Monday, December 28, 2009

A House on a Hill

I was strolling down the sidewalk of an unassuming, unimpressive neighborhood with my sister beside me. As we approached a bridge, I was very busy adjusting my stride so I would not step on the unevenly-spaced cracks in the pavement. For no apparent reason, I glanced up and I felt a sharp intake of air and then "oh wow" escaped my lips.

Before me the world became brighter with just the introduction of a solitary house. The home had been built above a little stream, which flowed under the bridge I was now crossing. Little red posts supported the house in places where the ground sloped down towards the brook. The entire house was sky blue, but the porch and corner panels of the walls and roof had been painted red. The window panes of both the first and the second floors were white. This gave me the delightful impression that this house was in reality a picture from a child's coloring book. A childlike magic, like that during Christmastime, permeated the atmosphere. The house was, after all, still decorated for the holiday season. Small wreaths peered out from behind the attic and first floor windows. Green garlands and red ribbons with matching bows were wrapped around the porch railing, and cascaded down the steps. In the front yard lay a quaint manger scene with Joseph and Mary gazing tenderly at their newborn baby.

Compared to all this splendor, other houses seemed to pale. The house we had passed prior to this holiday home, had eggshell walls and an ecru roof. As I reluctantly continued down the sidewalk, a dry, icy wind blew in my face, and I felt tears come to my eyes' rescue. Out of the corner of my glassy eye, I espied a showcase window on the other side of the blue and red house. Rounding the bend, I saw something that dazzled and delighted my senses. There, in the window case, was a leg lamp, as clear as day. This was just icing on the cake. Anyone who has watched A Christmas Story and remembers the infamous leg lamp, must be grinning, as I was when I came across it. That silly smile was plastered on my face for three blocks at least. One house had brightened my day.

For those of you who have not seen A Christmas Story. Here is a replica of the leg lamp.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Never Enough Time in the Day

I sat in my parked car, looking at the little blue sticker in the left corner. I shook my head when I thought about how I had waited until that little sucker had been expired two months. At the time, I had told myself I would re-register the car when I found the time, but everything had seemed more important. As I was stepping out of the car, my sweater button snagged on the door handle. Barely attached by a string, the button hung on for dear life. I must sew that back on some time. You know what they say: "A stitch in time, saves nine". I shuffled into the house, scraping my shoes on the doormat, as I do. Dry leaves were scattered not only on the doormat, but also on the rest of the living room floor. My, the floor was looking messy. But I cannot vacuum today, I told myself, I always clean the floors on Sunday.

As I entered my room, I tossed my sweater and purse into my closet, right onto my hamper, which was full of clean clothes. Jessica had done the laundry a few days ago, how nice of her! I shoved the book I had been reading off of my bed, and then turned on the computer, from habit. Holiday cards lay sprawled out on the desk, some of them with writing in them. Having waited too late, I had not sent the cards to friends and family in time for Christmas. Now they retired above my drawers, useless. My eyes traveled to the pile of gifts I had received for Christmas. Pressed underneath a magic scarf and a beaded coin purse, was an art pad that had drawing tips. A few charcoal pencils lay beside the sketch pad, ready for use. I loved to draw, when I had the time. Maybe that would be nice for a day when I have nothing else to do.

I jumped on top of my bed and pulled the computer onto my lap. All I needed to check online was my Facebook page and my email. Oh, were my friends online? I had not talked to them in ages! After chatting with several chums for a while, they all left on various missions that led them away from the computer. My fingers hovered over the keys, not knowing what to do next. Now I was really bored. What was there to do? I opted for Zoo World, for after all, everyone deserves some down time every once in a while. I reorganized all the animals and attractions on the zoo map, and then realized what time it was. Way too late to stay up if I wanted to get anything accomplished tomorrow. Soon, I lay in bed, gazing at the ceiling. I had not made the best use of my time today. Well, I consoled myself, tomorrow is another day, and I am going to only do productive things.

The alarm clock belted out a gospel tune, and I clapped my hand over the snooze button.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Twelve Drummers Drumming

As I walk beside the beach, I see a dog jogging alongside an old man and his son. How nice, I thought, someone who actually trusts their dog enough to let him run free. When the pair slow to a walk and turn towards the road, the dog does not follow. The humans do not even look back. The dog is already looking for the next thing to play with. I near the strawberry-blond dog and discover that he has no collar. He sniffs a dying snail with innocent curiosity. I invite him to come closer, feeling an odd bond toward a fellow creature who bounds from one adventure to another. He is perfect, because he is friendly and allows me to pet him, and because he is just small enough to live in the house, and just large enough that he does not belong to the yapping toy breeds. When other masters and pets come by to play, the strawberry-blond dog and I let them assume that we go together. It is nice for a while, but then I am obliged to ask passers-by if they know my new best friend. No one does. By this time, I realize I have to return to reality. To my home, where my grandparents' dog would not allow a roommate, if only a temporary one. Leaving the loving dog at the beach was probably harder for me than it was for him. As I walk away gloomily, I glance back at the dog. He has already found a new squirrel to chase.

When I encounter a squirrel, a few weeks later, I resist the urge to scare it back up into the high branches of the gray tree.--But only just. If you have never heard the sound a squirrel makes before, it is a very queer sound indeed. My first thought when I hear it is that it must be a bird with a sore throat. My ears strain to pick up the noise again. Then I observe that it sounds more like a bark. Yes, a strange combination of a raspy chirp and a bark, albeit a very high bark, like our friends the toy dogs. I am not sure that the sound actually comes from a squirrel. My doubts are dispelled when a squirrel comes scampering around the trunk of the tree, eyeballing me with his beady, little, black eyes. He grinds his teeth while never taking his gaze from me, and then emits that wild cry once again. His companion, who is hanging onto the side of a neighboring tree, answers back, warily. The squirrel on my tree takes one more look at me, and then scuffles right up to the top branches.

At this moment, my grandparents' dog decides to scratch at the back door. The spell is broken, and it is time for me to walk back inside the house. The large German Shepherd greets me by running around my legs, and when I almost trip over her, she gets so excited she jumps onto me. Lady's nails are long, and as she slides down my legs, I can feel the scratch through the jeans onto my skin. I shoo her out of the kitchen. Lady does not mind; she just moves onto her next target: Tiger, the Maine Coon cat. I am inclined to pity the poor thing, but then I recall how remarkably alike our Tiger is to Garfield. Just as Garfield will pick a fight with Odie, for just being a dog, so also I have seen Tiger blatantly goad Lady, just for a bit of fun.

