C'est La Vie
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
Things I love
Wednesday, February 27, 2002
I think the light in the dining room was on, as well as the light in Erin's room. And the porch light.
The central heat, the heater in the bathroom, and the plug-in clocks were all on.
The refrigerator was functioning. Water was electrically-powered through the pipes in the normal way.
Erin and I were having a discussion about sea life in response to the special on the Travel Channel on sea life and on Sea World.
POP! -- a loud noise something like a pop or a bang rang out from across the street. Loud enough to startle us, but so brief it was gone before it had reached our ears.
Nothing was on.
More startling than the noise was the sudden silence, and the flash from the appliances as the lights were suddenly out and the TV flashed off. It was very dark, though not completely. I think Erin and I were attempting to look at eachother -- we'd been making eye contact before the noise, so maybe we still were looking at eachother -- but the 5 or 7 feet of darkness between us allowed me to only see the most vague outline of her very blonde hair against the window -- which was letting in just the tiniest amount of light from the fire station across the street, which still had power, and the street lights a few houses down that were still on. The light in front of our house -- usually providing enough light so that even if all the lights in the house or on the porch are out, we can see our way around fairly well -- had also fallen victim to the popping noise. We didn't realize this just yet, though.
I quickly went to my room to find my flashlight, which fortunately is kept in an open and accessible place for just such an occasion. Meanwhile, Erin found some matches on the window-sill in the living room and began lighting the candles on the bookshelf, coffeetable, shelf above the TV, another bookshelf, and anywhere else she could find them. Once the living room was fairly lit-up, and each of us with a flashlight in hand, we began exploring the possabilities. Erin pointed out that we didn't have an unusual amount of power. I remarked that she had just changed the light bulbs in her room to a higher wattage bulb, though I couldn't imagine it made that much difference, especially considering that she had left one socket empty so as not to make it overly bright in her room.
So off to the fuse box we went, stopping at the kitchen window on the way to see that our neighbor also had no power. We could usually see his Christmas lights lit up (white icicle lights that he leaves up year-round) and his porch light was almost always on at night. Neither were visible. Erin, being much more of a genius than I could ever pretend to be, turned off her flashlight for a moment to see that Jeff's windows had candle-light glow showing through, so that we knew for sure he was home and was also experiencing the power outage. The fuse-box looked fine, which was what we expected after seeing that the outage extended past our house. The people that live behind our property also had no lights coming from their houses -- much more visible now without leaves on the trees -- and a trip out the front revealed to us that the people living on the other side of Jeff also had no lights on. It was then that we noticed the street-lights being out as well.
"Must have been a transformer," Erin pointed out as she picked up the phone (fortunately, we have one that's not a portable plugged in) to call the power company.
We were, apparently, the first call about this outage. "So you're the third brick house on the right?" the woman asked after taking down our address.
"Yes," replied Erin, a touch confused and frightened. "They must have a REALLY good map of the city, or some extra special notes on their route plans," she told me when she got off the phone.
Erin grew up in central NC, which she called Thunderstorm Land while explaining why she knew so well what to do and not to do when your power's out. Getting the flashlights and candles out I can handle, along with turning off everything that had been on so they don't blow a fuse when power's restored. Not opening the freezer or fridge more than absolutely necessary was obvious enough. But not flushing the commode or running water -- I had never thought of that before in my life! To me, water is water and electricity is electricity. I had never known how dependant our running water is on electricity 'till Erin explained all of this to me.
I grew up in Hurricane Land, sure .. Hurricane Andrew passed right near my Floridian hometown on its path of major destruction. But I don't remember ever having a power outage for more than maybe an hour or two during my childhood, and I don't think I'd ever been told about the water problem.
At any rate.. the power was restored around 4am, Erin tells me -- which she knew because she'd forgotten to turn her room light off before going to bed. And we got along just fine reading by candlelight before drifting off to sleep. (We each read for something like an hour or two before bed. She, not being a student, gets to read fun books. I read some of my school textbooks as well as the book I'll be doing a review on for my English class.)
