Friday, December 31, 2004


Is that how you spell that? In any case, I've made it safely back to Seabury. I'm sure I'll soon get used to it, and I am excited for Kirsteen to move in, but the room looks different with Kirsteen's stuff on the shelves instead of Rhonda's.

Speaking of shelves, it's now my task to figure out where more books are going to go on my bookshelf. I realize it's a problem that I'm having this dilemma after only one quarter here... eventually the pictures, mugs, and dishes will have to move. But right now I'm not sure where they're going to go. Very nearly all of the shelf space is already used up, and that's with Kirsteen only partly moved in.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

my bags are packed, i'm ready to go..

Well, mostly packed, anyway. It'll still take a slight miracle tomorrow morning to get everything in, but I have complete confidence that it will happen. If all goes according to plan, I should be back in Evanston by midafternoon. It's been a lovely visit, but it will be good to be back - back in space that at least approximates being mine, back someplace where I'm not housebound until someone else decides to go out, back out from under my parents' roof.

Saturday or Sunday I'll get a new roommate, which will be exciting, and then Monday it's back to classes. Which will be good also. I like classes.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Holy Innocents

Haven't blogged in a couple of days. Partly this is due to my enormous popularity, which has sucked away enough time that I just haven't been online much. Partly, though, this is because when I've done my blog reading, many of the entries have been about Holy Innocents. Holy Innocents ranks right up with All Saints/All Souls as a Feast Day of Incredibly Inconvenient Timing (on a purely selfish basis, of course). While Holy Innocents has a more specific historical focus than All Saints/All Souls, it usually doesn't take long for the discussion to turn toward modern-day innocents. And regardless of how many other deserving innocents there are to remember in any given year, for me, Holy Innocents is just too close to the anniversary of Emily's memorial service on Dec 27 (and for that matter, Becca's, on I think the 29th). Instead of thinking about Herod and the slaughter of who-knows-how-many young boys (which is itself a horrific story, as Si points out ), or even current events like the tsunami, I think about how a beautiful young woman with a kind heart and a soul that yearned for God was taken from us, shot for no reason. It's compounded somewhat by the fact that the readings for Holy Innocents overlap with the readings from Emily's service, and that particular Revelation passage is hard for me even when it's not Holy Innocents. I mentioned recently how my understanding of the Incarnation was affected when Emily and Julia died; somewhat similarly, my ability to tolerate Holy Innocents has been drastically reduced since Emily's death in particular. I imagine this is something I ought to work on, since this is likely not the last year I'll encounter Holy Innocents, and since my engagement with it will likely have to increase some time. But for now, I'm going to go back to repressing any observance of this particular day.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

A Clean Rug is Hard to Find

At least if you live in a Seabury dorm. Anyone who's seen my common room rug will attest to this, and probably it's true of most of the other rugs around. So I was super duper excited tonight to open my email and discover that my new roommate has taken the rug back with her to have it cleaned. Not sure how well it will work - it's entirely possible the rug may disintegrate or spit dirt back in the cleaner's face or something of that nature. But I'm excited that someone's trying, with better cleaning supplies than the ones residing in our suite's bathroom corner.

Not quite as exciting (especially to people who aren't overly joyful about good grammar): AKMA's blog features a post today about writing, and particularly about the active voice, that triggers my memory. My little brother came home last week from his senior year at Allegheny, where he's majoring in theater and minoring in psychology. Within the first twenty-four hours, he announced to me that he had learned something new this term - what "passive voice" means. After eighteen years of living with an English teacher father and a bossy grammar guardian older sister and three years of seeing "passive" scrawled on his papers, he decided to look it up, and discovered the joy of active verbs. Amazed as I was by his timing, I have to admit that the bossy-older-sister/editor parts of me were pretty thrilled about his excitement over how much stronger and bolder active verbs are.

And yes, I know I'm a dork. If you're reading this, you probably knew it already also.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Happy Christmas!

