K doesn't like my joke. . .he says it's only funny because I thought of it at 2am. Nevertheless, I christen these birthday cake pictures:


and Post-Crib

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Admit it. It's funny. At any rate, except for some trouble with the crib standing upright as planned, this is definitely one of the cutest cakes I've done.


For Lack of a Creative Title

I don't feel like titling tonight.

We had Knitting Night tonight. I pricked my finger. Well, stuck my finger is probably the better phrase. The needle went into my finger over a quarter of an inch. I bled. You can see the line under my skin where the needle went in slant-wise. The remarkable and ridiculous thing? It was the eye of the needle. Maybe my skin is a wee bit under-hydrated.

In other news, pictures of the baby shower cake and rag rug I made for expectant friends this past weekend.


A quote for me

"When you are not feeling particularly friendly but know you ought to be, the best thing you can do, very often, is to put on a friendly manner and behave as if you were a nicer person than you actually are." (C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity)
I'm ashamed to admit that I need to do this often. However, I am glad to say that it really does work; it does make me into a nicer person.


Off with their heads!

Last night, about 11:15, I was eagerly counting down the minutes until midnight. . .the deadline for K's paper and end of his all day, every day work schedule. . .when I suddenly realized that the conference is in California, and a midnight deadline most likely meant a midnight Pacific time deadline, which meant I had an extra 2 hours to go. *sigh* I resigned myself to this fact with tolerable grace. Nothing was thrown or broken in the process. And I settled in for a slightly longer wait than I had thought, determined to wait up for him this night, at least, since I did not have to get up any particular time the next day. When he came home at 2:30, he broke the news. They finished some, but not all, so they submitted it in part and planned to finish the rest today. Bah. Bah. Bah. Albeit resigned to more waiting, it is with significantly less grace. . .although I have not thrown anything, and the only item I've broken is a very large chocolate bar.
Down with conferences, deadlines, and papers! I wish they had heads to off!

Likes, Dislikes, and La Vida Joyeux

I dislike deadlines that require my husband to work every evening, often into the morning, for an entire week, sending me to bed alone in an empty house. Bah.

I like that my couch is firm enough for my cup of coffee to stand securely on a coaster on the cushion next to me without fear of its overturning.

I dislike that this computer now shuts itself off when it is plugged in for very long; it's become a charge-when-shut-down-only machine. Bah.

I like that I've been a housewife every afternoon all week, washing clothes, switching out seasonal clothes (in spite of our 2 80-degrees-in-NOVEMBER days), baking (without wheat or gluten--kudos to Hannah for being my new housewife heroine; I couldn't do this all the time), and generally getting things accomplished that are not income-related (don't ask about my Arbonne progress this week. . .arrgh. . .I just want to stay home.

I dislike that I am 2 feet short of the fringe needed for the fleece cape/poncho I am making myself and that I do not know if I can get more, since these materials were a birthday gift from my grandparents 2 years ago (Yes, I'm just now making the poncho. Teaching takes everything else out of you.) Bah.

I like my music. . .that's about to die with the computer.

And I like Chesterton. So here's some more about actually living life:
To sum the whole matter up very simply, if Mr. McCabe asks me why I import frivolity into a discussion of the nature of man, I answer, because frivolity is a part of the nature of man. If he asks me why I introduce what he calls paradoxes into a philosophical problem, I answer, because all philosophical problems tend to become paradoxical. If he objects to my treating life riotously, I replay that life is a riot.
And just for the sheer joy of words:
But clearly it is quite true that whenever we go to hear a prophet or teacher we may or may not expect wit, we may or may not expect eloquence, but we do expect what we do not expect. We may not expect the true, we may not even expect the wise, but we do expect the unexpected. If we do not expect the unexpected, why do we go there at all? If we expect the expected, why do we not sit at home and expect it by ourselves?


Chesterton on Family

Yes, I do intend to cram together excerpts of an entire chapter. I'll try not to take anything out of context. :-) If it looks too long, just read the bold print.

"The family may fairly be considered, one would think, an ultimate human institution. [. . .] The common defence of the family is that, amid the stress and fickleness of life, it is peaceful, pleasant, and at one. But there is another defence of the family which is possible, and to me evident; this defence is that the family is not peaceful and not pleasant and not at one.
It is not fashionable to say much nowadays of the advantages of the small community. We are told that we must go in for large empires and large ideas. There is one advantage, however, in the small state, the city, or the village, which only the wilfully blind can overlook. The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world. He knows much more of the fierce varieties and uncompromising divergences of men. The reason is obvious. In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us. [. . .]

The complaint we commonly have to make of our neighbours is that they will not, as we express it, mind their own business. We do not really mean that they will not mind their own business. [. . .] What we really mean when we say that they cannot mind their own business is something much deeper. We do not dislike them because they have so little force and fire that they cannot be interested in themselves. We dislike them because they have so much force and fire that they can be interested in us as well. What we dread about our neighbours, in short, is not the narrowness of their horizon, but their superb tendency to broaden it. And all aversions to ordinary humanity have this general character. They are not aversions to its feeblesness (as is pretended), but to its energy. [. . .]
Of course, this shrinking from the brutal vivacity and brutal variety of common men is a perfectly reasonable and excusable thing as long as it does not pretend to any point of superiority. [. . .] Fastidiousness is the most pardonable of vices; but it is the most unpardonable of virtues. [. . .] Every man has hated mankind when he was less than a man. Every man has had humanity in his eyes like a blinding fog, humanity in his nostrils like a suffocating smell. But when Nietzsche has the incredible lack of humour and lack of imaginiation to ask us to belive that his aristocracy is an aristocracy of strong muscles or an aristocrarcy of strong wills, it is necessary to point out the truth. It is an aristocracy of weak nerves.
We make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next-door neighbour. [. . .] we have to love our neighbour because he is there [. . .] He is the sample of humanity which is actually given us. [. . .]
Now, exactly as this principle applies to the empire, to the nation within the empire, to the city within the nation, to the street within the city, so it applies to the home within the street. The institution of the family is to be commended for precisely the same reasons that the institution of the nation, or the institution of the city, are in this matter to be commended. It is a good thing for a man to live in a family for the same reason that it is a good thing for a man to be besieged in a city. It is a good thing for a man to live in a family in the same sense that it is a beautiful and delightful thing for a man to be snowed up in a street.
They all force him to realize that life is not a thing from outside, but a thing from inside. Above all, they all insist upon the fact that life, if it be a truly stimulating and fascinating life, is a thing which, of its nature, exists in spite of ourselves. The modern writers who have suggested, in a more or less open manner, that the family is a bad institution, have generally confined themselves to suggesting, with much sharpness, bitterness, or pathos, that perhaps the family is not always very congenial. Of course the family is a good institution because it is uncongenial. It is wholesome precisely because it contains so many divergencies and varieties. It is, as the sentimentalists say, like a little kingdom, and like most other little kingdoms, is generally in a state of something resembling anarchy. [. . .]The men and women who, for good reasons and bad, revolt against the family, are, for good reasons and bad, simply revolting against mankind. [. . .]
Those who wish, rightly or wrongly, to step out of all this, do definitely wish to step into a narrower world. They are dismayed and terrified by the largness and variety of the family. [. . .]

This is, indeed, the sublime and special romance oft he family. It is romantic because it is a toss-up. It is romantic because it is everything that its enemies call it. It is romantic because it is arbitrary. It is romantic because it is there. So long as you have groups of men chosen rationally, you have some special or sectarian atmosphere. It is when you have groups of men chosen irrationally that you have men. The element of adventure begins to exist; for an adventure is, by its nature, a thing that comes to us. It is a thing that chooses us, not a thing that we choose. [. . .] When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world that we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy tale.


Mere Christianity

Three short quotes from our small group reading this week:
"If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about."
This makes me laugh. Read it aloud, with much expression and especial emphasis on "Of course anyone. . . ." and tell me it's not hilarious.
"If you picture Time as a straight line along which we have to travel, then you must picture God as the whole page onwhich the line is drawn."
I love this idea of the bigness of God.
"This idea has helped me a good deal. If it does not help you, leave it alone. It is a 'Christian idea' in the sense that great and wise Christians have held it and there is nothing in it contrary to Christianity. But it is not in the Bible or any of the creeds. You can be a perfectly good Christian without accepting it, or indeed without thinking of the matter at all."
This, I think, is very humble. We could do with more of Lewis' attitude. We might all get along better.


Bracelets and Spiders

And One for Humor

"Carlyle said that men were mostly fools. Christianity, with a surer and more reverent realism, says that they are all fools. This doctrine is sometimes called the doctrine of original sin. It may also be described as the doctrine of the equality of men."

