Saturday, August 30, 2008


I finally finished reading The Pickwick Papers. Interestingly, it is in some ways the same plot as Bleak House, but written as a comedy rather than a tragedy. In any case, I am ready to watch our movie of it now.

Lately I've been thinking:
1. Politics stink.
2. Life is political.
3. Therefore...

Also, here is where I really wish I had a readership, because I would like to take a poll.

Many people say that music is "The Universal Language" and that, through music, life's deepest (and not so deep) emotions are expressed in ways that transcend the spoken word. They say that people from any language in the world can communicate through music. Joy, excitement, sadness, anger, peace--these emotional responses are implicit in different types of music.

At the same time, when someone doesn't like someone else's music (particularly when traditional people don't like the messages they perceive as being portrayed through contemporary music) the people whose music has been criticized say, "It doesn't matter what the music sounds like--what matters is the words, and the words are great, so you should accept our music."

Is this true?

Is music a "universal language" that communicates things in and of itself by the form it takes? Or is music an arbitrary vehicle, where any style can be combined with any words to successfully and appropriately convey any message?

Which is it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


We've had a wonderful summer. Really. The weather has been beautiful, the pool has been delightful, the food has been good.

Laura went to Disney World for a full week. Jon went to two camps. DJ did a job shadowing program at the hospital and earned a fair bit of money playing his saxophone around town. Shannon had a stable job and good income over the summer--a true blessing for a college student. And we had a great family vacation to Texas.

But today we had a disappointment. Funny how one unexpected punch to your gut can seemingly wipe out the happy effects of a whole summer. It was a major disappointment for one of the kids--a life-altering one, to be fair, although one tries not to think about it that way. God is in control, and if a life has been altered, a door closed slightly, it is in His divine hands.

I wish I were not teaching Job this fall. I do not feel up for this. I don't feel strong enough to learn first hand the things I am going to have to teach.

I feel so bad for my child. I should be strong, positive, stiff-upper-lip and put-on-a-happy-face and all that. But I stink at self-control. Try as I might, I keep crying... about everything, because nobody is yet ready to talk about what has happened, and I am not going to be the one to bring it up prematurely. I may not be able to control the way sadness lurches up my throat and spills out my eyes, but at least I can control what I talk about.

In a way it is not such a big deal, but then again in another way it is huge. I pray for wisdom in what I will say when the time comes--not to make a mountain out of a molehill, but also not to belittle an event that will undoubtedly have an effect on the next step in someone's life.

In the meantime, there are things to be celebrated. It is Jonno's thirteenth birthday today. I am making a three-layer chocolate mocha cake with chocolate-mocha-cream cheese frosting, and so far so good. I will wrap his presents. I will wash my face and smile, and it will be OK.

God is in control. Psalm 57:2--"I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills His purpose for me..." (and my children).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I'm not dead yet

I am still alive, though very tired.

I love seeing new places and visiting relatives. However, airplane flight is hard on my fibromyalgia--even before the plane takes off, as it is pressurizing, I start to ache like a crazy woman, and the more I fight the urge to writhe and thrash around, the more I hurt.

Since all our flights had connections, I took off and landed eight times this month. That is enough flying for me for a LONG time.

Texas was interesting and hot. I will write about it tomorrow. Yeah, right. I will try to write about it at some point before I forget. The best part was eating Mexican food at Mi Tierra in San Antonio, under a true plethora of pinatas, served by a waitress who only spoke Spanish. The worst part was being stung by a jellyfish on my ankle, but the repulsive changing rooms at Schlitterbaun Water Park were a close second to bottom.

The company retreat was a blast, and we did lots of fun things. It was the best retreat yet, and we had a great room, a great view, great food, and great activities. The only drawback was the wedding that was there simultaneously with us and crowded us out of the pool at one point. But it was fun to watch their festivities from afar. The wild reception, surprisingly, was out of hearing range when we went to bed that night.

The main lodge building had a great wide-screen TV where outrageous community viewing of the Olympics could be done. Our company even bonded with a group from RIT (techie college students) over Michael Phelps races.

The trip to Minnesota to visit my parents was necessarily quiet because I was exhausted and my mom and dad are getting elderly and set in their ways. I just wanted to sleep and recover from my other trips, but I felt guilty because my mom was so nervous about preparing meals. I would have done the meals myself, but my mom is kind of OCD and needs everything done exactly a certain way, and it is rather difficult to help her without frustrating her. So I tried to help without getting in the way sometimes, and gave up and got out of the way other times. I spent one day just reading and resting all day--I read three chapters of The Pickwick Papers and took three naps in between. That felt SO GOOD.

I did not get the job teaching English, which, it turns out, is definitely for the best. I can only imagine the meltdown I would have had if I were just now getting home, only to try to do a year's worth of lesson plans to teach literature I have mostly forgotten, all in the next week before school starts. (And who would hire someone who writes sentences like that last one, anyway? Could I really even BE an English teacher???) I may have not gotten the job because I was not qualified, or because I was not around to be interviewed, or because the other applicant just plain came across better. At any rate, it is God's will, and I am happy to know that it is--I didn't even have to make a decision, so I received all the clarity that I had prayed for.