I love Christmas. I wouldn't choose to have it any other way but the way my family celebrates. Final preparations and lots of church on Christmas Eve, then up the next morning to do presents with our immediate family before brunch and presents with my mom's family. Then back home to cook while my dad and brother pick up my dad's mom, more presents with her, then my mom's family comes over for a big dinner with the whole family. Often we'll have games after, though nearly as often one or more groups of the family have other Christmas obligations still to fulfill - such as this year, when many of us hadn't finished presents yet. Then my parents leave to take my grandmother back while my brother and I get the extreme honor and privilege of cleaning up. It's a marvelous day and a half, full of both worship and family.

I do look back with a certain fondness, however, on the days when church was over when the 4 pm pageant was over instead of coming home at 1 am or so, and we were well-rested for Christmas Day when we got up, instead of dragging ourselves out of bed at 8 am after six or seven hours of sleep (which is really not enough for any of us but my dad), and when we were young enough to play with our new toys between brunch and dinner instead of working (as much as I love cooking, after that kind of morning I'm ready for a rest now). Here's hoping my parents get home soon, so they can decide what they want to do with the rest of the turkey and the roasting pan, so we can all go to bed.

I've just heard a car door, so I'll just hope that everyone else had as happy a holiday as I did, and go on about the business of finishing up for the night.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Taters, taters everywhere...

A week or two ago, AKMA said to me that he could think of only one use for potatoes, aside from potato printing. This led to my commitment to recover the directions for making a potato lamp (see previous post). Here, then, are several possible uses for potatoes, other than eating them and stamping with them:

The famous potato lamp

Want a potato menorah?

Power your alarm clock by potato!

Seeking a new culture medium for fungus and bacteria? (scroll down to find the potato part)

Less impressive: a potato groundhog (scroll down on this one also)

I also found directions for making a gun that will shoot potatoes, but this doesn't strike me as warranting a link here.

Yes, if there's one thing I've learned from the Girl Scouts, it's that there's more than one use for everything.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Do you hear what I hear?

That's the flapping of my wings. No, I'm still no angel - apparently I've become a social butterfly. In a city where I still talk to a grand total of one of the high school friends who've stayed local, I've managed to book myself for five (going for six or seven) social engagements in these two weeks, family Christmas things obviously not included.

I've just come back from a great evening of dinner and drinks with Frog and Why?, two marvelous friends from - you guessed it - Girl Scout camp (where else do you make friends with such odd names?). It was especially great to see Why? since she lives in Florida most of the year and I can't go back to camp this summer. It was hard to tell her that tonight, and to listen to the two of them make plans for the summer. I'm going to miss camp lots and lots. However, it's heartwarming to know that I will at least be at core camp in effigy, seated at the ghost seat at the dining table - and that when I come home at the end of the day ready to hear about something other than who died on whose watch that day, I can call in and hear who thought they were going to be eaten by the reeds near the pond drain or who slipped and slid all the way down the rope trail in front of their girls instead.

Just occurred to me that I forgot to ask Why? how to make a potato lamp - but never fear, I SHALL find out again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Pilgrimage to middle-age

I like it when my parents' friends come over. I like that I'm old enough to sit and participate in the conversation as an adult now, even joining in on the jokes and teasing. I like getting the chance to speak German with Barbara once in a while. I like helping to entertain in what's as close as I get most of the time to my home turf, even if it doesn't much feel like home anymore.

I don't, however, like that my chameleon nature picks up on the fact that I'm hanging out with fifty-ish people and sparks my brain to want to fall asleep at ten o'clock. Inevitably, when my parents' friends are over, I end up feeling ready for bed before they leave, even though I'm normally not in bed until midnight or so. Strange.

Monday, December 20, 2004

yeehaw! dowwwn little doggies!

So today I had my meeting with the bishop. I was nervous going in - but this appears to have been utterly unwarranted. After some initial conversation about my health, I broached the topic of long-term planning and a possible academic future, something I'd never mentioned to him before - and he was completely unfazed by it. He expressed his total support and told me to look into all sorts of different options, even bringing up possibilities such as "it may be that you need to go straight on to doctoral work". Now that I remain utterly unconvinced of, but the idea that with no hesitation he's given me permission to look at so many different options is awesome, and was totally unexpected. I expected to have to sell the idea much more. But no, he just wants me to keep in touch about my thoughts and learnings as I continue trying to discern God's will for my life. I have such a sense of freedom now to search and investigate and listen, without worrying about what my bishop will think of it all. Thanks be to God!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

