Sunday, December 26, 2010

winter adventures

I wanted to update this sooner, but winter got the better of me and I hurt my shoulder, which meant it hurt to type. I am officially winterized now, though. I have driven through a blizzard and hurt myself.

The Monday before the blizzard, I was walking to class, had just come in with still wet and snowy boots, and somehow slipped as I was walking down the stairs. I instinctively grabbed the railing and caught myself, and was embarrassed and hopped up as quickly as I could, telling the people behind me that I was alright. We went to class, and by the end of class and lunch I was thinking perhaps I was not alright after all. I went to the nurse to get an ice pack, but by Thursday it was really killing me, so I gave in and went to the doctor, who told me I had torn muscles in my upper arm and shoulder and gave me a sling for 5 days. I balked a little, but had to admit the sling helped, so I knew I'd done a good job on myself.

The blizzard happened the day I was on call for CPE. I thought it rather special that of all the people born and raised in snow, I was the one who happened to be on call that day. It was indeed a blizzard, and the city of St. Paul even stopped bus service and snow plows by the afternoon it was so bad. Fortunately by that time I was at the University campus and was not leaving until the next morning. I left the seminary a little early that Saturday morning, made it out of my parking spot, and got stuck trying to get out onto the main street because I had to stop for traffic, but a couple of girls who live down the hall from me stopped and helped me. I made it without further mishap to the hospital, as the snow continued to fall. Around midday I had to go over to the other campus of the hospital to finish my day, and they had just plowed the street in front of the parking garage where my car was, so crossing the street saw me sink knee deep into the plowed snow, getting snow in my boot, even. I made it all the way to the other campus without getting stuck, but then almost got stuck getting into that parking garage, because they hadn't plowed that street in a while (which I thought was kind of ridiculous). I managed to rock my car out, though, and knew I wasn't getting back out in that. Fortunately by 8am Sunday morning, when my on call shift ended, the main streets were all plowed (as was the one in front of the parking garage), and though the lines on the street were not visible and the roads were bordered with car-high piles of snow, I made it all the way back to campus, where I was unable to get down the street to the one parking lot that they were just finishing plowing. I went around to the other parking lot, not knowing what else to do, and barely made it down that street (also not plowed), but got stuck as I was entering the other parking lot (which had not been plowed yet). The seminary president happened to be walking across then, and another guy was digging his own car out, so they helped me push my car more out of the way and I left a note on it for the guys plowing to call me when they had cleared out a place for me to put my car. They did, but they had plowed me in again, so I had to get more help getting my car out and around to a clear space. After that, I was good on driving for a couple of days, and much less fond of snow.

So now I'm officially northernized/winterized, and not really so sure how I feel about it. Coming home for Christmas where there is no snow has been quite nice, actually.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The longer I do CPE and visit people, the more I am aware of the open-endedness of it. I meet with people once, talk for a while, and have to send them on their way. One visit does not solve all their problems, and I don't even know how long the bit of peace from the conversation and prayer will last. Do they wake up the next morning in turmoil again? I don't know. This is one of the difficulties for me. I like to see results, like to have a sense of completion. This is why doing is nice. If I build a house for someone, it gets finished and they move in. That need is met. I suppose no need is ever met once and for all, that we are constantly in motion so that we are always needing something again. So perhaps I do meet needs in the moment, and have to trust God to provide for the need when it appears again and I am no longer in the picture. Not seeing an end can be difficult, though. There is no perfection, and letting that be okay is hard to sit with sometimes. Oh faith. It encompasses so much more than we initially imagine.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

CPE adventures

CPE is a strange creature. Proof that God works in strange ways, but overly taxing, especially for an introvert. My particular floor on the hospital is just a general medical/surgical/telemetry (though I don't actually know what telemetry is) unit, so I get a whole host of people on it, for a whole host of reasons. I get people with random physical ailments, people who have been moved from the ICU, people who are recovering from some surgery. I also get people who moved from the ICU after some overdose or another, whether intentional or not, so the spectrum from sane to certifiably crazy is pretty wide. I saw one patient who liked to ask me random questions about myself, including how I would wear my hair in my wedding (and I'm not even dating anyone, nor do I have immediate prospects), and, after finding out I do photography, asked if she could have a photo of me, and if I would sign my name on it. That just left me flabbergasted, and when my clinical coordinator heard about it the next day he just sat and laughed really hard. Two days later, though, the day she was discharged, she prayed for me after I finished praying for her, and she told me I will make a good 'shepherd' and affirmed this pastoral direction. It was a strange moment, hearing these things from someone who's senility I occasionally questioned, but it made me think God works in ways we aren't usually looking for, and through people we don't expect to hear these things from.
There's this other patient I saw one day on my unit, stopping by randomly to talk to her as she was sitting on her bed. We walked down the hall and back, and I told her God loves her as she is and meets her where she is. She is the only patient I've had a conversation like that with, and she was transferred to the behavioral health unit the next day, so I didn't get to stop by again to see her. I didn't imagine she'd much listened to what I was saying, although I had brought her a book of prayers the department puts out, and I found out the next day through the chaplain on her new unit that she had lost it and wanted another. I told that chaplain that I had seen her and that she might appreciate another visit, but I wasn't sure. A couple days later I got a voice message from that chaplain saying the patient had told her some of the things I had said, and wished she could remember the rest, and asked if she could see me again. I then found out out department director had seen her while she was on the ICU, but when he checked back the next day she hadn't remembered him and didn't want to talk to him. It has been a very strange experience. She did not remember the physical details of our encounter, and seemed to be confusing mine with the visits from the other two, but she remembered the words I spoke to her. In the moments when I am telling her that God loves her and meets her where she is, I believe that in a way I've never believed it before, and I truly believe God is with her. The moment is holy in a strange way, and I hope to God that my words can mean something to her even after she leaves the unit, hope they really can save a life, as the Behavioral Health unit chaplain told me I might have done. It makes me simultaneously aware of the power and utter powerlessness I possess in the exact same moment, and I know I can only trust God with her soul and do my best to represent God as faithfully as I know how and leave my shortcomings to God to fill.

Monday, August 30, 2010

driving in MN

After driving in MN for a few months I have noticed some interesting things. Some of them are merely puzzling, some I just don't like. My most recent discoveries come from driving through rural Minnesota this past weekend. Out there, for whatever reason, they decided numbers would be good for naming roads. A girl told me today that apparently there was a big legislative change some years ago that actually changed names to numbers. Anyway, you'd be driving through cornfields, and suddenly come across, say, 468th Street. Or, the intersection of 150th Street and 170th Avenue. Where the other 467 streets were, we'll never know. That was the only road for miles, except the county road I was driving on. Unfortunately the counties also seem to like to all use some of the same numbers, so it seems like it might be easy to get confused (I think I passed a 150th street in about 3 different counties).

Then, I was driving down this one road, and I passed a sign that said 'End Speed Limit 45'. Which was all well and good, but there was no sign that then informed me which speed I should be driving.

Lastly, what I hate most about driving in Minnesota (though I imagine this might be a problem in other states, too) is the idiotic cloverleaf design of entrance and exit ramps. They are so tight that they are almost homicidal. Exit, slam on brakes so you don't fly off the side of the loop, then have cars coming at you at 65mph trying to exit as you are trying to enter, all trying to share the same space. Oi.

