Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pickles to Pittsburgh

1) MY VOICE IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And yes, Donal, I really missed talking; that was why the last blog post was so long.

2) The Red Wings are in the Stanley Cup playoffs and they're playing Pittsburgh. The Wings can win and the Penguins can go eat pickles. (Pickles to Pittsburgh is also the name of a(n awful) sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.)

3) I need a job. Badly.

4) Greg finished reading The Ultimate Guide to Femininity. He said it was good. But he does not understand why women love it because (in his opinion) it makes fun of women.

5) I still need a job. Maybe I'll go write Sense and Sensibility and Zombies.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Silence Spoken Here

Some of you know this already, but I seem to have contracted a case of "allergy-induced laryngitis" over the weekend.
On Saturday, I drove out to Grand Rapids to attend the wedding of my friends, Nate and Amanda. The wedding was lovely and I was able to meet my dear friend (and former house-mate) Christina's then-twelve-day-old son, Gabriel; Gabriel is now 16 days old. Below is a photograph (edited in Picasa by yours truly) of my older brother, Greg, holding young Gabriel. As you can see, both are quite handsome.

After the wedding, I got back in my faithful car and headed off to the reception with my passenger and friend, Steve. As we drove, I noticed (and he didn't) that my voice was getting lower and raspier. I thought this was a BIT odd but didn't really say or do anything about it. The quality of my voice continued to diminish and people began to notice. At one point, I was dancing with a guy who told me that I sounded "like a girl but with a really deep voice." Thanks, Chris...
The voice continued to slide and shortly before 9pm (the time Steve and I had designated for our departure for Ann Arbor) it completely crapped out. I could barely speak and my throat hurt a lot. So I went over to remind Steve that we were leaving in about 10 minutes and he went off to the dance floor. I took his seat and sat there watching the dancing with my good friend, Kyle. Anyway, Kyle and I were sitting there and we started talking because he was concerned about me. We learned that if I move my lips slowly, he can read my lips. And then I started having an asthma attack. Being a good friend, he ran and tried (but failed) to find my purse, so I had to go after him and get it myself and retrieve my own inhaler. BUT HE TRIED!
And then after I started breathing normally, he grabbed Steve and told him that it was time for us to go home. And then he gave Steve absolute orders to keep me awake. So we set out for Ann Arbor. And Steve very faithfully kept me awake.
The next day, I got up and my voice was more gone than it was the day before. So I went to Mass at Christ the King and then went home to while away my time. I had decided to essentially seclude myself from the world because it was too difficult to attempt to communicate with the rest of the world-even my own family.
Sunday night, I discovered that Kyle's twin brother, Alex, also had allergy-induced laryngitis but his had started before mine had so he was (gradually) getting better. But it was nice to have a partner in silence-even though we didn't see each other until Tuesday.
Last night, I went to UCO-Ann Arbor's prayer meeting. Alex was there but he's more talkative than I am. His laryngitis is closer to being gone than mine is. I'm now on day five and I can talk but I have a rapsy voice and it's physically still really hard for me to talk. My allergies are killing my throat. But I have allergy meds and claritin and books to read and movies to watch.
And hopefully this will all be over soon!

Speaking of books and movies, I have two really brief reviews for you.
Brideshead Revisited: Three out of Five; it's 11 hours long and while it's decent, it kind of drags after a while. Plus, I stopped feeling sympathy for the protagonists during hour 8 out of 11.
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Three out of Five; it's decent. There is A LOT of immorality. The story is supposed to be moving and beautiful. But I was distracted by the immorality that is supposedly "spiritual."

That's one long blog post. I think that's enough from me for one day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

This suits the blog

"I’m not going to commit to a kettle because once you take that step, that’s citizenship."
-Hugh Laurie on moving to the United States of America and buying a house

I feel this applies to my fascination with tea.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

They said it...and I didn't

So the following are few great (in my humble opinion) quotations from my life.

1) Back in late March, I went to a baby shower for my friend, Christina. At some point, I was sitting on the couch with Christina and her cousins (and my friends) Charlotte, Clare, and Theresa when we overheard someone ask Christina's older sister, Anna, "Where did Dominic come from?" (Dominic is Anna's 11 month old son.)
Christina looked at me and said, "Well, I can tell you that."
Then Anna started explaining why she and her husband chose the name Dominic. And the five of us on the couch all looked at each other and said, "Oh, that's what she meant."

2) About a week ago, my dear friend Mary and I were in a coffee shop talking about something (that wasn't funny) when Mary just started laughing hysterically. I looked at her, concerned, and asked if she was all right. She told me to (discretely) look at the table behind me. And there I saw a man in his late thirties or early forties working on his laptop. And on the front of his laptop was a sign which read "I ENJOY CLASSICAL MUSIC. PLEASE INQUIRE WITHIN. (newly single)"
And then we couldn't stop laughing.