And another. . .On Pride

"The pride which, proportionally speaking, does not hurt the character, is the pride in things which reflect no credit on the person at all. Thus it does a man no harm to be proud of his country, and comparatively little harm to be proud of his remote ancestors. It does him more harm to be proud of having made money, because in that he has a little more reason for pride. It does him mroe harm still to be proud of what is nobler than money--intellect. And it does him most harm of all to value himself for the most valuable thing on earth--goodness. The man who is proud of what is really creditable to him is the Pharisee, the man whom Christ Himself could not forbear to strike."

One More

From Chesterton, again:
"It is somewaht amusing, indeed, to notice the difference between the fate of these three paradoxes in the fashion of the modern mind. Charity is a fashionable virtue in our time; it is lit up by the gigantic firelight of Dickens. Hope is a fashionable virtue to-day; our attention has been arrested for it by the sudden and silver trumpet of Stevenson. But faith is unfashionable, and it is customary on every side to cast against it the fact that it is a paradox. Everybody mockingly repeats the famous childish definition that faith is 'the power of believing tha twhich we know to be untrue.' Yet it is not one atom more paradoxical than hope or charity. Charity is the power of defending that which we know to be indefensible. Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances which we know to be desperate. It is true that there is a state of hope which belongs to bright prospects and the morning; but that is not the virtue of hope. The virtue of hope exists only in earthquake and eclipse. It is true that there is a thing crudely called charity, which means charity to the deserving poor; but charity to the deserving is not charity at all, but justice. It is the undeserving who require it, and the ideal either does not exist at all, or exists wholly for them. For practical purposes it is at the hopeless moment that we require the hopeful man, and the virtue either does not exist at all, or begins to exist at that moment. Exactly at the instant when hope ceases to be reasonable it begins to be useful."

One Month and Four Days Ago. . .

Oops. It's awful. I think of all these great blog titles, clever witticisms, and profound revelations to post, but I don't actually type them. Very sad. Just think of all the wonderful products from my brain you're missing out on. . .

We had an early Thanksgiving dinner today so that we could celebrate with my mom's mom before she goest back to Florida. Everyone came to Tulsa, because B's work schedule only gave him enough time to join us if we ate here. That meant 9 people dining in our apartment. . .talk about crazy crowded! But it was fun. We set up a card table at the end of our dining table, added some folding chairs, pulled out almost all the china and a couple mis-matched pieces of silverware, and sat down to the traditional Thanksgiving fare. It's my 3rd turkey ever, and I'm proud to say it turned out as well as the second one. I refuse to take responsibility for the first one being undercooked, as it was taken out of the oven without my acquiescence. ;-)

I'm quite tired, now that everyone is gone. Of course they helped with dishes and clean-up--do you know how many dishes 9 people mess up when you use real china dinner plates, bread/fruit plates, saucers, cups, and serving pieces? And until we get a nicer dishwasher with a china cycle, I refuse to put my china or good "silver" in the dishwasher. It made for a lot of dishwashing. I'm glad I didn't have to do it all myself.

I've been continuting, albeit slowly, with Chesterton's Heretics, which is quite funny and interesting on a most-people-don't-think-this-hard-or-care-to level. (Do I get a prize for the length of that adjective?) Here are some quotes:
"Professor Huxley, in one of his clever phrases, called the Salvation Army 'corybantic Christianity.' Huxley was the last and noblest of those Stoics who have never understood the Cross. If he had understood Christianity he would have known that there never has been, and never can be, any Christianity that is not corybantic."

"Christmas remains to remind us of those ages, whether Pagan or Christian, when the many acted poetry instead of the few writing it. In all the winter in our woods there is no tree in glow but the holly."

"[Omar] and those he has influenced do not see that if we are to be truly gay, we must believe that there is some eternal gaiety in the nature of things. We cannot enjoy thoroughly even a pas-de-quatre at a subscription dance unless we believe that the stars are dancing to the same tune. No one can be really hilarious but the serious man. 'Wine,' says the Scripture, 'maketh glad the heart of man,' but only of the man who has a heart. The thing called high spirits is possible only to the spiritual. Ultimately a man cannot rejoice in anything except the nature of things. Ultimately a man can enjoy nothing except religion. Once in the world's history men did believe that the stars were dancing to the tune of their temples, and they danced as men have never danced since. . . .Dionysus and his church was grounded on a serious joie-de-vivre like that of Walt Whitman. Dionysus made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. Jesus Christ also made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. But Omar makes it, not a sacrament, but a medicine. He feasts because life is not joyful; he revels becasue he is not glad. 'Drink,' he says, 'for you know not whence you come nor why. Drink, for you know not when you go nor where. Drink, because the stars are cruel and the world as idle as a humming-top. Drink, because there is nothing worth trusting, nothing worth fighting for. Drink, because all things are lapsed in a base equality and an evil peace.' So he stands offering us the cup in his hand. And at the high altar of Christianity stands another figure, in whose hand also is the cup of the vine. 'Drink' he says 'for the whole world is as red as this wine, with the crimson of the love and wrath of God. Drink, for the trumpets are blowing for battle and this is the stirrup-cup. Drink, for this my blood of the new testament that is shed for you. Drink, for I know of whence you come and why. Drink, for I know of when you go and where."
The last one is a little long--sorry. "Corybantic" means frenzied, agitated, unrestrained, related to a priest of the Phrygian goddess Cybele whose rites were celebrated with music and ecstatic dances. I like this reminder that CHRIST brings us the joy and life of Christmas, and He does it all year round. I'm learning more about Advent this year, and for the first time that anticipation I already feel for the Christmas celebrations is critically linked to an awareness of the waiting, of the repentance and anticipation before Christ comes. In the last quote, Chesterton uses the term "stirrup cup." According to wikipedia, that is the parting drink hosts give to their guests as they are leaving. I have been frustrated with some things this week, little life lessons that are chipping at my rough edges and forcing me to choose between the path I want at the moment and the higher road. I keep reminding myself that this is a process. It's a life-long process of me getting somewhere, me becoming something. Celebrate! We're moving up!



These are pictures of my recent cakes. The wedding cake picture is a little blurry. I didn't know the camera was on the wrong setting, and I was in a hurry. Oops.


Boxes of Soap

Quotes I have read before, but that are worth reading again and sharing many times, from G.K. Chesterton:
But when people begin to talk about this domestic duty (speaking of those tasks traditionally assigned to women) as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge at the Cathedral of Amiens or drudge behind a gun at Trafalgar. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean. To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labors and holidays; to be Whiteley within a certain area, providing toys, boots, sheets cakes. and books, to be Aristotle within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology, and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.
(emphasis and parentheses added)

That suffices to wash that box. For the second. . .

The current uproar over the Pope's recent comments regarding Mohammed makes me sick. And the fact that he is inching ever nearer to an outright apology disgusts me. "Please do pardon us for implying that there is an evil and violent face to Islam. Please forgive us for inciting you to blow up churches of those not even involved and murder other innocents." How is it that a group of people can commit acts of gross violence to protest they are insulted by being labeled violent and actually get a hearing from the rest of the world??? Is there no common sense left? I'd call it ironic if it didn't seem such a careless understatement to say so. No amount of soap will finish this, so I'll just stop. It's ridiculous and infuriating, and I wish Christians would step up and call Mohammed the false prophet he was. Below are quotes from other world Christian leaders.
In a first reaction from a top Christian leader, the head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church criticized the pope. "Any remarks which offend Islam and Muslims are against the teachings of Christ," Coptic Pope Shenouda III was quoted as telling the pro-government newspaper Al- Ahram.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world's 200 million Orthodox Christians, issued a statement saying he was "deeply" saddened by the tensions sparked by the pope's comments.
"We have to show the determination and care not to hurt one another and avoid situations where we may hurt each others' beliefs," the Istanbul-based Patriarchate said.

In India, Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, who is president of the Indian Catholic Bishops Conference, said the Christian community in that country must face Muslim protests over the pope's speech "with Christian courage and prayer because truth needs no other defense," according to AsiaNews, a Vatican-affiliated news agency.

taken from this article at breitbart.com

At least the Church in India has some backbone. But they, of course, are the ones on the front lines to begin with. They know that not standing up for Christ is the equivalent of not having Christ. We comfy, "civilized" countries could learn something.
But I was stopping. . .


A Happy Observation

I feel the need to point out that this is the first holiday in 2 years of which I have not spent at least a portion grading papers. Spending the day knitting, reading, and generally not laboring is much better. I look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and a succession of other REAL holidays in the future.


