Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, June 30, 2005

It's not all the same...

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

10% Dixie

10% Upper Midwestern

10% Yankee

0% Midwestern

What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Where did the Dixie come from, is what I want to know.

Link swiped from Julie.
| posted by Barbara | 5:59 PM |


Over dinner on Friday, we had a little discussion on which continent the Middle East belongs to. I just looked it up, and here, the Middle East is stated to be part of Asia. However, Egypt, sometimes considered part of the Middle East, is part of Africa. Hmmm. This means that I've been to 4 of the 7 continents: North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Who knew? I don't know that I'll ever make it to Antarctica, but South America and Oceania are trips I'd like to make. Which is not to say I'm done with the other continents (Italy and Greece 2006!). I'd love to explore Africa further than just that day trip we made to Egypt, and I still feel like I'm cheating on saying I've been to Asia.
| posted by Barbara | 12:41 AM |

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Row, row, row your boat...

I went rafting for the first time on Saturday. It was SO MUCH FUN!!! Sorry, with the caps and all. But it was fun. We did the Middle Fork of the American River, near Coloma. We drove out on Friday afternoon, camped that night, then went rafting all day on Saturday, about 18 miles down the river.

I'd never really been camping before this weekend. I seem to be sort of easing into the whole camping thing. On the Yosemite trip we slept in those cabin things with canvas roofs and doors. This was one more step...sleeping in a tent, on the ground. Ooooo. (Maybe next time I'll camp somewhere where there aren't real bathrooms. Hmmm.) I didn't sleep too well, mainly because I was sleeping on the side of the tent where the ground sloped down and to the side. I kept having to scoot back up to my pillow and away from the side of the tent. I woke up in the morning to find the side of the tent RIGHT THERE, and turned over to find Julie RIGHT THERE on the other side of me. It was actually quite amusing.

I was a little nervous about the Class III-IV rapids (especially when they showed us how you're supposed to sit on the side of the raft. What happened to sitting IN the raft?!), but it was totally fine. It was such a blast! Nobody fell out of our raft...not accidentally, anyway. One of the guys was PUSHED out of our raft, but we won't count that. =) Our guide was really good, and said that we had the best crew of the four rafts in our group. I may be biased, but I think we did, too. I especially liked our guide's comment that the four ladies on our raft paddled harder and better than any of the guys on the other three rafts!

The water was VERY cold, but it got really warm in the sun, so things evened out. By the end, we were warm enough that Julie and I ran back to the river and jumped in. The resulted in a "Oh crap, it IS really cold" moment, but it was fun.

Oh, and I'm just gonna say this once: Chi screams like a girl.

My own private amusement of the day was being reminded of all the cheesy lines from the "Son Canyon River Adventure" VBS skits we did in Wales 3 years ago. "Fanatical!" Sadly, Bill, Eric, and Heather weren't there to quote random lines with me.

The weekend ended on a rather hilarious note when we dropped Chi off at his work, where he'd left his car. We pulled up to the parking lot to discover that they had repaved the parking lot during his absence...around his car. His car was coned off, complete with caution tape. Heh.

In other news, today is Day Ten of the Great Kitchen Remodel Project, and it's almost done. Maybe we'll actually have a functional kitchen by the time our new roommate moves in on Friday. A girl can dream.
| posted by Barbara | 1:04 AM |

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I went to my first Giants game last night! My brother & sister-in-law were in town and I had a blast hanging out with them. The Giants lost, but we had more fun than we probably should have using the Old Navy 3-D glasses to watch the fireworks after the game. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I'm telling you--after seeing fireworks in rainbow-y kaleidoscope patterns and colors, you'll never go back to regular fireworks again.
| posted by Barbara | 5:57 PM |

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Happy Summer Solstice

Not that the title has much to do with the content of this post.

I haven't posted a whole lot about this year's Wales trip, other than this post including deliberations on whether or not to go. But I am going! A month from today, I'll be flying out of SF and heading to Wales for almost two weeks. So today you get the Wales post.

