Thursday, October 22, 2009


Earth is an amazing movie which I highly recommend. I wasn't really looking forward to watching it, truthfully. I thought it would be a boring documentary. It's not boring at all. It shows all of the coolest parts of creation to good music with interesting and funny narration. It uses some really neat time lapse shots to show the passing of the seasons.
This movie mainly follows the journeys of three families; Polar Bears in the northern Arctic, a pod of Whales, and some Elephants. In between the bits about them it also shows life in the rain forest, the desert, the woodlands, the mountains, and Antarctica as well as many other awesome things.
Isn't it stunning what awesome things God has made? The strangest things, the way whales eat krill with their "bubble net" for example, are just so beautiful. The more we know about creation, the more we can understand that it is not all about us. At first I was thinking God gives us these beautiful things so we will see Him more clearly. That is true, but it can't be the whole picture. What about all the things that go unnoticed by us? In the middle of the wilderness where no people are there to see them, God still has incredible creations. God doesn't do things just for our benefit. Everything is for His glory.

Isaiah 44:22-23
22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to me,
for I have redeemed you."
23 Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this;
shout aloud, O earth beneath.
Burst into song, you mountains,
you forests and all your trees,
for the LORD has redeemed Jacob,
he displays his glory in Israel.

Read Job 38 and 39 if you want an incredible description of creation from the mouth of God himself. A funny thing about this passage is the rhetorical questions and even sarcasm used by God in making his point to Job. I also love how it shows God's attention to the details of all his creation. It is comforting to know He is in control of it all.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sibling Telepathy

Apparently the inspiration for the Beatles's song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds recently died. The following is a conversation Kevin and I had afterward. And, no, Kevin hadn't heard anything about it before I told him. I think he can read my mind.

Me: Hey, did you hear that Lucy died?

Kevin: Really?

Me: No.

Kevin: Oh, you mean

Me: No. Not any Lucy you're thinking

Kevin: Oh, I know who you mean; Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

Another instance happened in the car the other day. Kevin was trying to think of a certain song that a contestant on American Idol sang once a couple seasons back.

Me, vaguely: Was it that one song...? You know...

Kevin: No, not that one.

It's a little creepy how well we can tell what the other is thinking.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I have a cold, but today is my first day in a while that I have nothing I need to do, so it's a lazy day. I have been studying the works of Vermeer on all morning.
I just finished rereading one of my favorite children's books last night, Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett. It is an excellent art mystery. I'm hesitant to even call it a mystery, however, because most of it doesn't make logical sense. The plot relies on coincidences and intuition and strange supernatural happenings. You are left wondering how much of it was real and how much was a product of the children's overactive imaginations. It is brilliant.

My favorite Vermeer painting is The Girl with the Pearl Earring. I think she is more beautiful and mysterious than the Mona Lisa.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Old Stuff and Another Year of Life

Today Kevin and I stopped by the thrift store again. We stayed until they closed, and it's a good thing that they closed, because I would have kept buying things. We ended up with seven candlesticks, two of them solid brass. They had an original price of $36 dollars each, and we got them for $2 each. We found a real leather, Eddie Bauer bag for $5, A $2 blue corduroy jacket for Ashley, and a couple of things for me too. I always browse the books, and today I got The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Which, unbelievably, I've never read), Charlie's Raven by Jean Craighead George, and a really nice volume of five Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie. That one I am really excited about. Can you tell I love the thrift store?
Tonight was Kevin's birthday eve. It has become a sort of tradition with us older kids to always stay up until midnight and do something special on the night before our birthday.
Tonight Kevin and I watched four episodes of Get Smart. At about ten minutes before midnight we did a mad dash around the house counter clockwise, as his last act as a fifteen year old.
Once back inside, we had an alarm set on Kevin's phone to go off right at midnight, and got all ready with our orange juice glasses for the toast. At about thirty seconds until midnight Mom realized she didn't have her camera and ran to get it, despite our protests that she was going to miss the toast. She got back just in time. The alarm went off, we said "huzzah" and toasted, then Kevin and I put our glasses down and ran back outside. This time we ran clockwise, as his first act as a sixteen year old.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Anne with an "e"

I have been watching Anne of Green Gables once again. That is a fantastic movie. I think Megan Follows is the ideal Anne.
These pictures, however, are from the Sequel. The clothes on this movie are stunning. I have never been a huge fan of the Edwardian era, with their ridiculous puffed sleeves and big hair, but some of it is quite lovely.
I love the sleeves on the gown to the left with that deep lace cuff. The puffs on that one are not inordinately large, and really aren't puffed so much as gathered. That little lace cravat looks really pretty. I think it's pinned on actually.
I can't figure out what to call the jacket she is wearing in the picture on the right. I like it with the long sleeved white shirt, though. Her brooch looks nice, too. I wish I could see it better. I think I like this outfit better than the other one. It is simpler and the hair is more tasteful, by modern standards at least.