"The Sending Back"

One of the hymns we sang in church this morning--many of which make proper and laudable use of somewhat archaic words--brought to mind the word "remission." We rarely hear this word in common conversation today, unless we are speaking of someone no longer battling cancer, but in the KJV it is semi-frequently used concerncing sin. Christ died to give us remission of sin. I asked myself what, exactly, it is to "remit." Literally, the root mit or mis means "to send." Re, in this context, means "back." So, to remit is, literally, "to send back." Christ died in order that we could "send back" our sin. If I order some piece of merchandise and receive it in the mail only to find that I don't like it, I can (usually) send it back and get a refund. Ultimately, I am not charged for it. Unfortunately, we cannot "send back" our actions. Yet Christ has, in effect, enabled that very thing. When we realize we can't afford to pay for the mistakes--intentional or accidental--we make, we have only to acknowledge there is already the provision for "sending them back." We aren't charged for them--except for some temporal shipping and handling--and that is God's grace.


(Useful?) Musing

Whether these thoughts are worthy of thought, not to mention profound, of plain drivel may well be a debateable question. If you find them lacking in clarity or focus, you may chalk it up to wine, chocolate, or coffee, as you choose. . .I've had a bit of all three in the past few hours.
First, some quoting from Chesterton's Heretics:
Now, it is this great gap in modern ethics, the absence of vivid pictures of purity and spiritual triumph, which lies at the back of the real objection felt by so many sane men to the realistic literature of the nineteenth century. . . .What disgusted him, and very justly, was not the presence of a clear realism, but the absence of a clear idealism. . . .In [Mr. Bernard Shaw's] eyes this absence of an enduring and positive ideal, this absence of a permanent key to virtue, is the one great Ibsen merit. . . .All I venture to point out, with an increased firmness, is that this omission, good or bad, does leave us face to face with the problem of a human consciousness filled with very definite images of evil, and with no definite image of good. To us light must be henceforward the dark thing--the thing of which we cannot speak. To us, as to Milton's devils in Pandemonium, it is darkness that is visible. The human race, according to religion, fell once, and in falling gained knowledge of good and evil. Now we have fallen a second time, and only the knowledge of evil remains to us.
I might add that we have now fallen (or are attempting to fall) a third time, refusing to recognize the knowledge of good or evil. If I haven't destroyed comprehension and context by chopping up the (several pages long) quote, you can see that Chesterton opines on the modern sensibility's ignorance of an absolute Good. He cites literature--primarily Ibsen's--as an example of modern society's acknowledgement of the bad and ugly with a seeming confusion when it comes to finding the source of good. I think, in our now post-modern society, we have gone a step further and ceased to recognize the bad or the ugly. "Tolerance" is our key virture, whether what we are tolerating is helpful or harmful. Perhaps that is the inevitable result of losing the light; we soon cease to distinguish the darkness. Instead of being surrounded by images of evil, we are surrounded by confusion and open-armed acceptance. Not only do we not know which way is up, we have forgotten there is also a way down.


Much Ado About Something

The strife between our church and the presbytery continues, with harsh words and hurt feelings on both sides, I am sure. Although we stand firmly (and thankfully) with the Kirk, I cannot help but rue the ugliness of the entire ordeal. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's my synopsis: In response to the denomination's decision to allow individual presbyteries the freedom to overrule ordination requirements they might deem "non-essential" and its further plans to quash any disagreement through fear and heavy-handed control tactics, our session voted to separate from the PCUSA. Our former presbytery has sent letters to congregation members requesting us to meet with them at another church in town, where they, ostensibly, will tell "their side." They then made plans, since thwarted, to send another pastor to take over the worship services that took place this morning. We are not going to the presbytery-called meeting tomorrow. I cannot fathom that they could say anything that would interest me, the more so since my one hesitation in joining the Kirk was its affiliation with the liberal PCUSA. We are, however, going to the congregation meeting on Wednesday, when the membership will vote on a new affiliation with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination.
That's my summary. I've been keeping up with events on Pastor Tom's blog (see links), but many of the comments and criticisms there are disheartening, even though many of them are not from within our congregation. When I read the poem below on the "Wittingshire" blog today, it seemed very relevant.
His Savior's Words, Going to the Cross

Have, have ye no regard, all ye
Who pass this way, to pity me,
Who am a man of misery!

A man both bruised, and broke, and one
Who suffers not here for mine own,
But for my friends' transgression!

Ah! Sion's Daughters, do not fear
The Cross, the Cords, the Nails, the Spear,
The Myrrh, the Gall, the Vinegar:

For Christ, your loving Savior, hath
Drunk up the wine of God's fierce wrath;
Only, there's left a little froth,

Less for to taste, than for to show,
What bitter cups had been your due,
Had He not drank them up for you.

--Robert Herrick (1591-1674)



I have FINALLY reconvened reading Chesterton's Heretics, to be followed by Orthodoxy, after a. . .3 year?. . .hiatus caused by too much homework. I'm very excited. Please forgive me, kind giver of this book.
Now, I am going to regale you with quotes.

On Oscar Wilde. . .
"In the fifteenth century men cross-examined and tormented a man because he preached some immoral attitude; in the nineteenth century we feted and flattered Oscar Wilde because he preached such an attitude, and then broke his heart in penal servitude because he carried it out. It may be a question which of the two methods was the more cruel; there can be no kind of question which was the more ludicrous. The age of the Inquisition has not at least the disgrace of having produced a society which made an idol of the very same man for preaching the very same things which it made him a convict for practising."
On the failure of modern "free-spirited" artists to powerfully effect anything, good or bad, compared to those of "less free" and more devout times. . .
"Milton does not merely beat [the modern artistic classes] at his piety, he beats them at their own irreverence. In all their little books of verse you will not find a finer defiance of God than Satan's [in Paradise Lost]. Now will you find the grandeur of paganism felt as taht fiery Christian felt it who described Faranata lifting his head as in disdain of hell. And the reason is very obvious. Blasphemy is an artistic effect, because blasphemy depends upon a philosophical conviction. Blasphemy depends upon belief and is fading with it. If any one doubts this, let him sit down seriously and try to tink blasphemous thoughts about Thor. I think his family will find him at the end of the day in a state of some exhaustion."
(Note: By Thor, he means the Norse god, not the Asgard star on Stargate. . . .Oh, I'm such a nerd.)

And,finally, on honesty. . .
"I wish to deal with my most distinguished contemporaries,not personally or in a merely literary manner, but in relation to the real body of doctrine which they teach. I am not concerned with Mr. Rudyard Kipling as a vivid artist or a vigorous personality; I am concerned with him as a Heretic--that is to say, man whose view of things has the hardihood to differ from mine."
That will be all for now.



Speaking of the Koran, Ravi Zacharias says, "What one does need to grant is that the poetry and the style are beautiful. The postmodern, visually controlled mind has much to learn about the place of beauty in speech." (Jesus Among Other Gods)
I could not help but notice this catchy sentence in P.G. Wodehouse's Mulliner Nights: "This was the snag that protruded jaggedly from the middle of the primrose path of their happiness, and for quite a while it seemed as if Cupid must inevitably stub his toe on it."
Language is fun. And beautiful, at times. Mostly fun.

Berry Basket, Peaches and Cream

If I were going to name my cakes, that would be these (these would be that? those would be these? these would be those?). These are the cakes I did for K's roommate's wedding in July. . .a little late on the posting. Nevertheless, now you can see.



A kind--and not at all scary--gentleman customer just told me my height and weight. Apparently I'm about the size of his wife. Still, rather odd. . . .

Nope, Not Dead, Missing, Lost, or Escaped

I admit to some reticence regarding returning to this world of posting. . .it’s the overwhelmed feeling of being so far behind that it is useless to attempt anything like catching up. This past month has been so very busy; it’s hard to know where to begin. I think I will allow a few pictures to suffice for my thousand words. . .although those will have to wait, as I am currently filling in at the library and have no access to my picture files.
Yes, I’ve been working on an as-needed basis at the Tulsa library, sitting at the tall Reader’s Library desk and answering various customer questions. It’s been enjoyable, for the most part, and interesting. I always have felt a sort of “homeness” in a library. There’s something about rows and rows of shelves and shelves of friendly books that soothes me.
I have also accepted a part-time position at a law firm, where I will be filing, copying, and generally performing office support duties in the morning, beginning next week. I hope that my position there and an occasional afternoon at the library will allow me the freedom to pursue and attain a thriving Arbonne business before long.
That’s all for now. One hour and 10 minutes until my lunch break. . . .


