Wednesday, August 31, 2005
jeff daniels


When I was 11, I had a crush on a boy named Jeff Daniels. He went on to become my own sort of enemy. I don't think I've ever had such low regard or intense hatred toward someone else in my life as I did when was 14 and 15 for Jeff Daniels.

I remember sitting in the movie theater when the Terms of Endearment credits began to flash up on the screen. I saw the name Jeff Daniels. It seemed so weird. Some actor was named Jeff Daniels.

For a long time, whenever I heard the name Jeff Daniels, I'd think of my nemesis, a short obnoxious kid in Minnesota. But, somewhere along the way, I stopped thinking of that kid and just thought of Dumb (or Dumber?) or The Purple Rose of Cairo or Gettysburg.

What's it like to just be Jennifer Lopez or Jessica Simpson or Michael Douglas your whole life and then suddenly you feel like you have someone else's name? Google has no love for you, that's for sure.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, August 30, 2005
1987


I got this from Susan, who got it from the Chronic Curmudgeon. Look up the top 100 songs of the year you graduated high school (scroll down the page) and bold the ones you liked. I am also putting the songs I don't actually like (because they are crap), but would still listen to for nostaligic purposes in italics.

1. Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles
2. Alone, Heart
3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott
4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston
5. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship
6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil
7. Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
8. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
9. Shakedown, Bob Seger
10. Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi
11. La Bamba, Los Lobos
12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung
13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House
14. Always, Atlantic Starr
15. With Or Without You, U2
16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley
17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
19. Mony Mony, Billy Idol
20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters
21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh
22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston
23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
24. I Want Your Sex, George Michael
25. Notorious, Duran Duran
26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson
27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
30. Open Your Heart, Madonna
31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
32. (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew
33. Heart And Soul, T'pau
34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
35. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites
36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael
37. Control, Janet Jackson
38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
39. U Got The Look, Prince
40. Land Of Confusion, Genesis
41. Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News
42. Who's That Girl, Madonna
43. You Got It All, Jets
44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox
45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna
47. In Too Deep, Genesis
48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson
49. Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News
50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago
51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac
52. Luka, Suzanne Vega
53. I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama
54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx
55. Songbird, Kenny G
56. Carrie, Europe
57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System
58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna
59. Bad, Michael Jackson
60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince
61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper
62. Come Go With Me, Expose
63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill
64. To Be A Lover, Billy Idol
65. Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister
67. Stand By Me, Ben E. King
68. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis
69. Someday, Glass Tiger
70. When Smokey Sings, ABC
71. Casanova, Levert
72. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
73. Rock Steady, Whispers
74. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
75. Big Time, Peter Gabriel
76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood
77. Let Me Be The One, Expose
78. Is This Love, Survivor
79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert
80. Point Of No Return, Expose
81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac
82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm
83. Something So Strong, Crowded House
84. Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams
85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros
86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen
87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson
88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart
89. Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis
90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets
91. Victory, Kool and The Gang
92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders
93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News
94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club
95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie
96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins
97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew
98. (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys
99. Funkytown, Pseudo Echo
100. Love You Down, Ready For The World
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Saturday, August 27, 2005
bridges and balloons


I love it when song lyrics can stand alone as a poem.

Bridges and Balloons
Joanna Newsom

we sailed away on a winter's day
with fate as malleable as clay
but ships are fallible i say
and the nautical, like all things fades
and i can recall our caravel
a little wicker beetle shell
with four fine maste and lateen sails
it's bearings on cair paravel

oh my love
oh it was a funny little thing
to be
the ones
to've seen

the sight of bridges and balloons
makes calm canaries irritable
and they caw and claw all afternoon
Catenaries and derigibles
brace and buoy the living room
a loom of metals warp woof wimble
and a thimbles worth of milky moon
can touch hearts larger than a thimble

oh my love
oh it was a funny little thing
to be
the ones
to've seen

oh my love
oh it was a funny little thing
it was a funny funny little thing
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
typewriter


This picture makes me a little sad. Not that I think we should all go back to clanking away on typewriters, but it reminds me of being a kid.

When I was in 4th grade, I would write plays on our old typewriter and then my sister and I would perform them for the family. Or, at least my mom. I'm sure those plays were pretty dull, but my mom would sit through them and act like she was very entertained.



