Monday, February 27, 2012

Conversations with my husband, Sunday edition

Our church has beautiful modern stained glass windows. By modern, I mean they don't have people. The subjects of the windows are Christian symbols, like a baptismal shell, crosses, communion chalice, rather than Biblical scenes. Which I appreciate because I always think stained glass window people look kind of silly, unless they're iconized (no, that is not a word) or made to look more like cartoons. Anyway, during service on Sunday, Buddy Holly was trying to decipher the meanings of the symbols and running them by me.
Buddy Holly: Okay, that one has a crown and INRI was the plaque nailed to the top of the cross. I get that. And the one next to it has a PX, which has something do with peace.
Me: Yes, "pax" means peace in Latin.
Buddy Holly: And then there's the dove, which is a symbol of peace throughout the Bible. And, what the hell is the last one? An albatross descending into hell?
Me: An albatross? Really?
Buddy Holly: Yeah, you just can't see the guy.
Me: The guy?
Buddy Holly: Yeah, the guy killed the albatross and is wearing it on the end of a necklace around his neck, and the albatross is dragging the guy into hell.
Me: That's a phoenix. You know, rising from the flames. Resurrection.
Buddy Holly: Well that's not Christian. I mean, resurrection is but the phoenix is not a Christian symbol. Obviously, that's an albatross dragging a guy into hell.
Me: I think you need to reread the Bible and The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.
Buddy Holly: I'm pretty sure The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner is a book of the Bible.

I love a husband who mixes his literature and theology.

Conversations with my husband, Saturday edition

I just finished reading The Hunger Games this weekend, because who isn't reading The Hunger Games? I don't normally go for things when they're at their height. I waited years to read Harry Potter and, if you've seen my King's Speech post, you know that I'm not always on the edge of incoming media. I probably wouldn't have gotten to Hunger Games for a while were it not that my book club is reading them. But I am glad that I have read them and I'm desperate for Buddy Holly to read them so that I can talk to him about them.

He's all like: "Well, talk to me about it anyway and then I'll read them."
And I'm all like: "No! That's spoils it. I don't want to ruin it because so much of this book is about following the flow of the story and wanting to know more."
And then I'm like: "Well, okay, so there's a love triangle and I was really worried they'd make the decision for the main character, make it easy. Which they kind of did but not in the way I thought. Like, I thought one of them was going to die, which didn't happen but there were substantial reasons given to take one of them out of the running. And the choice she made was the one she would have made anyway but it was just made so much easier for her and I'm kind of disappointed in that."
And he's like: "Okay."

If you've read the books, I think you know what I mean. Buddy Holly obviously didn't. Now, I just need to wait about a decade or so to see the movies.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We named the dog Indiana

Take a moment today to read about John Fairfax. And, when you've finished reading about his absolutely fascinating life, let's have a moment of silence for our mundane existence. I'm sorry, I'm assuming again. Perhaps you also have "attempted suicide-by-jaguar" and "afterward [were] apprenticed to a pirate." If so, I applaud you. I have not lived quite so awesomely.

Reading about John Fairfax reminds me of Dana and Ginger Lamb. This newlywed couple left the coast of Southern California in a 16 ft. canoe in 1933 and sailed along the Californian, Mexican, Guatemalan, and Costa Rican coasts before crossing the Panama Canal in 1936. Enchanted Vagabonds chronicles this adventure and I highly recommend it. During the 1940s, they disappeared again, this time into Mexico and Central America, looking for the lost city of a tribe of Mayans that is said to have disappeared into the jungle to escape the Conquistadors. The Quest for the Lost City is considered to be the more controversial of their trips and many claim much of it is fabricated. I choose to believe in it because, frankly, it's a great story and even if it didn't happen I don't feel cheated or lied to by it.

If I weren't so absolutely terrified by the idea of bugs that could kill me and if I were not so fully aware of my own physical limitations, I would be tempted to be an adventurer. Are there people that still do this?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Naughty, naughty brownies

I made Slutty Brownies for dessert this evening. Do you know why they're called Slutty Brownies? Because they're so easy. Ahahahaha. But seriously, Happy Valentine's day.

Springtime for Hitler and Germany

I Just finished reading Footprints on the Horizon by Stephanie Grace Whitson. It was ok. It was on my research list because her period setting is similar to my own novel (WWII, Post-War Nebraska) and I wanted to read some other works to get a feel for how they approached it.

It was published by Bethany House. If that doesn't immediately speak to you, change the name to Zondervan. I have no problems with books including faith and religion, it's not for everyone but, as a Christian, I don't mind. I even believe there are authors who manage to weave it in and apply their character's faith without it being heavy handed, as in the case of Liz Curtis Higgs. This was not one such example. I was kind of miffed when the one Catholic character was (praise the Lord!) saved at the end of the book and converted to Baptist. Apparently, this character became quite fiery and was intent on starting up a revival. Sigh. I have no beef with the Baptist church but a smidge of denominational diversity was not going to hurt anyone.