God with us

I was just catching up on Mike's blog while I'm on my parents' computer, since for some reason his blog site won't open right on my own computer, and thinking about the clarity he talks about in the wake of Julia's, and for me Emily's, death. Sitting with Laurie and Rory and Johnny and Mike on Sunday and remembering Julia's life, I realized how much my understanding of the Incarnation has deepened since they died. I realized how I understand that kind of love much more closely now, because I'd still trade places with either of them in a heartbeat. I'd still give anything to have them sitting in the pews in chapel, not just part of the cloud of witnesses, even if it meant me not being there. And I think about that, about how much I still love them both, and it explodes my understanding (to borrow a phrase) - because if I, as frail and sinful and selfish a creature as I am, can love that much, that deeply - then how much more fully and freely and wonderfully must God be able to love us - and then God becoming human, God with us, and going through with it all the way through death makes so much more sense. I'd still trade that knowledge to have them back, even though I'm not sure I'm supposed to feel that way. But there's a glimmer of comfort in the realization that out of these tragedies - really, it usually feels like one big tragedy, all rolled together - that there's been a deepening in my understanding of God, even amidst all the pain and anger.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Afternoon lessons

~A single stocking should not be longer than the leg it's meant to cover.

~Leaving a rubber band in your hair for three years is a bad idea, even if your hair is synthetic. The rubber band will break down, and your hair will still remember that shape when you take the ponytail out.

~Waistband elastics, on the other hand, seem to last anywhere from five to fifteen years before they're shot all to hell.

~Green ribbons cannot just get up and walk away. This doesn't mean they can be found.

~If you have a lot of long hair, it's best to turn your head around backwards when changing your dress.

Yes, it's that time again - I'm changing my American Girl dolls and getting them ready for Christmas. However, because I only do this at best once a season, it's a little dusty back in that trunk, so I'm taking a break to share what I've learned in the last hour.

Hmm. I just realized that I've had my Samantha doll for fifteen years this Christmas. That's a long time. It would also put quite an age gap between Samantha and Kit, who's only been around for three - if all seven of them weren't eternally nine or ten years old.

On the other hand, as necessary as getting seven (miniature and very well behaved) girls ready for Christmas may seem to me, I should probably also empty the dishwasher before my parents come home.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

jiggety jig?

I have safely arrived at my parents' house... and it feels less like home than ever. I joked earlier with Rory that I knew I'd become an adult when I was packing for Christmas this year and found it worth my while to pay to do laundry at school so I wouldn't have to bring it home to do it for free, but there's something to it. For one thing, this is the first year that I've really found myself tripping over questions about "are you going home for Christmas?" and heard myself telling people I'm going to my parents' for Christmas. I've been here less than an hour, and while it's lovely to see my parents, and I'm sure the next two weeks will be wonderful, I'm ready to go back to Evanston and my own space. And I miss my friends in St Louis. I hate not knowing where home is.

I've also discovered that sometime in the last couple of weeks, someone decided that a heart monitor should be shipped here. So tomorrow I get to make phone calls and try to find out who made such a silly decision and what I need to do to undo it in such a fashion that I won't be charged for someone else's ineptitude. Because I definitely, definitely never told anyone to do that.

Anyway, the point of this was really just to announce my safe arrival in Cleveland... whatever that means.

chinese food and piercing and guster, oh my!

So if you hadn't guessed from the title, I did go ahead and get my nose pierced. And sorry, Raisin, but I went with the stud. Just not sure my parish would be ok with the hoop. Maybe I'll try it later this year. They had to put it in a slightly different place than last time, because apparently the first piercing was too low. But it's looking like a way healthier piercing than the first one really ever was, so I'm pretty happy about that. The stud is a blue stone set in silver, and a little bigger than the old ones, but not actually large.

Before that, however, we went to a new Chinese restaurant. They had undoubtedly the very best Chinese food I've ever eaten in my life. I intend to file a complaint with the heavenly council about the fact that this restaurant opened this year and not last year. It's delicious food. Delicious, delicious food.

