Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In which I am delusional

I'm a bit late with this, since it's after Christmas and all, but I didn't have time to get to it until this week.

This is one of my favorite Christmas hymns and I couldn't really find a recording of it. It's in a key I can sort of handle, so I thought I give it a shot singing it. I apologize in advance because I know it's off in some spots. I'd say I can sing, but not spectacularly. :D

The tune for this hymn is "Tempus Adest Floridum" which is also the tune for "Good King Wenceslas". Presumably most people know how that sounds, but for whatever reason the only version of that song that I'd ever heard was Mannheim Steamroller's version which though very cool, really sounds nothing like the tune:



At any rate, the hymn is "Gentle Mary Laid Her Child" and here are the words.

Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the undefiled,
To the world a Stranger.
Such a Babe in such a place,
Can he be the saviour?
Ask the saved of all the race
Who have found His favour.

Angels sang about His birth,
Wise men sought and found Him;
Heaven's star shone brightly forth
Glory all around Him.
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight,
Heard the angels singing;
All the plains were lit that night,
All the hills were ringing.

Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled,
But no more a Stranger.
Son of God of humble birth,
Beautiful the story;
Praise His Name in all the earth,
Hail! the King of Glory!

So here I am singing it. And to give credit where it is due, I did not play guitar, I sang along with this recording on YouTube, of someone much more talented than I on guitar. :)

I'm also minimally talented with the editing software on my computer, so it still sounds like the homemade recording that it is. I assume there's probably some way to fix that if I knew how all of it worked. And I majorly tripped over the word "Heaven's"...how does one fit that all in with the tune?? :D



Ooh boy, I just might be off half a note through the whole thing...I'm just not sure. :/ *rethinks posting this....*

In other news, it's the last day of 2009! I still have a post about Christmas that haven't gotten around to writing yet, as well as the tragic and suspenseful tale of the dying power adapter for my laptop. But those will have to wait until next year at this point.

Tonight we're planning on getting Chinese food (a New Year's Eve tradition!), and watching a movie, and putting together a puzzle. Yes, it sounds slightly lame, but I'm looking forward to it. We're watching a kids' movie even: Mouse Hunt. I remember watching it years and years ago for my birthday! Presumably my...eighth birthday at the earliest. It was probably more like ninth. Anyway, it should be interesting to see it again and see if I remember it properly. It made me slightly scared of factories I remember. :/

See you all next year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

First snow of the season

They were predicting snow for last Friday, and I was of course rather skeptical about it. It never snows here...not really! Or not anymore at least. But lo and behold, it did! I had to work on Friday and around 11 I heard the sleet start coming down. Sounded like a bunch of falling sprinkles. :) And then it was sleet/rain/sloppy snowflakes; I guess that's what they call a "wintery mix". Finally it started sticking a little bit, on the driveway and even on the grass.

I was pointing out to the little girl that it was snowing, and she seemed to enjoy watching it come down, so I told her that we could go outside after lunch. Well, she didn't seem terribly interested in that so I thought "Whatever, we'll just step outside for a while and then come back in for naptime". Well, after lunch I was in the kitchen cleaning up the dishes and such and I suddenly find that I'm being handed my coat...and my scarf...and she's dragging my shoes over while saying "Shoose! Shoose!". Oh! I guess we are going outside after all! :) She went bustling around rounding up her coat and scarf too; it was so cute!

So after getting all bundled up we headed out. We didn't end up staying out long because it was really cold, and the snow was very wet and therefore getting us pretty wet. But we walked down their rather steep (and now slippery/slushy) driveway, so I reached for her hand so she didn't slide, at which she stopped and stubbornly said "No!" while vehemently shaking her head. Haha! She didn't want any help at all, though she finally let me hold my arm out in front of her to catch her if she slipped. I was telling my mom about this and she just sat there smirking because that's how I was when I was little. Yeah, yeah, it's only fair, I know. :D

















Well, I got to leave a little bit early and Dad and I went to Costco before we headed home. And I drove. This was my first time driving in snow, since it doesn't snow that often and when it has I guess I haven't needed to go anywhere. It wasn't too bad really, but we saw people in Jeeps and pickup trucks having all sorts of problems.

I went out the next day and took a few pictures and sledded a bit, but there wasn't a steep enough hill to make me want to stay out and get all wet and cold, so I went back in pretty soon.

















I had to glue my boot back together with the hot glue gun:


























Snow makes me look sarcastic...oh wait, that's just me:

















Buried Swiss Chard plant:














Colin:











Not Colin:











Colin again:














There are still piles of snow sitting around because it's been so cold. Sadly it wasn't snowy on Christmas though, it just poured down rain all day.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My brain has a selective search engine

Heard: It's just the recycling truck, giving me false hope!

Brain: Keywords "false hope"...scanning...scanning... "Mother and Child Reunion, lyrics to"

Heard: Like jumping out of a plane and trying to fly by flapping your arms, flap, flap, flap...

Brain: Keywords "flap, flap, flap" ...scanning... "Flying Sketch, Monty Python"

Heard: Name the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence

Brain: Keywords "Declaration of Independence" ...scanning... subject -history ...scanning... error, data not found

While coming in handy when I want to remember song lyrics, for the most part this is not good. I also knew immediately what Dad was talking about when he said someone on American Idol sang, "That song, by that guy" which was "Kiss From a Rose" by Seal, of course.

So someone can throw a partial song lyric at me and if I've heard it it's probably in there somewhere, but if I try to remember something important it's kind of hit-and-miss. I don't know how to fix this, though I would rather like to. :P

Test the song lyric thing, if you'd like. :D

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thanksgiving resolutions

Over Thanksgiving, my cousins and I were joking that we should make "Thanksgiving resolutions" instead of waiting till the new year, because everyone does that. The problem with that being that you have to come up with resolutions earlier, and before the stress of December, I'm simply not able to figure out what I should be doing...or something like that. So, my "Thanksgiving" resolutions are a bit late. One cousin also joked that one goal should be to get married by next Thanksgiving. The two under eighteen protested that they weren't old enough, and I agreed that that would be nice, but then it was hardly up to me, now was it? :D But then, resolutions do usually include some impossible goal, so why not? Oh yeah, cause it's a kind of scary goal and would worry people. Nevermind, we'll skip that one.

In all seriousness there are things I want to do next year, not so much "resolutions" though.

