Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Quote of the day

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last. To pluck the mask from the face of the Pharisee is not to lift an impious hand to the Crown of Thorns.
--Charlotte Bronte

I love this quote. It's so, so true. Too many times, we confuse the appearance of faith with its reality. And we so easily get defensive at any sort of criticism of Christianity, when it's only the appearance of faith that is being criticized. And she says it so much better than I am, so just go back and read the quote again.

Quote mined from this entry on Charlotte Bronte.
| posted by Barbara | 11:53 PM |

Birthday times 2

Today I leave behind my mid-20s and say hello to 27. More importantly, today my nephew turns a year old. Happy birthday, Johnny!
| posted by Barbara | 6:51 PM |

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Return to Oz

Image Hosted by

I was terrified by this movie when I was a kid. I only have faint memories of the movie itself, but I remember how much it scared me. I'm not sure how old I was when I saw it. I must have been at least 7--it came out in 1985--and I know I watched it at a friend's house. But it freaked me out. I still get a little creeped out thinking about the headless woman with her cabinets full of heads. And the wheelers. And the beginning, with the rain and the creepy treatments they gave Dorothy!

I kinda want to track it down and watch it again, just to see what I was so terrified by. And yet I'm also just a little afraid to revisit the experience. Remind me not to watch it alone, at night!
| posted by Barbara | 10:42 PM |

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Another Welcome

Congratulations, Julie, and welcome to your new little one. March is a fine month for a birthday. =)
| posted by Barbara | 2:08 AM |

Hymn for a Good Friday

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He would give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My guilt upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished,
His dying breath has brought me life,
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no powr's, no wisdom,
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart,
His wounds have paid my ransom.

--Stuart Townend
| posted by Barbara | 1:52 AM |

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Terri Schiavo

This breaks my heart.
| posted by Barbara | 12:17 AM |

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Could I have been anyone other than me?

Image Hosted by

You don't know just how much I've missed this. I had it on tape (yes, laugh, but that's how long I've had it), and finally got it on CD this week.

These songs bring back so many memories for me. Melinda bought the CD right before we left for Florence, and we played it incessantly that semester. We sang lines from it while wandering in Europe:
Could I have been
Lost somewhere in Paris

While having a bad day in Lucerne:
Turns out not where but who you're with
That really matters

After buying something, anywhere:
Pay your dues, and your debts
Pay your respects, everybody tells you
You pay for what you get

We discussed the lyrics:
Six senses feeling
Five around a sense of self

She'd sing to me when I was down:
Hey my friend
It seems your eyes are troubled
Care to share your time with me

I used to laugh that Melinda had a song for everything. But DMB provided more than the average number that particular semester.

Everybody asks me how she's doing
Since she went away
I said I couldn't tell you
I'm okay

And then there's one memory from Biola: driving around the Denny's parking lot in Laurie's truck, me crammed in the middle, DMB providing the soundtrack, and Amber growling: "what would you say?"

I don't love it only because of the memories linked to these songs. I'd love it anyway. But memories just make it better.

See you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
So we can pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We'll make the best of what's around
| posted by Barbara | 8:46 PM |


Kristy had her baby on Monday. His name is Judah Donald. I love that I got the news via a text message during my editing class last night.

welcome to this dusty land
where you will cry lots but we'll all understand
things may not turn out sometimes like you plan
that's alright our little man

welcome outside of your mother's womb
i know that it's frightening
but now there's more room
just think of all the great things you'll do
just by you being you

(Lori Chaffer)

Congratulations, Kristy & Nathan. Can't wait to meet your new little boy.
| posted by Barbara | 8:28 PM |

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Calling shotgun

Every possible permutation to the rules of calling shotgun can be found here.

I love this:

Section IV.2
Since there is an established body currently in place to distribute world-wide information, it is proposed that the United Nations oversee the adoption, updates (as required) and enforcement of these rules once adopted by at least two-thirds of the current membership of the UN.
| posted by Barbara | 9:52 PM |

Monday, March 21, 2005

And this one, too.

