Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Post Xmas Flu

We had a great Christmas, blah blah blah, you can read about it below, but come Boxing Day, I was loaded with can only be diagnosed as the flu, judging by the sheer lack of energy, the constant state of being both too hot and too cold, the sore throat that spread to my ears, the pulsating headache that felt like mini explotions, the creeping, sore skin, the 101 degree fever, and the nausea at the thought of food. I remained bundled up in my bed without moving (except for the toilet) for 48 hours. Today I managed to get up and thank goodness I did because Scott suddenly came down with it. He needed me to be a bit more alive to care for him (as he so patiently cared for me). With his asthma though, it's a bit more serious that he is unwell, and I've been trying to encourage him to do all the proper wellness techniques, such as drinking lots of fluids, staying warm, sleeping a lot and taking vitamin C. He's an impatient invalid, unfortunately, and gets bored being in bed. But his birthday PSP has helped quite a bit.

So anyway, we're away on sick leave from the blog for who knows how long. I think I'm at the tail end, having managed about twelve hours feverless (and the ability to walk around), but Scott may not see the light for many more days.

Bleck.

**EDIT**
It's now 4am and I can't sleep due to a blocked up nose and sore throat. Someone shoot me!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Crimbo 05

Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum (for the eggnog, of course.)


Crimbo 05 seems to have been a success. The day started out with a very good Remembrance service at church, which I felt was most appropriate for Christmas morning. What better way to remember the birth of Christ than by taking the bread and wine with other members of His body? It was really good.

And then Scott and I came home to open our presents.


The kitties were pretty chuffed with our presents as well.


Then we headed over to Scott's mum and dad's for Christmas lunch and more pressies.


Scott was lookin' really good in his new jumper, by the way.


After that, we came back home and reviewed our loot.

Winner of the Top Most Interesting/Bizarre Gifts:
and

(Yes, that is a yard of beer and an alarm clock that makes tea.) Hurray for awesome stuff!

And though there is no contest for cutest stuff, if there had been, the winner would have been this:


Thanks, Rebekkah! It's so cute, it even looks good on Scott!


Sigh, then we decided that we got loads of really good stuff from everyone and so we were pooped and ordered a curry and watched Muppet Christmas Carol. The End.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Self-Interview

I’ve written numerous posts in the last few days at work, but since I can’t access blogger from here, I haven’t ended up posting any of them. I come home and can’t be bothered getting on the computer to publish a post that I wrote hours ago that no longer seems interesting. There is a distinct possibility that the same will happen this this post, but I write it anyway to widdle away the time left at this place.

I’m interviewing myself, or something like that.

Since you’re at work, tell me, what is the best thing about working in the UK?
Well, Lori, there are actually quite a few advantages to it. I really like the fact that Europeans are so cool about alcohol, and they will often serve wine during work hours. Here at the school, we get wine in the staff room on momentous occasions such as End of Term and after big inspections. I like drinking wine while I work. But that isn’t the best thing. The best thing is the holidays. In Scotland, employees are entitled to four working weeks holiday, or 20 days. At the school, I get 44. That’s almost nine weeks total. And I’m not even a teacher. That would definitely have to be the best thing about UK employment.

So then, what would be the worst thing?
I’d have to say the worst thing is the income tax. It’s not exactly the worst thing about employment but it totally sucks to have a salary of X but only bring home like ½ of X. It’s depressing.

Is it true that you have fourteen friends, as you once stated yourself?
I think I was being a bit over-zealous with that remark, Lori. After time, I’ve realised it would be more accurate to say that I have fourteen potential friends, or perhaps fourteen close acquaintances. Of those fourteen, there are maybe six that I would actually feel comfortable inviting over to my house, and with only one would I feel comfortable inviting over to do absolutely nothing. I think that’s the mark of a true friend – someone you can invite over to do nothing.

Well, it seems like a good thing that you’ve even got one "true friend". Tell us about her – is she anything like your friends back home?
She’s a funny sorta girl – she reminds me so starkly of someone but I cannot for the life of me figure out who. At any rate, she’s loud, funny, into multiple hair colours and piercings, and loves Jesus. Hmm, maybe she reminds me of me? At any rate, she’s dead cool and we’re going to get pierced together after Boxing Day.

Good grief, Lori. Don’t you have enough piercings as it is?
Not really. I’ve only got a few earrings and a nosering. That’s really mild in the piercing world. I’m going to get my tragus pierced. It’s not as dirty as it sounds. It’s just the funny jut-out bit in your ear. Here’s a picture.

Ugh. Enough about your ‘tragus’ or whatever. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go?
Tough decision. See, I’d really like to see so many places – Egypt, South Africa, Columbia, Japan, Italy, Cypress… the list goes on. But since all of those places are accessible in a relatively plausible way, and since this question is sending me somewhere all expenses paid, I’d choose Antarctica. It’s my dream to have visited every continent before I die, and that damned continent is making it very difficult for me to achieve that dream. So I’d go there and kiss a penguin.

Do you like penguins then?
Penguins are the new monkey.

I was reading an exclusive interview with Kermit the Frog on msn.co.uk. Who is your favourite Muppet?
Call me boring, but it’s most definitely Kermit himself. He’s so green and small and skinny-legged (no offense, pal), and yet so intellectual and charming. He’s just the most relatable character on the show. I feel like I know the guy. I feel like I am Kermit sometimes. I definitely share the sentiment that "it ain’t easy bein’ green." It isn’t.

Lori, I think you’re weird. I’m done with this interview.
Yet, I don’t think I’m weird at all. Sometimes I might agree with you, but in general I’m just a normal girl, trying to live life as honestly and adventurously as possible, without getting myself into trouble or danger. I spent far too much of my childhood trying to be normal until I finally discovered that there is no such thing. So now I’m just me. I’m not that weird when you look at some people.

Are you done yet?
Yeah. I’m not as in love with myself as I’m making it seem.

Shut up. You’re annoying.
I know. I’m sorry.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

My Darling's Birthday

13 August 04-
Oh how I miss you, darling. I can barely stand it. It's all coming back, the painful missing you, so much more strongly. I'm missing you so intensely. I need you, darling. I miss you so much. I love you. I love you with all my heart. Oh, how I can't wait to be your wife. I love you so much, darling! My heart is very sore right now.

-an excerpt from our private blog we kept while we were "dating"


I love you so much, Scott. You're my best friend in the world. Have a wonderful birthday. I'm so glad we never have to be apart again!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Bleck

You know how when you're sick you can just taste that sick taste in your mouth? I know, pretty disgusting way to start out, especially having given you no warning. But I'm sick. All over. Head, throat, stomach, skin. And what's worse was today was NOT a day I could miss at work. So my darling husband drove me in this morning and waited on me for an hour while I quickly wrapped up all that needed to be done for the day. It wasn't much - it was just past its deadline. The newsletter was meant to be sent off to the printer yesterday, but the Rector had yet to finish reviewing it. I cornered him this morning before he could run off to assembly, got his remarks, arranged the proof for pick-up, called the printers and left. Scott is too good to me, driving me in and waiting around. But at least it got done. I couldn't have dealt with myself if I'd just left it undone, no matter how crappy I felt upon awakening and no matter how much I cried at the thought of crawling out of bed.

In fact, I feel pretty miserable even sitting up right now checking my email and catching up on blogs so I'm gonna head back upstairs with my copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and settle back into bed for the night. Scott is happy because he got to miss class today to take me into work and since I'm not up for making dinner, he gets to order a curry for delivery.

Aww, and now he's asleep on the couch. A day off must've worn him out. ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Even More Just Stuff

1. Since I know you all have been waiting with baited breath to find out how the Christmas party went, I'll tell you. I hate to keep my adoring public in suspense. It went fine.

2. This awesomest date ever that I've been planning for Scott is gonna be a little less awesomest than I hoped as we are waiting for pay day. It's still gonna be awesome, but it's gonna be spread over a few days as wages roll into the bank.