At least Lady is only playing with Tiger, instead of fighting with Freckles, my great-grandparents' dog. Freckles and his owners no longer stay with my grandparents. There would be a tussle almost every time they saw each other. Now Freckles and my great-grandparents live in the house they re-built after Hurricane Ike. On my way to visit them, I see a flock of birds fly overhead. The dark birds fly in a group, twisting and turning with the wind. They instantly remind me of certain schools of fish that swim in unison and appear to all be connected to one mind.

A few minutes down the road, I see a nasty little creature that I recognize instantly, despite my unfamiliarity with this kind of animal. It was an opossum. There was no mistaking its white face and rat-like tail. In my opinion, the opossum must be the ugliest creature on earth. For reasons unknown to me, whenever I see an opossum, I think of the R.O.U.S.'s, the Rodents Of Unusual Size, from The Princess Bride. The R.O.U.S.'s are brown and are very large, but their snout is like an opossum's, and I think they might have a similar tail too.

When I finally reach my great-grandparents' house, I find that poor Freckles is not in the best of health. The fur around his neck has all been itched off. Apparently, Freckles is suffering from an allergy, but has improved a lot this week. After a little while, my dad's cousins come over to call. It has been a long time since I have seen them last. Since I've been gone, they got a cute Chihuahua named Holly, and showed me the most adorable pictures of her. One of which shows Holly peeking out from under the bed. "Awww", the sound is out before I can check it. Lying beside me, Freckles sits up and tilts his head to one side.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me twelve curious creatures, eleven o'clock rendezvous, ten sunlit minutes, nine neighborhood noises, eight perfect presents, seven souls a-singing, six sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Eleven Pipers Piping

The bags under our eyes had begun to show before the party even started. My grandmother had been planning and cooking all day to prepare for the guests, her relatives. My sister had worked an 8-hour shift on a day she usually gets off, so she could be at home to visit with the family. I had personally re-created forty little chocolate-covered cherry mice. My grandfather had dragged in soggy logs and had managed to breathe life into our Texan fireplace. Then the Christmas Eve party began.

After singing stanza after stanza of joy-filled carols with our extended family, we ate delectable turkey leg meat, plus many other savory sides. When we finally convinced our stomach that there was room for one more dessert, we gorged ourselves with pie and ice cream. Once we said goodbye to all of our loved once, my grandmother, sister and I began to clean up the kitchen. We did not get very far. My grandfather could not wait to open the presents. He herded us out of the kitchen and into the den, and prodded us to open our gifts. We all oohed and awed at each other's goodies, cheering the loudest when a small token of love was greeted with an exclamation of delight. After each box had been opened and every stone overturned, it was my sister who first noticed an absence.

"It will be 7 o' clock in the morning for them in an hour." She stated blankly, and yet, it was a request. Our siblings and parents would be waking up in Africa on Christmas morning in just one hour.

We decided to attempt to meet our family on the internet when it was 11PM for us. We turned on our laptop and discovered that they were, indeed, on their computer. Hooray! One by one, and in front of the webcam, our siblings opened the presents my sister and I had mailed many weeks ago. We laughed when our siblings bestowed upon us such predictable reactions, such as, "What the heck is that?" Nevertheless, most of the gifts were warmly welcomed. Intermittently, I received text messages from a good friend of mine, and glanced up, grinning, when I heard my family notice my texting thumbs. Gifts from my grandparents to my family in Africa were then unwrapped and received the due praises. All the while my grandparents sat behind me, smiling and nodding at the computer screen. As my father enthused over how much fun my little brother would have with his new robot-building tool box, I took a private inventory.

Party with caroling relatives: Check. Presents: Check. Loved ones, far and near: Check. Yes, this definitely felt like Christmas.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me eleven o'clock rendezvous, ten sunlit minutes, nine neighborhood noises, eight perfect presents, seven souls a-singing, six sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ten Lords A-Leaping

The silent breeze commands all of nature to do as it wills. When the ivy that is wrapped around an old gray tree senses the wind, its clustered leaflets titter amongst themselves, and push each other aside, as if to move out of the wind's way.

A plant that hangs from the gray tree, by a rusted chain, spins slowly, round and round, when the breeze curls past it. Below the drying-out hanging plant, sits a plant whose roots are deeply buried in a pot. Its spiky tendrils quiver under the gust's pressure, but refuse to be pushed aside. Each needle shakes and shivers, but retain their dignity by staying firm.

Behind the potted plant, dance two plants that are tall, but appear to soft to be trees. They make the best of the wind by rocking back and forth, companionably. They closely resemble umbrellas, their protection from the rain being branches with bright green and rounded leaves. At least, they would be bright green if the sun would favor them. As it is, the sun is obscured by a cloudy sheet. All of the plants appear muted, duller, somehow, with the absence of the sun. Perhaps their lack of vibrancy is the reason they bow to the wind.

For that is what the palm trees do. When the lightest breath of a wind makes its presence known, each bluish frond of the palm trees, nods its head in submission. Under the bowing fronds, older, browner branches that have fallen are bent almost in half. They are two weak now to do anything but nod apologetically, when a wind flies past.

But then, in the wind's pushy haste, it blows the clouds accidentally aside, and the sun shines right through. I breathe deeply, as if I could inhale the welcome sunlight. The sun gazes lovingly at every child of Mother Nature, kindly highlighting the best feature of each. My brown hair glows gaily, appearing almost auburn in this light.

Glancing back at the group of growing things, I can tell that the plants' colors have changed as well. Everything seems brighter, more full of life. When a gale comes through now, the plants react in the same way they always have, but there is a sense of hope in the air. I can feel the plants smile enduringly under the wind's oppression. The sun would inevitably be smothered by a pillow of clouds once more, but for these few moments, we all have faith that something fairer was on the horizon.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me ten sunlit minutes, nine neighborhood noises, eight perfect presents, seven souls a-singing, six sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nine Ladies Dancing

The brown leaves rustle as I rake them into a large pile. My sister is also raking. The leaves are light as feathers and fly up, then flutter to the ground when her rake passes over them. A quick, sharp pain shoots through my ear drum as her metal rake scrapes the concrete driveway.