A Respite for Randomness

We interrupt this cake baking marathon to bring you. . .

various observations upon the process of baking, not all of them new.
1. There are slightly less than 5 cups of brown sugar in a bag. I know this because the (wonderful) chocolate groom's cake requires 2 1/2 cups of sugar for each layer, and I had to open a second new bag to finish the second layer.
2. Cake mixes make life easier. DO NOT, under any circumstance, act as if this is not a revelation. Almost 3/4 of the way through my 8-cakes-from-scratch project, I realize the inestimable value of adding eggs and oil to a bag of powder. Cakes from scratch must be indescribably rewarding. . .otherwise no recipes would have survived. I'll let you know tomorrow.
3. With 3 cooling racks, where to put 8 cooling cakes soon becomes a problem.
4. When making several cakes from scratch in successsion, one quickly memorizes even the most detailed recipe. If, then, you should need a heavenly chocolate cake recipe or a quite good white cake recipe in the next 36 hours, call me. After that, I don't promise to retain the memory. (Please understand that I mean no offense to the white cake. . .it just isn't quite possible for white cake to be heavenly. After all, the Bible mentions only that we shall wear white robes. There is no mention of white cake. It seems obvious, then, that the cake will be chocolate.)
5. Parchment paper is invaluable in convincing cake pans to release cakes-from-scratch as if they were cakes-from-mix.
6. Letting a cake sit in the hot pan for over an hour is NOT conducive to getting it out in one piece. (Someone needs to pay more attention. . .set timers. . .do less than 4 things at once. . . .)
7. I need a bigger kitchen. And an extra table.
8. My glass mixing bowl is preferrable to my stoneware mixing bowl when using my hand mixer, for 2 reasons: the glass bowl is the perfect circumference for my hand mixer, so it does not toss batter bits up on the sides where they will not get mixed in; stoneware makes a horrible clanging noise when combined with an electric mixer.

In case anyone queries into my enthusiasm for completing this cake, let me assure you that I always rebound once the baking is done.
That's all for now. I have some lovely quotes to post from the ORU English Department's spring newsletter, but it is downloaded on the other computer and must wait.


Holy Joy

Reading from Matthew Henry's Commentary, Psalm 9:
Holy joy is the life of thankful praise, as thankful praise is the language of holy joy.

"Those that know thy name will put their trust in thee, as I have done, and then they will find, as I have found, that thou dost not forsake those that seek thee." The better God is known the more he is trusted. Those who know him to be a God of infinite wisdom will trust him further than they can see him (Job xxxv. 14); those who know him to be a God of almighty power will trust him when creature-confidences fail and they have nothing else to trust to (2 Chron. xx. 12); and those who know him to be a God of infinite grace and goodness will trust him though he slay them,Job xiii. 15. those who know him to be a God of inviolable truth and faithfulness will rejoice in his word of promise, and rest upon that. Those who know him to be the Father of spirits, and an everlasting Father, will trust him with their souls even to the end.
Question: How well do I know God? Answer: How much do I trust Him?



We went to see the new Disney Pixar film Cars this weekend with my dady. It was cute, witty, and ended up with a good message about life. I recommend it.

Notes on Quotes

Doesn't that sound like a glorified Dr. Seuss book?
The primary purpose of a home is to reflect and to distribute the love of Christ.

The words of Jesus are a stirring reminder to all of us that the pride of birth carried to extreme can be a vortex that sucks us into destructive ways of thinking and living. The rising voice of nationalism has unleashed horrors too numerous to mention. In years of travel, I have been to many places in the world where people think they are superior because of their culture, places like China, the Middle East, Europe, and America. One way or the other, we all think we are the center of the universe because of our place in life. We had absolutely nothing to do with our birth. Jesus did, and He chose a most unlikely city to call home. He was not ensnared by the flimsy and fickle attachments of nationalism.

We have made truth relative and culture supreme and have been left with a world in which wickedness reigns.

taken from Jesus Among Other Gods, by Ravi Zacharias
It is so easy to think of home as a safe haven, a place for me to be insulated from the world, a place I can come to have things my way. Instead, as Zacharias says, I should be thinking of my home as a means to an end, as the tool with which I am privileged to share the Gospel. It should indeed be a safe haven, a place insulated from the trials of life, but not just for me. It should be that for everyone in my sphere of influence. . .a place where Christ's way reigns supreme and there is never fear of embarassment, reprisal, or inhospitality. I think this means I can't be a hermit.
The comments on culture are provocative. It is not exagerration to say that I have always seen patriotism as a godly trait. God, family, country, in that order, deserve our devotion. I think this is a particularly sticky subject for Americans because of our Christian founders. American history is important, not only for national pride, but to discover the godly principles upon which our nation was built. Foreign policy is important, not only for its impact on our country, but because we have responsibilities as a Christian nation. I realize that the nation as a whole has largely strayed from its Biblical roots, yet our culture still shows Biblical influence in areas such as work ethic, equality of persons, etc. It may be that truth and American culture were, at one time, largely intertwined (or were seen that way). I wonder if this is true for many--all?-- countries, if I am again falling to the American ego. What are the responsibilities of a Christian toward his country, in terms of attitude or devotion? Is that answer somewhat dependent on the godliness (or lack thereof) of the country's culture?


Love and Home

I really must update my reading list. Below are several quotes from chapter 2 of the Ravi Zacharias book I, Isaac, Take Thee Rebekah, which I am currently reading.
G.K. Chesterton said these powerful words: "They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words--'free love'--as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word."
When two lives meet, they are like two distinct walls. Each has to start by dismantling his or her wall one brick at a time, and then those bricks are taken intact and with other materials used to build a structure with a roof that brings them together at the top. That is the new home.
The playwright Thornton Wilder said it well: "I didn't marry you because you were perfect. I didn't even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn't a house that protected them; and it wasn't our love that protected them--it was that promise."
And here is one from the ever-present, yet nearing-completion, Domestic Tranquility, responding to an quote from Hillary Clinton signifying the modern person's inability to find meaning at the "core level". As my life is, hopefully, now changing from one focused on a occupational responsibilities to one centered at home, I am finding need for some small adjustments in the expectations and habits I've developed over 2 years of being consumed by teaching demands. Statements like this bolster my motivation.
That core meaning is readily apparent to Brunnhilde [representing a woman who finds fulfillment in domestic and familial pursuits] all day, every day, as she nurses her baby, rocks it to sleep, reads to her children, and prepares dinner for her family.

Out of the Mouths of Babes and Children

Amazing how the most "complicated" of issues may be reduced to bare simplicity by those as yet unskilled in the arts of avoidance and prevarication. Read about it "here".


Back from the Backwoods, Part 3

A few final shots. . .
Hopefully you can see the small white butterfly that chose to light on the brim of my hat. It kept flitting down close to my eye (hence the funny squint).

. . .although it seemed to prefer K's hand.

I spotted this garter snake right next to our trail. It pretended we weren't there, although we were less than a foot away. K said the little guy thought he was well-hidden. . .I say he needs to work on his camouflage act a bit.

This water fall was our first major stopping point on the way to our campsite. It's called Abram's Falls (like Abraham before God changed his name, if you ask me; like an Abrams Tank, if you ask K). It was pretty, and wading out in the stream allowed us to see several types of trout and a few crawdads.

Back from the Backwoods, Part 2

Before and After pictures from our overnight backpacking escapade. . .if you can't tell which is which, you don't need to know.

Back from the Backwoods

We've returned from a week-long vacation in the beautiful rolling hills of Tennessee. We stayed near Smoky Mountain National Park, where we spent the better part of 4 days, including 1 night, and from which we secured many lovely pictures. I shall now post a choice few, with appropriate captioning.
These are some flowers growing out of the side of the rocky mountain-top we hiked to on our first day hike.

Here we are, having successfully completed to 4-mile hike to said mountain-top, known as Charlie's Bunion. Now for the 4 miles back to the car. . . .

This little snail was the first of many we saw on the various trails. He was my own personal find.


Old Women

I am enraptured by the image of domestic bliss in chapter 13 of Uncle Tom's Cabin, which opens, after some descriptive detail, with this simple question:
So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why doesn't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
Below are a small collection of quotes from the chapter that inspire me:
Her hair, partially silvered by age, was parted smoothly back from a high placed forehead, on which time had written no inscription, except peace on earth, good will to men, and beneath shone a large pair of clear, honest, loveing brown eyes; you only needed to look straight into them, to feel that you saw to the bottom of a heart as good and true as ever throbbed in woman's bosom.
'Thee uses thyself only to learn how to love thy neighbor'. . .'To be sure. Isn't it what we are made for?'
"Mother" was up betimes, and surrounded by busy girls and boys. . .who all moved obediently to Rachel's gentle "Thee had better," or more gentle "Hadn't thee better?" in the work of getting breakfast. . . .
Everything went on so sociably, so quietly, so harmoniously, in the great kitchen,--it seemed so pleasant to every one to do just what they were doing, there was such an atmosphere of mutual confidence and good fellowship everywhere. . . .
Rachel never looked so truly and benignly happy as at the head of her table. There was so much motherliness and full-heartedness even in the way she passed a plate of cakes or poured a cup of coffee, that it seemed to put a spirit into the food and drink she offered.
This, indeed, was a home. . . .