3. Sunday Scott and I are gonna go to a art show sorta thing in Glasgow at the Lighthouse. It's called Matryoshka, and according to s1play.com it is a show where "Artists and designers present a new take on the concept of Russian nesting dolls". Cool.

4. Scott and I just ate homemade pizzas and McDonald's milkshakes! (And here I am wondering why I can't fit in skinny girl clothes...)

5. We saw Narnia, and it was good. Other than that "greater force that controls our destiny" Star Wars line spoken by (a rather disappointing) Aslan. I like the name Aslan. I'd like to name a kid that. Scott would rather punch himself in the head.

***Edit by Scott. She's not exaggerating.***

6. I love babies.

***Edit by Scott. Sigh.***

Monday, December 12, 2005

More Just Stuff

1. My kittens are licking their paws simultaneously, and it is oh-so-cute!

2. We are severely lacking in the Christmas card receipt department. One card in the mail (thanks, Jonathan and Sarah. We know who are TRUE friends are.) and a few handed out at church (my name misspelled each time. Who IS this "Laurie"?) We mailed out fifty cards, and that doesn't include the church folk we'll be dispersing cards to on Sunday.

3. Scott's mum bought us these awesome Advent calendars that have real pouches to put real gifts in. I've been getting totally cool stuff, like the shiny bling bracelet I just opened and am now wearing. Bling bling!

4. I think I'm ready for the SU Christmas party. I bought mince pies, and I drafted a wee speech in the Notes section of my new 2006 planner. I need to work in a few jokes though before I present it, which I think we all know is destined for failure. "Heeyyyyyy kids!!! Huhuh!"

5. I talked to my dear friend Devon last night on the phone, and it didn't make being away any better. I miss Devon and I miss Amanda and I'm going to go throw myself in the Clyde. (My bling will help me sink.)

6. Worst shopping experience EVER today. I went on a mission to find a Christmas dress and didn't return with so much as a sock. I looked like an enormous Champagne bottle in one dress, a condom in another, and a pepperoni pizza in the last. Did I mention I have four zits and PMS? Not a good day.

Oh and did I mention that everyone in Britain is supposed to have no thighs, no ass, and heavens PLEASE no hips? Yeah, it's the style. I'm gonna have to weight (pun) 'til the next new wave of 80s. I thought this was my chance, but anorexic is way too in. Shapeless, weightless and prepubescent is the new hourglass.

7. Scott's birthday is SATURDAY, and I am planning the coolest date ever (possible at present). I don't have a dress or anything (murmer grumble) but Scott'll look hot in his suit while we're eating at... and .... and going to... Oh, the suspense...

8. I have to now go a) make a payment on the ole' credit card and b) make shortbread for the par-TAY.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Just stuff

Well, I'm surprised more people weren't excited about Rangers. This is history in progress, people! But since clearly no one else cares, I won't go on any more about it. Oh, other than to say I was offered a ticket to the match tomorrow at Kilmarnock, and I had to turn it down. Family dinner been planned for a few weeks.

For the SU party on Tuesday, before I give a little talk on "The Real Meaning of Christmas" I'm doing a little Christmas Quiz. This is where audience (you!) participation comes in. Which type of quiz would you suggest among the *following:
1. Multiple-Choice Questions like "Celebrating Christmas was once against the law in...? a. Holland b. Indiana c. Massachusetts d. Japan"
2. Christmas carol teasers like: "Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy"
3. Christmas movie quotes like: "Now I have a machine gun. Ho. Ho. Ho."

After I do the fun quiz, and before the real talk, I'll do a True/False thing about the nativity story and then go into the real thing. I think I'll just have whichever quiz I choose printed out on paper and lying about for the kids to work on while they're munching on cookies and milk.

Finally,
Lori's Ultimate Last-Minute Gift Ideas.
Still can't think of what to get that rando? Here are a few ideas.
1. The Gift That Keeps On Giving: With a subscription to a great magazine, your rando pal will be enjoying your Christmas present once every month for a year!
2. Adventure for the So-Inclined: Adventure gifts are so freaking cool. You can find them everywhere, but my favourite is the Aqua Sphereing. You can also find gift vouchers for any adventure through many places, such as Days to Amaze (daystoamaze.co.uk).
3. Rando for the Rando: No one actually owns a Sumo wrestling suit, but anybody would accept one! Smoking isn't easy to quit, but a coughing ashtray can certainly help. Try perusing unique gift sites for the perfect rando gift for the rando in your life. My favourite is I Want One of Those (www.iwoot.com). It ships fast - you could still have it in time for Christmas! (It's a UK site, though, so Americans may want to find something American, if you want it by Christmas.)
4. Royally Cool: Fine, so it's not royalty, per se but you can make someone a Lord or Lady by purchasing a bit of land for them. There are several places you can find this gift, but here's the cheapest I've found. One square foot of land can give you the right to put that coveted "Lady" title before your name. I don't know about you, but insisting my boss call me Lady McFarlane seems totally rad.

That's all the advice I have. Sorry. It wasn't that awesome, I know.

Hope you are all doing great. Allow me to leave you with this:

What Flavour Are You? Buzz buzz, I am Coffee flavoured.Buzz buzz, I am Coffee flavoured.


I am popular in the workplace, even though I am often bitter. I am energetic to the point of being frenetic; buzz buzz, out of my way. I tend to overwork myself and need periods of recovery time. What Flavour Are You?



Answers in case you're wondering:
1. "Celebrating Christmas was once against the law in...? a. Holland b. Indiana c. Massachusetts d. Japan" c. Massachusetts
2. "Perambulating through a December solstice fantasy" "Walking Through a Winter Wonderland"
3. "Now I have a machine gun. Ho. Ho. Ho."
Die Hard

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

WE ARE THE PEOPLE!

Ho!!! After a tense 1-1 draw last night against Inter Milan and a 0-0 draw between Porto and Artemedia Bratislava, Rangers have became the first Scottish team to ever make it into the final 16 of the Champions League!!

Heck freakin' yeah!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Christmas without Jesus? Blasphemous!


I’ve been vague over the past few days about all the things I’ve been thinking about and reconsidering. I will be brave and talk about this one. I expect criticism, and this I accept, because I do not know the answers and I want to do what is right.

I’ve been starkly aware lately of how unbiblical Christmas is. When did Jesus ever ask us to remember his birthday? When did the Bible ever mandate it? As far as I recall, Jesus only asked us to remember his death through taking the Lord’s Supper. So why do we celebrate Jesus’ birth, and why do we mix it with the unchristian holiday of Christmas (and by unchristian I refer to the material, sensual, Santa Clausy stuff)? Again, I won’t get into the pagan arguments, just as I didn’t when speaking of the Sabbath. But still, the truth remains: it’s not a Biblical holiday.

But this doesn’t make it wrong to celebrate, does it? After all, Independence Day isn’t wrong to celebrate, nor is Thanksgiving or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and none of those are religious holidays. Secular holidays aren’t sinful, are they?

But I wonder, is it right to celebrate the birth of Jesus alongside one of these holidays?

I mean, particularly, Christmas. Of all the holidays to co-associate with Jesus, the Son of the Living God, this would have to be the worst. Are there any more ridiculous holidays (maybe aside from Halloween) that could be Christianised? Christmas, a time to give and get material gifts, to decorate the home with a fat man in a red suit who will reward your good deeds with an iPod, to tell stories about reindeer that can fly. Also a time of family and love and goodwill and “peace on earth”…

Anyway, I warned you, this is only something I’m thinking about, and I don’t have any concrete ideas yet on the subject. But would it be wrong to stop celebrating Christmas? No, I don’t think so. After all, not Peter, Paul nor John celebrated Jesus’ birth (that we know of). And it really is twisted to try to celebrate both the birth of our Saviour and a secular holiday all about trees and presents and spending extra on marked-up items on the same day.

