Tuesday, August 29

THIS IS MY DAY.

another piece of genius from Toothpaste For Dinner

Deciding on an academic life.

I'm slowly coming to terms with the idea that I may be meant for a life of academia. It's what I'm good at. It's what I love. And it is becoming clearer every day that I was not meant for a life of relational activities.

This explains why I am not great at my job, and why I don't like it. This explains why the idea of marriage or even courtship is not something I find attractive. This confirms the reason I chose not to continue in my training as a linguistic interpreter. This confirms my reluctance to work with community activities.

Is it selfish, I wonder, to not want to work with people? The reason I ask is that one of my friends says that "the final ontology is relational", meaning that when the final judgment falls on us, God will judge us by how we have treated other people. I know that God will judge us on our deeds, our words, and how they reflect our beliefs.

"Whatever you do, do it with all your heart for the Lord." (Colossians 3:23)

I have to take this into account, but do I take it into account in the sense that it supports my love of books and research, or do I take it to mean that I should find something I'm totally sure about? And "with all your heart" doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to like whatever it is.

"Where your treasure is, there also is your heart." (Matthew 12:34)

Is my heart in books? I don't know; my heart is in helping people, and in writing. Somehow, I have to join the two. I've got faith that this will happen, but I don't know how . . . and my faith is not misplaced, surely it cannot be misplaced.

Anyway, it's been a hard time of it, deciding what I want to do with my life. I still don't know. Maybe I just won't know, ever. Bweh.

Monday, August 14

alliteration on my unmusicianship

The dares of defiance that, from dozens of dear
Musicians from marvelous missives
On albums, act as on-the-air
Challenges and voices of inevitable chiding
To, at, and for me . . . !

That is, they do act that way
And I'm actually wishing to achieve
Maybe one day a merry meeting
Between my bumbling, fumbling, hands
And a carol, a chanson, a song of some serious silliness . . . !

That perhaps maybe might prove some kind of musical competency.

Sunday, August 13

I love I swim.







What kind of dragon are you?




You are a Water dragon. You love being in the water. You love you swim. Also you like some competition but not to much.
Take this quiz!








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Tuesday, August 8

part 2: William the Hero

Shortly thereafter, William's father left with a small retinue of men and did not return for several months; the next message that came to the castle emptied it of fighting men. His father's chair remained empty for the better part of a decade, and William grew to be a man while he waited for the return of his father. It was an eerie time for William when Adam left to be a squire for a knight that served along his father, replacing a man who had died from battle wounds. The day was darker when word came on a slip of parchment wrapped in oilskin, that William's father wished him to be knighted and sent to battle within the fortnight.

A knighting ceremony typically involved a long night of prayer and fasting, several councils of elders and more experienced knights who had known the man about to be knighted, and a ceremony that usually ended in happy feasting.

The council on behalf of William was held in a small room with a low fire; the few older men that stayed behind because they could not fight were surprised to find that William's mother was in attendance.

"It isn't right for a woman to be here!" growled one of them from a chair that had been cushioned for him to save his bruising bones.

"I don't see what we have to say that must needs be said without her," muttered another, bald and smiling into a hundred wrinkles. "There aren't any lads to make fun or lords to offend, unless ye've a mind to bring them out of that cloak."

Wiliam's lady mother closed the door behind herself. "His horse, his weapons, and provisions for his men . . . all this I have tried to make ready before I came. Is there anything I have neglected?" One of her damsels brought forth a sheet of parchment with figures on it, denoting amounts and numbers and a few stewards' marks of approval. The darkness in the room would have made it difficult to read even had the men been sufficiently literate or their eyes been young enough.

Such a message from a quivering and feminine voice struck them to solemnity for a moment, and then to pity.

"Lady, go to thy son," said kindly by the man who was no longer smiling; "my lord is done well by with thee for a wife."

"I cannot." She said, sinking down by the hearth and spreading her hands before the glowing coals. "He is in prayer."

His night of prayer and fasting was lonely and anguished as he lay on the cold stone before the empty altar. How the wind howled! But to prayer: he could hardly find words to say, beyond chanting the familiar prayers said every day at morning masses since his childhood. The priest who was supposed to support him in prayer was dozing against the far wall; when the wind abated, William could hear gentle snoring.

He felt strange to be clothed all in white, pure and holy before the darkness of the altar and the dimly outlined crucifix. Such suffering he felt he endured already. Fatherless! I am fatherless, he thought. A small voice whispered and I have no heir, but was silenced by the wind, or the priest snoring, or William sighing. So cold, it was so cold. He cleared his throat and heard it echo against the unprotected stones in the empty chapel.