I just can't stop. This one is beautiful, and heartbreaking.

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide.
There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, -- so with his memory they brim.
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him.

- Edna St. Vincent Millay
| posted by Barbara | 11:08 PM |

World Poetry Day

I stumbled across The Sheila Variations last week, and it's already a daily must. Sheila quotes a wonderful poem today, one that strikes right at my fear of being the one who loves more.

According to Sheila and Unesco, today is World Poetry Day. My 2005 Poetry Speaks Desk Calendar sadly fails to mention this fact. I shall have to complain to the copy editor. (Hi, Jill!)

I was reading Edna St. Vincent Millay's sonnets off and on all weekend. So here's my poem for the day:

Pity Me Not

Pity me not because the light of day
At close of day no longer walks the sky;
Pity me not for beauties passed away
From field and thicket as the year goes by.
Pity me not the waning of the moon,
Or that the ebbing tide goes out to sea,
Or that a man's desire is hushed so soon,
And you no longer look with love on me.
This have I always known: Love is no more
Than the wide blossom which the wind assails,
Than the great tide that treads the shifting shore,
Strewing fresh wreckage gathered in the gales.
Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
What the swift mind beholds at every turn.
| posted by Barbara | 10:59 PM |

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Happy St. Patrick's Day

A poem to enjoy with your corned beef & cabbage.


She was about to chop the head
In half,
But I made her reconsider
By telling her:
"Cabbage symbolizes mysterious love."

Or so said one Charles Fourier,
Who said many other strange and wonderful things,
So that people called him mad behind his back.

Whereupon I kissed the back of her neck
Ever so gently.

Whereupon she cut the cabbage in two
With a single stroke of her knife.

--Charles Simic
| posted by Barbara | 10:06 PM |

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

Image Hosted by

It's this cute kid's birthday today. Four years ago on this day, a phone call summoned me at 12:30am to go entertain Hannah's two older sisters while she was being born. Happy birthday to the youngest of my nieces!
| posted by Barbara | 8:49 PM |

Beware the Ides of March

Or, just enjoy some random Julius Caesar trivia:

» Because of heavy traffic congestion, Julius Caesar banned all wheeled vehicles from Rome during daylight hours.
» The kings in a deck of cards each represent a great king from history. The king of spades is King David, the king of clubs is Alexander the Great, the king of hearts is Charlemagne, and the king of diamonds is Julius Caesar.
» Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Dostoyevsky were all epileptics.

Lifted from here.
| posted by Barbara | 2:07 AM |

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Give this post a chance

The phrase: "Give ____ a chance" has become a running joke for me. Someone commented to me in November (about a guy I'd just barely met) that I should "give [him] a chance." This baffled me, as I didn't know he wanted a chance. There were no "chances" being offered or denied. Anyway, this comment has continued to amuse me, and I will now frequently say that I need to give something "a chance," especially at incongruous moments. About the party over the weekend: "Give Trivial Pursuit a chance!" And last night, making my lunch for today: "Give tuna a chance!" Yes, I'm strange.

I came across John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance" in my computer's music library recently, and it made me laugh. Then last night, driving home, I saw a billboard for the iPod Shuffle: "Give Chance a Chance." Heehee. I don't know why this is so funny to me. But it is. Come on, give me a chance here!
| posted by Barbara | 8:42 PM |

Monday, March 14, 2005

And another note...

This weekend was fun. I had some friends over to play Trivial Pursuit on Friday, and my first attempt at making white wine sangria was successfully yummy. I slept till noon on Saturday (following some very odd dreams...nothing to do with the sangria), and enjoyed my usual weekend chat with my best friend. It was good to be lazy on Saturday, even in the midst of some self-doubt chronicled here...