  • I'm considering taking some CLEP tests, so I'll need to study for those and take them. The school where I would take them only has them every first Saturday of the month, so I'd want to get to work studying for them fairly quickly so that I could take some in February. I still need to look at the list though, and see which ones would be good to take. And definitely study...make sure I remember how to do schoolwork. :P Some things (like Algebra or Science) I just don't do on a regular basis, but hopefully they will come back to me fairly easily.
  • I also want to enter things in the fair next fall. We skipped this year, which was a nice break, but I kind of miss the fun of it too. So, I'll try to work on projects throughout the year so I'm not trying to make a couple dozen things in a month.
  • Cross-stitch? Sometime it would be nice to finish the "Celtic Banner" piece I'm working on (or not working on, rather).
  • And I would like to find something useful to do with my extra time, when I'm not working. I'm wondering about selling things on Etsy. I need to do some research to see what that would mean tax-wise, because if it's going to make filing taxes a pain, then it's probably not worth it. And it's not like I really need the extra money anyway, I get enough from my main job, but I would have more to put in my savings accounts then, and it would keep me busy.
  • On the other hand, I would rather do something that was actually more useful to people. Making them consumers is all well and good for making money I guess, but if I was helping them by employing some useful skill and getting paid for it, I would feel better about it. :) Sure people who don't craft will buy stuff on Etsy for prices I wouldn't pay, but I'm not sure I could get past the feeling that I was somehow ripping them off. :D Hmm...I haven't thought of anything else though. Web-design is one of those things you can do from home, but my knowledge of html and css and all that stuff is very, very limited. Portrait photography would be cool...but near impossible to schedule in any good way for me. Not to mention I'm not a professional photographer by any means, because having a fancy camera does not a professional equal. Well...maybe it does anymore. :/
So, I have lots of things to do and think about next year. Of course, I'm coming up with all these things now, because I have lots to do before Christmas and that's how I function. Whether it's because I hyper-focus and when I have an hour to get the living room clean for company, I start obsessively cleaning drawers; or because I work better under pressure, and therefore having more to do makes me start adding to the list, I don't know...but it's all bothering me now, when I have other things to do and no time to think about this stuff. Ah well.

In the meantime, as far as a short-term to-do list goes, I need to:

1. Wrap some presents before Sunday
2. Make fudge, finish a scarf, burn a CD, and wrap another present before Tuesday
3. Wrap the rest of my Christmas presents sometime between Tuesday and Christmas

And I think that's all. I mean, there are other things too. Like going to a concert tonight, church on Sunday, a contra dance, and some other things probably. Oh, like work. Got that to do also.

What NOT to do next year? Lots of things, some tangible and others not. For starters, maybe not spend quite so much time on the computer? And not wait until two weeks before Christmas to start knitting something as a gift. Finding time to read again. I've always loved to read, but it seems to have fallen by the wayside this year, which is not good. Possibly related, I must have lost some reading skill, or my scanning tendencies increased, but I seem to have some slight dyslexia. Not seriously, and I'm not sure there's any way that one can have "slight dyslexic tendencies", but I keep reading things wrong. Nothing a little reading won't help though, I'm sure. :) But when one reads "project pages" as "posthumous", and other things like that...can't remember them off the top of my head, but I keep finding myself mixing things up...it can't be good.

Or maybe I'll just "Hit the snooze, roll over, then repeat. Make large purchases, then lose the receipts!"

New Year's Resolution Song

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Random thoughts from my brain

  • I see some funny things on the way to work. For instance, in the neighborhood I work in there's a guy who looks like the former governor of Illinois. That...well, I have nothing to add to that.
  • Last week on the way to work I saw a guy waiting in a big long line of cars to turn and he was shaving with an electric razor. And he looked SO bored. Maybe you should shave before you leave, and save the coffee to drink in the car or something? Or maybe he shaves and drinks his coffee on the way to work. Sounds like asking for an accident and major injury. Also, if you shave in the car so often that it bores you...maybe you need help.
  • At work, the mom told me the other day that the little girl could have salad with her lunch, but to make sure it was cut up in small pieces because she'd choke on a long stringy piece. Ha, no kidding! I can definitely do that. I am the queen of cutting salad into (rather disgustingly) small pieces. It took me years before I was able to eat a salad without cutting it into about 1/2 inch pieces. (I can now, just so you know. Don't have to cut my salad at all, though I still cut it a little bit occasionally depending on how big the pieces are.)
  • All used book stores should have a cat. I went to the two bookstores in town the other day, one had a cat (Roscoe) and the other did not. Gotta say the lack of a cat wasn't a deal-breaker, but it made the first place more interesting.
  • In my defense, I was Christmas shopping at the bookstores, but I bought ten books. Half of them are for me.
  • My dad would probably think this is a misuse of bullet points.
  • The stores and radio stations are playing Christmas music already. *sigh* Good news: I have yet to hear "Christmas Shoes". Bad news: it's only the 12th.
  • I own too many clothes. Shirts in particular.
  • I need jeans though. I go through them pretty fast because I wear them almost every day. I have discovered that Calvin Klein jeans fit me perfectly. However, my budget is not made for CK jeans. With any luck I can find some on eBay, since I didn't find any at Goodwill the other day. I think if I get the right size and the right leg cut they'll work.
  • Most jeans button the same way. When quickly trying on a pile of jeans at Goodwill last week I was completely thrown off by finding a pair that buttoned the opposite way. I believe I stood there for a good ten seconds wrapping my brain around how to button them. :P What, were they men's jeans? "Charter Club, 8 Petite". No, men's pants aren't sized that way. Weird.
  • I have all my Christmas shopping done! I am immensely pleased by this.
  • I want boots for winter. I don't know what I want. Strangely, I liked some "motorcycle" boots at Shoe Dept. They weren't that out there really...but they were Harley Davidson brand. My parents are rather worried. :)
  • In order to save money this winter we are keeping our heat lower than usual. Duke Power raised (or is going to raise) the electric prices by 7%. I am going to freeze to death this winter. Or drink lots of tea to stay warm.
  • Tacos sound really good for Christmas dinner. :D Nontraditional, definitely, but yummy. Tacos are probably my favorite food. (Must remember that, it never occurs to me when someone asks that question.)
  • I need to make green bean casserole sometime because we didn't have any with Thanksgiving dinner. I don't think I would have had room for it anyway, but I need some now. Love that stuff.
  • I adore Aldi. The baking supplies they sell are super, as is all of the chocolate, and so much other stuff as well. AND inexpensive.
  • My mom suggested I get more hobbies so she can find something to get me for Christmas. :D I haven't a clue what else I could take up doing though. Music of some sort I guess. Or sports. Yikes. All my current hobbies are either already taken care of or I'm picky about what I want (like yarn for projects). I don't really need anything for Christmas, and I want expensive stuff. Oh well. :)
  • I'm going to the candle tea at Old Salem this evening with some friends. As many times as I've been to Old Salem, I have never been to a candle tea. This should be interesting. I will do my best to not be impaled by a Moravian star.
  • And that's what's going through my head.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Article about Audrey Hepburn

I just saw this on npr.org today and thought some of my friends might find it interesting. It's mostly about an auction of some of Hepburn's clothing but it has a little bit about her too.

A Hepburn Dress Of Your Very Own

"Are you in need of a new ensemble for your sojourn in Rome? Or perhaps some loungewear for serenading the moon on your fire escape? Today in London, Kerry Taylor Auctions will sell off an important collection of Audrey Hepburn clothing during its Passion for Fashion sale. The collection has been widely publicized and anticipated across the globe.

For a woman who saw herself as "too skinny, too flat and too tall," Hepburn played a major part in the way women looked and behaved in the 20th century. From ballet flats to skinny black jeans, Hepburn's wardrobe staples continue to influence another generation of fashion. In 2006, Gap went so far as to have Hepburn star in a commercial by using old film footage for its line of skinny black pants, similar to the ones she wore in the film Funny Face." ...continue reading.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Hymns

This is one of my favorite hymns, and we sang it at church yesterday, set to this tune.

O Father, You Are Sovereign
O Father, You are sovereign
In all the worlds You made;
Your mighty Word was spoken,
And light and life obeyed.
Your voice commands the seasons
And bounds the ocean’s shore,
Sets stars within their courses
And stills the tempests’ roar.