The sound of a passing car reaches me, and I glance up, curiously. An old man opens his door and walks from his driveway to the house. I return to raking. A few minutes later his wife is walking out with him. He opens the door for her, then walks to his side. Beautiful.

I rake on, with a quiet smile on my face. Everything is silent, except for the soft scratching of the rakes on the grass. My ears perk up when I hear a siren in the distance. Is someone hurt, or are they in trouble? My untrained ears cannot tell the difference yet. The sound seems to get closer, but then trails off. Another unsolved mystery.

Splish splat. Drip drop. Is that rain? I look up and get a raindrop square in the eye. My sister and I run to the shelter of our home. We decide it was high time for a break anyway. I hear the sound of crunching, and I turn to discover my sister eating cereal. Soon, I follow suit and begin eating a late brunch myself.

The dog chooses this very moment to let fly a resounding bark, echoing in the house. It pierces our ears and causes us to retaliate with a "Hush, Lady!". Lady looks at us and tilts her German Shepherd head. Then her ear flicks back, to catch a noise, and bays once again.

Leaving the house, I return outside to continue raking. The first voice that reaches my ears is that of a siren, calling once again. I reply to the lone siren's call by praying. I wonder if an ambulance is driving to the next-door neighbors again.

My sister and I fall into the old pattern of shuffle-rustle-scrape. The grass seems to be getting greener as the dead, brown leaves are stripped away. Everything begins to look and sound better than before.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me nine neighborhood noises, eight perfect presents, seven souls a-singing, six sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Eight Maids A-Milking

I peer through lace cloth, and then I see nothing, and then the light flashes once more, only to be extinguished again. Rhythmically, it brightens my world, and then vanishes. I try to collect my bearings. Where am I? My arms are wrapped around a bristly pole. I get poked by needles if I venture too far from the center. So I use my eyes to take in my surroundings. When the twinkling light goes out briefly, I can see that there are stars all around me. By their light I see branches jutting out from the center, where I am standing. I creep out onto one of these sticks, hoping it does not break under me.

A huge red orb looms in front of me, and I nearly fall from fright. I scoot backwards until I have reached the safety of the pole. Once I am there, I slide down until I am on the next level of branches. Perhaps this time, I will be more fortunate. As I move slowly forward, I see a brown man, his face obscured, as one of the stars shine behind him. I do not trust his generic shape, and I shimmy down the pole again. I see a different shape further down, a clear diamond. It is the relief of three bells. When I get closer, I see that it is not a window, as I had hoped, but just a decoration. Disappointed, and getting very tired of this whole adventure now, I decide to try one last time. On this bottom layer of branches, I see a little wooden angel. She does not speak as I approach, and this comforts me. Her little halo is bent in such a way that seems to point to her right. I inch past her, a little further on the branch, and see a string of crimson berries. I glance back at the little angel. A gust of wind blows past us and she seems to nod in approval of what I am about to do. I grab hold of the berries and jump.

My landing is surprisingly soft. The ground appears to be a blanket of some sort. Eight enormous boxes with my name on them stand in my way, so I climb over and around each of them to get away from this wacky wonderland.

On the eighth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me eight perfect presents, seven souls a-singing, six sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs and a volunteer named Mary.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Seven Swans A-Swimming

I make my way down the pew, stopping halfway, because there is a couple sitting at the right end. I look over my left shoulder; two of my friends are sitting with me. In my hands, a candle in what appears to be a green, plastic cup lies limply. It has been a while since I have been to a candlelight service. Where do I put the candle until it is time to light it? This is as sticky a situation as communion. I awkwardly set the candle by my purse, then rearrange my purse so it is level to the pew.

Soon the lights dim, and the worship leader makes her way to the front of the church. I crane my neck to see what she is doing, and happen to see two people stop at our pew and sneak quietly in. I pull my purse closer to me to make more room for them. They have barely made it in time. The next minute, the worship leader has begun to light the candles. She stops at the end of each pew, and lights a candle, trusting that each churchgoer would light his neighbor's candle. I am close to the back of the church, so I have enough time to watch what happens in the front, before the light gets to me.

Eventually, the light shines at the end of the bench, and it slowly ignites its way ever closer to me. Finally, my wick touches another, and new light springs forth. I cannot keep it to myself; I pass it on to my friend. He, in turn, lights the last candle on our row. By this time, the worship band is up on the stage. They begin singing Silent Night. It is a difficult song to sing, and I find I am not the only one having trouble. There is a sense of unity in common failings. We sing the many stanzas with all the heart we can muster. Then, we have a moment of silence to thank God for sending his Son to light our way.

The candles are being blown out, and so I extinguish mine and place it in one of the holes normally reserved for communion cups. The lyrics for "Joy To the World" appear magically on the screens, and we start singing it at a pace that is more my style. I feel every word and my soul seeks to escape and dance on its own. For now it settles for dancing in my toes and lungs. It is over all too quickly, and I sit somewhat sadly back down in my seat. Still, the echoes of the singing reverberate inside my ears, and satisfy my spirit.

On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me seven souls a-singing, six
sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs and a volunteer named Mary.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Six Geese A-Laying

"Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too. Come on it's--"

My hand slid off the alarm clock radio and I rolled over, snuggled under my comfy covers. It's so warm here...

"Jenn. It's time to get up! We have to go or we'll be late."

We were late anyway. The fire station would be handing out toys and food from between 8AM and 12PM. I was texting my friend at 8:15, telling him I would be a little late. When Jess and I arrived there, it took all of our organizational skills to keep ourselves afloat. Toys were everywhere. Once someone threw the three of us some instructions, we clung to them eagerly, and set about accomplishing them. While we were talking, the new movie, Avatar, came up. We all wanted to see it, so we set about reserving the tickets right away. It was great to be spontaneous and just go to a movie because we felt like it. Wouldn't my brothers be surprised? They had been trying to make us watch the movie for a while, now.

I have been known to watch sci-fi, when I can, so I did not need much convincing to see it. Going into the movie theater, I only hoped it would be good, so the prestigious reputation of science fiction would not be tainted. Coming out of the movie theater, I had only one word: Wow. This movie told a story as old as time, but it was written and directed so well, that I felt I too had walked the alien planet. I felt pleasantly surprised that a movie like that could make me feel so emotionally connected to fictional characters.

After the movie, I came home to unexpectedly find two old friends of my grandparents whom I have not seen since I was a child. The smell of hot chocolate wafted from the den to my inhaled breaths. Ahhhh...the picture was practically perfect, with all of us parked around the Christmas tree, sipping our mugs of hot cocoa, catching up on all that had passed.