This picture is my new favorite picture ever. I have set it as my computer background in fact. I adore both of their outfits in this picture. Her outfit is just perfect, and parts of it could easily be adapted for modern wear. I especially love her little pin-on watch and that tiny champagne colored bow on her blouse. I need a hat like that. This is by far my favorite complete outfit of hers in this movie. I like bits and pieces of her other outfits, but this one is perfect in its entirety.
And Gilbert looks so handsome. I like Gilbert from the book better than movie Gilbert, but he grows on me more and more every time I watch it. I need to find my brother a vest and watch chain like this one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The Eagle
He clasps the crag with crookèd hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.
I've been on a poetry kick for a few days now. I think it must be the gorgeously rainy weather. My very favorite is still The Lady of Shalott, but it's too long to post. I will provide a link, however, as everyone needs to read it.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Apparently I am most like Lucy out of about twenty Narnia characters. Who are you most like?

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I have most of my Nanowrimo plot for this year figured out. I don't actually have an ending yet. It is sort of a medeivel princess story, which I know is overused, but I really like my characters, and I love reading that type of story, so I think I will have fun writing one. I started to come up with the plot in January, and these characters just popped into my head and announced their names and personalities. They've been stuck in my head ever since then, and I think they'll appreciate finally being written.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Catch a Falling Star

The other night my brother and I pulled an old tattered mattress onto the driveway and
watched for falling stars. It was a slightly overcast night, so we didn't see very many. I think we probably missed some when we got distracted finding shapes in the clouds. We saw a turkey wearing a hat with a huge plume, a wolf trying to eat a star (it got away), and a dog laying down and howling at the moon, among other things.
The few shooting stars we did see were so incredible it was worth the wait. Sometimes God gives us glimpses of His majesty through creation. He is so evident in things we count as ordinary, do we really deserve it when he gives us these special events? How easy is He going to make it for us to see Him before we do?
Anyway, the highlight of the evening was when Mom came walking out unexpectedly and scared us to death. We were staring up into the sky, talking about the likelihood of animal attacks and alien spaceships, and all of a sudden there was something looming over us. We both screamed.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Victorian Lovelies

Lately my favorite fashion era is the late Victorian period, with trains and bustles and tailored walking dresses. I got these pictures from, an amazing website. Jenny Chancey has pictures from every era with notes about the historical progression of fashion.

The one on the top left is my favorite. I wish we could wear things like this now.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Who is she?

A gust of wind hit her sharply in the face. She fought to keep the papers within her grasp, and stumbled across the parking lot with urgent steps. The wind tugged at her jacket and whipped her hair around her head, blinding her as she struggled toward the beat up white Chevy. Over the roar of the treetops she heard pursuing footsteps slamming on the pavement. She broke into a sprint, not bothering to turn and look. She knew who it was. Her breath came in ragged gasps, and she steeled herself to act. The footsteps were coming closer.
She arrived at the vehicle exactly three seconds before her pursuer. Slowing down just enough to keep from slamming into the side, she whipped open the driver’s door, fumbled under the seat for what she knew was there and spun on her heel, aiming the gun expertly at the man who skidded to a halt just in front of her.

I don't know who she is, what papers are so important or who is following her. She obviously does. I wish she'd let me know...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Kempt and Shevelled

How I Met My Wife By Jack Winter, Published July 25, 1994 in The New Yorker
It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.
I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito.
Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn’t be peccable.
Only toward and heard-of behaviour would do. Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim.
I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to risk it.
But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads and tails of. I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen.
Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated as if this were something I was great shakes at, and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times.
So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings. Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous.
Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d’oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself. She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savoury character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. “What a perfect nomer,” I said advertently.
The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal.
We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Devonshire and Sensibility

I have been wondering for quite awhile about setting and mood; how stories can be set in the same place, yet have a completely different mood because of the way it's described and the personality of the character describing it. In particular I am looking at Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen and The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. Both are set in Devonshire, modern day Devon County, England. Barton Cottage in Sense and Sensibility is within four miles north of Exeter, and Baskerville Hall is somewhere in Dartmoor, ten miles west of Exeter.

I have two very different descriptions of Devonshire here, which I’ve color coded so you can see how they describe the same thing using different words.
Here is how Edward Ferrars, one of the heroes of Jane Austen’s novel, describes the country surrounding Barton Cottage;
I call it a very fine country -- the hills are steep, the
woods seem full of fine timber
, and the valley looks
comfortable and snug -- with rich meadows
and several neat farm houses scattered here and there. It exactly
answers my idea of a fine country, because it unites beauty with utility -- and
I dare say it is a picturesque one too, because you admire it; I can easily
believe it to be full of rocks and promontories, grey moss and brush wood,
but these are all lost on me. I know nothing of the picturesque.