There are perhaps quirks in Texas that I am just used to, I'll grant that. The cloverleaf thing still seems stupid, though, even as I grant it's space saving nature.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

cross cultural education

Thursday evening I went down to the kitchen after CPE to make some supper. While I was eating, two guys that live upstairs came in, one of them is from Korea and the other from Sweden. They told me they had decided to make food for each other, so Choong made noodles (they were actually Ramen, but he presented them well), and Mattias made swedish pancakes from this mix he had found. They invited me to join them, so I did, and it was quite fascinating to watch. Choong ate swedish pancakes with chopsticks, and Mattias didn't drink the liquid from the noodles, and each made the other a bit uncomfortable by not doing it quite properly, but I enjoyed watching the interaction. The two are almost literally from opposite sides of the world.

That evening Tim got the chance to get half price tickets to see Gin Blossoms at this jazz club he likes to go to, and asked if I wanted to go, too. That was fun, and it's a small venue so every seat was close.

People are moving in for the fall semester, and thus the quiet of the dorms is over. There are also two men on my hallway, I guess the third floor is full. I feel bad for them, they have to go upstairs every time they want to shower or use the bathroom, and that's just rough.

And so the semester begins.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

and so it begins

Howdy, y'all.
CPE started yesterday, and I have two weeks of orientation before we get into the real deal. It went fine, nothing terribly exciting, we got id badges and some introductions to the CPE group and a few logistical things. It is kind of exciting in prospect, along with the usual dreaded dull work that will go along with it (learning scheduling and charting and email and having to write verbatims and such) but there will be some interesting experiences, no doubt. I won't pretend I'm not nervous about it, and in certain moments entirely petrified, but it's going to be an interesting experience where I will have to dig deep and bring out some of me that I usually allow to lie dormant. I think perhaps some of y'all won't entirely recognize me when I get home for Christmas. Then there are other moments when I look at my calendar that is already getting full before I've even really started the semester, and I think December can't come fast enough. This should be interesting, at any rate. The group and the supervisor seem pretty decent, at least, which is good since I've heard plenty of stories about that part being terrible.

In other news, the weather is cooling off, but it seems to be having a hard time deciding whether its fall or not. A cold front came through again, so it only got up to about 75 today, but yesterday it was in the upper 80s. Someone said 88, though when I walked out of the hospital after CPE yesterday one of my group members said something about it being hot, and I just thought, no, not really. Ah well. I'll just appreciate the fact that it's not 102, and pretend like winter is not coming soon. Peace.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

back, but maybe not ready yet

I am back from visiting CT. I also visited NYC, somewhere I've never been before. It was quite exciting, and a nice place to visit, though I am not enough of a city girl to think I'd actually like living there. The friend I visited does psychology research, so I got an MRI while doing the stop task, then got to see pictures of my brain. Pretty cool. We toured the main Yale library and the rare book building, and I saw two Gutenberg Bibles and the Audubon book (also awesome). In NYC I saw the statue of Liberty from the Governor's Island ferry,went to Central Park and Times Square (which isn't square and that still bothers me- why didn't they call it Times Plaza or something?), then met up with a friend from high school and had some pizza and hung out. We went to the beach in CT, on Long Island Sound, and it was a different sort of beach from the ones on the Gulf Coast I've been to, but I don't know if that's normal north Atlantic beaches or just from being on the sound. Anyway, it was a fun trip and a nice vacation, since I really haven't had one of those in a while.

Now I'm back on campus and getting really close to finishing my Romans class (the only summer course I have left). I start CPE in a week, though, and still don't know how many classes I can take, so I am a bit anxious about all of that but am going to try to enjoy this last week of relative freedom and lack of responsibility as much as I can. I continue to get my photography skills complimented, which is always nice to hear (maybe I really am talented there..haha).

I think it's possible fall is very close now (the natives might claim this as still summer weather, but where I'm from it definitely resembles fall), so I think shorts wearing days are quickly drawing to a close. I've been told the first frost shouldn't be here for about another month (!) but frost=winter to me, so I think this will just be a really long 'winter'.

Just to leave you with something to think about, I think all we can really know is Descartes' "I think, therefore I am". What I am, I can't know, nor is there really any certainty beyond that simple phrase. That is where faith comes in, on many levels. However, if you don't like thinking all that much, you can pretend this post ended with the previous paragraph.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

that sure is 'nas'

While eating breakfast this morning, this other guy came in, and then started talking to me. He told me he was from Korea, and asked where I was from. When I told him I was from Texas, he acknowledged that that was far away from Minnesota, too, and then said "Texas is nice. [pause] but they say 'nas' there, don't they?" Apparently, a friend of his had visited Texas, and came back saying 'nas'. It took me half a second to figure out what he meant by 'nas', then I started laughing, but had to admit that, yes, some people in Texas do say 'nas'. Talk about cross cultural education. I think they could probably skip the travel part of that degree requirement and just make all of us from various places sit in one room and talk to each other for a while.

In other news, a group of us went out to a place called Old Chicago for Mary's last night before moving to her new job. I had a good pizza there, and her dad apparently really enjoyed talking to me. The next day (Sunday), I went to a worship service at Rachel's teaching parish, which is a small bilingual (Spanish/English) congregation. They operate on Latino time (and even claim that themselves) so the noon service started around 12:30, but the music was great and the people were nice. I came back, bid Mary and her dad and sister good-bye, and that evening we went to Chatterbox Pub for Rachel's birthday, where you can play games while you eat. We played Apples to Apples, which I actually had never played before, but it was fun. I also had a great root beer float. (they home-make their root beer, but I'm not sure it beats A&W from the tap)

I have finished Hebrew, and might have finished my ethics paper (I submitted it to the prof for either approval or suggestions..), so I am going to hopefully get a little reading of random things done before I go to CT to visit Livvie and start CPE and the fall semester. I should probably enjoy these last couple of weeks of breathing.

Monday, July 19, 2010


So, the funny thing about seminary and theological education is, there's often so much time spent theologizing that simply reading the Bible for the sake of reading the Bible can get lost. I've had that problem (which may partly be my fault, but there are only so many hours in the day). Regardless, I admit I haven't really just sat down and read the Bible much in a while. So today I pulled out my old Bible, the one I had as my primary take to church and everywhere else Bible for about 9 years, junior high and high school ages mostly. It's the New King James Version, not the NRSV that is the more common one in my circles now, but that Bible has all sorts of underlining, some notes, and I have read it cover to cover twice (at least), with a million smaller readings in between. It's become sort of like a favorite blanket or pillow or something. The words are familiar even in their not quite so modern English, and I still can find stuff in it based on where it is on the page. So I pulled that one out today and started reading some Psalms.

And I remembered how much I love the Bible. I love the whole Bible, even the parts I don't understand or don't like. I love reading the genealogies, the laws in Leviticus, the Psalms and the epistles. As I was reading Psalms today, I started thinking about the people that wrote them. Some of the psalms are quite personal, but I got the impression that some of them were intended to be shared, that the author knew these things would be read many years into the future.

Ignoring all the debates about truth and Truth and TRUTH, etc, I share this quote from Rich Mullins, because it's something to think about: “I don’t think you read the Bible to know truth. I think you read the Bible to find God, that we encounter him there.” Perhaps there is a truth in encountering God, but not truth in an all the answers sort of way. However, I think the we do have the Bible as a very important way to encounter God, and I think God was glad of the time I got to spend with Her while I was reading the Psalms. It's been a while.