Starting decision to go on this trip. As this year's team started to come together, it became apparent that there was a huge need for young people on the team. In the past, the younger team members have played an integral part in the ministry to the kids we've worked with. It's made a huge impact on them to see young people who are serious about their relationship with Christ. This year's team is smaller than it's been in the past, and there were several conflicts with other mission trips that the youth and college groups were doing--meaning fewer young people available to go to Wales. There was an obvious need, one that in part could be filled by me.

So, rather than sit on my butt deliberating further, or seeking out alternate missions opportunities this year, I decided to go to Wales. I had been asking God to show me where he wanted me, when there was an opportunity and a need right there in my lap. Hello, Barbara! I felt like that was the answer to my indecision.

So, I'll be headed out in another month with a team from my home church. We'll be working with Gilgal Baptist Church in Porthcawl, Wales to help lead a Holiday Bible Club (VBS) for ages 4-12, and we'll also be doing some evening youth events to reach out to the older kids in the community. I'll be teaching the 7-year-old group for the HBC, and playing a part in the requisite silly VBS skits. We're taking a team of 10, and will add Heather to the team when we get there. She's been doing youth work with Gilgal for the past year, but I guess she counts as one of the team since she's one of the Americans. ;-)

I'm really excited about this trip. I'll get to minister alongside friends from my home church, and friends from Gilgal. I'll get to teach some great kids who don't have much church exposure, but are eager to hear about Jesus. I'll get to hang out with Eric (the annoying little brother I never wanted) and my Welsh little sister, Jude. (Neither Eric nor Jude are actually related to me. But they are my little brother and sister, nonetheless, even if they are both bigger than me.) And I'll get to spend time with my best friend, who I haven't seen in nearly a year. One more month...I can't wait.

Should you be so inclined, you can read a bit about last year's trip here and here.
| posted by Barbara | 6:27 PM |

Monday, June 20, 2005

New look

I got my hair cut. A lot. Julie C. took this random picture of the back of my head yesterday at Stern Grove. I told her to delete it, she sent it to me, and now I'm posting it to my blog because I'm weird.
| posted by Barbara | 6:41 PM |

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Waterdeep and rainbows

I had a pretty lousy afternoon on Thursday. I had a lot of "Barbara is stupid" moments this past week, and Thursday afternoon was full of them. I missed a meeting--just completely forgot about it until 45 minutes in. It was so stupid--I didn't even have to be at the meeting, but I was interested and asked if I could go. Then I didn't even show up. I lost my nerve for walking in late, then spent 15 minutes obsessing about how stupid I was.

It was just as well I didn't go to the meeting, because it went all afternoon, and I had plenty of other work to do. But what I was working on just made me feel more stupid. I was comparing one of our books to a couple of competitors, but I felt so completely lost. I don't get symbolic logic AT ALL, and I was trying to compare content when I didn't even understand the chapter titles. What the heck is relational predicate logic, anyway? Grr.

When I finished the project, I looked it over, made some comments, and ran it by my boss. We ended up having a good conversation about the books, and my little benchmarking comparison was actually helpful. I was even able to make some intelligent recommendations about the content and ended up leaving the office not feeling quite so stupid.

It seems like whenever I get really discouraged at work, wondering if I'm where I should be, if I'm doing a good job, if I'm making a difference, God sends some small encouragement that confirms that He does have a purpose for me where I am. Sometimes that just comes from conversations with co-workers, or from a feeling of a job well done. On Thursday, it came in all kinds of ways.

When I started up my car to head home, my Waterdeep CD started playing, and these lyrics were what I heard first:

It's just like you to bring beauty to ashes
It's just like you, Lord, it's just like you...