Gosh, as a side note, I remember how hard it was as a kid to try to make Christmas about Jesus with all those mysterious, colourfully wrapped packages taunting me all month. I would force my mind to think about Jesus, but man, those presents! I hope Mom got me a My Little Pony. Or one of those dolls with the hair that grows. Ooh or a musical jewellery box…

Who am I kidding? I still have to force myself to make Christmas about Jesus.

But is it anyway? Was it ever meant to be? Two questions arise –
1) Is Christmas supposed to be about Jesus? And
2) Is Christmas just a chance for us to enjoy a secular holiday under the pretense of religion? Actually, more questions arise than that.
3) Is it downright wrong to celebrate Jesus birth along with the secular Christmas traditions?
4) Should we stop celebrating Christmas altogether because it is not Biblical?
5a) Or can we celebrate Christmas without celebrating Christ’s birth, making it the same as Thanksgiving or Remembrance Day?
5b) Would that be wrong?
6) Should we celebrate Christmas ONLY as Christ’s birth and do away with the presents and the trees?
7) Are we even supposed to be celebrating Jesus birth at all?

Deep breath. Whew. So many things I don’t know the answer to.

I like Christmas. I like giving presents to people. And even though it may be hard to believe, I spend very little time thinking about what I’m going to get in return. Don’t get me wrong, since I know I’m getting something I will say, “ooh, I’d like that for Christmas!” But in general, I don’t get excited about my presents. I get excited about what I get for my friends and family. I love to find the perfect gift and then see it opened.

I also like decorating. I like the twinkly lights and the shiny baubles and the fake snow. And I like to see wrapped presents all stacked under a ridiculously adorned tree standing right in the middle of an otherwise normal room.

Are these things wrong? Am I just as absorbed with the commercialisation of Christmas like everyone else?

More unanswerable questions. I really don’t know about any of these things.

But one thing I think I’m beginning to feel a bit more strongly is that mixing the above earthly traditions with celebration of a very serious, symbolic moment of the birth of Jesus seems wrong.

Something’s gotta give. Is it Christmas? Or Xmas? Both or neither?

I’m reluctant to give up the gift-giving part of the holiday. I’ll be honest. I love it too much. But most Christians against Christmas believe this is part of the reason the holiday is so wrong. So am I just too caught up with the worldly aspect to give it all up completely?

Funnily, I’ve been asked to talk about why it is so important for Christians that the “Christ” in Christmas remain, and not be crossed out by an X, at a Scripture Union Christmas party during lunch break next week. (The party is cleverly titled “The X-Factor”. Cute.)

Oh, Lord, help me. (Really.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Keepin' U Up on Waz Down


Firstomundo- Last night went fine. Or so folks say. I was too nervous to know the difference. When I start talking about spiritual stuff I become a real sere-butt (sere is short for serious, in case u ain't down wit da Lori-speak). So I was dead sere and my voice was all shaky but they say I did fine so I'll just leave it at that.

Secondino- It's three weeks until crimbo and the shopping is nearly done. Christmas is so commercialised and I am such a sucker for shopping, I'm beginning to think I should stop celebrating it. But I do love to give gifts so I wonder where to draw the line. It's a question too deep for me to delve into right now, what with all the other delving I'm doing.

Treble- That's how Scottish people say triple. It does my head in. Scott's birthday is next weekend. Everyone be sure to wish him a sweet sixteen! Sweet sixteen and never been kissed.

Quarterly- By the way I'm talking right now, you'd think I was high. If only. Hey! It's a joke, man, git wid it.

Five golden rings!- Fifthly and finally, let me just say my first observed Sabbath was wonderful. Saturday night I did as much cleaning up as I could (considering we were out part of the night) and on Sunday, I refrained from work. Though the pots that were soaking in the sink were KILLING me and the load of laundry was still a mile high, I just rested. Scott and I were late for church (resting? heh) and our church has lots of oldies who get upset if you come in late so we went back home and started a mini-series on Galations. (Why Galations? Because Scott opened the Bible somewhere in the middle, and we took it from there. We're really spiritual.) Then I read a bit more and fell asleep on the couch. The kitties played on me while I slept, and it made me happy. Then we went to Scott's parents for mince rounds and totties and spent the evening with them. We came home, and I spent some time praying and planning what I was gonna say at church in the evening. We went to church, it was actually really good (this is the church we stopped going to, remember) and came home and snuggled up for bed. And guess what? The pots got washed tonight and a load of laundry is spinning through it's cycle, and I'm still alive. And I feel good and rested for a change. And I feel even more confident that God is gonna take care of everything, even without me striving 24/7. Yeah, dog. God is good.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Reflections: Why am I still a Christian?

I apologise for all the religiously charged posts in a row; I usually try to refrain from that. But things are in my head, and funnily, blogging is the best way these days to get my thoughts out. (Why blogging and not journaling? Could it be the knowledge that other people will read it and judge it and therefore it better be substantial? I think maybe.)

**By the way, side note: I think we've lost the battle with the cats and the Christmas tree. I think they've won. We just can't keep them out of it. **

Ok, back to my original plan for this entry.

I have to speak tomorrow night at the Port. Two things about this freak me out:
1. I haven't been back to the Port since my embarrassing "Bradley is coming to town! Oh wait, nevermind, no he's not. Sorry for getting your hopes up, I'm a moron." experience, and I haven't felt comfortable around the Port people in months.
2. I hate speaking.

I was asked to "testify", and I accepted. Not because I thought, "Oh, great, I love to share what God has done in my life!" but because I believe the Holy Spirit uses stuff like this to teach and stretch us, and also to bring others to Him. When Rhoda said, "You've been on my mind for weeks as someone to speak at the Port," I couldn't very well say no. After all, if God put me on Rhoda's mind, would I not be in the wrong to refuse? Maybe not, but since I'll never speak on my own accord, I will do so if someone else asks.

Now, I've "testified" before, telling how I became a Christian and whatnot. And that story is precious to me still. But it's not ALL God has done for me. In fact, it was just the beginning of a lifetime of millions of blessing from my Father. So, I've decided for once I'd like to talk about why I STAY a Christian, and not just how I BECAME one.

Still, what the crap do I say? Hence this post. A chance for me to flesh out the answer to that question.


Why do I stay a Christian?
Number one reason: God keeps me one. He has promised us in His Word that He who began a good work in us, shall perform it until the day of completion. (Phil 1:6) He saved me, and that's a life long thing.

Many times I've wanted to give up. But I haven't. Why? Because I'm such an awesome, strong-willed woman? Aye right! I'm the flightiest, ficklest girl ever. I stay because He keeps me.

What if He didn't keep you? Would you still be a Christian?
After just a second of thought on this, I knew the answer was still yes. And not because I want to go to heaven (which I do). I would stay because I believe Him. I really, with all my heart, believe Him! I believe in Jesus, I believe in what he has said to me through the Bible and through the Holy Spirit. Something deeper inside me than all the doubt (and boy, do I have my doubts!) believes. Is it a crutch? Some may think so. Maybe it is. But I believe it nonetheless. It's just too true.

How do you know it's true?
Firstly, I know it's true because I believe the Bible. Ooh, many would call that a BIG crutch! But it's a bit more circular than that (the old philosophical conundrum). I believe the Bible because I've experienced what it says in my life. The Word of God has never let me down. It is thorough, it is complete. And God Himself has never let me down. Sometimes I've thought He had, but I was only being impatient. Never once in my life has the Lord God let me down. Bad things have happened - but I got through them all. I live with some pain, but I am still living. I know it's true, because I've seen that it is true. And the Bible backs me up. But I believe the Bible first over what I've experienced. Life will surely throw a lot more difficulties at me, more painful and seemingly impossible than I've ever experienced before. I will live through it by faith in the Word, and when it's over, I'll believe in God more because of what I experienced.