Before bedtime, though, Erin went outside to get something from her car. When she came in, she told me I had to go outside and look at the moon, which I did gladly. I love the moon, in any stage, color, or position in the sky. This night, it was beautiful, clear, very white. Only the slightest hint of the characteristic yellow we usually see in the moon. In a large, wide circle around the moon was a hazy ring. In certain parts of the ring, I could see what appeared to be a rainbow. After telling Erin that it wasn't a regular power outage, but rather a UFO attack that was causing our troubles, I put on a sweater to go lay down on our front walk and stare at the moon at its ring for something like half an hour or so.
We would not have been able to see the ring so clearly had the power stayed on that night. Indeed, we probably wouldn't even have noticed it.
Ah, the Lord does work all things for His glory.
Oh, right. It's my test.
So I went up front, recalling that out of the 29 people in the class that had already gotten their tests back, only one had recieved an A. (I found out today who that was .. a very quiet, older woman from Idaho or some such that rarely speaks up during discussions. When she does, though, it's very good input. I would've never thought of her as the one student to have gotten an A -- to be honest, I never really would have thought of her when I'm not actually looking at her. (She sits in the same row as I do, which is the last row, and there are always at least three or four people between us, so I have to do some maneuvering to actually see her, thus it's easy to forget she and the student that sits on the other side of her are there.) But when I was told that she was indeed the A student and when I reflected on the contributions she has made to the discussion and the presentation she made in class, I can certainly believe she'd get an A.)
Of the rest of the class, there were a few B's, a few C's, and about a 75% failure rate for this particular test. That's not normal for our class -- no, no, no. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this test included questions that were taken from elsewhere in the text other than the chapters we were being tested on .. indeed, most of the questions that weren't from these chapters weren't even from past chapters, either. They were questions we had no way of knowing the answers to. I do, by the way, plan on talking to my teacher about this. The chapter two test also included some similarly interesting questions.
With all these thoughts in mind, I went to the front of the classroom and picked up my paper, which had been lying face-down on the desk. Every little delay in seeing my grade increased the nervousness .. it's been a while since I've been so nervous about test grades. 75% failure is a lot, though, and the dread I felt while taking the test increased my thoughts of joining that number.
Turning the page over in some bizarre mix of slow aprehension and quick need to end the suspense, a little red number jumped out at me.
93 = A
I took my test back to my seat and showed the woman that sits next to me and the guy/boy/man that sits on the other side -- who had both been almost as nervous as I was about my own grade, since I was the only one to have to wait. "Oh, I don't believe it!" quoth she. Alex didn't say anything, which is his usual way of communicating. But having commented to me on Monday about how his test paper was going to feed the fireplace (he was one of the unfortunate 75%), he didn't really need to say anything. It was a bittersweet moment, perhaps. I flipped through to see what I'd gotten wrong (I had gotten the bonus question right, which is the only thing that kept me three points away from the precarious edge of the grade margin) and to laugh over which of the questions weren't in the chapters. I was in no mood today to talk to our teacher about this, but I will -- perhaps on Friday right before we all leave for Spring Break.
Victory is mine, in some odd measure. I do have to wonder, though, how teachers can grade essays unbiasedly. All I know is I'm glad I'm on my teacher's good side.
Monday, February 25, 2002
He's in very good shape. Thin, tall enough to be tall without being excessively so, still stands up straight.
His skin is remarkably tan considering the usual winter-time wear on the coloring of us white-folks. I reckon people start to stay a little bit more the same color year-round the older they get.
And this remarkably tan skin sticks against his bones and veins like good plastic wrap on a chicken nugget platter that's been heated up. (Don't get this? Heat up something heatable with some plastic wrap on it and just see how much closer the wrap sticks to what it's on. Sometimes, at the restaurant I used to work in where this was common practice, we'd end up practically laminating the wrap to the food and have to start again. Overcooking is not our friend.)
He's got these flat, thin little fingers.. you almost expect .. well, I'm not sure what you almost expect, but they just look different from the round and somewhat pudgy, or even boney and yet shapely fingers we usually see.
Perfect for pottery, anyway, not to mention photography, painting, drawing, etching, and who-knows-what-other-art-stuff he does.
So every Monday night this semester, we go into class around 7 for a demonstration. (Usually, I go in around 5 because we've got more students than we do wheels, though not as many students as last semester when it wasn't so easy to go in at different times what with not having a car and all.)
