Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tolkien and I have a brief history- not like the lifelong love affair I've had with CS Lewis. JRR and I just never had that spark, that chemistry. I started reading The Hobbit when I was 11 or 12, on a backpacking trip with my dad, and didn't make it past the first chapter. Around when the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, Amy and my dad read all 3 LOTR books and wouldn't shut up about them*, which led me to attempt them (I failed again). Two years ago (ish) I read the first three chapters of The Silmarillion and nearly died of boredom.

I don't know what made me pick up the Hobbit again- perhaps a whim, perhaps a gnawing sense of failure as a lover of literature; having not read any of Tolkien's work, how dare I refer to myself as an avid reader? How can I claim companionship with Lewis when Tolkien, the father of the fantasy genre, sits unread on my bookshelf, stuffed between Orwell and Huxley? Maybe that's a little unfair- George MacDonald did theological fantasy first (Tolkien just did it better). In any case, I haven't been able to put it down- I think I've just grown up enough since my last assault on this novel, and though my mind is full of Hollywood imagery, I'm planning on reading all 3 LOTR next. Screw all the other books on my list, they can wait.

*It's really annoying to watch movies based on books you haven't read with more than one person who has read the book. Especially when these people are the picky sort with good memories who find it necesssary to point out all the discrepancies in chronology or wardrobe or dialogue or whatever. And you're dumb enough to complain about it so they start referring to scenes and situations from the NEXT book in a vague and mysterious fashion. And they fail to tell you about the monstrous execrable evil spider in the second book even though they know you're an arachnaphobe.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I only needed one lesson to get some sick air (and dress like a dude).

Of course, that's not me. I'm a liar. Anyway, it's official: I am no longer crap at snowboarding, and I shall never ski again. We went again on Saturday and I made a breakthrough. I can now honestly say that I'm carving and improving quicker than Stephen thought I would. Amy came too, and did great. It was fun seeing two of my favorite people, my fiance and my sister, joking and getting along. Amy didn't even cry, like I did my first day (though, in my defense, conditions that day were awful).

I discovered that fear was the only thing keeping me from doing what I wanted to do, which seems to hold true for me in a lot of other ways. The only thing stopping me was mental, and once I overame my fear of falling down or failing, it was easy and I had fun the whole day. Also, I am proud to report that I was able -barely- to put on my bra without help the next morning (see my 11/16 post).

I still have a long way to go before I can keep up with Stephen. He's been very gracious in his willingness to take it easy and teach me (and he says he appreciates the chance to practice riding switch), but I want to be able to ride with him without slowin him down. Happily, my cousin David is coming with us on Friday and he's good, so Amy and I can practice on the greens while the boys go rock the outback.

On a different topic, Stephen and I are saving for our honeymoon and have therefore decided not to exchange gifts. We thought of each putting a certain amount into a joint savings account (boring, but wise) or just buying something that we want (like a digital camera).

Which leads me to this subject of money: I keep thinking how wierd it is that my money will not strictly be mine anymore, nor his strictly his. It doesn't bother me, it's just... wierd. I'm used to keeping and spending my money the way I see fit, and I think I do a wiser job about it than most people. It's how my daddy raised me, and it's why Stephen and I decided that I'll be the one managing our money when we get married. Soon, I'll be accountable for how I handle my-our bank account. I can't just spend and save as I see fit. I have to think of what's best for both of us and I have to include someone else in my decisions, which, like I said, is WIERD. It's a stretch- I suppose it's a good wierd. I've been thinking hard about living selflessly and serving the people you love. Stephen brings out the best qualities in me- traits I never knew I had. It sounds cheesy, but Stephen makes me a better woman, and I make him a better man. We've grown together, and our prayer is that we'll continue to do so.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hey everyone (everyone being my 3 readers- I 'preciate ya'll!), check it out! I got a whole post dedicated to my coolness on Surface Tension just for posting a comment. His blog made me laugh the way you do in junior high when your friend makes faces at you from accross the room during social studies and you don't want to get in trouble. So you laugh that stifled snort, and then a manager walks past your desk, and you try to cover it up by making it sound like you're coughing, but you over-compensate and make some kind of unnatural hacking noise... anyone ever had that happen? No? What I'm saying is Thom's blog is funny, and you should go read it.

I've been told (by Stephen) that I have a "distinctive laugh". He said it's one of my traits that he was initially attracted to. He noticed my laugh the first time we listened to Mitch Hedberg together (very romantic, ja?) in the car heading up to the mountains for a day hike.

I'm that obnoxious woman in the movie theater who laughs loud (REALLY loud) during the whole movie. Also, my comic sensibilities are not very... refined... so I tend to laugh not only when everyone else laughs, but when it's not appropriate, or at things not perceieved as funny by the typical audience. A wierd, twisted sense of humor runs in my family and it's something I love about myself. I love to laugh and I don't care if no one else is laughing with me. I'm amused by the discomfort my unbridled merriment sometimes elicits in people, but find that more often than not, people like to laugh with me- joy really is contagious. I don't mind making a fool out of myself. At least I enjoy life.

Friday, December 08, 2006

When a cat gets frightened or angry its fur stands all on end and its tail gets poofy. That's how I felt last night.

I was driving home at 11:30 when I suddenly realized I was completely out of gas. I'm never comfortable going out alone late at night- I'm compulsive about this. At all hours, no matter how long I'm getting out of my car, I ALWAYS lock the doors. Someone could jump in the car and when I get back in, kidnap me at gunpoint in my own vehicle!! If it's dark, I always check underneath my car as I'm walking up (there could be someone under!), and I look in the back seats, even though I've locked the doors. If, while I was gone, a large vehicle of any kind that I can't see into has parked on the drivers side of my car, I will actually CLIMB IN the other side of my car (yes, seriously). I even used to carry a knife with me, but I haven't lately because it does not fit in my purse. I might be paranoid, but at least I air on the side of safety.

Anyway, I get to the gas station and start filling up my car. There was an old blue beater car with two guys in it parked at the gas station. It seemed like they alternated for a while, both going in to the store and coming back out to their car. Finally they both got in the car for a few minutes. Then, as I was almost finished (still rejoicing in the new novelty of paying less than $40 for a full tank), one of them got out of the car and walked over to me. That's when I did the angry cat thing. Somthing was just not right about this guy. Here's how the conversation went:

FREAK: Good evening, how are you? (big ingenuine smile)

ME: Fine, thanks.

FREAK: Hey, I have a quick question for you. It's kind of random...

ME: Yeah?

FREAK: (still smiling that uncomfortable smile) What kind of perfume do you like to wear?

ME: None. (A lie, of course. I'm not about to give this guy anything that resembles a remote interest in continuing our conversation.)

FREAK: None?!? (In disbelief)

ME: None.

FREAK: Not even lotions or body sprays? Nothing?

