Thursday, December 30, 2004

And here is what I have to say today:

  • Stop, stop, STOP clinging to people who make you miserable. If there are bad feelings from either end, don't just make it worse by maintaining unneeded constant close contact with those people. Just stop, and many things will likely right themselves in your life.

  • Garbage-bagging down a snowy hill at 2:30am is really, really fun.

  • Grobanites are incredibly cool. (Hi Trasi and Stacey and Tami!) :)

  • Hurrah for Chapters!

  • People in this country and America do not know the meaning of the word pain. Someone needs to do a documentary, and I'm the woman to do it. I just need a film student. C'mon, it'll be fun. Sort of.

  • Schindler is my hero.

  • Visited my grandpa's brother in the nursing home the other day. He has always had "spastic paralysis," or whatever that means today. He sure loves his harmonicas though.

  • I'm thinking I need to go to the Middle East. I always did have a crush on Aladdin. Oh those Middle Eastern men...

  • Donate to the Red Cross (Canadian or otherwise), or ADRA, or something. But do it. Those 120 thousand people need it more than you need a new CD. I promise.
  • Tuesday, December 28, 2004

    And, because I am ill and can't sleep, here is a list I just created on Amazon (out of pure boredom and restlessness) of just a few of the greatest books of my childhood (and beyond!).

    The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer
    No Coins, Please by Gordon Korman (and everything else he's ever written)
    The Borrowers series by Mary Norton
    The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
    The Emily series by L.M. Montgomery (and everything else she's ever written)
    The Alanna series by Tamora Pierce
    Greek Myths for Young Children by Marcia Williams
    Eragon by Christopher Paolini
    The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
    The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman (and everything else she's ever written)
    The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
    The Hardy Boys series by Franklin W. Dixon
    The Railway Children, Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, The Story of the Amulet, and The Story of the Treasure-Seekers by Edith Nesbit (and everything else she's ever written)
    The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
    The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper
    Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and the rest of the series by Betty MacDonald
    The Redwall series by Brian Jacques
    The A Wrinkle In Time series by Madeleine L'Engle
    Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
    Remember My Name by Sara H. Banks
    The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    The Water-Babies by Charles Kingsley
    The Very Persistant Gappers of Frip by George Saunders
    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat
    Swift Arrow by Josephine C. Edwards
    The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

    Oh, and that is only scratching the surface, my friends! If you want book recommendations, particularly within the children's literature genre, ask ask ask away!
    Won't the nausea and vomiting ever end?

    My apologies for the excess information.

    Monday, December 27, 2004

    There's a single white female
    Looking for that special lover
    To put it in a nutshell
    A one women man who doesn't want no other
    Oh, you never can tell
    She just might be your dream come true
    single white female
    Is looking for a man like you

    - Chely Wright, Single White Female
    Baby baby stay
    Stay right where you are
    I like it this way
    It's good for my heart
    I haven't felt like this
    In God knows how long
    I know everything's gonna be okay
    If you just stay gone

    - Jimmy Wayne, Stay Gone
    I am so very, very flawed.

    Sunday, December 26, 2004

    La nuit du neige
  • I love listening to Radio Canada. Particularly the French one. Until my mother turns it off.

  • Ach, give the Canadian young men that I know a few years and a few heartbreaks and they'll be marvelous human beings! MARVELOUS, I tell you, MARVELOUS! And then I'll want one. :)

  • No more lives torn apart, and wars would never start, and time would heal all hearts... And everyone would have a friend, and right would always win, and love would never end...

  • Parents can be a blessing, and they can be a trap, and many times they're both.

  • JL: Oh admit it. You use me as a whetstone.

  • Every time I hear the electric mixer in the kitchen, I know there is a God, and that He is good.

  • Merry Boxing Day!
  • Friday, December 24, 2004

    Hurrah for Monica and her EXCELLENT rendition of Mary, Did You Know? tonight at the CPC Christmas Eve concert!

    I feel ill. I think there's a monster in my chest. Don't worry. When I jump into the fiery pit, I'll make sure I hang onto it, even as it's bursting through my ribs.

    Merry Christmas Eve!