I happened a glance at the clock and realized that I had not much time before the staff Christmas party. I raced to my room to hurry everything together. I noticed an envelope, lying on my bedspread. "What's this?" Jessica read over my shoulder and we both realized that it was from our Nana in California. What fun! Putting it lovingly aside for later, we dashed out the door, just in time to be fashionably late...again...

There's nothing better than spending time with those you love. Our staff Christmas party felt more like a family reunion, even though we were not family and we had just seen each other yesterday. Our hostess created a warm atmosphere for our party, and cooked a feast fit for a king. Her husband shocked us with magic tricks galore, and we giggled until our sides were sore. But his jokes were not what I most adored, for there was something more that left me floored.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, but it would ruin the surprise.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me six sweet surprises, five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Five Golden Rings

Mm mm. I picked the aubergine-colored ring off of the cupcake. I was going to enjoy this purple cupcake. It was the type that is so sweet, you die and ascend to a sugary heaven. But then it all became too sweet and I had to wash it down with some not-as-sweet cola.

"Third grade!" A voice called out from the next room. That meant me. As the third-grade teacher, I was responsible for lining the children to meet Santa Claus and accept their presents. I threw away my cupcake wrapper on the way to the door. Everyone was so excited to be so close to opening the gifts. After all these weeks of waiting, Santa was finally here. The children seemed to be thinking, Would I get what I wanted? If I was extra nice to Santa, could I trade my gift in for a better one? You could cut the anticipation in the air with a cake knife. I finally corralled all the children together and walked into the room where Santa Claus himself was sitting near a Christmas tree with gifts at his feet. He called the kids one by one until each child had gotten a gift-wrapped toy, lovingly made by one of his "elves". Seeing the joy on some of the faces of the children was a lovely treat for me.

After the last child left, my sister drove me home so we could quickly decorate a few cookies. Embellishing those trees, angels, snowmen, bells, and baubles was great fun, and we finished them in enough time to be fashionably late for our Christmas cookie swap. Our friend had made angel hair with a bolognese sauce for dinner. It was delicious. We waited a few minutes for our stomachs to settle, and then attacked our Christmas goodies. My sister and I had brought cinnamon rolls and sugar cookies, and another good friend had brought brownies. As we consumed these scrumptious desserts, our conversation careened between topics like college classes and celebrities. We ate sweets until we could not stand the sight of any of our desserts. Even though we can no longer see the goodies, our stomachs and the lack of energy after a sugar rush are constant reminders of the gluttony of an earlier moment. Now I know why sugar plums dance in children's heads on the night before Christmas.--They can't think of anything else!

On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me five Christmas treats, four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Four Calling Birds

I seem to be reading a lot of books about going against the grain. In all of my holiday readings, there is an interwoven desire to be different. "Being a Man" is an article written by Paul Theroux about how society forces boys to grow up and prove their manliness. It is featured in the Norton Reader, which is an anthology that I am attempting to read from every day. In "Being a Man", Paul Theroux writes that he has "always disliked being a man." He also talks about how girls are taught to be coquettish and "lady-like". His main complaint about "being a man" is that writing is not seen as an appropriate occupation for men. Paul Theroux states that "the male writer must prove he has achieved a sort of muscular manhood" in order to be accepted. By unveiling this social intrigue, Paul Theroux has set himself apart from most writers.

A book that has set itself apart from all others is the Bible. I have a daily reading Bible that I am trying to read...daily. I am up to Day 31. Part of today's reading was from Mark, chapter ten. A rich man asks Jesus how he can be saved. Jesus reminds him of the commandments. The man said he had kept them all. Then Jesus said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." The New Revised Standard Version says the rich man "was shocked". It was quite a revolutionary concept and still is today. Giving up what we love most to bring glory to God. Wow. Unfortunately, that idea is a very hard thing to bear for most of us.

I have begun a journey through a book that is very difficult, indeed. Wicked, which is written by Phillip Maguire, is written so well that I have begun to sleep with a dictionary next to my bed. I both love this book and hate it. I love it for its genius with words and the intelligence that seeps through each page. But I despise it for the dark feeling that also lurks behind every word. The book follows the life of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. From the earliest moments of her being, Elphaba was different. Her skin was green, she had razor-sharp teeth, and she was a girl, when her parents had wanted a boy. Her nanny thought Elphaba decided to be that way. "Perhaps, thought Nanny, little green Elphaba chose her own sex, her own color, and to hell with her parents." No matter how she got that way, Elphaba was unapologetic about being offbeat.

On one of my many romps to the library, I picked up and checked out a lovely, little book called Christmas in My Soul. It is compiled and edited by Joe Wheeler and has several lovely stories inside. The only one I have actually read so far and can vouch for, is "Why the Minister Did Not Resign". It spins a tale of a divided congregation and their exhausted minister. He had planned to resign on Christmas Day, because the bad blood between two clans caused a great divide, literally, in the church. The middle aisle divided the two families and their supporters. On Christmas Day, the two children who were to represent their respective clans by singing carols, came in late, hand-in-hand, singing together. After they sang the song through, they surprised the whole congregation by sitting in each other's places in the pews. In their quiet, childlike approach, they had fought to make a difference in the way their parents treated each other. They went against all they had been taught, in order to have "peace on earth and goodwill toward men".

On the fourth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me four different books, three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Three French Hens

"I hope those mothers don't complain about their gifts! If they complain, I'll just tell them we don't have to help them!" Exclaimed an anxious volunteer.

"Don't say that. It'll be fine." Soothed her friend.

They were not the only ones who were nervous this morning. Most of the Salvation Army volunteers present had worked very hard earlier to prepare for this very moment. While we had been told how to give the toys and clothes to the parents, no one could account for human jealousy. We hoped the women would be thankful, but the police officer standing nearby was not a very comforting sign.

