Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Notes to Friends

Everything is going great in France, I'm even picking up some of the language! I can order coffee, which you know is very important, but not bread. Something about my broken tongue won't let me say it the right way. Domi's seven-year-old cousin is staying with us this week, so we have been working together on our language skills (yes, my brain is at the same level as a seven year old). She taught me "la plage," and I taught her "the beach."

The beach is wonderful here, and so is the food. The first week was hard, and I would have literally killed for something fried. But I made it through and am now enjoying it very much. I have also discovered that I have an addiction to caramel nut ice cream bars, and I am in no hurry to get over it. We better have these things back home. We have ice cream all the time. After lunch, in the afternoon, and after dinner. For serious. Thank you to all the people who have been texting me, you are amazing!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hello all!
I'm sorry if you are checking this and not seeing anything new. I've had a hard time finding internet, and really don't have much time today. Domitille and I finally found an internet cafe and will hopefully be coming here many more times. Everything is great here. The weather is very hot in the south of France, and we are getting very tan. We spent one weekend in Poland for a wedding (think "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" and you're not too far off) and on Sunday we went to Spain. Thank you all for all the prayers and support. Love you all!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Seaside Down Time

My mom calls it a "French Riviera" tan -- I'm darker on the front side because I sit in a lounge chair reading all afternoon without turning over. We spend afternoons on the deck by the pool. In the evening, we always go to the beach. It is about a 5 minute walk from their house.

There is no Internet service at this house, but I can receive text messages from my family and friends (hint-hint).

Monday, July 20, 2009

Polish Wedding in Krakow

It reminds me of "Big, Fat, Greek Wedding"... it kept going on and on.
walking around Krakow with Domi and Remi

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Quotes on meditation (from Eat, Pray, Love)

If you sit down with the pure intention to meditate, whatever happens next is none of your business.

Instead of trying to forceful take thoughts out of your mind, give your mind something better to play with. Something healthier.
Like what?
Like love. Like pure divine love.

When I ask my mind to rest into stillness, it is astonishing how quickly it will turn (1) bored, (2) angry, (2) depressed, (4) anxious or (5) all of the above.

Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the "monkey mind" - the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts make me happy, but - whoop! - how quickly I swing again into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it's the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.

Along the Seine River

Notre Dame Cathedral

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Anne Wortham

"Fellow Americans,
"Please know: I am black; I grew up in the segregated South. I did not vote for Barack Obama; I wrote in Ron Paul’s name as my choice for president. Most importantly, I am not race conscious. I do not require a black president to know that I am a person of worth, and that life is worth living. I do not require a black president to love the ideal of America.
"I cannot join you in your celebration. I feel no elation. There is no smile on my face. I am not jumping with joy. There are no tears of triumph in my eyes. For such emotions and behavior to come from me, I would have to deny all that I know about the requirements of human flourishing and survival – all that I know about the history of the United States of America, all that I know about American race relations, and all that I know about Barack Obama as a politician. I would have to deny the nature of the "change" that Obama asserts has come to America. Most importantly, I would have to abnegate my certain understanding that you have chosen to sprint down the road to serfdom that we have been on for over a century. I would have to pretend that individual liberty has no value for the success of a human life. I would have to evade your rejection of the slender reed of capitalism on which your success and mine depend. I would have to think it somehow rational that 94 percent of the 12 million blacks in this country voted for a man because he looks like them (that blacks are permitted to play the race card), and that they were joined by self-declared "progressive" whites who voted for him because he doesn’t look like them. I would have to be wipe my mind clean of all that I know about the kind of people who have advised and taught Barack Obama and will fill posts in his administration – political intellectuals like my former colleagues at the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
"I would have to believe that "fairness" is equivalent of justice. I would have to believe that man who asks me to "go forward in a new spirit of service, in a new service of sacrifice" is speaking in my interest. I would have to accept the premise of a man that economic prosperity comes from the "bottom up," and who arrogantly believes that he can will it into existence by the use of government force. I would have to admire a man who thinks the standard of living of the masses can be improved by destroying the most productive and the generators of wealth.
Finally, Americans, I would have to erase from my consciousness the scene of 125,000 screaming, crying, cheering people in Grant Park, Chicago irrationally chanting "Yes We Can!" Finally, I would have to wipe all memory of all the times I have heard politicians, pundits, journalists, editorialists, bloggers and intellectuals declare that capitalism is dead – and no one, including especially Alan Greenspan, objected to their assumption that the particular version of the anti-capitalistic mentality that they want to replace with their own version of anti-capitalism is anything remotely equivalent to capitalism.
"So you have made history, Americans. You and your children have elected a black man to the office of the president of the United States, the wounded giant of the world. The battle between John Wayne and Jane Fonda is over – and that Fonda won. Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern must be very happy men. Jimmie Carter, too. And the Kennedys have at last gotten their Kennedy look-a-like. The self-righteous welfare statistics in the suburbs can feel warm moments of satisfaction for having elected a black person. So, toast yourselves: 60s counter-cultural radicals, 80s yuppies and 90s bourgeois bohemians. Toast yourselves, Black America. Shout your glee Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Berkeley. You have elected not an individual who is qualified to be president, but a black man who, like the pragmatist Franklin Roosevelt, promises to – Do Something! You now have someone who has picked up the baton of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. But you have also foolishly traded your freedom and mine – what little there is left – for the chance to feel good. There is nothing in me that can share your happy obliviousness.
-Anne Wortham, November 6, 2008

Monday, July 6, 2009

Another quote...

