Barbara's Random Thoughts

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas

I'm headed out early tomorrow morning. I'll be in SoCal for Christmas with family, then NYC for a work conference, then back to LA for New Year's, then finally back home after the first of the year. Whew. So, posting here will be sparse for a while.

Enjoy the holidays, everyone, and here's a poem for you before I go.

I wrote this after returning from a semester studying in Italy. I felt like Christmas snuck up on me that year. December had been a whirl of papers, finals, goodbyes, a last round of travel, then home to CA, where Christmas seemed to happen on me without warning.

On Christmas Eve that year, I realized "Christmas without warning" was exactly what happened to the shepherds with the angels on the night of Christ's birth. They were woken up in the middle of the night by a sudden blaze of light and the announcement that the Messiah had come.

December seems like it's always a blur, with little time to glance up and see what's going on...or to bow in reverence. May we all wake up, rub the sleep out of our eyes, and respond to the news of Christ's birth with joy and amazement.

Christmas Eve

In a quiet moment
I come before you.
Like a shepherd,
I kneel in the hay
and I catch my breath
at the idea that before me,
in this newborn baby,
is the Son of God.
My Savior,
my Lord.
And I adore.
| posted by Barbara | 7:53 AM |

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And the winner is...

Today was the annual gift swap for assistant-type people here at work. I made off with the Book Lover's edition of Trivial Pursuit. Not bad at all. Now I've really got to get around to having a Trivial Pursuit party in the spring.

And then there's the story that most everyone has heard too many times, about how I won a $200 gift certificate at Friday's holiday luncheon. But I've just said it again, for good measure. =)

So yeah, I am seriously making out this Christmas season. Wait, that didn't come out right. Ahem. Um...I'm doing quite well for myself this Christmas season. That's better. Heh.
| posted by Barbara | 12:33 AM |

Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Be born in us today..."

It usually takes me a while to get to the point where I feel like it's Christmastime. The rush of December so often crowds out times of reflection. I also find it's difficult for me to actually worship when singing Christmas carols--the words are so familiar that I tend to just sing and not think about what I'm singing. But this morning's worship service, followed by an hour of singing carols, was just what was needed on this rainy day to start me thinking about the meaning of this time of year, and to point my heart to worship.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Phillips Brooks

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep,
The silent stars go by;
Yet in the dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond'ring love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is giv'n
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heav'n.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him, still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!
| posted by Barbara | 9:59 PM |

Friday, December 16, 2005

I should post.

I guess I just haven't had much to say this week. Also, I've been in a rather petty and uncharitable mood the past couple of days and I felt that venting here was not appropriate. So.

I was a little overwhelmed yesterday as I left work. Too many things I wanted to do last night, and not enough time to do all of them. Or so I thought. But no, apparently Barbara can go to a rehearsal, address bridal shower invitations, talk with her best friend for half an hour, and still have time to hang out with Elise and see Narnia. Never mind that the last of those took place at around the time I'd usually be heading for bed. But, today's company holiday luncheon means I can nap this afternoon! (Though I probably won't...)
| posted by Barbara | 7:31 PM |

Monday, December 12, 2005


I managed to finish up our Christmas decorating this weekend:

And this is a little belated, but here for your viewing enjoyment is the result of the family Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Turkey game:

| posted by Barbara | 8:26 PM |

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Christmas shopping

Wondering what to get for that English major on your Christmas list?

Wonder no longer.

(I'm still waiting for someone to make an "Excuse me--your participle is dangling" t-shirt, though.)
| posted by Barbara | 8:13 AM |

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes

You have the Reynolds girl look. Reynolds girls had
the typical British beauty. The eighteenth
century British portrait painters would have
been attracted by your brilliant complexion and
your classical features. Sir Joshua Reynolds
loved to paint girls like you in white dresses
with blue satin sashes. Reynolds and other
portrait painters of his time also portrayed
blue eyed, dark-haired girls, and golden-haired
ones too, plus the occasional red-head. The
following painters would have painted you; Sir
Joshua Reynolds and Sir Thomas Lawrence.

