So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Ethnicity. that of my father and his father before him
Location Cherry Hills Vil, CO
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The Link To Zanzibar's Past
This is my page in the beloved art community that my sister got me into:
Extra points for people who know what Samarinda is.
The Phases of the Moon Module
The Tree and the Telephone Pole
I Do Not Know Their Names
Today I am Young
A Night Poem
Siren of the Sea
If I Were a Dragon
To the Dreamers Leave the Sky
The Honor of the Oyster
Return From San Diego
A Late Summer's Night
Of Dragons and Men
The Edge of the World
The Snake's Terror
Metaphysics and the Middaymoon
Of Adventures in Foreign Lands
The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
Adventures in the PRC
Voyage of Discovery
Drinking the Blood of Goats
Ticket for a Phantom Bus
Os peixes nadam o mar
Three Villages Far Away
The River Weser
Children I Should Have Kidnapped, Part I
Let's Get You Out of Those Clothes
If Underwear Could Speak
Croc Hunter/Combat Wombat
Only My Favorite Baseball Player EVER
Aw, Larry Walker, how I loved thee.
M: Science and Exploration
T: Cook a nice dinner
Th: Parties, movies, dinners
F: Picnics, the Louvre
S: Read books, go for walks, PARKOUR
Su: Philosophy, Religion
The Reading List
This list starts Summer 2006
A Crocodile on the Sandbank
Tales of the Alhambra (in progress)
Dark Lord of Derkholm
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
The Lost Years of Merlin
Harry Potter a l'ecole des sorciers (in progress)
Atlas Shrugged (in progress)
A Long Way Gone (story of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone- met the author! w00t!)
The Eye of the World: Book One of the Wheel of Time
From Magma to Tephra (in progress)
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Harry Potter 7
The No. 1 Lady's Detective Agency
Introduction to Planetary Volcanism
A Child Called "It"
Is Multi-Culturalism Bad for Women?
Americans in Southeast Asia: Roots of Commitment (in progress)
What's So Great About Christianity?
Aeolian Dust and Dust Deposits
The City of Ember
The People of Sparks
When I was in Cuba, I was a German Shepard
The Golden Compass
Clan of the Cave Bear
The 9/11 Commission Report (2nd time through, graphic novel format this time, ip)
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Elves of Cintra
The Gypsy Morph
Animorphs #23: The Pretender
Animorphs #25: The Extreme
Animorphs #26: The Attack
A Journey to the Center of the Earth
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
To Sir, With Love
Alice in Wonderland
Through the Looking Glass
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
The Hunger Games
Shadows and Strongholds
The Jungle Book
Beatrice and Virgil
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
No One Ever Told Us We Were Defeated
The Name of the Wind
Tao Te Ching
What Paul Meant
Lao Tzu and Taoism
Sand and Sandstones
Lost Christianites: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew
The Science of God
Great Contemporaries, by Winston Churchill
City of Bones
Around the World in 80 Days, by Jules Verne
Stranger in a Strange Land
The Old Man and the Sea
Flowers for Algernon
Au Bonheur des Ogres
The Road to Serfdom
De La Terre à la Lune (ip)
In the Light of What We Know
Devil in the White City
want to read: Last Hunger Games Book, Honeybee Democracy, The Bell Jar
Last Love Letters
Thursday. 6.17.10 1:27 am
Monday. 6.14.10 11:48 pm
"How could you have... BETRAYED ME?" Anna whispered in a hoarse voice to no one in particular, trying with limited success to cause her eyes to water with tears. She closed the door to the house and carefully placed the brimming water bowl on the porch and watched in satisfaction as the dog took long, sloppy tonguefuls.
"Don't you... don't you tell me that you never loved me," she continued (with a glance at the window to the kitchen to make sure Mother wasn't listening), "after Rio de Janeiro? After LIMA?" Anna considered for a moment, trying to remember other places she had heard of that would make good additions to her monologue. The thought of South America suddenly reminded her of her sister, who Anna thought must be only person in the entire world who had apparently never had the desire to pack up all of her things in a single night and move to South America. In fact, Elizabeth was actually opposed to the idea of a sudden move to South America, to the point that she usually refused to give a fair hearing to any of Anna's many proposals.
And now she was gone. Missing, disappeared into thin air, vanished. Anna sat down on the porch next to the dog, who sat in turn and drooled long tendrils of saliva and water onto Anna's leg.
Anna quickly brought the dog up to speed on Elizabeth's disapperance, and revealed to the her with some reluctance that she had begun to miss her sister, that things were boring when she was gone, and that while her sister was rather thin, "thin air" still seemed to be a bit thinner than her sister could manage. "Oh Milly," she said (in a rare departure from the usual, more colloquial "Milton Bradley, Sugar Mill, or Silly-Milly-bun"), "wherever am I going to find Elizabeth?" Milly's dark brown eyes focused on her while she spoke, and when she had finished speaking the dog sighed a dark sigh and sank to the porch. As usual Anna found it impossible to tell what Milly was thinking.
Yet Still it is Unfinished
Monday. 6.14.10 1:00 am
When she is alert, she thinks of only of Mercury.
When she is tired, she thinks only of him.
When she sleeps, she thinks she is a spy involved in a complicated web of international espionage and must find a way to row a dinghy with only one oar all the way to Iceland.
Yet still the Mercury paper is unfinished.
Yet still it is unfinished.
Hungry, Thirsty, Mind Games
Monday. 6.7.10 10:04 pm
I am in my apartment. I am reading "The Hunger Games". It is riveting, just as my sister had advertized. Present tense. Short, snappy sentences. I had intended to read a few pages before dinner. It is now nearing 10 pm.
