Barbara's Random Thoughts

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Weekend round-up.

Not to be confused with Woody's Roundup.

Let's see, what did I do this weekend...
-Food, lots of good food. Pumpkin pie. Mmmmm.
-Family game time. This included a rousing game of Snorta! and the annual family Thanksgiving tradition of pin-the-tail-on-the-turkey.
-Sky Captain at the dollar theater with David & Dianna
-Breakfast at Polly's and Finding Neverland with Kristy
-Rehearsing on Saturday and singing with the worship team at GHBC on Sunday. I've really missed singing with them!
-Far too much time spent on the road. Stupid traffic. Get out of my way, you cars!

And in other weekend-related news:
-Hannah (age 3) discovered brie. She kept asking me for more of the "white cheese."
-Rebekah wants a Jessie doll for Christmas. She saw Toy Story 2 and was very sad about how Jessie's little girl stopped loving her. She wants a Jessie doll because, in her words, "I will love her."
| posted by Barbara | 3:10 AM |

Monday, November 29, 2004

Quote of the weekend

"I don't think I've ever seen such an eclectic mix. You've got Wilson Phillips and Toad the Wet Sprocket."
---My brother, upon examining the CDs in my car
| posted by Barbara | 7:58 PM |

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


I head home today for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to spending time with family and friends. And food. And, as Pastor Bob would say, "all those other great F-words of the season."

This past year has brought much to be thankful for:

A new church
A new nephew
A mission trip
My women's small group
A new place to live
A job promotion
New and growing friendships
Long-standing friendships growing deeper

And this Thanksgiving, I am especially thankful for:

A job I love
God's unfailing faithfulness

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
| posted by Barbara | 8:38 PM |

Madonna with the Electric Halo

You stare down at me,
with a benevolent but unchanging smile.
I insert my coin,
make the sign of the cross,
and kneel before you:
a statue
with a light-up, plug-in halo.
Your face remains fixed as my prayers are recited.
I stand to leave,
my steps echoing against the cold stone walls.
In the darkness near the door,
a man leans on his broom and checks his watch.
As I open the door, I look back
and see him cross the altar to turn off the lights.
Your halo is suddenly extinguished.
Can Heaven still hear
when you are unplugged?
| posted by Barbara | 6:59 PM |

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Fairy-tale ending

I've heard it from what seems like hundreds of friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Said in a hundred different ways.

There's someone out there for you.

You're so awesome! I can't believe you don't have a boyfriend!

He doesn't know what he's missing.

I hate him for not seeing anything in you!

Just wait--someday that'll be you.

Every time I hear it, I feel just a little bit more alone. I fight to maintain some sort of balance between my natural skepticism and the happier girlish ideals about the inevitability of true love. ("Wuv...twue wuv...") I find those ideals harder and harder to believe as time goes on.

Maybe I have the gift that everyone speaks so highly of
Funny how nobody wants it
(Caedmon's Call)

I say love will come to you
Hoping just because I spoke the words that they're true
As if I've offered up a crystal ball to look through
Where there's now one there will be two
(Indigo Girls)

Do I really want to be this vulnerable in a blog entry? Oh well.
| posted by Barbara | 3:11 AM |

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Ok, 4-post day.

I just couldn't resist.

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January 5th, baby.
| posted by Barbara | 3:03 AM |

Assisi, 8 years ago

It's after 4pm, and I am now ready to give up on this day in which I have done very little. Tomorrow is another day. (And today is a 3-post day.)

Last night I was reading through my journals from Italy. It's strange to think how much I've forgotten. I laughed out loud at this memory:

Mel and I had to go to the bathroom so bad and we ran to find one close by...which we did, but it was a pay one, and the pay thing was jammed, so you couldn't even get in the door. Heather showed us (and a crowd of Australian tourists) how she and Gina had wiggled in through the revolving door exit. It was hilarious. These Australian tourists were climbing through, and there was one old woman whose husband was fully coaching her as to which way to go: "Now put your bum through, that's right...squiggle in there..." It was so crazy; I really wish I'd taken a picture.

And then I continued on to find something a bit more serious, a bit more thoughtful:

I talked to Melinda this evening about the Basilica and what a contrast it was to much of what we saw today. The ornate shrines in one of the churches this morning really got to me. That Madonna with the electric light halo--I really want to get these thoughts into a poem. Just communicate the question of why? What are the thoughts behind this? Is it a matter of complete reverence and exaltation of a person, is it looking at God as too holy to approach and the saint as an intermediary, or is it just a ritual? Kneel down, make the sign of the cross in front of this statue with the light-up, plug-in halo? It really reminded me of a line from a Gary Soto poem--the "glow-in-the-night Christ." How do I reconcile this religion with my relationship and my experience of God? All of this is just so foreign to me--the icons, the ritual, the shrines, and the saints.

But the Basilica today was another matter. Those frescoes were there for a purpose, and that was awesome to me. To see the way they portrayed the life of Christ, and the life of St. Francis, so simply, in order for the people to see and understand. Art which is not self-serving, not overstated, not there to call attention to itself, but art which points to something greater, beyond itself.