ME: NOPE. (I wanted to scream "NO MEANS NO!" and kick him in the balls, but I unhappily restrained myself)

FREAK: Oh, Alright. Thanks.

ME: Uh-huh.

FREAK: Have a happy holiday! (glancing back at me)

ME: Ok, thanks.

FREAK: (glancing back again) OK, drive safely!

How stupid does this guy think I am? It's almost midnight, and you're just a garden-variety salesman offering perfume from the back of your car to girls at gas stations who look like they might be an easy hit. Just the usual. I'm glad the Lord blessed me with intelligence and common sense.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

a kingdom aligned mind

My pastor is doing a sermon series on "A Kingdom Aligned Mind", and God is stirring up my heart. I'm feeling challenged to change my mental habits and honor God with my idle words.

There is a pattern in my falling:
1. I stop communicating with God, usually because of busyness, unrepentant sin, or negligence.
2. My discernment is weakened and I begin to feel apathetic and far from God.
3. Negative circumstances arise in my life and I feel overwhelmed by my helplessness against them.
4. I mentally agree with the lies satan is throwing at me.
5. Satan gains a stronghold.

The power of agreement is a curious and undeniable thing. Examine your own life and see how influential your thought life is! When I agree with the word of God, and stand on it, my perspective is changed. I create access for God to work in my life if I am believing His word, what He says about me, His promises, etc. Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks, and our words have a tremendous power. Matthew 16:19 says,

'I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.'

Matthew 18:18 says the same thing. I want to speak life, and healing, and joy! I want to have sharp discernment and boldness! I want angels and demons to move when I pray! As heirs with Christ, we have an authority and a power in the spirit. You don't have to be a missionary or a pastor to minister to people. Thinking and speaking in a righteous manner will minister to the people around you and it will galvanize your own heart. As I am transformed by the renewing of my mind, I am transforming the world around me.

I really enjoy the Christmas season. I love the lights downtown, and houses lit up (tastefully), and shopping for people I love. I love the holidays, but by the time Christmas actually comes around, I'm tired of the hype of the whole affair. The commercials, the sales, the stupid holiday songs you hear in the mall and at restaurants and at the grocery store and EVERYWHERE YOU GO! I dread my weekly trips to King Soopers for mortal fear of suffering through one tacky version or another of "Santa Baby".

Here's a marketing scheme that doesn't make sense: I'm beginning to see the men's razor christmas commercials. It happens every year, around the same time. "What your man wants for Christmas is a Mach7" (is 6 blades really enough? get the closest shave this season with this new ridiculous product!), "Make this holiday special for your special man by giving him a braun whatever whatever". What is that?!? Men (at least all of mine) don't want RAZORS for Christmas!! I would be deeply disappointed if I got a venus vibrance in my stocking. Giving someone a razor for Christmas is on par with giving out toothbrushes on halloween.

While I was looking for the toothbrush picture, I found a website called "higgin's journal: the life and times of a young raccoon". Sounds promising, yes? I was rewarded with several cute pictures:

AHHH! Look at his little face peeking out of the trash can! Dirty, adorable little Higgins! What a rascal. I want one. :)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I haven't been posting because I spent Thanksgiving in South Carolina with my brand new fiance and his delightful family. That's right folks, I'm done with this dating business! I'm gettin' hitched! The proposal was lovely and romantic; on the beach at sunrise. You people are all envious of my snow and mountains, but I had never seen the ocean before, and I'm enamored. Palmetto trees (or trees at all, for that matter), and sand, and wave after unceasing wave just rolling at my feet. I'm still in awe!

Here is a really poor picture of my gorgeous ring. I took the picture with my phone while riding in the car. There's a diamond set in the middle and on each side there's two tiny diamonds flush in the setting. The fuzzy graphics do it no justice- my man has excellent taste! It's the perfect size and cut and style, exactly what I wanted. More importantly, Stephen is exactly what I've wanted in a husband. I'm so happy.

Now, the daunting task of planning a wedding on the budget my wonderful but stingier-than-average dad has given us... in 4 months. We're saving money in a lot of places. My seamstress-master grandmother is going to help me make a dress. We're making our own invitations and programs. We're not hiring a DJ or a band for the reception (opting instead to utilize i-tunes), and getting a few of our musical friends (including the previously mentioned stingy-dad) to play some worship music before the ceremony begins. We're serving hors-d'oeuvres instead of a meal. I hate cake, so we're doing cheesecake. We're not having an open bar. We'll do most of the decorating ourselves (I'm crafty and creative and have a lot of spare time).

Anyone with tips on how to have an inexpensive but not cheapy wedding (does that make sense?) is heartily invited to comment or email me!!

Stephen's brother-in-law took some lovely picture of us; this one is my favorite. What you can't see is that I'm precariously balanced on the plinth of that column behind us. With only about an inch and a half to sit on, I'm clinging to Stephen in order to keep from falling in the mud.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Where's Rob?

I've plugged Improv everywhere before, and I do it again! Check out this good-natured and hilarious prank an NYC improv group pulled off recently. What a brilliant idea!!

It seems that Kara isn't on Blogger anymore, and I'm really bummed. Does anyone know what happened to her?

I am in a torrent of pain. I'm learning to snowboard- I grew up skiing, and tried to teach myself to snowboard a while ago, and haven't been up at all for at least 2 years. I foolishly thought that I would be a lot better than I am. Stephen is teaching me, and he's a wonderful, patient teacher, but the fact about learning to snowboard is that you fall. A lot. Everyone says I'll just get it 'all the sudden', and Stephen really thinks I'm doing well. In the meantime, my entire ass is one big bruise, as well as both my knees.

I fell so many times that the whole day sort of blurred into a constant memory of pain, and being upside down in a swirling vortex of snow, but I remember 2 falls distinctly. Unsurprisingly, they were also my 2 most painful falls, and the 2 falls which caused the largest, uglist bruises.

Let me begin by addressing anyone who may have been boarding at keystone last weekend, and by extension, boarders in general: if you are good enough to ride blue runs, stay OFF the green runs!! I was doing well on my toe edge for the first time and this boarder whipped past me, too close. All I saw was a flash of brown and orange (very retro) as snow flew up in my face. I'm not sure if he actually bumped me or just really surprised me by cutting me off. What I did know was that the ground was no longer underneath me, and then that ground was, very suddenly, in contact with my left hip, and then that the ground was in contact with my knees, and I had finally stopped moving. I think I must have screamed because when I managed to turn myself over, Mr. Trying-to-kill-me was stopped someways off and looking inquisitively at me. He yelled something, and I decided to let it go; I waved, and he continued on (no doubt in search of other unsuspecting beginners).