I got onto 280 and there was a huge, beautiful rainbow arching over the freeway. As I drove home, I had an amazing time of worship, singing along to Waterdeep and praising God for the ways He moves in my life and the small reminders he sends. He lets me know that I am not alone, that He does care, and that affirmation doesn't need to only come from how well I do my job. It can also come from a song and a rainbow, reminding me that God is sovereign and that he loves me.
| posted by Barbara | 7:10 AM |

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Years to remember

1978: Born
1981: Moved to England (age 3)
1987: Moved to CA (age 9)
1994: Graduated from high school (age 16)
1996: Studied in Florence (age 18)
1999: Graduated from Biola (age 21)
2003: Finished M.A. at Chapman, went to DPI, moved to Bay area (age 25)

On a Choir Clinic weekend once at GHBC, we played a mixer-type game where you were supposed to ask people about significant years in their lives. Most people listed wedding anniversaries, graduations, or the years their children were born. But not Alice.

Alice is a dear, older, blind lady. Alice delights in telling blind jokes during choir rehearsals. She'll end conversations with "See you later!" and get the inevitable response: "No, you won't!"

Anyway, while we were playing this game, I asked Alice for a year to write down on my paper, and she told me the year her left eye was removed.
| posted by Barbara | 1:44 AM |

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Friendship Divorce

I used to say that life would be so much easier if it was socially acceptable to break up with a friend, like you can with a boyfriend or girlfriend. I'm wishing for that again today--a clean break, a severing of ties to a past friendship that's just not a friendship any more.

Unfortunately, in a long life one gets barnacled over with the mere shells of friendship and it is difficult without hurting oneself to scrape them off.
--Bernard Berenson

And secretly I want to bury in the yard
The grey remains of a friendship scarred
--The Shins
| posted by Barbara | 9:24 PM |

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Tomorrow begins the Great Kitchen Remodel Project. Our landlady has decided to redo our kitchen, which I'm excited about...but they're starting the work on Wednesday morning. Which means we have to move everything out of the kitchen cupboards before then. Joyce and I began emptying the kitchen last night, and I was moving kitchen stuff with her until about 11:30. Then I tried to go to bed and couldn't get to sleep, so I sat up reading for another hour or so. And I woke up early this morning...grrr. Now I can't concentrate on anything, 'cause I'm sleeeeeepy. We really need a nap policy here...
| posted by Barbara | 10:24 PM |

Monday, June 13, 2005

Writer's block?

I don't write poems much anymore. Sometime right after my creative writing class at Biola, I started self-censoring a LOT and stopped writing poems as often. (Because "nobody cares about your feelings!") But every once in a while, something resonates with me in a poetry way, and I want to write about it. Sometimes the words come easily, and sometimes they don't. I wrote this one quickly, and it was exactly what I wanted to say. But years have gone by and I still haven't written that poem about the conversation I had with the Jewish repairman who fixed our garage door the week before Christmas.

I half-started a poem in March, after communion at the Good Friday service. This was one of those times where we took communion by dipping the bread into the cup. As I stepped away from the communion table, holding the bread, some of the juice dripped down my fingers. In a brief moment, the image of the wine as Christ's blood became very powerful. The physical experience of the juice running down my fingers somehow resonated with me. I wanted to get that image down on paper, and kind of explore just what it was that the moment meant for me. But the poem didn't go very far.

Yesterday, we had communion and I had the same experience, with the juice dripping down onto my hand. Only this time two drops fell right in the middle of my palm. (I know, the nails probably went through the wrists, blah, blah, blah.) But seeing the dark drops of juice in my palm...again, the imagery was a powerful thing for me.

Yesterday evening, I was sitting in the park doing my Bible study for tonight, and I found the paper with my attempt at this poem tucked inside my Bible. I've gotta write this. I just can't get the words down on paper like I want.
| posted by Barbara | 11:39 PM |

One book's journey

The Guardian follows one book from idea to shelf.

"Fittingly for a book that one internet reviewer said felt as if it had been dreamed up by two mates in a pub for a wheeze, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists was dreamed up by two mates in a pub for a wheeze."
| posted by Barbara | 9:36 PM |

Friday, June 10, 2005

One of the many reasons I love my best friend

This week, I got a package in the mail from Heather. It contained a couple of hilarious little books, as well as a 5 x 7-ish sized black & white computer clip art picture of Jesus, taped to a piece of cardboard. No note.

So I emailed Heather: "I must ask--what was up with the large clip art picture of Jesus?!"