The saying age before beauty rings more truly tonight, taken in a new light. True beauty, the beauty that comes by years lived in godly wisdom, comes age; it does not fade as the onset of inevitable age continues. I fervently desire to live in such a way that I become more beautiful with the passage of time, and, while I know I have much to learn, it comforts me to think that time is at least as much my friend as my enemy in the attempt.


The First Day of the Rest of My Life

Three cheers for the end of school! Hip Hip Hurrah! Hip Hip Hurrah! Hip Hip Hurrah!
Today has not been a particularly pleasant day, but it has been MY day, and that makes it lovely nonetheless. I shall endeavor to always remember that when in the future I am tempted to decry the passage of some day.
I have already dived into my summer reading, completing one little book and beginning another. I sped through the famous The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint Exupery over the weekend, in early preparation for viewing the opera during next year's Tulsa Opera season. I confess to being somewhat bewildered and not completely pleased by the ending. I shall, however, read it again more closely. I do wish to understand its popularity and the favor with which it is regarded by friends of mine. Has anyone any thoughts to offer on the subject?
Last night I begain the American classic Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe. I've only finished the introduction, but it was quite interesting. The author of the introduction, Amanda Claybaugh, attempts to paint Stowe as an early feminist, explaining her obvious submission to her husband as "a canny strategy for turning those (gender) constraints toward her own ends. By sitting silently while her husband or son spoke on her behalf, Stowe was not simply conforming to the expectations of her audience, but also dramatizing her conformity and thereby transforming conformity into a source of power." I find this funny. Not surprisingly, I know little about Stowe, so I cannot positively refute Claybaugh's claims. However, I find it far more likely that her explanation is a feminist's pitiful attempt to make a feminist hero of someone who dared to accept her role as wife. And that amuses me.


Overdue Quotes

It has been quite a while since I posted any inspriational quote from Domestic Tranquility. Here is a beautiful synopsis of a woman's job, based upon Virginia Woolf's character Mrs. Ramsay in To the Lighthouse, a book I may now have to read:
. . .Mrs. Ramsay produces little, daily miracles by imposing shape and staibility upon life's chaos. For her husband, her children, and those who might join her faimly circle, Mrs. Ramsay calms the whirlwind, stops time, and with the gift of her attention, structures for others a moment to share with her, a moment that they would never experience without her mediation. In these moments of permanence, Mrs. Ramsay teaches others that they count for something in this life. . . .for those individuals who have no Mrs. Ramsay in their lives, there may will be no moments of permanence in which they know that they count. They will be like unfinished canvases with a "centre of complete emptiness," without shape or stability. What is there in life that can replace the woman who "resolved everything into simplicity" and made "of the moment something permanent?" (author's quotes taken from Woolf)


Boring Blog

Are boring posts better than no posts?
That is the question of the day. Yesterday's question of the day came from a student using a dictionary: "Does O come before I?" Please keep in mind that I teach high school. Fortunately, some other student told the querying student to sing the alphabet, so I didn't have to.
I have not consumed any of my water today. Oops. Bad health for me. I really should make a more concerted effort to drink, rather than finishing my water only when I'm thirsty.
I'm going home now, finally, to find something healthy to eat. I hope this lonely little post satiates some great need until I have more time!



While baking 3 batches of cookies and 3 of mini-muffins this evening, I've been nostalgically listening to CD's from my high school years. It's interesting. I find myself picking up on just a line here and there, even on songs I know most of the words to. They are the lines that resonate most with my experience and my personal faith, inasmuch as one's personal faith differs slightly in emphasis from everyone else's. (Anyone wonder why we put three words together into one word? We do that with "insofar" also. Interesting.) Some songs, of course, I sing almost all of, but even on songs with whose basic premise I now disagree I sing a few lines. (Why is that "whose"? A song is not a "who;" it's a "which," but there's no possessive form of "which.") My brain automatically discriminates between the lines, without me thinking about it. Even after several years, the words are still ingrained enough in my subconscious for that to happen.
This discussion is not really going anywhere. . .it's just me transmitting my current thought processes. That IS what a blog is for, right? Feel free to comment.

Blue Bonnet Sue, Bakers & Chefs

Ever searching for the elusive "perfect" cookie and taking advantage of my self-appointed task to make an enormous number of chocolate chip cookies for my AP class to enjoy after their AP test tomorrow, I decided to make 3 batches using 3 different recipes. The winner, with the slight modification of a whole bag of chocolate chips rather than just 1 cup (1 1/2) and no nuts, is actually a tie and comes from the back of the Blue Bonnet Margarine box and the back of a Bakers & Chefs brown sugar bag:
Blue Bonnet Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup Blue Bonnet (of course) margarine, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix as usual (Read: combine margerine and sugar; add egg and vanilla; add flour and soda; add chocolate chips). Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until edges harden and centers are still soft.

B&C Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix as usual (see above). Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Yes, I realize there are at least a zillion (I counted them! Really!) (Okay. . .not really.) chocolate chip cookie recipes, and everyone probably already has their favorite. The first one is different because it uses melted margarine, and I don't remember doing that before. It results in less flattening during baking, because the margarine is already melted. Next time, I shall add nuts. (My students rarely get nuts in their cookies for 2 reasons: 1) They're expensive. 2) They take time and energy to chop. When making many batches, those nominal obstacles become Herculean. (No, probably not Herculean, but I wanted to use the word.)) I also noticed, with the other batches, that butter creates a much flatter cookies than a margerine/shortening mix. It must be thinner when melted. Also, the cookies flattened less on a dark, non-stick pan than on my other, textured, light pan. All interesting observations for you to enjoy. Anyone care to share your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe? Or maybe you should try mine first, so you don't have to retract your statement later. Hee hee.


For the Future

I post this link here in hopes that I may remember to read it again when I have boys to raise.


On the Evils of Fast Food

One can't be expected to eat a burger and fries every day, and they don't warm up in the microwave. In fact, burgers and fries in the microwave s---oh, wait--that's crude.
And there are only so many times you can go to Subway for a sandwich. There are Long John Silver's and McDonald's and Carl's, Jr. The problem with Sonic is that you have to eat in your car, or wait and bring it back, but then your tater tots are all soggy and wasted. And everything is so expensive. Who can afford that? It's just a lose-lose situation.
What's that? Bring simple, tasteful, nutritional food from home? But it's so much easier to run pick something up. . . .
This litany of complaints I overheard while waiting for to have lunch with my dad yesterday. . .with a small bit of poetic license, of course. . .highly amused me, and I hope it does you as well.


Congrats are in order!

I feel that I deserve congratulations for single-handedly wading through 20 months of bank statements and successfully reconciling bank records to checkbook records over the weekend. Nevermind that only I am responsible for the backlog or that the vast majority (say. . .all but 3, "all" being at least 25) of the mistakes were recording or (mostly) math errors on my part. (Dare not to recommend better practices in the future!) A simple congratulations will do. Thank you, in advance.


Noon Sustenance

My lunch today: Danon Light'n Fit blueberry yogurt, Nature Valley Apple Crisp granola bar, several dried Turkish apricots, and water. My dessert? A watermelon-flavored Mexican-produced sucker from one of my students. Weird.
It is Friday. That and the fact that we have 25 days of school left please me. This afternoon I administer the state Biology standardized test for 18 students. That should allow me to get more grading done, which is good. My AP class turned in research rough drafts today (I always want to spell that "ruff" drafts. . .fitting, somehow), and those will take hours to check thoroughly.
Typing in this position really hurts my shoulders, so I am finished. Besides, lunch is now over, and students are returning. Happy Weekending, everyone!



This is my new word. I have now seen it several times in various contexts and have looked in a dictionary for its meaning twice. It means interchangeable, exchangeable, or substitutable. Yes, those are the exact words. . .although I wouldn't have guessed the last one WAS a word. Research says it takes 7-9 exposures to a word before it sticks in the memory. I'm guessing I'm at 5 or 6. . .maybe I can beat the odds.