'Pretty As A Picture' - Which Artist Would Paint You?
brought to you by Quizilla
| posted by Barbara | 12:02 AM |

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I was going to post about last weekend. However, now it's Thursday, and it feels a bit stale to do so. So, in lieu of a weekend recap, here's a question, a comment and a story.

Question: Why must weddings prompt inappropriate and unnecessary questions to single females? (Guys: does this just happen to single girls, or to guys, too?)

Related Comment: If at Heather's wedding in January, I am subjected to more remarks on "are you going to be next" and "does this give you any ideas" and "you can't let them get ahead of you", I will seriously hurt someone. Or at least make some rude comments in reply. Watch for the "Why don't you have a boyfriend/because I'm too fat" exchange to resurface.

Story: Over the weekend, I was working on finishing up an application for this trip to South Africa in March. I've talked with my parents about this a bit, and my mother isn't a big fan of me going to South Africa. She keeps saying that she thinks Scotland's on the list for a reason. My dad--like me--is usually a bit quieter about such things. He made a few small comments to me over the weekend that they're praying for me in this.

After church on Sunday, I went to hug my dad goodbye, and he hugged me...and then hugged me again. He didn't seem to want to say goodbye. This made me laugh a little, as this was my second weekend down there in a row...and another 3 weeks would see me back there for Christmas. But he put his arm around me and said again that they'd be praying for me as I pursue this missions thing a bit further.

I love my dad.
| posted by Barbara | 9:27 PM |

Monday, December 05, 2005

This is not the music post I was going to post

On Thursday as I was writing down some music thoughts, I checked out some links to a couple of musicians I wanted to reference. In doing so, I discovered that Rosie Thomas was playing last night in SF. At first I was bummed, as I was in LA over the weekend instead of up here. But then I thought to myself, "I can get back here on Sunday in time for a 9pm show..."

And so last night found me driving up to SF with Matt and Ian to hear Christian Kiefer, Rosie Thomas, and David Bazan at this little venue near Potrero Hill. It was an awesome way to round out a very busy weekend packed full of so, so much good stuff. (Perhaps more on that other good stuff later.)

Christian Kiefer opened up the show with just a few songs, switching back and forth between guitar and banjo. Lots of fun: when he came down off the stage to play his last song from the middle of the crowd. He ended up standing right in front of me and Matt and introduced himself, saying the song was for us (Ian had wandered off and missed it!). I do think Matt was a little too excited about the princess song being for him.

Rosie herself was the highlight of the whole evening for me. I love her music and was so excited to see her play live. I couldn't get over how she's got such a tiny childlike voice when she talks! It was so cool to see her personality come out as she chatted with the audience between songs. She was thoroughly endearing--sweet, joyful, and hilarious. She seemed like someone who would be really fun to just hang out and laugh with. Her quiet songs of love and loss were punctuated by some hilarious interjections about cough medicine, her swollen middle finger, and a story of how her brother once farted on her hamburger when they were little. She also had a cold and kept apologizing for being totally doped up on cold medicine! She played a lot of stuff that was new to me, but also a couple songs from When We Were Small--including one of my favorites, Wedding Day. I picked up a copy of her newest CD, which I am currently absorbing.

David Bazan finished out the night, and it was interesting to hear him. I didn't connect with his stuff as much musically, but his lyrics were awesome. On the way home, Matt talked a little more about the context for some of the songs we heard, which was cool. I'm interested to check his music out a bit more and see if he grows on me.

And to round out this post, here's what I was listening to on my long drives this weekend:
Enter the Worship Circle (Waterdeep/100 Portraits)
Drunkard's Prayer (Over the Rhine)
In the Clear (Ivy)
Dulcinea (Toad the Wet Sprocket)
Recovering the Satellites (Counting Crows)
Everyone's Beautiful (Waterdeep)
A Boot and a Shoe (Sam Phillips)

Plus, I listened to Jacob Have I Loved, one of my favorite childhood books. (Had to get in something about books, now didn't I?)
| posted by Barbara | 10:08 PM |

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Number 5.

SF is ranked as #5 in America's Most Literate Cities 2005. Up from #10 last year...not too shabby.

(Lots of books posts lately. I've been kicking around a music post which may see the light of day soon, just for some balance.)
| posted by Barbara | 9:37 PM |