28 February 2007

I got a compost!

This past weekend I learned that my husband’s packrat tendencies come from his father, who gets it from his father. It’s a stagnant gene pool collecting everything.
Scared me to death.
Confession: I used to be a packrat. I thought everything had sentimental value and was worthy of putting away. No longer. Now I want to throw away everything except for leftovers in the fridge.
Chris: But I might need that someday.
Not if you don’t even remember that you have it because it’s in a pile with three million other unknown objects.
To be fair, he has done a lot this past year to clean up. He cleaned the office and threw away a lot. He cleaned the garage. Again, threw away a lot. We can now fit two cars in there! Yay! I really can’t hold this against him.
In our visit, his father said, hey, go through all this and take what you want.
Be afraid, be very afraid.
I have to say, though, that Chris limited himself. We came away with a stack of records (which I wanted more than he did – I’m a sucker for records), a working phonograph player (again, we both wanted it), old pictures, some paintings his grandmothers and great grandmothers did (none were really any good, to be honest), these blue glass telephone cap things (I don’t know, but I have to admit that they look cool), some random silver pieces that need some love, and a compost. So, I can’t complain. I can’t wait to set up the compost. I want to set it up right on the other side of the window above the sink so that I can just open the window and throw. And one of the records is an unopened Elvis record. I already have Abbey Road. (I stole it from my parents, although I’ve told them a dozen times I took it along with their Steppenwolf and Frank Sinatra. They get upset every time they “discover” this fact, which is about once every few years, though they don’t have a working record player.)
So I guess a little packratedness is good, but don’t tell Chris I said that. I’ll never hear the end or be able to throw anything out again.

26 February 2007

Tombs and Whatnot

Breaking news today: somebody believes they have discovered the possible remains of Jesus' bones.
So it's not exactly new news, but someone thinks it is, so they're hyping all over the place again.
Of course, there are plenty of objections to this data, but seeing as how there are much smarter people than me (take a puff of your inhaler - I know this surprise knocked more wind out of you than the Jesus discovery) in this world who can say more on this subject, I'll just provide a trustworthy link here. It's a blog by Dr. Darrell Bock of Dallas Theological Seminary brought to you by bible.org.

Note: sorry, thought I published this on Monday, but I guess I hit the save button instead of publish.

What Leviticus Taught Me

It taught me that Jesus was stubborn and impossible.
According to Leviticus, no priest with any deformity could serve in the once a year Holy of Holies ceremony. (Note: said priest would still be part of the priesthood, would still have duties and would still receive their pay. The important factor is that they could not be in the presence of God.) Nothing but perfection could go before the Lord (c.f. the passages describing the requirement of sacrifices: again, perfection – nothing blemished). Priests could not touch any dead body (except for their wife, children, mother, father and siblings, although not siblings by marriage). (Note: this explains the Good Samaritan. The priest in the story wanted to make sure he didn’t touch a dead body, so just in case the body laying on the side of the road was dead, he went around the long ways.) A jug that contained a dead fly would have to be smashed. Carcasses found dead in the fields could not be touched. Nothing that came into contact with this death and decay could be in the presence of God (except for the sacrifices). Anyone who came into contact with a woman on her period or anyone with a hemorrhaging problem would be considered unclean and would have to go through a slew of cleansing rituals.
I want to make sure that I don’t present God as unkind. He also told them to treat the foreigner as one of them (scandalous!), to treat their slaves kindly (unheard of!), and to leave part of their fields unharvested so that the poor could come in and take some (uneconomical!). He called the Israelites to live hospitable and generous lives, too.
But back to Jesus. Jesus touched dead bodies and a woman with a hemorrhaging problem and men with leprosy. Instead of becoming defiled, he gave life with these touches. However, the Pharisees saw a breaking of the law. He’s touching everything God said not to touch. He’s touching everything God said couldn’t be in His presence because of His holiness. And this guy is claiming to be God! Right. Yeah. Except that it goes against everything we believe, the Pharisees said. This guy is immoral.
Leviticus taught me to understand the Pharisees. I didn’t say they were right, mind you. I just said I understand. If a guy acting immorally claimed to be Jesus, I’m not sure I would believe Him either.
Of course Jesus exuded God’s love and redemption, something the Pharisees didn’t understand, something that was supposed to be part and parcel of the whole purpose of the Israelites.
And Numbers (while we’re at the hard books of the Bible to get through): all those countings of all those Israelites. Man, oh, man, can that be boring. But here’s the thing. Over 600,000 men of fighting age accounted for at the time Moses wrote the book. Which means well over 1 million Israelites if you add in all the women and children. All from Abraham, who, after 100 years of infertility hanging on a promise that God would make him the father of a great nation, had one son. 400 years later, voila! A nation of 1 million people.
Here’s the other crazy thing: these Israelites, over 600,000 of fighting age, in tip-top shape from years of hard labor and camping in the wilderness, tremble in their sandals at having to go in and fight the Canaanites. This is after hearing the stories of Abraham and his faith and the time Abraham fought and beat the Canaanites with just over 300 men, and this is after they saw the 10 plagues and God deliver them from slavery and the parting of the Red Sea. Imagine walking through a sea with hundreds of yards of water wall tall on either side, fish and sharks and whales swimming through. But they walked through. They experienced it all. And they whined.
Today’s theme, I think: stubbornness.

