"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I woke up yesterday morning to this...

and this...

and this...

I've never been so excited to scrape my car off! The first snow of the season always puts a thrill in my heart because it makes me think about homemade hot cocoa, getting Christmas surprises ready, and spending cozy evenings in front of a fire. I love snow!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Poem of the Week

Crazy Like Jenya
By Laura Nielson Baxter

The day she moved in was gray and sleety. She unpacked, packed and unpacked her things three times before deciding to stay. “She’s foreign,” we told ourselves when she never smiled, “she doesn’t know any better.” We tried to be nice to her, but she could only walk around sad-faced and half-lidded. Mostly she kept to herself in her room, coming out once in a while to fry garlic and eat it, only to vanish again. “She must be homesick,” we told ourselves. “She needs to be understood.” Then things started to disappear: Nicole’s new leather belt, Pam’s handmade hotpad, my rusty muffin tin. We found them stored neatly, cleaned and newly labeled, underneath her bed. Then it got worse. She no longer allowed us to have guests, went weeks without showering, and sat on the couch talking to people none of us could see. “Leave me alone,” she said, and, “Don’t touch me.” “She’s crazy,” they said. That night five of us had the exact same dream: late at night, a bedroom door slowly opening and Jenya, silhouetted in the frame, holding a knife and talking to herself. “That’s it,” we said, “she has got to go.” Evicting her required everyone to sign. I was the last one to put my name down, but I did. The next day we avoided our apartment, knowing that no one would talk to her as she waited with her things to be picked up. Yesterday I fried vegetables with too much garlic. Kirk said, “Whew! That’s strong! It reminds me of when you lived with, that crazy girl, what’s her name?” “Jenya,” I said, garlic stinging my eyes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

It's always been a favorite

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas has been a favorite of mine since adolescence. (And no, it's not pronounced "dumb ass," it's said like "doo-maw".) It was about time I read it again, and it was even more poignant than I remembered it.

First, I want to get the small annoyances out of the way before focusing on the really good stuff:

1) I don't speak French, and I really wish I did. Perhaps I can learn French while I'm at work. It would have been optimal to read this novel in its original form because each English translation seems to be a little different from its comrades, which I know isn't unusual in foreign literature. I only noticed significant differences because this is a novel I am familiar with, and not a first-time read. However, I was a bit miffed at the Barnes and Noble Classics version...not a fan.

2) I find the chivalrous "gentleman with lifetimes of learning" attitude condescending and sexist. I can usually get over that in older novels when such attitudes were prevalent in society, but for some reason, it bothered me a lot this time. It's probably because this book has always been a favorite and I thought it was better than that. That shows you how long it's been since I've read it, doesn't it?

Now to the good stuff: literary themes!
  • A person is never quits with someone who did them a favor because one always will owe gratitude
  • God's place to punish and reward, and the perverted way people justify themselves in such omnipotent situations...Satan, anyone?
  • Taking the place of Providence
  • The idea that Gods never do evil; duality of powerful presences
  • "Truly generous men are always ready to become sympathetic when their enemy's misfortunes surpass the limits of their hatred"; can you really hate someone that much?
 This book is a classic for a reason, and I think it has some strong moral statements against hatred and revenge, which means that not only do I like this book, but my mom likes it as well. That's a winner if ever there was one!

Happy reading,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

We've been really bad this year...

...so Scary Claws made his customary visit to our house October Eve. I'm certain it's because we left him this sign and a great letter telling him how bad we've been and what we wanted for Halloween:

True to his dastardly self, Scary Claws brought some extra tricks along with his treats. The thing we wanted most for Halloween was a giant spider for our spooky tree outside, and he brought one for us! He also brought us some more tombstones for our ever-growing cemetery and lots of cool props for our costume room. Too cool! We've been sure to put our new toys to good use and make Scary Claws proud.

So, who is this Scary Claws fellow, and why does he bring our family Halloween presents and not yours? Well, he is the lesser-known brother of sweet old St. Nick and has the same generous streak in his blood. It must be genetic. However, he has a love for the macabre, which aligns perfectly with Halloween. He's always prompt in bringing presents on October Eve so that we can fully enjoy the benefits of his gifts in time for the holidays. Mostly, though, scary Claws comes to our house because we invite him, and I'm sure he'd love to come to yours too if you did the same. Just be warned that he only comes if you're a little more wicked than usual.