I soon became very grateful for the policeman, because he directed the women into a line and checked their I.D.s. He was a very welcome figure of authority, at least, to me. He sent a woman from the line to me as soon as I finished presenting the last one with gifts. I saw many women, and most of them were very appreciative and wished me a "feliz navidad". Unfortunately, one rotten apple can spoil the whole lot of memories. One woman sat down and was overly chatty. Nothing wrong with that; she's just talkative. But something just did not seem right. I asked her the age of her children, because there seemed to be conflicts with the paperwork. She gave me a blank stare and when she didn't answer, I asked her again. I knew she spoke English. She was speaking fluently just a second earlier. Finally she answered that she had told me the wrong age. "I forget sometimes, you know." She chuckled. I tried to chuckle with her, but I could see her face twitch slightly. Could this have been my imagination? Oh Lord, please tell me this woman is not on drugs, I cried in my mind. As she walked away, my mind carried my soul away and down a dark path. How could a mother do that to her children? This unanswered question lay heavy on my heart throughout the afternoon.

I lightened up when I heard the director of the after-school program where I teach, talk about her grandson. Apparently, he was volunteering at many places and had quite a tender heart for helping people. I am sure he got that from our director. She loves her staff and the children as if they were her own children or grandchildren.

While listening to our caring boss, my cellphone reported jubilantly that a text message had arrived. Blushing because the noise had interrupted our staff meeting, I flipped open the phone and found a message from my my Sunday school teacher. It declared that she was volunteering at the Salvation Army and was sorry she missed us. How sweet of her! I often feel like her adopted daughter, because of how she is thinks of me and my sister. She is always giving us invitations to serve God with her. Everywhere my Sunday school teacher looks, she sees an opportunity to serve God. She has taught me that being close to God and waiting on Him brings unspeakable joy into one's life.

When I arrive home at night, I am tired, but I am never to exhausted for a chat with my grandma. She often regales me with stories from her pregnancy center. She provides information to many young women in crisis pregnancies, teaches parenting classes, and runs the center as director. She is completely dedicated to her work, and that same dedication pours into her family. Today I found out that she got everything set in place so that my parents would be able to go Christmas shopping. This is no small feat, as my family lives in Africa at present. Even though my father is grown, my grandmother will never stop being his mother.

As I think about these mothers in my life, I can see that I have been asking God the wrong question. Instead of why there are bad mothers, I should be asking him, "Why have you blessed me with so many great mothers?" I have no clue as to the answer of this question, but I am grateful all the same.

On the third Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me three great dames, two hands two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Two Turtle Doves

I push the church gym door open with my hands. Oooh, they're cold; I put them in my jean pockets. "What can we do?" Is the unspoken question on all of our minds and hearts, as we volunteers look at all the disorganized garbage bags full of Christmas stockings and gifts. Soon there is a row of tables set up and volunteers with reflective safety vests are sorting stockings by age and gender. My hands are still in my pockets. It is too early in the morning for thinking.

I pick up a stocking and examine it closely, trying to classify it. My vision is a little blurry, and I hold the stocking further from my face, guessing that I need new glasses. I stare at the pencils and calculator and wonder who would put a calculator in a child's stocking, when a second-time volunteer attracts my attention, by saying "Hey, you guys"--addressing my sister and me--"come over here, I have a job that'll be a little easier for you."

She means well, I think to myself, trying not to be a little injured. Today is not supposed to be about me anyway. The very friendly volunteer leads Jess and me over to a mountainous pile of white plastic bags. "All of these need to go in numerical order. The signs here and here show where the numbers are. See, they are 8000-8099 and 8100-8199 and so on. Okay?" I peer at the posted signs on the wall. Oh joy! They look like library numbers. "Okay!" I'm beaming from ear to ear now. I can do this!

Some of the plastic bags have come untied, and need to be retied. I dream about the journey these sacks must have traveled, littered with obstacles, in order to arrive stretched out and without a knot. I pull the bags' mouths into a taut knot and tote them over to their designated spot on the gym floor. As I go back for another two bags, for that is all I can carry at once, I absent-mindedly massage my hands. I look down at them. They are a little cramped from the tugging and are beginning to itch from all the dirt. My! How dirty my hands are! I glance from the white plastic bags to my now black palms. How did that happen?

While listening to "Jingle Bell Rock" on the radio, I clumsily adjust my fingers, trying to wiggle them into a position that does not completely crush my thumbs in the process. After several attempts, my thumbs cramp up in protest, and I have to stop for a minute. Maybe I'll go wash my hands, I thought, oddly believing this would appease my thumbs. I begin to wonder how poor dogs must feel, not having thumbs at all, I being a firm believer that animals do feel something.

After all the bags have been sorted and resorted, I get to do the fun stuff. I am now instructed by the captain to sort all of the toys into age and gender. "Yes, Captain", I reply gleefully, after all, it isn't every day you meet a captain.

Too soon it is lunch time, and we all flock to the kitchen to pick our poison and pizza slices. My hands work autonomously, feeding the sausage and pepperoni pieces onto my plate. I sit down and chat casually with a volunteer about morning sickness, hers not mine, like old friends. Even the captain sits with us and shares in our conversation, even though she is interrupted by her cell-phone halfway through lunch.

My fingers tap my sister's wrist so she will show me the time. It is time to go. I walk out of the church and it is colder than before. Back my hands go, this time into jacket pockets. Cold on the outside, but warm on the inside. That's just how I like it.

On the second day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me... two hands, two thumbs, and a volunteer named Mary.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Partridge In a Pear Tree

On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me... a volunteer named Mary.

As much as I love my kids from St. John's after-school program, they can be quite a handful. There are nineteen 3rd graders in all, and they're all mine. While the boys are in the middle of a scuffle because of a look, I have often prayed for someone to help me with them.

Today was Mary's first regular volunteering day. She helped out on Friday, but that day we just practiced "Silent Night" in sign language, and went outside to play, since the children did not have any homework. Because we are so close to Christmas, the children came with much less homework than usual. Yay! During reading time, some of the children read aloud. I allow this, because it helps some of them focus. Unfortunately, this encourages some of the other kids to talk to each other, thinking the teachers wouldn't notice. Before you know it, the whole room is abuzz and no one can hear herself think. In the middle of the rumblings in the room, Mary shook her head and said, "How do you do this every day?" I could only tell her that it gets better after a while. And it does. Strangely, her reaction makes me feel better. Remembering how overwhelming a situation feels at first shows me how far we've already come. Looking back makes it easier for me to look forward to the future.

A little later, Mary found her voice. She asked a student a whether he had homework or not. He disrespectfully answered with a muttered response, but Mary was not having any of that! She turned to him and said "What did you just say to me?" This time he answered honestly, saying, "No ma'am" as clear as day. The winds, they are a-changing! I was so glad that Mary was someone who I could rely on as a helper during homework.