I loved typing on that typewriter. The smell of the ink, the weight of the typebars as they hit the paper, separating the typebars when they got hung up , the carriage moving across the page, moving the carriage back in place at the end of each line. Sometimes I would just copy a story I liked or type out a letter just to hit the keys.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, August 23, 2005
is my blog my true self


After a good friend of mine from high school read my blog, he said,

I just spent a few minutes fishing around your blog site -- it was really fun! I feel like I got a hold of some of your journals or something. It definitely sounded like you... One thing that surprised me about your blog is how mormon you seem. I think that I'm projecting when I say that I would have thought you would have fallen away more.

It's a little odd to hear how I seem from the perspective of my blog. I mean, I think I am more Mormon than my friend realized. But, in some ways, I may be less Mormon (whatever that actually means) than my blog makes me out to be. I don't really know how I come across. It seems kind of complicated to me. My blog is a reflection of me, for sure. Sometimes I just wonder what picture folks have of me based on what I write.

Since this is a public forum, I keep that in mind. I don't have dark secrets that I'm withholding, but there are certain things that I'm not going to let lose about here.

You can get to know a piece of someone from what they write, but you never get the whole. That sounds a little needy and a little high school, but I'm not here to be understood. I mean, I want you to understand what I choose to write about, but I have no desire for my blog to be a complete representation of who I am.
posted by lochan | link
8 comments and fresh takes

eh?


The Blogger Spell Checker doesn't recognize the word blog or blogger.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Sunday, August 21, 2005
the jerk store called


I know, laughing at The Far Side is sooo 1987. But, after reading Chicken Paco's post, this made me laugh.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Friday, August 19, 2005
huh?


David bought some Newman's Own All Natural Popcorn the other day. I do not understand why or how this stuff smells exactly like vomit. I can see a bad smell or a strange smell, but I do not see how it could smell just like vomit without trying.
posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

Politics
Politics
by William Butler Yeats

In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in political terms. -Thomas Mann

How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has both read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms.
posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, August 18, 2005
The Quit

I started this post about a month ago. And by started I mean I wrote "The Quit" as a title and then saved it as a draft.

David and I have been quite fond of The Quit in our 14 years together. We have moved 15 times in 14 years. The longest we have lived in any one place is three years. The longest we have lived in any one city is five years. We went through a phase where we moved every six months. After four months or so in a place, we would start talking about where we wanted to go next. I had a job that was mobile and we actually chose to do that.

There is something freeing about The Quit. You are exercising your right to change, to make a decision to choose something else.

As far as moving, I'm pretty tired of The Quit. It was fun while it lasted. But now, I just want to be here. This last move wasn't too traumatic for our girls, but it was hard to leave behind good friends. While they made new friends fairly easily, Grace had a tough time adjusting to her new ballet class. That sounds like a small thing, but it wasn't. She would walk into the studio and look shy and scared and stressed. I hated it.

This week, we exercised The Quit when we pulled Lillie out of school. It wasn't very fun, and I'm sure there are plenty of folks who think we should have stuck it out a little longer (Grace being one of them).

I know it could seem like the message we are sending is when something gets hard, just quit. I told the girls last night that I hope that's not what they get out of it. I hope, instead, the message they get is that you don't have to put up with something that makes you miserable. If you start a job and you hate it, look for a new job. If you choose a major and you hate it, change your major.

Not that there aren't some things that are worth sticking it out, and not that you shouldn't have a back up plan. But, your every day life should make you happy. No one should be working for the weekend or hoping that the day just goes by fast. We all have the right to look for better things.
posted by lochan | link
9 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
home again
Lillie was so miserable yesterday before bed about going to school. She cried and said she didn't want to go and she was sure after three days she still wouldn't want to go. David and I talked about it after the girls went to sleep (which took about 20 seconds) and decided to just pull her.

Grace was disappointed. She likes having Lillie at school and she felt like we should've tried a little longer, but she still wants to go.

I know that Lillie would get used to this and would even like it if we stuck it out. I am just not willing to stick it out. I think it would take more than just the next few days to get used to it. I hate seeing her like this, she has been eating hardly anything and crying off and on and being very clingy. When homeschool is such an easy option for us, I just don't see going through it.

We had a very nice morning homeschooling. Lillie worked very hard and did a great job. It was a little odd without Grace, but knowing she is happy at school makes everything feel alright.

I think homeschooling one is going to be a little trickier. The school part this morning was very easy. But now the day is just about done (besides art and sign language and some sort of "gym" thing), but I don't feel like I can just work or blog, because she'll just end up in front of the TV. I'm going to have to schedule my time more tightly and spend more time with just her.

