Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Magician's Nephew

My sister got me the complete Chronicles of Narnia for Christmas, and I am reading them all now. Since it has been years since I have read any of them, it feels like I am reading them for the first time.

The Magician's Nephew is the one that C.S. Lewis intended to be read first. In short, it is about the creation of Narnia and the Professor's (Digory's) childhood. It is a very intriguing story, and the creation of Narnia is beautifully described.

I was expecting a lot more from the book, to be honest. There really was not a lot of action. Much of the book focused on Polly and Digory's discovery of new worlds through the manipulation of Digory's Uncle, the magician. It is important to know how Narnia began, I suppose, but this book really doesn't work as the beginning of the series, in my mind. I still think he should have The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe first because it is a much more intriguing story. Then the reader can have questions like "How did Narnia begin?" and "Where did the White Witch come from?" answered in a prequel that is read later.

I have found a measure of comfort in these books, though. I enjoy reading stories where the people escape the pain of their own world and find a Narnia where everything turns out okay in the end. I am looking for my Narnia.

Year in Review

This has been a year that has been all over the board emotionally. It started out with my uncle having a triple bypass that left him with a 25 percent chance of survival and 49 days in the hospital. He survived and is doing very well. Then his wife had a hysterectomy because she had cancerous cells in her uterus. She is also doing fine now. Then my mother's best friend, who is like a second mother to me, had very serious surgery to remove something that had wrapped itself around a major vein. Had the doctor knicked it, she would have died. He didn't, and she didn't. She is now doing fine.

Two cousins had beautiful babies. Both were unplanned pregnancies, and one had my aunt in a tizzy. She was determined not to accept it or its mother. Then the baby got here. She loves it. It has a room in her house, and the baby's mother is there everyday. My aunt has really come through for them both. She has that baby spoiled rotten. She thinks she's wonderful, and she acknowledges that the baby's mother is a wonderful mother and that she couldn't have a better mother for her granddaughter. Her son is still so confused that he doesn't quite know what to do with himself, but he loves his daughter, as well.

My parents have really changed this year. I came out to them two years ago at Thanksgiving, and it was really awful. They are really trying now, though. They welcomed my partner this past summer for the first time. At Thanksgiving, I couldn't have asked for anything more. They realized finally that my partner needed to come, too, and they invited her. She refused to come, but the invitation was there. They have loved me more than I was even aware that they did. And they are now trying to think of girls to fix me up with. Wow, have they come a long way.

I started seeing a therapist in February to help me deal with everything that was going on in my family. I started medication for anxiety and depression that same month. It took a while, but I felt so good this past fall for the first time in a long time. I'm glad that I took both of those steps.

Health-wise, I was sick twice this year. I had really awful strep throat in September. I couldn't move for a week. Then I had a really awful coughing cold in November before Thanksgiving. They gave me this wonderful cough medicine with codeine at the health center and also forced me to get a flu shot, which is a good thing. I am usually physically healthy most of the time, so two illnesses in one semester was a lot for me.

My cat is now two years old and weighs eleven pounds. She is as beautiful and sweet and playful as ever. She isn't as afraid of my parents and sister and their cats this year. She came home with me for Christmas. She has been quite brave, in fact, and seems to be enjoying herself. I am very glad about that.

I joined my church in March, and I am extremely happy about that. It is a decision I have not regretted. I like my church, and the people there have been good to me.

I have allowed myself to get out and have a good time with friends this fall. I am happy to have met such nice people and to have such good friends. I have officially unisolated myself.

I started running before Christmas and hope to keep it up when I get back to school. I hope Rennick still wants to run. It is a very healthy thing to do, and I need to lose a few pounds as well.

School-wise, I studied with a visiting poet last spring and have been working on my thesis this fall. I am happy with the state it is in right now, but it is by no means finished. I have a way to go with it. I defend it in March. I went to a phenomenal writer's conference last spring in Vancouver. I heard the fantastic Anne Carson read her poetry. I also heard W.S. Merwin, Sam Hammill, Joshua Beckman, and scores of others. There were all kinds of poetry books for sale at discounted prices, and I stocked up. I finished all of them over the summer. I need more books.

So this year has been extremely eventful year. I don't know how to feel about it. It was a year. I cried. I laughed. I am still trying.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Some Surveys Because I Am Depressed

Via frogblog

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
I haven't looked in the mirror yet today.

2. How much cash do you have on you?
$20 that I got from my aunt as an early birthday present

3. What's a word that rhymes with "TEST"?

4. Favorite planet?

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell?

