Sunday, July 30, 2006



It was hot out yesterday and I wore my maroon silk skirt that blows in the breeze just that way. My morning had been a sweet one; I started work early and it was a wonderful workday. I blew bubbles with sweet little girls and made copies for (and conversation with) people speaking at the Southeast Asia conference that I was going to be attending later in the day, including SE Asia teacher and many of the auditors in the class. And then I bought flowers and a muffin at the farmer's market and listened to a panel at the conference.

And when I was done with all that it was 4:30 and the sun was a bit low and the breeze was blowing my silk skirt just that way and I had a fist full of zinnias and other bright flowers. They were giving samples of free iced chai at Steep and Brew, and not being a woman who passes on samples, I took them up on it and sat down with skirt and flowers and chai and ts eliot and steeped in a bit of the late afternoon.

(I think the many dimensions of God are amazing. I love how I can know him and relate to him in so many different ways. He's the creator of stars and volcanos like here, and he's also the tender lover God that designed white roses and jasmine tea and June mornings and makes me feel very wooed on such afternoons when the sun is shining)

Later on, Hannah and I returned to State Street and drank Jamba Juice and smoked pipe while we watched the people go by.

*While I'm speaking of small sweet things, I thought I ought to mention The Traveler's Lunchbox. It makes me want to spend all afternoon mixing and sauteing. It also makes me want to start blogging a bit about college cooking. It's my new-found favorite food blog. Check it out.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

pretty wonderful

Sam: You don't like raisins?
Joon: Not really.
Sam: Why?
Joon: They used to be fat and juicy and now they're twisted. They had their lives stolen. Well, they taste sweet, but really they're just humiliated grapes. I can't say I am a big supporter of the raisin council.
Sam: Did you see those, those raisins on TV? The ones that sing and dance and stuff?
Joon: They scare me.
Sam: Yeah me too
Joon: It's sick. The commercial people they make them sing and dance so people will eat them.
Sam: It's a shame about raisins.
Joon: Cannibals.
Sam: Yeah. Do you like avocados?
Joon: They're a fruit you know.
Sam: Ruthie, do you got any avocados?

If I didn't have a crush on Johnny Depp before (and it's quite possible I didn't), I do now. We rented it on a whim with a two-for-one movie rental coupon I clipped out of a newspaper and watched it late at night after ice cream cones and The Squid and the Whale (which I also liked, in a very different way). It was very late at night, and I had to get up very early the next day, but I was charmed and it was worth it. If you have never seen Benny & June...


Friday, July 28, 2006


Since this Sunday or so, I've felt a bit off. Off isn't the right word. Sad. Sad is closer. It's not that I haven't had some really wonderful moments, because I definately have. I had some really sweet really real times this week. I lived some edible hours out journaling in library mall with the sun shining and the breeze blowing. I laughed from the pit of my belly out in the rain yesterday, soaking wet on the front stoop under a green umbrella- just because the rain was so funny. But I often found myself feeling down. Again and again. Every day, I have wanted to cry, but haven't been able to. That's unusual for me. And it got worse and worse until last night.

I guess you could say I hit bottom, but that implies a bad thing and it wasn't. When all that sad stuff got let loose and ran off, I found I was very okay. Oddly enough, when my bundles of insecurities surfaced, I found I was very secure, indeed. When all my fears bubbled forth, I found myself unafraid.

I finished at work around 9:15 at night and decided to walk home. Usually I get a ride when it's dark out, but this time, I just wanted to walk. State Street was still bustling with boys on skateboards and girls on dates. I didn't have my iPod on. My mind felt clear and I liked it. When I turned onto Gorham, there was a car playing "Wonderwall" waiting to turn. I smiled because it was perfect.

"Wonderwall" is present in all sorts of places in my life. Places like the place I was last night. It's left prints. I remember it playing in Norway when I was 16, riding in the back of a car through the snowy mountains with Ragnhild, Torbjorn, and Karine feeling very alone. And then singing it with friends on the sunny southern coast at Skjaergards along with a guitar when I was really confused about life and love in general. I remember singing it along with Jean as we drove through the desert in South Africa. The passenger seat was on the left side of the car. I was pretty confused then, too.

When I heard the song, I felt connected to all those other moments. It was sweet. Very sweet. I smiled and thought all along Gorham.

Cassie was there when I got home. "How are you doing?" she asked.

"You know," I said, "I don't care how fucked up the world is. I don't care how fucked up I am or how much I fuck up. I just don't give a fuck. You know why? Because God is there. Right now, I don't even care if He's good or bad or if He loves me or His character, or any of that. He's there, and that's enough. You know, I'm not happy right now. I'm not. But, fuck it. I don't care how I am. Because beneath that any of that is joy. deep deep joy and that is untouchable. And you know, I may not feel happy, but I feel GOOD. I feel honest and I feel REAL. It feels good, Cassie. I like when I feel like this and I like when I say fuck and mean it. Sometimes I just need a good fuck."

"Some people might take that sentence the wrong way."

"I know it."

We laughed.