O Father, You are sovereign
In all affairs of man;
No powers of death or darkness
Can thwart Your perfect plan.
All chance and change transcending,
Supreme in time and space,
You hold your trusting children
Secure in Your embrace.

O Father, You are sovereign
The Lord of human pain,
Transmuting earthly sorrows
To gold of heavenly gain,
All evil overruling,
As none but Conqueror could,
Your love pursues its purpose—
Our souls’ eternal good.

O Father, You are sovereign!
We see You dimly now,
But soon before Your triumph
Earth’s every knee shall bow.
With this glad hope before us
Our faith springs forth anew:
Our Sovereign Lord and Savior,
We trust and worship You!

Sunday night we sang "Alas! and Did My Savior Bleed" to the Irish tune we've sung before, which I managed to track down last night. It's the tune for "Foggy Dew" which is a song about the Easter Rising.
Anyway, very pretty tune. Foggy Dew

Friday, December 04, 2009

Curmudgeonlyness?

I think we're going to put up our Christmas tree tomorrow. I dragged it out of the attic last night, but didn't feel like putting it together, so it's just going to have to relax as we decorate it. (It'll need to be fluffed up a little, I mean.) The three pieces pretty much just slide together and the branches flip down, and then the little side branches have to be fluffed. At least, I think that's how it will work. We just got it last year, so we've only put it up once.

Dad and I stopped at Target after work yesterday to get some Christmas lights because he wants to hang icicle lights and some other different stuff outside this year. So apart from looking askance at the tacky Christmas decor for sale at Target, and feeling like Charlie Brown surrounded by the pink metal Christmas trees, I pretty much stood there and helped Dad figure out what lights we needed. And then here's why I wonder if I'm turning old and cranky at twenty. There was a group of three or four flighty college girls looking for lights to put up in their rooms and they were off course spazzing around all hyper, and squeaking "Ohhh, look at theeeese.....!" and such as is usual in such situations. (And that tends to annoy me anyway.) Then they got to yammering on and on and on about which kind of lights they should get, and oh those ones are solar-powered, and those ones twinkle. "Oh, I want the ones that turn on and off! Ohh, they're expensive..." *disappointed lip curl*

Let's just say it wasn't a good day to mess with me anyway, and I dislike shopping unless I can get it done quickly and without any interruption or annoyance. I meandered down to their end of the aisle, picked up and read the back of the box of inexpensive lights they were wanting to get first, spoke up and pointed out that those ones would flash too if the flashing bulb was installed. (Brief explanation of what the flashing bulb should look like...wondered if they knew how to change it anyway but didn't go into that.) They gaped at me of course, were perhaps slightly grateful to me for pointing that out, and at any rate cleared out of there pretty soon after that. So I may have helped, or I may have freaked them out, but I just had to do something. :P

Then on the way home I started wondering if I act like that when I'm somewhere with a group of girls, and I sure hope I'm not. I can't stand and don't want to be like that... :/ Hmm.

Anyway. Stop me if you see me acting like that. The flighty-ness I mean, not the snarkiness. There's no hope for that. ;)

Random video from vacation

Here are the videos I took with my cousins.

First, Colin and I (and our cousin John) sword fighting with light sabers:


Then us playing the Riki-Tiki-Bear game:


And the game from above, so you can see the cool tapping:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ohio for Thanksgiving

I'm glad to be home. We went to Ohio over the Thanksgiving weekend to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins. Oh and Grandma and Grandpa came too. We had a great time!

I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Ohio. I expected it be something like Pennsylvania or Illinois in the winter time, i.e. very gray and depressing, but it wasn't. It's not boring and flat for starters, and it was sunny, and there are very cool old buildings not just old steel plants and such. I mean, there was some of that too, but nothing like Pittsburgh was when we went there. Bleah. Pittsburgh. We somehow managed to stay in the gloomiest, most nasty part of the town when we were there for some work conference.

Anyway...

My cousins and I went for walks, and talked, and played games. Ate food. Lots of food. All of the Thanksgiving meal was absolutely delicious, especially the sweet potato casserole. I didn't realize how much I like sweet potato casserole with pecans and stuff on top.













That was my first serving, then I went back for more sweet potatoes (definitely have a weakness for them), another roll, and more cranberry stuff. Not the best idea perhaps, but then I never did get around to eating pie: so I guess that somehow balances it out? No, I didn't think so. And I'm sad I missed the pie. Rebecca made three kinds of pie and I didn't try any of them. What an awful cousin I am. Plus I'm kind of craving apple pie now...I might have to make some.

And goodness sakes. It takes a lot to overcome my insane metabolism, but two days of sitting in the car for eight hours, that meal, and some fast food did the trick. :/ I must say it surprised me when I got home and discovered my clothes weren't fitting quite as well, that just doesn't usually happen. Oh well, not a big problem, I'm thin enough as it is, and what with a couple days at work and a contra dance, I'm working it off. :)

Oh, we also tried some Cincinnati chili while we were there. I didn't get mine on spaghetti because I just wasn't sure I could handle that, but I got chili cheese fries. Yum. Really really good. It threw me off at first though, because the chili is kind of sweet, and it smelled like tacos in there. So I was thinking tacos, and sort of expecting it to taste like tacos (even though chili doesn't, of course, taste like that) so it was a bit of a surprise when it was sweet. Oh well. It was still very good!

Let's see, what all did we do? On...Friday, we all went to the art museum. Lots of cool stuff there. Including this car, isn't it splendid?











I took way too many pictures of everything on this trip, but I have a bunch just from the art museum. Art Museum Photo Album (That link should work. It's a Facebook album, but that's the link that should make it viewable even if you don't have an account. If it doesn't work, please let me know.)

Saturday Rebecca and I went with the rest of my family to the zoo, my other two cousins, Andrea and John went with Grandma and Grandpa to the creation museum that's just over the border in KY. I wasn't particularly looking forward to going to the zoo, but it ended up being fun and it sounded like we were better off at the zoo than the museum. Hanging out with the grandparents that long apparently started to get to Andrea, since when they got home she texted us asking "Where her homies were". ;)

So yeah. Zoo. Lots of animals. Lots of random people that Rebecca and I were either fed up with bumping into, or talked about, etc. (Gosh, that sounds rude...) And then lunch... Lunch was very exciting. We ate at the one cafe in the zoo that was open, and sat outside, ready to enjoy our lunch and look at the peacocks strolling about the zoo. Sounds lovely, doesn't it? Sure.
















So, I'm getting ready to eat my french fries and see these little birds hanging around waiting for food, so I break off some bits of french fries and throw them to the birds. The birds eat them, fine, cute, I go on eating. That is, until Rebecca points out that the peacocks are gathering. Oh, that's cool, of course, they want food too, but they're not going to get close enough to be a problem, and I'm not going to throw them anything because there's certainly not enough for all of them. (See where this is going?) So one of the peacocks comes right up to the edge of the table; his head's about at a level with the table, he's peering up to see what food we have. At this point, I'm starting to eye the peacock a little more closely, not sure what his intentions are. Next thing I know, totally unexpected by me, he flap-flumphes onto the edge of the table (yes, I kinda forgot they fly) at which point I believe I involuntarily shrieked. Rebecca and I immediately shoo the bird, getting him to get off the table, which he does, by sort of falling backwards while flapping great gusts of breeze which blow the plates and napkins off the table.
At this point I am no longer impressed with peacocks, no longer think it's cool that they'll walk right up to humans, no longer am even considering sharing my food with them, and instead hold my water bottle in my free hand while eating the rest of my food so as to be able to hit any of them that try that stunt again. They didn't. One walked back and forth and Rebecca and I shoved the empty chair back and forth in front of it and it looked for a spot to get closer. Finally, some naive people a couple tables down sat down and start exclaiming about the peacocks and throwing food to them.

