Barbara's Random Thoughts

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blogging from Wales...

Just because I can. And now I must get back to playing Muppet Uno.
| posted by Barbara | 5:05 PM |

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm off!

Just a quick post to say that this afternoon, I'll be headed to Wales. I'll be gone till August 2nd, and may not be posting at all till I get back. Those of you who are the praying sort, remember our team in the next week and a half as we minister to the kids in Porthcawl.

Have fun while I'm gone. I leave you with the question: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Discuss.
| posted by Barbara | 6:20 PM |

The middle two.

Rebekah & Hannah. These kids crack me up.
| posted by Barbara | 6:16 PM |

So I got a digital camera.

And here you have Emily & Johnny, my sister's oldest and youngest kids.
| posted by Barbara | 6:15 PM |

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Going home

Thanks to my wonderful friend Karen, who offered to trade cars with me for a few days, I was able to drive down to LA last week for Paul's memorial service. I drove down EARLY Thursday morning and arrived at about 10:45am, giving me some time to hang out with David & Dianna before heading to GHBC. We ran into Yolanda on the way in, and she invited David and me to come sing with the choir. That was really cool.

I noticed that the social convention of greeting people with "How are you doing?" became a very different thing on this occasion. It was so automatic to say it and then I kept kicking myself as I realized that my casual greeting wasn't exactly appropriate. I kind of knew how people were doing, given circumstances. I saw Larry Conrad as I headed up to the choir room, and went over and gave him a hug. I asked him how he was doing.

Larry always answers this question with "I couldn't be any better!" His explanation for this reply is that he has Christ in his life, and so things really couldn't be any better, regardless of outside circumstances. I gave him a hard time about it once, saying that his reply never answered my question of actually wanting to know how he was doing. For a while after that, when I would ask Larry how he was doing, he would follow his usual "I couldn't be any better!" with an actual response about what was going on in his life. On Thursday, his reply was the same as it always was: "I couldn't be any better." We did that whole side hug thing, and I hugged him again, as he responded with "Paul's in heaven, and I'm ok."

I was so glad that I drove down for the memorial. It was a great time of being with church family--remembering Paul's life and worshipping together. Barbara Barr sang "The Anchor Holds", and it was so appropriate:

The anchor holds
Though the ship is battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn
I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

She told me after the service that Paul had picked the song out for her to sing right around the first time he came out of remission. She sang it again just before he went in for a bone marrow transplant, and he asked her to sing it at the funeral.

Jamie's eulogy was amazing, honoring Paul and Dayle's ministry at Green Hills, and how much they had both meant to the church, while at the same time, honoring the way Suzanne has been at Paul's side each step of the way during his battle with cancer.

There was a potluck (or "multiple choice meal", as Pastor Bob likes to call it) after the graveside service, and they had a monitor set up in the corner of the fellowship hall with pictures from Paul's ministry over the last 26 years. I sat and watched for a while, and Pete and I kept reminiscing--about high school choir tours (polo shirts and those awful red K-Mart-ish vests!), varying Paul hairstyles over the years, and memories of Paul's story songs.

I had a little blog moment when Yolanda (who was my Sunday school teacher in 5th grade) came over to me and said she needed my blog address, since she’d accidentally lost it. I thought: Yolanda's reading my blog?! Hi Yolanda!

On Friday, I got up late and headed over to church to catch the last bit of VBS. I stopped by the office and chatted with Pastor Bob and other church staff, before peeking in each of my nieces' VBS classes. Then I headed for lunch with Eric (the annoying little brother I never wanted!). We reminisced a bit about Paul, called Heather, talked about past Wales trips and the upcoming one, and I had a lot of fun just hanging out with my little brother.

I spent the afternoon hanging out with my sister's kids, playing games and getting Johnny to display his new talent for winking. Oh, and my nieces have informed me that with my new haircut, I look like Polly Pocket. Hmmm. Friday night, I got to go to the kids' VBS program. When I saw her on Thursday, Emily immediately asked me if I could come to their VBS program on Friday night. I hadn't even thought about it--and I was so glad that I could go! I used to be able to do stuff like that all the time with my nieces, going to awards ceremonies, recitals, AWANA stuff, etc. And it was really cool to be able to do that again. Hannah sat on my lap during the slide show and giggled really loudly every time a picture of her came up. It was hilarious--everyone in the church could hear her getting such a kick out of seeing pictures of herself! Afterwards, there were a bunch of goodbyes, but it's cool to know that I'll see everyone in at least another month, when I go down there for the GHBC 40th anniversary. I got to say "See you in a week!" to various Wales team folks. =)

Friday night, Kristy talked me into going to Borders with her to pick up her copy of HP #6 at midnight. We didn't get there till just after 11, and she was #355 to check in. When it got to be 1:00 a.m. and they were just calling #175-200, we decided to pack it in and go home. Oh well.