I slept well last night. And when I woke up I felt really fresh and good. This morning, Amy and I danced in the kitchen to U2 and the Verve. And I studied on my bed in the sunshine. All morning I felt free and honest and real and joyful and happy, and, fuck, I felt alive.

Last night, Cassie said the only road to freedom is revival, and the only road to revival is death. I didn't understand what she meant entirely. The word "revival" is a bit too christian-ese for my taste and my ears have a habit of turning sideways when I hear it.

But I've been thinking about it. She was right. Thank God for death. And thank God for life. And, fuck, thank God for fuck.

Peace, everyone. Have a really GOOD day, whatever that looks like.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


rainy day

today was dangerously rainy. I loved it.

things to do on a rainy day:

-light candles that smell sweet like vanilla
-bake shortbread
-watch the rain from the front stoop under an umbrella huddled together with your roommate
-play soft music
-laugh really really hard because it's raining really really hard
-get an iateaweebittoomuchshortbread stomach ache
-drink lots of big cups of tea
-lay in bed

things not to do on a rainy day:

-wear anything the slightest bit uncomfortable (avoid bras if possible)

add to the list as necessary.



For those of you into this whole university business, I finally got registered my (delicious) classes, check them out:

-African Lit in Translation: The Arabic Novel
-Islam Religion and Culture
-3rd Semester Norwegian

Monday, July 24, 2006

self-portrait challenge.


self portrait as true.

when it comes down to it, You are my home.

Friday, July 21, 2006

photo friday: common

grapes by the lake

This topic was hard for me to find a picture for. But it's true: these wild grape things are common.

(but, let's face it, they're a bit remarkable too)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


warm day in the pool
self-portrait tuesday: me and summer

At 85 degrees fahrenheit (that word is so hard to spell), today was the first day of bearable temperatures since Thursday. I walked a half hour to work with my hair down with shortsleeves and only got a little sweaty (yesterday, in the coolest of cool clothes and rayon-wrapped hair, I was a veritable ball of goo by the time I made it up Bascom). I am relishing this weather- hot tea! warm rice! manageable hair!

I can't say I didn't enjoy the heat, though. I loved having an excuse to pull back my hair and wear everything breezy and cool (even if I wore it yesterday). I loved walking out of the sterile air conditioned work into the sticky soup of outdoors where my hair frizzed its way out of its wrap. I loved driving at night with the windows down and not feeling cold at all. I loved spending the afternoon with friends in the pool. I loved that steamy weather.

In these sticky days, I've been thinking a lot about God and the world. Most of these thoughts have been spurred by my Southeast Asia class. As time goes on, I'm beginning to love that course more and more and come away from it every day understanding the world and how God sees it that much deeper. It's days like that I don't mind so much going deeply in debt for my education. It's days like that when I think knowledge is very good and sweet and worth the price. When I walk out of class, I don't just feel full of brain, but also full of heart and hope; it seems when I see the world the most clearly in its pain and hurts and mess that I see hope the most assuredly and God's love the most bewilderingly.

Another surprising side-effect of this course is that I have recently found myself with a bit of a crush on the Philippines. I was so madly in love with Africa during my survery course a couple weeks ago, I thought Southeast Asia would never be able to satisfy me the way Africa did. But here I am, not even two weeks out of Africa class and already falling head-over-heels for someplace else. Girls are so fickle.

Speaking of Southeast Asia, I have a paper due tomorrow that I should be writing. I had best get back to that. I hope you have a good day. Cheers!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

photo friday: remarkable

zinnia sprouts

sweet little sprouts really are remarkable.

also remarkable:
-the creme brule we had at tutto's pasta last night
-how much cooler it feels when my hair is up in a wrap
-lightening bugs
-these currants I bought at the farmer's market today. I love currants. In norway, we ate big bowls of them with cream or vaniljesaus.

noticed anything remarkable lately?

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Monday, we had Harold Scheub as a guest lecturer. He spent several years of his life walking across South Africa collecting stories. He says people can't live without stories.

He told us a few. This was my favorite. It's a take from the Mbuti people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (note: the Mbouti people are hunter-gatherers and move periodically when resourses had run out in the area they are in)

There was once a husband and wife that lived in a village deep in the rainforest. They had a child; she was a girl whose face was full of scars and open sores and her legs were crippled. One day, the elders pulled the parents aside, "Your daughter is so ugly," they said, "we cannot stand to look at her anymore. When we move, let's leave here here." The parents agreed and that is just what they did. The village packed up and the girl was left alone in the small rainforest clearing.

Day by day, she got weaker from thirst and hunger. She lied flat on her belly and could hardly move. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw something very bright up in the sky. She lifted her head to see the Fifi-bird. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen- it was big and white and shining. The girl watched the bird as it grasped a vine and strung it from one tree to another. It then perched on the middle of the vine where it swung back and forth, back and forth.

The girl was so entranced by the Fifi-bird that she began to crawl towards the tree, dragging her legs behind her. With her last bit of strength, she climbed the tree. Up and up. And then the bird was gone. She crawled out onto the vine where it had sat and swung there, back and forth, back and forth.

