Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, December 30, 2004

What Christmas Means

A little belated, but this is what I'd have posted on Christmas had I managed to spend any time blogging.

Charlie Brown: Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?
Linus: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you. Lights, please. "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you this day is born in the City of Bethlehem, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.'" That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

O come, little children, O come, one and all
To Bethlehem's stable, in Bethlehem's stall
To see what the Father in Heaven high above
Has sent us this night as a proof of His love.*

God with us. That's what Christmas means. A God who loved us so much, He left heaven to walk among us. He walked among us that we might know Him. He walked among us and died in our place, out of His great love for us, so that we might be with Him if we only would accept His gift: Jesus, the proof of His love. And that's what Christmas is about.

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas.

* Yeah, I know, you won't find these last two lines in most English translations of the carol. It's my mom's translation, which I've always liked better. =)
| posted by Barbara | 2:13 AM |

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Post of the day

There's a great post today at This Beautiful Mess about longing for home, love, and a place to belong. I really needed to hear this:

And in all our doubts lie our lack of trust. We doubt that God really does love us enough to provide. We do not trust he has our best interests (being really only found in our delight in HIM) at heart, and we doubt that the "homes" he has built and will build are what we truly need.

And we again get caught up in ourselves.

Oh, I need more grace.

| posted by Barbara | 12:40 AM |

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Scary Santas

Scared of Santa photos.

Though second place, this is my favorite:
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From the caption: "The older children, Lisa, and Todd, are holding the jacket of Amy, so she can't run away."

With a Santa like this one, wouldn't you be afraid, too?
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| posted by Barbara | 7:01 PM |

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

In it for the men?

The NY Times ponders the question: Do women writers have groupies?

What I've been wondering lately is, has any woman writer -- ever, anywhere -- had a groupie? Does, say, Barbara Kingsolver get phone numbers after the bookstore closes? Do 20-year-old boys throw their boxer shorts at Toni Morrison?
| posted by Barbara | 11:11 PM |

Half-Blood Prince

July 16, 2005. Start the countdown.

I'm amazed it's being published so soon after Order of the Phoenix, but I'm certainly not complaining.

| posted by Barbara | 6:55 PM |

First Impressions

It's funny the people who become your friends. Take the beginning of any new situation in my life. If someone had stopped me to point out, "these are the people who will be your friends," I don't know if I would have believed them.

I think that many times, friendship is less a matter of choice and more something you just fall into. Friendship is weird that way. And first impressions? They really aren't the big definer they're made out to be.

For example, Kristy. I distinctly remember the first time I met Kristy. Or saw her, really--I don't think we ever officially introduced ourselves. I knew Kristy's name from Bubbs, the university message board, and she'd seemed like one of the "cool kids" online. She seemed like that in person, too--I saw her across the classroom my first night of English Seminar, laughing and flirting with a guy from the crowd I thought of as the "cool" English majors. That semester, Kristy and I had classes together every day. I still persisted in thinking she was too cool to be friends with me.

I had my first hint otherwise when she sat beside me in Intro to Shakespeare one day and announced, "I read your Bubbs resume." I didn't know what to think.

Then the afternoon before our term paper was due, Kristy called me out of the blue: "Just what is this paper supposed to be about, anyway?"

We talked for an hour, about almost everything but the paper we were supposed to be writing.

She told me how she'd wanted to get to know me, but that she felt I didn't like her. All because of one day in Creative Writing when, trying to be helpful, she'd asked if she could cut the label off my scarf. The scarf I'd bought in Florence. The label that said "Made in Italy." I vaguely remember shrugging the scarf out of her reach, fearful for the demise of its label. She took it as a brush-off. I just liked that label.

For the remaining month of the semester, Kristy and I became great friends. We pondered the implications of accidentally landing on Dan Price's lap when walking into Shakespeare late on one of the days Dr. Smith was showing a film in the impossibly dark classroom. We critiqued each others' writing and discussed the finer points of self-fulfilling prophecy. Kristy was determined to hook me up with one of her friends, but the exclamation "I hate him for not seeing anything in you!" just about sums that up.