He makes it look so easy, Mr. Ceramics-Teacher does. There's this little voice inside my head that goes "See? It's so easy! You can do that! You can make beautiful pottery on the wheel!"
So much for that idea.
Mr. Ceramics-Teacher has been at this for at least 40 years now. Likely closer to 50. I've been at using the wheel for about .. oh, 6 months or so.
Tonight, there was a little voice in my head after the triumphant encourager that said "Sometimes I wish there was a demonstration from someone that didn't do things so perfectly all the time, so that he had to take his time to do these things and I could actually figure out what he's doing. And so that it wasn't so discouraging when I can't get the same thing to work for me."
In my psychology class in high school, one thing mentioned stood out to me quite a bit: People with healthy ambition will seek to be around (not all the time, mind you, but a good deal of it) those that they admire and that are masters of the skill these people want to gain."
Put simply: If you want to be a master potter, you should learn from the master potter. Just as if you want to be a good writer, you should read good books and seek to be around award-winning (or otherwise notable) authors.
Usually, that's me. I want to learn from my ceramics teacher the things that I cannot currently do on the wheel. And I'm more often than not very much a delayed-gratification person. When given a present, I can wait 'till Christmas to open it. When a friend starts to say something and then catches himself about to reveal something he shouldn't, I don't prod him for more information. I trust his discretion, even if it did come to late.
But with skills, I often get very frustrated that they take so long to learn. It's not like waiting and working at it from November first to December 25th, nor like just putting out of mind something that shouldn't have gotten there in the first place. No, no, my friend. It's spending years working on the same basic thing over and over and over untill you finally can manage to roll one seemingly-perfect pot off the wheel bed, out of the kiln, and into someone's home -- or office. Or wherever.
Ah, well. Somehow or other, I've made some decent little pots this semester. And the process of mastering ceramics is so enjoyable I could almost see myself working at it for the next 20, 30, maybe even 40 years.
Since I'm so exhausted, I'm gonna have to write about that soon. Hopefully tomorrow. As it often goes with writing, if I put it off much longer, I'm not likely to get to it at all. Or when I do, it won't be written about with the same emotions and memories as writing, say, tomorrow or the day after would.
Look forward, faithful reader, to the installment about going from the youngest child, free and independant for years, to a mother of four (ranging from 5-15) overnight.
In the class of 30, one A. Who knows, maybe she even meant the earlier class as well, making it more like one out of 60.
A couple of Bs, a few Cs..
"And it's all downhill from there," quoth she.
Wednesday, February 20, 2002
So, I may not get an A on today's test. But having gotten 98s on both our previous tests, and knowing that I'll continue to do so and will likely get a decent grade on the public speaking assignment later in the semester, I'm still not too concerned. Plus, I may well get an A today anyway, just a lower one than I'm used to.
Goodness, I don't know why I put off reading over the chapter again 'till last nite and this morning. And then got home late last nite and called Caren to wish her a happy birthday (and ended up talking the poor girls' ear off for at least half an hour, maybe an hour?) instead of getting right to reading. Should've sent her a card instead, and then just called very quickly maybe.. at least on cards there's a limit to how much you can say. ;)
Off to ceramics now, where I know I'll get an A. (Not that we have written tests or anything..)
While on this boondock stretch, right before reaching the small town, there was a dump-truck type thing in the right lane just ahead of me. I moved into the left lane to prepare the normal, gradual pass of a vehicle that can't handle the hills of Virginia highways. I noticed at this point that the truck was swerving into the left lane enough to make me nervous. We were pretty close to being the only vehicles on the road at 7:15 this Thursday night.
So, I decided that when I passed the truck, I'd have to do it quickly and would have to remain at a higher speed just long enough to get far away from him. He was frightening me. I don't have a cell phone, so I can't call bad drivers in, and as much as I love driving alone, I'm still aware of the risk of a single female driver being involved in an accident with a weird-lumberjack in the middle of the boondocks with no cell phone.
Right as the both of us came around a very slight curve, though, there was a police car hiding in the bushes.
So I got a ticket for driving 15 over.
I went today to defend myself against this ticket.
The county courthouse shared its duties and building with the town courthouse for the little, bitty town on the highway. I go some directions, got to the building that looked like a church, and found my way upstairs to where the traffic court was in session.