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    by Tori Amos

    Snow can wait, I forgot my mittens
    Wipe my nose, get my new boots on
    I get a little warm in my heart when I think of winter
    I put my hand in my father's glove

    I run off where the drifts get deeper
    Sleeping beauty trips me with a frown
    I hear a voice 'you must learn to stand up for yourself
    Cause I can't always be around'

    He says when you gonna make up your mind
    When you gonna love you as much as I do
    When you gonna make up your mind
    Cause things are gonna change so fast
    All the white horses are still in bed
    I tell you that I'll always want you near
    You say that things change my dear

    Boys get discovered as winter melts
    Flowers competing for the sun
    Years go by and I'm here still waiting
    Withering where some snowman was

    Mirror mirror where's the crystal palace
    But I only can see myself
    Skating around the truth who I am
    But I know, dad, the ice is getting thin

    When you gonna make up your mind
    When you gonna love you as much as I do
    When you gonna make up your mind
    Cause things are gonna change so fast
    All the white horses are still in bed
    I tell you that I'll always want you near
    You say that things change my dear

    Hair is grey and the fires are burning
    So many dreams on the shelf
    You say I wanted you to be proud of me
    I always wanted that myself

    When you gonna make up your mind
    When you gonna love you as much as I do
    When you gonna make up your mind
    Cause things are gonna change so fast
    All the white horses have gone ahead
    I tell you that I'll always want you near
    You say that things change my dear

    Never change

    All the white horses

    Wednesday, December 22, 2004

    Saw the Snicket film yesterday! Not as good as the books. But then, taking something so literary and making a movie out of it is difficult. The visuals were incredible--costumes, architecture, etc. And the casting was perfect. But Klaus needs glasses! It's important later, I say!

    And Meet the Fockers it was tonight, with Peter, Nathan, and Monica. It was great--much like the first one. But I think the best part was the donuts in the snowy parking lot afterwards! :) How I'd missed those...

    Also saw Supersize Me. Very gross. Never eat at McDonald's.

    In any case, the snow is beautiful, there's great food, I get to sleep in, and I get to spend time with good friends and family. What could be more marvelous?! :)

    Sunday, December 19, 2004

    You need to read this.

    I know it's long, but it's worth it.

    The more we take, the less we become...
    - Sarah McLachlan

    Following is a message board post by a woman who has worked with the Grobanites for Charity team to fund a South African AIDS orphanage this Christmas.

    Hello, all…

    I am pleased to let you know more about where some of the money you have contributed to the Josh Groban Foundation is going. It's going to be a long posting, but I want to give you all the details!

    As some of you may know, I am an American, living in South Africa for three years with my husband, a U.S. Foreign Service Regional Medical Officer. As a member of the US Embassy community here, I was able to learn about a project that was doing such good work and was desperately in need of funding. Lindy Groban was very moved by the project, and has approved funding for the project from the Josh Groban Foundation.

    Zamimpilo AIDS Orphanage

    It is estimated that over 14% of the entire population of South Africa is HIV+; in some provinces, the rate is much higher than that, and KwaZulu Natal in eastern South Africa has the highest. In some areas, communities are being devastated by AIDS, leaving no family members to care for children whose parents have died of the disease. There are over a million AIDS orphans in SA, and many of these children are HIV+ themselves. In some cases, people from these very poor communities have begun to take on the task of caring for the children, and these small 'orphanages' are the only means of survival that these children have. These people are doing heroic work, since it is enough of a struggle to put food on their own families' tables.

    It is estimated that over 14% of the entire population of South Africa is HIV+; in some provinces, the rate is much higher than that, and KwaZulu Natal in eastern South Africa, has the highest. In some areas of this province (which is largely Zulu people) communities are being devastated by AIDS, leaving no family members to care for children whose parents have died of the disease, many of whom are HIV+ themselves. In some cases, people from these very poor communities have taken on the task of caring for the children, and these small 'orphanages' are the only means of survival that these children have.

    The Zamimpilo Orphanage in KwaMashu Township is such a facility. It was started by a remarkable woman named Faith Mathethwa, who operates a training facility for home-based AIDS care workers (who work as volunteers who often provide the only care people with AIDS receive in villages and townships. As the volunteers' patients came closer to death, some urged them to care for their children, since there was no one else. Faith began to take the children in to stay at the training center building, and two year later, the same building now houses 86 children ranging in age from 9 months to 15 years. The children cannot be tested for fear they will be ostracized, but it is assumed that many are HIV+. The Center has already lost 20 children over its 2-year existence.

    The facility operates in the one building, which is where the children eat, sleep, play, and in the case of the younger children, go to school (the older children go next door to a township school). The orphanage is lucky to have electricity and running water, but the facilites are VERY basic. There are no beds- the children sleep on the floor. There is the tiniest of kitchens, with only a hot plate and no refrigerator. There is one bathtub...with a broken faucet.

    In addition to Faith, there are 20 amazing volunteers, many of whom are also AIDS home-care workers, who do everything from working in the garden, which is a primary source of food for the children, to feeding, bathing, and working with the children.