Thank You, Jesus, for sending Mary to me!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Semester Scribblings

Starting tomorrow, I will be writing a blog every day based on the 12 Days of Christmas. If I start tomorrow, the twelfth day of Christmas should land on Christmas Day. Yay! Can't wait! :D

Until then... I thought I'd amuse you with some of the sketches I drew during my government class. A big thank-you to my grandma, who chose to, rather than scold, provide me with a sketch book. All of these drawings are in order from the earliest to the latest date. Some of them are not finished because I stopped drawing when class ended.

The Government Professor

A Fashion Model (didn't turn out too well)

A Southern woman from my History book

A married Native American couple who
assimilated into white American culture

An owner and her dog from an insurance

An African child refugee fleeing with his

A puppy and kitten snuggling in a
2010 calender

I hope you enjoyed a couple of those sketches. Sorry the pictures are hard to see. You see, my scanner refuses to work.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Time to Clean this Old House

My first plans for Christmas Break involved not much more than hiding away hermit-style and reading all those books I had promised myself I'd read later. I would just love to read The Norton Reader, which is a collection of essays and book excerpts, that I had to buy for school.

All that reading would make me hungry. Wouldn't it be loverly to sit and read until spring crept over me windowsill, eating homemade Christmas cookies the whole time? I could bake them during Christmas break.

Oh, but I would gain weight! And how! How would I keep off the pounds and also prepare for the coming kickboxing class in the spring? I would have to fit in some time for walking and the occasional sit-up.

While I'm exercising, I might as well become completely healthy and change my eating habits. For years I have been trying different things to make my face blemish-free, and so far, nothing has worked. I am now considering eating and drinking differently, as what we eat has been known to show up on our faces.

As I Google all sorts of diets and high-protein foods, I am also reading a blog. The blog talks about how not everyone is blessed with comfort at any time of the year, much less at Christmastime.

I jotted on my schedule to remember to volunteer during Christmas break. My Sunday School teacher and friend had recommended a feed-the-homeless program. The Salvation Army always needed help too.

By now my schedule is looking pretty full. How will I fit it all in? I become frustrated, and matters are made no better when the villains of this world aggravate me. I wonder what's wrong with me and why don't I feel Christmasy.

Then I remember, oh yeah, I should probably read some Bible during Christmas Break too. As I jot it last on my list, I ask myself, could my priorities be screwed up? I sigh and walk to my room, where I should find my Bible hardly touched since Sunday.

I can't find my Bible.

My room is in such a sad state, jackets thrown here, essays stockpiled there. I cannot but help thinking that my room is a reflection on my life. Time to get my priorities straight. Spending time with my Savior and reflecting on His Word have to come first. Before reading, baking, exercising, dieting, or even volunteering, I must clean this old house. I feel inspired by the song "Whatever You're Doing" by Sanctus Real. Here is the youtube link:

I will leave you with the ditty that occasionally pops into my head:

Jesus and others and you
What a wonderful way to spell joy
Jesus and others and you
in the life of each girl and each boy
“J” is for Jesus for He has first place,
“O” is for others you meet face to face,
“Y” is for you, in whatever you do,
Put your self third and spell JOY

Monday, November 30, 2009

Silence in the Classroom

I arrive four minutes late to class. The professor pretends not to notice my intrusion into his quiet classroom and continues etching algebra problems on the chalkboard. I clumsily pull out my notebook, pencil, eraser, and calculator. I awkwardly shrug off my sweater and place it under my seat. As I turn to my friend on the right, I notice that the man who sits behind her is not in his usual seat. I glance tentatively around the room, but he is no where to be heard. I grin inwardly, and then outwardly as I begin writing out an algebra problem.

I like how quiet the classroom is without the man who sits behind my friend. The rest of the students only speak if asked a question. I do not hear the incessant mutterings or obnoxious questions that usually mark his prescence. Thirty minutes go by, and I have not been irritated once. Then the door creaks open and in he walks. Everything about him annoys me. His blank expression. His brown, spiky hair. His worry lines that place him at over 30 years old--old enough to know better.

He sits down and starts writing out math problems. Before long I hear him finishing the professor's sentences. This is the man's worst sin of all. If I solve a problem quickly, my good feeling is lost when he works it faster and announces the answer to the classroom. His little comments are quiet and infrequent enough that he goes uncorrected. Today, I say to myself, this has to end. And I promise myself that the next time he opens his big mouth, he's going to get it. When the professor says, "And the answer is 5", I hear the man behind my friend say the answer as well, and congratulate himself aloud. I turn around and unleash my wrath on him.

I shush him.

The man continues to mutter after I have hissed at him, but as I turn around to face the professor again, I cannot hear him anymore. I keep working the problems, and there is silence. An awkward silence, because I have grown so used to his babble, but a silence nonetheless. He does not utter a single word for the duration of the class.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Year To Be Thankful For

A lot of great memories were made and my life was changed during this year. Since the last Thanksgiving I have gone from being a missionary teenager living with my parents in Africa, to a college student living with my grandparents in the United States.

I'm thankful that I found my calling. At the beginning of this year, I was sure I wanted to be a nurse. My love of human anatomy and heart to help children all pointed to becoming a pediatric nurse. One of my favorite shows was E.R. And while I still love that show enough to call my first-born son, Carter, I have realized that I could work in the medical field only in my mind. This year, I discovered that the sight of blood makes me queasy. I used to tell myself that I only felt sick when my little baby Jennifer was bleeding because I was emotionally attached. I know better now. When my sister asked me for sympathy because of a bloody hangnail, I felt the blood draining from my face. I began wondering if the nurse's life was really for me.

During all of these doubts, I was working at day-care and summer kids camp programs. The more I taught children, the more I grew to love it. I now teach at an after-school program, and even though there are some days I come home utterly exhausted, I have come to the realization that teaching is truly what I want to do with my life. Giving children what they need to grow up to be better people seems to me the highest calling. I'd love to have children some day, and homeschooling them would also be easier if I had a teaching degree. Everything fits in such a neat little package, and I thank my Heavenly Father for wrapping it for me this year.