It's time to paint.
posted by lochan | link
3 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, August 16, 2005
no tears
Well, at least there was no crying this morning. Lillie didn't ask to stay home from school. Which was a relief because that would have been really hard. I don't care if she doesn't want to go to school, but I don't want to feel like we gave up too soon.

Lillie wore her Sponge Bob watch so she would know what time it is. I hope that she doesn't check it 5,000 times. That can make time go by even slower than not having a clue about the time.

It's funny how quickly I went from if she doesn't like it, we'll give it four weeks to two weeks, to one week. But, if she is this sad every day I just can't see doing it.

I'm hoping that things get better and better and she gets used to it. But, if it doesn't, that's just fine.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

good news and bad news
The good news is that Grace loved the first day of school. She had fun, it was stimulating, and she was excited about everything when we picked her up. When we got home, she jumped right into her homework. She can be mature, confident and very responsible. She can also be sensitive, shy and easily rattled. I wasn't sure what school was going to bring out in her but all went very well. She was actually dancing around after school, she was so happy.

The bad news is that as soon as we picked Lillie up from school, she started to cry and wanted to know if she had to go back tomorrow. The day was long, boring and lonely for her. I think it may be just too much time away for her. There was a girl in her class who jumped out at her after a bathroom break and it really freaked her out. We tried to explain that the little girl was probably nervous too and was just trying to make friends. When we said they might be friends some day, she got really upset. "NO! She was really creepy!" I think the girl just upset her because it's hard being away from everyone.

When it was time for recess, Lillie was hoping she'd see Grace. But, she didn't. Their recess is not at the same time. She asked her teacher off and on when they could go home, but never had any idea how much longer she'd really have because her teacher would tell her vague answers like "Soon". I don't think that a specific "Two hours" would have helped, though.

After Lillie did her homework, she wanted to read Harry Potter. We read for a bit and she fell asleep. After her nap, we tried to go to the park, but she was too upset to swing or play. She just wanted to be held by me and off and on she would cry about going to school. I told her that I would come to school in the afternoon, which helped a little.

David and Grace went to a baseball game and Lillie and I snuggled on the couch and watched a movie. She just wanted to be held. Normally, she's a very funny kid and makes a lot of jokes. She didn't make any until it was time for bed.

When we were deciding about school, David and I had talked about not enrolling Lillie and waiting a few more years. But, she had been excited about the prospect of going. She has no problem being away from home for long stretches of time, but she's almost always with Grace. The only time she is not with family is the two hours of Sunday School at church.

The idea is to give school a try through the week and if Lillie is still unhappy, take her out and just keep homeschooling. She'll be waking up soon, and if she starts to cry, I'm not sure what we'll do.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Monday, August 15, 2005
longest morning of my life
It is now 11:00 am. The girls have been in school for only two and a half hours, and it already feels like a whole day. When will it be time to pick them up?

We had a good morning getting ready. I felt kind of jittery and nervous yesterday, but I was fine this morning. The girls went to sleep easy last night (I didn't) and they got up a little early. I made french toast and scrambled eggs, but the girls didn't eat much. I didn't have much of an appetite, either. I packed them enough food for two or three lunches, though. We were ready to go after 20 minutes and actually had a little time to spare.

When we got to the school, we hung out for a little while and then the kids lined up in their classes by their teachers. A girl that Grace met at the open house was super friendly and asked her to stand by her. Grace was worried about cutting in line (she's a big stickler for rules), but I assured her it was okay. Another girl in line smiled at her and was friendly. Before they marched off to class, Lillie threw us a big smile and we said "Have fun!" Grace smiled at us off and on while they were waiting, but when it was time to go, we were just watching her back. She didn't bother to turn around. I take that as a good sign.

I did cry after they were out of sight. But, I feel pretty good about the whole thing. I just can't wait for the next few hours to be over. Four hours and counting.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

Friday, August 12, 2005
school


Ever since we enrolled the girls in school I have been alternating between feelings of optimism and quiet panic. And varying levels of sadness.

We went to the open house and met the teachers and saw their classrooms. This made me feel better. The teachers seemed nice and I could picture the girls there. It turns out that they'll be able to order food from Subway and a local Mexican restaurant, so Lillie won't be eating peanut butter sandwiches every day.

Lillie's teacher is young and pretty. She was very calm. Lillie's class is going to start out quite slow. Letters and numbers. Which hopefully will be fun-easy and not boring-easy.