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone?
The Nutcracker

7. What kind of shirt are you wearing?
blue pjs

8. Do you "label" yourself?

9. Name the brand of your shoes you're currently wearing?
blue stay at home socks. Do they have a brand? I don't know.

10. Bright or dark room?

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
I love her blog. She is very honest and heartwarming. And funny.

13. what happened to number 12?

14. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Watching MASH with my sister and feeling pretty shitty.

15. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
I don't get text messages.

16. Where is your nearest 7-11?
Not a clue.

17. What's a saying that you say a lot?
If it's meant to be, it'll be.

18.Who told you they loved you last?
the ex

19. Last furry thing you touched?
My parents' cat, Isabelle.

20. How Many Drugs Have You Done In The Past three Days?
celexa, spironolactone, alesse

21. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed?
Three, I think.

22. Favorite age you have been so far?
21 or 22

23. Your worst enemy?

24. What is your current desktop picture?
Xena and Gabrielle embracing (blush)

25. What was the last thing you said to someone?
I'll be there in a minute! My mom and sister are playing Scrabble.

26. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to change a major regret?
Good question.

27. Do you like or love somebody right now?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Another Effort to Make a Decision

What I Want in a Partner

1. kind
2. loves my family
3. loves her family
4. laid back
5. positive
6. low maintenance
7. sense of humor
8. thoughtful
9. reads
10. likes to travel
11. smart
12. educated
13. likes the holidays as much as I do
14. works hard but is not a workaholic
15. likes to watch movies
16. wants kids
17. happy with simple things and with life in general
18. likes to eat out
19. doesn't get angry easily
20. religious (preferably Christian but not so stiff that she's not willing to look into different churches and traditions)
21. loves cats
22. likes to play games (as in board games and cards)
23. likes to learn new things
24. not classist, racist, sexist, or conservative
25. cares about social justice issues
26. nice to people who work in public places (like wait staff, receptionists, sales people, etc)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful day yesterday. I did. I love my family. They're the best. We always have such a good time together. And today I get to go see my mother's side of the family. I love visiting them. It will be fun.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Another Survey! Yay!

1. Do you have a real or fake Christmas tree?
I have a fake one in my apartment and a real one at my parents house where I'll open gifts.

2. Do you put up Christmas lights on the exterior of your home?
Yes, but not in the front of the house.

3. What's your favorite Christmas song/carol?
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing, We Three Ships, O Come All Ye Faithful

4. What do you like better: turkey or ham?
If I have to choose, then turkey, although I really prefer pork or beef roast.

5. Do you open up any Christmas presents on Christmas Eve?
Yes. We have a tradition of getting new pajamas under our pillows from Mrs. Claus and opening our stockings, too.

6. Have you ever been Christmas caroling?
Yes. I love it.

7. What was your most memorable Christmas gift(s) that you received?
My orange sled, I suppose. It's what I always think of when I think of gifts I got as a kid. The best gift I ever got wasn't a Christmas gift, though. It was when my aunts sent me clothes a couple years ago. I didn't have any money to buy any summer work clothes for myself, but they sent me a whole box. They are the kindest people I know.

8. What's your favorite Christmas movie?
It's a Wonderful Life

9. Have you ever built a real snowman?

10. Have you ever peeked into a present and found out what it was before Christmas?
I don't think so, actually. I always love to be surprised. I'm not beyond shaking every gift in sight, though. Even if it's not for me :)

11. What is on the top of your Christmas tree?
a star

12. Do you own a Santa hat?
No, but I'd love to get some reindeer antlers. I had some several years ago, and we ended up giving them away in a gift exchange :(

13. When was the last time you had your picture taken with Santa Claus?
When I was 22. My mom, sister, and I had one taken as a gift for my dad. He kept it in his office until he retired.

14. Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
I started in September.

15. Do you put candy canes on your Christmas tree?
No. But I would if I had some.

16. Who is the hardest person to buy for?
Probably my dad.
17. Who is the easiest person to buy for?
My sister and my mom.

18. How old were you when you realized Santa was imaginary?
Probably when I was seven, but I never told anyone. I liked believing in Santa Claus.

19. What does your morning of Christmas routine consist of?
I wait for my sister to get me up, although I'm always already awake. Then we go check out the gifts :) Still :) and get my parents up and then watch the cats frolic through the gifts before we start opening them. Then we eat the most spectacular breakfast of the year :)

20. Egg nog?

21. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Another cat, but there's no way I'm getting one. Next year I'll probably pick one out for myself, though :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

a poem

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-e. e. cummings

Which of Santa's Reindeer Are You?