I'm thankful for my family, especially for my sister, Jessie. She is the gooey marshmallow in the s'more that holds everything together. You might laugh, but I can think of no better analogy than the marshmallow. She makes sure I'm not terribly late for our appointments and then sometimes takes too long applying her make-up so I can feel like the on-time one for a change. She is also the sweetest person I know. If I begin losing my respect for human beings, she is always there to remind me to give people the benefit of the doubt. She also keeps everything interesting. Without the marshmallow, the s'more would be pretty dry. Jessie offers a fresh perspective on everything. Jessie also supports me, just like the marshmallow supports the chocolate bar. When it comes to the drivel that I write, she is my biggest fan. And lastly, the marshmallow that's been through the fire and has been burned has the softest, sweetest center. My sister will always be a better person for having gone through the life-changing fires of life. Love you, Jessie!

I'm also incredibly thankful for my newly-found social life! Being isolated in Africa, where my only contact with like-minded people was over the internet, was really tough for me. Even here in the United States all my social contact is through the internet! Just kidding. I have had the opportunity, through college life, my church, and my work, to meet a lot of people, many of whom I consider life-long friends. It is refreshing to find friends who bring so much more than great conversation to the table. The friends I have made not only keep me grounded, but also help me fly. It is amazing to me that God could turn the shy little recluse hunched over her computer into the social caterpillar that she is today.

I am so very thankful for all that is available to me here in the United States. When I lived in Africa, my life was fullfilling and packed with love. Ever since I moved back to Texas, I have become increasingly aware of how many opportunities there are. The sky's the limit! I can be anything, do anything, go anywhere! I can make my own choices and walk on the path I think God is leading me. I look forward to the new year with an anticipation that keeps my eyes, arms, and heart wide open.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing

It seems that whenever I have too much to do, I pile even more projects on. This semester is coming to an end, and so I am up to my eyelashes in homework. There are equations to solve for math, a historical book critique to critique, a government final coming up to study for, and an English research paper that refuses to write itself. That reminds me of a joke.

As I was working on my research paper this morning, I got a little distracted by my blog. Finding out I have a comment on my blog is the highlight of my day. Then I remembered that yesterday I had found a wonderful blog called the Recipe Shoe Box, and that it had a cute recipe for little turkeys. One link brought me to another blog, and so on, and so forth. Then I thought how great the Beatles' song "All You Need Is Love" is, so I just had to listen to it on youtube. Then I drifted to and found play lists that had Fall Out Boy on it, whose music I actually like. One thing led to another, and before I knew it I had thirteen tabs open in one internet browser!

I was feeling random today, probably due to all of the blog surfing, so I decided to post a bunch of the pictures I came across that I loved.

This is a Belle and Boo picture, my new favorite!
You can look them up here:

Someone actually tattooed a Belle and Boo picture onto her ribs!
Sounds like something I would do. Lol

Isn't that the most adorable picture you've ever seen?
I found this at:

I think I've bored you enough with my overly cute pictures. Have a great Saturday, full of randomness and procrastinating!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Maybe I Watch Too Many Cop Shows

It was dark as I hopped out of my grandfather's car. It was cold outside. The wind blew right through my knitted sweater. I flipped out my phone to call my sister.

"Jess, should I go ahead and order hamburgers for you?" A pause, then "Okay, fine, I'll see you when you get here."

I was being short with her for a reason. I was a little frightened. To get to the Jack-in-the-Box, I had to cross a very busy street, and then walk across a dilapidated gas station.

I stood at the curb for a few seconds that crept by as the cars flew by, blowing gassy fumes into my face. I chose my moment, then walked across the street as quickly as I could. I resisted the temptation to run--I did not want to have any chance of tripping and falling flat on my face.

The other side of the road greeted me with an ominous expression. Almost absolutely black, with patches of light here and there, the abandoned gas station loomed before me. I tried not to think that this would be a perfect hang out for homeless bums. I tried not to see the beggar with torn clothes and gloves that my mind projected into the picture. The walk to the Jack-in-the-Box was the longest I have ever taken.

Finally, I leapt over the curb and onto the white pavement, trying to seem casual as I strolled into the fast food joint. I had to be somewhere in 10 minutes, so I willed the food to come quicker than usual. I snatched the burgers and drinks when they arrived, and left the shelter of the lighted restaurant.

Was I crazy to struggle to hold the drinks and the burgers and the fries in one hand, so my other hand would be free to fight? Maybe. Maybe I was imagining things. As I crossed the street back to the other side, I felt alert, strong, and ready for action. When I walked into the building bright with neon lights where I was to meet my sister, I noticed that my shoes had picked up some mud and had tracked it onto the carpet.

With this discovery, my mind's eye, which had endured many Scooby-Doo episodes during my childhood, began to invent scenarios where the police came in and interrogated me. A murder happened at that old, abandoned gas station, and the mud on my shoes linked me to it.

"But Officer, I have a time stamped receipt placing me at the Jack-in-the-Box at approximately the same time the murder occurred."

"The Jack-in-the-Box is right next to the crime scene, you would have had plenty of time to kill him." And to his fellow crony, "Lock her up!"

Okay, so maybe watching Bones, and Castle, and the Mentalist, and CSIs on ocassion has corrupted my mind a little. But isn't life more fun this way?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Reality of a Ball for a Clumsy Girl

After reading Jane Austen novels and learning about the debutante balls of old, I felt a little disappointed when returning to my mundane party-less life. I've wondered how much more exciting my life would have been if I could just float from one party to the next with proper etiquette and grace.

I had my taste of that life when I attended a fund raising banquet that was held for my grandmother's pregnancy resource center. I looked forward to this dinner for days, wondering how I was going to dress or wear my hair. On the night of the dinner, I finally pulled together a classic black outfit and, as it was a special occasion, wore make-up. My sister wore a pink dress. It looked like it had been made just for her and her bubbling personality. Even my grandfather dressed up.

When my grandfather, sister, and I drove to the venue and walked towards the front entrance with other arriving couples, I first got the thrill of how fabulous this all was. I held my head high and smiled graciously at everyone I glanced at. There was a slight moment of awkwardness when I walked into the main dining area. There were many tables and I could not find my place at first, but then I saw my grandmother, and that bothersome wrinkle in my plans was smoothed out.

I sat tall with my hands folded in my lap, and then realized that everyone else was eating the salad in front of them, so I began eating too. Everything was going well until the main course came out...then everything began to unravel! I began eating my chicken like a civilized person, while talking to my neighbor between bites. I felt pretty pleased with how affable I was being. Maybe I could do this whole posh socializing thing after all. However, after a few bites I realized I had been eating with my salad fork this whole time! Egad! So much for being the perfect socialite! I discreetly placed my salad fork down and started eating with the bigger fork. Oh, why hadn't I watched Titanic more closely and remembered the advice about multiple silverware!