Grace's teacher seemed a little more no-nonsense (or something), but nice and likeable. The math is Saxon (what we have been doing) and is 7/6. I was worried math would be too easy, but we just finished 6/5 so this is right on schedule. The daily homework doesn't look to be too intense. If Grace gets all of her homework done during the week, she'll have an extra recess on Friday. She likes those kinds of incentives and rewards.

Both teachers said that they have other students who are (er, were) homeschoolers.

I have been feeling calmer and better about the whole thing. I can see them happy and excited and making new friends. Then, this morning I went upstairs to read the Bible before everyone woke up. When I was done, I looked around our playroom/schoolroom. I saw our timelines and our school books and our spanish corner and I just felt so sad. I love that time with my girls.

It's been odd for me, not ordering curriculum and not planning out the year, figuring out art projects and science experiments and all of that. But, it really hit me today all the hours together we won't have.

It will be alright. We'll find a new rhythm in our day. We will still be a family, we will still be together. The girls will be able to tell me about their day. They will find a new sense of independence. I don't know what else it will bring, but I hope it's good.
posted by lochan | link
5 comments and fresh takes

repeating the word girl


repeating the word girl
M. Loncar -

writing a poem about the girl should never be better
------ than the girl ---- than being with the girl

don't write the poem about the girl
------- unless you'd really rather be with the girl

posted by lochan | link
0 comments and fresh takes

watermelons


Watermelons
Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, August 11, 2005
Viewers Like Who?


So, have you noticed that PBS is running more and more commercials? They don't interrupt the show you are watching to air them, but between shows they are running ads. Honest-to-goodness ads. Cars driving a windy path, buy this car, ads. Now, I don't care if they want to make some money by selling ads. It's not a big deal. But, can they stop with the pledge drives?

I would think about pledging some money if PBS were commercial-free, but it's not. It's not even close. They say they are funded by a government grant, Chuck E. Cheese (or McDonald's or Chrysler) and Viewers Like You. Come again? Viewers Like Who?

Lately I've seen ads on PBS asking you to give to PBS in your will or estate. So a part of you can be "kind of" immortal. I like PBS, but the farthest I'll go for them is as far as I'll go for CBS or ABC - I'll watch their ads. The money they'd get from my will would probably buy one program. This is T.V. - not a charity. I'd rather help feed, clothe, or shelter someone than make sure Antiques Roadshow has enough funding.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, August 10, 2005
eye jewelry
My vision is better than 20/20. But, sometimes when I'm tired my vision gets blurred. I went to to the eye doctor last year about it, and she said I would probably need glasses by the time I'm 40.

I like having good vision and I like being glasses-free. But now, I'm looking forward to all the cool eye jewelry I can wear if I get contacts.

I have a feeling that David is going to be sorry he ever had Lasik.

Via we-make-money-not-art
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
friends and neighbors


We moved into a new neighborhood last year and our girls made fast friends with a girl named Ashley in the neighborhood. A few months ago, Ashley moved. Grace and Lillie have other friends in the neighborhood, but we were still hoping that some more kids would move in next door.

Instead of a family moving in, Ashley's grandma moved in. At first, we were disappointed. But, the girls have made great friends with Ashley's grandmother. She has two dogs, and almost every evening Lillie and Grace head over to Granda D's house to take the dogs for a walk. Grandma D often goes with the girls to walk the dogs. I love to see the three of them strolling around the park together. The girls spend quite a bit of time with her chatting.

I wish their real grandmothers lived closer. But since they don't, I love that they have a grandma to hang out with. I have fond childhood memories of talking at the kitchen table and being fed a snack with the "grandma" in my neighborhood.

Friends can be any age and I think these more nontraditional friendships can be more meaningful.
posted by lochan | link
4 comments and fresh takes

Monday, August 08, 2005
fun and tricky


The girls are starting school soon. I'm trying to stay calm and optimistic about the whole thing. Whenever people ask the girls how they feel about it, they don't really respond. They say stuff like "I don't know" or they shrug their shoulders. I think they really just don't know what they are in for, so they don't really know what to think.

Today, Lillie and I were driving along and I asked her how she feels about school starting. "Okay, I guess." I asked her what she thought it'd be like. She thought for a second and then she said, "Fun. And tricky." She went on to say that learning new things and making friends would be fun. But tricky, too.

Maybe she's got this figured out already.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Peter Jennings
Peter Jennings died yesterday at age 67 of lung cancer. The news made me sad.

Of course it's sad when anyone dies, but I liked Jennings. I thought it was interesting that he was a high school dropout, but more than that he was just a likeable guy.

