Barbara's Random Thoughts

Monday, February 28, 2005

It's pretty much my favorite animal.

So I finally saw Napoleon Dynamite yesterday. Julie F. made me watch it. I had the same reaction I've heard from so many other people: it was completely pointless, and I can't quite believe I spent an hour and a half watching it. And yet, I also found it hilarious. "There's more where that came from if you come to the dance with me."

Anyway, all of this to say that apparently ligers are real.
| posted by Barbara | 11:54 PM |

Sunday, February 27, 2005

What's in a name?

This name thing is really cool.

I had a friend in college who told me he'd never met a Barbara outside of a nursing home. Thanks, Tim. Slight exaggeration, but check this out: my name's popularity peaked in the 1930s & 40s. It was ranked at #3 for both of those decades, and #6 in the 1950s. By the 1970s, when I was born, it was at #73.
| posted by Barbara | 11:47 PM |

Friday, February 25, 2005

Art or hack?

Interesting. Can you tell the difference between the prose of a "great" writer and a "commercial" writer? I didn't do very well.
Some of the quotes below are from one of the greatest writers ever. The other are from one commercial writer, who achived popularity among uneducated people, but failed to make any significant contribution to the Literature. Can you tell the difference between their prose?

I took issue with the above introductory description (partly for its errors!)--"one of the greatest writers ever" is debatable, and "popularity among uneducated people"? Bring on the intellectual snobbery!
| posted by Barbara | 7:24 PM |

Does that feeling ever go away?

Eighth grade. Mid-high choir tour. We'd all descended upon a Baskin-Robbins, and by now most of us had finished our ice cream and were just sitting and talking. On one side of my table sat a guy I had a huge crush on. On the other side sat a friend of mine. She also had a crush on the guy.

The rest of the choir began to leave to walk back to our hotel, but the three of us stayed. Sitting there, glancing at each other. Conversation lagged. Nothing was said. Almost everyone else had left, but I wanted to stay. Here was the guy I liked! Sitting with me! Why couldn't she leave? Her looks begged me to leave, his asked that I stay. Maybe the latter was wishful thinking, but I waited.

He finally got up to leave, and she and I walked back to the hotel together, lagging behind him. I spent that walk wondering how I might have contrived to walk that one city block by his side. And I still vividly remember that moment--knowing what I wanted, but having no idea how to get it.
| posted by Barbara | 7:19 PM |

Because everybody's doing it

A is for Age: 26 (for another month or so, anyway)
B is for Bands: Waterdeep, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Caedmon's Call, others I'm no doubt forgetting...
C is for Career of Future: Developmental editing? Children's publishing? Wandering abroad?
D is for Dad's Name: Jerry
E is for Ethnic Background: Irish, Scottish, English
F is for Favorite Song at Moment: Right now, I can't seem to stop listening to Fleetwood Mac's "Bleed to Love Her."
G is for Great Escape: Reading? Not sure exactly what's being asked here...
H is for Hometown: Argh. I can never answer this. I usually say I'm from SoCal, so...La Mirada, CA.
I is for Instrument: Violin
J is for Job Title: Assistant Editor
K is for Kids: Nope.
L is for Last Person You Talked to On the Phone: John the Editorial Assistant (not to be confused with John the Brother-in-Law or Johnny the Nephew)
M is for Mom's Name: Elizabeth
N is for Number of Siblings: 2
O is for Oldest Living Relative: Aunt Mable. Who emailed me yesterday. =)
P is for Phobias/Fears: Needles. Eeeek.
Q is for Favorite Quote: Changes frequently, but how about: "I think if we were given the Scriptures, it was not so that we could prove that we were right about everything. If we were given the Scriptures, it was to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing." --Rich Mullins
R is for Religion: Christian. Grew up Baptist, lately it's been the non-denominational variety.
S is for Song You Sang Last: Jennifer Knapp's "The Way I Am" on the way to work.
T is for Time You Wake Up: Weekdays, 6:45-ish. Weekends vary.
U is for Unknown Fact About Me: If I told you, it wouldn't be unknown, now would it?
V is for Vegetable you Hate: Zucchini.
W is for Worst Habit: Tearing and biting off hangnails.
X is for X-rays : Teeth
Y is for Yummy Food: Bacon
Z is for Zodiac Sign: Aries
| posted by Barbara | 2:28 AM |

Thursday, February 24, 2005


I went to change my "Currently Reading" today, having finished Grace Awakening on Monday and Ender's Game on Tuesday. And I came to the horrifying conclusion that I am not currently reading anything. This won't last long, even though I have two hours of Gilmore Girls and Lost saved up to watch tonight. But--ack!

