Friday 30 April 2010

Crocs' Epic Fail

I love Crocs.  I really, really do.  Ever since my mom bought me my first pair four years ago, I've worn one pair or another pretty much every day.  Largely it's been the Endeavour (the closed version of the original), but in the past two years I've branched out: Troika, Alice, Celeste, Mammoth,Gretel... and I love them.  However, the Lily-- never again.  Most uncomfortable shoes ever.
I've tried them with hose, with socks, with tights, with bare feet... nothing helps.  They. Are.  Rubbish. 

Blech.  Don't buy these.  Buy pretty much any other, but these. 

Friday 23 April 2010

Celebrities Have All the Fun...

Sport relief.  Water skiing the English Channel.  Biking the length of Britain non stop.  Biking from Rome to Edinburgh for six nations.  Let's dance.  Kayaking the Amazon, the first woman ever. Fantastic sketches for fundraisers.  And Becks.  Oh, Lord, Becks.  Dumb as a rock, perhaps.  Looks of a god, oh yes.  Heart of gold?  Completely.  Who knew?

It's a little long, but it's totally worth it.  At least watch long enough to see David Beckham.  I'm pretty sure you won't regret it. 

I have loads more videos from the Sport Relief show... but I'll refrain.  You can find them on YouTube through the BBC channel, if you want.  They are quite funny, even if you don't live here.  =D

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Friendly Blog Plug

If you've ever lived abroad and moved back 'home' again;

if you've ever been married to a nerd highly educated person, or are one yourself;

if you've ever had wee ones, or simply love others' wee ones;

if you've ever worked;

if you've ever enjoyed reading things that are well-written, well-thought out;

if you've ever had a dream or a gift or a hobby...

then you should check out my friend Becky's blog

The Holloways were in Aberdeen for two years while Trey earned his second PhD, where I got to know Becky through book club.  They are now new homeowners in the City of Brotherly Love (thereabouts), with three adorable wee ones.  And Becky is a writer.  I mean that in the best possible way.  She herself says she has a novel in her, if she can just find the time to write it, and her blog is always a pleasure to read.  She's witty and insightful and just plain good at communicating. 

And, in case you need a little incentive, right now she's running a contest.  I'm pretty sure that even if you go there just to enter, you'll be back.  =)

Tuesday 20 April 2010

The Rising Age of Retirement

Poor guy.  He's had it tough.  Working day and night, for at least fifteen years now.  Putting up with moving, travelling, illness, emotional instability, physical manipulation.... He had a couple of years where the going was easy-- two newer guys took over the heavy lifting for a while.  But he's been back on the job full full-time now for a year and a half.  He doesn't complain;  he just does what he does best.  He's gotten grey, and quite a bit worn down, but that only makes him better at what he does.  It would be fair to let him retire, to enjoy some peace and quiet, to not work him to pieces and run him into the ground.  But when is that going to happen?  I don't know. 

I just can't seem to let him go. He's been with me through too much, and he's the only one who is always there for me.  He's my Velveteen Rabbit, even though he's... 

That's him on the right, obviously.  Buster is ready and willing to take over for him, but I'm not ready.  I got Bear as a Christmas gift in high school-- sophmore year, I think-- and he's been with me every since.  Everywhere I've gone.  Everything I've gone through.  He's been cried on more times that I can possible say;  he's been drooled on in my sleep, I'm sure;  he's gotten snotty when I've been sick;  he's had more germs coughed on him that I care to think about;  he's traveled to foreign lands--as visitors and as residents;  he's been my pillow when I've not had a real one;  he's my comfort and cuddler every night. 

I realise admitting all it even more painfully obvious that I am a total dork.  But heck, I don't care.  I love him, and he's been good to me.  So what if I'm nearly 35, and still sleep with a stuffed bear?  I don't see a problem with it.

Anyway.  I love my bear.  He's losing the lining of his ears and feet-- which will soon start leaking stuffing.  His nose is rubbed down to the bare plastic.  He used to be white.  Seriously.  And he's been a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a cuddle when I need one, a bit of home wherever I am.  I know I should let him rest, on a shelf nearby, watching over me.  I should let Buster or someone else take over.  But I can't.  I'm not ready to let him go.  He's a part of me, and I know that he'll one day be a Real Bear... but I'm selfish enough to want to keep him a while longer. He's real enough to me already. 