When I opened the door to join my fellow defendants, I realized that there were a whole lot of fellow defendants. The room was literally overflowing. I stood against the wall waiting for enough cases to be heard so that there'd be an empty seat, and of course none of the gentile young gentlemen in the room offered their seat to the lady standing.
And the trooper that issued my ticket was the last to have his cases tried, and my name is right near the end of the alphabet. So when I finally did sit down on what might could've been pews (you have to use phrases like might could when you're describing something that took place in a southern boondock bitty town), I ended up sitting on the hard wood, impossible-to-be-remotely-comfortable benches for almost two hours.
During this time, I was entertained by the southern grace of the boondock men brought in for drunk-driving charges, and realized that almost everyone present because of drunk-driving or public-drunkeness charges would get the jail time and heavy fines suspended on condition of good behavior. I figure, "Hey.. if a bunch of irresponsible drunks can get off this easily, surely he'll just throw away my ticket.."
No such luck.
The judge did, however, reduce my speed to 9-over, but kept the fine the same as 15. So I was grateful to have one less point added to my driving record, and off I went to pay my fine.
After waiting for all the folks from everywhere in the world that had also been called into this courtroom on this day to pay their fines (not the drunks, though .. remember, they just got put on probation), it was fine-ally (haha.. ok, that one was pushing it) my turn. So I started to step up to the window, when a man that had been called after me also stepped to the window. I just sat back down (yet more uncomfortable wooden benches) but he said "no, I'm just starting to write out my check on the ledge here. You'll still be taken care of first."
Whatever. So I went to the window and while the woman was running my plastic through the machine, the man uncomfortably close to me started talking about why he'd gotten his ticket and making some comments about my appearance that made his uncomfortable closeness nearly unbearable. Have you ever had a moment when you were tempted to just leave your credit/debit card somewhere and run for your sweet life?
At any rate, the woman brought back my reciept and my card and told me she sure hopes I have a nice day.
Southern charm, as can be found even at courthouses, almost makes you not mind so much when you do get a ticket in such an awkward situation.
I then came straight to campus so that I'd at least make it to one of my classes today (not counting ceramics, which I'd make it to twice this week regardless since we've got an open studio). Walking on campus, I had one student one his smoke-break (blah!) outside offer to buy my Chinese food off me. "Sorry," I explained to him, "I'm hungry."
I went inside, sat down, took out my water bottle, opened my to-go container, and began to eat my lunch while catching up on the pre-test reading for my Communications class.
The next moment, I realized there was a stranger standing next to me in expectation.
I looked up.
"Can I have some of that? That junk look goooood."
Well, if it's not being told my hot dog is fatting, it's having complete strangers ask me for my lunch.
Monday, February 18, 2002
it's just not a good thing.
Ah, well.. I'm off to ceramics in a few minutes anyway, so I'll be away from all the fragrant substances people wear, and into the fragrant substances clay forms when it molds..
Another allergy activated.
Two out of two in one day is a great record, eh?
"Tonight," he started, "we're going to talk about a topic we all deal with each day. Who can explain whether sarcasm is right or wrong?"
For a brief moment, there was silence as the students processed the question and began to formulate their answers. Starting hesitantly to speak, and then often cutting eachother off in their rush to get it right first (even though we rarely have such "right and wrong" question and answer sets in our group), they replied. Some said what they thought we wanted to hear -- despite having a group of fairly sarcastic leaders, these students tended to say it was wrong; others regurgitated what they'd been taught all their lives -- which was either that it was wrong and unloving, period, or that it had its time and place; many students, recalling specific instances when their teachers, leaders, role-models, parents, and heroes had employed sarcasm were assuring eachother that it was ok. As might be expected, there were plenty of sarcastically-toned comments exchanged as well.
To our surprise, though, one particularly sarcastic eighth-grader planted himself firmly and seriously on the "sarcasm is wrong" side. Being a dynamic young man people are forced to pay attention to, he then had the floor and began expounding on the evils of lying or insulting people in the guise of sarcasm. Several of the seventh-grade girls gave various replies (often sarcastic, of course) to his arguments, but would only speak out so much against the guy they all had crushes on.
As some fellow eighth-graders chimed in against his viewpoint, though, he became very passionate.