So I leave you with this, from Psalm 33:
"Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield,
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Language and the Bible

I had a great time at the LC/NA assembly this past weekend, Let Justice Roll. It was great to be with all those people and the speakers were awesome! Good times.

I only have one more week (after this one) of Hebrew left. I am glad of that, means I'll only have two classes to work on then. I would prefer it be my Romans class ending instead, but alas. Some weeks I feel swamped with work, and others I feel like I must have forgotten to do something. Not sure why. Hebrew leads me to something else I've been thinking about, though. Language. After looking at the Bible in its Greek and Hebrew origins, and realizing just how gray translating is, it's sort of a wonder we find these texts normative at all. For example, in my Romans class, the prof is pretty into telling us that maybe Luther misunderstood Paul. This week, this misunderstanding centers around a prepositional phrase, διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, (from Rom. 3:22) the controversy being over whether it means, as a genitive phrase, through faith IN Jesus Christ, or through faith OF Jesus Christ. If taken in certain theological directions, it apparently has significant implications over works and the role of our faith and how that happens and where it comes from and there seem to be attempts to overthrow entire theological frameworks through this one phrase. To a certain extent, I think, holy crap dude, who says either of you is right? Sometimes it just makes me wonder if we aren't making mountains out of molehills, and is this really what we need to think so hard about? Does it not lead to the same conclusion? That may be next week's answer... Sigh. But overall, it makes me think, since the prof is so concerned about getting to what Paul was actually saying...I don't know that that is possible. At all. And even if it is, how important is that? Language evolves, cultures evolve, and none of those things translate completely across borders and time. This raises significant questions about how we use the Bible and how we should. Understanding is always good, and I certainly don't want to claim that we should wander around ignorant and throwing the Bible unwittingly at people, but at the same time, are we asking more from it than it is capable of giving? Is this another way to worship the creation rather than the Creator? It starts to feel like one needs a master's degree just to be able to read the Bible properly. Just a few thoughts that have been chasing around inside my head. Maybe that's just my own prejudices getting in the way, who knows. Thoughts?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

blowin up stuff

Howdy, y'all. I got a chance to light some fireworks on the 4th. I had a lovely afternoon with PL, then on my way back to my room I saw Felix, and he said they were going to watch some fireworks and then set some off, if I wanted to join them. I figured that would be a good thing to do, so I turned around and followed him. The fireworks show(s) -we could see about 5 over Minneapolis in different places- were pretty nice. Then we went down to the softball field to set off the ones Felix's roommate's parents had brought. There was a box full, and they were pretty cool. Nothing aerial, but some cool stuff. I've never really done fireworks before except sparklers, so this was new and exciting (not least because I am also fond of fire and explosions). We lit a few by themselves to see what they would do, then decided to set up a few 'shows' by lighting several at once. This was not as easy as it sounded, because we only had one lighter. We ended up lighting sparklers and then lighting the fireworks with those, which usually meant that someone didn't get theirs lit as fast as the rest of us, and you can't just hang out next to them to finish. They do, in fact, explode. It was fun and exciting nonetheless, a worthwhile adventure, and there were no injuries (always a plus).

In other news, I have finally achieved a static temperature in my room lower than the outside temp by nearly closing the window, closing the shade, and leaving the light off. Yes, I am aware that that seems a bit absurd, but no, I do not want to go buy a fan. I am just glad this method is successful. It shouldn't be warm for more than another month and a half or so anyway. No big deal. I'm from the south, which sometimes means I'm a little crazy. It's okay.

The World Cup is drawing to an end. I watched the first semifinal game today, and tomorrow Germany plays Spain in their semi. I have the LCNA assembly this weekend, though, and Saturday is also the third place game, so I am not sure how I'm going to manage both. If Germany makes it to the final it will be a bit easier to concede that game without watching it, but if they don't...I don't know. Hopefully Augsburg College has wireless or a television. Or something. haha.

Academically speaking I translated (we use the term loosely) the first chapter of Jonah, and did some work for my first ethics paper. For some reason I still don't feel like I've been terribly productive, but I'm not sure what I'm looking for. Ah well.

Friday, July 2, 2010

the letter P

So, I was going to write a post, brought to you by the letter P, about patience, and talk about how I often run headlong into things and get overzealous so that I crash into the wall rather than walking up to it and stepping over. However, that was about a week ago, so I'm not sure I even remember half the witty and profound things I was going to say about that. Sorry. The moral of the story, though, is patience. Just chill out sometimes and things will be okay, everything is not going to make perfect sense and all line up right from the beginning.

As for the next set of things to tell you, wow. I'm not even sure I remember what I did the last couple of weeks, except go to Hebrew class. There was some soccer in there too. The Germany/England game was a total nail biter. Super exciting. I am very nervous about the Germany/Argentina game tomorrow. I really want Germany to win, but I doubt Argentina's going to just lay down and get run over. Why is Germany my team? I have been asked that a lot lately. I don't really want to get into patriotism and stuff, and I totally cheered for the US team in their games, but Germany's just my team! So there. I love Germany like I love soccer, and there's no longer logic or reasoning behind it. It's deeper than that.

On that note, though, I sincerely wish I were bilingual. At least. English and German, and then Spanish would be my next language. I can't decide if I've failed in that regard, or just not had the right opportunities. Alas. Perhaps one day.

It's actually rather warm today, and according to the weather on my iphone, actually warmer by a few degrees here than in TX thanks to rain from the hurricane. It's sunny up here. Still okay, but makes my room a bit warm. I think the mornings and evenings are cooler, though.

I am determined to get my room finally arranged and decorated this weekend. I only have about a year before I will probably have to pack it up again anyway, so might as well have it decorated the longest.

I also had thought I might have more kernels of wisdom to impart, but I seem to have forgotten them. Wisdom is indeed so fleeting. I should probably try learning more Hebrew, too. Adios!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

piso mojado

The title comes from the fact that I was disappointed to notice that the wet floor signs up here did not also read 'piso mojado' underneath. I had become accustomed to seeing most things in English and Spanish, and it's even rather helpful in learning some Spanish. It's a shame we can't learn languages Matrix style, where you could just plug in a tape and have it all instantly in your brain. That would be awesome, and I'd have a ton of languages that way. Hebrew is making me feel kind of stupid, though, because I just can't seem to get all those words to stay in my head rapidly enough. I also kind of think my Romans prof is a bit out there, but we'll see how it goes. I'm not so much a fan of learning dead languages, though, because the method for learning is very dry, and it just doesn't really do it for me. I like the Hebrew language, because I think it's interesting and it feels like I'm connected with centuries of people, more so than Greek.

Mostly I'm writing in here because I don't want to study Hebrew right now, and I spent most of the day reading ethics. I did unpack some more things, so now the room looks bigger because there isn't as much stuff all over the floor. That's good news. I also need to go to the store again, because I didn't make a list and forgot to get mousse, and could use some more food, too, since there are no meal plans over the summer and the cafeteria has yet to serve something that compels me to go eat there. I did also go to the food co-op with Tim yesterday, and that was interesting and kind of cool. It had more stuff than I expected, but I did get some fresh eggs, as well as some spaghetti.

