, and am off to home to see how my roommates are doing with the move-in, and to wash some clothes.
A dryer soon to follow.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
Teri will be in Yakima tonight, I think, and I'm calling her as soon as I get off work tomorrow. Hurrah!
Tightwad Bank in Tightwad Missouri has opened up online checking, so I can set up a direct transfer from my main checking to my contingency fund online. Hurrah again!
And I made $160 last night and $195 today. Treated myself to China Buffet carry out since I worked very hard the last two days and was very tired today. Two hour nap after dinner.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
I also wrote a letter to my church, that has a fund for theological studies for laypeople. Maybe I can get enough support to take my first class at least.
Friday, July 21, 2006
I am so tired of this illness. It was novel for a while, being careful and getting lots of sleep, and always having an excuse not to go out if I didn't feel like it, but now I'm just everlastingly sapped. Every day after work I come home and sleep for several hours. And since I have to be in bed by 10:30 or so to be up again at 5:45, I only have an hour or two to get anything done. My house needs cleaning desperatly. My kitchen has spilled ice tea under the microwave and cheery juice on the floor. Which I've mopped twice but is still sticky. There are four hairballs on my bedroom floor, my bathroom is half torn to shreds, and I lack the energy to finish, and my fridge looks like a bomb went off. And the worst of it is my GM told me not to tell anyone at work, so I have to keep up an energetic face while sucking down the emergenC's so as not to alert anyone. My hypochondriatic friend is convinced that I have anemia.
I went to Spokane Wednesday, overnight, to visit a friend who just moved there. We walked around downtown and went to Nordstrom, hurrah! I bought two pair of seamed stockings.
And I was told last night at worship team practice that the group touring through on the 30th needs a keyboard player and they've said I'll do it. So I will be highlighting as a member of the Parachute Band for two services and a concert.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Only a quick update. Sorry for the long absences. I likely have a new roommate coming in, and if that pans out we'll be getting internet, so I'll have a computer close by instead of trying to find time to drive to my parents'.
The mono has been giving me a hard time this last week. I was feeling pretty well, but then got overconfident and added a couple more things than I should have, and spent the last week sleeping whenever I'm not at work.
I ended things with someone I've been on again off again with for some time. I'd needed to do it for a while, but couldn't. Sunday I did. I've eaten a lot of ice cream the last few days.
Yesterday was a very busy day at work. The tips were good, too, except for one table of demanding cross toting people who came in after 15 people walked off a tour bus, and watched another group of 30 get seated, and still demanded fresh coffee as soon as they'd sucked down another cup. They left a 60-cent tip on a $58 bill. Good thing I'm already a Christian or my opinion of christiandom would have been sent down the drain (though, admittedly, my opinion of christiandom hasn't been very high lately anyway). Another group of loudly missions oriented people (they had an Indian couple with them) tipped very well and were quite nice about things.
My roses are looking very pretty. I've got a black thumb most of the time, but roses I'll go out of my way for. I'm also tearing out a bathroom, and have picked a color for my living room. Those projects are mosly on hold until I'm less tired.
And Teri will be in the country soon!
Thursday, July 06, 2006
I paid off my car yesterday.
(Pause for gasps of amazement)
My baby is mine mine mine. And now that she's mine, not the banks, I'm sure some major catastrophy will occur requiring large amounts of money to fix. Because that's murphy's law of car ownership.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
After smelling my garlic and rosemary scented hands, I decided to try for some more culinary masterwork. I have cheese ravioli in the freezer, and found last week that tomato sauce is too heavy for it - it covers the taste and seems bland. With just virgin olive oil and pepper the cheeses emerge. Today I fine chopped garlic and rosemary and sauteed it with virgin oil. I added some Kestral Cab that had gone to vinegar but I couldn't bear to throw out and more oil and honey. I let it cook down and tossed it with the finished ravioli.
I am cooking for a dinner party on Friday. It's going to be an all out affair. My bible study said, once upon a time in Genesis, that we should do a themed party when it's time to read Song of Solomon aloud. We discussed chocolate, and strawberries, and laughed. Well, the time has come. We're skipping around Solomon's reign. He's just met the queen of Sheba. And so it's time for the "song of songs."
I have a 7lb bone-in leg of lamb in my fridge, waiting to be stuffed full of garlic and rosemary and marinate in wine and apricots. For appetiser I thought some goat cheese and fruits, nuts and dates, and maybe some strawberries in a brandied whipped cream. And my dessert is chocolate dipped strawberries. Everyone is bringing a little main dish (mine was little until the butcher gave me 7lb instead of 5. I'll be eating lamb until it's time for turkey leftovers.) and a dessert - the theme is romantic finger foods. I've passed on the word that no one needs to bring a meat dish after all, I've got it covered. At last talley Omar is bringing hummus and pita and Denise is making Baklava. Maybe some champagne to go with that. Maybe we'll have some wine or champagne in small quantities.