We hung out till 3am the night before our Shakespeare final ("It's an essay exam; you can't study for those!") and somehow our grades were none the worse for it.

For years, Kristy and I talked about being roommates. We never managed it, but we've been close friends for nearly 6 years now. I was in her wedding two summers ago. But from that first meeting, I never would have thought we'd be friends.

Just goes to show you not to trust first impressions.
| posted by Barbara | 3:17 AM |

Monday, December 20, 2004

Word of the Day

The Word of the Day for Dec 20 is:
spindrift \SPIN-drift\ noun

1 : sea spray; especially : spray blown from waves during a gale
*2 : fine wind-borne snow or sand

Why is it that being reminded of a good word can totally make me happy? Well, not totally, but it goes a long way. =)
| posted by Barbara | 7:13 PM |

Friday, December 17, 2004

Crystal Cathedral

Early this morning, the conductor of the Crystal Cathedral's orchestra committed suicide.

I have a good friend (Heather's younger sister Allison) who works at the Crystal Cathedral Academy. Their older sister used to work at the Cathedral as well. One of the families at my home church is involved in the Glory of Christmas every year, and was likely there at the Cathedral when the whole episode started:

The first shots were fired less than two hours before the scheduled start of the cathedral's annual "Glory of Christmas" holiday show.

Let me say that I've never been enamored with Schuller & the Cathedral. But this really hits a little too close to home for me. Kinda scary.
| posted by Barbara | 8:55 PM |


Your item was processed and left our RICHMOND, CA facility on December 16, 2004. Information, if available, is updated every evening. Please check again later.

Does this mean I will receive this today? One can only hope. Oh, happy day.
| posted by Barbara | 7:49 PM |

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Santas Run Riot in Wales

The headline alone is half the fun.

"Five St. Nicks were arrested and spent the night, as the British say, in the nick."
| posted by Barbara | 12:00 AM |

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Down Day

I woke up this morning thinking it was Thursday, because I had choir rehearsal last night. Alas, I was wrong, it is not Thursday, and I still have three more days to go before the weekend. Darn Tuesday night rehearsal, making me think it was Thursday.

I usually love my job, but this week I'm mired in paperwork and dealing with a frustrating author. Sigh.

I am so craving soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. Bring on the comfort food. Tonight, it'll be the couch and a book for me.
| posted by Barbara | 8:28 PM |

Monday, December 13, 2004

Madame Tussaud's Nativity

From CNN

Favorite quote:
A spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of 70 million Anglicans worldwide, reacted with weary resignation to the "Posh and Becks" tableau.

"There is a tradition of each generation trying to re-interpret the Nativity but, oh dear ...," he said.

I think this is hilarious, but then again, I also actively participated in the semi-heretical jokes about the Baby-Jesus-shaped cake at last night's dinner party.
| posted by Barbara | 8:04 PM |


Two days, three Christmas parties, lots of cleaning, cookie baking, and dinner making = tired. I'm off to get some coffee to drink with these Christmas cookies. I think I'll start by eating the Multicolored Sleigh of Impending Peril. Don't ask.
| posted by Barbara | 7:51 PM |


The Word of the Day for Dec 13 is:

nefarious \nih-FAIR-ee-us\ adjective

: flagrantly wicked or impious : evil

The word "scheme" has a different connotation in the United States than it does in England. In England, it pretty much just means "program" and has no negative connotations to it. As a child, I participated in the "Summer Reading Scheme" at the library every year, and thought nothing of it. Here, however, the word has connotations of plotting or conniving which I didn't always realize. At a former job, I used to prepare the outline/agenda for the weekly staff meeting. One week, I included an item about "Paul's New Booking Scheme" and thought nothing of it. Paul, however, took mild offense because of the plotting/conniving connotation of the word, and this provided much hilarity at the meeting. So, the next week, our meeting agenda included an item entitled: "Paul's Nefarious Plot."
| posted by Barbara | 7:46 PM |

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Sermon Notes

Lark News is hilarious. It's kind of a Christian version of The Onion. I laughed out loud at this today:

Pastor apologizes for unintentional acrostic

I also recommend the horoscope. Mine: "Jesus loves you. Then again, He loves everybody."
| posted by Barbara | 11:54 PM |

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Something I'm pondering

Is it just me, or does the guy on the Adobe Reader about thing look like Paul Hamm?