I like being able to keep the window open, but the outside can get very loud sometimes. Occasionally I hear airplanes (like right now), but I also hear lots of birds and other creatures, and people walking down below. This morning I was interrupted in my sleep by some very obnoxious squirrels who kept chattering at one another until something happened and one of them fell. I only know this because someone was walking by at the time and said, 'did you see that? that one just fell!' I don't know if the one knocked the other one out of the tree, or if the squirrel was just so beside himself with anger that he lost balance. Either way, it was a humorous and rather unreal interruption to my sleep.

Speaking of sleep, I think it's time for a shower and the bed. Peace.

Friday, June 11, 2010

back north

Hello friends, long time no blog, I know. But I'm back in the frigid north again (which isn't quite so frigid in June, but I am still beginning to wonder if they actually have sunshine and hot weather up here) so it's time to try to find time to blog. Surely this means my life will be more interesting, right? Busy, for sure. I've been drowning in Hebrew this week. Drove up here last weekend, which is an extremely long time to sit in a car. I also did not know Iowa was so hilly and windy. Kansas was blah, plus they charge a toll for half of I-35 that runs through it. Ain't right. The Flint Hills in KS were pretty nice, though. I'll give them that.

I noticed that blogger had updated templates since I last logged in, so I hope you like the new design. I like blues, if you hadn't noticed. They also updated the posting section, so we'll see if I inadvertently do something strange with it.

I really feel quite uninteresting in general, but I have a trip to Target and the grocery store later, so I won't starve or run out of important things like contact solution. This blog has no organization already, I can tell. It's very weird to see this place without snow, I was amazed at how many plants they grow up here. I also saw rhubarb growing, and someone told me what it was. I don't know what half of these plants are. I like that I can have the window open and sleep with it open and everything (also helps that I'm on the second floor).

My room is not even halfway unpacked yet, but I suppose we'll get there by late August, between summer and fall sessions. Who knows. I figured out how to do the combination for my mail box now, though, so that excites me. I need to decorate, and now I'm wishing I had gotten a Texas flag before I left, I think it would brighten the room quite nicely. haha. All these northerners with their funny speech habits and strange ways and gloomy weather. Oh well. I'd be complaining about the heat if I was back south, anyway.

Alright, I've wasted enough of our time for now, but I wanted to say hi again, hopefully I will be more coherent and organized in the future. Peace.

Monday, May 17, 2010

thoughts on speech

I just had a conversation with my friend (who is in CT at Yale) about different speech quirks of various parts of the country. I told her she's been influenced a bit by the north in some of her vowels, particularly the a's. As I am getting closer to heading to Minnesota for a year (and a final year after a year of internship somewhere), I am making promises to myself about what funny northern speech habits I vow never to adopt. I am much more aware of my own speech and how I pronounce things when it is different from those around me. I plan to continue to use the word y'all because I think it is such a great word, short and to the point. I also plan to never say my a's and o's like they do, all drawn out on the o's especially, and the a's. I am not quite sure even how to describe the a, except that they say it like you say the first letter of the alphabet, a long a, and then hold it out a bit longer, especially in words like bag and tag. I didn't even understand at first what someone had actually said when I heard those words said that way, especially bag. Then I had to try not to laugh, because it just sounds so funny to me. I can't really say the o the way they do anyway. I tried, I'm not sure how they do it. As for the a, well, I just put my foot down. I can't think of any other words or letters right now. We'll see how I do on this after I've been there for a while. Ha.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

toilet paper and other random thoughts

The first random thought I would like to consider is toilet paper. Have you ever noticed how thin some toilet paper is? For industrial use I totally understand the concept, because when it's that thin it takes a lot more of it to clog public toilets, like in schools or restaurants. For personal use, though, I am not a fan. I suppose some places could possibly have extremely sensitive septic systems, but otherwise it seems a bit wasteful. If you had the nicer stuff you would need to use fewer sheets and it is more effective. The thin stuff, well, requires more to achieve desired results. That's my opinion, anyway. I'll take the stuff that's a bit softer and absorbs better any day.
I watched The Italian Job the other day. I like movies like that, high profile crime sort of things that involve intelligence and skill. I have also always wanted to be able to crack a combination lock just by feeling/listening. If someone out there wants to teach me, I would be very excited. Not because I am going to take up a life of crime, or plan to break into things, but it seems a useful skill. I also happen to have a combination lock that I lost the combination to, so this would be useful there as well. If I were not endowed with such a deep moral sense, I might have considered high profile crime as a way of life. God had other ideas, however. At one time I also considered law enforcement, even the FBI, but again, God had different plans. So I'm in seminary instead, but that's okay. My friend invited me to play Mafia Wars on facebook so I could pretend to be a thug. It's a strange sort of game, but I find it amusing so I guess I'll play every now and again for fun. Haha.
If I had other random thoughts I do not remember them at the moment, so I'll leave you reeling from those. :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

duck votes

My roommate decided for her blog that she wanted to do something to encourage the local people to come out and vote in the primaries, in addition to giving them a little information about who the candidates are. So we had the great idea to take Duck (pictured above) around town to pose with all the election signs. We also didn't want people to forget their voter registration card when they go to vote, so here we have Duck ready to go vote, card and all. He is also buckled up, of course. Click it or ticket. Safety first, DPS says. Duck also went to some fun places that had nothing to do with politics, with more adventures hopefully to come. One of my favorites is when Duck visited the fountain, partly because I just like the fountain, so I will leave you with that photo. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

storytelling retreat

I went to a storytelling retreat this weekend at Ebert Ranch. I have never been to one of the camps of the Southwestern Texas Synod before, so I was excited to see one of them. It was very nice. It is near Harper, so it's fairly rugged Texas turf, but it was nice, although muddy. The new cabin there that we stayed in was very nice. We heard a concert of stories and we had some nice fellowship on Friday evening. Saturday we had several sessions on the process of learning to tell a story, interspersed with some camp activities. We did leather crafts and I stamped my name and some designs into a 'bookmark', and in the afternoon I got to do archery and shoot some arrows. That was fun, although it is hard to aim a bow at close range so I shot over the target several times at the beginning before I figured it out. Then we shot some bird arrows, and those were fun, but I got one stuck in a tree, so the one guy that worked at the camp knocked it down. Oops. That was fun though. Then we came back that evening and I realized I had enough time to make communion bread since I was asked to bring bread this week. I wanted to try the recipe that we used to use at TLU. I think I got the wrong kind of wheat flour, because all I saw at HEB was whole grain wheat flour and that seemed to make the bread a little dry, but it tasted okay and certainly didn't kill anyone, so I was very excited that it turned out pretty well, even if it wasn't quite what I was wanting it to be. Bread can be a bit temperamental, in terms of adding just the right amount of water, but it worked pretty well. Yay.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

back to Texas

Well, friends, I found a ride to the airport from one of my down the hall neighbors, which was very awesome of her. So I checked in at the airport, went through security, was patted down in my sweatshirt rather than having to take it off (which was very exciting, I've never been patted down before..haha) and we took off. It was snowing when I woke up that morning, and I was disappointed that it waited until my last day there to finally snow again, but I did wander around in the snow before I left campus. Then I landed in Houston and had to go all the way across the airport to get my other connection, but I always enjoy being in the Houston airport because it has good vibes for me, feels a little homey. It was also very diverse, and I was very excited to see people that weren't white. It's kind of odd, and I feel a little funny explaining it, but there you have it. Then I got to Austin, got my luggage, and Therese took me back to her place so I could pick up my car. The flights were not full either time, so I never had to sit next to anyone. That was kind of nice. Anyway, Therese stopped at Sonic for me and we got tater tots and chocolate shakes (yum). Then after we chatted for a bit I felt bad for having kept her up so long, so I drove home. I have to admit, for the most part seeing grass wasn't weird, but then driving home there were definitely a few moments when it felt weird to not see snow. It also wasn't nearly so cold.
My own bed was definitely nice and squishy, though, and when I woke up yesterday morning it was very sunny outside and quite warm. I contemplated wearing shorts. I also did three loads of laundry and got everything sorted out again. We went to Target and Mamacita's last night so I could have some Mexican food, and it was very good. Now I have a couple of weeks before the spring semester starts, and I can't decide if I should read Harry Potter again, or find some other form of productivity. Hmm.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I just finished my final paper for my less favorite class! Yay! I didn't much care for that class anyway, so I'm glad that's done. I just have to go to that class one more time tomorrow, present my outline (that I wrote after the paper- I never was good at writing an outline first), and then figure out how to get all this stuff back in my suitcase so I can fly back to Texas. I already miss my other class, I really liked that one, and I'm kind of disappointed the online version of the second class in the preaching series isn't really taught by the same instructor, even though it has her name on the roster. She was a great teacher too.
We had another soccer game today, and I had to play the whole time because we didn't have any subs. We finally snagged a random guy who was waiting to play another game, but the girls couldn't sub because you have to have three on the field. The other team was a player down, so we did let a girl go off once or twice just to rest, and then one of the girls got hurt so it was even. We won, 5-1 I think. It was a pretty good game. I got hit in the face, so my lip got a little puffy, but my nose didn't bleed, so that was good. I didn't get hit that hard. The game's usually better when there's a little bruising and bloodshed, though. I am in a little better shape after last weekend, so at least it was this game and not last that we had no subs or I might've died. I also have an extra Mountain Dew that I couldn't finish, so I think I'm going to have to pack that one too.
I have definitely enjoyed my time here, and part of me is not ready to come home yet. I have enjoyed the community here, and the atmosphere. I do miss my congregation back home, though, and it will be nice to go to church there again, and I miss seeing some people. Going back to work will be less than exciting now, but so it is. The weather's going to be vastly different, but then again I'm leaving at a good time because it looks like it's supposed to get colder again up here later this week.
I think this post is a bit more random, because I suddenly have 'I finished all my homework!' energy that is making me a bit hyper. I guess I should try to clean up some stuff and start packing. I found a ride to the airport, too, so I don't have to navigate public transportation with a suitcase. That was very nice. Peace, see y'all back in Texas!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

it's raining

Sorry, didn't realize I hadn't said anything for a few days. It is raining outside. I didn't recognize it from the window because it was so unexpected. I went outside to check out this new form of precipitation and realized it was rain and then felt kind of silly. Apparently rain in this weather just sort of lands on top of the snow and then freezes. The dangerous part is that it makes the streets and sidewalks wet, and then especially as it gets dark and the temperature goes down again it freezes. It's very odd to see it raining on snow, I don't really like it, and they tell me this is indeed very strange January weather.
Not a whole lot of excitement has happened before yesterday. I was working on homework. Yesterday I had my junior preaching class final. It went pretty well. I was nervous and I know my volume and presence speaking in front of people can use some work, but it certainly could have gone worse. The professor told me my voice has good timbre, so that was kind of nice to hear. I really enjoyed that class, though, and the instructor, so I am kind of sad it is over. I'm also a little disappointed that I'm taking the middler preaching course online so I won't get to have her for that. Ah well.
Last night we had a community meal in the kitchen downstairs, and I ended up making the toast (buttering the bread and putting it in the oven til it was toasty). It was pretty good, we had angel hair pasta and chili. The night before they had brownie night and ordered some brownies from the kitchen, which were good (and we had lots leftover). Last night after the meal several people joined a group of people who had already planned to go to this place called Chatterbox. I decided to go with them. It's a restaurant where they have a lot of games you can get to play while you eat. It's pretty fun. We ended up cramming all eleven of us into this big booth, so it was pretty cozy, but it was a lot of fun. Then we came back to campus and played Mafia. I haven't played that game since probably junior high, so it was a lot more fun playing with adults. I had a pretty fun night, definitely glad I decided to hang out with them rather than think about doing homework.
So all I have today is a trip to the bookstore to see if they've gotten in the last book I need for the spring, and then I will work on the final paper for my other class that's due Monday. Then I fly back Monday evening, and we'll see how Texas has held up without me.
Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

hey y'all

Being up north here makes me more conscious of how my speech is different from others'. Particularly when I say y'all, I am more conscious of it before I say and I hear it differently. It's sort of odd. I know I don't have a big southern accent, but these people have a northern one so it makes my speech different.
Second, exercise can be a lot of work, and make you tired. Wow. I hurt quite a lot yesterday. Ouch. I was feeling muscles I had completely forgotten about. I am feeling much less sore today, thankfully. Snowshoeing is hard work, and add that to having just played soccer and being out of shape and wow. Just about everything hurt.
Today I decided I was tired of wearing a jacket all the time, so wore it to breakfast, then dropped it off after chapel and haven't put it on since. Yes, it's a little chilly out since I'm just wearing a t-shirt over a long sleeved shirt, but oh well. I haven't been out long. (Yes, I would put a coat on to go farther...moms....)
I think I miss seeing grass outside. Snow is nice and pretty and all that, but it almost feels like I'm living in a gingerbread house world where everything's frosted. It seems like if I scraped the snow back there would just be foil underneath. There's not, there's actually a spot that's melted between two buildings over here where you can see the ground and it's just muddy and gross with some dead grass. I suppose getting to actually watch the seasons turn would be a different experience than simply plopping down in the middle of one and then going back to a different rhythm, but who knows. I keep imagining what Texas would look like if we stacked the rain the same way the snow stacks. It might be like living in a giant aquarium.
I do enjoy the people, and the company and how a theological community can fit together in a way a school with multiple foci would not be able to, and I certainly value the experiences and the people I've met here.
I will be leaving in less than a week, and I am starting to hear pieces of "Come Back To Texas" in my head randomly. More adventures still to come, I am sure, regardless of where I might go.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I did, in fact, go showshoeing today. We did not have class, so I got up, did some homework, and then at 2 I met Jenny and we went snowshoeing. She took me to REI to rent some snowshoes, and then we went to Como Park. It is a big park, and very nice for any time of the year. They have a zoo and a conservatory and a golf course (that is used for cross country skiing in winter) and lots of space. There is also a lake, which, in the winter, is frozen. Being this far north is so strange to my senses, still, because all these things that are happening in reality I have only seen in pictures, and it sort of boggles my mind. Fascinating. Anyway, we put on the snowshoes (which look nothing like I was imagining. I was still picturing the tennis racket like contraptions, apparently technology has made advancements in snowshoes as well.) and trekked through the snow toward the lake. One also does not ride on top of the snow so easily as I had imagined in snowshoes, it takes a lot more effort than I was envisioning. The thick and loose snow was rather difficult to navigate because I kept sinking, and it was a lot of work. Once we got to the lake, however, it was only covered with a few inches of snow, so it was much easier to walk. We walked the perimeter, then went back to the car (which took, I think, about an hour) and went to Target. The closest thing I can compare walking in snow to is walking in sand, but even so it's not quite the same, especially when you step into the snow and end up sinking about to your knee. Sand doesn't have that much give. Anyway, it was fun, and I made sure to bring my camera and take photos. It was quite a workout, and I may end up being even more sore tomorrow. I think I might prefer a more traditional method of hiking, sans snow. I'm glad I went, though. It was worth trying.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