3) On Sunday, my brother and I were at coffee and donuts after church when we saw a birthday cake with the words "Happy 50th Birthday, Iran" on it.
Well, Iran is either much older than fifty (by some reckonings) or younger; the Islamic Republic of Iran is 31 years old.
And then we realized that this birthday cake was for Ivan, a man who is probably in his sixties.

Well, Happy Birthday to Jimmy Stewart! He would be 101 years old today...if he were alive.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back to It...Again

He says so far it's really slow.

Ben told me, "Don't tell me he's reading P&P."
I did anyway. I'm a great friend and sister.

Alex said, "I think he told me about that."

I said, "I don't think he'll like it."

And you can quote me on that; I just did.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why I am not Supporting Athletic Bilbao

Today, FC Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao face off in the final of "La Copa del Rey." So we have Catalunya against the Euskal Herria. (Catalunya is the name in Catalan; Euskal Herria means "Basque Country" in Euskera.)
This is not merely a soccer match. This is a political moment.

Read this:
"Barcelona president Joan Laporta has once again combined sport with politics, as he commented on the upcoming Copa del Rey final between his side and Athletic Bilbao.

Speaking at the official dinner ahead of the match, Laporta said, 'These are two teams that represent a very important social mass in their countries.'

The use of the word 'countries', referring to the autonomous communities of Catalunya and the Basque Country, is unlikely to go unnoticed."


There is cultural/ethnic identity and then there is taking things too far.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The blog needs a new header

So I'm experimenting with my own (meager) artistic abilities to create a new header for the blog. And I want your opinions on them.

Option #1 Option #2

There are three other options (all of which are on facebook) but I don't like them as well as I like these three.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Patience: Hush, child; you couldn't possibly understand

"Hush, child; you couldn't possibly understand" is a Peter Kreeft paraphrase of several chapters of the Book of Job.
I have also realized the inherent truth wrapped up in that statement. I cannot understand the ways of God.
This week, the Sword of the Spirit held its International Women's Conference at the St. John's Retreat Center in Plymouth, Michigan. This conference occurs every four years and this year, it was the Word of Life's turn to host. (WOL is my home community.)
On Monday afternoon, I received a phone call requesting my services as an interpreter for a talk that would be given in English on Tuesday afternoon; it needed to be interpreted for the Hispanohablantes present. I agreed to do this. Going into it, I was nervous but it went well-over all. I had to do some simultaneous translation that was far from planned. But it went well. And I'm glad I did it.
While I was at the retreat center, I ran into a woman named Rosario who is a leader in the community in Vitoria, Spain-which I visited while in Bilbao. It was SO good to see her. And she asked me when I was going to return to Vitoria. I replied soon.
The day before, a young man from Vitoria with whom I am facebook friends asked me when I would be returning to Vitoria; I replied when God provides me with the time and the money.
Today, I took two women from Honduras to the Twelve Oaks mall in Novi. It was a lesson in patience as I translated between them and various sales clerks. But it was good.
This evening, I attended a social event for all Word of Life women and the women attending the conference. While talking to a woman from Glasgow, she asked me if I was planning on doing a GAP year. I said yes, I was thinking about it BUT I want to wait until after I graduate. She asked me if I had met any of the women from Spain who were with us. I said yes.
And then I realized that I'm being recruited-by both Man and God. I think I'm supposed to do a GAP year-after I graduate, por fa- and I'm supposed to go to Vitoria.
If this is indeed the will of God, then I will do it.

I'd also really like it if the Red Wings won.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On Second Thought

Dear Jane Austen,

I have read all of your books-excepting Sanditon and the stories you wrote as a child. And I have a few complaints. First of all, very few guys I know enjoy your books. Now maybe you don’t mind that. But I am a bit tired of mentioning your books and immediately see eyes rolling and boys sighing and suddenly they’re all on the floor sleeping when all I said was “I just finished reading Persuasion and now I need a new book to read.” But we can’t talk about Red Wings hockey like I wanted now because all the boys are on the floor sound asleep. They won’t even give you a chance because you have this reputation as the empress of chick lit or something like that.

Now I understand that you were a good writer. And I know some men who appreciate that. I know some guys who like your books. I know men who have given you a shot and admitted that you’re a decent writer but you’ve got nothing on Patrick McManus. (Sadly, they’re right.) You also have nothing on J.R.R. Tolkien or C.S. Lewis and I really prefer their writings. The movies of their books are also more fun. I’d much rather watch someone fight off Orcs in Moria and then fight the battle of Helm's Deep and then more battles after that than watch the prejudiced Lizzie Bennet marry the proud Mr. Darcy. Or is it the proud Lizzie and the prejudiced Mr. Darcy? It’s so hard to remember or decided. Although, I do need to thank you for one thing; all of your titles are clear except for Pride and Prejudice. I know who Emma is. I know who is Sense (Elinor) and who is Sensibility (Marianne). I know where the titular Persuasion comes into play. I get that Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park are the settings of their respective novels. But who is pride and who is prejudice?

