Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy All Hallow's Eve/ Halloween/ Reformation Day

In honor of the day...or something...I submit to you a pumpkin carving website. I got it from Julia W., who got it from Layla; and Sahlain Anteth got it from me, and sent it to Noa, Briane, and Kelsey. I lost track of it after that. But it's such a splendid little rounds-maker I just had to share it more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Update on the Origen icon

I inquired of the Oracle--i.e. Dr. Smith--and this is his take on the icon of Origen.

The icon is of Origen. It is a Greek icon and so calls him Saint Origen, though the Western church does not recognize him as a saint because of the condemnation of his Christological views at the Second Council of Constantinople (553, two centuries after his death).

The scroll signifies a holy writer (Origen was a prolific biblical exegete even if theologically shaky at points). The nimbus (gold dinner plate behind his head) indicates a saint, but the flame is peculiar. Usually it shows up in icons of the Pentecost where it represents the Holy Ghost. Here it represents religious zeal (intellectual zeal), perhaps, or (inaccurately) martyrdom (since an ancient account has Origen suffered during the Decian persecution; he died later, though).

The cup contains the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in His Blood. I don't know why this particular feature would be associated with Origen. What I've read doesn't deal with the sacraments at all.

A fun question. Let me know if anyone of my hypotheses is wide of the mark. I am certainly no expert on iconography.

Fortune cookie fortune of the day

This gem is from my fortune-cookie-fortune wall here at the office.

"Depart not from the path which fate has you assigned."

Query: If fate has assigned it, how could you depart even if you wanted to? Doesn't fate affect our wills too?

And I adore the word order. It's so English-as-a-second-language.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Pablo Neruda: "Ode to Salt." I've never read much Neruda, and what I have read generally creeped me out. But this I liked. It's a little surreal, and mournful, mournful. I think Neruda is like Chesterton in his love of things. The poets are not strangely silent on the subject of salt.

Dorothy Parker: "Penelope." Parker's got wit and a point. Her poems remind me of Edna St. Vincent Millay. She may be my favorite new poet (new to me, that is!). I also liked her "Sanctuary."

Elizabeth Bishop: "Sestina." It's a slightly dismal sestina, but sestinas are worth reading anyway. :-)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Creativity, in various forms

I rather think I posted about artist Makoto Fujimura some time ago, but today I came across a longish speech on art and the church and monsters and imagination, also by him. It's quite good. The title sounds rather like "Dawning of the Age of Aquarius," but try not to worry about that. :-)

And you may not yet have seen an article from the National Review Online on "Harry Potter and the Art of Dying Well;" I hadn't, but I rather liked it. It isn't the full story. It didn't mention Dumbledore and Snape's rather questionable approach to killing, but I appreciated its perspective.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The horror, the horror

At least he was interesting... if heretical... and trippy...
You're Origen!

Monday, October 22, 2007

First snow

Good things come when it snows.

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-ting-a-ling too...

We had a few half-hearted flurries last Wednesday. I saw the clouds and sniffed the air, and thought it looked like snow, but figured it was too early. But the next morning they told me we got some anyway.

But the fire inside's delightful, and since we've no place to go...

We had a whole afternoon of the white stuff yesterday. It was a Sunday--hurray!--and Dad and I stayed home and enjoyed ourselves. We built a roaring fire and shared a big pot of Blumenthal Special Roast coffee, and I made pinto beans and cornbread for dinner. There was a ball game on, and a Scrabble game (which Dad won by three points, grr!), and a lovely pile of books. I spent time on Iona with a modern pilgrim and in the court of Louis XV with Madame de Pompadour, which was a combination.

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through white and drifted snow...

Mom and the sister came home from Grandma's yesterday and arrived in time for the fire and a batch of brownies (thank you, soror mea) and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.

Then Jonathan called. It would have been lovely weather for a sleigh ride, here; but where he was, it was a perfect night for sitting in the gazebo and watching the stars over the lake. But a phone call is a good thing to receive in the snow, whichever end the snow is at, and one can hope for a white New Year.

Just like the ones I used to know, where the treetops glisten and children listen to hear sleigh bells in the snow...

This morning dawned (very late, it being this time of year) blue and cold. The ground was just frozen at my house, but as I drove up the hill, I found a thin white frosting that thickened into a ruffly layer over everything. And now the sun is up properly, and the eaves have all turned into slim flashing waterfalls, and the yellow leaves on the willow opposite are shaking themselves, much as to say, "What was that?"