For a fleeting moment, he thought he heard something else, and then a moment later he was sure of it--somewhere close, someone was playing a lute, playing a tune he didn't know. He was distracted by the delicate strains of melody and harmony that wove through the darkness and the howling wind to his lonely vigil in the empty chapel. Without being able to track the passing time, William thought he could hear the lute playing until the twilight. Comforted and yet still afraid, William knelt to pray and offered up no words.

Te next day, he was knighted--a friend of his father was sent back wounded, to his own hall, and it was merely in luck that he happened to pass by and offer his sword and nominal authority. William's celebratory feast was little more than a hurried meal in a half-empty hall--less than the farewell they would have given his father's friend had he come in happier time.

In preparing to farewell his mother and his household, he found himself ashamed at having to leave them with patched clothing, withered vegetables and thinning cattle. He hated himself for being powerless to stop the driving force of battle that left behind so little provision, so many blackened doorways, so many orphans, so many widows. The anger at his powerlessness became a driving force that hid away his fears and allowed him to ride away from home without looking back. He lead a group of men scavenged from the countryside and mercenaries, most of them dejected and a few of them wearing their hauberks with an air of decided unfamiliarity.

Monday, August 7

part 1: William the Hero

Most of the boys of his age would have been more than satisfied to be the last standing fighter on the field of scrimmage, cheered on by the score of his friends that lay propped up on their elbows in the summer grass and claiming various invisible wounds inflicted by blunted training weapons. Instead, he stood above his adversary in a worried and unhappy victory, wooden sword poised steadily until the admission of defeat.

"Get up!" he cried, his voice breaking with sudden panic. "Adam, you must get up!"

"Dead! Ibe dead! Williab god be!" yelled Adam, rolling over and getting shakily to his feet. Blood streamed from his nose. "Show be how do do thad?" He grinned a bloody grin and spat a mouthful of gore onto the grass.

"Sure." Slightly nauseated by the smell of his friend's blood, William probably would have agreed to anything his friend had asked.

The boys that lay sprawled nearby cheered William's victory and the end of the game. It had been tiring work, but they still reviewed and reenacted the fight as they struggled to their feet and made their way back towards a postern gate near the stables. The yeomen who had been judging their performance began to follow the boys lazily, picking up neglected weapons as they walked. One of them stopped to check that Adam's wound was no more than a bloody nose; their game had gone on longer than was their wont and it was difficult to see through the dimness of the dusk.

"You're alright." The yeoman held the boy's chin and looked into his face. "Just wash that before you go home, or we'll catch the death from your mother."

William laughed nervously and Adam chuckled. The younger boy ran on ahead to join his comrades, and William started into action, keeping stride with the men as they reached the warmed stones of the outer walls.

That evening at meat William served his father at the high table. The table subjects turned to the most promising pages and squires among those on the scrimmage fields, and William wished they would quit talking about it. His name was spoken of favorably, and his father gave him one quick appraising glance before a messenger came into the hall with a piece of parchment wrapped in oilskin. Such a small piece of paper created a silent wonder in the hall that turned to muffled chaos when the William's father abruptly quit his lordly seat to retire into an inner room with his closest advisors.

Wednesday, August 2

A non-freaky-outy medieval lunch.

DON'T PANIC! IT'S OKAY! THIS IS ME AND MY BLOG! You know me, right? Ok? Calmed down a bit? Man, the things that scare you . . . simply the word "medieval" was enough to make you lose it that time.

Oh? Not you? You were fine?

Yeah, and I bet you'll go out and try a hand at cooking this later, too, right? Well, some of you might, when the windows are shut and the lights are dim so that the neighbors don't get any ideas, making sure your spouse or family isn't home so that you'll have time to make it look like nothing suspicious was going on while they were out.

But down to business. I haven't got all day, you know.

Right. So, normally a well-balanced meal might include one dish of meat and two vegetables. (For example! I'm not talking about pasta dishes or one-pot meals or things of that sort.) Generally, cookbooks tell you to have a balanced group of colors, flavors, and textures for a meal; some savory and some sweet, not to mash everything or have everything be fired to the same consistency on the grill, and not to let the entire meal be a single color. Also, ketchup does not go on everything.

This meal will include a meat dish and two types of vegetables, cooked in different ways and with different textures and different spices. And as a bonus and a personal favor to you, it is easy to make. It is also geared for a single person at a single meal. Example: I just made this for myself for lunch.

The meat that I used was a skinless boneless chicken breast I found in the freezer. I thawed it in the microwave and cut it into slices for faster cooking. On the same cutting board, I chopped up a half of an onion. On another cutting board (or you could just move the food from the cutting board to a dish), I sliced up some carrots (I cheated in the authenticity dept. here because they are modern carrots) into bite size pieces, and also chopped up a half of a slice of bacon into tiny pieces.