Bodily Harm

I was almost injured today when two students frantically competing over an index card barreled in my direction. It's heartening to see them so excited over vocabulary. . .even if it does require some sort of competitive activity. We were playing a vocab review game in which 2 opposing team members compete for the correct vocabulary word index card as I read out the definition. It was quite spirited.
I just went to check my thermostat. It was set at 90 degrees. That's what happens when two classes with two displaced teachers are assigned to a random room. Only 3 more days of testing, and it's all over.
And here's my profound observation on life for the day: It's very sad to watch people ruin their lives without even trying. And yet, that is the very problem: they're not trying. Success--in any of myriad shapes it is perceived--takes effort. Apathy is perhaps the most malicious "anti-virtue" of our day.


God Loveth a Cheerful Giver. . .

but a bitter one is better than none at all.
I was thinking this morning about cheerful obedience. So if we're not cheerful, does that mean we don't have to obey? Of course not. It goes back to following faithfully, regardless of feeling, and letting those troublesome emotions fall back into line later. That's my sermonette for the day. Have a lovely one (day, that is, not sermonette).


Wisdom from Bonhoeffer

Speaking of the importance of familiarity with the Old Testament, not only the New:
It is only when one knows that the names of God cannot be expressed, that one can express the name Jesus Christ; it is only when one so loves life and this world that the thought of losing them appears to be the end, that one can believe in the resurrection of the dead and a new world; it is only when one submits to the law of God, that one may really speak of grace; and only when one is convinced that the anger and vengeance of God against his enemy is justified, that forgiveness and love of our enemy can begin to move our hearts.


Clean Socks

Shhh! This is a secret, sort of. . .
I was asked today to participate in a school drama activity, a spoof of the TV show Desperate Housewives. In said spoof, I was expected to play the part of one of these famously, scandalously promiscuous women, a part that included kissing another member of the faculty. . .who was, of course, to not play my "husband." Thrown into some slight state of mortification and a definite state of consternation at even being asked to do such a thing, I managed somehow to gracefully (I hope) and respectfully refuse. The whole thing will no doubt be completely forgotten, and I would not wish otherwise, so I will not make an issue of it other than on this oh-so-private record. Since, however, we are making an issue of it here. . .WHAT kind of world thinks it is ENTERTAINING to show high school students 2 random faculty members acting out an AFFAIR??? And WHY am I in it??? *AUGH!*
On further thought, I had to wonder if I do indeed fit the part. . .but no, desperate to be a housewife is very different from desperate housewife. And, on that note, a lovely quote from my new favorite book, the book that makes me laugh aloud, gasp in horror, and dream of times to come:
Some of us have goals different from men's; we are content to provide clean socks for our husbands and are even grateful for each day we can do so.


Tootsie Rolls and Teaching

The good thing about tootsie rolls is that their wrappers don’t make any noise. This is beneficial when discretely sneaking a piece of candy in the middle of a roomful of students taking a practice test. The bad thing about tootsie rolls is they are no substitute for real chocolate. It's a trade-off.
That's about all the news of note I have to report. I graded 2 classes' work in the course of the day, and now I only have 4 classes left for the weekend. Somehow, that is not very encouraging. I trust grading will go faster when I'm not interrupted by the demands of teaching. . .if I don't find some other way to interrupt myself, which is likely.
Tomorrow the Farmer's Market opens for the first time this season. Have I already shared that exciting bit of information? I'm very excited and hope they have lovely things for sale. I've been reserving my cash all week just for this event.
I'm prattling now, so I will go. Fare thee well.


Quotation Answers

Before the answers, I must confess that I did excerpt both quotes, and I may not have known the first one without the rest of the piece. So, before I give the answers, the speech from which the first quote is taken begins These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot. . . . There. Now I've been fair. . .for the second time tonight. Anyone know it?

To be fair

Not to be unfair, I offer this description of mothers.


Quotation Quiz

". . .yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods. . . ."
"Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and dispostion of business; for expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the he general counsels, and the plots and marshaling of affairs come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies is sloth; to use them too much for ornament is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules is the humor of a scholar. They perfect nature, and are perfected by experiences; for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much as large, except they be bounded in experience. Crafty men condemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them; for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them and above them won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider."
Can you identify the source of these quotes? I had to research the second one.


Yes, I'm a Romantic

In the sense of an idealist, not a love-sick puppy, in case you were unclear. I like this post on what makes a man.

Personal Responsibility, Version 2

I typed this post. . .or something like it. . .once already, but then the power went off and I lost everything. It was unfair.
I don't remember the reason for my title, so it may now be obsolete. We'll see.
K and I watched the new series "Black. White." last night (the series in which a black family and a white family are made up to appear like the other in order to experience life in different skin). It was interesting. For someone eternally intrigued by race relations, I found the experiences and discussions worthy of some thought. Perhaps it would be good if all of us could experience life in someone else's shoes for a while.
Oh, I remember what prompted my blog title. I was browsing through my previous posts (our of boredom while waiting for parents to arrive for parent-teacher conferences and procrastination while avoiding grading papers). I realized that I am a strange being. Then I wondered if I should take some personal responsibility for that. Then I decided not. Actually, what I thought was, "Nah."
Do you appreciate knowing the contents of my brain. Be glad that I can't share all of them in such a confined space as the Internet.


Affectionate Guinea Pigs

These housewives, said Gilman, comprise an "endless array of 'horse-leech's daughters, crying, Give! Give!'" This "parasite mate devouring even when she should most feed" possesses "the aspirations of an affectionate guinea pig."
taken from Domestic Tranquility

Are quotes like this supposed to make me angry? They make me laugh. Let's dissect the invective. . .
First, the idea of ANY housewife, tranquil or un, crying "Give! Give!" is contradictory. You cannot simultaneously argue that the housewife is an unfulfilled drudge enslaved by the patriarchs in society and that she is a selfish beast intent upon her own pleasure. The two are mutually exclusive.
Second, if we grant the housewife's status as a "parasite mate" (being one that relies on or feeds off of another) I feel compelled to point out that a vast number of parasites in our world participate in a symbiotic relationship in which their hosts either placidly comply or gratefully revel. (There. See how easily an insult is turned into a beautiful metaphor?) As for the bit about voracious appetite, I refer you to the first point.
Third, what's wrong with guinea pigs? They like clean, comfy places to live. They like good food to eat and refreshing water to drink. They show affection (presuming, as the quote says, that they are affectionate ones); they snuggle and nuzzle and hug. They fear rats. They need vitamin C and don't like milk (an important similarity, if you ask me). They are easy to care for, cute, and develop attachments to their "herd"--be it human or rodent. Most importantly, they do not have hair on the soles of their feet. So, as long as we're talking about affectionate types. . .I'm not seeing the problem here. Honestly.

Perhaps I'm over-romanticizing a bit. But it made you laugh, didn't it? And it made me laugh. So those vituperative vixens of feminist fame can keep cracking their whips, as far as I'm concerned.


Domestic Tranquility: A Snappy Allusion

Enjoying the quiet of a Spring Break morning, I've been reading a bit further in Domestic Tranquility while eating breakfast. Here's a great quote:
Choosing not to go gently into that good night of the marketplace, feminists went in rage and viciously warred against the housewife who declined to join them.
This makes me laugh. If you're not familiar with the poem Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas, it is a poem written to his dying father. "That good night" is a euphemism for death, and in the poem he repeatedly urges his father to "rage, rage against the dying of the light." I am amused that what might be taken as a veiled compliment ("gently" and "good") or at least as tolerance ("night" IS on the negative side of connotation) is actually a vicious little insult. Read it this way. . .
Choosing not to go gently into that death of the marketplace, feminists went in rage and viciously warred against the housewife who declined to join them.
That makes me laugh.


(Sugar and) Spice

I love to play with spices in the kitchen. My first experiment took place when I was rather young. I was making scrambled eggs, but I wanted them to be "interesting." So I added some ingredients of my own. . .namely cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and some other things I don't remember. Needless to say, they didn't turn out so well.
Thankfully, I learned a few things and I generally have better luck now (not that "better luck" means much when the comparison is Cinnamon Scrambled Eggs). Last week, I was making chili for dinner. I had everything in the pan except the chili powder when I suddenly realized I was out of chili powder. Oops. So, I made my own.
Cookbooks don't have recipes for chili powder. At least, mine don't. Fortunately, I remembered running out half-way through the measuring process last time I made chili, and I had added a few individual spices that were listed on the bottle's ingredient list. Here's my recipe:
Alicia's Chili Powder

1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (plus a smidge)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

This goes with 1/2 pound of ground beef (cooked with onion and bell pepper), 1 can of diced tomatoes, and 1 can drained kidney beans. . .obviously, a two-person dinner. I may have thrown in some salt, too. . .but I never measure that. It seems that I may remember throwing in a spoonful of brown sugar. . .but that might very well be my imagination.
In hindsight, I recommend cutting the cumin in half. It was a little strong. Also, if you don't want spicy chili, cut the cayenne pepper. . .at least in half.
Tip: Serve hot.
Another tip: top chili with slices of fresh avocado, sour cream, and grated cheddar. This only works if those eating like avocado and sour cream, unfortunately.