Standing up and flinging his hate to the ground, he loudly proclaimed "Look, people! Carsasm is just wrong!"
There's nothing like a healthy dose of dyslexia to humble even the proudest teen-aged boy.
Friday, February 15, 2002
How do you not sleep well? Perhaps letting yourself be all worried right before going to sleep.. or eating certain foods (especially greeezzy foods or such) before bedtime. Or whatever else. I dunno.
At any rate, I just said it to a friend.. and then thought to myself "as opposed to "don't sleep well?" which is exactly what we always do unless someone tells us to sleep well.. hmm.."
And then there are those that say "how are you?" and don't expect a reply. Can I just say this drives me nuts? I know it's fairly common all over the Great States, but even so, it's just silley.
Anyway.. today, I'm wearing my headpiece. (It's like a necklace, but it goes around my forehead/hair. It's just plain comfortable to me and part of that is my Celtic heritage.)
That really changes how stangers interact. People that know me at all but haven't seen my headpiece before tend to clam up a bit. As for strangers, though, minorities tend to be more friendly while business-types or those that are more likely to share some of my heritage get sort-of afraid.
We are an interesting breed, people are.
When I look at the way people drive, I see extra evidence of how much of a problem that's become in our society.
Blinkers were invented for a reason, people!
Wednesday, February 13, 2002
This morning, when I got to class, the girl continuing to present her section from where she left off on Monday got up to start. She started where she left off, which was in the middle of a subsection. So the teacher suggested that instead we have a teensy mini-review of WHAT in the world we're talking about before just jumping right into the middle of a subsection.
So we were talkin about Attribution.
And so I just spoke right out, without turning the page back to refresh my memory, and said "It's when you attribute characteristics to somebody because they fit a certain schema."
Had I said Motivations instead of characteristics, I'd've been pretty right. Moreso if I'd've also said motivations due to a few certain qualities they had. But nope, I said characteristics. And so she looked at me questioningly, looked at the OTHER person always expected to answer, and said "is she right?" One of the other girls that doesn't speak much said the right definition and we went on our merry way.
Haha, take that, all ye who expect me to live up to my title: Official Expert on Everything!
Monday, February 11, 2002
I was going to a Lutheran church (at least the third Lutheran church I'd regularly attended in my childhood-to-that-point) and we (my church's youth group and leaders) had been assigned to prepare the music and liturgy for the local Lutheran youth gathering.
The band performing at this gathering was one Lost And Found, or LAF as I usually type.
So we were given a copy of one of their tapes and some other information so that we could insert a few of their songs into what we were planning. And we planned the weekend.
When that conference weekend arrived, I was too young to attend except during the parts when my youth group was performing. It was a multi-culterally themed youth group, and I was attending a very small church made up of members from Haiti, Jamaica, and other parts of the Caribbean. We performed Caribbean gospel songs and such. Which is fun, because my brothers and I are very white kids but were the only white kids in the youth group, so we didn't quite have the cultural background of our fellow youth group members, and thus didn't really know what we were doing up there so much.
At any rate, I did get to meet LAF and talk to them a bit more than I would have had I not been part of that church. And then I got to see them at least once a year for the next 5 or 7 years.
And then, one dark and .. wait, it wasn't dark.. two weeks out of the summer of '97, I saw them at DC/LA '97 (the LA part) and at the first year of Spirit West Coast. After that, I didn't see them again.
And after the concert, they gave me some cassettes to replace the ones I had had as a wee lass that have, in my bazillion moves and bazillion others-ganking-my-stuffs since, been disappeared from my collection.
So they gave me Speedwood I and Sikkibahm (both of which I currently still have on CD, along with Speedwood II and This .. and now also have Something and the Christmas CD) as well as Hengh! and This Is Our Prespective. (They spelled it as prespective intentionally, btw.)
When I got in my car, I put Hengh! in right away, 'cause it's the only one from which there were songs I haven't heard within the past several years.
And when that was through, I put in Prespective so that I could hear the beautiful racial-reconciliation-themed ballad, Skin.
Instead of Skin, though, or any of the three other songs on Prespective .. there was this Spanish guy crooning to Latin Jazz or some such.