And then the squirrel decided to try his luck. Given his much smaller build and lack of flying ability he was nowhere near as intimidating as the peacocks. He did get on the table, where (in between taking pictures) I stared him down and told him firmly that no matter how cute and furry he was, he was getting a water bottle to the head if he didn't watch it. He finally gave up and went and jumped in the trash can. Oh no! Poor rejected squirrel. I never intentionally hurt anyone...but I must have hurt his feelings. :(












I took pictures at the zoo also, of course. Oh, right, they're in that other album too, along with the art museum pictures. I didn't get any pictures of the peacocks with their tails spread out, but I believe that's a mating ritual and it didn't seem to be the season for that. Or maybe these peacocks are just too fat and lazy from eating people's junk food to bother with that. :D

Oh, what else? We watched some movies. "Sabrina" w/Audrey Hepburn in it, and "It Happened One Night". We watched that one online. Started out on YouTube, and got so fed up with the sound/picture lag that I searched and found it on GoogleVideo instead. It's cool how many old movies are online, especially since it can be hard to find them to rent anywhere.

Took lots of miscellaneous pictures of all of us too. :) Cousins (and other relatives). I have a couple random videos too, but I'll put them in another post tomorrow.

The trip wasn't too bad. About eight hours of driving from here to Ohio. I drove about 60% of that on the way back because Mom was too tired to drive any. But that was fun, I enjoy driving. On the way there we made the mistake again of stopping in Nitro, WV. Terrible, terrible town. At least the part right off the highway certainly is. If there's a nicer part, we haven't seen it. According to Wikipedia there were munitions plants and such there during WWI, but they aren't active anymore. Hmm. It kinda looked like there was a nuclear power plant there now, but...ok...
(Incidentally, Wiki says that Clark Gable, who starred in "It Happened One Night", lived in Nitro briefly.)
It also says the pollution used to be really bad because of all the manufacturing, and Nitro was the location of a sighting of the "Mothman"...these two things may be connected, no? *eye roll*
Anyway, icky little town, nasty fast food places, not stopping there again.

I took pictures out the window of the car (a technique which sometimes worked and sometimes, sadly, did not) and also at various other points during the weekend: Cincinnati Trip

I stayed with my cousins all but the last day and one morning after making my fried eggs for breakfast, I was putting the eggs back in the fridge and started rearranging them like I usually do. Needless to say, my uncle gave me a strange look as if to say "What the heck are you doing with the egg carton??!" I explained that I always rearrange the eggs so that they are evenly distributed throughout the carton and when you pick it up it isn't unbalanced, leading to incidents that would be harmful to eggs. (And yes, I probably should have refrained from rearranging eggs at someone else's house.)

The last night and morning, I went and stayed at the hotel with Mom and Dad and Colin. Made Colin sleep on the floor, while I got the fold-out couch, since I was going to have to drive the next day. ;) I don't think he minded, he thought it was pretty neat, especially when I set up the couch cushions as a sort of mattress.

On a side note, I guess they don't have annoying little bells at the front desks of hotels anymore? Not sure that I would ring them, even if they did, but I went down to get some towels and ended up sort of tapping my knuckles on the granite countertop to get the attention of the desk clerk who had his back to me and was texting or something. I guess I should have said something to get his attention, but couldn't think of anything. "Excuse me" would have worked, but it didn't occur to me. :P To his credit he was really nice and gave me extra towels. :)

Hi, I'm a homeschooler and I haven't stayed in that many hotels recently... Speaking of which, we saw some homeschoolers on the way home. (They had an nche.com bumper sticker.)

And finally, a group photo, which we took Saturday night right before the grandparents took off without saying goodbye to my cousins. :P All in all we had minimal grandparent drama for once. Just a few things, but for the most part tempers were kept. Unless I missed something...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Hiking at Hanging Rock

Well...I love hiking, but I also like being able to walk normally, which I finally can now. I went hiking with my friend Laura on Saturday afternoon, and I've been a little sore ever since then. We went up to Hanging Rock...and took the most strenuous trail apparently. It wasn't really that steep, it was just very long. We wanted something challenging though, not just an easy walk, so we went on the Moore's Knob Wall loop trail, but apparently we're not as in shape as we thought. :) Or rather, we weren't. We are now.

We had a nice scenic drive going up there too, because we first got stuck behind a tractor, and then behind elderly people going under the speed limit. (I like driving on curvy mountain roads, but not driving slowly.) But we finally made it up there and headed out on the trail.












At one point we had stopped to sit on a rock for a little bit and were talking about how perfectly quiet it was. There wasn't any noise at all at that point, not even any animals. Well, I'd just drunk some of my water, which made my stomach make a strange gurgling sound, at which point Laura looked absolutely startled and horrified, while I couldn't stop laughing to explain what it was she had heard. :D

We took pictures of course.

Me with a nice tree:


















Hey, the tree pushed me!:


















Laura, looking for salamanders:












Laura again...looking annoyingly photogenic:


















We found goldfish...about three of them:












We had lots of random and interesting discussion during our hike, including the fact that we both wish we had a small handgun, and a concealed-carry permit. Glad to know I'm not the only one... :D

When we were about 3/4 of the way through our hike, we came across a group of middle-school boy scouts and their scout leaders (one of which had a Scottish accent!). We stopped and asked the scout leaders how much further we had to go. They asked if we had a map, and I'm sure were quite horrified that we didn't have one, but really, I don't see how the map helps, since it's just a sort of sketch of the trails, and wouldn't really help us tell where we were. Anyway, they told us we didn't have a whole lot further to go, just a lot of downhill down stone steps.

It was getting late, but we decided we had a better chance going down the other side, rather than retracing our steps. So we did. In fact, we jogged a lot of the way. Laughing at ourselves at we went, because it was rather ridiculous.

Anyway, we made it down and out of the park before it started getting dark. I had no cell phone reception until we got into Stokes County though. I don't know what I would do for a cell phone if I lived in Surry County...I couldn't get by with a Tracfone at any rate. But maybe no cell phones work up there, I have no idea.

So that was fun, but after the jogging down rocks my spine was killing me. Mom gave me a hug that night and I squawked when she touched my back, and realized my whole spine was sore to the touch. "What...?? Why...?" Mom reminded me that I'd been jogging over rock. Oh, right. Well, that's awesome the way spines absorb shocks, but man, did it hurt!

When we got back into Winston, I had to take Laura home, then get back home and take a super-fast shower and head off to babysit. I think I pretty much walked in the door, said "Hi. The trail was a little more strenuous than we thought", showered and dressed and then said "Bye. Yeah, I'm gonna grab something to eat" as I headed out the door. Oof. Maybe I packed that day a little tight, but I had fun. :)

(I'm listening to iTunes while I type, so: "We've got a kinder, gentler, machine-gun hand.....keep on rockin' in the free world!") Maybe I'll start putting a song on every blog post. :) Maybe. Maybe not. We shall just have to see.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Pwned!

When I was sick a couple weeks ago we got Chinese food for supper one night. There were extra fortune cookies, so I ate two of them...while feeling miserable.