Read more.
posted by lochan | link
6 comments and fresh takes

Friday, August 05, 2005
s t e n c i l r y
stencilry is a livejournal site with different galleries of stencils (most stencils are basic, but a few are a little out there - browse at your own risk).

So, which stencil would you rather have on your T-shirt?











Tutorials for making your own stencils.
posted by lochan | link
9 comments and fresh takes

my life has been the poem


My life has been the poem
Henry David Thoreau

My life has been the poem I would have writ,
But I could not both live and utter it.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Thursday, August 04, 2005
is my closet my true self

23 Dec 1980
i wonder how many kids i'll have. at the VERY LEAST 4. i plan on 6, a dog + a cat too of course. my house will probably be kinda sloppy. i'll keep it pretty clean but that's my style. S. (my sis) wants 3 kids (or maybe 4 but that's it) no pets. clean as a pin house.


This was my idea of my future at age 11. If you knew my sister and I, this is pretty funny. I have less kids and a cleaner house than my sister does. I wish I could remember the conversation between my sister and I about this.

There were six kids in my family growing up, and keeping our rooms clean wasn't a big priority for my mom. Sure, now and again we would have to clean up, but usually she just had bigger and better things on her mind. My room was usually kind of sloppy. Nothing outrageous, but about how you'd expect a kid to keep it.

I married a man who is neat. David's very clean and he notices stuff. He does a lot of the chores around the house. It's great. I think most guys are kind of clueless about that kind of thing.

So, we keep our house pretty clean. After 14 years of marriage, sloppy is no longer my signature "style". I'm not the perfect housekeeper. My house is not immaculate. But, generally we keep it picked up and clean and I try to go through the little piles of junk that collect pretty regularly.

A few years ago, David went on a trip with some friends and the whole time he was gone I let the place go. I mean, I let it go - in a big way. Crap piled up, dishes weren't done. Everything was a mess. The day before he came home, I cleaned everything up and by the time he came back, things were back to normal.

I had to ask, Is this my true self? Without David, would my house be a complete wreck?

A few months ago, David went out of town again. This time, I kept my normal routine. I did not let the house go. I thought about this. Is this just a part of me now? Maybe. But, it probably has more to do with the fact that my girls are both five years older. I'm not running after two little ones. They are good at making their own beds in the morning, putting their own dishes away, and picking up after themselves. This makes my job easier.

The one place in the house that is pretty much a constant wreck is my closet. David's side is organized and everything is in it's place. On my side there are clothes shoved around haphazardly, things hanging out of the shelves, clothes hung over the bottom rung. I clean it up from time to time, but it quickly goes back to its natural state. And, I like it that way. I like that this is my personal space that I can keep in any kind of crappy condition I like. If I spent more time there and actually wanted to hang out there, I'd feel differently about it. But I don't, so I don't care. What I'd really like is a bunch of hooks (like that Seinfeld episode) so I didn't have to take the time to hang up half the stuff I do. Really, I think that would rule the school (or my closet, anyway).

Anyway, maybe my closet is my true self. Maybe I just need to buy some hooks.
posted by lochan | link
8 comments and fresh takes

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
notes


Lillie and Grace are playing a game with their friend where they write notes to and from their toy dogs. Lillie is having me write all of her notes. Most of them are things like this:

Dear Cocoa,
Eggs are good to eat.
From,
Yoko

Dear Dottie,
I love Yugoslavia.
From,
Spot


When I asked why eggs, Lillie said, "Because they love eggs! That's why their heads are so big." When I asked why Yugoslavia, she said "Because Dalmatians are from Yugoslavia!"
posted by lochan | link
1 comments and fresh takes

The art of Shintaro Miyake


Back off! Ack, there are too many.



Oh, look. They are just harmless little cuties.



One got away.

View more artwork by Miyake at his website and here and here.
posted by lochan | link
2 comments and fresh takes

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
so gross
Okay, this is wrong on so many levels. I probably shouldn't even post it. But, for some reason I just. have. to.



I'm very sorry.

Fergie's reps are saying this is "just" sweat. Uh, does that make it less disgusting?

Via i write therefore i blog.
posted by lochan | link
8 comments and fresh takes

Monday, August 01, 2005
July Reading

Gap Creek

Gap Creek
by Robert Morgan

It was the brightest day you ever seen outside, bright as only early fall can be. The grass and leaves on the trees and even the bare dirt appeared to sparkle. I don't know if it was the light, or the fact that I was falling in love, that made everything shine. The world was lit in a new way, and I was lit up in every finger and toe and part of me.