My second fall happened in a flattish area leading down to a lift, which I was warned about being the worst places for falls, because of the slow speed. I was riding my toe edge, once again feeling fine, and for the first time NOT surrounded by other people. Stephen informed me (as he had a sweet vantage point from slightly up the slope) that I lost my balance, caught my heel edge, and flipped a full turn backwards. I was aware of losing my balance, and the unnatural view of the sky and the trees all skewing sideways and around, and my voice crying out in alarm, as if the sound was coming from somewhere distant. As I fell backwards, I bounced on my tailbone and flipped over again onto my knees, slid aways, and collapsed face-first, sobbing. I would be committing criminal understatement to say that it hurt. Then Stephen was beside me with his hands on my back, speaking indistinct words of comfort and encouragement.

He told me later that he was trying to perfect the art of saying "enough, but not too much", for fear that in an effort to console me he would say something blundering and anger me. After one fall I had snow all under my coat on my back, and he was wiping it off. To try and cheer me up, he pinched my butt. Normally I would receive this as playful, flirtatious behavior and laughingly pinch him back, but Stephen learned quickly that butt-pinching is not an effective tool in cheering up a frustrated, cold, bruised, and angry Rachel. He really was a great teacher, though. I learned that Stephen is a patient exhorter.

I expected to fall, and I expected to suck, and even though it frustrated me, I'm determined to get good. I bought a season pass, dammit! The thing I wasn't prepared for was the throbbing, burning, incapacitating pain that has consumed my body all week and is only just beginning to subside. The next morning I realized that I had worked muscles that I didn't even know I had, and I had worked them hard. I was barely able to shampoo my hair. I almost resorted to asking my sister to help me put my bra on. I couldn't sit comfortably all day. Laughing and sneezing were like spasms of agony. I elbowed Stephen in the face while trying to give him a hug because I couldn't lift my arm any higher. I'm still black and blue in places I'd rather not talk about.

But you know what? I'd still rather be snowboarding than working!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

1. Sit in the dark and watch the TV.
2. Write a poem (by candlelight) honoring Thomas Edison.
3. Light a fire in the fireplace.
4. No fireplace? Improvise!
5. Access the neighborhood electricity box and fix the problem yourself.
6. Grab a metal hanger and go harness your own energy (in case of a thunderstorm).
7. Pretend you live in colonial times. Talk like an early American settler.
8. Play hide-and-seek.
9. Sleep.
10. Let number 3 set "the mood" (married people only!!).
11. Perform the same job as your vacuum by the use of a flash light and a pair of tweezers.
12. Make a list of things you could be doing if the electricity wasn’t out.

Friday, October 27, 2006

My face hurts

I think I need to go to the dentist. The left side of my jaw hurts- I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to have my wisdom teeth removed.

So, instead of drinking coffee today, I decided to get a vanilla chai (my excuse: 'I need to break this $20!') while walking on my lunch break. Chai is pretty sweet, and that vanilla syrup is pure sugar, but I can usually handle a grande without getting really wired. But then one of our admins brought me a piece of October-birthdays-in-the-boardroom! cake, and I thought it was so sweet of her that I couldn't refuse. I had no intention of eating it, and I still don't. I've been absent mindedly picking at the frosting for an hour or so (frosting is usually my favorite part), but it's not appealing at all today because I just can't stand the idea of any more sugar in my system. It's a good sign, really. Lately I've had very little desire to eat unhealthy food.

It's nice feeling better about myself. I've been working out regularly- lifting weights and riding a stationary bike. I never thought I'd ever be able to ride one of those bikes in a gym (because they're so boring and they hurt my back), but I found one in the gym that's in a sort of reclined position, so I can lean back and read. I'm surprised how long I can ride without getting bored because I'm so distracted reading.

I think I may start fasting regularly (this is unrelated to losing weight- I just happened to think of it). I used to fast once a week with my sister, and once a month with IHOP, KC (International House of Prayer, Kansas City) but I stopped, because I was beginning to struggle with viewing it legalistically. It's been a few months and God has brought it to my mind several times in the last few days.

If you've never fasted, pray about it and think about it. The benefits of the practice itself are widely recognized by many faiths, but Christian fasting is different.

Types of biblical reasons to fast:
1. To avert individual/national crisis (1 Sam 7:6, Jonah 3:3-5, Joel 1:14, 2:15)
2. Fast to experience the power of God in personal ministry (matt 17:21, though the phrasing differs between translations)
3. For corporate revival (ex. Paul)
4. To express sorrow or mourning (ex. David in Psalm 38 & 69)
5. Corporate sin over a nation or city (1 sam 7:6, Neh 9)
6. Over personal loss, the death of a loved one (David in 2 sam 12:16-23)
7. Desire for God
8. Preperation for a divine assignment(Neh 1:4, Ezra 8:21, Acts 13:1-2, 14:23,
9. The bridegroom fast (Matt 9:14-15)

Something happened to me when my body was temporarily deprived of what is takes comfort in. The last fast I did was 3 days- the whole time, I was tired and grumpy, and very sensitive (in other words, not MUCH off of my typical demeanor :)), but it left me emotionally raw, and very sensitive to the still small voice of the Lord. It's also beneficial in a practical way, as fasting takes away something that I normally spend a lot of time doing (and really enjoy)- cooking and eating, therefore leaving me with a lot of extra time. In short, fasting positioned my heart and flesh in a posture of willingness to be worked on and instilled in me a fierce desire for His presence.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More Happy Things

More things that make me happy today- I think I'll continue to do this, because even making the list makes me happy. It's better to pick a few good things to be thankful for than constantly dwell on and complain about the negative things.

1. Snow (We're supposed to get 10 inches!)
2. Hot chocolate (It is best when inbibed under the conditions mentioned above)
3. Kelli is coming to visit (Stephen's sister who I've not yet met and her brand new baby boy!)
4. Calvin and Hobbes math comic strip (My favorite one EVER, EVER. Thank you Kara!!!!!!!)
5. My little sister, Amy (I am consistantly amazed by her maturity, sweetness, humor, compassion, and radical devotion for God.)
6. The janitor guy that takes care of the plaza at 17th and California (He has a unibrow, so in my head I refer to him as such. I've never talked to him, but we have a connection. My train stops right at that intersection so I walk past him most mornings while he's setting up the tables and chairs. I always wave and smile and say good morning, and he always greets me in return, though I'm not sure he speaks much English. I think very few people notice him, but he's a highlight of every morning for me.)

In the spirit of #4, I give you another of my favorite Calvin & Hobbes comic strips. I have this taped to my desk by my computer.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

7 things that make me happy today, in no particular order:

1. Insouciant [in-soo-shunt] -adjective
(free from concern, worry, or anxiety; carefree; nonchalant); related forms -insouciantly
What a great word! Thanks to number 6 for this one.

2. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Delicious, fattening, rich, and about 3 times the size of a reese's cup, this sweet treat is my greatest foe and my greatest love. (perhaps I am being a little dramatic- my desire to lose weight is engaging in a war of epic proportions with my desire to eat chocolate.)