From "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert:
"Moreover, I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that's not fair to say. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my a**, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time-everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.
"I do not relay these facts about myself with pride, but this is how it's always been."

Eat Pray Love...

From Elizabeth Gilbert's book:
"Please go to this pizzeria. Order the margherita pizza with double mozzarella. If you do not eat this pizza when you are in Naples, please lie to me later and tell me that you did."
So Sofie and I have come to Pisseria da Michele, and these pies we have just ordered-one for each of us-are making us lose our minds. I love my pizza so much, in face, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with this pizza, almost an affair. Meanwhile, Sofie is practically in tears over hers, she's having a metaphysical crisis about it, she's begging me, "Why do they even bother trying to make pizza in Stockholm? Why do we even bother eating food at all in Stockholm?"
Pizzeria da Michele is a small place with only two rooms and one nonstop oven. It's about a fifteen-minute walk from the train station in the rain, don't even worry about it, just go. You need to get there fairly early in the day because sometimes they run out of dough, which will break your heart. By 1:00pm, the streets outside the pizzeria have become jammed with Neapolitans trying to get into the place, shoving for access like they're trying to get space on a lifeboat. There's not a menu. They have only two varieties of pizza here-regular and extra cheese. None of this new age southern California olives-and-sum-dried-tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough , it takes me half my meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza crust-thin and crispy, or thick and doughy. How was I to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and dough? Holy of holies! Thin, dough, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance, much the same way one shimmering movie star in the middle of a party brings a contract high of clamour to everyone around her. It's technically impossible to eat this thing, of course. You try to take a bite off your slice and the gummy crust folds, and the hot cheese runs away like topsoil in a landslide, makes a mess of you and your surroundings, but just deal with it!"

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Articles on Idolatry

Just some things from Bible Study that I thought would be nice to share. Not a lot of thoughts about them, but please leave your comments and I will pass them on :)

The secret life that will never know...

So, when I was putting my summer list together I thought it would be good to read "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd. The books I read depend on the mood I'm in, so I usually have three or four going at once, so I can have a choice. Today was the third time I have tried reading it with no luck at all! Someone tell me it gets better after chapter 5??!!

Reading List for the Summer

Before we begin, let me state, for the record, that this list is in no way binding in any way shape or form. I reserve the right to change it at any time, and to not finish it if so desired!

The Wednesday Letters
My Sisters Keeper
The Four Loves
Surprised by Joy
Eat, Pray, Love
Father of the Bride
The Secret Life of Bee's
The Man Who Was Thursday
The Scarlet Letter
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
The God Delusion
Joan of Arc
The Virginian
Sinners in the Hands of an Argry God
The Celestial Railway
The Turn of the Screw
Ben Franklin's autobiography
The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Books, oh so many books...

I know I haven't written much lately, but I've been reading quite a bit! I have found that the books I am supposed to be reading, seem less and less appealing. I have however picked up several books over the last few weeks and enjoyed them very much.
Last week I spent three wonderful days at the lake soaking up the sun and reading 'My Sisters Keeper'. I was thrilled with how well written the book was! I found myself laughing and crying much more than I expected. While in the midst of a hockey game, I was nearing the end of the book much sooner than I realized. If you know anything about hockey the periods are 17 minutes long. I missed the entire 2 period because I found myself sitting in the woman's restroom with many used tissues! Now, I will confess that the purpose of reading this book was to go see the movie. Let it be stated now that you should read the movie first! It has always been a rule of my mothers, and I am adapting it to my own life. I won't go in to great detail about the movie, because that is the whole purpose of seeing it for yourself (although I will recommend taking plenty of tissues!). It was well acted, and they did stay pretty close to the original story line. I took the advice of a friend and didn't have any expectations going in to the theater, which did help immensely.
Quotes from the book:
"Maybe who we are isn't so much about what we do, but rather what we're capable of when we least expect it."
"When you love someone you let them take care of you."
"A real friend isn't capable of feeling sorry for you."
"You don't love someone because they're perfect," she says. "You love them in spite of the fact they're not."
"Doubt thou that the stars are fire;
Doubt thou that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt that I love. -William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Thursday, July 2, 2009

BBC Reading List

Apparently the BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books on the BBC big read top 100 book list. It is on my Bucket List to read all of these books, but after Becca's review of Bleak House, I might not be able to :)

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate FactoyRoald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo