Monday, January 28, 2008

Some Paintings

I've been photographing some paintings this week. These aren't new pieces, but for various reasons I hadn't photographed them before. In the process, I realized I haven't kept any of the pictures I've drawn in about the last 3 years, and I don't have pictures of most of those either. So here's to keeping better records.



Still in Progress:

Wedding Bells and the Nobel prize for literature

The "sisters before misters" club lost another member to matrimony yesterday. My cousin Shelly married Jon at a little conference center tucked back in the woods in Canby. It rained all day and froze too, but anything less would have been disappointingly un-Oregonian, so touting umbrellas and dodging mud puddles just added to the fun. We're thankful nobody slipped and fell on the slick sidewalks. This is my second cousin to get married so far, which leaves a potential 19 weddings left to go among my first cousins--the fun is just getting started!

I've been working on several project this week, including getting ready to submit some writing to publishers. I've been researching publishers and learning about the process off and on for several years, but haven't got around to (or felt confident enough) to submit anything, but I have one that is ready and a couple of viable ideas now, so I'm going to do it blitz style and try to make some real progress on it in the first quarter of this year. And now that I'm telling you all, I'll have to follow through...

I've also been working on my German. They say it's good to use vocabulary words in a sentence to help it stick in your memory, so yesterday I came up with a way to use all 30 of my verb vocabulary words in one sentence. Sure beat writing 30 sentences.

Thanks to all you who voted on the alligator bag polls. I have decided to abide by majority rule in this case and keep the bag (I liked it all along anyway), and it's been in service now for over a week. It's working out quite well, and it's a good thing it's not any bigger since I've inherited a disposition to pack a purse to capacity.

So other than my cousin's wedding, here's the most exciting stuff that happened this week: I bought a pastry blender, the most important item on my list of things to buy for Europe since they are impossible to find over there. I knew my brothers had been in my room when I found wads of paper stuffed in the toes of my shoes. I got some new running britches (inspiration to run!) and went shopping at the craft store--the huge, wonderful, bursting-with-creativity craft store to which nothing in Basel compares! :) And even though I went in to "just look around" I came out with 6 packs of scrapbooking stickers, some die cuts, some paper, and some acid-free pens too. As I was perusing the paper aisles (yes, aisles plural) I overheard two other girls talking, and one complaining, "oh, why did you make me come with you!?" as she put more paper in her basket. The store is that powerful! It makes us do all kinds of things we don't want to do. Scrapbooking for instance? Totally a soccer mom kind of activity. I do it utterly against my will.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A superfluity of naughtiness

Isn't that a great phrase? "superfluity of naughtiness." I'm borrowing mom's King James Bible today and ran across that phrase in the book of James. Fantastic phrase, if you ask me! I suspect it's language like that that keeps the King James translation in use today. The verse is talking about things we're supposed to put aside as followers of Jesus. In more contemporary English it says "putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls." It was more striking to me, however, in the KJV today because when I was little, the reason I decided to become a christian in the first place was because I knew I was "naughty"--a totally sneaky little rascal--and I knew it didn't please God. I was so impressed that he loved me anyway, and had gone out of his way for me. Sometimes I think that I had a better appreciation then than I do now for just how much I need God's forgiveness--I'm still a rascal, but a lot better at justifying it now. :) So it was a good reminder today that whether 4 years old or 22 years old, there's no room for a superfluity of naughtiness in the life of someone who is set on following Jesus.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

busy busy busy

Hi! I promise there's a blog entry coming soon--I've been working on it in my head all week and just haven't had two spare hours to write it. Here's the quick and dirty version of what's been going on:

1) I Finished and turned in one of my major homework assignments due over the break (if you ever want to know anything about the Basel Mission, just ask...). Stayed up until 4:30 am Sunday night/Monday to get it done, but it wasn't so bad. Brian was up late looking at muscle cars on the Internet (trying to convince me to go half on a Duster, in fact), we were listening to "The Battle of New Orleans," ("In 1814 we tooka little trip, along with colonel Jackson down the mighty missassip") and I was wearing my fight club shirt that I got at the Brad Paisley concert last year. It says "pain is just weakness leaving the body" on the back, which I thought was appropriate for an all-nighter on the homework. Sleep is for wimps, right?