You Are Dancer

Carefree and fun, you always find reasons to do a happy dance.

Why You're Naughty: That dark stint you had as Santa's private dancer.

Why You're Nice: You're friendly. Very friendly.

Ten Things You Can Do for Peace

via and

1. Call or write to your congressional representative.

2. Write letters to the editor and send them to your local paper. Call radio talk shows and attend public forums and tell others what you think.

3. Encourage young people and children to express their opinions and feelings about a better world, especially through art.

4. Support public witness. Organize a vigil for peace with faith-based or other groups in your community.

5. Learn all you can about the Islamic faith, particularly the dimension of Islam supporting peace and nonviolence.

6. Commit to work against violence aimed at others because of race, creed, color, gender, religion, or nation of origin.

7. Learn about those countries which Western governments hold accountable for terrorist acts. Knowing the history, geography, accomplishments, and problems facing countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iraq will help us hold up the peaceful majorities that live in these countries.

8. Hold the media accountable for biased reporting by calling a local media outlet if you see evidence of unfair or slanted reporting.

9. Insist on maintaining and defending civil liberties. Working in your communities to use and protect these rights will guarantee that terrorism has not destroyed the fabric of liberty.

10. Educate yourself on alternatives to war.

Monday, December 19, 2005


I am a sucker for surveys, although this one really isn't great.

Current Location:Midwest, although my apartment is in the northwest
Eye Color:blue
Hair Color:brown
Right Handed or Left Handed:right
Your Heritage:Irish, Swiss, Welsh, and German
The Shoes You Wore Today:tennis shoes
Your Weakness:cats, women with spikey hair, smiles, poetry
Your Fears:at the moment not finding a job
Your Perfect Pizza:veggie deluxe
Goal You Would Like To Achieve This Year:find a creative writing teaching job with benefits
Your Most Overused Phrase On an instant messenger:Cool.
Thoughts First Waking Up:Oh, God, it's morning :(
Your Best Physical Feature:my eyes
Your Bedtime:11-12-ish
Your Most Missed Memory:my undergrad years
Pepsi or Coke:iced tea
MacDonalds or Burger King:Wendy's
Single or Group Dates:single
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea:either
Chocolate or Vanilla:chocolate
Cappuccino or Coffee:hot tea
Do you Smoke:no
Do you Swear:of course
Do you Sing:I try
Do you Shower Daily:yes
Have you Been in Love:yes
Do you want to go to College:I am a graduate student right now.
Do you want to get Married:yes
Do you belive in yourself:usually
Do you get Motion Sickness:sometimes
Do you think you are Attractive:usually
Are you a Health Freak:sometimes
Do you get along with your Parents:yes
Do you like Thunderstorms:no
Do you play an Instrument:yes, French horn and a little guitar and a little piano
In the past month have you Drank Alcohol:yes
In the past month have you Smoked:no
In the past month have you been on Drugs:celexa
In the past month have you gone on a Date:no
In the past month have you gone to a Mall:yes
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos:no
In the past month have you eaten Sushi:no
In the past month have you been on Stage:no
In the past month have you been Dumped:yes
In the past month have you gone Skinny Dipping:no
In the past month have you Stolen Anything:no
Ever been Drunk:no
Ever been called a Tease:yes
Ever been Beaten up:no
Ever Shoplifted:no
How do you want to Die:painlessly
What do you want to be when you Grow Up:happy
What country would you most like to Visit:everywhere, but right now I want to see more of Italy
In a Boy/Girl..
Favourite Eye Color:green or brown
Favourite Hair Color:brown
Short or Long Hair:short
Height:not too much taller than me
Best Clothing Style:casual
Number of Drugs I have taken:nothing illegal
Number of CDs I own:no idea
Number of Piercings:none, but I might get my ears pieced someday. . .
Number of Tattoos:none, but maybe someday. . .
Number of things in my Past I Regret:I try not to think about that.


Christmas Wishes

via the frogblog

1. the Democrats to take control of both houses
2. Bush to be impeached
3. gay marriage to be legalized nationwide
4. pro-choice Supreme Court nominees
5. legislators who worry about poverty and hunger and peace more than "morality"
6. someone to clean my house once a week
7. a biggie iced tea from Wendy's every day of the week
8. a good creative writing teaching job with benefits closer to my family
9. new and interesting recipes (for any kind of food in general and specifically a good recipe for cheese enchiladas)
10. an end to the war in Iraq
11. to be able to come out to my relatives and have them say, "Yeah, I knew that, and I love you anyway" without anyone needing any time at all to adjust
12. good poetry books

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Better Than Expected

So I am home again now. We actually had quite a good time with my dad's side of the family. Everyone stayed the night instead of leaving the minute the turkey was eaten and the presents were opened. We all played games and took turns holding my cousin's new baby, who is about the cutest little boy I've ever seen. He just grins constantly. I liked playing with him.

