Barbara's Random Thoughts

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Going away

I started writing this the weekend before I left CA. I meant to post it, then I changed my mind and started editing it (I know, Elise--I'm sorry, it's just what I do!). And then I decided I should just post a bit of it anyway. And when I had that ready, Pangani's wireless crapped out on me and I got annoyed and went to bed. And now it's a week later. you go anyway.

It has become apparent that it's going to be difficult for me to keep up with this blog as well as my other new blogging (and real-life!) ventures this year. I've been thinking seriously about closing the curtain on this blog. Now would be a good time to close shop--it was January 2004 when I started it, I could call it a good three years and leave off. But I don't know yet.

Regardless, I'm not going away completely. (Except for that whole physical going-away thing.) I've mentioned this before, but the new blog is here for weekly missions updates, and daily photos are here. And as for the personal ramblings, sarcasm, and mockery, perhaps you'll just have to come to me in person for that.

I've had several conversations with friends lately about leaving, moving on, and the friends you keep and the friends you don't. As I've been down in SoCal for the last three weeks, this is something that's been on my mind a lot. I said to Heather that it feels like when you move away from a place, you find out who really wants to be your friend by who takes the time and effort to stay in touch. That may be a bit harsh--I know that some people just have a hard time with keeping in touch and that doesn't mean I'm unimportant to them. But it does mean that those friendships change and sort of diminish, really. Without personal contact, how can a friendship continue? Maybe it's more accurate to say it's in leaving that you discover how people will now fit into your life in its new context.

There's a quote that's been up on my new blog:

"No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth."
--Robert Southey

That's kind of where I'm coming from. I feel like if someone really values my friendship, they'll keep in touch. I know that friendships will change when paths diverge, when miles and miles separate me from people I care about. But when I am convinced of the value of a friendship, I want to hang on to it regardless of distance.

Blogging here has brought me closer to people who were once just acquaintances, and has offered the opportunity for closer friendships with people who were already my friends, but in some ways I feel like it's time to move on. And if you've been using this blog, or will be using my new blog as a way to keep up with me and what I’m up to, that’s great. But without the personal context, I don’t get to keep up with you. So although this blog is going to change (I know I won’t have time for as in-depth or frequent posts as before), I hope you’ll keep up with me in person--whether that’s through the new blog and comments there, or through (gasp!) personal email. Friendship goes both ways. It can’t just be me typing away on one side of the computer screen. I want to hear from you, too.

I'm gonna miss this blog in its current (or perhaps its pre-2007) incarnation. But, to steal a quote, change is in the air. I hope you'll continue the journey with me.
| posted by Barbara | 2:25 PM |

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Quote of the day...a couple weeks ago

I was asked to share a bit about my South Africa trip at GHBC's Awana program on the Wednesday night before I left. Jerry shared a few Bible verses before he "interviewed" me, and one of the verses included the word "boldness." This led to the following:

Jerry: Who can tell me what boldness means?
Kid: Like when you lose all your hair?

Bill, later, rubbing his head: I think I'm getting a little bold...

Eric, later, via text message: So I hear you're spreading male pattern boldness around the world!


| posted by Barbara | 9:34 PM |

Friday, January 05, 2007

Reading List 2006

Here's the year-end tally on my 2006 reading, broken down by genre/category. Starred titles were for book club.

Children's (4)
Love That Dog – Sharon Creech
The Children of Green Knowe – L.M. Boston
Saffy's Angel – Hilary McKay
Haroun and the Sea of Stories – Salman Rushdie

Nonfiction (8)
Bella Tuscany – Frances Mayes
The World According to Mimi Smartypants – Mimi Smartypants
Are You Dave Gorman? – Dave Gorman and Danny Wallace
The Celtic Way of Evangelism – George Hunter
The Return of the Prodigal Son – Henri Nouwen
A New Kind of Christian – Brian McLaren
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim – David Sedaris
Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith – Anne Lamott

Fiction (17)
The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists – Gideon Defoe
Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
The Disorderly Knights – Dorothy Dunnett
July’s People – Nadine Gordimer*
The Passion of Artemisia – Susan Vreeland
The Secret History – Donna Tartt*
The Tent – Margaret Atwood
The Dive from Clausen's Pier – Ann Packer*
Divided Kingdom – Rupert Thomson*
Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez*
Wickett's Remedy – Myla Goldberg*
The Thin Place – Kathryn Davis
A Thread of Grace – Mary Doria Russell
Gilead – Marilynne Robinson*
Children of God – Mary Doria Russell
The Sparrow – Mary Doria Russell*
Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro*

Graphic Novels (3)
Blankets – Craig Thompson
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi*
Persepolis 2 – Marjane Satrapi*

Poetry (2)
Fuel – Naomi Shihab Nye
Wild Iris – Louise Gluck

Re-read (6)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
The View from Saturday – E.L. Konigsburg
Jacob Have I Loved – Katherine Paterson
The Girl with the Silver Eyes – Willo Davis Roberts
Coffee and Kung Fu – Karen Brichoux
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Still only partially read:
Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them - John Ortberg
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott

The bottom line:
34 books, plus 6 re-read
4 were borrowed from friends
5 were from my to-be-read shelf (+ 1 more partially read)
8 were purchased this year (+ 1 more partially read)
15 were library-borrowed
2 were gifts

Last year's list is here. My non-fiction reading is up from last year, I read fewer children’s books this year, and I added graphic novels to the list this time around. But other patterns are about the same. My buying doesn’t seem to be going down, but at least my borrowed/library reading has gone up; that has to say something. Next year’s reading list will look a little different, I think, at least when it comes to where I get my books. Justin once suggested that in order to make a dent in the books I've bought but not read, I should take all the books I want to read and leave the country with them. Hmmm.