The fortunes? "Don't ask, don't say. Everything lies in silence" and "Life's a mountain not a beach". Uhh...I think my fortune cookies just told me to shut up and stop complaining. :0

And since when do fortune cookies have sayings in them instead of fortunes? I mean, as silly as the fortunes usually are, they're at least in the form of fortunes not proverbs.

On the other hand, the "Learn Chinese" on the back of one fortune told me how to say "nice". So I can sarcastically say "nice" in Chinese now.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Farm house

I don't have any need for a house, but this one sure is cute.













On the other hand...unless this picture has been skewed out of proportion, I would kill myself on those stairs, in fact...almost anyone would kill themselves on those stairs:













It's a 1948 vintage farm house supposedly, so maybe that explains the blah beige and cream colors, but it really needs some more color in it! Actually...maybe I should say that's why the current owners went with those colors...I'm thinking it would have had a richer color scheme back then...?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In which I ramble

I guess I'm lacking people to ramble to...thus this blog post. Probably a sign I need to reply to emails. Oh wait, that's my conscience nagging me and telling me that.

Anyway, prepare yourself for rambling, and if you're not interested go ahead and stop reading here.

Something just clicked. And since I've been bombarded with more Moravian history than I ever wanted to know, it should have clicked earlier. The Moravian church on Silas Creek Pkwy. had this past Sunday's sermon title on their sign: Nov. 8: White Ribbons and Copper Coins. Huh??? I don't know how many times I saw it last week and I just now got it. It's the story from the gospels, of the widow who put in her two coins into the treasury, of course! The Moravian ladies used to wear different colored ribbons in their bonnets (I've blanked on what the bonnets were officially called) depending on their status. Little girls wore pink, older unmarried ladies wore cherry, married women-blue, and widows.....white ribbons. Ah-ha.

Also on Silas Creek there is either a woman's loafer, or a very nice men's loafer...not the sort of shoe you usually see beside the road. It's been there for over a week. There is also a pumpkin. And a car. All of these things should have been gone long ago it seems.

I find I'm used to Facebook's method of notifying you when someone comments after you on a post. I comment on a blog and then forget to go back and see what other people said because I got no notification. Of course, after a certain number of comments Facebook stops notifying you as well, which means if the owner of the status finally comes back and says something you may not see it. Owner of the status...that sounds a bit funny. Excuse me, the owner of the status outside, you left your headlights on... And why not "Status" for the name of a car? There's a "Focus", why not "Status". You could even say it British-fashion...'state-us'.

I'm still blowing my nose from this cold I had. So weird! I've never ever had something last this long.

It's very annoying that my nose keeps bleeding. I've started taking some Vitamin A hoping that will help eventually. Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin C....I should be really healthy when I finally ditch this cold! I'm in a cloud today, with my head all stuffed up. I took two doses of sinus medicine this morning (within three hours of each other even...though I think it's supposed to be four hours) and that didn't seem to help at all. I felt a little dizzy at one point today even, but I felt better after I sat down and had some lunch, so low blood-sugar might have been part of the reason.

Mom has been so bored she asked me if I had any yarn I wanted her to untangle and wind for me. So now most of my yarn stash is neatly wound into balls and I have no idea what to do with some of it. I desperately need to pull everything out and organize my yarn and other craft supplies. And switch out my clothes. I have boxes of winter clothes in my room that I keep digging through to find warm shirts to wear. The problem with this switch is that I leave a lot more summer clothes out in the winter than vice versa. And it requires time...and spreading things all over my room, and sorting out clothes that are too worn out to wear next year. Basically I have way too many things to sort and all of them require spreading over my room. Mom told me about this blog yesterday: Wardrobe Refashion, which reminds me I have yet another category of stuff: old clothes that are waiting to be remade or used in a sewing project. Yikes. Basically, my room is a ticking time-bomb of textiles and it's only a matter of time before it all explodes. Which means something needs to be done about it.

Oh, and then there's the problem of actually knowing what I do want to knit with different yarn. I have two projects going right now and ideas for 4-5 more! Uh-oh. Well, maybe I'll start just two more. One project is knitting a little scarf for the little girl I take care of, so that won't take long.

And the knitting pattern I'm working on now has been great, very detailed and just wonderful to do....until I got to this waist shaping round. 226 stitches and I'm supposed to somehow decrease 58 stitches.....as evenly as possible. As...evenly...as possible...?? I think I started twitching. I can follow the pattern, I was enjoying following the pattern, it's a very nice pattern...and then I'm supposed to just wing it and decrease these stitches as evenly as possible. Some sort of guideline might have been nice. You know, try decreasing every third stitch throwing in a few extra where needed, or something like that. That's what I ended up doing when I knitted it this afternoon. It took me forever and I tried to come up with some sort of algebraic equation to figure out the best method for placing these decreases...but nothing. So I winged it. I have no idea how even I got it, but it's done, and now all I'm dreading is the corresponding increase row. "Increase 58 stitches as evenly as possible." *sigh*

I made some cheese biscuity snack things last night, but I think they came out too salty. Darn. These ones. I need to get a cookie press thing so that I can make cheese straws. I've made them with a pastry bag once before and it about killed my hands and the pastry bag trying to pipe them out. I found a yummy chocolate chip cookie recipe though...the only problem is that they seem to go stale very fast (as I chew a slightly stale cookies). But microwaving always helps. Chocolate Chip Cookies. But they're soft, without using shortening! Right now I'm wondering if there are any cookies that taste like apple pie? Because that would be really good. Hmm...

Okay...that was definitely rambling. At least I got that out of my system. Maybe it will help my cold. :)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

"Church" is...

Sorry, I'm going to link to another article on Boundless.com: Stop Going to Church

I wasn't sure where he was going with that when I started reading, and the use of U2 lyrics made me smile, but it's a good article.

"When our churches have more in common with fortresses, shopping malls and cemeteries, who can blame America for not liking the church, for not receiving in her, for not joining the movement?"

"We say we want community, but are unwilling to make the sacrifices for it to happen. It's too inconvenient and messy. We want the benefit of church without her demands. Something has to change."

"Sometimes the church looks like a pizza party, and sometimes it looks like a sports utility vehicle." Ha-ha...really not as out there as it sounds out of context.

It's actually encouraging to read these sort of articles, because although they are pointing out how so many churches are straying from what they should be doing, the fact that someone else is writing about it means we're not the only traditional ones in the midst of all the emergent churches. Once again, I'm glad our church is like that. Church isn't judging, nor is it telling people they're perfectly fine and acceptable. Church isn't just going once a week and getting it done.--I believe the Catholic churches are better about working out a handy schedule for that if that's what you want... :/ -- Church is having brothers and sisters in Christ to encourage and help you and worship with you.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Excuse me while I cough on you

So, I think I mentioned I have a cold...yes? Unfortunately it's one that's settled in my chest (which I hadn't had happen yet this year) and I'm now slowly coughing to death. Well, not really. I hope. But I am coughing. In a few hours I can go take some generic Mucinex and hopefully that will help matters some. In the meantime my chest and shoulders ache terribly and I'm utterly fed up with coughing.

I went to church this morning, and it was communion Sunday, so I'm glad I was able to make it, but I feel pretty bad. I was coughing when I got up -from not sleeping much- this morning but figured I'd get over it the longer I was up. I didn't...and realized that half-way to church. Oh well. At the break I went over to Panera and got some hot tea and that's the only way I made it through the service without coughing my head off.