Guster is also delicious, but not delicious food. Delicious music. And now I have a Guster mix cd, to be used for Guster evangelism, and I've been promised a data cd with lots of other Guster music on it, for my own purposes. This is exciting partly because I'd been promised the Guster cd for so very, very long... and now I have it. Still don't have the promised Cake/Guster mix, but you know. Now Ryan's going to burn it for me...

... but quickly, because then we have to leave and go to the airport. And that will be sad. I want to keep my St Louis friends with me, not leave them. I'm sure home will be lovely, but, you know, St Louis is nice too. Especially the friends part.

Well, friends and incredibly good Chinese food....

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

to pierce or not to pierce?

Hurray for Rory, who brings me homemade cinnamon nut rolls and tea while I sit on the couch reading blogs! I have such marvelous friends.

I've retaken the Dante's Inferno test (which I would link to but Netscape won't let me right now, so if you want it, click on Totoro-Ryan's link), because I couldn't remember some of my results, and I was dubious about others. In fact, I managed to raise my Gluttony score. I'm ok with this, not because I think gluttony is a good thing, but because I couldn't figure out how I was low in gluttony before. I'm now moderate, which is more logical. I'm still inexplicably high on Violent, but I've raised my Purgatory score to Extreme, which is nice, and I'm still low to very low on the others. I'd let you look for yourselves, but again, Netscape's being silly.

I've had a lovely and uneventful couple of days, spending much of it on the silent retreat. The retreat was, as usual, lovely, quiet, productive, and relaxing. I've readjusted to being in St Louis, and it feels like home again. This is of course extremely helpful, since I leave for Cleveland tomorrow.

Must decide today whether to get my nose repierced while I'm here, leave it out for good, or allow my father to get his hopes up and then argue with him about how I'm going to repierce it when I get back to Evanston. I think we'll walk down to Iron Age and ask about prices... I'm frustrated with myself because I forgot to bring my nose ring with me, so I'll have to buy a new one if I want it repierced before I get back to Evanston. I'd like to try a hoop, partly because they're supposed to heal faster, but I'm pretty sure part of the reason I've gotten this far with the nose ring is that it's always been a fairly unobtrusive stud, and I'm not sure about showing up to be a chalice bearer/returning seminarian for the main Christmas Eve service having replaced my little nose stud with a more obvious hoop. Must also find out how much it will cost me - pretty sure it'll be cheaper here than in Evanston.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

no more of this...

I hereby move that we abolish the middle of December. Next year, let's just skip Dec 9-14... ok?

prayer books, prayer books, everywhere

Reading through back entries of Wes' blog has reminded me that there's another version of the "pick up the nearest book and type x sentence" out there... well, ok, that Totoro-Ryan and I, ahem, adjusted it last year when it was popular. If I remember correctly, our version reads as follows:

Pick up the nearest Book of Common Prayer.
Start reading it aloud to the nearest person. Keep reading it until the person says something.
Post the first thing they say, along with these instructions.

If I'm not mistaken, this originated out of a whole series of blog entries where the fifth sentence on page 123 was out of the Evening Prayer service (I'm pretty sure that's what's on page 123). And really, everyone posting the same sentence got boring, though the fact of the matter was amusing.

surprise! wireless!

I have wireless in Rory and Ryan's apartment! This is a pleasant surprise to all of us. We don't know where it's coming from, but now I can blog and chat from the living room on my own computer instead of having to go somewhere else on someone else's computer. Huzzah!

Last night was the ECM Christmas party. It was a little surreal, being at a major ECM event like that. I've been back since I stopped being the intern, but I haven't been to a big gathering like that. But it was also a whole lot of fun. I haven't had that kind of unadulterated, nonanxious fun for a long time. I didn't really realize the extent to which there's been an underlying - well, not exactly anxiety... more alertness, maybe? to even the best parts of the last couple of months until last night. It was very relaxing, in addition to being just really great to see people and hang out and carol.

Friday, December 10, 2004

you know it's been a long quarter when...

So I just said goodbye and Merry Christmas to three people in the last five minutes, and three out of three thanked me for not dying this quarter. Not entirely sure how I feel about that. Three out of three also stipulated that I should come back after Christmas break. Is this in doubt for people? I do have every intention of returning on Dec 31, just to clear that up.