Do you have any examples of this?
Hmm... well, first of all, I can think of nothing I have been through that now seems worthy of example. In the moment of all those moments, I simply could NOT believe God was faithful or even real. But looking back, they were such silly moments! And I've grown through them. And to tell them now would seem silly. A few of the most recent things that have happened to our family would be inappropriate to tell in front of a crowd at this point in time, and beyond these recent painful experiences, I can't think of anything really, really ... didactic.

So if you haven't been through anything really horrible (that you can talk about) how do you know, or how will you convince others, that God really is faithful?
Good question (thanks, self). The answer isn't very easy. All I can say now to that is, God only gives us what we can handle. He never gives us more than we can handle. He says this about temptation in 1 Corinthians 10:13. But I think it must refer to all things because in all things there is a temptation to disbelieve God. God is building me up in Him. He is making me stronger. He gives me little bits at a time. What I've been through (as a relatively young Christian) may seem insignificant to people who have been through the loss of family members, hurricanes, fires, AIDS, whatever it may be, but to me, the things I've been through were hard. And learning to have faith through the seemingly small things is teaching me to have faith in the bigger things. What's happened to our family this year have been the hardest, most faith-trying things I've ever experienced. And God is teaching me to have faith in Him even through all of that.

If you want an example, think of this generic story - Your pet dies. Family pet. Been in the family since before you were born. Your are heart-broken! You cry, you feel so sad. This is a really hard time for you. Then you hear that your friend's mother has passed away. You can quickly see the difference in heartache that the two of you are feeling. An outsider might call you selfish for being so sad over the loss of your pet in the face of this much greater tragedy. But does that mean your grief is not important or valid? Does that mean you have no right to grieve? Not at all. For each one of our pains are painful to us, even when others' are experiencing even greater pain. It is good to always keep our lives in perspective in those kind of situations, but it does not mean we lose our validity in feeling the different levels of pain. Just as a stumped toe hurts like hell but is nothing compared to child birth. It's still genuine.


I think I'll leave it at that for now. It's given me a bit to think about. I have not in any way come up with what I want to say tomorrow night, but at least this gives me a jumping board. Why am I still a Christian? It's something to contemplate.

EDIT:
One other thing I'd like to mention before I forget. At work, a lady and I were talking about my beliefs and she basically asked why I believe them. At the place in my life I am in right now, it was a nearly impossible question. But the Lord gave me my answer. I thought quickly, "What is the bottom line? What are the bare bones of why I believe?" I told her this:
I believe that Jesus is the only answer because it just makes sense. None of us will ever be good enough. We may be pretty good, but we will never be good enough. One sin, that's us screwed. In comparison to a perfect God, we are so far from perfect, we could never with any amount of trying be good enough. So we have to have something else to be good for us. Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life and then took our punishment of death. We all deserve death because we are so far from being good enough to merit life. So through Jesus, we inherit the right to live. It's the only belief system that makes sense, once we've admitted the fact that we are incapable of ever being good enough.

That's a big reason why I am still a Christian.

Friday, December 02, 2005

So Much to Do, So Little Time to Do It.

Indeed, the story of my life.

Christmas is just around the corner, and I'm a big strange mix of odd feelings regarding it. But I won't bother you with them, as I am unsure of them myself, and I don't know if they mean anything. I'm going through a bit of a "phase" which I don't know is just a phase, but it may be/probably is, so I'll talk about it as little as possible.

But one thing I will talk about is just how incredibly BUSY my life feels right now. I have a pile of dirty laundry up to my waist, two cats that destroy everything in sight, an empty fridge, a Christmas-empty wallet and a busy schedule at work. My alarm didn't wake me this morning, meaning I didn't wake up until 7:30 - I am due in at work at 8. Considering the hour and a half it takes to get to work and the fact that I simply had to have a shower (since I smelled of pub from the night before), I had quite a dishevelled day. Gah. My hair looked like ten miles of dirt road.

Anyway, we all have these wee periods in life where we canNOT believe we'll ever get on top of things. But I think I'm feeling it right now on purpose. I'm serious about the Sabbath-thing, but twenty-three years makes for a hard habit to break. I'm going to continue to treat Sunday as my Sabbath for the time being (it could possibly change), but I'm going to start taking the Sabbath seriously. I like what Ruth (whom I do not know) said on my post below about the Sabbath being a day to trust God and not strive in our own power. So tomorrow, I'm going to work hard to make the house clean, get groceries bought and do whatever, and then Sunday, I'm gonna rest. I'm going to go to the rememberance in the morning and dwell on God's goodness to us as I take part in the undeserved sacrament of the bread and wine, and then I'm going to come home and enjoy rest and peace in God. I'll have dinner ready (or something that doesn't require work to make, like a frozen fillet) so I don't have to work in the kitchen, and I'm going to not stress out about all that needs to be done. I work hard throughout the week (even though two nights this week I did go out - GASP!), and I will trust in the Lord that by keeping the Sabbath day holy, he will bless me with much needed rest. After all, the laundry basket is never going to actually be empty, no matter what, (until I get a dryer??) so what good does it do me to stress out?

Happy weekend, all. Hope by Monday, you're feeling good.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

If the Bible is our sole authority…

…then why aren’t we observing the Sabbath?
Furthermore, why are we observing our “religious day” on Sunday?


I’ve become very interested in this topic and have been doing a bit of research. I’ve used mostly Messianic Jewish sites for reference, and of course, the Bible, ultimately. Here’s what I’ve noted:

Which day is the traditional Sabbath?
Observant Jews, historically and today, observe Sabbath starting Friday evening at sun-down through Saturday morning. (Coming from the seventh day of creation – a day would be the evening and the morning, rather than the morning and evening. Example: Genesis 1:5 - God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.


Why change the holy day to Sunday?
John 20:19 – So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."

We see the early followers of Jesus gathered together on the first day of the week, ie. Sunday, or rather Saturday night, actually, come to think of it (as Saturday evening is the evening of the first day, Sunday morning being the rest of the first day). However, it seems clear from the text that they were gathering out of fear, not for a religious observance. So I’ll move on to the next mention of the first day.

Acts 20:7-8, 11-13 - On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight. There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered together… When he had gone back up and had broken the bread and eaten, he talked with them a long while until daybreak, and then left. They took away the boy [who fell off the roof] alive, and were greatly comforted. But we, going ahead to the ship, set sail for Assos, intending from there to take Paul on board; for so he had arranged it, intending himself to go by land.

This one is a bit more convincing, unless you look at it more closely. I’m not about to get all confusing on purpose – we have to remember that to the readers of the time, this made perfect sense and probably would not have been questioned at all.

It was the first day of the week, and it was evening because the lamps were lit and Paul spoke until midnight. So it is actually Saturday night. But no matter about that. He clearly is teaching and holding a religious service. However, was it a Sabbath? I think we can safely assume he was not administering a Sabbath service because if the Sabbath were changed to Sunday, Paul would not have sailed for Assos that morning (still being a Jewish Sunday) as that would be to break the Sabbath. So either Paul broke the Sunday Sabbath or observed the Saturday Sabbath. Since we know that Paul at least continued to preach in the synagogue every Sabbath (see book of Acts), and it is generally accepted by many that Paul still observed the Sabbath, he most likely would not have broken it. You remember how much Jesus (who kept the Sabbath, too,) got flack for “breaking the Sabbath” (even though what he did was lawful, only breaking the Pharisees’ Sabbatical laws)? Paul, who was everything to everyone would not likely break the Sabbath. Remember – keeping the Sabbath day holy was a law from God, it was one of the Ten Commandments. Jews took this law very seriously, unlike modern day Christians. Paul would’ve taken it seriously unless Jesus had abolished it, which we have no evidence to support.

This may not convince you, but at any rate, it’s the only Scripture I’ve found so far that actually seems to have any credit for a Sunday Sabbath, and I don’t find it too convincing. But onwards.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4 - Now about the collection for God's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. Then, when I arrive, I will give letters of introduction to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.