2) Why did I have to stay up so late, you might ask!? Well, I deployed a number of procrastination techniques earlier in the week, including but not limited to running, petting my cat, driving 7 miles for a cup of coffee, and not least, watching the 5.5 hour BBC pride and prejudice with Anne and my mom. Such a splendid movie! :)Well-worth staying up all night to make up for it.

3) I might get to help out with a George Fox University juniors abroad trip to South Africa this spring. Paul Otto is co-leading the trip with another guy, and they think it might be good to have a girl leader along too, and of course, I would get credit in my own program for the project since it directly relates to my study area.

4) I bought a new laptop bag, which you will find a picture of below. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep it yet, though. It's red, and a faux alligator fabric. I like it, but one can't be too careful when selecting a bag--I have to really be comfortable being seen with it every day in public! So, to help me determine my own feelings on the matter, I am soliciting your input. On the right hand side of the blog, you'll find two polls: one for men, and one for women. The two separate polls will allow me to adjust the results to account for gender confounding. So remember--this is for posterity, so be honest and vote on your own gender's poll.

Brian was kind enough to model the bag:

5) Mom is still feeling good. She hasn't started radiation yet, but she will soon. Thanks for your prayers for her and for us. Pray that she and dad won't be anxious about her radiation, and that she'll have a good sense for how much rest needs (and will actually take time to rest).

6) I'm starting to keep an eye out for a cheaper place to rent in Basel starting either in the summer or the fall. If anyone knows anyone who might like to have a talkative american renter or roommate move in, let me know!!

That's all for now!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Dinner in the woods!

The problem with making friends all over the world is that then no matter where you live, you'll be missing someone, or a lot of someones. I am starting to miss my friends and especially my bible study group in Basel, but I'm also enjoying catching up with some friends here.

Last night a couple of my college roommates (see pics) and I had dinner at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse. I was nominated to select the restaurant this time, and although I wanted to head to the beach and eat at Camp 18, the lumberjack log cabin (they make some great cornbread!), Dad and Grandpa were opposed to the idea of braving the coast range summit without snow tires. The roadhouse turned out to be a good alternative though, with it's barn-like reclaimed construction materials and cozy atmosphere. No cornbread though. We were in a corner booth and outside lights were strung from tree to tree in the woods. It's really pretty there, and easy to forget that a shopping center and the highway are on the other side of those trees.

Jessica was down from Seattle for her cousin's wedding and Christi was up from California on break from her graduate studies in nutrition. These are my two scientist roommates. The three of us shared a room my last term at George Fox, and I think I heard more that semester about germs and cadavers and bodily functions than I have heard living with my brothers for the whole rest of my life!! That trend continues when we get together, but now it tends to be more nutrition/epidemiology focused and I must say I appreciate their insight. For instance, just last night I learned that preliminary studies show that eating pomegranates and blueberries may reduce chances of developing Alzheimer's and generally promote longevity. That's helpful information, don't you think? We talk about a lot of other stuff too, and I am so thankful for their friendship! They are fun, smart, encouraging women!

I gave them both chocolate fondue pots from Migros, and neither of them recognized what they were meant for right away, even though they both like fondue! But I think they were pleased with the gift once they knew what it was for. :) Speaking of Christmas presents, Jessica got snowshoes for Christmas!!! How cool is that!? Remind me to ask for snowshoes next year. And maybe a cabin on a lake while I'm at it too.

Homework calls; I should answer. Laters!

Some old pictures of Jessica and Christi and me in some of our many fun times together! This is Jess and me last spring (?) on top of Mary's Peak in Oregon.

Running around Canada in May, 2006:

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Happy 2008!

I know it's been 2008 for four days now, but still, my last blog didn't end up being very serious, so I thought I should write about something more substantial than my recently transient lifestyle.