22 February 2007


Yay for me! I'm published. Go check it out: Matt and Marnie Sittin' In a Tree Or Something Like That at Infuze. Yes, I know. It's the world's longest title.

21 February 2007

Buyer's Remorse

I planned on writing this oh-so-enlightening blog about what I'm learning in Leviticus and Numbers or Stephen Hawkings and Postmodernism, but I'm deep in buyer's remorse (coupled with excitement over all my new toys), so words will have to wait.
I just spent ninety-two dollars.
On books.
I had to spell out "ninety-two" and "dollars" so that you would get the point.
There goes our anniversary trip.
And, yes, to answer your question, I still have books stacked on my bedroom floor from the last binge waiting to be read.
Hello, my name is Heather, and I'm an addict.
Oy vey, what was I thinking? All nonreturnable, of course. You see, I met my friend for coffee this morning, and she told me that the Border's down the street is going out of business and has some great sales. 40% off new fiction and 75% off classics. I did get 11 books for all that money. Two new hardbacks (Arlington Park and another book I had never heard of but absolutely had to have the moment I saw it), three new classics, and 6 paperbacks including 2 Anne Tyler, a Richard Russo (I stood in front of the shelves for 10 minutes narrowing down to which Russo - I chose Straight Man, for those of you who care), Life of Pi (so that I can catch up with all the other trendy readers) and a smattering of others. They didn't have the Hugh Laurie book that I've been wanting to read. Good thing. I had to rent their forklift as it was to get the books to my car.
Good thing I have such a patient husband. (Chris, if you're reading this, I love you!)
So here's my question: if you're a writer (or aspiring) and you spend money on books, is it tax deductable? (Eh-hem, Angie)

19 February 2007

While we’re on the subject…

Last week I talked about Beethoven and his persistence, a man who wrote undeniably one of the greatest symphonies ever (his Ninth) when deaf. This past weekend, I watched (again) Funny Girl, the musical based on the Broadway star, Fanny Brice. In a time when producers chose girls based on long legs and mirror, mirror on the wall faces, Fanny Brice had a definite disadvantage. But she had talent. When they needed a chorus girl, she tried out to be a chorus girl, though she clutzed around stage tripping the other girls. She worked hard, pursued her craft, and eventually proved her talent (with which she more than made up for her, um, looks). She won over the crowd that thought they preferred just another pretty face, and instead of bowing down to the great Mr. Ziegfeld, Mr. Ziegfeld waited on her.

I'm the greatest star
I am by far but no one knows it!
That's why I was born
I blow my horn
Till someone blows it
I'll light up like a light
Right up like a light
I'll flicker, then flare up, ah, ah!
All the world's gonna stare up
Looking down you'll never see me
Try the sky 'cause that'll be me!
I can make them cry
I can make them sigh
Some day they'll clamor for my drama
Have you guessed yet, who's the best yet?
If you ain't I'll tell you one more time
You bet yer last dime
In all of the world so far
I am the greatest, greatest star!

Side thought that has nothing to do with Fanny: I began Ulysses last night. Got through the first two chapters. Really, this was written in 1922? Because I’ve read books from that time before and even preceding times, and I’m completely lost. I might have caught about 15% of what is going on. Anyone know any good helps?