Some may interpret this as a weekly collection like a church offering passing-the-plate sort of thing we do today. However, there is no mention here that everyone is gathering together to do this. They are just told to set aside money on the first day of the week, assumably to keep from spending it, just as we are told to give of the first fruits, not the leftovers. There is no reason to believe they are joined together as a group on the first day. (My first thought was that people did give money on the Sabbath because of the widow’s coins story (Luke 21), but not so. Apparently money matters weren’t handled on the Sabbath.)

There are a few verses in the Gospels that talk of the disciples meeting on Sunday, but let us remember that was Resurrection morning – not your typical Sunday morning service! I did a search for other occurrences at Bible Gateway of meeting together on the first day of the week, but I couldn’t find any others.


What does it matter which day we celebrate on?
Immediately, the verse about regarding one day over another comes to mind. Romans 14:5-6 - One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. This is interesting to me. I’ve always taken it to mean the same thing – like a person may or may not celebrate Christmas, big deal, or they may celebrate the holy day on Saturday or Sunday, big deal. But actually, this whole chapter is talking about food and what people feel like they can eat. So is it really talking about all days, including the Sabbath? Reading it in context, I’m not so sure.This gives an interesting option: “Some people interpret this passage as allowing Christians to either recognize or ignore the Sabbath, - or perhaps to select any day as the Sabbath. But others suggest from a reading of the subsequent verses that Paul is discussing fasting here, not religious observance. They would suggest that verse 1 of this chapter indicates that the passage relates to "disputable" matters (such as when or if to fast); the day of the Sabbath was not a disputable matter; it was a commandment from God. The phrase "considering every day alike" might means that every day from Sunday to Friday were treated the same, as in the passage describing the collection of manna in Exodus 16:4.” Me not being Jewish, I wouldn’t have thought of that. But it’s an interesting thought.

Then there is Colossians 2:16-17 - Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Again, we are not familiar with Jewish customs or festivals and holidays. Again, the same site points out this possibility: “Some people interpret the reference to ‘Sabbath’ in this passage as authorizing Christians to celebrate (or not celebrate) the weekly Sabbath in any way that they wish. Others suggest that the ‘Sabbath’ in this passage apparently refers to the Ceremonial Sabbaths, not the Weekly Sabbaths. The verse in Colossians duplicates the text of Ezekiel 45:17 which reads: ‘...at the festivals, the New Moons and the Sabbaths - at all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel.’”
So again, does it matter? Well, considering that there are no real mandates to change the Biblical Sabbath and only dubious loopholes for changing the Sabbath, we don’t see any real Biblical reason for it. And I won’t go into all the pagan history of worship on Sundays, as we’ve all heard it before, but it was Constantine, not Jesus, Paul or the early Church, who officialised Sunday as the day of rest, and Constantine was in quite a crap position when it came to Christianising his empire, with all the pagans he had to keep happy, and it also ought to be noted that the anti-Judaism attitude that the Gentile believers adopted encouraged new Christians to separate themselves completely from all things Jewish (early Replacement Theology, which clearly did not grasp Ephesians or Romans 11). But more interestingly, and maybe more importantly, is this question – what is the Sabbath anyway? Is it just a day to come together and rest from a week’s work, or is there more to it? The Sabbath represented the seventh day of Creation when God rested. This website states about the purpose of Sabbath:
“Many people today do not believe in G~d or creation, choosing instead theories of evolution. Such wrong beliefs would disappear if people remembered the Sabbath. The Sabbath continually focuses our attention back to our Creator and his re-creative power in our lives. In the tempestuous turmoil of our lives, the Sabbath is a refuge where man may enter. The Sabbath is a time of detachment from the world and an attachment to the Spirit of G~d.
“The Sabbath is the catalyst that keeps mankind’s relationship with the Creator a priority. All the frustrations of this present world would be dispelled if man would find fellowship with the G~d of the Sabbath, who made the Sabbath for man’s spiritual renewal.3 It is a time for communion between the Creator and his creation.”
As were all parts of the law, the Sabbath was implemented for the good of the people. "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27) The law required that the Sabbath was kept holy by resting. Take a look at this passage from Isaiah (58:13-14) –

”If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure and speaking your own word, then you will take delight in the LORD, and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

In fact, lest we forget, it was one of the Ten Commandments. Any reason we religiously (no pun) follow the other nine but toss out number four as archaic? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I really don’t know where we got the idea that the Sabbath is dead. And it leads to my last question…


Why don’t we keep the Sabbath day holy?
Even if it doesn’t matter whether we celebrate on Saturday or Sunday (we are mostly Gentiles so some may argue the Torah, ie. the Law, wasn’t written for us, though I find that highly disputable), shouldn’t we still be keeping whichever day holy? As in, not work? It used to be common amongst Christians to not go to our work places to work on a Sunday, but even then, meals were prepared, the house was cleaned, travelling took place, all things that most certainly did not make the day restful. And now, why Sunday is just another day. Why aren’t we keeping the Sabbath? Jesus apparently expected us to, for while talking about the end times he says, "But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. (Matthew 24:20). Why? Because on a Sabbath, even in the end times, we ought to be resting.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

How do you cut through a fossil?

With a dino-saw!


And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for........

THE KITTENS!





^Remedios has the brown streak face and ^Clementine has the whitey splotchy face.

^They were in that position naturally when I came home today. ^Scott and I are proud parents.


Futhermore there are a few things you missed (that are very important to us) while we were sans camera. Here they are.



^Our one year anniversary! One year is paper, so I made Scott a monopoly board. He bought me a diamond pendant necklace. How he got diamond out of paper, I don't know, but I ain't complaining!

^I painted Bobo's portrait. ^There's Bobo so you can see the resemblance.


^This is Sir Quackenbush IV. Scott and I made him at the Bear Factory. He has a real heart which we had to rub and kiss to start beating, and he quacks.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

100 Things I Love About My Husband: 51-60

51. His smile makes me smile.
52. He is completely different than me. And we love it that way.
53. He plays with my hair when we are laying together talking or thinking.
54. He is following his dreams and going back to school.
55. He thinks he’s shy, but when he gets in a group, he’s a total charmer.
56. He says good-night to both me and Sir Quackenbush IV when we go to bed at night.
57. His accent when he’s talking to his family (relaxed, and not enunciated for my benefit) is still really fascinating to me.
58. He gets sweeter and handsomer every day.
59. First thing he does in the morning when I wake him up is pucker his lips for a kiss.
60. He has a soft enough heart to understand why I couldn’t separate the two kitties.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

|< I 7 7 3 N 5

Well, I see no reason to let Lori hog all the limelight with this piece of news, so I'm breaking it first.

We're getting kittens. Plural. Lori went to visit them today on her lunch, they're twin sisters and she didn't want to seperate them, so we're going to have both of them. They should arrive in the McFarlane household on Saturday.

Here's where the fun, interactive, you-do-the-work part comes in. We're calling one of them Remedios (as in 100 Years of Solitude), suggest names for the others!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Zombie and Friends




I've spent the last two days watching Season One of The O.C., thanks to Cheryl who lent them to me. I feel like it's been an incredibly eventful two days, but it's just been The O.C. But I mean, in a way, two people have "tried" to kill themselves, one couple got divorced, and like six or seven break ups have occurred. And a trip to Tijuana, Palm Springs and Vegas. A Christmakkuh. I mean, it's been a busy couple of days.

And speaking of Cheryl, I have, like, seventeen friends! I counted. Seventeen! That's a ton! And if you count Anna, Seth, Ryan, Marissa, Summer and, ah why not, Luke, that's, like, twenty-three!

Ok, that last bit was a joke, but really, seventeen non-related-except-for-Scott friends is totally freaking cool. I feel good. Oh, and that doesn't even count my Edinburgh friends - that seventeen is strictly people in the Greenock/Glasgow area.