One more reading note, on the whole Winter Reading Challenge thing. I'm totally cutting my losses and will here cease to pretend it's going to happen. I've got too much else to do. (Like re-reading Cry, the Beloved Country--that whole pre-reading thing I'm supposed to do before I get to South Africa.)

Here's what I accomplished:

1. Atonement – Ian McEwan. This might go on another journey to South Africa.
2. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens. Dickens will probably stay home.
3. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman. Might travel with me, might not.
4. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen. Check. Great fun, quick read. And since I read it, the below, and Jane Eyre right around the same time, I felt very...female. Also, my vocabulary use improved.
5. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott. Working on it, and really enjoying it.

My alternate selections:
The Disorderly Knights – Dorothy Dunnett. Finished. To borrow a phrase from one of my textbook reviewers, it was a "ripping good read." Highly recommended. (Julie, I will mail this back to you. Really.)
No Promises in the Wind – Irene Hunt. Nope. Kristy, I will read this someday. But not before January 15, so I will return this to you.


| posted by Barbara | 4:42 AM |

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Goodbye, little iPod

Tonight I bade a fond farewell to my first iPod, self-referentially named Babs. It fell prey to a software corruption that could not be rectified through any efforts on my part or on the part of the kind service personnel at the Apple Store. However, the kind personnel at the Apple Store did replace my sad departed iPod. Say hello to DJBJ. DJBJ is sans engraving (a gift from my former boss, Babs had my name on the back), but better that than an engraved iPod that arrives after I leave for South Africa.

The iPod is just one of many things that has ceased to work as it should lately. Today was full of thwarted attempts to accomplish things and I’m feeling generally out-of-sorts. I don’t like being like this.

Somedays aren’t yours at all
They come and go just like they’re someone else’s days
They come and leave you behind someone else’s face
And it’s harsher than yours
And it’s colder than yours
(Regina Spektor, “Somedays”)

There’s a general feeling of displacement that’s brooding in the back of my mind, as I live the nomadic life in which I currently find myself. Add to that all the millions of details that I need to take care of in the next week and a half, and my head’s just not where I’d like it to be. There’s so much I want to focus and reflect on, personally and spiritually, and instead I’m spending my hours attempting to settle things that never seem to get settled.

And I’ve realized that I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately, and that’s what this post is turning into as well. Argh. Like I said, I don’t like being like this.

So, here’s a list of good things:

-Thanks to the Apple Store, I have a new working iPod, in my hands, ready to go.
-Thanks to Verizon, my phone will once again hold a charge, and it didn’t require me paying anything. Now my parents can use my phone with wild abandon after I leave. ;-/
-I ran into Nancy & John & the kids at the library this morning as I attempted to use library wireless which proved to be passworded...and I no longer have a library card more roadblock. But I got to see family in what would otherwise have been a fruitless trip. Yay for friendly faces and people glad to see me.
-Ditto on running into Heather & Aaron and baby Dell today at Panera in the midst of my computer/iPod frustration.
-I have imposed a small bit of order on the boxes in my parents’ garage.
-The USPS has finally decided to start forwarding my mail.
-I’ve gotten to not only hang out with a few SoCal friends, but also two Bay area friends since I’ve been down here. That makes me happy. Elise, I’m so glad you’re in the area. =)
-Third Street at Santa Monica was fairly dead for New Year’s, but I got to hang out there with some really good friends. And we rode the ferris wheel on the pier!
-The Rose Parade was a blast, and a great way to start off the New Year. Even if my camera battery died before I got to see the float I helped decorate. (Kristy, you’re gonna send me those pictures, right?!)
-Most importantly, in a week & a half, I will set out on an adventure that God’s been drawing me towards for a long time. There are a lot of hopes and dreams that are being realized with this next step in my life, regardless of the discontentment that’s been plaguing me of late. God is faithful, and there are great things in store.

With that, I’m going to go get some reading done.
| posted by Barbara | 8:39 AM |

Song of the Day

This song's been in my iTunes for a while, but I keep skipping over it when I'm not in the mood for something peppy and happy. Then I actually listened to the lyrics yesterday, and now I'm hooked because they're just so completely awesome.

Fine Day for Sailing
Go Sailor

This is the last time that I'll wish you dead
I think I've decided to like you instead
I'll throw away the letters that I never meant to send
'Cause now I've got more love to give than to end

Therefore this time I mean it
This time will stick
You're easy to like when you're not making me sick

Oh yeah, maybe you can come to my house for tea
We won't talk about all the pain you caused me
I've become quite adept at pretending you're nice
Till I believe it, pretending will have to suffice

Although this time I mean it
This time's for real
Just 'cause you ruined my life's no big deal

So I'll take the pins out of the doll
I'll take the darts out of the wall
I'm just so nice now I'm not like before
I don't think of hurting you much anymore

It's a fine day for sailing
Let's go for a spin
You don't have to worry that I'll push you in
I'm so happy now I'm friends with most everyone
Even people like you don't deserve to have none

So now this time I mean it
I just don't have time to waste hating you
All those days are behind me for good
Those days are behind me for good


| posted by Barbara | 5:12 AM |

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I said I'd do it

Now to keep it up. Daily photos for 2007 will be here. Dangit, I need one for today...
| posted by Barbara | 3:14 AM |