I've heard of this before .. one Koo Chung sent one Andrew Peterson one of his CD's, to which he got the reply that the CD featured a Spanish singer rather than Koo.
So apparently there's a conspiracy afoot. Some guy at the reproduction company wants this Spanish guy gotten out into the musical world, and copies random albums (of indie artists, no less!) with the Spanish guy instead of what they're supposed to contain.
Either way, it greatly amused me. I'm just glad I've got Skin and the three other songs on different albums.
Frightening, I know.
So she proceeded to say that she wanted "someone brave -- or not someone brave, just someone knowledgable" to review Friday's discussion for the class.
In this class, the teacher assigns sections from our textbook for students to present in class. Some students end up mostly reading it, while others just bring index cards with them to the podium and end up not realizing when the teacher is reading from the book something she wanted them to hit on that they didn't write on their cards. At any rate, she normally calls on volunteers for any discussion pieces, but this morning she didn't.
I would have thought, had I known she wasn't going to call on a volunteer, that she would have asked the person that presented this section of the chapter to review it. But she didn't.
As I'm sitting there, flipping through my pages to get back to the section from which we're starting the review, I hear the teacher continuing to mention bits of information about the review and about how weekends are prone to forgetfullness, and about how knowledge is power or some such. And then, "Patricia, would you review this section for us?"
Wow. So now I'm singled out as the "brave -- or not really brave, but knowledgable" student of choice in my communications class.
Friday, February 08, 2002
That dream had something to do with lockers and vending machines. But that's about all I can remember.
Last night, I apparently drove down to Wake Forest University (where I was last weekend for the concert, as I blogged a teensy bit on earlier) to tell the folks there I wanted to work at a concert they were having in a few weeks. So, why I would drive well over two hours just to tell them (and try to convince them, apparently) that I wanted to work there is beyond me. Anyway, I did. And so I get to WFU and drop my stuff off in the room of some people I apparently knew there.. I don't remember what this room was like before the meeting, but it was almost as though I lived there. Then, I drive over to some place offcampus (or maybe the room was also offcampus? I think it was in a hotel or some such.) and park my car in a big lot. I run into my friend, Thor (who lives here.. yet in this dream was going to WFU) who explains that I can take the city bus to campus, which he's about to do. So I get on with him and ask them where the best stop is closest to where the place was that my meeting would be. (That was a confusing sentence.) And Thor decides to go to the meeting with me, and we get off, and we go to this meeting. I try to convince the people to let me work at this concert by telling them about the other concerts I've worked at and why I want to work this one and everything, and they basically seem very resistant to saying yes. I don't remember if they actually give me an answer .. I think it was left at "we'll contact you" or some such.
Thor and I leave and get back on the bus. During this ride, I realize that I've missed both of the classes I have on Fridays which is bad because I've already missed one and I have a court date (to not have a ticket) coming up in a couple of weeks which means that'll be three absences in each of these classes, which means I can't be absent anymore the rest of the semester.
And then I get off the bus and walk over to my car.. but I see some friends and decide instead that since I've already missed my classes, I may as well stick around and talk.
We all go to a picnic table next to a guard rail and we talk for a while. At some point, I stand up on the table and look down to see that there's a joint on the table. I think about stomping on it and kicking it away or otherwise disposing of it, but the dream moves right along before I actually take action. I look at some of my friends and say or think something very significant that I can't remember when I wake up. And then I go back to the room place to get my stuff so I can come home, and the girls that lived in the room were talking about some really bizarre stuff I won't post. I pick up my backpack and whatever else I may've brought with me, and realize I don't have my ringwatch on. How am I supposed to know if I'll make it back before dark without my ring watch? So I look on the floor and there's a ringwatch, but it's not mine. Mine has a light purple covering, where this one was magenta. And the band was darker silver, and thinner. But I put it on anyway and justify it by saying that they'll have my watch and I can trade back to them for it later. 'Sides, it wasn't either of those girls', and no one else was staying there. Then I get ready to go back to my car and I guess this is when I woke up.
(Which isn't to say I don't read Jamie's blog or others on which I AM on the list.. just that .. yah.)
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
I've always typed faster than most of my teachers. Even when I could only hunt and peck, in fact, most of my teachers could barely do that. Go figgur.
(Yes, with the extra ! on a seperate line.)