Two men stumbled upon her there. Repulsed by her appearance, they called up to her, "You are disgusting! I have never seen something so ugly. You deserve to die!" and they shot at her. Both men missed and one was killed by the other man's fire. The man left living returned to his village and to the king.

"King, there is a girl in the forest who is possessed by evil spirits. She has put a curse on this kingdom. My friend and I tried to get rid of her, but he is now dead." The king agreed to send out a small party of soldiers. They went out into the forest and found swinging on a vine, back and forth, back and forth, the girl. Repulsed by her appearance, they called up to her, "You are disgusting! I have never seen something so ugly. You deserve to die!" and they all shot at her. The soldiers missed and all but one was killed by another man's fire. The man left living returned to his village and to the king.

"King, there is a girl in the forest who is possessed by evil spirits. She has put a curse on this kingdom. Our party of soldiers tried to get rid of her, but now all but I are dead." The king agreed to send outhis entire army. They went out into the forest and found swinging on a vine, back and forth, back and forth, the girl. Repulsed by her appearance, they called up to her, "You are disgusting! I have never seen something so ugly. You deserve to die!" and they all shot at her. Entire army missed and all but one was killed by another man's fire. The man left living returned to his village and to the king.

"King, there is a girl in the forest who is possessed by evil spirits. She has put a curse on this kingdom. Your entire army tried to get rid of her, but now all but I are dead." This time, the king agreed to take the entire village to go and find the girl. They went out into the forest and found swinging on a vine, back and forth, back and forth, the Fifi-bird.

What do you think of the story?

Oh, and speaking of folklore, I watched this clip about the English story, Robin Hood, last night. It made me laugh and laugh. Eddie Izzard rocks my socks.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

its all over

studying at Fair Trade

This last Thursday, I officially finished my Africa class (AFRICAN 277 : Africa: Introductory Survey for you Madisonians). I loved it. There are about a bagillion (maybe even two bagillion) courses I want to take now in the African Studies department. The African Storyteller, Introduction to Yoruba Life and Culture, Swahili, Xhosa, African Poetry... And that's just the African Studies department. There are so many other wonderful, wonderful departments and classes and languages I want to sink my teeth into. Eastern Christianity/Russian Orthodoxy in a Global Context, Romani (Gypsy) Culture in Russia and East Europe, Russia Today in Literature and Film, Mythology of Scandinavia, Folklore Theory, French, Norwegian, Icelandic, The Icelandic Sagas, Literature in Translation: Dante's Divine Comedy, Religion in History and Culture: The East, The Medieval Church, Myth, Islam: Religion and Culture, Introduction to Indian Literatures....oh man, I could go on for a very VERY long time...

But I digress.

The point is, I loved my Africa

For example:

Recently, I found this really great radio station. I don't know what it is, I just know it is a very small number and is very local. I stumbled upon it while I was baking cookies and looking for some jazz. I found it there. An hour later, they were playing BBC news. This morning, I tuned in and it was reggae. We spent a bit of time in class studying Fela and Afro-beat. I began picking out the African influence like call and responce, etc, and thought some thoughts about the Rastafari movement and was glad to know that my education was going to such a good cause.

a couple other perks:
-I know a few pretty amazing African stories.
-I can point out Burkina Faso class and things I have learned come in handy every single day. on a map. Without hesitation.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

by william wordsworth

daisies and sky

My heart leaps up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began,
So is it now I am a man,
So be it when I shall grow old
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man:
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

bye, bixler

Eric Jon called me this morning.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Oh, you know. Studying, reading, drinking coffee- my finals are tomorrow." I love mentioning finals. It makes me feel like a very serious student.

"Call me when you pass my house on your way to class."

I did. He said he'd walk with me.

"I'm leaving for Arizona."

I wasn't too surprised.

"When?" I asked.

"In about a 1/2 an hour. Only a few people know."

Again, I wasn't surprised. That's Eric Jon's style. No long drawn out goodbyes. We talked for a while down Gorham and State and I bought three oranges and a bag of cherries at the fruit stand.

We hugged and said goodbye.

I hope things go really really well for him. I think they will.

Monday, July 03, 2006


spring swing feet

It's like I had funny toes. Like they were crooked and blistered and made me walk kind of funny. They probably had some weird hairs growing on them too. So I was like, "Hey, God, I really want some new feet. There's something not right about the one's I've got." As time went on, I saw gradual little changes here and there. That blister was getting a wee bit smaller and this toenail seemed to be growing again. And then one day I noticed that I was walking completely normal. I looked down and was like, "WHOA! CHECK OUT THOSE FEET!!!" They were beautiful. Not at all confused and messy and hairy like before. And so I plopped down on the sidewalk and brought my foot to my face- getting a closer look at the blisterless skin. "Wow!" I said as I played with my healthy little toes. "When did this happen?? How???" And of course I knew exactly how.

It's like that. Except it's my guts, really, and not my feet at all.

I was thinking about this last night as I smoked a pipe on the front stoop and blew thick smoke into the dark. It was a good thought.