3. Cursive handwriting
I am have a good handwriting day (much like a good hair day). Everything I write looks like like mystical ancient script, even though it's just names of people who are visiting and notes regarding the catered lunch so-and-so is expecting.

4. Stephen
I have receievd a lot of grace from him lately, and I've just really enjoyed him a lot. We're in a kind of learning-about-each-other phase, whihc is funny because we've known each other for a fairly long time. It's amazing how much you can think you know someone and still discover new mysteries in them. I'm just so blessed.

5. Water
I've been so thirsty!!! I love water today.

6. Surviving the Extremes by Kenneth Kamler, M.D.
I'm riveted by this book today. I'm fascinated by this stuff- I very seriously tossed around the idea of climbing Everest for a number of years, but I've since given that dream up due to a) the danger of an Everest expedition, b) the unbelievable expense, and c) the touristy-ness of Everest lately- the mountain is cluttered and crowded.

7. My Lovely by Eisley
Everything about this band is so pretty. I'm in a wierd wanting-to-listen-to-mellow-music-mood.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How I love birthdays!

Please stop by and wish Kara a happy birthday! I am a little late... I just found her blog today and I love it!

...and you'd be right! On to the post:

Colorado is beautiful. I’ve lived here all my life, just like 3 generations before me on my dad’s side and 5 generations on my mom’s. Although it would be fun living somewhere else for a change (Stephen and I are considering it), I’ll always want to move back to Denver. The weather, the aspen, the mountains, the city, the everything. I adore it.

Yesterday was our first snowfall; we got about an inch (I didn’t read the weather report and wore flip-flops like an idiot). I love watching the big flakes floating down, in no particular hurry- it causes me to slow down and relax. I love hot chocolate, I love wearing scarves and hats and warm socks and long sleeves, I love reading by the fire with a glass of wine. I love skiing and snowboarding (I’ve been boarding on my own for a few years, and this year I’m learning for real).

But this morning, I remembered something about this season of sport and snow that I hate: scraping ice off my windshield. No on likes getting up in the morning, leaving the warmth and comfort of sleep to face the cold, cold world. It’s no fun at all leaving your house to get into your cold car/walk in the cold to the bus stop, but it’s bearable. But it’s the WORST to be already late (in my case) and have to shuffle around your car scraping all the ice off the windows. It really shouldn’t be THAT bad, but there’s just something about having to do this tedious task that I cannot abide. I always end up missing spots on my windshield so my wipers won’t work right, or screwing up the way I’ve got my side mirrors set, or getting myself all snowy and wet. It's a craptastic way to start your day.

Before I end this post I’de like to say a few words regarding recent comments by Tony Blair (UK Prime minister) and Jack Straw (UK Foreign Secretary). Jack Straw recently asked Muslim women visiting his office to remove their veils. Tony Blair said the veil is "a mark of seperation" that "makes other people... feel uncomfortable", which has led to leaders suggesting banning the veil altogether, much like France has done in its schools. This has sparked a heated discussion on religious freedom and the value of an integrated society both within and outside the Muslim community.

I will admit that the veil is little understood by westerners, and complex at best. Some say the veil is meant to protect a woman, that by wearing it she is keeping her beauty secret and sacred, and that it is a relevant and appropriate practice. Other say it is a sign of a woman’s enslavement, that her husband is exersicing control over her, and that it is an oppressive and antiquated tradition. Regardless of how any individual may feel about the tradition of the veil or the motivation behind this practice, we simply cannot mandate against it. We pride ourselves in the west on religious freedom and tolerance; taking away a woman’s right to wear a veil is taking away her basic freedom.

Most American women would be furious to move to Afghanistan or Somalia and be forced to dress in the manner of the majority of women there- it would take away their rights. Why should WE presume to do any differently? The notion of prohibiting something as simple as a Muslim veil, which does no harm in and of itself(other than make people uncomfortable) is unfounded and ridiculous. Society has always feared what is different, what it does not understand. I am not a Muslim, and I don't wear a veil. I'm a Christian and I wear normal American clothes (not counting flip-flops in snow). I'm not even friends with any Muslims, but I am irate. This controversy makes me very nervous for my own civil liberties- what will politicians think of next?

Friday, October 13, 2006

So, I was reading Melissa's blog the other day and was inspired about a recent post to lose weight. I'm at a pretty decent weight, considering my height, but I could stand to lose 10-15ish pounds and firm up a little. My problem isn't the resistance of fatty foods so much as it is the fight against hard and established habits. For instance: I love coffee. Not just plain coffee, but silly 4 dollar drinks (that's another problem: I spend way too much money). Now, I work downtown. There is literally a Starbucks on every other corner- I don't even have to leave my building to get to one. There's a Starbucks in the lobby (Tyra Banks was there a few weeks ago and there was a big local fuss about it). And if you'd rather support a local shop with better coffee, as I would, you needn't walk more than 2 blocks. There are at least 3 to chose from within 3 minutes of my office. In downtown Denver, you are never, ever out of sight of a coffee shop. This is the worst part of the city for coffee-phobes.

AS I WAS SAYING, habits: I love to get a hot americano on a chilly morning, or a cool, sweet, syrupy iced coffee beverage on a warm afternoon. I have a favorite for every season, and as coffee is practically as available to me downtown as the air I breathe, I am having significant trouble breaking my habit. I am drinking a hazelnut mocha as I write this. Another dubious one is my will-kill-everyone-who-looks-at-me-if-I-don't-get-some-chocolate-immediately-habit, which only afflicts me about a week a month. (Like I said, hazelnut mocha) I like a soda when I get home, while I'm cooking, or with dinner, and I always end up feeling totally crappy afterwards.

I want to develop healthier habits- water instead of coffee, a glass of wine instead of soda. In general I even like healthy, whole foods better than junk foods- I just eat too much. I love to eat! I love to cook, I love to bake, I love food! If I trimmed my portions down, and changed a few habits, I could probably lose this weight pretty quick. We're working out 3 times a week now, and ski season is coming up. If I discipline myself, maybe I can be where I want to be by Christmas (just in time for ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, buns, pie, and traditional German family-recipe Christmas cookies).

Self-control is a virtue I really want to develop in myself right now. Most importantly, I want spiritual discipline. I feel like this is a foundation for discipline in eating, exercising, time, school, chores, entertainment, etc. I feel strongly that God is working in my life to nurture and develop self-control in me.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It has been quite a while since I have made any new posts- I've been busy working, going to math class, going to bible study, going to small groups, singing on the worship team, and trying to maintain my relationships in the midst of it. I feel so stretched!

