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!