Her response today: "I just figured that everyone needed their own personal Jesus, so I printed you up one."

HAAAAAHAAAAHAHAHA!!!!! Heather, you're so incredibly weird. How many people can say that they have a best friend who sends them printed out clip art pictures of Jesus? From Wales, no less. I am proud to say that I do have such a friend.
| posted by Barbara | 6:32 PM |

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

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Julie asked me about this one a while back, and I finally finished it this week. The pace is a bit slow at the beginning, but it picks up as the book progresses. I hit some momentum in the last third and didn't want to put it down. Even though I kept setting it aside because I was reading other stuff, I really liked it.

It's set in England in the early 19th century, in a time when the art of English magic has been virtually lost. Most magicians are content to read about magic rather than attempt it. Enter Mr Norrell, the first "practical magician" England has seen in many years. Norrell and his subsequent pupil, Jonathan Strange, seek to bring the practice of magic back to England. There's also a rather malicious fairy, and a lot about the mysterious Raven King, who once ruled both England and several Faeire kingdoms.

The book is filled with invented footnotes referencing fictitious biographies about the two magicians, other books about magic, and anecdotes from England's magical history. At first I found it a bit tiresome, interrupting the story with these little interpolations, but the footnotes grew on me. Clarke uses them as a way to fill out the background for the world she's created, making the huge novel feel like it's got an even bigger historical world behind it.

I read a review that described the book as Dickens, with magic. And I think that's a good description. If you don't have the patience for an 800-pager like David Copperfield, then it's probably not for you. But if you like sprawling Dickens novels, you'll probably like this. I did. =)
| posted by Barbara | 9:38 PM |

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

This picture makes me laugh. Poor Larry.
| posted by Barbara | 12:03 AM |

Monday, June 06, 2005


One play, two BBQs, and lots of reading. I'm this close to finishing Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
| posted by Barbara | 11:06 PM |

Friday, June 03, 2005

Pass the potato

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It's like hot potato, only not. My nieces are playing "Pass the Potato" this summer. Above is their chosen potato, named "Cheer Potato." So, join in! Go here, enter your zip code, and help them pass their potato around the country!

Potato is a funny word. It looks funnier every time I type it.

Bonus: Count how many times I used the word "potato" in this post. Look! I just did it again!
| posted by Barbara | 11:11 PM |

Apparently, I AM a violin

I don't think this actually describes me, but it cracks me up that I ended up with the instrument that I play.

You are the epitome of richness and smoothness and
passion rolled all into one. Like the taste of
a ridiculously expensive European Dark
Chocolate bar, you satiate the soul in a way
that nothing else can. At times mournful, at
times blissful, at times tranquil, at times
burning with a fiery passion, your many facets
all share the same expressive colors as those
produced by the violin, viola, and cello.

What musical instrument are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
| posted by Barbara | 6:14 PM |

There used to be a coffee table here...

One of my roommates is moving to Chicago in about a week. She's getting rid of some of her furniture, and taking other stuff with her. As a result, things keep getting rearranged and/or disappearing altogether. It seems like every time I leave the house, something else gets sold. Saturday morning, I walked out into the living room to find the TV and VCR gone. Then the TV stand (sans TV) got relocated. Last night, I got home from church to find that the coffee table was gone. It's like we've been robbed, but the burglars are being very careful to only take one thing at a time, in the hopes that we won't notice.
| posted by Barbara | 12:35 AM |

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Not that anyone really cares, but I just got my first book for 2007 off my desk and on its way to production. Yes, 2007. I feel so on top of things. Now, on to that other big pile of work I need to wade through...
| posted by Barbara | 8:13 PM |

Smithsonian screening

This is pretty cool.

I've got the DVD (2 copies, actually) if anyone wants to borrow it. I know a guy. ;-)
| posted by Barbara | 5:39 PM |

Kristy, this made me think of you

McSweeney's presents "Reviews of DVDs That May or May Not Be Pirated But Were Definitely Bought on the Streets in Shanghai for About a Dollar."

(I'm poaching from Overstreet again.)
| posted by Barbara | 5:29 PM |