Right, well anyway, Oliver is about to almost shoot Marissa so I need to get back to what I was doing. Mmm, I can't wait to see Season Two.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Missin' Arkansas

Part I
Yesterday began as any typical winter day in Scotland - cold, wet, you know the routine. Off I went to work, havin' an all right time, readin' my book on the train. I get to work, go about my business. Stop working at 10:30 to attend a Remembrance Day service in the Assembly Hall. (Stop the story for a moment and let me say it was horrible walking across the stage with all the teachers to our seats facing the children, with all those itty bitty kid eyes looking at me. "Don't smile, don't smile" I kept repeating to myself.) Day goes on. I find out that tickets to the USA/Scotland game our on sale for only £12. But unfortunately, we're so broke we can't afford £24 for a game. It starts raining like Monsoon Season in Pakistan. My pal Jamie and I decide to go to the little cafe nearby for lunch. I pull out my umbrella and step outside. The wind is a maniac. My brolly flew inside out. It wouldn't remain concave for anything. I put it away and proceeded to get soaked. Soaked. We got to the cafe, only to find out it was full. So we headed back down the street to another cafe about six blocks away, me grumbling like the Israelites on the way to the Promise Land. By the time we reached the other cafe, I was wet from head to toe, windblown and teary-eyed from the elements.

The day went bad.

All I could think all through lunch was how the forecast in Fayetteville, Arkansas for the day was a high of 71 and sunny. I couldn't hate Scotland anymore during that lunch hour. Lesley who met us in the cafe asked if I was okay.

Girls, how many of you know what a complete No-No that is when you see someone on the brink of tears?

I burst into tears and begged them not to ask me that. I spent the rest of lunch in silence (as I'd spent the first half). I was the crankiest Lori in existence.

I later called Jamie to apologise for my frightful behaviour. I was forgiven, thankfully.

I just really miss Arkansas. I miss my parents. I miss my friends. I miss that big yellow thing in the sky... what's it called again? The thing that makes everything warm and dry? Uh, well whatever it is, I miss it.

Part II
I got the early train home. When I was almost at my stop, I got a text. It was Cheryl, from church, inviting Scott and I over for dinner on Saturday. I was estatic! Someone likes me! I got home and waited for Scott at the train station. When he pulled up, my face brightened even more. There's my husband! I got in the car and hugged him tightly and kissed his face. He's a good thing. I love him. This guy is worth living in Scotland for.

We got home and had a wonderful evening, just the two of us. We ended the night with watching a film I'd borrowed from my friend. The Butterfly Effect. What a perfect way to end the day. Scott and I have never laughed so much at such a serious film in our lives. Every single scene, every facial expression, every line brought gut-clenching guffaws. It was such a great time and such a horrible film! Oh, I had such a good time watching it...

Conclusion
So I'm all right.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fitba

Answers to the quiz are here.

I'm boring and lame so I'm just gonna do this:

1. If you are interested in alternative birthing options, click here, here or here.

2. After another ridiculous numerical hiccup (I was calling it a far harsher word early this morning in self-degredation) discovered in the magazine that now exists in thousands of copies, I looked into a possibility of there being such a thing as numerical dyslexia. No, I was being serious. Turns out, there is. Dyscalculia. No, it's not another excuse for hating math. But it really, truly (I'm not being a learning disorder hypochondriac) explains a LOT about myself.

Since only a tiny fraction of you will actually follow the link, let me just quickly say this: For someone who has difficulty telling her left from her right, reading the hands on a clock, memorizing phone numbers, performing basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and heaven forbid division (thus necessitating counting fingers), making monetary change, performing even the simplist calculations in her head, and figuring out how to drive from point A to point B in a town she's lived in for years, BUT is generally rather intelligent, can write well, read well, understand science and generally make smashing grades.....GASP... this has completely helped me to understand myself.

Most of you will probably laugh at me and say, "Ah, we're all like that!" It doesn't really matter to me if you laugh. The main thing is, the fact that this may explain why I can feel so smart most of the time, but then feel like the world's biggest fool because I have to put my hand over my heart to figure out which is my right hand, really helps me. I was in tears to learn that I had completely miscopied a phone number in a PAID AD that was put in the magazine (and subsequently printed), considering the fact that after copying the number over, I TRIPLE-checked it and STILL didn't see the numbers copied down incorrectly. (The other mistake that has been found in the magazine was also a number issue - this time just two numbers, which I completely didn't write correctly AT ALL.) So laugh all you want, call me an LD hypochondriac, but my lifetime suspicions of having some kind of dyslexia with numbers (which I have always had a problem with, as long as I can remember) finally make sense to me and I can go (just a bit) easier on myself when I find my stupid mistakes everywhere. It will also cause me to ask for someone else's eyes to double check my numbers next time, because it's clear my dumb self can't do it. (This girl made me feel better, too. I'm so with her on the transposing, reversing or completely omitting numbers bit.

3. Wow, that was a big rant I didn't mean to go on.

4. I subscribed to the Oxford American, a magazine dedicated to the South (of the US), which has its headquarters in Conway, Arkansas, by the way. I bought the Southern Food Issue when I was in America, and I just got my first subscription issue in the mail, the summer issue - the Southern Music Issue. It came with a CD and I suppose the most interesting thing about it is The Pilgrim Travelers song, "Jesus Hits Like the Atom Bomb". Anyone, anyone? Ding ding! Yes, that was the name of the second-to-last Tripping Daisy album. I remember how Tim DeLaughter told me and the old Oswald's Pool gang that he got the name from an old gospel record, and for some crazy reason I've never thought to look it up. Now it's playing on my stereo. I wish I'd looked that up for my Tripping Daisy essay I wrote in my Folk/Music Traditions class at University. Particularly since I mention this song but didn't say who the original band was, and I can almost guarantee that good ole Robert Cochran knew it was The Pilgrim Travelers.

5. Rangers lost to Celtic. What utter crap.

6. I'm attempting to read Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh for the third time. This time, I've actually made it past page three. I get it now. I know what "wisnae" and "ootay" mean, and I know who Hibs and Hearts are, and I know Edinburgh (a bit). The book is far richer with meaning now than it ever could've been when I lived in America, so I'm glad it's just now that I'm actually reading the thing.

7. Speaking of Scottish words, and football for that matter, Scotland is playing America on Saturday. Ah'm sae intae the fitba, ah'm tellin ye man.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

That Poor Kid!

I fancy a game – nay, a quiz. Yes, a quiz! And you get to take it! Aren’t you excited?

INSTRUCTIONS:
Below, match the poor, innocent child with his/her (you may not be able to tell the difference) ridiculous celebrity parent(s). NOTE: Parent(s) may have more than one child.

Click here.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I Got My Digital Camera Back!

Ahh, what fun it is to take pictures again. Thanks, Amanda!

Last night I went out with some of my workmates (the secret is out, ya'll!), and I dragged my darling, acquiescent husband along so he could meet my friends. He was a very good sport, even though he was incredibly bored everytime we started talking shop. At any rate, I liked having him there. He's the other half of me, so I feel good when he's around. (He also acted as the voice of reason when it was time to go catch the last train home. I could've stayed all night, but then I would've been bunking with the Glasgow hobos on Sauchiehall Street, and that would've been unpleasant.)

So now that I have my camera back, I finally get to include all of you in my night o' fun! (And Scott's night o' charity.)

(I love you, Scott!)




Monday, October 31, 2005

Baby Talk



No, I'm not pregnant and unfortunately am not planning to be any time (too) soon.

That was the disclaimer. Now for the post.

I think I'm a hippie.