    The most amazing and inspiring thing is that, despite the harsh conditions, the children are very well cared for. I went to visit the orphanage a little over a month ago, and I was truly amazed and extremely moved by the effort these women are putting forth, working with virtually no funding and such basic facilities. The food is donated by the local community in bits at a time, and an occasional individual will donate a bag of used clothing, but that is it.

    It is a project which has run well on so little, and it is for that reason that the Foundation wants to provide more to make the lives of these children and their care-givers alittle easier, and to help them to flourish and grow.

    The Foundation has made a very generous donation to enable the children of Zamimpilo to have a Christmas, which they otherwise would not have. I have been busy shopping for 86 kids! Each child will have a stuffed animal to cuddle (except for the teen boys, who will get model cars...the wheel thing with guys is universal!), a new outfit of clothing, and a bag of sweets. In addition, YOU are providing new cooking and serving equipment, outdoor playthings, art materials, a cd player and music (GUESS who's playing!), blocks, puzzles, and other educational toys, cleaning supplies, baby needs, bulk grocery items,etc, etc.

    There also will be a Christmas lunch provided to all, and little gifts for the volunteers. I could never do all this alone...I have gotten great support form the US Embassy here in Pretoria and the US Consulate in Durban. Chalone Savant, a former Texan who is the Consulate's Self-Help Coordinator has been my right arm, and we have a caravan of Embassy folks who will be helping to cart all this out to the Orphange on Wednesday, December 22, and be the necessary 'elves'.

    The Foundation also has plans to make some much-needed improvements to the orphanage facility, including purchasing sleeping mats, kitchen equipment and outdoor play equipment.

    I can't tell you how gratifying it has been for me to be involved in this effort...and to have this so deserving group of South African children receive help through YOUR generosity and the incredibly generous spirits of Josh and his family...makes it very special, indeed.

    And, oh! Go here to view the Zamimpilo album so far:

    Zamimpilo AIDS Orphanage

    Needless to say, there'll be LOTS more pics after next week!

    Thank you again for your incredible generosity....together, this group can do ANYTHING!!

    Oh the varied glories of Niagara Falls! ;)

    I love my friends. :D

    Friday, December 17, 2004

    Well, I got to see David, Robbie, Sarah, Bob, Tim, and Monica today! :) Well, mostly David, Robbie, Sarah and Monica. Hurrah!

    There's snow all over the ground. It's gorgeous. :)

    Oh how I hate unpacking...

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    Some people disgust me on a basic level. I hope that doesn't make me a bad person.

    Sometimes it takes just as long to see the good in someone as it takes to see the bad.
    - Andrew Evans, Advice from Behind the Hairdresser's Chair, 2004

    Some people, on the other hand, are fantastic in every way apparent--like Andy. I need to go get my hair cut more often. Ah, it is short, and more reddish. What glorious relief!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    In the morning I leave for the Frozen North, wonderful place that it is. Pray for me, my young and old and new friends!

    Wish me luck in finishing The View from Nebo: How Archaeology is Rewriting the Bible and Reshaping the Middle East, and in reading The Underground Man, Archaeology of the Circle, The Tree of Swords and Jewels, Death on the Ice, and Ah, but Your Land is Beautiful, as that is my goal for the break.

    There are presents under the tree, and we're leaving it. There is a cat named Fluffy in the garage, and we're leaving it. And most importantly, there is goat cheese in the fridge and we're leaving it. Sometimes, life just isn't fair.

    Monday, December 13, 2004

    Dammit, people! I am not "elite", I am not "above common issues", and I most certainly do not appreciate being treated as such. If you insist on being condescending to me, then I have absolutely no interest in communicating with you on any level. In other words, stop it!

    Okay, I'm going to attempt to relax now, and hope that I've gotten my message across.

    Sunday, December 12, 2004

    I have an insurmountable and self-destructive tendency to try to make myself an intellectually well-rounded individual. Help! I can't decide whether to keep my major, which I enjoy, or go somewhere where they have the one I think I might really want!
    What is this curse, this doom? Why must history repeat itself like this? Ecclesiastes my foot. Can there truly be nothing new under the sun? At least, for me? It's like trying to figure out which of a thousand keys will unlock a door, without a light, and without hope.

    Why does the door have to be locked? Why can't I just open it and step through? All the wanting in the world, however, doesn't manufacture a flashlight or make the key in my hand the right one. I deeply envy whoever has the key that fits this door.

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    Following are a couple of quotes. I apologize for the length, particularly of the first, but they're really worth reading, I promise!