Going with the assumption that since those signs weren't always there, there must have been something to prompt someone to put them there, one really must again pause to wonder at the condition of American Society in general or at my school in particular.
Then again, I've lived with, stayed with, visited the houses of, etc.. many people that apparently need their own sign on the inside of their doors. So who knows. Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised to see "Please Flush" signs inside college bathroom stalls.
Monday, February 04, 2002
And I noticed a sign sitting behind the counter that said "Breakfast is self-serve. Please serve yourself."
What, pray tell, is the average intelligent college student supposed to assume that "Breakfast is self-serve" means, anyway? "Breakfast is self-serve. Please wait to be served"? Then again, I'm assuming that the average college student is intelligent, or at least that the there are enough average and intelligent students around here to be worth considering. Perhaps not. When I look at the decisions American Society in general has made (let's sue everyone just because we can, even when we're suing them for something WE did, etc) and I look at the fact that many of these society people have come through college or that those that never did go to college either are too-hard working to make stupid decisions like that OR are assumed to be generally less intelligent (notice the BIG or there. hard-workers are very often very intelligent people, and I couldn't ever do manual labor or other such work as they do.) and so one must wonder what's happening in the college system to produce such a society.
But then, one could wonder about a lot of things in today's world.
Meanwhile.. I decided to give my hot dog time to be digested so I'd be less dizzy before going to Ceramics, and so I decided the best thing to do would be to come to the lab and blog about the sign.
And when I got here, some oldish man walking out of the lab looked at the last couple of bites of my hot dog, looked at me as if in greeting, whispered "That's Fattening" and walked off.
Of course, this took me very much by surprise, as I hadn't heard anything about his mother so much as having a cold. Jan, Jon's mother, was an incredible woman, and I was really upset to hear that she had been fighting such a viscious disease. When I stopped by to see Jon a few nights later, he told me a little about the many cards they had recieved and about how he's figured out how to make a high-calorie shake for her to drink. I didn't see her that night -- she was very tired and not really ready for visitors at the moment, but even just being in the same house felt good.
A few nights after that, I was at Aleksandra's house and was going to be going to my mother's to finish our game of monopoly, then back to Aleks' to stay the night there. Aleks had been invited to spend some time with Jon that night if she could find a free hour, so I just told her I'd drop her off and pick her up since Jon's was right on the way. When we went to the door, Jan was sitting in the family room and heard Aleks' voice. So she called to Aleks to come in and say hi, and I followed. Seeing Jan sitting in the chair with her legs propped up and her scarf off for the night, I realized I hadn't really been prepared for this. I've seen pictures of people (some friends-of-friends and some I had no known connection to) with cancer, but never had I seen someone I loved during the time they were undergoing the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. I attempted to shield my reactions, since I'm sure she's seen enough of them already, and to keep conversation normal rather than saying everything with the grim voice humans naturally turn to in times like these.
But there she was. As she spoke, my mind attempted to remember the woman associated with this voice, but my eyes saw a living shadow in her place. I'm sure I blinked more than usual, because the disorientation of hearing something so strong in my memory and seeing something completely different was a new experience, something I had never really thought much about. I guess in my naive mind, I figured that as people's bodies changed due to cancer and its treatment, so would their voices. It just isn't that way, though.
So as I drove from there to my mother's, I cried a good deal. And I thought about everything she had been to me over the past 6 years.
She was the first one that I talked to from the church I later called my home. She was organizing a divorce healing weekend for adults and, as part of that, the accompanying sessions and fun time for children. My mother had somehow heard about this weekend and had called for information, and I just happened to get to her office while she was on the phone with Jan. Knowing that my brothers and I didn't think we needed to attend any sessions to learn about divorce, she insisted that I talk to Jan so that Jan could convince me that I would enjoy it whether or not I needed the information. When we got to the church that weekend, she was the first person I was introduced to, and she then introduced me to Jon, who happened to be in my grade and also happened to have a number of his friends there that weekend. Thus, I was suddenly accepted into this group of really great people who became very close friends over the next year. Throughout that year, my mother attended a divorce care group at Jan's house every couple of weekends, and I went with her and spent time with Jon, Aaron, Regina, and other children whose parents were in this group or who just came for the time to hang out. We'd take walks to the beach (a block away), play games on the computer, swim in the backyard pool, and watch Jon hone his acting skills.