Monday 19 April 2010

Just Because You Feel Hopeless...

My friend Jody posted this article a few days ago, and we had a brief exchange about it.  Then that night, in my devotional time, I read this poem by Virginia French, published 15 November, 1941. 

"Our Father Who Art"

We will return, O Lord, before the snows,
When autumn winds have hissed our candles out.
Weary and cold, and whimpering on Your name,
We will come back across the withered field
Of this adventure.  Surely You will wait
A season, while we play a summer game
Of strength and valor, flaunting willow swords,
Challenging the drowsy dragon-fly
To duel upon the long, sweet meadow-grass.
And when the wanton locust hours end,
When winter's beast-eyes, in the bitter dark,
Circle our meadow, --Father, then prepare
The hearth for us, the chastened, briefly brave,
Stumbling across the world to claim Your love. 

Reading it the same day as that article, about how desperately hopeless these current generations feel about everything, how cynical they are about it all-- it just seemed timely.  I sat there and prayed that, somehow, these generations, all these lonely, wandering, hopeless, 'briefly brave' people will come to see that just because you feel hopeless doesn't mean there is no Hope.  That not seeing an answer doesn't mean there isn't an Answer.  That thinking all is lost doesn't mean that you aren't actually already Found, if you'll just stop hiding. 

And that God would work in me to somehow be a part of this invitation Home, even--perhaps especially-- for those who as yet don't see the need or the possibility of it. 

Friday 9 April 2010

Laughter: The Best Medicine

I know, you may be sick of my video posts.  But I will not apologise for them.  They make me laugh, and that is a very, very good thing.  So I share them.  And if they don't make you laugh, then I don't know what's wrong with you.  Kidding.  Sort of.  ;) 

These I came across at my first quiz night, thanks to Jay.  There were ten in total;  I've only found two of the right ones so far.  But they were two of the best.  Here they are. 

This one made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe.  Jay was both amused and concerned, and was glad we had trained emergency aid people around.  I still laugh when it comes to mind.  Better than the real film, in my opinion! 

This one is classic.  Seriously.  We only got the cut version in the quiz, for reasons that will become obvious once you see the end.  However, after the quiz we got to see the whole thing, and it was brilliant.  Truly genius.  It honestly doesn't get more classic than this. 

For all you Facebookers who only read these when they import... you'll be truly missing out.  I would apologise, but if you really loved me, you'd read my actual blog.  Kidding.  Sort of.  =D

Wednesday 7 April 2010

(not) my office

Liz is very good to me.  She invites me to work with her in her office... at Joe's desk.  He's not there, so he can't complain.  =D
 Being somewhere different is often quite helpful.  I think it's just psychological, but a change of scene brings me a change of focus, or confidence, or something.  I work well in a routine, but I work even better when I occasionally get out of my routine.  The attic office serves that purpose very well.  Plus, it's good to work with a friend who is doing the same thing.  That friend would be Liz, although Harriet is also great for morale:
And Stephen is just so cool:
I know that I couldn't be doing what I'm doing without God-- so having purple sparkly Jesus there is another bonus for keeping me focused:
We are the madwomen in the attic, Liz and me, when we work in the office together.  Good times, I tell ya.

Bwah ha ha ha!  Cackle cackle!  Heh. 

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Cozy Changes

I don't think I've shared this here yet... although it did feature on my photo-a-day blog.  I rearranged my room a wee while ago, and it makes me happy.  It took some muscle, and some measuring, and some music--because everything goes better with music, of course. 