Saturday was more hanging out with the kids, then I headed home. I got back in time to say goodbye to Greg and catch up with Melanie at Greg's going away party, then went home and crashed. I was really emotionally drained Saturday night and Sunday, and was really glad to have the house to myself for Sunday afternoon/evening. And today begins the countdown week to Wales. Three more days!
| posted by Barbara | 2:10 AM |

Monday, July 18, 2005

Repeat part two

Over the Rhine's Ohio was waiting for me in a nice box from Amazon when I got home on Saturday (along with HP #6, yay!). I have subsequently been carrying out my usual obsessive new good music routine: listening to the CD endlessly at home, waking up to it, taking it in the car with me so I can listen to it on my commute, and listening to it all day at work. And this is the song I currently can't stop listening to.

Over the Rhine

Don't be bothered by the fears,
I'll try to bottle them like my mother's perfume.
She wore it only on Sunday,
kept it safe in her room in a chest with a key.
We found it anyway.

Don't be bothered by the fears.
They'll only join us like the sky that blushes red tonight,
and makes the wind die down,
calms the troubled sea (more out of duty than pleasure,
but out of pleasure nonetheless.)

Your fire burns me like a favorite song,
a song I should have known all along.
I feel you move like smoke in my eyes,
and that is why.

Don't be bothered by the fears
that sing from my eyes like carillon ringing only on Sunday
on the roof, down the streets, finally over the river.
Ring for you, ring for me, finally, forever.
It's just I never, it's just I never thought,
I never thought that I could be this free.

Your fire burns me like a favorite song,
a song I should have known all along.
I feel you move like smoke in my eyes,
and that is why.

Don't be bothered, no.
| posted by Barbara | 11:42 PM |

Poem for the day

This was on my poetry calendar for the weekend. It made me smile, and miss lit theory just a little. But only a little.

Excuse Me

Give me just a second before you start.
Let's agree on what you're reading here.
Let's call it a poem, a poem being an act
of language meant to hold its own exceptions,
which you therefore read with a double mind,
accepting and rejecting what you find.

If part of what you find is what you brought,
let's call this reading a poem, one of the games
imaginations play when they meet.
If you suspect you may not have the wit
to face the other player, one to one,
then you can be a deconstructionist
and make believe the other doesn't exist,
though that will be like sitting on one end
of a seesaw in summer, wishing you had a friend.

--Miller Williams
| posted by Barbara | 8:02 PM |

Sunday, July 17, 2005


So I deleted some comments. Not my usual style. But the comments on this got hijacked into something far from the intent of the post. So those comments are gone. Thanks for playing.

I'm home from LA and now I'm going to bed.
| posted by Barbara | 7:10 AM |

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I've been endlessly listening to Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes album lately. (Ok, with a few small Waterdeep breaks.) But I cannot seem to stop listening to "Tear in Your Hand" over and over and over. Seriously. Every time the CD hits that song, I listen to it about 5 times in a row, or for the rest of my commute, whichever is longer.

I don't believe you're leaving
'Cause me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream
I think it's that girl
And I think there're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen

I love that. Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen...
| posted by Barbara | 11:24 PM |

Time for a new profile pic

Me with short hair. And a sandwich.
| posted by Barbara | 7:27 PM |

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Saying Goodbye

"Christians never say goodbye."
--C.S. Lewis

When I left Southern California and moved to the Bay area, Paul was the only one who made me cry. I don't usually cry much, especially in front of others. But Paul made me cry. He was going to be starting yet another round of cancer treatments in the coming weeks, and when I walked into the church office that night to say goodbye, I wondered if it would be the last time I would see him.

Paul was diagnosed with cancer in February of 2000. It was a particularly aggressive cancer, and he went in and out of the hospital, in and out of serious, we-don't-think-he'll-make-it situations, and in and out of remission. You just never knew with Paul. He always was stubborn, but so was the cancer. So when I moved and the cancer was acting up again, I thought maybe this really was goodbye. It wasn't--he and the cancer went several more rounds, and I had several more visits with Paul.

But his battle with cancer ended yesterday.

I prayed for Paul's healing for so long. But prayers for healing aren't always answered in the way we'd like. Sometimes the answer is that healing will come through death. There is no sickness, no pain, no cancer in heaven. Cancer ravaged Paul's body for so long, and death has finally brought Paul healing. I'm certain that right now he is reveling in being cancer-free, singing his heart out before God. I'm certain I'll see Paul again; certain that the last time I saw him wasn't really goodbye. But I'll miss him.