I got two kinds of tea that are supposed to help with coughing...neither has helped much, nor has the cough medicine I took earlier.

Moral of this story? One should keep up with taking their Vitamin D every day, and when they're coming down with a cold not go out for lunch with a friend, hike all over downtown, and run lots of errands all on the same day, which I did. And it may or may not have had an effect on how I'm feeling now. I'll definitely be diligent about the Vitamin D from now on... :/

I was going to write more, but my brain's too rattled to think. I hate to leave this as a whiny blog post. Hmm... My knitting project (the dress) is going well. :) I'm about to start working on the skirt part.

More costume fun

Colin dressed up as a hunter for halloween this year.


















Getting the stuff for his costume involved going to Walmart...but they do sell camo and orange hunter's hats there.


















I decided that instead of dressing as gypsy again I needed something a little warmer and that didn't require the massive amounts of makeup that I put on before. So I dressed as a gangster:


















And I tied that tie myself. :) I did have to look up instructions online because while I knew how to at one point, I'd forgotten. But I tied it.


















It was raining or drizzling almost all the time we were out, so we were kinda soggy by the time we got back home, but it wasn't too bad. My feet and the hems of my pants got soaked but the rest of me wasn't too wet.


















When we got home I started answering the door and handing out the candy, while Colin sat on the floor and poked through his candy.

I also found out that he's apparently great friends with the lady down the street. We went up to their house where their dog was sitting at the door and he says "Oh, there's Murphy!"
So I'm telling Mom about this when we get home, and she explains that Colin always talks to the lady when she walks the dog up the street.

"Oh, okay," I say. "I don't know her name or the dog's name, all I know is that she works....or used to work at Harris Teeter. Maybe she doesn't any....."

"Oh, no!" Colin interrupts, "She doesn't work there anymore, she works at Food Lion." Oh...well, okay then. Strange, un-shy, extroverted child.

And I forget that for some reason younger guys will just talk to me. There's a group of middle school/high school (I can't tell how old they are) guys that skateboard in the street where I have to avoid running them over. Anyway, they came around trick-or-treating tonight and when I answered the door they just started talking.
Guys: "What are you?"
Me: "I'm a gangster."
Guy 1: "Oh so am I.
Guy 2: "Me too."
Guy 3: "Yeah!" (Real creative lot these four...)
Guy 1: "Except I'm not a mafia sort of gangster, I'm like a modern gangster...ya know.."
Me: "Right! Gotcha."
Guy 2 (looking at my hat): "Cool! I've got a hat like that...except mine's solid black."
Guy 4: "I'm a black guy." (He was dressed in black...not exactly politically-correct, but I'm not one for being overly PC.)
Me: "Ah! I see...nice!" (While trying to put candy in the sopping wet paper grocery bag he was carrying) "Wow, that's kinda falling apart..."
Guy 4: "Yup. That's what they said at the last house too... Thank you!"

Anyway, they made me laugh. I don't know if I have some sort of sign that says "I get along well with younger guys" "I'm not too stuck up to talk to you if you're nice" or what... It amuses me. I remember being eleven or so and a little boy in the neighborhood always wanted me to be on his team when we played kickball and thought I was pretty cool. And it still happens...give them a 2-6 year age gap and we'll probably be great pals. :D

Ah...anyway...I should be taking some cough medicine and getting to bed. (I have a bit of a cold and a very annoying cough.)

Oh...it's November.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fog and sun and thoughts

It's October 28th and yet it doesn't really feel a lot like fall today. It's rather warm again. Not unpleasantly warm, for the most part, but warmer than it should be. It was wonderfully foggy this morning when I got up, because it rained all last night. It was foggy and there were a couple of large crows marching down the street. Very Edgar Allen Poe. Of course as soon as I went to get my camera and try to get a picture a car came by and scared them off. Ah...nevermore.

I just got back from taking a walk up to the playground and swinging for a while. Quite a pleasant activity in the sun, although I was quite warm by the time I got home.

Last night was a costume contra dance...since in Winston it's the dance closest to halloween because there's no dance on Saturday. It was fun, most of the people dressed up, although some didn't bother. I dressed as a gypsy, which I will also do when I take Colin trick-or-treating. Yes...we do that. I also wore my cape instead of a coat (and it was very good for keeping the rain off!) but I didn't get a picture in that.

Anyway:































And Laura...she was a pirate...although she looks rather like a gypsy also:


















Two thoughts occured to me about contra yesterday and today. One (and Laura and I were discussing this), she has an almost completely different group of guys who ask her to dance than I do. There is some overlap, but for the most part she'll mention a partner and I'll finally figure out that I have seen them, but never danced with them and therefore may or may not know their name and same for her if I say who I danced with. We couldn't figure out why this is, but it's odd...

And secondly, I'm really good at reading body language and telling how a person is feeling, which is sometimes good and sometimes bad...and very interesting at contra because during a swing I can tell pretty fast what sort of mood the other person is in. I say it's interesting at contra, because usually people are in a good mood...but occasionally I can tell they aren't really. I guess in general it's good to be able to tell how people are feeling so I don't bumble into their mood saying something grating, but it's also sometimes alarming. What do you think? Can you tell how people are feeling?

Oh...one of the dances last night was called "The Dead Cat Bounce" at which I made a strange face and the guy across from me just burst out laughing. "Oh my...the look on your face...that was priceless!" Well...really, with a name like that...

Balance and swing your neighbor
Men allemande left halfway,
Partner allemande right 1x
Men start hey for 4
(Men go halfway, but women ricochet back to the side where they start by meeting in the center and pushing back with both hand.)
Circle left
Partner swing on the side
Ladies chain, star left, pass through to new neighbors.


"So what, are we the dead cats bouncing off of each other?" said one lady. :D I have no idea...

I started knitting a glove last week...I think it was last week. Yeah. Well, I got the cuff and the hand part done and moved on to the fingers...and found that there was no way I could fit my fingers in, as tight as they were going to be. So I had to take out a whole finger and am going to try knitting it on bigger needles. By the way, if you have long fingers and want someone to knit you gloves, you'd better pick someone who loves you a lot, because it's extremely tedious to knit glove fingers. :D This is the first time I've regretted having long fingers. So, I have to knit that finger all over again, and hopefully it will work this time.

And now I should go peel some potatoes to make mashed potatoes for on top of the shepherd's pie I'm making for supper.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Meme

Mom did a meme, and I thought I'd do it also. Google your name with "unfortunately" before it and see what you find. Most of the ones I found involved Natalies being sick or getting injured. Wow. That's not a good sign. But I found a few:

  • Unfortunately, Natalie had no other clothes with her.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie was involved in a huge wreck off the start.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie defied John's orders to throw the game for Flynn and as a result she was kidnapped by Flynn.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie's response continues to be an annoyingly familiar "No".
  • Unfortunately, Natalie and Jordan are still restless, so they continue decorating dishes.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie instigated one ADHD incident of the serious type.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie is no longer in the herd. But she sure was a fun heifer for the shows!
  • Unfortunately, Natalie didn't see the public service announcement.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie wants a love match, and Lord Malcolm doesn't believe in love.
  • Unfortunately, Natalie couldn't get them in her suitcase, so I inherited them.
  • Unfortunately Natalie had seriously underestimated the sheer animal cunning of her giant squid stalker which cunningly disguised its smallest tentacle as a bicycle tyre.
So there you have it. :) It's Monday. :P

Sunday, October 18, 2009

War and Peace, bits and pieces, and a few thoughts

I've almost finished reading War and Peace. All I've got left is 30-some pages of the second epilogue. Yes, there are two epilogues. I've finished all of the story and all that's left is what one Twitter follower warned me was "sermonizing". Yeah, pretty much. Analytical sermonizing. But I'm basically finished with the book. I liked it a lot. It's took me a little while to get used to keeping track of the characters, because they all have maybe three different names they are called, so for instance "Prince Andrew" might be called by his Russian last name on the next page, and the next by his familiar name, or something like that.