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| posted by Barbara | 2:40 AM |

Monday, December 06, 2004

Weekend Music

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Friday night, I got to see the musical/concert/play Striking 12 at the Lucie Sterne Theatre in Palo Alto. It was a "rewired" version of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl." The Andersen fairy tale was woven in with a modern-day story and it worked really well.

The band, GrooveLily, was amazing. The three of them all played, sang, and acted all the various parts in the musical. The personalities of each member of the band came out in their performances, as it was scripted so that they would occasionally break character to comment and argue with each other over who had the good parts. It was hilarious and moving, and ultimately a very personal performance.

I was also intrigued by the six-string electric violin, and the way Valerie Vigoda sang and played at the same time. But perhaps that's just the violinist in me. I definitely recommend the show if you're in the area. Check out the band's website, too.

I got home after the play to discover that my latest purchases from the fabulous Waterdeep had arrived in the mail. Nick lent me Sink or Swim ages ago, and I saved it on my computer at the church when I had to give it back to him. But then I moved. I'd been meaning to buy it for a while, and I'm so happy to have it again. And the Lori Chaffer solo CD, 1Beginning is amazing. All weekend, I was jumping back & forth between CDs because they're both really good and I wanted to listen to everything at once.

I'll close with some lyrics that are pretty timely for me right now.

Lonely Sometimes
by Don Chaffer

I woke up from a strange rain
And it was dreaming outside
I rolled over for the telephone

I thought I'd call someone
Tell them I dreamed I had died
But I know that I was all alone

I just get lonely sometimes
I want someone to take away my grief
I just get lonely sometimes
I want to wake up in the morning with someone
Lying next to me who I can turn to for relief
I just get lonely sometimes
But I know I just need You

I probably slept in a bed of bitterness
That's why I woke up this way
That's probably why I'm in this lonesome hole

I probably got to needing everything
And needing it today
That's probably why I play this lonely role

But I know I know I know I just need You
| posted by Barbara | 11:08 PM |


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What's amusing me tonight: I'm using a beer bottle as a vase. It's my Barbara beer bottle from Switzerland, which does lend the arrangement a certain personal flair. But still. It's a single red rose in a beer bottle!
| posted by Barbara | 7:46 AM |

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Hold me closer, Tony Danza...

My RealPlayer has officially gone nuts. I saved a bunch of Christmas CDs onto my computer, put them into a playlist on RealPlayer, and put it on random. But it's not working. Somehow, RealPlayer is merging titles of Christmas songs with songs already in the library. I must preface this by commenting that there's a bunch of music in the library that I inherited with the computer and I haven't deleted anything.

So. RealPlayer just attempted to play what it claims is "Bethlehem Town." But what's actually playing? "Rocketman." Next up: "Away in a Manger." No, cause what I'm hearing is "Candle in the Wind." Apparently RealPlayer prefers Elton John to Christmas music. I'm just waiting for "Tiny Dancer" to appear.
| posted by Barbara | 2:23 AM |

Friday, December 03, 2004

Merry Chrsmas

...from Cal-Trans. I guess they couldn't fit the whole thing on that blinking sign on the shoulder of 280. That blinking sign. Heehee!
| posted by Barbara | 11:30 PM |

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Biting thumbs

I have a bad habit of biting off hangnails. I really should stop this. Anyway, my boss came in my office this afternoon, and I was biting my thumb. He commented on this, and I was reminded of Shakespeare, and remarked, "I bite my thumb at you!" Then I had to explain that it was from Shakespeare and that it was an insult, and it was slightly awkward because I only meant it in jest.

Gregory: I will frown as I pass by, and let them take it as they list.
Sampson: Nay, as they dare. I will bite my thumb at them; which is a disgrace to them, if they bear it.
Enter Abraham and Balthasar
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson: I do bite my thumb, sir.
Abraham: Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?
Sampson: [Aside to Gregory] Is the law of our side, if I say ay?
Gregory: No.
Sampson: No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir.
| posted by Barbara | 1:39 AM |