Mellifluous is one of the vocabulary words my students are supposed to be learning. Here are my favorite sentences created using this word:
1. After his wax, his back was very mellifluous.
2. When I talk to girls, my voice is very mellifluous.
3. I say my muscles are very mellifluous.

I can't help it. They make me laugh.



1. On Sesame Street, Grover is (of course!) the furry little blue guy who sticks in my memory as the sympathetic one. Not that any of Sesame Street's characters are un-sympathetic--except Oscar, obviously--but Grover and Grover's songs stand out as being about feelings.
Right now, I am feeling sad. I am saddened by the sheer enormity of crassness in the world. Perfectly lovely people are marred by unlovely language. Profanity is unlovely. It belies those who would otherwise be beautiful ladies or mannerly gentlemen. The insertion of obscenity changes a neutral image to a tough, unkind one, a genteel image into that of a mushroom. (Mushroom? Did I say Mushroom? I think I mean. . .well, Mushroom. Or ragtag. Yes, Rags. The ragged remains of genteel. Don't ask how that correlates to Mushroom.)
The short version? Profanity makes me cringe. Cringing makes me sad. Enormously sad. Grover would sing a sad song right about now.

2. In American history, Grover (Cleveland) was the President of the United States during a devastating drought in Texas. (I learned this in a National Review Online article this week. . .keep reading.) He was savvy enough to cast down a bill that would have appropriated federal dollars for farmers' relief, providing them with seed for the next year's crop. He held firm that the role of government must be a limited one, that the "people support the government," and the government should not "support the people." In the wake of Katrina, Rita, and every other natural (or not) disaster, where is Grover now?

Three cheers for Grover.


Covenantal Dispensationalism

Innocency. . .Neo-evangelicalism. . .Inextricably. . .Eschatologically. . .and more (so-called) words reverberated in our small group discussion tonight over the differentiation of definition and merit in Covenant and Dispensational theology.

A (brief) Summary:
The dispensations are delineated along the same time periods in both views (with the exception of the Davidic Covenant, for which Dispensationalism has no corresponding epoch), and the terms "dispensation" and "covenant" are used in discussions on both sides. (Thus, to be clear, I will capitalize the word when I am speaking of the movement; if the word is not capitalized, I am using it in its unbiased, generically defined form.)
According to OPR (What DOES that "O" stand for???), Dispensationalism has gone through myriad revisions since the first edition of Scofield's Bible popularized it in 1909. The most recent explications are quite similar to Covenant Theology (hereafter referred to as CT to avoid extra keystrokes and the temptation to coin "Covenantalism"), with a few key exceptions. The longstanding exception that carries through all dispensations of God's plan is Dispensationalism's failure to connect each epoch to a larger, encompassing perspective of God's Master Plan for redeeming Creation. Dispensationalists recognize successive covenants that replace each other rather than an ever-increasing revelation of God's single plan for redemption. This apparently leads to a very serious implication of separatism between ethnic Israel and spiritual Israel (the Church). The covenant made with Abraham, from a Dispensationalist view, is seen as primarily applying to physical Israel and being tied specifically to literal Palestine, rather than being a shadow and type of the spiritual Israel (all believers) and figurative Holy Land (New Heaven & Earth?) that was to come. There is an inconsistency in this view, in that the promises concerning Abraham blessing "all nations" are still considered to refer to Christ coming to save all people (thus, spiritual Israel) while the promises of His numerous seed are considered to refer only to his physical descendants (ethnic Israel), even though there is no such distinction made in the Scripture. This is the most serious point of divergence, as it posits God's purpose being dualistic--one plan for an earthly people and another for a heavenly people. That leads into a discrepancy with bodily resurrection, which CT people strongly believe in on the basis of God creating man as a uniquely spiritual and physical being, not as a 2-part being whose parts may be separated at will. That is, if you believe in a bodily resurrection, it is inconsistent to believe the Church is primarily a spiritual entity with little or no physical substance.
The other major point of disagreement concerns Mosaic law. Dispensationalists say that the Mosaic covenant continued the promise of the Abrahamic covenant only upon the condition of adherence to the law, which changes the criterion for salvation from grace to works. CT adherents would say that the law came to those already recipients of Abraham's promise through faith; the law is, in effect, what is required to continue in that grace.
There were also some interesting observations on the arbitrariness with which Dispensationalists stop and start the efficacy of covenants or sections of covenants, saying for example that Abraham's promise continues through the Mosaic covenant, but not the unconditional grounds upon which it was given. (Incidentally, CT people also say that Abraham's covenant was NOT unconditional, but required perfect obedience to God. Other Dispensationalists say that the Abrahamic covenant was conditional upon Israel's continued inhabitance of Palestine.)

There, I think that is something of a summary. . .there were so many other points and examples that I can't possible convey them all. Besides that, I'm barely lucid enough to get this much. . .and I'm only reasonably certain that I communicated it faithfully. Really, I recommend the book.

One more thing. . .OPR comments that government, science, and art were all granted to humanity through the Japhetic line--Japhetic being from Japheth, the youngest son of Noah. I am at a loss as to from whence this conclusion stems. We scoured Genesis 5 and 9, the only 2 chapters in the Bible with Japheth's name and postulated that perhaps his descendants are those who settled Europe and OPR's comment is based upon humanities history, but that leaves some explanation to be desired. Help, anyone?

Good Night.


If I blog. . .

I don't have to grade yet!

Last night we watched an old favorite movie of mine: Houseboat, with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. The idea was for me to get lots of grading done while being distracted from the time-consuming monotony with a light-hearted movie. Upon reflection, I do not know that this is a movie I should like, given certain quotes and elements not previously considered in a mature light, and I only graded about 8 papers. Oops. So much for my grand scheme.

It is now Sunday afternoon, and I should, of course, be grading. Have I mentioned how much I hate grading? I hate it.

On the bright side, K made brownies last night, and we have ice cream. Maybe I should eat those. Maybe I should grade first. Maybe.

I read a funny news article here about people stealing a delivery truck filled with $26,000 of beer. They ditched the truck, but of course they took the beer. What does one do with that much beer???

I'll contemplate working now. So long.


Quieting the Crowd

Clamoring fans (fan?) demand more, and I oblige.

Our ski trip this weekend was great, as far as the skiing and relaxing goes. The airport fiasco was another story. Leaving Friday, we were delayed about 45 minutes by a late incoming plane. Major weather issues on the East Coast and minor ones in Denver slowed things down a bit. We arrived in Denver about an hour late and taxied up to the terminal, only to wait 90 minutes for an open gate to accomodate our plane. Apparently, a combination of broken-down fuel trucks, ice, and short-handed staff seriously compounded the weather-related delays. Oops.

We did, however, finally leave DIA, have a late (LATE) dinner, and complete the drive to Winter Park.

After the weekend, we arrived at the airport in a timely fashion Monday night only to discover that our reservations had indeed been made for MARCH 20 rather than FEBRUARY 20. Oops, again. Fortunately (or unfortunatley, take your pick), the mistake appears to have been the booking service's, indicated by similar mis-bookings for many other passengers. Needless to say, flights were booked solid and we stayed in Colorado an extra night. When our Tuesday morning flight also had time challenges (the cargo door was knocked off track and had to be repaired before the previous flight's passengers could retrieve their luggage), we were beginning to wonder if we'd better just settle in Colorado.

At any rate--skiing. Lovely. Cold, but lovely. Fortunately, WP was slightly warmer than the 13 degrees before windchill Denver boasted Friday evening. There was fresh snow every day, which made the slope surface perfect for easy skiing. I only went 2 half-days, partially to spare my as-yet-unchallenged ACL and partially to grade the ever-present stack of papers (which stack was greatly lessened thanks to the cheerful assistance of my gorgeous younger cousin--Many Thanks!). Sunday night we went to a German restaurant and enjoyed fondue. It was great fun. I was amazed at how tender and delicious the meat was--beef, venison, chicken, and shrimp. The five of us shared 2 types--a medley of Swiss cheeses and the broth for cooking the meats, then topped if off with the inevitable and essential chocolate. I confess that chocolate fondue is wonderful when eaten by the spoonful. . .but I only did it one time.