Oh, and about Ender's Game? Why have I not read this book until now? So good.
| posted by Barbara | 7:05 PM |

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Happy Birthday

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Today is the birthday of one of my favorite poets, Edna St. Vincent Millay. I became enamored with her poem Renascence when I was about 13. Here's another of my favorites, a little shorter:


This door you might not open, and you did;
So enter now, and see for what slight thing
You are betrayed... Here is no treasure hid,
No cauldron, no clear crystal mirroring
The sought-for truth, no heads of women slain
For greed like yours, no writhings of distress,
But only what you see... Look yet again--
An empty room, cobwebbed and comfortless.
Yet this alone out of my life I kept
Unto myself, lest any know me quite;
And you did so profane me when you crept
Unto the threshold of this room to-night
That I must never more behold your face.
This now is yours. I seek another place.
| posted by Barbara | 11:35 PM |

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Editors, copyeditors, and proofreading types do indeed make a difference.

Eleanor Gould Packard, whose questions, comments and admonitions on the proofs of thousands of articles for The New Yorker for 54 years defined for many the care (some writers said obsessiveness) taken in editing the magazine, died Sunday in Manhattan. She was 87.

Said Gould:
"I'll have to stage a faked death and come back to correct my obit."

Link poached from Jeffrey Overstreet.
| posted by Barbara | 9:53 PM |

So, what do you do?

I was at a party on Saturday night, surrounded by a few friends and a ton of people I didn't know. I noticed that the job question was one of the first to come up every time I met another new person. It seems that so much of our identity is tied up with vocation, whatever that may be for us: student, editor, electrical engineer. (Small PSA to the lame guy who was hitting on me: just because opposites supposedly attract does not mean you and I--electrical engineer and editor--will make a great pair. Not that I have anything against electrical engineers. Or any other types of engineers. Let's move on, shall we?)

I've been trying valiantly to (finally) finish up an employee self-appraisal this week. And evaluating my responsibilities and my job performance starts me wondering about the value of what I do. Sometimes I get mired in such details: begging authors to get their manuscripts to me on time, reformatting manuscripts, searching for reviewers; and I wonder what kind of a difference I'm really making.

I think we all wonder these things at times. Don't we? Whether what we do is really as important to the world--or even to us--as we'd like it to be. Whether there's somewhere else we could better use our skills and talents to make an impact on the world around us. Scott recently shared a short vignette with YAF that talked about changing the world. He concluded with the suggestion: "Maybe, then, we change the world as much by loving each other as we do by trying to change it."

And as I look around me, I feel like that is true. It is with the people we encounter every day--the people we work with, our friends, our families--that we have the most impact. This is where and how we make a difference, whatever it is that we do. When I look around my workplace, I see the relationships that I've built with my coworkers, conversations I've had about what's important to them, and to me. Talks about faith, beliefs, politics, relationships, goals, and making a difference. And maybe, just maybe, I really am making a difference right where I am.
| posted by Barbara | 7:31 PM |

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A-Z books about me

From the NY Times: Love Lit 101. (Found today at ILB.)

My ears perked up when I recently heard the tale of a New York journalist who gave his wife an unusual birthday present: a list of books from A to Z that would help her better understand him.

This idea here? Darn good way to my heart, I'll say. Ok, ok, the disclaimer must be forthcoming: it would somewhat depend on the list of books. (Could I ever date someone who thought the Left Behind series was great literature? Probably not.)

I love pondering the question of what books as gifts say about you--or about your relationship with the person you're giving them to. (Like the dating books my parents gave me last year. Sigh.)

I love Shakespeare, but if I put in "The Taming of the Shrew," would I send the wrong message? Everything suddenly seemed fraught. What inferences would he draw from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"? Would he find me stuffy if I included "Ethan Frome"? Pretentious if I threw in Ovid? Mirthless if I chose the shame-spiraling "House of Mirth"? Hostile if I picked "Be Honest - You're Not That Into Him Either"?

I'm still pondering an A-Z of titles that reflect who I am. Maybe I'll get around to making such a list. Stay tuned...
| posted by Barbara | 8:45 PM |

This is uncanny.