16 February 2007

Wolfen Bar and Grille, Part Deux and a half

Oy vey. What have I gotten myself into? For the regular viewers of this station, today will be confiscated by Wolfen Bar and Grill, a blogging soap opera I signed up for in my naïve days. Today, part, heck, I don’t know what part it is.
Part one by wolfbaby
part two by cathy
part three by SmallTown RN
Part four by Willow Tree
part five by Dr. Rob
Part Six by JIP
Part Seven by Patient Anonymous
Part Eight by Pamela
Previously, on Lost, er, Wolfen Bar and Grill (which is lost), too many things happened to recount. I think we’re in either Austria or Australia (I’m going with the latter because of the, um, “culture”). Everyone was pregnant, but it turned out to be gas. WillowTree was shot, but it only furrowed his brow. Laundress collapses on a regular basis and currently sings some unknown song. Wolfie cleans and cleans and gets bitter about some hostile takeover. A group of docs conspire (that’s probably the most real-life aspect of it all). Here I go:

The scream reverberated in the Outback, echoing like church bells but not as pure. The whole crew rushed outside of Wolfen’s Bar and Grill, not because any of them thought they could help or cared to, but because they couldn’t resist a bit of juicy gossip.
No sign of struggle.
No sign of any human or animal existence.
Just brush.
“Who screamed?” Patient Anonymous’ voice barely whispered.
Jungle Tart gestured toward the horizon with her clarinet. In the distance, the last of a tail disappeared. Croc, maybe? JIP’s mouth watered. She hadn’t had good croc in a while.
Dumb looks typical of soap operas to take up five minutes of air time.
They all shrugged their shoulders and returned inside.
Except for Willowtree (cue horror music – da, da, da…)
Wolfie wilted at the doorstop, knocking her chin against the bar.
“That’ll require stitches,” Dr. A feigned an Aussie accent while wiping the still-dirty counter with the still-dirtier rag. “What can I get everyone to drink?” His accent grated on the ears, truth be told.
“So this is how it all goes down, huh?” JIP brandished her finger at Dr. A.
Dr. Rob took his place next to Dr. A in a Superman stance, ready for a fight.
Jungle Tart trilled on the clarinet, an intro to the musical number.
“Boy, boy, crazy boy,
Get cool, boy!
Got a rocket in your pocket,
Keep coolly cool, boy!”
Dr. A jolted out a drawer and grabbed a knife. Unfortunately for him, he grabbed it by the wrong end. Blood gushing down his hand (Wolfie kept fastidiously sharp knives, scraping them against the knife sharpener on a daily basis), he tossed it in the air, hoping to pull off something intimidating like catching it on its handle juggler-style and hitting a wall inches from a nose or something like that. But Dr. Rob sneezed…

Follow along the yellow brick road to Karmya R on Feb. 23 for more of this titillating story.
(Roll credits, accompanying music)
“Don’t get hot,
‘Cause man you got
Some high times ahead.
Take it slow and Daddy-O
You can live it up and die in bed!”

14 February 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I'm a sap, I know. I love Valentine's Day. Two years ago, my husband proposed the day after Valentine's Day. He made it a two day event. I'm spoiled. He tried to make reservations at the same restaurant we've gone to the past three years, but they closed. I asked him if they would reopen for us just for tonight. I don't think they will. But that's okay. My husband is going to make me dinner, and then he'll whisk me off to some unknown location. Well, unknown to me. He knows. All I know is I get to dress up for it. I'll let you know tomorrow what my romantic husband spoiled me with!