Those complaints aside this story did raise an interesting point for me. Footprints on the Horizon is set in Crawford, Nebraska, a small town just outside of the Fort Robinson military reservation. Toward the end of WWII, Fort Robinson served as a prisoner of war camp. With the shortage of men, many ranches and farms used prisoner of war labor and it was controversial. Footprints on the Horizon deals with, among other things, the community of Crawford's initial hate and distrust of the German prisoners and eventually coming to befriend them as human beings and not Nazis. It's not a new concept. We all learned in school about the radical freak out about Germans (and Japanese) during the war. Street names were changed to sound less German. Families of German descent were considered suspicious and their shops and stores were boycotted. Anyone having anything to do with Germany was considered to be a potential Nazi. And obviously, every one who fought on Hitler's side was in love with the master race and readily killed Jews. I would hope that, by this time, everyone recognizes and accepts the untruth of those assumptions. Many German soldiers were impressionable young men who believed they were fighting for the good of their homeland. Many soldiers and civilians had no idea about the atrocities going on in the labor camps. Many who were faced with the injustice of neighbors being taken away stood up to defend them. Many were just trying to protect their families. Not every German was a Nazi. Not every Nazi was a barbarous killer. This is not to say that atrocities and injustices weren't done and this is not to excuse those who were "just following orders" and took no moral stand, Nuremburg addressed that. The point I want to make is when we look at German now we don't assume they're a Nazi. We don't shun our Shrader and Zimmermann neighbors because their families hailed from Germany.

So, why do we assume all Middle Easterners are Muslim extremists? Why do we assume all Muslims are attempting to destroy the United States, Christianity, and apple pie? Why, ten years out from the 9/11 attacks, do we still assume that every Muslim American harbors a secret hatred of their country? Well, I don't assume that. Maybe you don't either. There are people that do. There are people who think that burqas should be outlawed because people could be hiding bombs and shit under them. There are people who think that we need to outlaw Sharia law now because otherwise one day we'll all have to answer to it. And there are people who are idiots for all these reasons. Sorry, that wasn't said in Christian love. There are people whom God did not grant much intelligence and whose hearts are the size of the Grinch's pre-Cindy-Lou-Who.

I'm tired of hearing about whether or not a religion is "peaceful". Except perhaps Satanism, which I'm not sure if that's technically defined as a religion or not, I'm pretty sure peace is widely accepted as being a "good idea" by most faiths and creeds. And I have yet to learn of a religion in which violence was not widely implemented as the means of establishing that peace. Christians, we have no room to talk about being a "peaceful" religion. The crusades always come to mind, of course, and you might say, "But that was the Catholics, and everyone knows they're just as bad." And to you I say, "Iconoclasm, witch hunts, Anabaptists, Westboro Baptist Church." So, let's all just check our baggage at the door, shall we? Can we all just get on with our lives following Wheaton's law?

P.S. Why is apple pie so American anyway?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Splendor in the Grass (1961)

Buddy Holly and I watched Splendor in the Grass last night. I Netflixed it because it is supposed to be one of the first films to openly address sex, in particular teen sexual angst. It is definitely a pioneer of the time and included the first French kiss on film (factoid!). It is also supposed to be the movie that redefined Natalie Wood as an adult actress, transitioning her from former teen stardom. I don't know, I still prefer her in The Great Race. For all its touting of sex and sexual repression, the sex part does not last very long. Really, it might also be titled How Not to Handle Your Hormones. I spent quite a bit of this film with my mouth gaping. Keep in mind, I had had two glasses of Moscato by the time we started this film, so that may have been an influence.

January, in conclusion.

Month two of the year-long 2012 resolution has begun and I am happy to report that Project: Write My Novel has thus far stayed on track and all scheduled goals to-date have been achieved. To be fair, January was the easy part. This month is when I actually take up writing again.

While I procrastinate from that, let's have a bit of a photo blog. Just so you know, all of these pictures were taken with and edited by my phone. They are not awesome but they'll do.

Three gals I work with and I had tea one Saturday afternoon last month. Because Oklahoma was so late in being settled most of its early history is Victorian and quite a bit of it is preserved. There's a stately Victorian mansion, turned museum and tea room, not too far down the road. We had three pots of tea, delightful sandwiches, and far too much dessert.

Buddy Holly's Christmas present to me was a trip to the theatre. We got all dolled up and went to see The Addams Family: the Broadway Musical. Never mind that most of our fellow theatre-goers were wearing jeans, we looked awesome. Buddy Holly wore his new suit and I re-wore a bridesmaids' dress. I even got myself a pair of opera-length, ivory, satin gloves for the occasion. 

I love the sound-absorbing
fabric theatres use. I want a
 dress that looks like this.

This is the same picture, I know. But the composition came out so well and then playing with the color tones on my phone just made for such interesting photos. Deal with it.

My attempts to look like Anastasia. I had taken off my gloves for the night but I had them. Also, trying to get a picture of your front as well as a bun is a challenge. Thus, the awkward poses. That bun was the easiest thing in the world. From now on, I will always use it for fancy-hair events, of which I have many.

For Buddy Holly's late birthday, we celebrated the SuperBowl. I made 1Up cupcakes. I was not impressed with the taste of my butter-cream frosting but they looked okay in the end.

Bonus picture: Target acquired.

Okay, well that was a fun retrospective of the past few weeks. Now, I should go write or work or something. I have 57 research books saved on a list at the library. It's a lot but I won't need all of them. For instance, I have nine books about trains, passenger train travel, train routes, and the train in the post-WWII era. I won't need all of those for the information I'm trying to glean but I want my bases covered. I may not find it in the first one. I'm definitely going to need more too. I only have one book on antique cars which I don't think is going to cover it. So, I should go work on that.... Oh look, LOLcats.