In the meadow we can build a snowman, and pretend that he is Parson Brown...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

To Narnia and the north

I'm sitting at my computer, back to a window, and I can see in my monitor a reflection. It's of a sunlit wooden pillar, and the shadow of a pine branch is waving on it, blown by the same wind as its parent tree. I love watching the reflection of a shadow.

It reminds me a bit of Narnia. When Digory planted the golden apple in his front yard in England, you remember, often the daughter tree would sway on calm nights, out of friendliness for its home garden where there was a high wind.

Last night at church a little boy was watching a big yellow backhoe dig a trench. He and his dad and I looked out the kitchen window and saw it scoop, dump, back up, and scoop again. We got to talking: what if the trench went to Narnia? And what if we could follow it, swim along it, or even float down it?

There's something glorious about a little boy and a construction site. He watched the machine dig with the intensity ordinarily reserved for Deep Magic. They really are fascinating, though I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been with him. So I suppose it makes sense to think of it digging to Narnia--or the Northern Frontier, which was the other possibility. Why not?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Farsi of the day

This Farsi word is one I tripped over in the dictionary when I was actually looking for "barghy" (electricity). But this one, "bargardandan," tickled me. It means "to upset." That so works.
"You really shouldn't have bargardandi the cat."

Monday, October 15, 2007

Farsi of the day

Today's Farsi is "gerba," meaning "cat." I illustrated. :-)

By their fruit you shall know them

Many and many a year ago--maybe in 2002--I was in Virginia and came across a strange tree with little orangey fruits on it.

"What is it?" I asked one of my fellow trail-walkers, probably Ben A. (He's the one I generally asked such things.)

"It's a persimmon tree," quoth he.

"Persimmons! How glorious!" I'd always wondered what manner of thing a persimmon might be. And now I knew.

Then last week, I was again walking along there, and the persimmon tree presented itself to my attention. The little orangey persimmons were peppering the trail. "Look, Jonathan! It's a persimmon tree!"

"Cool!" quoth he.

And I thought no more about it until Saturday. The sister and I were walking along behind the post office--our very own post office, that's been there half of forever--and lo and behold, I found a tree, with persimmons peppering the sidewalk below. "Look, Em!" quoth I. "It's a persimmon tree!"

To think, I had to go clear to Virginia to find what a persimmon tree was, and then found one right here. :-)

Quote of the day

"I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt that someone came and stole all my scrapbooking papers and sold them at a yard sale. So I went and collected them all—because they were Communists and redistributing the wealth of scrapbook materials—and they came and stole them again. And I went and collected them again. But by then it was kind of a bother because some of them had been sold and I didn’t get them all back." --Amelia

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Update on the mice

Queen Anne is a good name; one always remembers to use the feminine pronoun when referring to her. Poor Bing, however, had to put up with a fair number of him-er-her's. I think Bing Crosby was dancing through the backs of our minds, leaving his pronouns like footprints.

So we changed it. She, the mouse, is now Lady Jane Bing, in a nod to Pride and Prejudice and a sort of vague glimpse of a thought toward Henry VIII. It seems to work, though; both Anne and Bing generally get their proper pronouns now.

And they are getting less fearful. They won't actually ask me to pick them up, but Bing cuddled quite contentedly this evening.

Now, if they would just refrain from running on the wheel all night...

Saturday, October 13, 2007


"A house is not a home without a mouse."

I've had that stamp for a couple years, but never took it too seriously.

That is, I absolutely adored some mice at the pet store last summer, but when Mom pointed out that we had a cat, I accepted her logic. I was just doomed to be homeless, or something.

But when I arrived home Tuesday night, my family had a pile of presents waiting, and in the very first one, I found these two little beauties.

They're both young lady mice, the darker one being named Bing and the paler Queen Anne. They're rather cherry-like, actually. :-) This was the exciting purchase that the sister called to tell me about at the concert Friday night, as some of you may remember.

Lilly, my cat, has been very interested in them, but hasn't tried to eat them yet. I've kept them in their cage or else their little bubbles, to roll around in, and not given her an opportunity to sin. Queen Anne flips out whenever Lilly comes near, but Bing takes the matter much more sedately. Once she actually rolled toward the cat, which disconcerted her.