Furthermore, you unwittingly inspired thousands of movies and plays and books. I’m not entirely sure that I’m comfortable with this. The famous P&P rivalry/dynamic is mimicked in Shop Around the Corner in the 1930’s. Okay, that was fine. But then there was every other chick flick made between then and then End of Time. The same dynamic is present in 1998’s You’ve Got Mail. It’s in Bride and Prejudice, which was inspired by Pride and Prejudice. You’ve got a million girls around the world in love with Fitzwilliam Darcy or Joe Fox or whoever is the latest incarnation of him-including in 2003’s Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy. It’s a bit boring.

And what is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO great about Mr. Darcy anyway? Okay so he’s handsome and he owns Pemberley. Hot Fuzz! But he’s so proud and arrogant and conceited. I don’t think he ever really learns his lesson. Oh, sure, he does great things to woo Lizzie. He makes her sister marry Wickham and takes care of everything for them financially. And he does it all because he loves Lizzie and he wants to marry her-not because he’s a good and decent person. I’m just not that crazy about Darcy. I’m not really sure that he ever has a change of heart. I know that Captain Wentworth has a change of heart. And Emma matures and grows up. But Mr. Darcy just kind of sits there and says, “I’m rich. Worship me. Marry me. Have my babies. Your family is stupid.” Okay, her family is ridiculous. But come on, Jane. He needs a little maturity.

Oh and I’ve always liked Persuasion more than Pride and Prejudice. I like You’ve Got Mail. And I love Shop Around the Corner but I’ve always been a BIG James Stewart fan. Colin Firth is decent but he's no Cary Grant.

I also think you would have enjoyed Gladiator and Braveheart.

Sincerely yours,

A Concerned Fan

Monday, May 4, 2009

Maybe I'll just shut up

Ben hasn't replied. I don't really care.
Donal has commented; please see below.

And a new voice has spoken. My good (albeit French-Canadian) friend, Michel, has said that he feels that no guy should speak on this issue until he reads the book himself. Thusly, he intends to (possibly; you never really know with him) read P&P himself and then give his opinion. If/When he does, I will share it with you.

Here's a new question about which I have been thinking for a few weeks now:
Every time I'm at Target, I see the movie 13 Going on 30, which is a cute movie that I enjoy. It's also usually on sale/special for either $5 or $7.50. However, I always resist the temptation to buy it because a) the case is pink b) it has a "lipstick" heart drawn around Mark Ruffalo's face and c) it says "Fun and Flirty Edition!" in bright letters. Why does all of this bother me?
If it came in a white or black case, with no heart drawn around Mark Ruffalo's face and no "FUN AND FLIRTY EDITION!" I'd probably buy it-especially for $5. But the girly barf-stuff just really bothers me. WHY?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

We just can't leave well enough alone

Maryn, this is largely in response to you.
So I recently told you that I didn't think that men need to read/watch Pride and Prejudice. I haven't changed my mind. But after telling you that, I posted the following (which is actually only an excerpt) on my blog:
[Go read the post entitled "Wine Glasses, Summer, Zombies, and Laughter"]
So Donal agreed with me. And then Maryn made this comment on my blog:
"I disagree with the "men shouldn't read and enjoy P&P" comment. Totally."
I disagree with her. Then I asked Amy, Lynne, and Mary their opinions and they all agree with me. Men do not need to read or enjoy Jane Austen. I'm not saying that they CANNOT or SHOULD not do it. I'm just saying that I don't think they need to do so. It is a story about women and for women. I think men can learn more about women by talking to women than by reading Pride and Prejudice. I've read that book multiple times and I know guys who have read it. They generally do not enjoy it. And that's okay. I don't like watching Rocky. Why should you like Pride and Prejudice?
And this is mostly getting posted on my had no clue what you were starting when you posted that quotation on your facebook..."
So this is where I (and my intelligent and lovely colleagues Amy, Lynne, and Mary) stand on this issue:
Men do not need to read P&P. They can if they so desire. But they do not need to do so. I should not have used the word "should" in my previous post. I just don't feel that it's really a guy thing. Ben doesn't ask me to watch Rocky with him and my brother doesn't ask me to watch Family Guy with him. (I actually don't know if Ben likes Rocky but for the sake of argument, we'll say he does.) But while they don't ask me to watch Rocky or Family Guy with them, I don't ask them to watch P&P with me.
However, we will watch Gladiator and The Philadelphia Story together. And we can watch the Red Wings together.
But some things belong more to women and others belong more to men.
I'll let you know if Ben has a response.