The seminary has a rec league soccer team, the Heretics, and I got the chance to play with them tonight. It's an indoor game in the winter up north, for all you southerners who wonder how they play in the snow. ;) Fortunately there were five women that showed up for this game, which was great because three are required on the field at all times, so that meant there were subs. I am way out of shape, so I definitely needed subbing. It was a lot of fun though, and a good game. We ended up tied 2-2, but we almost pulled out the win. The ref made a few questionable calls, too. The other team was good, too, so it was just a good time. Part of being out of shape means I had a little more trouble staying on my feet, though, so I now have turf burn on both knees, but it's not bad and I'm definitely used to it. Kind of makes me feel like I tried, or something. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be very sore tomorrow, and I will certainly sleep well tonight. I will hopefully go snowshoeing with a couple of girls tomorrow, though, so that should be fun and interesting (and help work the soreness out of my muscles). There is also another soccer game next Sunday, and I will still be here for that, so I can play again.
Alright, I'll try to do a little more reading (it doesn't hold my attention so it takes forever...) and then sleep. Night.

what does this mean?

I had decided that I wanted to go to church at least once while I was here. They have chapel on campus every weekday, and Wednesday is a full service with communion, but I decided I wanted to visit another congregation. Particularly since I finished reading Delivering the Sermon by Teresa Fry Brown last night, I wanted to watch a preacher and relate it to what I just read, and I was curious about worshiping at a different congregation, especially in the north because it seems like there might be some differences and I was curious. There is a Lutheran church across the street from the seminary, so I checked online and found their worship times. So I walked over and into one door that looked kind of like a front entrance. There were children and parents everywhere, as if a children's Sunday School had just ended. That didn't seem like the right entrance, and no one asked me if I needed help, so I turned around and walked around the building to another door I had seen people using. That entrance had mostly adults, but it led to a large entry type room. There was a sign above a doorway that had several words listed, including kitchen, narthex, and worship, but no directional arrows. I figured that must be it, so I walked through the doorway and into what looked like space that would be used for fellowship and eating, and the kitchen was to the right. There were two hallways on each side of the kitchen that led to closed doors. I imagine I had to be looking at least a little lost by now, and I was kind of wondering how big this place was that no one seemed to realize I was a stranger, because still no one spoke to me. I was beginning to feel awkward and still I could not understand where the sanctuary might be. I did not want to wander around too much, so I turned around and walked back outside and crossed the street again back to campus.
I was disappointed that I did not get to attend worship, but more than that I am still trying to understand what this means. I have heard, and in my own congregation we have talked about, what it means to be welcoming and how to make it easier for visitors to attend. I have never experienced anything quite like this before. I have certainly never given up and left a church before. I do not know if there is some difference in geographical location that has something to do with my experience. Maybe they simply do not get a lot of visitors and so they don't have any means of helping them. (then again, maybe this is why they do not have many visitors) I still do not understand where the sanctuary is in that building, nor do I understand why they have no signs about what parts of the building are. It's not like I couldn't find the bathroom. The sanctuary! I am still confused, so I share this so that you can think about your own congregation, if you have one, and how truly welcoming your place of worship is to a visitor of any kind.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

it's not so bad

...up here when the temperature is 20-30s. At least, when the sun is shining and it's overall a pretty day. That is the case today. I walked down the street to Dunn Brothers Coffee because I have been told by several people that they have the best coffee and roast their own beans and everything. So I decided that would be my Saturday morning excursion to get me out of the building. It is not a very far walk, although I had a moment of temporary confusion while trying to find the door to the coffee shop. I got a mocha latte, my favorite coffee drink. I must admit it's pretty good, very smooth. I brought a book for my class in case it was a nice quiet place where I could read, but it shares a building with a bistro and was full of people, not quiet at all. I would not have been able to concentrate, plus there were a lot of people, so I just brought my coffee back here. It was definitely a nice morning for a walk. I like how the sun makes the snow sparkle. It's very pretty.
Yesterday was not terribly exciting, but I did get a pancake at breakfast. I guess they had leftover batter or something. It was a decent pancake, and the outer parts had a nice crispness to them. Nothing spectacular, though.
Then I had class, which was the usual less than thrilling, and the intranet was down for most of the class because they were updating the website. My afternoon class was again much more enjoyable. I like that class, and particularly my one professor.
The other professor in that class is also interesting, though, and the other day we were talking about having the right words to say in any situation (but especially difficult situations), and my prof said, "The Word doesn't explain anything, but it gives power." That struck me, because all too often we feel like we need to be able to explain why bad things have happened, especially in a care-giving profession. The reality is, though, that none of us have those answers, and never will. I think a lot of people abandon Christianity and the Bible because they come to it expecting answers and are disappointed when they don't find them. That is not what they are there for, however. They are there to remind us that the bad things do not have the last word, and that we can find power, and hope, in the Word to carry on.
Prayers for all those who suffer loss, pain, and grief. May the power of the Word give them hope to carry on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm really far north...

Maybe that sounds dumb, but apparently I'm only like 5 hours from the Canadian border. That's really not that far. Maybe I should take the opportunity to visit Canada while I'm here. Hmmm. The other sign that I'm really far north is that when I went to Chipotle last night and ordered the burrito I usually get when I'm there, with the corn salsa stuff...well, I'm pretty much a total wimp when it comes to spicy food, and about halfway through the burrito I start crying. I like having corn in my burrito, so I get it, but still, it's so spicy it makes me cry. This burrito, however, had the corn salsa like usual, but I made it through the whole burrito without even an afterburn on my tongue. I must admit I was a little disappointed. These northerners really are wimps. I mean, it was good, but I hardly know what to do if it doesn't make me cry. Makes me wonder how hot the hot wings are, too.
Unfortunately, I did not get to have pancakes this morning. Hopefully they will have them next week. Miscommunication and an attempt at being social made me miss breakfast, but oh well.
I went to Target again last night, which was nice because I was starting to worry I was going to run out of food. They had the Mountain Dew Throwback! I was so excited! The Dew website had told me there wasn't going to be any here or in Texas, so I was pleasantly surprised that they had lied. I only wish I could take a whole bunch back with me, but TSA might find it suspicious if I had a suitcase full of soda (and it's NOT pop, as they say up here).
In other random news, I saw a red bird today. It landed in the tree, and then flew away as I was trying to take a picture. I was disappointed, but later it flew back again, and I did get a photo. That made me happy. I also went for a walk this afternoon, which did wonders for my focus. Have you ever had those days where you wake up all ready to be productive, then some things happen and your work ethic is shot? That was today, until I finally gave up and went for a walk this afternoon and that cleared my head a little so I could finish my homework. Going for a walk is not quite the same when it's thirty degrees and there's snow on the ground, but this is the warmest it's been so far, so it wasn't too bad.
My last thought is that snow starts to get boring when it just sits there. It is also starting to melt a little, so the sidewalks are a little slushy in places. Kind of gross. It might snow again on Tuesday, though, so I hope it does. That would be more exciting.
Well, I can't remember anything else I was going to tell you, and it's about bedtime, so I bid you goodnight and sweet dreams.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