When I had finished dying of embarrassment, I was able to listen my grandmother deliver her speech about how much the Pregnancy Resource Center had improved over the past year. I was excited for my grandmother; this was a big night for her as the director of the Center. As she was nearing the middle of her speech, I had finished eating the delicious chocolate cake and the folds of icing topping it. Scraping the last delicious bits off of the plate, I sat back (while still very refined and polished) and sighed inwardly, so happy to be me. Then I moved my right arm and caught a glimpse of something unexpected there. Chocolate icing smeared from the middle of my forearm all the way to my wrist. This epidemic had also spread to the front of my black top. The horror! I couldn't believe my bad luck. In the back of my mind, I remembered leaning over my piece of cake to reach a sugar packet for my iced tea. That was probably when it happened. I knew that sugar could rot your teeth, but had no idea about its party-ruining qualities!

I rubbed my arm subtly with my thumb to get the chocolate off. Thankfully, most of it came off quickly. My top had many folds and could cover up the chocolate stains, so that too, was saved. The rest of the night went by without any more exceptionally inelegant mistakes on my part, and was very enjoyable. A woman spoke about the reasons she had for having an abortion, and how she chose instead to keep her daughter. She sang an absolutely beautiful and powerful rendition of "Jesus, Lover of My Soul". I was deeply moved and forgot about my chocolate stains and thought about all the young ladies who have to make tough decisions like this all the time. And then, just like that, the night was over. After chatting for a few minutes, we all went home. The night had been a success.

When I arrived home, I felt emotionally drained. Social events might have been fun for a lot of people at first, but after a while, it must have gotten tiring. I had not been involved in the hosting, or inviting, and had been a very little-known person at this dinner. Imagine how tired I would have been had I been the hostess! I think I prefer the fantasy I had in my head before reality set in...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friends Through a Common Enemy

Every student who goes to college has to have that one class that is just a waste of time. It's just the way it is. I have such a class and its name is Government 2301. Before I began attending the class, I was hardly interested in politics. When I showed up on Day One, finding not my professor, but a different man sitting at the desk, I had an ominous feeling. As it happened, the new professor (let's just call him Engels*) had to take on our class because the original professor had gotten promoted.

From the very first class we were given the impression that Professor Engels did not want to be there, and soon, it was a feeling we adopted as well. I left every class angry and frustrated, mainly because of how he got easily sidetracked onto racist topics. Recently, I have found a more rewarding way to vent my emotions during class. I sketch now in class. I have tried gleaning the good notes from Professor Engels's lectures, but this leads to me being angry, because I'm actually trying to learn. Here's my most recent sketch:

After a few days, I got to know a few people from that Government class, and we began to meet before every class. We started calling ourselves The Breakfast Club, because of all of our different personalities, and because we all loved the movie. Our meetings were like a cleansing salve over the rest of the day and made it easier to bear Professor Engels's egotistic comments. His tirades did not seem half as offensive when I imagined him as the ticking crocodile from Peter Pan, imagery courtesy of one of my fellow classmates.

Before long, the meetings before class were joined by meetings after class. My classmates and I ate comfort burritos after a difficult test or an especially trying day. We made jokes about the professor and conspired about grading him lowly on I wonder how many of his classmates actually take him for a second semester. Even though I won't be taking the honorable Professor Engels next semester, I might have him to thank for the close friends I now have from that class. As I learned from the John Adams miniseries, "Nothing makes greater friends than a common enemy."

*Name has been changed to protect the guilty and innocent alike.

Doctor Who in Person

I just met Doctor Who in person! Well, nothing quite so exciting...

I was walking out of Math class on my way to the library to study some formulas, when I saw a most peculiar sight. He was standing on a ledge as straight as a board. His fine hair was cut right above his ears. His trench coat is what really struck me. Long and brown, it was an exact copy of the one Doctor Who wears. I was breathless as I walked by him. I wondered why he was standing on the ledge, but was too scared to ask. I ran through the library doors and hid behind them. Peering around the edge surreptitiously, like the James Bond I am, I took mental snapshots of him. I eventually sat down to study Math, but (no surprise) I could not concentrate. Jess told me to talk to him, but I felt like a deer caught in headlights. She said, "Fine, I'll go see what he's doing up there." Brave girl. She came back a few nerve-wracking minutes later. Apparently, he was just waiting for a friend (boring!). Jess said, "He's no Doctor Who." But she did admit he had a slight accent. She urges me to forget about him. I will. Until I think of him again.

I had to buy a scantron, and because my own personal Doctor Who was still standing on that ledge, I chose a route to the bookstore so I could walk right past him. My courage gave out and I only looked at him once. When I looked back-- just like that-- he was gone. I wonder if he'll be back tomorrow. I continued to the bookstore to pick out my scantron. As I neared the shelves, I found one of my Math classmates looking for the right scantron. We got to talking about our class, and she mentioned that she noticed I was pretty outgoing. I beamed. Since I was a young teenager, I've struggled with my shyness. Coming to college and working has definitely helped me open up to more people and be less afraid. This is a turning point!

I came home to study my Algebraic formulas after work, because, needless to say, I had not been able to concentrate on them before. I studied for a bit, but then got distracted on the computer. I was reading my Mom's blog, which took me to a blog with a doughnut recipe on it, which showcased a blog about good Christmas presents for children. This made me think about how I needed to find some cute homemade gifts while I still had some days before Christmas. I signed into Google Reader so I could search for blogs, when my eye wandered to the only blog, other than my mother's, that I'm following: Planet Gallifrey. It is a blog for Doctor Who fans.

A few weeks ago, I stopped reading Planet Gallifrey because it had nothing useful to say, but this time, as I checked the blog posts, I found information on the next Doctor Who special, Waters of Mars. I'm excited because it is due to air on November 15th. Finally! I've been waiting so long! And that's not all! I found that an interview with David Tennant was included in the blog post. EEK! Oh, his Scottish accent was so beautiful! And -- get this -- he actually used the word, 'burgled'. Isn't that fantastic? I love watching any BBC shows or news because they always sound so refined. David Tennant rounded off the interview by saying it was "a great pleasure". No one talks like this anymore. I love it!