My aunt has been encouraging my cousin to have a baby since she was in junior high. My cousin is now 22 and really is not financially stable enough to have a child, but she is a good mother. I'm glad she waited to have a child until she was older. At least one of them has good sense.

I enjoyed visiting with my two cousins who I hadn't seen since my grandfather died six years ago. We all had a great time playing together as children, but we only saw each other about five times growing up. My aunt doesn't like my mother, so we never got to see my cousins. I'm not sure why my aunt doesn't like my mother, but the best I can come up with is classism. My mother is from a very poor family. My dad's family is upper middle class. My mother has been a lot nicer to my dad's family than perhaps I could ever be. They've never been nice to her.

My maternal grandmother also married into a family that never treated her well. I don't understand that one either. My grandmother is the nicest, most unassuming person I have ever met. She has a great sense of humor and a beautiful smile. She is also incredibly independent. She is 86 and still lives alone. She was ill a few years ago and had to live with my aunt for a few months. She was thrilled when she finally got to go home.

I like to think that I take after my mother's side of the family more than my dad's. When we go to my maternal grandmother's house for Christmas, there are always a ton of people and lots of simple foods (like relish trays and cheese and meat trays). Everyone talks at once, and the laughter is loud. We genuinely enjoy being together, and the party goes late into the night. Often people bring friends and neighbors to the party, and they always fit right in. We have all taken to bringing extra gifts to the party so that everyone will have a gift to open during the gift exchange. Last year, my sister brought her boyfriend, and he got more gifts than anyone besides my grandmother. This is how a family should look, in my opinion: lots of laughter, food, love, and welcome for those who happen to wander in. I am blessed to have that in my life.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bah Humbug

Tomorrow we are driving to visit my dad's side of the family. That is always a riot and a half. I always realize anew when I visit these people that family has got to be a lot thicker than blood. These people are blood relatives, but they aren't my family at all. They don't even like my family. They are nasty and competitive. They try start fights with each other. No one wants to give gifts to anyone else. One aunt hates us so much that she hardly speaks to us and many times doesn't come at all. We all sit around and stare at each other in awkward silence and watch the many kids that we have never met play together (providing they come this year?). My grandmother adds her obligatory insults to the fray, and in short, it's always fun-filled family Christmas. I can't wait.

At least my aunt's cats are cute, though. She has four now. I had the flu last time I went there for Christmas four years ago. My sister said that puking in the basement was much more exciting than an awkward game of Scategories with the family.

Merry Fucking Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2005


My best friend is teaching in France right now. He just sent me some pictures from his latest class field trip. This has got to be the coolest job in the world.

Unfortunately, being so far away means he won't be able to come home for Christmas. I will miss him.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My name isn't Horse; it's Phillip

The first movie I remember watching as a child was the animated version of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I remember sitting next to my aunt on the couch while my three cousins sat on the floor below us. I must have been about three at the time. I was fascinated by the story. I cried when Aslan died and again when he came back to life and the flowers grew under his feet. I went to see the new Narnia movie this afternoon. I still got teary when Aslan died and when he came back to life. It's still a wonderful story.

My sister has always been a bigger Narnia fan than I am. She read the whole series when she was young. I only read about three or four of them. I couldn't find one that I thought was as good as the first one, so I gave up.

I am more into Harry Potter now. I took a class over the summer called The Gospel According to Harry Potter. We made wands and wore fake lightning bolt tattoos on our foreheads. It was awesome. I'm really concerned about the future of Harry. I am convinced that he has to die in the last book. I think he is a horcrux and that he is holding part of Voldemort's soul in his scar. I will be interested to see if I am right. I'd really rather he didn't die. I don't think I could stand it if he did.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Grading Papers

Perhaps I am a little strange, but I love grading papers. I have had a wonderful time grading poetry portfolios today. Of course, it might have been the company. I went to my favorite Italian restaurant with one of my best friends, Rennick, who wanted to study for her psychology finals. We ate and talked and laughed and I read her more than one poem from my portfolios. I'm surprised she didn't throw her psychology book at me and tell me to zip it so that she could study. She didn't, though.