I'm going to collect my feather beds, down comforters and pillows to lay on the floor. And we're all wearing comfortable dress up lounging clothes, and don't ask me what that's going to be. I'm thinking velvet harem pants for me. I'll post pictures.
Friday, June 30, 2006
I just got back from a family vacation in Lake Mead, just outside of Las Vegas. Vegas is a bizarre little city. The Vegas airport is instantly recognisable upon disembarking because of the electronic dinging that you later identify as the sound of hundreds of slot machines that line the corridors. People have a lot of time to kill in Vegas, and most don't wait to leave the airport before gambling.
The strip is unempressive from the air. My trip was so short I didn't have a chance to go see the sights. But then, I'm not a gambler, so I think the pleasures of giant casinos would be lost on me. Drea and Jason picked me up, and we drove to Lake Mead where Grandma and Ken had rented a 70' houseboat complete with water slide, hot tub, ski boat, and two skidoos. Mom, Dad and Allie came in a few hours behind me. Hail, hail, the gang's all here.
Once I put my swimsuit on it didn't come off again until it was time to dry it out and put it back in my backpack to leave. The weather was scorching. Anywhere from a "cool" 95 to 115. Dawnie and I found the best way to handle it was to lounge around on the deck for half an hour at a time (I wearing SPF 50, she trying to become Puerto Rican by the end of the week) and then run for a dip to get hair and swimsuit wet. We had enough food to save Napoleon's ill-fated army. Everyone still remembered the turkey sandwich fiasco in Florida (most of the family can't look at a turkey sandwich without shuddering) and came armed with junk food. We also sent the parents to the store for Malibu Rum, tequila, vodka, and something for Drea. We're not a heavy drinking family at gatherings, so the selection was odd for us. But what better place than on a houseboat for Margaritas and Malibu Cherry Limeaids? There was also beer, but as Dad put it, 'I drove all the way to Nevada and all you have is light beer?!" Ken of course provided the zinfandel for the barbecues.
We spent a lot of time moving the houseboat trying to find the perfect spot. The boys fished, each catching at least one. There was waterskiing, and we all dinked around on the skidoos. And of course rummycubes and monopoly. One evening our entertainment was a fantastic heat lightning storm. I provided a medly of "I will go down with this ship" by Dido, and various songs from Titanic. Wednesday night Nick and Allie built a bonfire on the beach. At one point he added a mound of tumbleweed, and the fire was suddenly at eye level from the second story. Little piros, all of them. I'm suprised Drea wasn't down there dancing to the heathen gods as usual.
Thursday morning I had to catch a flight, which I missed, and then flew standby the rest of the day. In the break between I caught the hotel shuttle to the Hilton, where there is a Star Trek exhibit, but it wasn't open yet. So I have a lovely dark picture of the gated off Promenade. And I played one dollar on the five cent machine at gate 26 just to say I gambled once in Vegas. Woohoo.
And after all the ribbing my family gave me over my SPF 50, guess what they wanted me to leave with them when I packed...
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
I almost didn't get out of my car yesterday. My drive to work is bar none the best part of my day. The mountains are as green as I imagine the highland hills of Scotland to be, without ever having seen an actual picture. Kris burned Death Cab for Cutie, and one track has lyrics about driving down a country road with the windows down smelling the scent of the evergreens through the open window. It fits. I play it four times in a row. Out my window I can see the hilltop above the Naches. I want to forget work and climb to the top, lay down in the grass up to my neck and watch the clouds pass by. The sun beats down for the first time after three days of rain. If I weren't driving I'd be able to smell earth and wildflowers.
At work I listen to the acoustic coffeehouse station. There are some obvious singers; Rufus Wainright, Dido, Norah Jones. Someone called the Recliners sings a terrible ballad version of I Wanna Be Sedated. I make a list of songwriters and bands to try to find.
An SUV drives up and parks. A matched set of black labs stick their heads out the window and sniff in parallel. I wonder what they sense on the air. I want to be out there.
At every hint of the sun I run out from behind my cage and go to my window. From the bar all I can see is the rock face above the highway. I hang onto the windowframe and lean in until my nose almost touches the glass and I can see to the top of the cliff and catch a glimpse of sky. Bits of fluff drift down the highway from right to left. Funny. The clouds go left to right. What currents are the fluff balls catching?
My itchy wanderlust has taken over again. I knew I shouldn't have read A Year in the World immediately after Tales of a Female Nomad.
I must go.