"As critics scorn the thoughts and works of mortal man
My eyes are drawn to you in awe once again" (Jars of Clay)

Months later, I did write the poem I began thinking about that day in Assisi. I wish I could unearth it now. Maybe when I have time to dig out my old laptop.
| posted by Barbara | 2:24 AM |

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Back to a fun workday

Another review quote:

Many textbooks are trying to be fashionable. I want Harris tweed and brogues, whipcord wool trousers (and scotch and water probably), not the latest Gap fashion.
| posted by Barbara | 11:34 PM |

An email paraphrase

Me: We need an index.
Author: No, we don't, the reviewers said so.
Me: No, actually, I checked, and the reviews said it was a bad idea to ditch the index.
Author: You're wrong.
Me: @#$^%$!#$%#!

Bonus for the morning: I've just spent the last hour having my computer de-virused. Rarg.

This morning, my job is not so fun.
| posted by Barbara | 9:41 PM |

My job is fun.

Review quote of the day:

"a genuinely wretched essay. eliminate and burn."

| posted by Barbara | 2:34 AM |

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


WHY does it cost so much to call international mobile numbers? I talked to Jude on her mobile on Saturday for 40 minutes, and it cost me $7. I talked to Heather at her home number on Sunday for 40 minutes, and it cost me $1. Both in Britain, people. Not that Jude's not worth a $7 phone call every once in a while. (Love you, little sis!)
| posted by Barbara | 12:41 AM |


On Sundays in YAF, they usually ask newcomers to not only introduce themselves, but to also answer a random question about themselves. (In the style of the Paul Buchanan roll question, for you Biola English types.) Yesterday's question was about favorite Thanksgiving foods and cooking mishaps, which reminded me of this story.

When I was studying in Italy, I shared a flat (and kitchen) with several other girls. For most of us, this was our first foray into cooking for ourselves. For most of the time, we did just fine. However, there was that one afternoon...

Wynne was frying up something on the gas stove. The oil started to spatter, and caught fire. Wynne freaked out, grabbed the flaming pan, and headed toward the sink. The last thing you want to do with a flaming pan of oil is to attempt to extinguish it with water. Melinda and I were sitting at the table, and yelled at her to leave off with the water. She freaked out even more, and dropped the pan on the tile floor. Our narrow pathway to the only exit was now blocked by the flaming pan of oil.

By this time, Wynne was completely flipping out, and Mel and I were alternately trying to calm her and figure out what to do with the raging oil fire on the floor. At the height of the madness, the fire burned itself out, moments before another roommate arrived at the door, wondering about the commotion. She entered the kitchen to find the three of us huddled in the corner, nervously eyeing a frying pan in the middle of the floor. Really, Laura, it was on fire till just a second ago...
| posted by Barbara | 12:21 AM |

Thursday, November 11, 2004


This is my blog, so I'm allowed to brag a little, right? My boss finally got around to announcing my promotion today with this email:

I'm pleased to announce Barbara's promotion to Assistant Editor for Philosophy/Religion. (She was actually promoted September 27th...but it took me a while to find the right words.) Barbara has done an extraordinary job for the past year as EA for our team. What pleased me most is how quickly she grasped her responsibilities and the nature of our industry, and how she is always so professional and diplomatic in communicating with our authors. She has eagerly taken on additional responsibilities and is always pleasant, efficient, prompt, and a great addition to our team.

Barbara was born in San Diego, grew up in England, and spent her recent years in LA County. She received her B.A. from Biola, her M.A. from Chapman, and a certificate from the University of Denver's Publishing Institute. She relocated to the Bay Area a year ago to accept the EA position.

Join me in congratulating Barbara on her new position.

And the president of our division even emailed me congratulations. Good feelings in the middle of this busy week...
| posted by Barbara | 9:36 PM |

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I Capture the Castle

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Loved it.

I Capture the Castle is made up of a series of three journals written by 17-year-old Cassandra Mortmain, who lives with her family in a dilapidated castle. Her father wrote one innovative, groundbreaking novel many years ago, but hasn't written anything since. The family has little income, and Cassandra's older sister is determined to marry rich. When the Mortmain's castle is inherited by a rich young American...well, you can see where this might go.

I like the way the book maintains the immediacy of a journal, and yet allows some narrative distance by having Cassandra narrate events a few days or weeks after the events occur. What I don't like about journal narratives is that the narrator has little room to reflect on events with any real perspective, but this book managed that quite well. Cassandra is an amazing, insightful narrator, and this is an amazing book.

The movie's a pretty good adaptation, too.
| posted by Barbara | 9:27 PM |

Friday, November 05, 2004

Remember, remember...

Happy Guy Fawkes Day! Oh, how I would love to be in England tonight.
| posted by Barbara | 6:38 PM |

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


My car passed a milestone this weekend. On my drive home from LA, 10 miles away from the 152, all the numbers on my odometer flipped over and I reached 100,000 miles on my little Geo Metro. I also made it home in the shortest time yet: 5 1/2 hours.

Overall, it was a good weekend. Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day for a wedding on the beach in Dana Point. Really, no-one could have asked for nicer weather.

It was really good to be "home" for church on Sunday. I really do miss my church family. It was great to see the kids, too, though it was a short visit. My 7-month old nephew is now crawling and wearing 12-month-old clothing.

Big meeting today at work. It was a little overwhelming, because it was a reminder of how many projects I have on my plate, and how many things I need to start being more proactive with. But it was also really cool to see all the books that have published that I've worked on in the past year. It's exciting to see our 2007 list coming together, and to be starting work on new books that are my responsibility.

And now, I'm gonna go home and spend the evening watching election returns. Which is actually quite an exciting thing in itself, regardless of the outcome.
| posted by Barbara | 2:58 AM |