One night I go to a book study, which I probably shouldn't have signed up for, given my already high level of stress. Anyway, we're reading selected passages from Devotional Classics, which I enjoy. It's a comfortable setting, a pretty small group, and I am liking the book. It includes exerpts by a lot of classical christian authors, everyone from CS Lewis to Martin Luther to Francis of Assisi. It's refreshing to read these, especially the older stuff. I feel many of the newer devotionals I've read recently (the kind under the 'christian inspiration' section at barnes & noble) are superflous, meandering, and soft.

CS Lewis and AW Tozer are my favorite authors. I've been ruined for typical Christian literature ever since I read the first page in Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy. Every sentence is heavy with meaning, straight to the point, unflinching, clear, profound, and beautifully written. He did not back down from unpopular or unpleasant truths- he wrote about what was really important in a time when much of the church was focused on trivialities. Tozer pointed out the irreverance of the church and their wrong beliefs about God, and his resulting work is an enduring classic which continues to impart revelation to those with ears to hear and eyes to see.

Tozer's Knowledge of the Holy is a thin little volume which I think every Christian should read at least once. It has changed my perception of God and changed my relationship with Him- the revelation I've gotten during my reading of this book has changed my thinking and transformed my faith.

CS Lewis's Mere Christianity is another of my favorites. It's such a well-known classic that it almost seems cliche to recommend it, but I do anyway. Lewis's writing style is simple, funny, and resolved. He has a way of articulating common thoughts in a new and "aha!" kind of way. I love all his work.

I've read the Narnia series dozens of times (and thought the movie was weak, but good), but my favorite selection by CS Lewis is a lesser known sci-fi trilogy chronicling the adventures of a character named Ransom. Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength are books I could, and do read over and over. Like Tolkien, Lewis creates a complex, phantasmal world, and you can't help but get lost in it. I never was able to read Tolkien, though I have a great respect for him. He's so descriptive, almost too complex- every attempt I ever made on his work was abandoned early on because it bored me (keeping in mind my relatively short attention span).

I love books that make you forget where you are. I'm in the middle of an historical fiction set in the 1600's in Hindostan (India and the surrounding areas). I'm just fascinated by the customs and culture- I get so caught up in the story and the setting. I can almost taste the chai, smell the jasmine, feel the smooth, brightly colored silks, and see the elegant architechture glimmering through the desert heat waves.

Next on my list: Alexandre Dumas' Three Musketeers, Feast of Roses (the sequel to the book I'm reading now), and a book of short stories about "surviving the extremes" (stranded on everest, lost in the desert, stuck in a cave, etc.).

I should read the Dune series. I've heard they're good. I've also never read Dracula.

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'll read almost anything.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

My heart aches today. I have family outside of Castle Rock, fairly near to Bailey. Emily Keyes, the girl who was shot and killed at Platte Canyon High School, in Bailey, was a friend of my cousin. If you don't know about what happened, get out from under your rock and go today to, or any other news source- I can almost guarantee it will be the main headline. This is going to go down in history just like Columbine, which was not long ago nor far from the site of the current tragedy.

53 year old Duane Morrison walked into Platte Canyon High yesterday, dressed like any regular high school student and carrying a backpack that he claimed held a bomb. He entered a classroom on the 2nd floor, lined the kids up against the wall, and hand picked who would stay and who would leave. He selected only girls to remain. He then kept them hostage for 3 hours, apparently sexually assaulted them, and eventually let 4 of them go, one by one. The SWAT team was forced to enter the room because of a mysterious 4 o'clock deadline given by the gunman, along with hearing the remaining 2 hostages screaming. The gunman used Emily as a human sheild and shot her when she tried to get away. Then he shot himself. We come to find out that the only thing in his backpack was a collection of "sexual aides".

What happened in that classroom? Why did it go on for so long? What did the negotiations sound like? What makes a man reach the point of sickness that he would do this? Who would have ever expected this in a small mountain town, at a tiny high school? My heart just breaks for Emily, for her family, for each of those girls that were held against their will, for the school, for the community. It's so close to home- the second time in a decade that something like this has happened in a Denver area school.

This tragedy is unfathomable. I realized- that could have been my cousin. That could have been my sister. It's just too much to think about- I'm so thankful for my loved ones. I'm somber today as the details of this sad situation continue to unfold. Please focus your prayers towards the Keyes family and the other victims.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Shalom, shana tova!

Peace, and a good year! More on that later.

I was directed to dress up today because I'm the receptionist and big-time oil executives from our Calgary office are visiting the Denver HQ. My bosses made a pretty big deal about it. So I, being the happy-to-submit-to-authority type that I am, dressed exactly the same as always (which is very nice and professional, and didn't need to be changed, in my opinion). Anyway, it's usually casual Friday, which means jeans, so I think I did pretty good with my boots and skirt. Then I noticed that instead of slacks and ties, the men on my team are wearing jeans and cotton polos. My BOSS is wearing tennis shoes and jeans and a denim jacket. WHAT?? And I'm wearing a skirt? I SHAVED my LEGS!!! Incidentally, I haven't even SEEN any executives. Whine, whine, whine.

Speaking of whine, I need to go buy some (wine, that is) for Rosh Hashana tomorrow, which segues conveniently into what's been on my mind lately. For me, the High Holy Days are a time to reflect and re-evaluate. It's a time to remember the past and celebrate the future. It's a time that always reminds me God's goodness and grace as I reconcile the ancient traditions of Judaism with the redeeming work that Christ my saviour did on the cross. Instead of spending ten days repenting I spend ten days searching my heart, humbling myself before the Lord and seeking His face. It is a time to be thankful for His provision, His promises, and His mercy. As the new year for legal contracts, it is a time to break old ties that have kept me bound and to forge new Holy agreements.

I just have to remember the grace that is available to me now... this is a constant struggle. I am justified by Christ, and have been set free. I am free indeed! My tendency around this time of year would typically be to focus on my failings, my inadequacies, my insufficiencies. I would resolve to be righteous, to pray more, fast more, give more; as if my strivings could earn merit in the sight of the Almighty! My righteousness is like filthy rags before Him. I've since matured a little and realized how much my merit before God is worth. If he gave me what I deserved, what I earned... But He loves me, HAS loved me since before creation, and continues to love me IN SPITE of my sin and pride and humanity. My hearts deepest desire is to live a pure and righteous life that is pleasing to God, but I am insufficient. Everyone is, but His grace is sufficient for me, and His mercies are new every day. My God is bigger than my sin.

Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxieties; see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NKJV

Ketima Ve-Chatima Tovah! May you be written and sealed for a good year!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

So, since I just turned 21, I needed to obtain one of those mystical "horizontal licenses" that I keep hearing about (I don't know about all ya'll, but in CO you get a vertical license if you're under 21). So I made a little trip down to my friendly not-so-much-in-my-neighborhood-but-really-more-like-way-out-of-my-way DMV. I'll just say now that I arrived at 2:18 and didn't leave till 5:30. Friends, for those of you that are math disinclined, as I am, that's 3 hours and 12 minutes. What more can I say?