Everyone loved Beethoven at first. He was all the rage. His piano concertos and sonatas, his early symphonies, everyone wanted to hear them. At first. But he grew out of fashion. The crowds didn’t understand what he did. They didn’t understand those long, complex development sections, and just when they thought they came to the recapitulation, they found Beethoven had only began a second development section. The horrors! He sat on the cusp of that new Romantic age. Ushered it in, actually. But it wasn’t quite there. Not yet. They still wanted the Classical music of Hadyn they all enjoyed so much.
Give us something nice. Give us something like him!
So Beethoven did. As a joke. He thought, I’ll write something they ask for, and they’ll see how inferior it is to what I’m doing now. The piece is called Wellington’s Overture. Legend has it, Beethoven told the musicians to switch instruments just before the performance. I guess he thought it would tip the audience off to the farce. It didn’t. The applauded. A standing ovation. Disgusted by the audience’s idiocy and frustrated by his loss of hearing, Beethoven receded into dark corners behind curtains. He died a pauper.
Why do I tell you this? I’m not exactly Beethoven. The music I have composed and the books I have written cannot be in the same room as Beethoven. Nay, not even the same house. I see Beethoven and I see someone committed to his art, no matter what everyone else said. Sometimes he held popularity. Sometimes he faced rejection. But he never stopped working hard.
I will never be successful in the way of Stephen King and John Grisham and all the other bestsellers crowding the front tables of Barnes and Noble and Walden Bookstore. But Beethoven died a pauper. Jesus died betrayed by one of his closest friends and abandoned by almost all, including his Father. Those are some pretty darn large footsteps to walk in.

12 February 2007

It's all the rage

Michelle tagged me. I guess I outta.

A - Available or Married? Married
B - Best Moment? My wedding
C - Cake or Pie? Cake (chocolate with chocolate icing or Italian wedding)
D - Drink of choice? Wine or Amaretto
E - Essential Item? A book – always with me like a security blanket, that and my Nancy Drew notepad
F - Favourite Colour? Red
G - Gummi Bears or Worms? Bears
H - Hometown? Marlton, NJ
I - Indulgence? Hee-hee
J - January or February? February (January is too depressing after the holidays)
K - Kids & names? Our fish are named Henry, George, and Jeremiah (sorry about all the males – Violet died)
L - Life is incomplete without? Chris (my hubby)
M - Marriage Date? May 30, 2005 (still the newlyweds – aww…)
N - Number of Siblings? 1
O - Oranges or apples? Apples, but only if they are green or honeycrisp
P - Phobias/Fears...I think you all know this one
Q - Favorite Quotation? Two from Rent: “the opposite of war isn’t peace; it’s creation” (that one is my signature) and “to being an us for once instead of them” and about 1000 Kierkegaards
R - Reason to Smile? Too many to list, my eternal hope, my husband, my life...
S - Season? Spring
T - Tag three people! I’ve tagged enough people in my list. I may get on some sort of blog blacklist
U - Unknown fact about me: This one is hard because I’m so open about everything. I’ll have to come back to it. Okay. I’m back to this one and still struggling. How about this? I still feel guilty for getting mad at my sister when I was, oh, I don’t know, maybe ten or eleven, and I thought she cheated at Go Fish.
V - Vegetable you hate? Brussel sprouts. I had a bad experience (my mom made me try them at a young age). Actually, I would probably like them if I tried again because I love veggies.
W - Worst habit? Throwing my music when I get frustrated
Hey, where did X go?
Y - Your favorite food? Oh, I love food. How can I narrow this? Let’s just say pasta. Oh, and chocolate.
Z - Zodiac? No, thank you. I already have one.

08 February 2007

Confessions of a Musician

Time to ‘fess up. I want to be cool but haven’t been on top of the latest and greatest since The Clash, Depeche Mode, and Erasure. Sure, I listen to the Edge, which pretends to be hip but is probably more for the leftovers like me who think we’re still hip. The Edge’s musical selection hasn’t changed much in 10 yrs. Maybe a new song here and there. I feel oh-so-edgy when listening to this station, but really, the Edge mixes a soup with Kurt Cobain and Wheezer broth and the occasional zest of someone new.
I don’t have time to weed thru all the fad crap to find the one or two gems. And let’s face it, most new music is sold on an image. This is not just for the Brittany Spears. This is for the emo and the goth and the punk and the bohemian. You have to look a certain way. You have to look non-conformist, sometimes like you’re on drugs with dark mascara smeared around your eyes, pasty skin, and hair that looks like it hasn’t been showered in weeks when in all reality it has been washed and greased in mommy and daddy’s mansion this morning. Or you have to wear the right glasses or the right clothes (and it doesn’t matter which style you are in, there are right clothes). This makes me hate images, no matter what that image is, and I want to have a certain image just like all the others who say they hate images.
Back to me, though. You see, in all honesty, while I try to talk shop like I know exactly what’s going on with My Chemical Romance or The Colours or what-not, with the exception of U2, I’d rather be at the symphony or a Broadway show. I’d rather be talking Sondheim. Right now, am I listening to some punk music? No. I’m listening to Stravinsky’s Firebird. (Who, when you look at it, was the punk of his day – I mean, his Rite of Spring caused a riot. Literally.) So now you know. I’m not cool.
While we’re being honest: I just looked online to fill in another name of some cool band besides My Chemical Romance. I don’t know who The Colours are. Shame, shame.