And I had quite a hard time getting both volumes from the library because they have the same number and they only sent me one. So I just requested it (again) on Mom's card, and I got the second volume. :) I could start on about the incompetency of the public libraries lately, but I'll refrain.

War and peace....well, some of the war parts were a little tedious, but not too bad. And the peace part was interesting, and the whole book is very well-written. It's one of those books that clearly shows you how the characters are feeling, plus Tolstoy throws in lots of good points, and ironic, amusing sentences that made me burst out laughing. I was dog-earring the pages all the while, and probably on average dog-earred it every eighth inch or so. Poor Volume 2 got it the hardest. It had been dog-earred before though, or I might have thought twice about bending the pages. As it was, I folded them gently. :)

So, here are some of the passages that I really liked or made me laugh. And maybe it's just me, or maybe some of them won't be funny out of context, so bear with me. :) I cut some names to try to avoid spoiling the story for people who haven't read it, but I'm not sure if it helped any.

"Touched that this statuesque princess could so change, Pierre took her hand and begged her forgiveness, without knowing what for. From that day the eldest princess quite changed towards Pierre and began knitting a striped scarf for him." --The knitting got me... :D

"I am very sorry you did not find me in yesterday. I was fussing about with Germans all day. We went with Weyrother to survey the dispositions. When Germans start being accurate, there's no end to it!" --True, true.

"Better quarters could have been found him, but Marshal Davout was one of those men who purposely put themselves in most depressing conditions to have a justification for being gloomy." --I think I've met people like that.

"Pfuel was one of those hopelessly and immutably self-confident men, self-confident to the point of martyrdom as only Germans are, because only Germans are self-confident on the basis of an abstract notion -science, that is, the supposed knowledge of absolute truth."

"M. de Beausset, the man so fond of travel, having fasted since morning, came up to the Emperor and ventured respectfully to suggest lunch to his Majesty.
'I hope I may now congratulate your Majesty on a victory?' said he.
Napoleon silently shook his head in negation. Assuming the negation to refer only to the victory and not to the lunch, M. de Beausset ventured with respectful jocularity to remark that there is no reason for not having lunch when one can get it."

"When loving with human love one may pass from love to hatred, but divine love cannot change. No, neither death nor anything else can destroy it." --Indeed.

"...the infantry of the belated columns...had started in due order and, as always happens, had got somewhere, but not to their appointed places."

"...the peasants Karp and Vlas...after the French had evacuated Moscow drove in their carts to pillage the town, and in general personally failed to manifest any heroic feelings..."

" 'Greatness', it seems, excludes the standards of right and wrong. For the 'great' man nothing is wrong, there is no atrocity for which a 'great' man can be blamed.

For us with the standard of good and evil given to us by Christ, no human actions are incommensurable. And there is no greatness where simplicity, goodness, and truth are absent." --Very good point!

"Not merely in these cases but continually did that old man -who by experience of life had reached the conviction that thoughts and the words serving as their expression are not what move people-use quite meaningless words that happened to enter his head."

"He had what the doctors termed 'bilious fever'. But despite the fact that the doctors treated him, bled him, and gave him medicines to drink -he recovered."

"That dreadful question, What for? which had formerly destroyed all his mental edifices, no longer existed for him. To that question, What for? a simple answer was now always ready in his soul: 'Because there is a God, that God without whose will not one hair falls from a man's head."

" 'What can one say or think of as a consolation?' said Pierre. 'Nothing! Why had such a splendid boy, so full of life, to die?'
'Yes, in these days it would be hard to live without faith...' remarked Princess Mary.
'Yes, yes, that is really true,' Pierre hastily interrupted her.
'Why is it true?' Natasha asked, looking attentively into Pierre's eyes.
'How can you ask why?' said Princess Mary. 'The thought alone of what awaits...'
Natasha without waiting for Princess Mary to finish, again looked inquiringly at Pierre.
'And because,' Pierre continued, 'only one who believes that there is a God ruling us can bear a loss such as hers and...yours.' "

"Now that he was telling it all to [her] he experienced the pleasure which a man has when women listen to him -not clever women who when listening either try to remember what they hear to enrich their minds and when opportunity offers to re-tell it, or who wish to adapt it to some thought of their own and promptly contribute their own clever comments prepared in their own little mental workshop- but the pleasure given by real women gifted with a capacity to select and absorb the very best a man shows of himself."

" 'But why, count, why?' she almost cried, unconsciously moving closer to him. 'Why? Tell me. You must tell me!'
He was silent.
'I don't understand your why, count,' she continued, 'but it's hard for me...I confess it. For some reason you wish to deprive me of our former friendship. And that hurts me.' There were tears in her eyes and in her voice. 'I have had so little happiness in life that every loss is hard for me to bear.... Excuse me, good-bye!' and suddenly she began to cry and was hurrying from the room.
'Princess, for God's sake!' he exclaimed, trying to stop her. 'Princess!'
She turned round. For a few seconds they gazed silently into one another's eyes -and what had seemed impossible and remote suddenly became possible, inevitable and very near." --Oww, very painful. And yet it ends well.

"All who had known Natasha before her marriage wondered at the change in her as at something extraordinary. Only the old countess with her maternal instinct had realized that Natasha's outbursts had been due to her need of children and a husband... " --Heehee.

"There were then as now conversations and discussions about women's rights, the relation of husband and wife and their freedoms and rights...but these topics were not merely uninteresting to Natasha, she positively did not understand them. These questions, then as now, existed only for those who see nothing in marriage but the pleasure married people get from one another, that is, only the beginnings of marriage and not its whole significance, which lies in the family." --Ahhh...I love it. :)

Pierre went to the children, and the shouting and laughter grew still louder. 'Come, Anna Makarovna,' Pierre's voice was heard saying, 'come here into the middle of the room and at the word of command, 'One, two,' and when I say 'three'... You stand here, and you in my arms- well now! One, two!...' said Pierre, and a silence followed: 'three!' and a rapturously breathless cry of children's voices filled the room. 'Two, two!' they shouted. 'This' meant two stockings, which by a secret process known only to herself Anna Makarovna used to knit at the same time on the same needles, and which, when they were ready, she always triumphantly drew, one out of the other, in the children's presence." --Yes, that is some knitting technique, no I don't know how to do it.