But Stephen helpfully pointed out that I don't need to renew at the DMV again for 12 years, so if you space out 192 minutes of wasted life sitting in an uncomfortable chair surrounded by staring children and screaming babies and a loud russian man having a very heated conversation on his phone... anyway, if you space that out over 12 years, it's really quite miniscule. But I just decided I shouldn't whine about it.

The upshot is I had just visited my new favorite guy ever, the chiropractor, so my back felt great. I got to sit next to this older and very interesting guy named Al and we talked about all sorts of random subjects. I'm glad I gave him a chance- at first I was just frustrated because I was obviously reading and had both headphones in (how I love my iPOD nano!!), and he was just chatting away, and I was a tad creeped. But I decided (honestly, just because he was obviously not going to leave me alone to fume in peace) to talk to him, and managed to spend away a good 45 minutes laughing and joking with him. It was a good lesson- I need to not accept my first impression every time. I need to allow room for conversation and encounter. I don't want to shut the world out. I don't want to close myself off.

Another funny thing was a cute little mexican girl who was turned completely around in the chair in front of me, so she was facing me. She just sat and stared and it was really starting to bug me, so I made a face at her. I stuck my tongue out (yes, I am 21. yes, I am really making faces at a 2 year old), and lil' latina giggled and giggled... and something very, very strange happened in me... i giggled back...

"What... what is this strange feeling in my chest?" :::black, shriveled heart beats once:::

"What is this emotion?" :::heart beats again, smile cracks across my face:::

"What is happening to me? NOO! My beautiful, beautiful fury... melting!! My anger... fading, fading! Must...stop... joy.... aaaagggghahahhahahahaha!!"

That little girl really changed my heart. We sat for a good 5 minutes making faces at each other and laughing quietly. I was annoyed that I was having fun, at the DMV, 2 hours and 58 minutes into the ordeal... I was supposed to be indignant!! But I just couldn't help it, and she was having fun, too. Everyone else just kept scowling at her and she kept getting scolded by her obviously exhausted and overwhelmed mother. Lil' Latina was a small spark of happiness in a very shitty afternoon, and I learned that life can happen anywhere, if I'll only be open to it. This is getting really cheesy... :)

Anyway, I'm going to have a brand new horizontal license with a lovely picture of myself with fantastic hair (I actually did it... which is to say... washed it... and tried hard to not touch it) and a sarcastic, irritated smile mailed to me in a few weeks.

I am listening to Jason Mraz- who, don't be fooled by his MTV hits, is a face-meltingly amazing vocalist and guitarist. I think I will go empty the dishwasher and then play the guitar for a while.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I've never thought of myself as tall. I've always seen myself as average height, on account of the "tall gene" being in my family, and most of my aunts, uncles, cousins, both my parents, and one set of grandparents are almost 6 feet tall, or taller. Needless to say, I'm actually a little short in my family. I've never thought much about my height.

That was until I met Stephen's mom, who is hilarious without meaning to be, can comfortably sustain a conversation virtually without external input for at least an hour (very nice when you are too exhausted to utter intelligible sounds but don't want to be rude), and is quite short indeed. I now see where Stephen gets many of the qualities I adore about him, and few that I don't so much. :) I began to wonder how the two of them can conduct a productive verbal exchange, as they both consistently interrupt the other, often to interject completely off-topic subjects and leave the old subject behind in order to discuss this new topic (this pattern repeats itself seamlessly...). Although, I have often marveled at Stephen's ability to come back to something we were discussing or a story he was telling as much as 3 hours ago, and pick it back up where he left off as if no time had passed at all. It must come from growing up talking to his mom (they're really fun together, actually).

ANYWAaAaAaAaAaAaY (speaking of tangents), I was talking about being tall. I felt like some kind of hulking behemoth next to this woman. She's tiny! Not just short, but little. Walking with her and Stephen, I started to develop this mental image of a sweet, petite woman walking in between a normal sized man and a lumbering one eyed giant. People have been telling me for years that I'm tall, and it just never clicked till now.

Walking downtown on my lunch break today (in flat shoes, as usual), I couldn't help but notice that I'm taller than almost all the women I see, as well as a fair number of the men I passed. I, standing in my bare feet, stand a good 6 or 7 inches taller than the average woman, and at least 1 or 2 inches above a lot of men. No wonder women wear heels! They're so short!! (to quote seinfeld: not that there's anything wrong with that!!!)

This new discovery, along with the fact that my boyfriend is only an inch taller than me, is the perfect excuse to never, EVER have to wear heels again. Anyway, put me in 3-inch pumps and I become a lawsuit waiting to happen, clumsily walking about downtown Denver amidst the bustling dwarfish masses (and that's without the inebriation factor... I'm 21 now!). By the way, this chart came from the National Center for Health Statistics. It's REAL except for my addition (in red).

In any case, I certainly view my weight a little differently now. I've always been a little (not much!) heavier than the average woman... but if you take into account the fact that I'm half a foot taller than the average woman, I come out just right.

Birthday Update: I DID receive flowers from my mom (so sweet!!! thank you!), and I got some really fantastic presents that I didn't expect and for which I am very, very grateful. My parents got me an iPOD nano (I could look it up and see the price but I'm afraid to), so now I can "shut the world out completely". My sister got me a gorgeous embossed journal which I'm fond of declaring is "genuINE dead cow", and she did a very pretty still-life sketch of a wine bottle and glass. Stephen got me really nice snowboarding boots which I'm dying to use, and he took me out for a glass (which is to say bottle) of wine. That was after my Dad and I split a little bottle of sake at the restaurant where we ate... I was extra loud and laughy that night, but responsibly so, in my expert opinion.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A quick funny thing:

Go to (it's even linked on the sidebar for your convenience) and type in "french military victories". Hit "I'm Feeling Lucky"..... haha!

Back for a real post later.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Today is my birthday, and it's a gray, misty day here in the Mile High City. From my reception desk on the 17th floor I have a beautiful view of the mountains, silhouetted dark through the fog.

I sent my mom a text message this morning giving her the exact address for my building, in case she needs to know "for some reason", :::cough cough::: balloons, flowers!! :::cough::: I have been pining away for that ostentatious display of affection delivered right to my desk... if there is one day for me to receive that display, it would be today. (I'm a poet, and you didn't even know it).

I love my birthday. I tell everyone, especially on a milestone birthday like today, my 21st. But as the day wears on, I hear more and more variations on a theme: will I be going out and getting tanked? (no, as a matter of fact, I will not) It's a little depressing to me that even my Christian friends assume that getting drunk will be the chief activity of my evening.