I believe that is all the news of note. School this week has been largely disheartening, if not maddening, and I don't wish to discuss it. We missed small group Tuesday, given our arrival Tuesday afternoon and immediate transport to our respective places of work. We needed the evening off. Tonight I am enjoying the women's long programs and shaking my head in dismay at the often rude comments of one of the commentators. Surely the athletes' mere presence at the Olympics deserves some level of respect! Perhaps I am only too kind. Thankfully, Scott Hamilton is rarely cruel and usually redeems the others' comments somewhat. It is good to be nice.

I am rapidly drifting into mindless babble, so I will cease this ramble. G'night, all.


A Sonnet

This is a sonnet I really like by Pablo Neruda.
Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, or you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Here it is in the original Spanish.
No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva
dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

Shades of Love

Today is Valentine's Day--my 2nd Valentine's Day as a wife and the 2nd anniversary of our engagement. We're not going out to an expensive restaurant tonight. I haven't bought chocolates or other red and pink paraphenalia, nor do I expect to receive any. I didn't even buy a card this year, since my husband isn't a big fan of greeting cards. (That's a first--I love them.)
However, I got up extra early this morning to put our Valentine's dinner in the crockpot. Our kitchen is. . .in a very relative state of cleanliness. The living room is somewhat cluttered. I stayed up an extra 10 minutes last night to put away all the clean laundry off the table, so that we could actually have dinner on it tonight. K stayed up to move the kitchen from its state of messiness past the messy-clean boundry. When I get home from my extra meeting after school today that will delay my homecoming an hour and a half, I'll bake dessert and finish dinner preparations. K will probably help. We'll sit down late to a candlelight dinner in our semi-cluttered living room that doubles as a dining room and have a perfectly delightful time.

By contrast, I am watching large numbers of students today strolling down the halls with huge (anywhere from 3 to 12) red mylar baloons, stuffed animals (including a 3 foot wide stuffed red heart), flowers (red roses galore), cards ("To My Wife???"), candy (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate), and more. I overheard a student complaining about the $200 he spent on his girlfriend. I overheard other students joking about someone who broke up with his girlfriend yesterday, planning to make up tomorrow. Tomorrow, things will be back to normal. Couples will be fighting, cussing each other out, making up (making out) in the hall, arguing with rivals, and generally being miserable.

I hope none of my girls get pregnant tonight. I hope all my students learn that money does not buy love or happiness, that poverty can house contentment as well as riches. I hope they live to learn about love that is more than a shower of gifts one day a year.


P, S, & K

It's Friday night, and I've been multi-tasking.
P: While cooking dinner, I composed a (somewhat) poetic tribute to my 2 days of reading student-written sonnets and ballads. Keep in mind that I composed this on the refrigerator with poetry magnets, which is as good an excuse as any for bad poetry and will perhaps save me from the onslaught of verbal irony.
crowds belch poetry
in a mortal manner
idle stock to forswear
some whisper vivid volumes
in the ancient language
of our moon

S: While watching our usual Friday night of new sci-fi shows, I completed several Sudoku puzzles.
K: Also while watching our usual Friday night of new sci-fi shows, I knit 2 more rows on The Never-Ending Afghan.
And that, folks, is P, S, & K


Out to Lunch

I've just finished lunch--2 sticks of string cheese, several slices of deli-style smoked turkey, an apple crisp granola bar, and chocolate fudge pudding (sugar-free)--and am enjoying my last few minutes of relative quiet. Eligibility grades are due today, and I must finish those while my classes write sonnets and ballads this afternoon. I'm afraid my criteria for their poems are lower than they whould be.

Aack. . .students come back early. They're not supposed to do that. I guess I should go. I don't really know what I was going to post anyway. . .it escapes me.


Home Sick

Well, with the warm weather we've been having, the mold in my classroom has had opportunity to multiply, and I am now home sick. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Ha.
Yesterday, I rediscovered how miserable it feels to cope with 20 loud, not-exactly-respectful teenagers while simultaneously coping with sinus pressue, a headache, achiness, and chills. It was decidedly unpleasant.
On the bright side, I woke up wet with sweat from head to toe enough times last night to effectively quelch my small fever, so I am feeling better this morning. I am continuing to take allergy meds and to drink lots of fluids, but I am hopeful I might be back to normal (whatever that is) tomorrow. In the meantime, perhaps I can get caught up on grading and laundry. I also need to go to the grocery store. . .if I survive the next hour without having to blow my nose more than 3 times, I might try it. That will also put my excursion after the lunch hour rush, which is preferable. Perhaps I'll even make it to the post office. Don't ask about rollerblading, though. . .that's probably pushing it a bit.
I've probably rambled long enough, so I'll stop now, wishing you all the health to avoid whatever is going around in Tulsa and the fortune to stay away from moldy places that encourage it.


God is Good

I learned again today that God is good. From shockingly generous offers of help to unexpected warming gifts, He never fails to care for us through the people in our lives. The Klingons (sorry, I'm still a nerd) always say "It is a good day to die." I say it is a good day to live, this day that God has made, and I am glad.


A Tale of (Between) Two Cities

I drove to the City this afternoon, and, as is my custom when driving alone for long distances, I passed some time scanning and intermittently stopping at various radio stations. This is the story of my amusing (if you enjoy sick humor) experience.

The first station I stopped on was a classic Country station. I first stopped because it sounded so much like a Southern Gospel song I know that I could have sung the Gospel lyrics in place of those on the radio. The actual lyrics, however, were not bad, and I appreciated a series of several songs celebrating lifelong love and fidelity. Admittedly idealistic, I reveled a while in the idealism. Then I heard something like "When we made love was more than just an affair; I really love you." Involuntarily flaring my nostrils in disgust and feeling slightly nauseous, I said aloud, "I can't listen to this" and promptly moved on.
The station two hits down was again Country (remember, I'm in the south), this time contemporary. The words caught my attention as they celebrated a woman pouring her heart and soul into building her husband's home, raising their kids, ironing his clothes, and more. I was comfortably appreciating the beauty of the sentiment when the chorus rudely interrupted. . .and the perfect homemaker came home to find in a note that her husband didn't love her anymore. What did she do? Let herself go, of course. . .to enjoy her first blind date and. . .that's when I moved on, blinking in disbelief.
Later, of course, I returned to both stations. . .allowing ample time for the blasphemous tunes to end.

That's my tale, my trip between two cities. In the future, I will attempt to remember that, at any moment, the appreciable songs on any Country station may be rudely interrupted by something more deserving of laughter and derision than easygoing enjoyment.


One more thing

I really appreciated these 2+ paragraphs from Domestic Tranquility, particulary the "+" so I will share them.
In subjecting the family to scientific analysis, these exerts analogized a wife's roles to jobs in the workplace. But the homemaker has a nebulous job description and lacks specific qualitifications or training. When "professional" standards of achievement are set for such a job, one can easily doubt both the job's desirability and one's own ability to do it well. Helena Lopata has described the housewife's role as lacking the basic criteria of a job: no organized social circle sets qualifications, tests for competence, or dismisses for incompetences. Nor is there a set pay scale for the job of housewife; in the ordinary sense, there is no pay at all. The role never receives a high social prestige, a homemaker being "typically portrayed as someone who needs little intelligence since the duites are routine and narrow in scope." As society has assigned increasing importance to education and has given prestige to work proportional ot the education it reequires, the housewife's role--perceived as requiring no education at all--has become even less prestigious.
Lopata's interviews with housewives, on the other hand, disclosed that respect for the knowledge required of them increased in proportion to the respondent's level of education; many of them regretted the lack of specific training for the homemaking role. Lopata concluded that working women, many of whom were not deeply concerned with the housewife's role and performed it minimally, believed the role required no special skills; but those who were "performing the role of housewife in a complex and creatively competent manner see it as requiring many different areas of knowledge." This conclusion accords with my own experience that the familiar metaphor of peeling an onion bedt describes the housewife's role, for it is only when one undertakes the task that one can appreciate its magnitude.
Because of its indeterminancy, the housewife's role very likely requires more self-motivation than any other. A homemaker has maximum freedom to define the scope of her duties and obtain whatever knowledge she believes their performance requires. . . .

from pg. 47-48 ,"The Expert Culture" section in chapter 1, "Women's Divine Discontent"

Perhaps part of society's condescension toward the housewife, then, is based upon a misapplication of evaluative criteria. If you judge a wheat field by the criteria for a prize-winning rose garden or vice versa, the judgement is bound to turn out poorly. Likewise, if you judge a homemaker by social position, income, or even professional training required, the result will be unfavorable, because the criteria are wholly inadequate.