I'm a hippie at least when it comes to babies. See, I used to believe in the birth control pill, epidurals, hospital deliveries and short breastfeeding periods. I was an all the way Make-Life-Easy-On-Mom kinda gal. But then I met this wonderful woman, Kathy, who turned my life around (and hippified me). She convinced me of, first, the importance of breastfeeding, as she would, seeing as she is what they call a "lactation consultant". So it came to be that I believed in longer breastfeeding periods (like beyond a year, though I recognise a lot depends on the baby). Soon after, it wasn't hard for her to show me the beauty of midwifery. I came to believe in midwives all the way, as they have a completely different approach to pregnancy and delivery than most doctors. I decided I will most certainly be going the midwife route; I love the idea of planning how I'm going to have my child beforehand, and then having my wishes actually granted come labour! (My current delivery-of-choice is water birth.) Oh, and no drugs, of course. That comes with the natural pregnancy/midwife territory. (Dulas are wonderful things, too, if you do not feel comfortable with midwifery - they know how you want to have your baby and even when you are screaming your head off and just begging for the drugs, they will speak on behalf of your former sanity to the doctors and ensure you get the treatment you intended.)

I wasn't so convinced about Natural Family Planning, though, and I resisted her there. But only for a short while. After discovering what utter crap the Pill is, I (along with Scott) was quickly converted to the NFP way. Hippie, hippie, hippie.

But it gets worse.

I thought I could go no further in the hippie baby-rearing, short of dreading the child's hair, but today I've gone to new levels. ALL NEW LEVELS.

Cloth diapers.

Again, Kathy's influence. For a couple of weeks in college I helped out at the Diaper Depot, a cloth diaper cleaning company, folding small and larger cloth diapers (post cleaning), but I wasn't convinced. Seeing all those dirty diapers rumbling and tumbling in the economy-sized washing machines did not make me a believer. In fact, though I've always recognised the advantages of cloth diapers (better for the baby, better for the wallet, better for the environment), I was totally against it for myself. I mean, sure I plan to be a stay-at-home mom, but certainly I'll have better things to do than clean pooh out of cloth diapers!

But this dear woman, in only one short speel, converted me.

Friends and family, I have reached an all-time high (or low?) in my personal baby beliefs. No one is going to want to babysit my poor children. (If I even believe in babysitting by the time they come along.)

Other Interesting Facts About My Hippie-ness:
1. I do not believe in "elimination communication", or "infant potty training".
2. I do believe in baby sign language (and not because of Meet the Fokkers).
3. Though I am for natural birth and midwifery, I do not plan to have my babies at home. Ideally, I'd like to find a midwife clinic or a midwife hospital ward where the midwife is in total control of the birthing process, unless a major complication arises, at which point I'd appreciate the interference of a medical doctor. I know it's not totally hippie, but I don't think Scott would let me risk it.
4. I'd like to breastfeed my children for up to a year and a half (though I think it's great to do it longer), but Scott would rather I leave it at one, which I will happily do.
5. I do not intend to co-sleep with my babies, because I can't even co-sleep with my husband without leaving him bruised and battered by morning. For me, in the too-true words of Jenny, "Sleeping is a sport".
6. I am offended by people who think breastfeeding in public is shameful. It ought to be done tastefully, yes, and discreetly, but to disallow it is a complete load of bull.
7. I've always wanted dreadlocks.

C.S. Lewis, aka "Jack"

A guy approached Jack on the street one day and asked him if he could spare a few shillings. And Jack immediately dove into his pocket and brought out all his change and handed it over to this beggar. And the chap he was with—I think it was Tolkien—said, "Jack, you shouldn't have given that fellow all that money, he'll just spend it on drink." Jack said, "Well if I had kept it, I would have only spent it on drink."

Read the rest of stepson Douglas Gresham's interview here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Top Threes

Top Three Places To Live:
1. Scotland. As much as I complain about it (and it does warrant a good deal of complaint), it is becoming home and I don’t fancy leaving home again. Though the rain is a pain and the summer is a bummer, I think I’ll stay. (I’ve got real furniture now – what would I do with it if I moved?)
2. France. South, North, East, West, Mid - it doesn’t matter. I can think of no way of life more pleasant than speaking French all day and wearing lots of black. These romantic ideas of drinking un vin chaud au un café au lait wearing un robe noir are undoubtedly based on anything but real life, but regardless, I could live in France and be quite happy, I think, if only for the fact that I was living in France avec mon cher mari and wearing Chanel No. 19.
3. America. If I simply had to leave Scotland, and there was no room for me amongst les enfants de la patrie, I would move back to America. Personally, if Scott didn’t have any say in the matter, I’d move back to Arkansas, where the armadillos run free and the ‘coons steal your meat, but since Scott invariably does have a say, I could happily settle in Boston or Philadelphia – somewhere on the East Coast – though Scott feels he’d be much more of a West Coast man…

Top Three Perfect Jobs:
1. Editor of an independent literary magazine. I’d like to get about five creative, innovative aspiring writers together who love to read and talk about books and want to provide an outlet for new and unpublished creative, innovative aspiring writers to get their foot in the door. (Model: the Quiet Feather) (Any takers, by the way?)
2. Housewife. Cook, clean, raise the kids to be good, outstanding citizens, gain the laud of mothers everywhere, possibly adopting the title “SuperWoman”…
3. Cell Biologist. Spending all day doing stuff to cells and getting to know those little things like the inside of my colour-coordinated closet.... I can’t imagine anything more interesting. I’d like to research cancer.

Top Three Names for Pets:
1. Remedios the Beauty. Taken from the character of said name in 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, this the planned name of our forthcoming kitten.
2. Zeno of Elea. Taken from the character of said name in one of my own budding short stories, I think this name is dead cool for a cat (which it is in the short story). It is also the name of a mathematician.
3. Erasmus. Dog. Clever dead guy.

Top Three Things that Annoy – No, Infuriate – You:
1. Scientology. Particularly the don’t-make-a-sound-while-squeezing-a-baby-out-your-vagina-and-then-don’t-speak-to-the-baby-for-seven-days-because-your-voice-reminds-it-of-the-pain-of-being-born thing.
2. Sectarianism. The Catholic-versus-Protestant/Green-versus-Blue crap really, really chaps my hide.
3. Hollywood depictions of Christianity. I don’t think this needs an explanation, does it? Or does it? Christians aren’t all middle-class, suburban, pulpit-pounding Republicans who bomb abortion clinics while sleeping with the next-door-neighbour’s wife.

(*Stolen from this guy MCF’s pop-quiz because it’s a good question*)
Top Three Famous People Who Shouldn’t Be Famous:

1. Paris Hilton. (Also see the The Happy Husband’s other answers – Ashlee Simpson and Keanu Reeves. I’m fighting hard to find answers as good as these, but I couldn’t help but 3000% agree about Paris.)
2. Mary-Kate-and-Ashley Olsen. Since they are one in the same, they go together as one of the Top Three Famous people Who Shouldn’t Be Famous. I mean, they were cute (kinda) on “Full House” (though how many times did we have to hear “You got it, dude!” to get the picture?)
3. Kelly Osbourne. (But actually, Keanu Reeves.)


Your answers?
And how my moods change drastically.

Thirty minutes after posting “I feel happy” last night, I was down in the dumps. In the pits. In the “depths of despair”, as my fictional bosom friend would say.

I felt cynical and crabby and not to be messed with. I felt sad and disappointed with myself. As I talked with an old English major friend on MSN Messenger about his writing, I felt more and more depressed with the fact that I’m not writing. I used to be a poet – what has happened to me? The mere thought of trying to write a poem is like tying a stone to my heart and dropping it in a lake. It seems impossible; it seems futile; it seems a million miles away.

Then as I talked to another old friend about the loss of faith, I felt all the more depressed. Where is my faith? Where is the joy of my salvation? Why do I hold on when everything around me seems to contradict what I believe? (My answer: “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.’”)

And that rain that I thought made the night so “quiet and cool”? It sucks. It really sucks. I hate the rain. There is too much of it all year ‘round, and I’m sick of it. (But at least it’s not a hurricane, right?)