And here is a description by Dr. Watson of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s book;
...deep lanes worn by centuries of wheels, high banks on either side, heavy with dripping moss and fleshy hart's-tongue ferns. Bronzing bracken and mottled bramble gleamed in the
light of the sinking sun. Still steadily rising, we passed over a narrow granite
bridge and skirted a noisy stream which gushed swiftly down, foaming and roaring
amid the gray boulders. Both road and stream wound up
through a valley dense with scrub oak and fir
me a tinge of melancholy lay upon the countryside,
which bore so clearly the mark of the waning year. Yellow leaves carpeted the
lanes and fluttered down upon us as we passed. The rattle of our wheels died
away as we drove through drifts of rotting vegetation ...Now
and then we passed a moorland cottage, walled and roofed with stone, with no
creeper to break its harsh outline
...I drew aside my curtains before I
went to bed and looked out from my window. It opened upon the grassy space which
lay in front of the hall door. Beyond, two copses of trees
moaned and swung in a rising wind
. A half moon broke through the rifts of
racing clouds. In its cold light I saw beyond the trees a
broken fringe of rocks
, and the long, low curve of
the melancholy moor
. I closed the curtain, feeling that my last
impression was in keeping with the rest.

While I do realize that Baskerville Hall is on the moor, which could drastically change the terrain, I wonder if the time period a book is written has more to do with it.
Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility just before the 1800’s, and likely revised it just before publication in 1811, when the “sensibility” movement was starting to become popular. One of the major themes in Sense and Sensibility is whether Marianne is wise to follow the poetic sensibility movement in showing her passionate feelings without any restraint. We know the author is on the side of restraint by how much Elinor, more practical than her sister, is praised in the novel for her forbearance. While Marianne is always portrayed sympathetically, she sometimes looks foolish and ultimately is heartbroken, partially because of her belief in transparency of feeling.

The Hound of the Baskervilles was originally serialized in 1901-1902, at the end of the Victorian era. Out of the Victorian age came the dramatic Bronte novels, as well as the poetry of Robert Browning and Tennyson. Watson is not alone is his very poetic and dramatic way of describing the countryside. I’ll end with a few lines from my favorite Tennyson poem, The Lady of Shallot.

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Through the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

I'm getting excited about Nanowrimo again already. The challenge takes place over the month of November, but I would like to have a basic plot outline in place before I attempt it again.
For anyone who doesn't know about Nanowrimo, it is basically a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, November. It's a completely insane thing to do, but I think we have to do insane things sometimes, just to keep our sanity. You can read more about Nanowrimo on their website.
Last year was my first year. I had no idea what I was doing, and even less idea what my story was actually about. I planned a little in the last few days of October, but exhausted all my ideas by the end of the first week, leaving me stranded in the middle of a story with no end.
Here's basically how it went for me last time.
Week 1: I had a basic outline of at least the beginning of my book, I was following the outline but still had creative freedom. I was ahead of my word count goals, I was having a blast, and I had apple-pie-in-the-sky hopes for how my story would turn out. Week one was great.
Week 2: I ran out of my plot points and didn't really know what was happening next, but I didn't panic yet. I kept writing, this week barely keeping up on my word count goals, but I was still pretty confident. When I didn't know what to have my characters do, I had them go on a long trip, always a good option when you're stuck. That trip turned into the catalyst for the rest of the book's plot.
Week 3: Week three I just fell further behind. I didn't know what to do, and I think week three is when I started ''cheating." I would quote all the lyrics to a song, or work in a story my sister was writing at the time by having a character write a story.
Week 4: Despair. I was so behind on my word count goals, and I was stuck. Instead of writing 2,000 words in one night, I was writing 200 before giving up. I knew I was going to lose, and after all that excitement, it made me sick to think about.
On the last day of November, I decided I couldn't give up. I sat down at 9:00 in the morning and wrote about 16,000 words before finishing my story with a word count of exactly 50,000. I finished at around 11:00, only an hour before the month ended.
That was incredible. As hard as it was, it really made all the despair of week four worth struggling through. Hopefully I won't have to do that again this year. But if I do fall behind, run out of ideas for my plot, get stuck, and resort to sending people on lengthy car trips again, at least this time around I know that it will work out, and I can finish it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Dreaded First Post

Well, here it is. My first post.
When I decided to start a blog, I knew I wanted to talk about great literature, mostly classics, writing, history, along with some posts about modern books I might be reading. What had me procrastinating for months was how to begin? When you have the lofty goal of writing your thoughts for the world to see, which thought is important enough to be the first? I thought about starting off with a bang and talking about my favorite author, Jane Austen. I decided she was worthy of a later post, after I learn more about writing in this format. I thought about simply writing a review of any book I was reading. This blog will hopefully be more than book reviews, and I didn't want to set the wrong tone for what I want to create.
When I finally realized I was taking far too seriously what started out as a fun project, I decided to take the easy way out and write the first post... about the first post. Ironic, isn't it?