Paul's been a huge influence in my life. I've learned so much from him in so many ways--musically, personally, and spiritually. I've known him for 17 years, as my music director, pastor, boss, and friend. I can't imagine my home church without him. But I can imagine him in heaven, and the thought brings a smile to my face.
| posted by Barbara | 11:07 PM |

Linkage and story

In honor of the fact that Allison has taken note of me with a link this week, I thought I would tell the story about why I make boring sexy. (Aren't you just dying to know? I thought so.)

On the Wales mission trip in 2002, we did a VBS with a river-rafting theme. We started off each day with skits telling the continuing story of some rafters on their journey downriver. There was the river guide, Stony (no jokes, please), his daughter, Amber (junior river guide and amateur geologist), and two passengers: Clash Yahoo (extreme sportsman) and Carter DuBois (non-outdoorsy travel writer, in over her head).

I was Amber, the junior river guide, and most of my lines consisted of reciting rules from the river guide handbook or sharing incredibly boring geological facts about the canyon. But I got to make bat noises when we got to the caves. Woo!

Anyway, Eric was giving me a hard time one day about how boring my character was, how I had been typecast, etc. Ashley, the assistant pastor of the church there, was standing nearby, and overheard Eric calling me boring. Ashley chimed in to defend me by saying: "Ah, but she makes boring sexy." This comment was repeated frequently for the rest of the trip (and I still hear it, especially from Jude and Heather).

So there you have it, folks. I make boring sexy. A pastor said it, so it must be true. ;-)
| posted by Barbara | 1:29 AM |

Friday, July 08, 2005

I love craigslist.

Evil landlord goes mad in Richmond District.

Sometimes late at night I can hear you scuttling around out there on the internet; packs of feral tenants, slavering and cackling as the rents on craigslist sink ever lower, heedless of the landlords you have broken...

It just gets better from there.
| posted by Barbara | 1:46 AM |

More London.

Dooce has a beautiful, simple post up about London, about today. It leapt out at me partly because the first couple sentences, with a few substitutions (Florence, Fullerton College, just turned 18, Italy) are totally my experience. A city that feels like home. That was Florence for me.

But London is almost as familiar to me. I have grown to love the place, and England is my childhood. I echo her words: may you be safe and well.
| posted by Barbara | 1:21 AM |

Thursday, July 07, 2005


This morning. I don't really have any words.


Ok. I do have some words. I read this news story on the London explosions, and was really annoyed, even angered by the way it ends: with a description of how the event has affected the currency market and oil prices.

Is this really necessary? Why does it immediately leap to monetary concerns? Yes, of course, there's going to be an effect on national currencies and the world economy, blah blah blah. But there are bigger concerns here, like, oh, the 1000+ people injured? The families of the 30+ people killed? A grieving city and nation?

And yet, who am I to get all angry about this misplaced emphasis on things that aren't ultimately important? One of my first thoughts was for my own personal safety when I fly into London in two weeks. What about that day I'll be back in London at the end of the trip, sightseeing with Eric and Melody, two of the college kids from GHBC? How will this affect where we go, what we do? My thoughts did go to several friends who are not so far away from this, but my first thoughts were so selfish. My own self-interest is so strong, so deeply-seated. God give me a heart that thinks of others first, that cares for the grief of others before my own petty concerns.
| posted by Barbara | 7:03 PM |

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

But I haven't watched Alias recently...

For the past week or so, I've been dreaming a lot. Last night was particularly entertaining. I dreamed that I was on a real-life Alias mission with Marshall Flinkman. (This is cracking me up even as I type it out. I was on an Alias mission! With Marshall Flinkman! If only it could have been with Michael Vaughn...sigh.)

So Marshall and I were infiltrating a gallery during a grand opening party, and the gallery had some huge sculptures in a central courtyard. We were several floors up, at a computer in an alcove off a hallway/balcony that looked down on these sculptures. While we were waiting for the needed intel to download onto some high-tech gadget, I saw someone stop in the nearby hallway and lean up against the railing to look down on the courtyard. I left to go flirt with and distract the guy while Marshall finished up.

I approached the guy, casually leaned against the railing, and used a random Southern accent as I made a flirtatious comment. (This cracks me up even more. I'm really not the flirtatious type. But apparently when I'm a spy, I flirt.) He looked over at me, and it was someone I knew!

Somehow he wasn't fazed by the accent I had put on. He said "Barbara!" and gave me a huge hug. He suggested that we head downstairs to find a place to sit and talk, and I SO wanted to go with him. I was pondering leaving Marshall to finish the mission so I could hang out with the guy, and weighing what the dangers would be if I lingered in the gallery too long...and then I woke up.