You Are 26 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?
| posted by Barbara | 7:30 PM |

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Day

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Yesterday, I spent the afternoon watching tennis, the game where love means nothing. How appropriate.
| posted by Barbara | 7:24 PM |

Saturday, February 12, 2005


Despite all their fears, we ask very little of the ones who never loved us. We do not ask for sympathy or pain or compassion. We simply want to know why.
--Andrew Sean Greer, The Confessions of Max Tivoli
| posted by Barbara | 9:48 PM |

Translation woes

So I've been editing some web exercises for one of our religion textbooks. Periodically there are passages quoted from the Bible. Yesterday I came across this:

Isaiah 6:5
I said, "Too bad for me! I am destroyed, for my lips are contaminated by sin, and I live among people whose lips are contaminated by sin."

This cracked me up. Too bad for me? At least to me, it doesn't quite communicate the tone I assume the translator was going for.
| posted by Barbara | 9:37 PM |

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Keeping Iowa's Young Folks at Home After They've Seen Minnesota

Iowa ponders eliminating the state income tax for everyone under 30.

One state legislator, quoted in The Minneapolis Star Tribune, said: "Let's face it. Des Moines will never be Minneapolis." He might have added that Council Bluffs would never be Kansas City. Another Iowan, when asked what the state needed to keep its young people, said, "An ocean would help." This is the kind of big thinking Iowa has always been famous for.

David, you must have a comment on this...and I have to ask: were you aware--before you moved--of the added benefit of no income tax in South Dakota?
| posted by Barbara | 11:22 PM |

Mogmart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry

Copyright infringement? J.K. Rowling's lawyers investigate a US army magazine cartoon.

| posted by Barbara | 1:53 AM |

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Business Card Puppy

I've found a use for my extra business cards.
| posted by Barbara | 7:48 PM |

Monday, February 07, 2005

One week until...

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Unfortunate Valentine's Cards.
| posted by Barbara | 11:36 PM |

Saturday, February 05, 2005


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I saw this little blogging meme on several random blogs quite a few weeks back. I will confess that I am a dedicated blog-lurker myself. I prefer the anonymity of silence and don't often comment on other blogs, even those of friends.

I recently put up a little stat counter here. I've now become fascinated by the visitor logs and my attempts to figure out who reads my blog. What a stalker I am! It takes me back to those days of obsessively checking email and post histories on bubbs. Anyway, I'm curious to see who's out there. Some of you comment occasionally. I know Heather's out there, too...and there are others who've mentioned reading my blog.

I must say that the comment, "So I read your blog..." inevitably throws me for a loop, especially when it comes from someone unexpected. Though there is a certain element of feeling flattered that the person finds me or my random posts interesting enough that they read my blog, I start having to completely re-evaluate what said person knows about me. But I want to know who up, you.

I will be so dejected if no one comments. Ah, well.

"Who are you?"
"No one of consequence."
"I must know."
"Get used to disappointment."
| posted by Barbara | 12:02 AM |

Friday, February 04, 2005

Ministry & Mission

I mentioned earlier that I've been processing a lot of thoughts about ministry lately. In December, I was asked to start up a newsletter for YAF. Word gets out that I'm supposedly an editor, and it's just all over. ;-) I'm finally getting to work on pulling together people for the newsletter, so that's been good (and I need to give another announcement about it on Sunday, which is not so good because I hate talking in front of large groups).

But I also want to have a ministry with the larger church body and not just my own age group. I've realized recently that one reason I've dragged my feet with getting involved at PBC is because I'm just not used to seeking out opportunities and asking to be involved. I pretty much grew up at Green Hills, and was used to being asked to do stuff--it's a smaller church, I knew a lot of people, and a lot of people knew me. Children's ministry, women's ministry, college group, AWANA, choir, orchestra, worship team--I was all over the place, and I was happy to help out where I was needed. Now, I'm doing a lot of sitting on my butt at church. I don't like that, and I need to do something about it. Where to do that is another question yet to be answered.

On the missions side of things, I've been pondering whether or not I'll go with the GHBC team to Wales this summer. In January, the YAF ministry team mentioned the need for and desire to further develop the outreach/missions side of things in YAF. The idea of perhaps doing a YAF missions trip was kinda thrown out there, and I immediately thought about Wales. It's obviously a ministry that's been on my heart these past few years, but I'd also had several recent conversations about it with both Heather and my parents. This year may be the last year GHBC will send a team to Wales, and as Heather and I were talking one weekend, I mentioned that maybe I could talk to someone about YAF sending a team. I said this in a "I haven't talked to anyone about this, it just crossed my mind yesterday, but maybe we could look into it" kind of way. Heather mentioned this as a possibility to Anne, the pastor's wife at Gilgal. Anne was excited at the idea--which Heather presented to me as more reason for me to continue my ministry there by going on the trip this summer, in light of future possibilities.