In pan 1 on the stove I put a drizzle of olive oil, turned on the heat to a medium temperature, and added the chicken and onion, which began to sizzle. I added salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg, stirring it around and then adding just enough water to cover the pieces of chicken.

In pan 2 I put a little bit of water (maybe a half of an inch?) and a drizzle of honey and put the heat on a low temperature underneath it until I could see it simmering a little bit--that's when I put in the carrots and covered the pan.

Pan 3 I used to cook the slice of bacon until it was browned and the grease was covering the bottom of the pan; then I took the bacon bits and the accompanying grease into a small container and put them aside for the moment. Then I added some frozen peas and a handful/mouthful/.2 cups of water and turned the heat to low so that the veg would simmer.

This is the part where you wait for a few minutes while things cook.

When pan 1 has lost all water in the pan due to it boiling away, add some oregano and thyme and brown the chicken a little. Chicken has compiled!

When the carrots in pan 2 are done, you'll know because it will be easy to stick a knife into the vegetables and it will come out of the veg without you having to argue too much with it. That is the point where you pour the extra water out of the pan and drizzle a long squeeze of honey on top of them and stir it around and turn the heat off. Congratulations! You have just steamed and glazed carrots.

Pan 3 will have soft peas in it that taste good. You'll probably need to drain them, too, unless you put just the right amount of water in. Add a tiny pinch of salt and then add the bacon and its grease. Put back on the heat for a second and stir it up until the whole thing is hot.

In medieval cookbooks, they'd say to "serve it forth", at which point we translate the idiom to approximately "pig in". Serve it on a pottery plate or wooden bowl, and use a spoon and a knife to eat it, if you want to be more authentic. That wasn't so hard . . . and it really isn't that different from a normal home-cooked meal, if you think about it.

All the recipes were taken and adapted from www.godecookery.com, a delicious website.

Tuesday, August 1

The kind of introspection that makes you want to learn French.

To the high annoyance of most of my friends, I tend to take a lot of time in analyzing my own motives.

The part that annoys them is that I am usually wrong, but I don't mean to talk about that (and my wish to sometimes talk about my own motives is a tricky subject since I'm hypersensitive and then it comes across as a selfish way to inject my nearest and dearest with complete and utter, unadulterated misery--even if I never HAVE asked them if they think these pants make me look fat).

Sometimes I hit the right idea, and those times act like gambling machines on retirees . . . very unhealthy but OH SO ADDICTIVE. And as a bonus, I can do it all day long in the comfort of raggy clothes, stopping only to cross streets and complain about the price of coffee.

For example;

I realized on my travels that I like to smile at women who have small children. WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS.

It's a fairly harmless question, like most mundane things. But why is it that I do this thing?

What are my experiences with taking care of children . . . well, for one--being embarrassed when I can't control the annoyance they create for others. I don't like baby-sitting since so many parents have a bajillion parenting styles and even with my training in family systems and growing up with a highly multicultural background, there are no words to explain "what WAS I doing taking Jimmy to the park when clearly it was time for board games" and "why did I not know this song to sing as Emily goes to sleep?" and "why did I mention the word 'bathroom' when the only word that Jenny knows for that is that ambiguous word 'peepee'?" and I can't seem to comprehend why parents get angry when I tell their children that they "can't" do something.

End rant; wrap up: maybe I'm trying to avoid making women uncomfortable who might already feel as if they are a burden to the people holding open doors, carrying things, and stepping aside for them. I would. I have. (Point against: I'm weird that way.)

Also, maybe it is just that I like the fact that people spend time with their children, and I want people being with their children to have some sort of positive reinforcement. I hope I don't come across as a baby-stealing creep, because that wouldn't be good . . . I guess I see a lot of negativity when it comes to people and their children. Lots of people consider children to be a burden and a nuisance. I don't like that.

Maybe deep in my subconscious it is a wish to have children for myself? Ew, that sounds so wrong right now. Can't rule it out, though; a lot of my friends are getting, as my grandmother says, "P.G." . . . and having "kiddlins". Thank goodness I have some obstacles before I have to deal with that sort of vocabulary from her; the traditional steps of boyfriend, fiancee, and husband (preferably the same person who merely changes titles when the convenience strikes) are still firmly in place.

Like you, I'm going with option A, and I think you've made a wise choice. However, as you can see, out time is at an end. Thank you for coming and listening in! Tune in next time on "Introspection: How Low Can You Go?"