I hear a sudden series of sharp knocks that catapult me into awareness. Back from that Other World in my book, there is now a futon, an apartment. Hunger from skipping dinner. Thirst. Strange, persistent knocks. Ideas fill my head. Someone hanging a frame? My roommate, returned from her trip but unable to find her keys? This happy picture is discounted immediately. The knocks are not friendly, inquiring, or even insistent. They are angry and irregular and close by.
I ease onto my feet. There is an open window next to the stairwell that leads to the door. I move at an angle to remain unseen from the window. At the base of the house is a shadowed figure. It makes short violent strokes in the darkness.
A light snaps on.
It is the boy next door, whom I've never met. He has a rug draped across the railing of the porch. He is beating it with a thick wooden stick. Dust flies everywhere, illuminated by the porchlight.
I step back from the window. The room feels yellow and quiet and empty. I glance down the long dark corridor towards my bedroom. Nothing awaits me there but my nightmares.
Maybe reading this book wasn't such a great idea after all.
Practicing Crucial Conversations
Friday. 6.4.10 8:45 am
So I've been reading a book recommended by my mom (hi mom!) called "Crucial Conversations". The idea behind the book is that you should be able to have any conversation with anyone about anything, as long as you do it the right way. The key is to not let your emotions be your master, and to listen carefully and watch for cues from the other person. After all, a "crucial conversation" is defined by when the stakes are high and emotions run strong.
They divide people into two catagories, people who become angry and defensive during crucial conversations (violence), and people who shut down (silence). I usually shut down and withdraw from the conversation, mostly because I know that if I do say what's really important to me, my voice will shake like I'm about to cry. Usually because I am.
So the other day I ran into my first opportunity to practice my Crucial Conversations skills. I was over at my Angle's house helping her move. She and her roommates had to move at different times, so they promised to clean out different parts of the apartment so that the last people weren't left with all the dirty work. The roommates that had left before were supposed to have cleaned the kitchen... but they forgot one big thing, which was the REFRIGERATOR. The refrigerator was FILTHY and full of out-of-date food. My friend looked at it in despair. I offered to clean it for her. Gross, yes, but that's what friends are for, eh?
She picked out a few things that were hers. There was still one roommate left, but she hardly ever used the fridge (she had her own mini-fridge) and Angle didn't see anything that she recognized as hers, so she told me to just toss all of it. After all, it was mostly condiments, and they could be replaced. There was salad, which looked a little off and was cheap, and lots and lots of yogurt, much of which was out of date.
So I took a trash bag and filled it up with jars and containers, not bothering to dump anything out. Then I wiped down the entire fridge and started over with the freezer and a different trash bag. I dragged the entire incredibly heavy bag down to the curb. I was a hero.
Her other roommate came back. I proclaimed what a hero I was and showed her the empty refrigerator. She was FURIOUS.
"WHERE IS ALL MY STUFF?" she said.
"Um... what stuff?"
Man, she was furious. "My SPINACH... my... ARRRGH I really wish you HADN'T DONE THAT!!!"
I was a little offended. How much stuff could she really have had? How much would it cost to replace spinach? It's not like someone could have made a meal out of what was left. And what about, "Hey, thanks for cleaning my incredibly filthy refrigerator that didn't even belong to you--- you are a HERO!!" ???
All these things went on in my head and in a small side conversation I had with Angle. Reluctantly I thought of the things I had read in the book. She was reacting with violence. I was reacting with silence (and a little bit of muttering under my breath). Niether of us was really talking to the other. So how to fix? First I had to think: what did I want for this relationship? Well, I wanted us to end things on a good note, because I wouldn't be seeing her much longer after she moved out and we used to be fairly close. Second, I had to think: why would a reasonable, rational person act the way she just did? I deduced that there must be other stuff going on with her right now, and there must have been something more important in the food I threw away than spinach.
She came back in and I apologized for throwing away her food. Legitimately I could have blamed it all on Angle, who told me to throw it away, but it is always better to apologize and it was no more Angle's fault than mine. I told her that I didn't realize it was important. I wanted her to know that my intentions were never to be careless or to make her upset, just to do them a favor by cleaning the refrigerator. She started almost crying and said, "It's just one thing after another..." [I later found out that the first two roommates, who were moving into the same place as she was, had rented a large moving truck that morning and moved all of their stuff into their new place without telling her, leaving her to move all of her stuff to the same place using 50 car trips instead of one trip in a truck]. It eventually came out that she had just chosen everything she wanted to keep out of her mini-fridge and put it in the big fridge so she could clean the former, which is why Angle hadn't recognized any of it. I explained the misunderstanding to Angle, who softened and switched from being defensive [I'm the only one who cleans this place!!] to apologetic [sorry, it wasn't your responsibility to clean the kitchen, I guess I went overboard because the others shirked their responsibilities].
I started thinking while cleaning the cupboards and I realized that I had put all the stuff in the bag as if I was going to take it to another house... I hadn't mixed it with anything dirty or gross. I suggested that I go outside and take a look through the bag and see if I couldn't retrieve any of the things she really wanted. She probably wouldn't want the spinach back, but anything in a bottle could be rescued. "My mother's homemade blueberry jam," she said immediately.
Ah. Mother's homemade blueberry jam. That was a bit more important than spinach, and did rather justify how upset she had been when she found out it was gone. I looked through the bag and we ended up saving the jam, some yogurt, some pickles, and other harmless things that hadn't been sitting on the sidewalk long enough to spoil. She was incredibly grateful and her whole demeanor changed. We offered to help her move her stuff in our cars but she said she had it under control, and we left the apartment expressing our sadness that we would be apart.
It could have gone much differently.
Mars is Made of Cheese
Wednesday. 6.2.10 10:43 am
The so-called "Swiss Cheese Terrain" on Mars. A weird place, that Mars....
(The bubble things are negative features.)
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