    At eighteen, the true narrative of life is yet to be commenced. Before that time we sit listening to a tale, a marvellous fiction, delightful sometimes and sad sometimes, almost always unreal. Before that time our world is heroic, its inhabitants half-divine or semi-demon; its scenes are dream-scenes; darker woods and stranger hills, brighter skies, more dangerous waters, sweeter flowers, more tempting fruits, wider plains, drearier deserts, sunnier fields than are found in nature, over-spread our enchanted globe. What a moon we gaze on before that time! How the trembling of our hearts at her aspect bears witness to its unutterable beauty! As to our sun, it is a burning heaven--the world of gods.

    At that time, at eighteen, drawing near the confines of illusive, void dreams, Elf-land lies behind us, the shores of Reality rise in front. These shores are yet distant; they look so blue, soft, gentle, we long to reach them. In sunshine we see a greenness beneath the azure, as of spring meadows; we catch glimpses of silver lines, and imagine the roll of living waters. Could we but reach this land, we think to hunger and thirst no more; whereas many a wilderness, and often the flood of death, or some stream of sorrow as cold and almost as black as death, is to be crossed ere true bliss can be tasted. Every joy that life gives must be earned ere it is secured; and how hardly earned, those only know who have wrestled for great prizes. The heart's blood must gem with red beads the brow of the combatant, before the wreath of victory rustles over it.

    At eighteen, we are not aware of this. Hope, when she smiles on us, and promises happiness tomorrow, is implicitly believed; Love, when he comes wandering like a lost angel to our door, is at once admitted, welcomed, embraced. His quiver is not seen; if his arrows penetrate, their wound is like a thrill of new life. There are no fears of poison, none of the barb which no leech's hand can extract. That perilous passion--an agony ever in some of its phases; with many, an agony throughout--is believed to be an unqualified good. In short, at eighteen the school of experience is to be entered, and her humbling, crushing, grinding, but yet purifying and invigorating lessons are yet to be learned.

    Alas, Experience! No other mentor has so wasted and frozen a face as yours, none wears a robe so black, none bears a rod so heavy, none with hand so inexorable draws the novice so sternly to his task, and forces him with authority so resistless to its acquirement. It is by your instructions alone that man or woman can ever find a safe track through life's wilds; without it, how they stumble, how they stray! On what forbidden grounds do they intrude, down what dread declivities are they hurled!
    (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley, p.73-74)

    * * *

    You expected bread and you have got a stone: break your teeth on it, and don't shriek because the nerves are martyrised; do not doubt that your mental stomach--if you have such a thing--is strong as an ostrich's; the stone will digest. You held out your hand for an egg, and fate put into it a scorpion. Show no consternation; close your fingers firmly upon the gift; let it sting through your palm. Never mind; in time, after your hand and arm have swelled and quivered long with torture, the squeezed scorpion will die, and you will have learned the great lesson how to endure without a sob. For the whole remnant of your life, if you survive the test--some, it is said, die under it--you will be stronger, wiser, less sensitive. (Charlotte Bronte, Shirley, p. 79)

    Good stuff, eh?!

    World on Fire
    by Sarah McLachlan

    Hearts are worn in these dark ages
    You're not alone in this story's pages
    Night has fallen amongst the living and the dying
    And I try to hold it in, yeah I try to hold it in

    The world's on fire and
    It's more than I can handle
    I dive into the water
    (I try to pull my ship)
    I try to bring more
    More than I can handle
    (Bring it to the table)
    Bring what I am able

    I watch the heavens and I find a calling
    Something I can do to change this moment
    Stay close to me while the sky is falling
    Don't wanna be left alone, don't wanna be alone


    Hearts break, hearts mend
    Love still hurts
    Visions clash, planes crash
    Still there's talk of
    Saving souls, still the cold
    Is closing in on us

    We part the veil on Archille's sun
    Stray from the straight line on this short run
    The more we take, the less we become
    A fortune of one that means less for some

    [Chorus x2]

    Excuse me. I need to go crochet.
    So someone said they wanted to know what I was thinking. Apparently, this person feels that that is what blogging is all about. Pshaw, I say! Can't I just collect the thoughts of others? I mean, I know Emerson would disapprove whole-heartedly, but he's dead, so who cares?! ;)

    What am I thinking? Today I'm pondering how difficult it is to take the bad along with the good in others. Granted, also not a terribly original thought. But I think it's something that has day-to-day relevance. All that life consists of is various types of interaction between people. Accepting others isn't easy for everyone. I admire thoroughly those people who can do it and make it seem as though it comes naturally. I realize I'm being rather vague. (Always my downfall in scholastic analysis.) But I'm an INFJ! I'm supposed to be abstract. So there!