random things I haven't told you yet

...assuming I can remember them, which is mostly why I haven't already told them to you. I'll add some new thoughts too.
First, this chair, while entertaining because it leans back, is actually very hard once it has been sat in for hours at a time. My tail is really getting tired of sitting in hard chairs, and the classroom chairs aren't any better.
Living out of a suitcase for three weeks becomes a rather messy affair after a while.
Last night I wanted to print a paper, and I spent literally 30 minutes in the computer lab and barely got so much as logged on. There was obviously a network problem, and it was IMMENSELY frustrating. I ended up printing the paper this afternoon before class.
Snow is kind of boring after it just sits there for a while. I would like for it to snow again or something, to spice up the relationship.
I'm pretty sure the guy that lives above me was a dinosaur in a past life. Or a professional mover.
I had the strangest dreams last night, and was very restless. No fun.
I'm wondering if I should grab some LutherSem paraphernalia (mug, sweatshirt, something). Thoughts?
This morning for breakfast they had 'french toast bake'. It was...squishy. Kind of like a french toast lasagna, with egg in it too. Not bad, I suppose, but just kind of weird.
Tomorrow they are supposed to have pancakes. I hope northerners make good pancakes.
I finally figured out where I could get a 20oz Mountain Dew (next to the naked Jesus....the guy actually said Naked juices -a brand-, but it was early so my brain was still fuzzy). Now I don't have to ration the rest of my Mountain Dew. Yay!
I did NOT get communion wine this morning...but grape juice was almost weird, since it's been a while since I've had that for communion. Ironically, the text was the wedding at Cana from John (you know, water to wine), and at the end of the sermon she invited everyone to come and have some wine, and I thought 'no don't drink the wine!' Straight up ethyl alcohol, I'm pretty sure.
Sometimes I randomly run through the snow while I'm walking to the cafeteria, just take a short semicircle detour off the sidewalk. It's fun.
That's probably enough to keep you going for the day. I can't remember if I've forgotten anything else. I'm going to go make a sandwich, have a Mountain Dew, listen to some more music, then do some homework.
Peace, y'all.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

for lack of a good title...

Today I woke up to frost. At least that's what they told me it was. It looked like snowflakes stuck to every part of the trees, mostly, but what do I know. There wasn't really new snow on the ground. Maybe they do know what they're talking about, it was just the largest pieces of frost I've ever seen. I was definitely disappointed that it didn't snow, although the warmer weather has been kind of nice.
Then I went to breakfast and got real eggs and tried the hash browns. The hash browns were really nothing unexpected from an institution, but really not that great. I need to remember to make some (literally shred a potato) when I get home. I was going to go to chapel after that, but ended up having a conversation with Peter instead, which was probably just as well. I enjoyed that.
This afternoon I started my second class, Telling the Story. I was slightly apprehensive, but it turned out to be quite enjoyable. The professors are both quite humorous. The only difference between this class and the other class, however, is that my other class is all younger, residential students, and this new class is older distributed learning students. It was kind of funny, the one professor was talking about having a large base of things to say so that you can find the right one to say at the right time, and was giving an example of when she was in college when Kennedy was assassinated. You could tell this was a fairly well rehearsed story and that she had used it many times in class, because she threw in the line 'long before you all were even thought of'. While that is probably generally appropriate for most of her classes, very few of us in this particular class actually fit the 'too young to remember' description, and she didn't even seem to notice that she had said so to an obviously old enough group of people, she just kept going with the story. So they make it a fun class, plus the material seems interesting, and it also makes me excited to do the storytelling workshop in February.
Then I went to supper tonight and they had vegetarian lasagna (yay!) which was decent. I also got the chance to sit and chat with several people, and it's very nice to have some social interaction. All the people here have been great. I will kind of miss them when I head back. I might get the chance to play on the school's intramural soccer team this Sunday, too, so here's hoping they let me. That could be fun (or kill me, since I haven't done much exercising in a while, either way). I'll let y'all know what happens.
Alright, I have much more homework since this new class started, so I need to get on to that. Peace!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Monday

Hello dear readers. Sorry, my weekend was quite uneventful, so I really had nothing even to bore you with.
First, news of warmer weather is exciting and quite interesting, really. When I say warmer, mind you, it's still in the teens in terms of temperature, but compared to negatives it's quite lovely. I'm only wearing two layers of clothing inside today. Apparently at around this temperature ice and snow on the sidewalks start to melt as well. It gets kind of slushy and gross. This is also fascinating to me, because by all accounts it's still cold and below freezing. Interesting. I want it to snow again, but I don't know that it will.
My class today was mildly interesting for most of the beginning of it. We talked about some different theology, and he brought up Bultmann, and I must say that was the most positive spin on Bultmann's theology I have ever heard. I am not at all a fan of Bultmann, so I almost felt he didn't do justice to the distaste I have for Bultmann's theology, but there you have it. Then towards the end we started to beat the dead horse of mission that we've been beating since the class started, and it was going on nearly 2 hours of paying attention, and my attention began to wane again.
The good news is, I decided to go to breakfast and brave scrambled eggs, and he scrambled real eggs for me, without even asking! I was delighted. They are expensive eggs, though, I don't think a raw dozen costs that much, but maybe it's too cold for chickens to lay eggs up here so there's winter inflation (no I made that up, the eggs are just expensive to my cheap mind). My second cafeteria adventure came at lunchtime, when I decided to try the tacos. It would have been better if they'd had Mexican rice, but this was Spanish rice. I just put it in the taco instead of meat, then had lettuce and that fake preshredded cheese. They also had the option to throw olives on it. Did I not ever notice that as a taco topping before, or is that really just weird? The taco wasn't bad, but it was probably the whitest taco I've ever had. Oh well. It was that or 'potstickers' tonight, and I still don't really know what that is, even after I asked someone. They need a picture menu.
Lastly so far, I went and bought my books for my other course that starts tomorrow. They were cheaper than the other two (because they're smaller) and I still love that MN does not charge sales tax on required course books. That's about all for now, one last day of free time before I get more homework. Peace.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