"...left alone, [they] also began to talk as only a husband and wife can talk, that is, with extraordinary clearness and rapidity, understanding and expressing each other's thoughts in ways contrary to all rules of logic, without premises, deductions, or conclusions, and in a quite peculiar way. Natasha was so used to this kind of talk with her husband that for her it was the surest sign of something being wrong between them if [he] followed a line of logical reasoning. When he began proving anything, or talking argumentatively and calmly and she, led on by his example, began to do the same, she knew that they were on the verge of a quarrel." --Ah, I started out the book being annoyed by Natasha and her flightiness, but I think I relate to her a lot better than to Princess Mary, the other main female in the book. Mary cries and mopes a bit too much most of the time, although she improved by the end too. Natasha, like me, wouldn't be likely to cry in front of people who hurt her, but to get angry instead, and then perhaps cry on her own when no one's around. All the same, she's a fictional character and I didn't empathize with her all the time, but I changed my opinion of her by the end of the book. And I SO argue like that. :D

"If history had retained the conception of the ancients it would have said that God, to reward or punish his people, gave Napoleon power and directed his will to the fulfillment of the divine ends, and that reply, would have been clear and complete. One might believe or disbelieve in the divine significance of Napoleon, but for anyone believing in it there would have been nothing unintelligible in the history of that period, nor would there have been any contradictions.
But modern history cannot give that reply. Science does not admit the conception of the ancients as to the direct participation of the Deity in human affairs, and therefore history ought to give other answers. Modern history replying to these questions says: you want to know what this movement means, what caused it, and what force produced these events? Then listen:" ---At this point Tolstoy launches into a fast-paced recapping of how history should retell the story, writing it all rather as an elementary school student, with lots of 'thens' and 'suddenly's & 'and's. :D

So, there you have it. Or, the condensed version from Book-A-Minute:

"History controls everything we do, so there is no point in observing individual actions. Let's examine the individual actions of over 500 characters at great length."

Ah, well...yes. But it was worth it. :D I found the constant harping on predestination rather fascinating.

And now I've got a good 6-10 years before I need to read it again. Thick books like that don't get re-read as often as some others. :)

Now that I've typed this all up and fought with the italics, I should maybe go to bed. The HTML code was giving me fits...I had to paste it into a document, remove all the code, and re-paste it into a blog post, adding italics properly. Sheesh. At least that worked. :/

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Can life BE more conflicting?

It's amazing how being happy about something can lead immediately to being discontent about something else. Inevitable, I suppose, but one of those things that makes you sigh.

I went to church with some friends last Sunday and it was fun. The sermon was alright, although very short, partially because the guy speaking apparently lost his place in his notes at some point. The music was good (I do miss being able to sing very loudly). I love to sing loudly and at our church there are only about two people who sing loudly, both of them much better than I do, so I lower my volume. So that was good, and I enjoyed being with my friends. Apart from that though, I missed our church.

I wish our church had more people, but I don't like huge churches where you don't even know everyone. My friends were looking through the new church directory and saying things like "Oh, those people are married?" and such.

I don't like youth groups, college groups, age-segregated Bible studies, and things like that. I think having everyone divided up and only around their peers is not following the Titus 2 commandments that the older men and women encourage and teach the younger. Talking to your peers can be encouraging of course, but if that's mostly all you get you're only going to be bouncing ideas and opinions off of each other with no other wiser perspective to think about.

I read this article on Boundless this week, and I completely agree with it. Quarantining a Generation

On the other hand, it made me wish I had my own apartment so I could have groups of my friends (of all ages) over. Have people over for game nights, or open houses, or whatever. Our house is rather small though, and I wouldn't want to impose on my parents with my extroversion.

Speaking of which, my mom said I'm a "single extrovert". She has a very good point. Technically, I'm introverted. I don't usually talk a lot, I'm not a high-energy person, after hanging out with people and talking for a long time I usually need quiet and time to recharge without anyone bothering me, etc. On the other hand, if I feel blah, it helps for me to talk to my friends. I enjoy being with people until I'm tired, it makes me happy. "But," said Mom, "if you had a husband you would..." "I'd just talk to him of course," I interrupted. And she's got a point. If I was married I'd have my best friend to talk to at almost any time and that would probably be enough most of the time. So...I am a single extrovert.

But anyway, as I was saying, I started wishing I had my own apartment. With one or two roommates of course, though I don't think I know anyone needing an apartment who would make a good roommate for me. Plus, I don't make enough to afford 1/2 or 1/3 of the rent of an apartment. Or rather, I do, but that's just about all. I don't make enough to afford the car that I would have to have, my share of the utilities, groceries, etc. I already buy my own clothes and toiletries, but groceries aren't cheap, and neither is a car and all the stuff that goes with it. So I would have to get a different or a second job and would be working a lot.

I didn't even know how much rent is for an apartment, so I was looking online to see what there is around here. Lots of apartments, that's what. :D I'd prefer something within fifteen minutes from work, so I ended up looking at the apartment complex my friend Jess lived in before she moved, and the place we lived in before we moved to our house, because those are the only two apartment complexes in Winston that I've actually been inside and know what they're like.

Jess' place was pretty nice (apart from some gosh-awful wallpaper border in the apartment) and fairly expensive too, I find. Granted, in that case you're also paying for a gated apartment complex that apparently is hardly ever actually gated because the gate breaks. Woo-hoo. So, fairly nice, expensive, not really as safe as it's supposed to be.

Then the place we used to live in is okay and cheaper. It's definitely older, and there was some reason my parents got fed up with the management, but it's a decent price, and pretty good apartments, safe neighborhood and all. Though you're likely to get sap on your car from all the pine trees...unless they've all fallen down since when we were there. :D

But as I thought, I couldn't afford to live in either of those places, without all the extra work that I mentioned. Oh well, I have an idea of what apartments cost now at any rate.

My point however, which I think I've lost track of, is that I was feeling happy about our church, and I'm looking forward to going there this week, but in wanting to get together with the people in my church I started feeling discontented about where I live. We just never can be content, can we? :(

Friday, October 16, 2009

Let me add another layer to my geeky-ness

I hadn't ever watched a whole episode of Star Trek before...I kind of knew the basic idea of the show and had seen bits and pieces of it before.

But anyway, Mom was listening to some knitting podcast that mentioned tribbles, and she was telling Dad about it, at which point I was wondering what tribbles were. Star Trek critters. Fluffballs. Sci-fi animate fluffballs, with no discernible features. They purr, reproduce like rabbits, and eat a lot. Okay then. So, I found the tribbles episode of Star Trek on YouTube, and watched it.

The Trouble With Tribbles

And while I was watching it, I was thinking that Spock is really a Jeeves to Captain Kirk. Logical, full of information, and slightly above the foolishness of all the other people. :D So yesterday when I was looking for Jeeves & Wooster clips I found this, and thought "Ha! So I'm not the only one who thought that!"



I'm hardly about to become a "trekkie" but I enjoyed watching some Star Trek. :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wodehouse day

So it's Wodehouse Day...P.G. Wodehouse's birthday. However I have no idea what to do to "celebrate". I could go around talking in a British accent all day, but I really don't feel like doing that. I could watch episodes of "Jeeves and Wooster" (that sounds better, it would be cheery anyway). Or I could start re-reading "The Adventures of Sally", which is a very funny, cute book. Maybe I'll do that. It's rainy and cold here today...which while gloomy, is probably accurate, seeing as it supposedly rains all the time over in England.

In the meantime, here are some clips to enjoy.



These ones don't allow embedding, so here are the links:

Minnie the Moocher

Jeeves Disapproves

And the Jeeves and Wooster theme:


Ah, nothing like Hugh Laurie and Steven Fry for some good British comedy.