I'm so weird.
| posted by Barbara | 10:11 PM |

Monday, July 04, 2005

Woohoo! Woohoo!

The kitchen works again! And it has a skylight...and lots of lights...and new granite countertops...and a new sink...and new cabinets. And drawers. Lots of drawers.

Now we just have to put all the stuff back in the kitchen. And I have to finish putting stuff away in my room. Yay for long weekends!
| posted by Barbara | 6:44 AM |

Friday, July 01, 2005

Backhanded compliments

If one more person says to me, regarding the new haircut, "It looks SO much better!", they're going to get smacked.

Consider the following conversation.

Coworker (walking towards me): "Your hair looks so cute like that!"
Me: "Thanks!"
Coworker (as we pass each other): "You should have cut it a long time ago!"
Me: "...."

Now, I know my hair was getting long and straggly. That's one reason I cut it. But unless I'm asking for a comparison, you just don't say things like that. Perhaps it's insensitivity, perhaps it's cluelessness, perhaps this is not what's intended. But these comments come across as: "Hey, Barbara, glad you cut your hair! It looked like crap before!" Come on now, a girl's sensitive about these sorts of things.
| posted by Barbara | 7:23 PM |

Ah, Scientology. reviews Dianetics. And it's quite amusing.

Perfectly clear words can be dragooned into sentences so grammatically torturous and incoherent that any meaning once inhabiting those words runs screaming from the wreckage.
| posted by Barbara | 6:10 PM |

And speaking of songs...

I wonder how
I wonder why
Yesterday you told me 'bout the blue blue sky
And all that I can see is just another lemon-tree
--Fool's Garden, "Lemon Tree"

One of my roommates in Florence used to play this song over and over and over. It drove me nuts. But now that years have passed, I'm all nostalgic about it--there are such strong memories associated with the song. I was thinking about ordering the CD from Amazon, and then I thought to check around online to see if I could download just the one song. And I found a FREE download. Woo. Now I'm listening to it repeatedly, just like Laura used to do. Funny how something that used to annoy me so much now makes me really happy.
| posted by Barbara | 1:30 AM |

Thursday Thirteen

Found here. Thirteen favorite song, this was hard to whittle down.

Within the world of a girl, the words she hears they mean an awful lot
And the music in her mind when she gets older has the lyrics she was taught
--Waterdeep, "He Will Come"

Trust is not a game that naïve stupid people play in youth
--Lori Chaffer, "You Will Always Hurt"

I want so badly to believe that "there is truth, that love is real"
And I want life in every word to the extent that it's absurd
--The Postal Service, "Clark Gable"

I give myself to what looks like love
and I sell myself for what feels like love
and I pay to get what is not love
and all just because I see things upside down
--Derek Webb, "I See Things Upside Down"

You ask me to enter
But then you make me crawl
--U2, "One"

Learn to pretend there's more than love that matters
--Indigo Girls, "Love Will Come to You"

Two are born to cross their paths, their lives, their hearts
If by chance one turns away, are they forever lost?
--Cowboy Junkies, "Something More Besides You"

I'll be the platform shoes and undo what heredity's done to you
You won't have to strain to look into my eyes
--The Postal Service, "Brand New Colony"

The wood is tired and the wood is old,
And we'll make it fine if the weather holds
But if the weather holds, then we'll have missed the point
That's where I need to go
--Indigo Girls, "The Wood Song"

Let the road wind tie our hair in knots
and the speed and the freedom untangle our lives
--Rich Mullins, "The River"

One of us will die inside these arms
--Iron & Wine, "Naked as We Came"

Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters
--Dave Matthews Band, "Best of What's Around"

Take the dreams that should have died,
The ones that kept you lying awake
When you should have been all right
And throw 'em all away
--Toad the Wet Sprocket, "Throw it All Away"

And four more just for fun...

And you say, "Stay."
And you say I only hear what I want to.
--Lisa Loeb, "Stay"

Lucy doesn't love you.
Not like you want her to.
Some dreams don't come true.
Lucy doesn't love you.
No, she doesn't love you.
--Ivy, "Lucy Doesn't Love You"

Coin operated boy
Sitting on the shelf he is just a toy
But I turn him on and he comes to life
Automatic joy
That is why I want a coin operated boy
--Dresden Dolls, "Coin Operated Boy"

This feeling isn't purely mental
'Cause heaven rest us, I'm not asbestos
--Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, "I Won't Dance"

I thought 13 would be plenty, but there were so many I had to cut out. Even with my extra cheating not-so-serious four. Sad.
| posted by Barbara | 1:01 AM |