I've kinda been on a John Denver Kick lately. Last week I "dedicated" the song "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" to my little brother, who is looking more and more like a country boy ever since he traded in his skater shoes and rock star look for a pair of work boots and flannel shirts from Coastal Farms! I like dedicating poetry to Brian, usually verses borrowed from Shakespeare or Robert Burns and modified to better describe Brian. I post them on the refrigerator for the entertainment of the neighbors when they come by--lines like "Shall I compare Brian to a Summer's day? He is more brawny and more fair..."--and besides that, I'm pretty sure finding romantic poems about himself pinned around the house makes him feel loved, and that of course is the point.

I seldom dedicate songs, however this song was already so well suited to Brian that I couldn't resist and that started off a John Denver trend in my house. Brian and I listened to "Country Boy" while we baked biscuits to go with our stew the other night (if baking biscuits in winter doesn't make a person feel like a pioneer, I don't know what will). I heard Dad singing harmony to "Back Home Again" later that day, and Mom! I came down stairs the next day to find her watching old John Denver clips on You Tube! So as you can see, his music has been a presence here the last few days.

I am so proud of my brothers. Brian's contractor business is up and off the ground and he's working on his logo and advertising scheme. It's all coming together! We even have stocking hats that say "Alexander Construction" on them, and I can't wait to wear mine, even though advertising in Switzerland probably wont do him much good. And then there is Gregg. I'm working with him again, and I am so impressed when I listen to him talking with the bosses about all these ideas and technologies and stuff I don't understand!! So if you need advice on construction or video technology...I can set you up with some smart guys.

So-with a new year upon us and double the usual barrage of weight loss ads everywhere I turn, I have been thinking about new year's resolutions. I don't really do resolutions, but I do think about what I've been busy with for the last year. What was important to me in 2007--not so much what did I verbalize as important, but what did I invest in? How did I spend my time? Did I share my life with others? Did I work to sharpen the skills I have and learn new things, to be better equipped in my job(s) and hobbies? Did I listen for the voice of the "True Shepherd" as Quakers often refer to God? Jesus said his sheep know his voice and they follow him, like real sheep trail predictably after their shepherd's voice. Was I predictable like them, or off doing my own thing?? well, don't worry, I don't plan on telling you the answers to all those questions. :) I just thought I'd mention the TOPICS I'm thinking about, and if you want to know the details, you can ask, and have the pleasure of hearing me say "none of your beeswax." :P Or maybe I'll tell you.
I do hope to learn BUNCHES of German in 2008!! Vocabulary and Grammar GALORE! I'd also like to draw a bit more than I have been, and try to publish a little story--that one I wrote in Ecology class (which could explain why that was a tough final for me...). Anywhoo. Happy 2008! Walk close to the Father.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Celebrity Steph

"Cause when you’re a celebrity
It’s adios reality
You can act just like a fool
And people think you’re cool
Just cause [you're an expat].
I can throw a major fit
When my latte isn't just how I like it
They say I've gone insane
I'll blame it on the fame
And the pressures that go with....
Being a Celebrity"

-Celebrity lyrics (more or less), Brad Paisley

It may not be the conventional way to achieve celebrity status, but I think I have stumbled upon perhaps the easiest way to become a local celebrity. You don't have to be talented or think you're talented for this to work. Nor does it involve embarrassing stunts like leaking incriminating video tapes to the press, or being photographed wearing less than optimal clothing. It's simpler than that! All you have to do--are you listening? All it takes is casually dropping the following phrase into normal conversation as you run errands or go about your work. Just say, "I actually live in Switzerland right now, but I'm home for the holidays." POOF! Instant gushing sure to follow. :)

Or at least that's been my experience. Why didn't I think of this sooner--like years ago?? It works on almost any audience too, it seems. For example,
the Starbucks barista: "Oh, dude, that is sooo awesome. I love snowboarding; I've always wanted to go to Switzerland."
Or the Genealogy- but not necessarily geographically-minded. "Switzerland! I bet that's AMAZING. I'm half Swedish in fact."
Your elders: "That's wonderful, young lady! Such a good educational opportunity."
Your peers: "So-do you have a Swiss boyfriend yet?"
Your above-average criminal: "Cool. I always keep my money in Switzerland too."

So you see, no matter who you're talking to or what the circumstance is, you could be an instant celebrity too. Just remember, say it with a smile: "I actually live in Switzerland"