However, I know exactly how I feel about being done for the quarter: woot!

And for that matter, I know how I feel about packing and cleaning: ugh. But it has to be done, and today...

...because tomorrow I'll be in St Louis: another woot!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

planes, trains, and automobiles...

Huzzah! Thanks to Katy and Emily and Wes (and maybe Andrew?), I now have ways to get from various residences to train stations and airports, and from train stations and airports to various residences over the next few weeks. It's going to be marvelous to see everyone in St Louis, and probably in Cleveland too, though that's not quite as exciting, and very odd to be gone from Seabury for three weeks.

Having nearly finished my Gospel Mission paper, I've set that aside until after my Early Church final is over tomorrow. If anyone knows more about Phrygia than I've been able to find, please fill me in before 1 pm tomorrow. Other than that, I seem to be reasonably well prepared, if the practice quizzes can be trusted - just how well prepared I am, I'll know better by 3 pm tomorrow.

I now have an insurance card to replace the one that will expire on Friday. My father originally said he would send it sometime this week, at which I had to plead that it be here before Friday. When he said "sometime this week", I had a fleeting mental image of AKMA driving my car while they're babysitting it, getting pulled over for something silly like a tail light going out, and trying to explain to a police officer why an Illinois driver was driving a car registered to an Ohio resident who was at the time in St Louis, whose insurance on the car was expired, all while wearing clericals. My father agreed that that would be a bad scene, and has duly caused the current card to appear in my mailbox today. Tomorrow it needs to make its way to the car itself.

And tomorrow by this time, I should be done with my academic work. I do have class Friday morning, but I can handle going to class, especially with a guest lecturer who will not expect us to have done copious amounts of reading beforehand.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

a woot!

I'm not quite there yet, but I'm really close to being done... close enough to enjoy the rest of my work. I have the second half of one reflection paper still to write - a paper which is partly about ECM, which is fun. I do love talking about all the impossible and marvelous things about ECM - and I don't half mind my site visit church, so that's not so bad either. Then Thursday I have a church history final, which being church history is also fun to study for. I should qualify that. I have a church history final, which being early church history is fun to study for. (There was a lot of material in my 1000-1700 class in college that I didn't give two hoots about.) And I have to print a church history paper, but that doesn't count. Other than that, I'm done with this quarter - and as much as I've loved my classes this quarter, there's been enough of a crunch to the last month's work that I will actually be relieved to have things simply done.

There's something not quite right, though, about being excited to be done with my classwork partly because then I'll have time to do things like read books I didn't get to finish for my classes this quarter. (Don't worry, I don't care that much about all of the reading that didn't happen - but some of it is just darn interesting. And valuable.) I'm not used to my Christmas reading list being books from the last term - in college it was always "woohoo! I get to read fiction!" Well, and spiritually-oriented Christian texts that I didn't get to read in my Purely Academic And Unbiased Religious Studies Classes - so I guess that's not all that different. The upside to this discovery is that I'm likely in the right place if I get this into my class reading.

I'm also getting very excited about heading to St Louis this weekend. Haven't quite figured out how I'm getting to the train station Saturday morning, but I'll figure something out. I can't wait to see all my wonderful St Louis friends!

Oh, and on the list of exciting things for this week, I have no more heart monitor! That's extremely exciting. No more stickers, no more wires, no more box on my hip that detaches itself from its clip when I sit down. And drugs that might even stop me from fainting. Here's hoping!

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I had no idea....

I thought the Saddle Club went away years ago. But no: here they are.

Also, Care Bears should look like cute cuddly cartoon characters from my childhood - not like bizarrely retro looking things pointing out that they came out twenty-some odd years ago. Care Bears should not make me think of album covers and bowling shoes.

apparently i'm inept...

The post previously found here was meant to help dispel, not create, rumors about what my (unnamed, but point taken; I do forget that other people bother to read about people they don't actually know) roommate was and was not up to last night... so to clarify further, the "was" of that was a humorous and innocent if unfortunate experience, and the "was not" includes anything that doesn't fall into the above categories - including such wild and crazy things as the manufacture of Care Bears coloring books, the purchasing of holiday cards, and the swimming of the English Channel.