This is the story of Julie Harmon's first year of marriage in the last year of the nineteenth century. Julie is a woman who can work as hard as a man, and she is just 17 years old.

The prose is wonderfully simple and descriptive. Julie's life in the Appalachians is hard and she deals with death, hardship, and natural catastrophes. This book was an incredibly fast read, and one of the best books I've read in a long time.

Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are fullof passionate intensity
W. B. Yeats from The Second Coming

This is the story of Okonkwo, an Ibo man in Nigeria before and after the arrival of Christian missionaries and British colonialism. The writing is very direct and the insight into this tribal culture is fascinating. Achebe does not idealize this time, but lays out the good and the bad.

Okonkwo's father is a gentle but lazy man. Okonkwo is determined to be the opposite. He treats his wives and children with a firm hand and is sometimes cruel. The reader is able to see his humanity, but his family must only see glimpses.

The religious customs and rituals of the tribes and the reliance on oracles is described in detail. There is an aspect to it that is wonderfully communal and spiritual and there is also a blind obedience and sense of superstition that is disturbing. If the oracle orders a child to be killed, it is killed. Dead babies are sometimes mutilated and drug out to the "Evil Forest". Twins are seen as evil, and they are left in the Evil Forest to die.

When Christian missionaries come, you can understand why some people are eager to join. Women who have had to abandon twins to die, who have been beaten by their husbands, and the outcasts of the tribe find refuge in the church.

Just as Achebe does not gloss over the flaws of the Ibo tribes and shows sympathy for the Christian converts as well as those fighting to keep their traditions he shows the good intentions, flaws and blind spots of the missionaries.

This book made me want to learn more about Nigeria's history.

Peace Like A River

Peace Like A River
by Leif Enger

Fair is whatever God wants to do.

Reuben Land is an 11 year old boy growing up in a small Minnesota town. Two bullies break into his family's home and his older brother Davy kills them. Davy is arrested, he escapes from jail, and the family goes in search of him.

The writing is lyrical and Reuben's voice is direct and pulls you in. The family experiences both quiet miracles and incredible miracles and it all comes off in a very real, beautiful way.

The almost-end of the book absolutely blew my mind. I was not expecting the turn, but it was just right.


Celebration of Discipline
by Richard J. Foster

Everybody thinks of changing humanity and nobody thinks of changing himself.
Leo Tolstoy

I first read this book in 1996 and loved it. The book is inspiring and is a good reminder of the way I can have a more Christ-centered life through discipline.

Foster deals first with the inward disciplines: meditation, prayer, fasting, study. Then, he moves on to the outward disciplines: simplicity, solitude, submission, and service. The corporate disciplines: confession, worship, guidance, and celebration (these last two didn't resonate with me as much, but were still worthwhile).

What I love the most about the book is his reminder that the pursuit of a Christ-centered life is all about change and bringing ourselves closer to God. To pray is to change. To confess is to change. To worship is to change.

The idea is that daily scripture study and prayer is not to check off a to-do list, but actually change my life and who I am. The disciplines themselves are worthless without change.

I like the idea of incorporating meditation into my prayer time and allowing for more silence. I like the idea of emptying myself through meditation and then allowing myself to be filled with God's love. To let myself be open to God's will.

This is a meditation exercise that he calls "palms up, palms down":

[Place] your palms down as a symbolic indication of your desire to turn over any concerns you may have to God. Inwardly you may pray "Lord, I give to You my anger toward John. I release my fear of my dentist appointment this morning. I surrender my anxiety over not having enough money to pay the bills this month. I release my frustration over trying to find a baby-sitter for tonight." Whatever it is that weighs on your mind or is a concern to you, just say, "palms down." Release it... After several moments of surrender, turn your palms up as a symbol of your desire to receive from the Lord. Perhaps you will pray silently: "Lord, I would like to receive your divine Love for John, Your peace about the dentist appointment, Your patience, Your joy." Whatever you need, you say, "palms up." Having centered down, spend the remaining moments in complete silence. Do not ask for anything. Allow the Lord to commune with your spirit, to love you. If impressions or directions, come, fine; if not, fine.

The chapter on simplicity was very interesting and just what I needed to hear. (Foster has an entire book dedicated to the subject of simplicity that I recommend, Freedom of Simplicity. I plan on re-reading it this month). Foster does a good job of inspiring change and encouraging you to start where you are at.

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Name: Laura

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