The frozen yogurt experiment was a success! Yay! I decided to leave the outside window open and only shut the inside one so the outside air could get to the yogurt, and it worked! I put it up last night, and when I pulled the yogurt out this morning it was solid. Awesome.
Most of yesterday was not very exciting, which is why you didn't get an update, but last night I went with some people to a newly reopened sport's bar. We walked, which was definitely farther than the two blocks Jenny promised, and that was a pretty cold trip, but the place was nice and the food was good. Then we came back and hung out for a while, then played some Wii, then watched a zombie movie Shaun of the Dead. It was definitely nice to get out of this little room and spend some time with people. They were fun people and I enjoyed myself.
The only other thing I did yesterday besides some reading was go out and take some photos. I miss my big camera, but the smaller one I brought was more practical and still does a good job. I still am having trouble with wanting to be outside but it being too cold, but at least I have a nice view of outside from my window.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today it SNOWED! For real, snow, most of the day. Snow is fascinating! Part of me, once I looked out the window this morning and saw snow falling, wanted to run up and down the hallway shouting 'it's snowing!', but somehow I thought the rest of the building would not be nearly so excited as I. Somehow I'm thinking most of the state was not nearly so excited as I. So I refrained from informing every person I passed that it was snowing outside, barely.
I have gotten faster at getting ready in the morning also. The first couple of days I crawled out of bed and just stared at my suitcase for several minutes, trying to figure out what combination of clothing would be appropriate. One of everything is generally the best way to go. So I had time to go down for breakfast this morning, but ended up with hot chocolate and a cookie after I saw the guy pouring liquid egg on the grill. It's too cold for fake egg.
Chapel was apparently affected by the weather, so when the usher handed me a bulletin she told me to sit close to the front. The sermon was pretty good, too, and he talked about epiphany and epiphanies, and wished plenty of epiphanies from God on us (and I could definitely use a few right now). The sermon was accessible and included humor, and to me that is the best way to do a sermon.
After chapel I went to play in the snow. I played in the snow yesterday afternoon, and made a snow angel (wow!) and built a snow tree (stacked frozen chunks of snow in a conical shape and covered it with powdery snow) because the snow wouldn't stick together to make a snowman. Today there was fresh snow, though, and I wasn't about to miss that opportunity. I kept getting snow in my eyes and it made me laugh. I'd stop and watch it fall, and I took some photos, and stopped to watch a lady shovel snow off her porch. The novelty was simply fun. After my legs and toes started getting numb I finally went back inside, but kept going to the window to watch the snow fall. Perhaps the novelty will wear off soon, and when I went outside tonight to go eat it felt WAY too cold, but still the snow is pretty, and (again) fascinating.
The book I've been reading for my mission class is long, and long. There are some good points in it, but I feel like I'm missing an important one. Maybe it's because we skipped chapter one, or maybe the point comes later in the book and we just haven't gotten there yet. I'm hoping my preaching class will feel more interesting, or at least useful.
Alright, back to reading. Epiphanies to you all.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

chance of snow

In case you were wondering, yes I have a decent amount of free time on my hands right now. My iphone also thinks it's 15 degrees outside right now, and there's a chance for snow and the sky is weird and cloudy so they might be right. I hope it snows, just so I can see what happens when it snows on snow. I'll let y'all know if it does. :)
In other random news, I keep forgetting to tell y'all about my desk chair. This is a rather clever invention, but it takes some getting used to. The desk chairs here have a piece that connects the two legs on each side, but this piece is bent towards the back so that you can lean the chair back some if you want. Pretty genius, but it took some time before I didn't feel like I was going to fall over when the chair leaned back. The chair also tilts backward when you put something heavy like your coat on it. Still, rather clever, and I like it. Makes sitting that much more fun.
Apparently Wednesday chapel is like Sunday for seminary, because we had communion today and a longer service (Word and Sacrament, that kind of thing..). I thought firewhiskey was a Harry Potter invention, but I really think that's what they use here for communion wine. Wow. I seriously teared up. Never been so affected by the blood of Christ. Jesus. I'm sticking with the grape juice from now on.
For one last random thought before I turn my attention toward homework, there's a guy in my class that the professor decided was Pentecostal. He's Lutheran, like all but one of the rest of us, but for some reason the prof has it in his head that this guy is Pentecostal. Who knows why. I'm not sure most of us quite see eye to eye with this prof anyway, but there you have it. I have heard some good things about the class I start next week, though, so hopefully it lives up to that. Ok, off to read. Peace.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

day two

When I checked the weather on my phone when I woke up this morning it said it was -7 outside. now it says it's 9. I'm not sure I can tell the difference. The weather says it's supposed to warm up and snow tomorrow and Thursday. It would be pretty amazing if it actually gets up to 15 tomorrow. I want to go play in the snow but it's sooo cold. Brrr. Also, as I was waiting to cross the street I saw a truck glide to a stop and then spin tires to go again on the icy street. Crazy.
I went to the bookstore and bought two books for the class I'm taking now. I may have to go back and check out the Bible studies they have, too, and see if there's anything interesting there. I also like that Minnesota does not charge sales tax on required course books. If anyone needs a stole they have those, and 10% off for seminarians. Just let me know. (yea seemed a bit random to me, too)
I decided to go to the library to check out the third book on the list for the course I'm taking, but as I figured when I got there I need an ID card to check out a book. So I had to trek across campus to Student Services to get an ID card (which was disappointing because that meant I had to go outside again). It was relatively painless, however, and the ID card is kind of pretty and the photo's not bad either. So I came back to my room, dropped off my coat, took the tunnel back to the library (FABulous invention, btw), and went looking for the book. Someone must have beat me to it because it was not there. So I thought, what could make my trip to the library not wasted? Bonhoeffer! So I found The Cost of Discipleship, and just for fun grabbed the German original as well. Both books were published well before I was born (there are some OLD books in the library here). How many other people would grab some 'fun' reading like that? haha. The library is rather fascinating, because it has several levels of books in a weird giant closet like room. I'm pretty sure the seminary library has the biggest BS section I've ever seen, too. (library joke...)
As for the frozen yogurt experiment...unfortunately I realized the windows are all double paned, and there is not enough room between the second piece of glass and the screen for the yogurt to fit. The space between the two pieces of glass makes an excellent refrigerator, however.
Alright, I'm going to actually do some homework now. Peace.

Monday, January 4, 2010

seminary adventures: part two

The guy that laughed at my comment about sliding on an icy street I met at lunch today through a girl in my first class who liked my soccer bag and plays soccer. So the dude, Ben, offered to let me go with him to Target since he was going anyway so I could get some food so I don't have to eat in the cafeteria the whole time. (I'm cheap, you people know me)
Driving in snow is a fascinating experience. I find snow fascinating in general. Being inside a car that's covered in snow is not really any warmer than standing next to the car covered in snow.
Target was similar, but some of the products are different. They also asked if I wanted paper or plastic bags! I haven't been asked that in a long time. My favorite, though, is that they had CAFFEINE FREE MOUNTAIN DEW! I did not know that existed, and I was so excited I had to get some. I am only sad that I can't take any back with me. Not that I need any more at home anyway, but it's caffeine free! My dream come true! (No, really I usually dream a little bigger than that, but hey, it's the little things) Ben also told me that I could take yogurt and stick it outside the window and then eat it frozen, so I'm going to try that.
Ben is a pretty cool dude so far, and he's been fun to hang out with and chat with. He knows Tim, too, and is going to be Tim's roommate in their cross-cultural mission course in the Holy Land. A couple of new friend-types has definitely made this a bit more fun so far, and not me just staring at the computer screen. But I'll be more alone tomorrow again, so we'll see what happens next. I need to go visit the bookstore, and that is going to take a lot of self-control because there are a lot of nice things in there. Lots of stuff to look at. I'll tell y'all about that tomorrow.

seminary adventures: part one

The top photo is a poster hanging on the wall in the hallway where my room is. Nothing says welcome to seminary like that does. The second photo is the view from my dorm window. That's a lot of snow. It's a lot warmer to look at it from inside, through the window. I was walking down the street earlier and started sliding on ice and I said, 'oh, that's interesting'. The guy that was walking with me started laughing. Apparently 'that's interesting' is an odd response to sliding on an icy street.
I had my first class this morning, and the professor is not a native English speaker, so he can be a little difficult to understand sometimes. He kept talking about Luther and 'Carlbad' and I did not remember any theologians by that name. Finally we started reading his handout, and it said Karl Barth, and I was like oooh! The prof is also not a fan of 'colonization' methods of evangelization, and his favorite joke was that we should not baptize people with a fire hose.