Years ago, in high school, my friend Josh told me he would buy me a Corvette for my birthday (a promise which was fulfilled in the form of a hot wheels collector toy), and every year he calls or emails on my birthday and we joke about this corvette. Maybe someday when he's made millions of dollars for some huge mining company, or NASA, or whoever, he'll actually buy me my Vette'.

Tonight, my family is taking me out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, Benihana's, where they cook your food right on the table in front of you, and the cooks always make the same, tired old jokes about how it's their first day. Interestingly, it's a Japanese restaurant, and all the waitresses and hosts are Japanese, but all the cooks are Hispanic guys. Maybe Mexicans make the best Japanese food? Anyway, after that Stephen is going to take me out to get a glass of wine, which I have been looking forward to for weeks. (LOL- the Speedy delivery guy just came in, and it's his birthday too. how fun!)

I feel like answering the phone... "Good Morning, (the company I work for) USA... this is Rachel, and it's my birthday! How can I help you?" I hope I never turn into one of those women who hates her birthday because she's (gasp!) getting gray hairs and wrinkles isn't as thin as she used to be. Maybe I'll feel differently when I experience it myself, but I actually look forward to my first gray hair. I like the idea of getting older. I think I'll love my birthday more every year... there's beauty in every season, and it makes me sad to see women longing for the season which has passed, all the while missing the beauty of the season they are entering.

I'm still waiting for some flowers!!! Any of these would be acceptable:

Does it come with the balloon-patterned vest? That's the best part.

It's "aaaaawww!" inducingly cute.

Come to think of it, this particular display is better suited for valentines day. Stephen could get me the the flowers are I'll get him that sweet red tie to match.

I could probably polish this thing off by 5.

This is Phyllis from The Office, from the Valentines Day episode. If you don't watch The Office, start. Immediately.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

NOVEL: The Glass Castle

I just finished The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls, and I couldn't put it down (this being posted a mere week after finishing my last book). I loved every second of reading it, but I don't think I'm not sure if I would read it again. I probably will, since the book was an impulse buy while I was standing in line at the campus bookstore (I also bought a math textbook- I'd say the novel was a better read), but it's not something I see myself picking up again and again.

Jeannette Walls is a freelance writer and regular columnist for, and
she composed these memoirs- her true life story- upon urging from her husband, also a writer. The book chronicles her transient childhood, living below the poverty line with her drunkard father, artistic and free-spirited mother, and 3 siblings. With as much as she's been through, the conditions she's lived in, and the experiences she's had (many caused directly or indirectly by those who should protect and love), Jeannette tells her story in a surprisingly nonjudgemental, even merciful way, without an ounce of self-pity or bitterness.

Jeannette's father can't keep a job for more than 6 months, and frequently wastes away the families little money on alcohol. On several occasions he puts various members of the family in danger and even tries to push his wife out of a window. But when he's sober, he is charismatic and captivating, an obviously loving father who, in his own way, wants the best for his children. He doesn't provide in practical ways, though, and moves the family from town to town to avoid the law. Jeannette's mother is a flighty artist who doesn't believe in discipline and loves adventure. A few times, she acts responsibly and takes teaching jobs here and there, but on the whole her behavior is selfish and she chooses to sleep and paint while her children go hungry.

It's not so much Jeanneatte's writing talent that makes this book so good- it's an absolutely absorbing story and she tells it with benevolence and humanity. She exemplifies the old cliche about not being able to control your circumstances, only your response. She took what life gave her and made the best of it, and probably wouldn't change her experiences. I got the sense from her written word that she doesn't regret growing up the way she did- it is what it is and she's made for herself what she wanted. The only reason I don't think I would enjoy this so much a second time is because I already know the story- perhaps after several years, I'll pick it up and love it all over again. I powered through the pages of The Glass Castle in about 5 days, and I would definitely recommend it. It was worth the time I spent reading.

On that note, I've felt particularly convicted about the way I spend my time. Stephen and I were talking about feeling spiritually numb, and he suggested that, since I spend so much time reading, maybe I should commit more of that time to reading something that is spiritually enriching. He's right, I should... But I can't find anything that captures my attention the way my favorite works of fiction do. I wish that the bible, or devotionals, or studies, or even Christian fiction would draw me in, but it doesn't. I feel like this is a catch-22. In order to be drawn in, I need to be stirred up to desire spiritual things. In order for that desire to be stirred up, I need to be spending time pursuing spiritual things. A little bit will yield even more. I just have to sacrifice some time to press in and do it, even though it's not entertaining. If I spent a 10th of the time praying as I do just reading for pleasure... I think I would experience a transformation.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable will of God." Romans 12:2 NKJV

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

A pointless post

I'm sitting at my desk eating carrots and sugar snap peas. The phone keeps ringing right when I bite off a chunk of carrot and it's getting a little ridiculous. I feel so healthy this morning- fresh vegetables, yogurt, water ... vanilla latte ... My leftovers for lunch, however, are not so healthy. I made absolutely the best pesto pizza last night with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, chicken, sun dried tomatoes, and zucchini; salad on the side, and Stephen bought red wine. I'm enjoying my healthy morning because Stephen's mom is flying in and tonight he's taking us out to a nice steak resteraunt.

I could be doing something more productive, like studying or reading the news... but I'm not. I'm blogging in between phone calls. Tomorrow I'll try to post a review for the book I just finished, The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.


I get so busy during the day. It goes from being dead-silent (aside from the nasal, whining voice of Hardball's Chris Matthews and his irate guests, streaming continually through my conciousness from our wall TV), to being completely and totally nuts. The other day I was in the middle of writing an email to someone, and the phone rang. After that it just snowballed; I didn't get back to the email for 45 minutes. I guess I didn't really say anything of consequence today, but hopefully someone more bored than me was entertained ever so briefly by this pointless post.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Purging of Dross

Lately I've begun to feel apathetic. Apathy is not emotion that suddenly forces itself to the forefront of your consciousness- it's not a strong sensation. I'm always amazed at the way this state of mind creeps up on me. Every other emotion I experience is immediately recognizable (fear, anger, or happiness) and it motivates me effectively to take some kind of action. But apathy crawls into my mind and soul slowly and, unnoticed, begins to make me numb. It's a long time before I realize how lazy I've become, and by that point I'm too comfortable with my indifference to make a change.

I'm beginning to feel stagnant, like a filthy pond that's been cut off from its water source. The worst thing is that I know where to get fresh water, and I'm the one who cuts it off. I want to be a "tree planted by streams of water, who yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither", but I'm not prospering. I'm not pursuing the Lord and I feel dull and lifeless; I'm just "going through the motions". I feel like a picture with no color, an old black and white movie with no sound.