On Sunday, the weather was beautiful (spring is definitely here!), and I had fun hanging out in the park with Julie C. Good conversation and leftover alcohol-laden fruit from Friday night, yay! Then it was off to a fun bridal shower, and when I got home I made my roommates go with me to the park to look at the stars.

So, yeah. Good weekend. And I must note that the next time I play Trivial Pursuit, I will answer "Nixon", "Tokyo", and "AOL" far more often. And also I must note that because "spring is here!" I wore a short skirt and flip-flops today, and as a result, my legs are freezing. Time for lunch outside in the sun!
| posted by Barbara | 10:22 PM |


In my inbox this morning (my work inbox, no less), an email with the subject line: "Is You're Name Recorded?"

"Lambs Book Of Life " (This is a one time mailing before the web site is launched)

You can now, have your name recorded in the "Lambs Book Of Life".
The first ever printing of the "Lambs Book Of Life" will take place after we receive 144000 names to be printed. We have all read the Bible and seen the signs posted, saying, " Is your name recorded in the Lambs Book Of Life"? Well now you can make sure it is.

One name only and to receive verification of your recorded name $49.95

One name only and to receive the printed "Lambs Book Of Life" $249.95

Old South Ministries is a non-profit organization (non profit status pending) and intends to disburse a portion of the proceeds from this project to three causes. 1) to save the structure of one of the oldest church buildings known, 2) to start a food distribution network, 3) to help in the relief effort for the tsunami victims.

I just don't know what to say.
| posted by Barbara | 7:12 PM |

Sunday, March 13, 2005

"It's not supposed to be this hard"

Quote from an email I got this weekend from a good friend. Today, I'm feeling like this is very true. I've been living in the Bay area for nearly a year and a half, and I know that close friendships don't come quickly or easily, or without work, but is it really supposed to be this hard?

I shouldn't complain. I have friends here, and it's not like I don't have people to hang out with. It's just that I miss the closeness I had with friends in SoCal. I miss friendships where I felt secure. Now, I often find myself wondering what the other person really thinks of me. For so long, I've struggled with this perpetual insecurity in relationships--the fear of being the one who loves more. I fear finding out that I rank a little lower on their friendship scale than they do on mine. Does this make any sense?

This is no doubt linked to the fact that I have a really hard time initiating things. Unless I feel like there'll be reciprocation, I won't initiate anything. And when the friend doesn't reciprocate, I wonder. Maybe they didn't want to hang out in the first place. Do they even want to be my friend? And I shut down. Which is completely counter-productive, but I guess I'm just neurotic that way.

I've been blessed by a few friendships that have transcended the second-guessing that I so often do. Heather, Kristy, Melinda...people who I know value my friendship, who genuinely want to know me for who I am. People I'm not afraid to say anything to, because I know they'll always accept me, completely unconditionally. I don't have to wonder if they like me, or want to spend time with me. But I haven't quite gotten to that point with friends here. And that's where I am tonight--wondering why it's so freaking hard to just be friends with people.

Don't get me wrong, I've met some amazing people here, and I'm so thankful for the friends that I have. And I don't always feel like this. But today I guess I'm just homesick for a time when friendships came much more easily, and when I didn't second-guess my friendships or myself quite so much.

ask me how i am today
i can't lie to you okay
maybe you will dry my tears
maybe my eyes never clear
but this is who i need to be
cause the bough will break
and my heart it aches
and my heart will ache tomorrow
(Lori Chaffer)
| posted by Barbara | 9:00 AM |

Friday, March 11, 2005

Satisfying words

I have a card that Kristy gave me pinned up outside my office. It lists "Words that are fun to say" and "Words that are not fun to say." This always prompts conversations with my coworkers about fun words and not-so-fun words.

These are the latest contributions to the list: Waffle. Coffee. Sausage.

These words are satisfying to say. Waffle. Coffee. Sausage.