Having small rooms here in the UK is not just my problem, but is an issue in most flats/apartments/houses that I know of.  I've long had a loft bed, in order to have room for a desk and chests of drawers... but where to put my books?  Kenny gave me one bookshelf, and when Paige moved, I inherited another.  It took me a while, but I finally found places for them that I actually like. 
In case you can't actually tell, that grey bar is the head of my bed... my loft bed.  So the bookshelf is sitting on boxes and boxes of... well... stuff.  Nearly six years' worth of stuff accumulated.  How does that happen?!  Oh well... it's coming in handy now.  ;)
I have shifted things just a little since I first organised and took photos... my iPod alarm clock is now on the top of my wardrobe, and my other little fm digital alarm clock is in it's place.  It was too hard to get to the iPod one when I wasn't in my bed if I wanted to listen to it without earphones.  And I'm way too lazy to climb up and down just for that.  Besides, the ladder has to be moved around in order to have room to turn around... but that's another story. 
This is the other bookshelf, the one from Kenny, on top of my wardrobe.  See where the water bottle is, there to the left?  That's where the iPod alarm clock is now.  Along with the phone.  And all those boxes, which are full of Christmas decorations and other stuff I need to get to from time to time. 
It's like my own private little retreat up there!  And these guys keep me company. 

It just makes it feel so homey and cozy, sitting up in my bed, propped up on pillows and snuggled under the duvet, with a hot drink and a book-- and all my books (the to-be-read ones;  the already-read have to be packed up.  No room.) right at hand.  I. Love. It.  I even hosted a couple of girls the other night, and we sat up there talking for ages (so as not to disturb Kenny's tv watching from his recliner).  It's lovely.  Come see for yourself! =D

Monday 5 April 2010

How I Spent My Lenten 40 Days

I meant to write this ages ago, and just never got around to it.  The story of my life right now.  Anyway.  Here's what I did for Lent.

I gave up tv. 

NO, not completely.  That would be akin to emotional suicide, as I need my tv to distract me occasionally and keep me sane.  I did give it up largely, though. I allowed myself one show a day, unless I had gotten a huge amount done on my thesis that day.  And whatever day each week was my 'day off' (usually Saturdays so I could watch the rugby), I allowed myself whatever tv I wanted to watch.  But largely, I gave up watching tv so that I could focus more on my thesis.  Take away my main distraction, and viola!  Or so I thought. 

It did work pretty well, actually.  It's just there's always something to distract me.  If it's not tv, it's stressing over my visa situation.  Or staring off into space.  Or doing housework.  Whatever.  I had hoped that I would have my draft ready-steady-go by Easter... but not quite.  It didn't go to plan that way, but I'm close.  I just get stressed about other things, on top of already being stressed about my thesis, and my focus disappears.  And my motivation disappears.  And my moods drop through the floor.  And my sleeping isn't restful.  And on and on and on. 

And yet, I am making progress.  And I've cut down the number of shows I follow.  ;) 

The other thing I did during Lent was to read a Psalm every morning before I even got out of bed.  I already read my Bible at night as part of my bedtime routine, but adding it in the morning as well has been something new for me.  It's been a good change, though, and I'm going to keep it up.  Just read one a morning, and when I've read all of them, start over.  More time in the Word can't be a bad thing. 

So really, for Lent, instead of giving up things... I added things.  More work on my thesis.  More time reading Scripture.  Other years, I've written a letter a day to friends or families.  Why do I give myself more to do, rather than the traditional 'giving up stuff' for Lent?  Because they way I see it, the purpose of Lent is to prepare my heart for Easter.  To re-evaluate my life, to repent and seek reconciliation, to draw closer to God and others.  So.  If that's the goal, then just giving up chocolate or coffee or whatever isn't necessarily getting me any closer to those goals.  If I do give something up, like fasting during the day, then I should be using the time I would have been eating to pray or read Scripture or something else towards the ultimate goal of preparing for Easter.  When I take something up, like reading Scripture, then I don't feel the need to trade that out for something else. 

This year, because I feel like my thesis is God-inspired and my calling right now, working on it and getting it done is part of my spiritual journey, one way I am yearning to draw closer to God.  Largely because it won't get done if God doesn't work in me, I decided that focusing on it even more specifically than I might normally was the best way I could honour God and prepare myself for Easter.  Did it work?  Yes, I think so.  Even though I didn't quite get finished.  God knows I'm trying.  =)