07 February 2007

Review - The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The author, Khaled Hosseini, knows how to tell a story. It reads like a memoir and is so convincing that I actually wondered if it is all true. The first, oh, third of the book took me a little bit longer to read. I could only take bits at a time because my tears – yes, sobbing, wailing tears – blurred the words. Once you get past that, it’s easier to handle. I hated, absolutely despised the main character in the beginning. I promised myself I would not like him no matter what. I lied. I don’t know that he became my hero, but I forgave him. Basically, Hosseini put my emotions through the same rigor as the main character. The author employs clichés fairly often, but the story overrode that small annoyance. And you have some of those nice little ironies that may be almost pedantic, but, my, they feel nice.
Half set in Afghanistan, half set in Los Angeles, The Kite Runner is about a boy becoming a man and learning the courage that allows him to act in loyalty. It depicts the influence of relationships over lives, father-son, friends, mentor. You also get a glimpse into what happened in Afghanistan, a before and after. Hosseini weaves in political and religious settings without becoming some sort of a professor in the meantime.
I recommend this book, but be willing to need a nap from emotional exhaustion.

05 February 2007

Clean up on aisle 6, please

“Your house looks like a store,” my friend said when I answered the door. Because my fridge and pantry are stocked with fresh veggies and fruit like Whole Foods, ingredients ready to be whipped into a meal? Oh my, no. Because fashionable clothes fill my closet and trendy throw pillows litter my sofa? No, my friend.
Because until this weekend we had Christmas lights lining our lawn and crawling up our bushes and trees and a Valentine’s wreath shimmering on our door.
This past year, I’ve gotten into decorating for all the holidays, not just Christmas. Spiders webs and harvest cornucopias in the fall and now this heart-shaped wreath for February. I’ll probably be stapling green construction paper to my walls for St. Patty’s Day.
But with all the rain and busy schedules and any other excuse we can conjure up, the Christmas decorations stayed put outside. All the songs say that the Christmas spirit should be year-long, right? We’re just trying to do our part.
Family came in town this weekend. Excuses wore onion paper thin. So now the Valentine’s wreath with its sparkly tinsel and hearts hangs alone.

02 February 2007

Seeing Jesus in Shakespeare

Internet Monk has a great post today about understanding grace and reconciliation in The Tempest. He shows some great parallels to this play and the gospel. This is my favorite Shakespearean play, so I loved the post.
(Note of shame: I'd love to say that it's my favorite because at such a young age - junior high, by the way, when I first saw it - I immediately understood all it's literariness and themes, but more likely, it's my favorite because it was the first Shakespeare play I saw. Heck, I don't know that I understood what they said half the first time at that viewing. Or my latest viewing...)

01 February 2007

My two favorite places to write

Writing in the shower and jogging. I come up with my best dialogue while jogging, which means I have to repeat the whole conversation over and over and over again (while singing to the music coming in my earphones) until I get home. Talk about your multi-tasking. Yesterday I wrote a whole flash fiction piece in the shower. Granted, ff is only 500 words, but still. I think it’s my best one yet. Best out of a whopping three. No, four. This makes my fourth. But one of them I really hate, so let’s not count that one. So we’re back to three. And best doesn’t mean much. For some reason I feel the need to conquer this ff thing, but I put too much in them, which means in the end, there’s not enough in them. Hey, it makes sense to me.
Maybe it’s a vacation from sitting. Maybe it’s something breaking across my face, namely wind or water. Who knows?
But with the weather, I’ve been jump roping inside rather than jogging (thanks to Jeanne), which is all great and fun, but I admit, I do so in front of the TV. Ach. That’s the bad thing about DVR: there’s always something to watch. While in front of the TV, my mind is not exactly creating dazzling conversation, now, is it? You know, maybe that’s why I keep hitting these writing lags.