I moved to CA just after the first year of knowing Jon and Jan and all these other folks, and didn't have a great deal of contact with much of any Floridian friends while I was there. When I moved back, though, it was as if I'd never left. There were new people to get to know and some of the old friends weren't around anymore, but for the most part, I was back into the same group of friends. That summer, Jon, Aaron, Aleks, Elise, and myself spent a lot of time together. there were times when Alek's high school friends, Aaron's musician friends, or our mutual church friends would also be involved, throwing or attending parties and such, but the five of us could be found together at almost every event. Many times we'd just spend time together at Jan's house, watching movies or talking for hours over whatever delicious meals she had made.
She was the one I talked to for hours when I found out my mother had decided to explore her sexuality. She listened to my story about how things had gone in CA and about why I was going to drop out of school. She helped me work through my decisions about moving up here, she loved me, she cared about me, she was a great impact on my life. She allowed me to stay on her couch when I visited for my brother's wedding almost two years ago as well as when I went just to visit about 6 months before that.
These are some of the things I thought about that night.
She had already gone to bed when I got back to pick Aleks up, but I had figured she would and had said goodnight before leaving earlier.
This past Saturday, I went to Wake Forest University to see an Andrew Peterson and Derek Webb concert with a group of friends as well as have sort-of an extended birthday celebration during the meal before the concert. Jon had been going to Wake Forest for two and a half years before staying home this semester to be with his mother, so I asked some students I met there if they knew him. Yes, in fact, they had been very good friends.
"His mother actually passed away last night," one informed me.
On the very evening I was celebrating my birth, laughing, enjoying life so much .. one of the greatest examples of compassion and love I've ever met passed from this world.
I really am glad that she's not suffering, but I also mourn for those of us left without her for the time being. We will, many of us, be worshipping God with her again someday. For as long as this mortal world continues and we continue to live on it, though, there will never be anyone to fill the gap she has left. There will never be another woman quite like her.
More than that, though, I grieve for Jon. To have been with her, to watch her suffer, to have to go through one of the many experiences we were never meant to go through .. I cannot imagine the pain he's experienced over the last couple of months. Perhaps it's a good thing for him that it didn't last as long as it could have. The fact that it happened at all, and that he will now no longer have her there to visit and to nurture him and everything else .. Jon, I am so sorry for you. Like everyone else in your life, I'm sure, I really wish there was something I could do.
Friday, February 01, 2002
Even now, watching a 40 year old man blow out 40 candles in one fell breath is great entertainment, you feel good just being around a challange of that sort.
And then there's me.
On Tuesday night, my house church made me a cake and watched me attempt to blow out the candles. Attempt being the key word. I think I got maybe four-fifths of them out, something around there. And then I had no air left.
And last night, my jr. highers brought cupcakes (Well, my roommate brought cupcakes but all my jr. highers sang for me) and again there were candles. I got all but three out this time since some cupcakes had two candles in them.
It's pathetic, isn't it? I'm supposed to still be young, and here I am not even being able to blow out the candles on my cake, already!
Don't forget to wake me up when the walker races start.. I think I can still handle that one!
RIGHT NOW, Peter is celebrating his anniversary of his birth minute..
Whereas I did so three hours ago.
Having a birthday gets me all mixed-up in the head.
In just under three hours, it will be the anniversary of the minute of my twin brothers' birth.
See, he's actually 4 minutes older than me, but he's in CA.
So this makes me older than him, right? 'Cause I'm in a time zone 3 hours ahead of the one he's in. So I'm older.
Wow! It's a whole 'nother world when you're the older twin!! :)
Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
"So how do i do normal
"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.
O little town of Bethlehem,
Walk humbly, son
Strings of lights above the bed
"In a little while I'll feel better
"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
have you seen my love
Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
"in time memories fade.
I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love
-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls
"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
Her mom: "We're all safe."
-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
Blessed be the rock stars!"
Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but
"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve
to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not
"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my
feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed
"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say
you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never
stop to wonder whether earth is just a little
better than the Land of the Free"
"Computers will know everything in the 21st
century. They'll be like me in the 20th