    Well, the train of sleep is leaving the station, and I still have to get through the division between platforms. Bon nuit, mes amis!

    Friday, December 10, 2004

    I have got to get more sleep. My ability to interact with other people with any semblance of normality has reached a shocking low, even for me.

    On the bright side, I have three weeks to sleep, and two of them in a country with clean air. All hail emissions testing and really leafy trees.

    Oh the things that Eminem, Zebrahead, and Wheatus can do for the soul at times.

    Wednesday, December 08, 2004

    I know, quote after quote after quote... But it's finals week! Can you really blame me?!

    Love me without fear,
    Trust me without questioning,
    Need me without demanding,
    Want me without restrictions,
    Accept me without change,
    Desire me without inhibitions,
    For a love so free...
    Will never fly away.

    - Dick Sutphen

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    ...our great creative Mother, while she amuses us with apparently working in the broadest sunshine, is yet severely careful to keep her own secrets, and, in spite of her pretended openness, shows us nothing but results. She permits us indeed, to mar, but seldom to mend, and, like a jealous patentee, on no account to make.
    - Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Birth-mark

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    ...personal pronouns are the death of me...See? I just said me...
    - Darren Hayes, "Ego", The Tension and the Spark

    This should be an inspiration to us all: In Search of a Better Life...
    From a drop of water a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a link of it.
    - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet

    Penny is looking at me unblinkingly.

    I need to be careful, or I'll become like Poe with the cats.

    Sunday, December 05, 2004

    Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy
    by Big & Rich

    Well, I walk into the room
    Passing out hundred dollar bills
    And it kills and it thrills like the horns on my Silverado grill
    And I buy the bar a double round of crown
    And everybody's getting down an' this town
    Ain't never gonna be the same

    Cause I saddle up my horse
    And I ride into the city
    I make a lot of noise
    Cause the girls they are so pretty
    Riding up and down Broadway on my old stud Leroy
    And the girls say
    Save a horse, ride a cowboy
    Everybody says
    Save a horse, ride a cowboy

    Well I don't give a dang about nothing
    I'm singing and bling-blingin'
    While the girls are drinking
    Long necks down!
    And I wouldn't trade ol' Leroy
    Or my Chevrolet for your Escalade
    Or your freak parade
    I'm the only John Wayne left in this town


    I'm a thorough-bred
    That's what she said
    In the back of my truck bed
    As I was gettin' buzzed on suds
    Out on some back country road
    We where flying high
    Fining, whine, having ourselves a big and rich time
    And I was going just about as far as she'd let me go
    But her evaluation
    Of my cowboy reputation
    Had me begging for salvation
    All night long
    So I took her out giggin' frogs
    Introduced her to my old bird dog
    And sang her every Wilie Nelson song I could think of
    And we made love


    What? What?
    Save a horse, ride a cowboy
    Everybody says
    Save a horse, ride a cowboy
    California is a fine place to live if you happen to be an orange.
    - Fred Allen
    I think I have a masochistic fascination with not sleeping.

    Life is nothing more than a bus ride to the cemetery, with everyone fighting for the best seats.
    - A cynical atheist

    Saturday, December 04, 2004

    How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
    - Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    God loves idiots. That is why He made so many of them.
    - Anonymous

    Watch Sarah McLachlan's World On Fire video. Pastor Sam showed it at Rendezvous this week. I'm so proud to be Canadian sometimes.

    Am I running to or from?
    There are so many doors in this hallway. And now here are two, at the end of it all. And one is wide open, and I am hesitant to step inside, into the light. And the other one is locked and barred, and it's the one I want most to walk through, and into whatever darkness waits on the other side.

    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    This is the most awesome song ever.

    Beers Are Not Enough
    (Tears Are Not Enough parody)

    As every ship comes in
    From Canada again
    We open it and we begin to wail

    They could have sent us wheat
    Or something we could eat
    But not another case of Molson's ale

    The Chinese they came through
    With dinner number two
    And extra plum sauce on the side

    But Canadians are weird
    They always send us beer
    And we can't stop them,
    Though we've tried

    So when you send assistance
    When you send it all that distance
    Don't you know that beers are not enough
    It's hard to stand and we're all sober
    Just one beer would knock us over
    Heaven knows that beers are not enough

    The Swiss they sent us cheese
    We got rice from the Japanese
    And Mexico sent us something warm and brown

    The British sent us spam
    With buttered scones and jam
    And cups of tea to wash it down

    Chorus x 2