But on the other hand, I'm not sure yet what missions opportunities might come up through PBC this year--with YAF specifically, since they've mentioned further developing the missions & outreach focus this year. One of my concerns about going to Wales with GHBC is that I want to be involved with the church I'm actually attending now. I don't want to let past ministry experiences stand in the way of opportunities that God might have for me where I am.

Then there's another side of my brain that says, "Just shut up and go on the trip, Barbara."
| posted by Barbara | 2:50 AM |

Thursday, February 03, 2005


Apparently I've gone redneck.

Just checking in about the status of the Instructor's Manual. Do you think you'll be able to git it in this week?

Thank God for spell check. And I've had worse...
| posted by Barbara | 7:59 PM |

It's time for another episode of...

Reasons I miss the kids. Excerpt from today's email from my sister:

Rebekah is coming up with some doozies so I thought I'd share. Tonight on the way to Awana, she asked "Mom, if a whale farted, what would happen?" Good question. Hope you didn't spit your coffee on the screen.
| posted by Barbara | 6:50 PM |

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Last night on my way home from work, I was thinking about music and memories. Then I checked Julie C.'s blog today (Hi, Ju-C!), and found that she's pondering some of the same things. Hmmm.

Anyway, I spent a semester in Florence during college, and I can't think of any other time in my life that is characterized by such concentrated memories. Many of those memories are strongly linked to music. In a matter of minutes, I can come up with a list of music that I immediately associate with those four months in Florence and points beyond:

Lemon Tree, Fool's Garden
Fields of Gold, Sting
Misguided Angel, Cowboy Junkies
Best of What's Around, Dave Matthews Band
Dreaming of April, Out of the Grey
Lights, Journey
The Metro, Berlin
I Love You Always Forever, Donna Lewis
California Dreaming, The Mamas and the Papas
Missing You, John Waite
Appalachian Spring, Copeland
Karma Chameleon, Culture Club
Killing Me Softly, Fugees

Let's call this Barbara's Eclectic Florence mix. I should burn myself a CD.

I've got music associated with lots of the rest of college, too. The Cowboy Junkies, Weezer, Sheryl Crow's All I Wanna Do, and the Reality Bites soundtrack all remind me of Brandy, my first roommate at Biola. Richard Marx, Blessid Union of Souls (I HATE the way that's spelled...), and the Titanic soundtrack remind me of rooming with Laurie. (I'm blocking out her Mariah Carey and George Michael CDs.) Holst's The Planets, and Appalachian Spring (again) remind me of specific Biola Chamber Orchestra moments. ("You're dumping musical garbage all over Holst!")

But lately? Not so much. I can't think of any music that's strongly connected to memories later than the summer following my college graduation. Except maybe Blink 182 and All the Small Things. That reminds me of Yoori. It's our song!

Anyway. Maybe I need to get to work making more good, current memories. Or maybe I need to listen to more music. ;-)
| posted by Barbara | 2:42 AM |

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Church is more important than TV

So there are changes afoot at church. A changing worship service structure will probably mean that YAF will move to a weeknight instead of Sunday mornings. It seems that Wednesday night is the chosen least this week's Wednesday night meeting leads me to believe that might be the case.

Of all the thoughts I have about these changes, it's kinda pathetic that among them is the lament: "But Wednesday is my night to watch Alias!" Ah, where are my priorities?

Speaking of church...I have a lot of thoughts kicking around in my head about ministry and mission, and my need to do both. More on that later, perhaps...
| posted by Barbara | 8:34 PM |

Hello, Monday

Yesterday was a beautiful day.

After church, Karen, Jenn & I had brunch at Hobee's, and then Karen and I helped Kelly move from one apartment to another...across the parking lot, basically. It was actually quite pleasant to walk up and down stairs with boxes and etc., although today my muscles are protesting the exercise. The weather yesterday was perfect--sunny and not too warm, with a slight breeze. We completed the move in just over an hour, and Karen and I headed out to Castro Street for used book browsing and pearl milk tea. Or a smoothie in my case. I was so content, just hanging out with a friend, sitting in the sun and enjoying the beautiful day.

But now it's Monday. The week stretches out ahead, and an employee self-evaluation looms in my immediate future. Ugh.

I was tempted to wear a nametag labeled "Bitter" at a party last Wednesday (I opted for "Brilliant" instead). It would have been an all-too-fitting label for my mood of the week. Though I shook the mood yesterday thanks to the sunshine, somehow today I'm back where I was last week: down on myself, and just down in general. I think this calls for a change to the blog description, just to make myself feel a bit better in the middle of a Monday.
| posted by Barbara | 12:27 AM |