I am in a rough place right now. My fiance dumped me two weeks ago today. However, now she won't quit calling me and begging me to get back together with her. I just don't know what to do. We were together a few days over two years. She was my first relationship. What happened to end it was a very emotionally abusive explosion on her part. She's in ten kinds of therapy now, thank goodness, but I don't know whether to hang around and see what happens or run screaming. It's not an easy place to be in.

It wasn't until this crisis happened that I realized that I have extremely wonderful friends. They've really let me depend on them. Rennick has dragged me out running about every day, which is wonderful. I ran for about six years and then got out of the habit. We're training for a 5k run now. We want to run one in the late spring or summer. It will be wonderful. Another friend knitted me a Harry Potter scarf and has spent many hours chatting with me and distracting me from the crisis at hand, which is greatly appreciated. Several friends who are out of town have emailed and called several times. I have wonderful friends. Despite the anxiety involved in this crisis, I'm glad I had the opportunity to see just how wonderful they are.

A Poem

Courtesy of M.K. (Thanks for the forward)

Wage Peace
by Mary Oliver

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings
and flocks of redwing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children
and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen
and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries, imagine grief as the
outbreath of
beauty or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Wage peace.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don't wait another minute.

Friday, December 09, 2005


Since my classes ended yesterday, I spent today lying around like third base. I watched the "The Forgotten" this afternoon, which was quite a bit different than I thought it would be. I had no idea that it was an alien movie. I really like creepy sci-fi movies, but this one was pretty mediocre. The alien bit was really over the top.

Then I watched "Taming of the Shrew" with Elizabeth Taylor. It's definitely not my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, but it was okay. I really hate the ending of that one. I keep wanting Kate to knock Petruchio on his ass at the end, but she never does. It's rather sad.

What really rocked was "Xena: Warrior Princess." I've been renting that one from Netflix for a while now. I'm midway through season 2. It's quite a fun show, very campy and lesbian. I just finished the episode called "The Quest." It's the one where Xena and Gabrielle kiss for the first time. It was fun. What else can I say? I liked it.

Tomorrow the grading begins. I have 26 poetry portfolios to grade. I had one outstanding class this semester. It was the best class I've ever had. They were so enthusiastic. We did a lot more in there than we did in my other class, mostly because of the interest and the maturity level. Most of the students in there were non-traditional. I enjoy the non-traditional students quite a lot. They know exactly what they want to get out of courses, and they work hard and do well in their classes. This particular class showed a lot of interest in the Beat poets, which thrilled me. I love the Beat poets. The best thing about this class, though, was that they would take ideas and run with them. For example, I'd bring in a poet as an example of something one day, and the next day, four students would come in and tell me about how they went to the library to check out books on that poet. It was awesome. I love my job.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


This afternoon I met with my pastor about some very personal issues, and she remarked that I have grown a lot in the last few months. I last saw her in February when I was first starting my anxiety medicine. Half of my family was very ill, I had a very bad English 101 class, and my relationship was on the rocks. I had had about all I could take, and I couldn't get into the counseling center more than once a month. So I called my pastor. At that point in my life, I could hardly get through each day without crying. My pastor is a remarkable woman, and she let me sit in her office and cry. She always brings her dogs to the office, and the two of them sat quietly on the floor and nuzzled my feet. She recommended meditation and a daily reading of Psalm 139, both of which I was skeptical.

I had a very negative church experience before I discovered this church and chose this particular church because they so firmly preached that everyone is welcome. I highly recommend the United Church of Christ for that reason. I was just coming out when I first wandered into this church two years ago. I felt welcome and loved for exactly who I was from the first day I walked in there.

I have loved getting involved in all of the activities at church. My cat and I hosted Mary and Joseph in my apartment for Las Posadas on Monday. It was terribly exciting. The figures were huge, and I had to buckle them into the seats in my car before I could drive them safely to the next place. I don't think I've ever laughed so hard as I did driving around with the Virgin Mary strapped into the front seat. I spent most of the drive on the phone with everyone who would listen.

Today and for the next week, my church is opening its doors to the homeless in this area. The city sold its shelter to a very conservative Christian group recently, and that group does not welcome everyone to their shelter. Approximately 60 percent of the homeless are mentally ill, but the mentally ill are not welcome at this shelter. Gays and lesbians are also not welcome. Neither are people who do not fit into the very narrow box that the shelter owners define as Christian. What exactly is Christian about leaving people out in the cold because they are different than you? It has been bitingly cold today, and I am glad that there is a place in the city where all are welcome. And I am glad that I have found that place, too.


Testing 1 2 3 :)