I need to stir myself up! I need to rouse myself from my slumber! I always get to this point and wonder how I allowed things to get so bad... stirring myself up is something I must do everyday. I go through phases where I'm really, really good about it- I'm in the scripture everyday, I'm on my guitar worshipping regularly, I'm writing, I'm singing, I'm praying, I'm filled up and overflowing and walking right in step with God. Then I fall out of the habit, I get busy, I stop spending time, my Bible collects dust, I start taking in the world in little, seemingly harmless bits, I stop hearing the voice of the Lord and I stop feeling the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and I end up depressed and totally empty. (As evidenced by one or two notably angry recent postings)

Does everyone have this problem? Is there anyone who remains steady and strong and focused? There must be a way to maintain a sure footing and a firm pace, and fix my gaze on the Lord, even as the world and my flesh pull me and distract me. I'm sick of living in this cycle of zeal and vapidity. I need a real change.

"For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin."
Ecclesiastes 7:20

"But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." Romans 3:21-26

I don't have any comment to add to these scriptures. I just feel like I should spend time meditating on the word and pressing into prayer. I need to seek the face of the Almighty.

He will melt my hard heart so the dross can be seperated and I may be made like pure silver. Not dull, but molten, and reshaped, shining with His reflected glory.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

NOVEL: Lucky Jim

I love to read. I am always adding books to a "Read-Me" list and I have trouble keeping up- I add books faster than I can read them. Anyway, I thought I should review the books I read on my blog. I don't want this to just be my bitching outlet- I want to educate and inspire the masses! (IE, my 0 readers)

Recently I read Lucky Jim by Kinglsey Amis, about a university history teacher named Jim Dixon who, the more I read, the more it seemed he was anything but lucky. It's set in Britain in the 40's, and like a few of my other favorite books (CS Lewis' science fiction trilogy), is played out against the backdrop of academia and the politics of position and social standing. Wrapped up around the story line of Jim trying to secure his tenure is the story of Jim falling in love with Christine, the girlfriend of His superior's son.

The book sounded vaguely interesting to me. I read a little blurb similar to the one above and for some reason wrote down the title and author, thinking I might like it. When I actually went to the library and all my first choices were not available, I remembered Lucky Jim, but upon reading the synopsis on the book, wondered to myself why I had wanted to read it at all. I borrowed it anyway (due to lack of other options), and I'm actually very glad I did.

This book made me laugh the whole way through. Amis created a character so despicable, so juvenile, so lackadaisical, so gauche, and yet somehow you can't help but develop an affection for him. You find yourself rooting for him to get away with his silly plots and lies and ridiculous fabrications. He's a character whom you cannot help but relate to- as he is misrepresenting, omitting, and outright lying for the sake of promotion, appearance, or simple amusement, his inward narrative is entirely honest and plain. You can't help but root for Jim because he is more than his foolishness; Amis has created a real character, a human being, in whom you must recognize the good and the bad. I must add that, though Jim is the central character, I felt that the other players could have been developed further, especially Christine, who remained one-dimensional and aloof throughout.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, although it wasn't a "can't-put-it-down-page-turner". It was absolutely hilarious (had me laughing out loud on the train, much to the discomfort of the other passengers), and a delight to read. Overall, a great choice for something in the light-hearted and funny category, and totally worth the read just for this fantastic character. I recommend!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

This is a photo from Improv Everywhere. They're a comedy troupe based in NY, NY that stages stunts and pranks, from setting up a "Meet a Black Person" booth (pictured below) in 99.5% white Aspen, CO, to flooding a Best Buy with "Agents" dressed like employees. Take some time and read over the various missions they've staged- my favorites are The Moebius, Slow-Mo Home Depot, all the "No Pants" missions, and this awesome black guy. Check out the video for him- a man shouts "Hey, Mom! There's a black guy down here!!", and one guy takes his picture with him.

Too Funny Not to Post.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

First of all, a big ol' Happy Everyone Gets Flowers but Rachel Day to all yall' out there!!! Here at the office where I am the receptionist, everyone is receiving huMONgous floral arrangements. EVERYONE except ME. Flowers directly delivered to you at work say, "Someone loves me this much!!! (count flowers) Where are your flowers?" I keep thinking and hoping that maybe someone thought of me and sent me an efflorescent display of affection, though it's not a special occasion, so I have no foundation to expect any such display, aside from really wanting one. As bouquet after brilliant, rapturously fragrant bouquet keep getting delivered (for other people), my hope rises and little higher and ends up a little more crushed.

Just now, the phone rang. It was a woman double-checking our address so she could send her sister flowers. DEAR GOD!!!

My face as more flowers for "everyone and their mom" arrive in our office.

I have a flair for the dramatic- it's actually not as bad as all that. In fact, my sweet and considerate boyfriend just bought me roses the other day, completely without external suggestion on mine or anyone else's part. Seriously, though, if you're reading this and you know me, please, for the love of all things good, send me some flowers immediately.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

OH MY GAAAAWD totally making my night right now:

Tony Danza fully EATS IT! Click on that for the full picture- high-laaaaarious, and I don't use that word lightly.

my favorite is that face he's making in the second picture... I've been so grumpy but I couldn't stop laughING at this aaaaaahahahaha!!! I almost want to put it on my desktop. it made me THAT happy, like, crying having trouble breathing laughing.... aah... I feel better. I had to share this with the world, which is to say, my 0 readers.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Shalom, Jerusalem

Israel is heavy on my heart today. War continues to surge in the Gaza strip and along the Israeli-Lebanese border, and I begin to question what the deeper issues at hand really are. What is God's purpose in the midst of this chaos? We're sending politicians, trying to hammer out some kind of peace plan. Nations throwing their weight around, trying to break up this fight, to support one country or another, one cause, one religion, one whatever. Even as I express pride that America has stood behind Israel, and continues to do so, reports flood in about a bombing by Israel that flattened a building and killed some 20-odd Lebanese refugees. What do I make of it? How can I judge the hearts of kings? How can I say definitvely who is right, who is wrong, and how to make peace?
What I know is that this war is about much more than any social group or any nation. It's an age-old division with spiritual roots- this goes back to the old testament and has been prophecied for centuries. There is no true peace until Jesus returns, and I am commanded in no unquestionable terms to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, to give the Lord no rest until Israel is established as a praise in all the earth. I am called to be a watchman on the wall and to seek the good of Jerusalem. And while I do not understand the current conflict or the real issues at the heart of this crisis, the Lord God is the Holy One of Israel and He is sovereign and omniscient. So I will do as I am commanded:

"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: 'May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.' For the sake of my bretheren and companions, I will now say, 'Peace be within you!' because of the House of the Lord our God I will seek your good."

Psalm 122:6-9, NKJV

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

One More Night

I'm suspended
Every movement heavy with intention
I am unresolved
This, some kind of unreality
but I've got this clarity
a rarity
So while I'm thinking clearly
with the wind in my face, headlights
bright on the dark pavement
I'm gonna make a change tonight
I can't wait to be alright
One more night