And "moist"? Still makes me shudder.
| posted by Barbara | 3:06 AM |

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Reading for Pleasure

I've been taking an editing class on Tuesday nights. Last night, a classmate asked a question about making the leap between nonfiction and fiction editing, because fiction editing is a completely different thing than editing nonfiction. As we discussed the differences, another classmate chimed in that she wouldn't want to edit fiction, because she felt like it would ruin her enjoyment of reading fiction.

This started me on a train of thought that I've pursued many times before--the relation between the books I work on and the books I enjoy. I always had this vision of working in publishing: that I would read books I loved all day long and make them better. And though I really like my job, that's totally not what I do. I don't exactly ever curl up with a mug of tea and a philosophy textbook.

I totally immersed myself in children's and young adult fiction in August and September of 2003, when I was actively looking for a job in children's publishing. And I realized that all that reading, though I enjoyed it, was too much of a good thing for me. I love kids' books, but I don't want them to consume my every reading moment. I need big people books, too. And I've thought about that in terms of career, as I wonder if I'm really where I want to be long-term: would I want to spend every working moment with children's books? Would I then be unable to enjoy just reading children's books? But last night, I thought about this in relation to fiction. I've been tempted to look at positions in trade publishing--fiction, specifically. But do I really want to spend all my work hours editing the same sort of stuff I read in my free time? I'm beginning to think no. Whether that means I'm more settled in textbook publishing than before, I don't know. But there you go.
| posted by Barbara | 3:43 AM |

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

And this...

Cover art for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince:
Image Hosted by

And for the UK version:
Image Hosted by

I usually like the UK covers much, much better. But I've liked the last two US covers. The move away from "let's try to cram every possible story-related image into the cover illustration" has been quite nice.
| posted by Barbara | 12:30 AM |


I haven't been blogging much lately. Sorry. I've been distracted by a million things (exaggeration). I have been busy, but I've also been lazy and apathetic. Oh well.

Anyway, I thought I'd announce that Heather has brought much amusement into my life today by sending me a gong for my birthday. (Yes, I know it's over 3 weeks till my birthday, but she said I could open the gift when it came!) So yes, a gong. An Executive Desk Gong, to be specific. The best part is that it comes with a little booklet that, according to the back of the box, "hits the high notes of gong history and suggests humorous ways to incorporate this unique instrument into your daily routine." These suggestions include: As an Applause or Dismiss Meter, To Announce Your Arrival, and To Summon Someone. The booklet also helpfully outlines the Top Ten Worst Places to Use Your Gong. Handy.

I leave you now. Gong!
| posted by Barbara | 12:06 AM |

Friday, March 04, 2005


Last night I was at the auto parts store, and their computers were down. The girl behind the counter was on the phone with tech support:

"The hoist is down. The hoist. That's what it says on the screen: 'Hoist is down.' Yes, hoist. H-O-S-T. Hoist."
| posted by Barbara | 11:30 PM |

Rearranging and Reading

So last night I rearranged my bookshelves. I got this idea that I should return to the practice I used to have, of shelving all my unread books together. This method reminds me of books I own and want to read that can otherwise get lost and forgotten on the shelves. It also guilts me into reading the stuff I already have, rather than being distracted by the library or the temptation to buy more books.

You would not believe what a large pile of unread books accumulated on the floor as I began pulling the unread titles off the shelves. I swear, they started breeding when they hit the floor. I freaked out just a little and altered my plan, which originally was to devote one shelf to the unread titles. There was no way they were all going to fit. So I now have one shelf devoted to the unread books I think I might possibly read in the coming year. The other neglected unread books are hiding amongst the other titles.

I'm making a bit of progress on my list for the year, though I'm starting easy. I finished The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time this week. It was good, but I had the same reaction to it that I've had to many "experimental" type novels--interesting idea, great execution of that idea, but not a terribly satisfying read. I'm also a few chapters into Persuasion, and I'm planning to tackle a longer one before the month is out. Les Miserables? Maybe not just yet. =)
| posted by Barbara | 8:18 PM |