Hurray! I have mousies now! That would be "mushha" in the Farsi. Hm...if I'm the mouse-mistress, does that make me a mousestress?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


My blog, as some of you may have noticed, has been rather quiet this last week. I flew out to Virginia, and had no internet access to speak of; but now I'm back in the desert and the doctor's office and cyberspace. :-) Pretty much everything this week involved hanging out with Jonathan. I shall attempt not to use his name more than, oh, every other word, but you can be sure he was very present.
Kay picked me up at the airport Wednesday night and took me out to dinner. Jonathan was waiting for me the moment I arrived on campus. :-)
Thursday I helped Juli watch one of the professor's little girls, went on a brief photo rampage, and socialized all day. I socialized with the wing girls, and Dr. Libby, and Guthrie and Turner, and Dr. Hake. Then Jonathan's mother came, and Jonathan and I had dinner with her. I think we all enjoyed ourselves heartily, and then I went to Blackberry's that evening. It's a charming coffee shop in what used to be Cami's Paperie, another establishment I adored, and Blackberry's is almost good enough I didn't miss Cami's.
Friday was my birthday. We went for a nice long walk, bought a great many books, made it back in time to watch the soccer team quash Christendom in an awesome overtime shootout, and then the Peasalls did a concert! I can get excited about that! And then I got to socialize with Ben and Lisa and Kanary, and it was good.
Saturday... oh yes! The alumni meeting. That afternoon, Lisa and I went to a colonial fair, and in the evening we had a lovely swing dance.
We got up, with some difficulty, and went to church Sunday morning; I went to Jonathan's church and met one of Kay's students from last year. We met up with Ben and Lisa for the afternoon and touristed in Alexandria. I can recommend it. :-) I even got to go to evening worship, and oh, it was good.
Monday was my last day on-campus, and I spent most of it off campus with my friend Sarah. We hung out at her house (cute) with her husband and son (also cute) and then had lunch at a Mexican place in Leesburg that claimed to have New Mexican food. It was all right, but not very New Mexican. Then I hung out with Jonathan a bit more, and then we went over to Ben and Kanary's for dinner and Macbeth commentary. We'd been waiting for that night a long, long time. I was actually there for half an hour longer than at Lisa's house, which is where I slept afterwards. :-)
And Tuesday I came home. That was my trip. Everyone who kept me, visited with me, gave me birthday wishes or presents, or was otherwise wonderful: thank you so much. It was good to see you. :-)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Farsi of the day

This, "ghaza-y khoshmaze," is "tasty food." Today (dar vastruz) the good doctor (doktor-e khub) will take us out for ghaza-y khoshmaze. I am looking forward to it; and perhaps at the end, I will post a fortune cookie fortune. :-)

Song of the day

This morning, as I was driving up, the air was full of a mist coming up from the ground, and the sun coming over the Sangres turned it all golden. It was so like that scene in Fellowship of the Rings when Galadriel gives gifts to the travelers, as they float down the river to Rauros, golden Rauros-falls.

Anyway, the song of the day is Leaving on Jet Plane, which is apparently by John Denver.

"But he didn't originally record it; it might have been Peter Paul and Mary." The good doctor
"I thought they were dead." Amelia
"It was strongly suggested to me I go to their concert in Wolf Trap last weekend." Me
"They must not be very dead." Amelia
"Not if they're giving a concert." Me

All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go
I'm standin' here outside your door.
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin.
It's early morn.
The taxis waitin'.
He's blowin his horn
Already I'm so lonesome I could die.

So kiss me and smile for me.
Tell me that you'll wait for me.
Hold me like you'll never let me go, 'cause
I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when Ill be back again.
Oh babe, I hate to go.

There's so many times I've let you down
So many times I've played around
I tell you now, they don't mean a thing.
Ev'ry place I go, I'll think of you.
Ev'ry song I sing, I'll sing for you.
When I come back, I'll bring your wedding ring.

So kiss me and smile for me.
Tell me that you'll wait for me.
Hold me like you'll never let me go, 'cause
Im leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when I'll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go.

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time.
Let me kiss you
Then close your eyes.
I'll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won't have to leave alone
About the times, I won't have to say

Oh, kiss me and smile for me.
Tell me that you'll wait for me
Hold me like you'll never let me go
'cause I'm leavin on a jet plane
Don't know when Ill be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go.

But, I'm leavin' on a jet plane
Don't know when Ill be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go.

Monday, October 01, 2007


This morning I was talking to a patient about his recent trip to Norway, and he surprised me by saying that Norway, since it's that whole north coast of Europe, actually goes farther east than Istanbul. Look at the map! It really does!