Scotland is just depressing. I know it sounds romantic and brave and beautiful, but if you believe that, you’ve never lived here. And it’s not just me – ask any Scot and they will tell you – it’s a miserable land. I didn’t understand for the first wee while why everyone gave me the raised eyebrow when they heard that my husband and I decided to live here instead of there, but now I fully understand – and I raise my own eyebrow at our decision.

But of course, it’s not as bad as I make it out to be. Well, actually, it is, but I’m not taking it as badly as I could. If I really let the rain soak into my soul, the way it has the power of doing, I’d be in bad shape. But something holds me up. Something has always held me up, in the lowest of days. I’m not able to scrape across the floor in utter hopelessness, because the rope that holds me upright isn’t long enough. Sometimes I’m fair swinging upside down with my arms outstretched, reaching for the bottom, but the rope is still knotted firmly around my waist. I couldn’t let go if I tried.

As the psalmist said, the waters have come up to my neck. But they will not drown me. God’s that faithful.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Holiday Season


I know I'm a bit of an "early riser" when it comes to holidays, but I'm already très excited about Christmas and Thanksgiving. I got my Christmas cards in the mail today that I ordered from a charity shop; it made me giddy. (<-- That's not the card, by the way.) I finally started my Christmas shopping on Saturday, after a very late start (the end of October?! I was a month overdue.), and it felt great. A few gifts are already wrapped and waiting in a shopping bag for the arrival of a tree to live under.

I've been excited about Thanksgiving even longer. And certainly longer than most Americans living in America - we Americans living abroad seem to have been thinking about it a lot sooner and with more gusto. (I look back to the emails circulating between me, Sarah and Ashley from early September/ late August regarding who was bringing what to Thanksgiving dinner...) This year for Thanksgiving, we're having a dinner at our house for family and friends in the Greenock/Glasgow area, and then possibly heading down to Edinburgh on Saturday for desserts with the Edinburghers. I can't wait. Our school chef said today he'd get me a turkey, either cooked or uncooked, however I wanted it. It's going to be a feast. It's going to be Thanksgiving. There will be kids at our dinner.

I feel thoroughly in the holiday spirit. I just had a bowl of hot cream of red pepper soup (made from scratch, I might add), and the house is quiet and cool, and it's nearly November, and it's all just perfect holidayness everywhere. I think this (wet, cold) evening calls for a lit pumpkin candle and a cinnamon bath. And a good CD, though I don't know which one. I feel happy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

RENT- Video Clips and Blog

Just in case any of you RENTheads out there don't know about this, you've got to go here. So far up (besides blog entries by all the cast) are clips of Maureen's "Take Me or Leave Me" and Collins' "Santa Fe". Oh. My. Gosh. This is going to be such a freaking amazing film.

Now, for the quick synopsis I've promised for those who don't know about RENT (but should still go see the movie)-
It's a story about eight friends (if you can call Benny, the once good friend who gets married to a rich girl and ditches his pals, a friend) who are all in some way struggling with life. Roger, Mimi, Collins and Angel all have AIDS. Roger is an ex-junkie and Mimi still is one. Mark is lonely and has just lost his girlfriend Maureen to the young lesbian lawyer Joanne, and Maureen and Joanne just can't seem to make things work.

Basically it's the story of "a year in the life of friends". They struggle to learn how to love and how to live each day as if it were their last - and as several of them are dying of AIDS or drug addiction, their last could come at any time.

For more info, visit IMDB or the RENT the Movie or RENT the Broadway Musical.

Now- Reader Participation Question:
Who is your favourite RENT character and why?

(Choices - Mark, Roger, Collins, Angel, Mimi, Maureen, Joanne, Benny.)

I don't know if I can answer that question myself...
I love Roger because he is the most dynamic character in the story. In 525,600 minutes, he makes the biggest turn-around. After finding out that he has contracted AIDS and his girlfriend commits suicide, he more or less locks himself up in his apartment with his guitar and waits to die. He struggles to write just one song that will "redeem this empty life". It isn't until precocious Mimi interrupts his solitude and self-deprication that things start to change. He starts out depressed, refusing to love again, waiting for his inevitable death inside a cold and bare apartment, to a man with a will to live and a heart that can love.

But then, who couldn't love Mark, his antithesis who at the end of the story has changed very little except that he has become more true to himself and has faced the position he is in and embraced it? He, though he isn't dying of AIDS, has decided to quit dying in his loneliness and make the best of what life has given him. Life has given him amazing friends, which he realises only after they are gone.

Perhaps I'll talk about what I love about the other characters in another post (which few people will bother to read).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

October Holiday

I won't go into what a crap morning it's been, like how I stalled the car on a busy hill and it wouldn't restart, or how I pulled out in front of a car and nearly hit it, or how there was a hole in the roof over the gas pump which poured rain onto my head while getting gas, or how I went to my doctor's appointment at 9:30am this morning just to find out it's actually set for TOMORROW, I won't go into any of that. I'll just say-

Thank goodness I've finally started my October week holiday.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Operation: Total Destruction

All was set. Papaw's shed had been fully ransacked- old radio? Check. Wheelbarrow? Check. Things smashed with the rusty smashy thing? Check. Toy pistols? Check.

We were off. The Babies were hiding somewhere, we were certain. Wherever they were, we were bound to attack them unawares. We crept with inconceivable stealth around the house. With our backs against the wall, Danny peeked around the corner, toy pistol at his chest, ready to shoot, if necessary. They were not in the garage; we noiselessly dashed across the lawn to the shelter of the enourmous rose bush. There we paused for a quick breath.

Danny was the ringleader; that day he was calling all the shots. Nathan was in charge of telecommunications; he held the radio to his ear in anticipation of any new intelligence that might aid us in our attack. I pushed the wheelbarrow, which contained rocks, bolts, washers, plastic darts, leaves and wild onions. One could never be too prepared in these situations.

Danny furtively spied through a hole in the rose bush - the Babies were in sight! He signaled to us his decision to go with Plan A. Nathan and I nodded in agreement. Within seconds we all shot out around the rose bush in different directions, all armed with pistols. The Babies were caught by surprise. They were forced to relinquish their digging for worms to fight. They were unarmed, but their weapons of manipulation were too great for us. They screamed. Matt and Josh took turns kicking and hitting while the other screamed for back-up. We fired aimlessly - they refused to be hit. Danny, unwilling to lose to the defenseless Babies, held the gun to Matt's chest and shot point-blank. Matthew screamed but appeared to be unhurt. Angry, we began shouting.

"You've been hit! You can't say you weren't!" I shouted.

"He shot you! You're dead!" shouted Nathan in agreement.

"I just shot you in the chest!" protested Danny.

The shouting did no good. The Babies ran away in the direction of their back-up. Undaunted, we chased them, shooting and shouting. We were certain to win this battle. Nothing could stop us.

Danny was the first to go down.

As we were chasing the Babies, Danny turned to us to encourage us to run faster - and ran straight into the Babies' Commander.

"Daniel, are you harrassing the boys?" asked Matt's terrifying and powerful mother. Danny tried to deny that he had attacked, but the evidence was in our hands and in the Babies' screams.

"Lori. Nathan. Leave these boys alone," demanded the dreaded Aunt Donna.

The Babies hid behind their mothers and stuck out their tongues. They had won yet again: not by might nor strategy nor firepower, but by their evil alliance with the grown-ups.

We were forced to retreat. We gathered our equipment - radio, wheelbarrow, pistols - and made way to our fort, the small apple tree. We climbed to the lowest limbs in defeat. However, we did not lick our wounds for long; we immediately began planning our next attack.

We may have lost the battle, but we would win the war.


*****

Happy birthday, Matt. I can't believe you are twenty. You're still a Baby to me. I hope no matter how old you get, you never forget who's boss.

Love,
Lori

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Special Announcement: The New Rule

Ok - Scott petitioned for a new rule to be made in the house, and upon observing our home myself this evening with the intent to tidy it up, I decided his wish ought to be granted for he had a good point.

"No more trinkets."

He's right, we have far too many trinkets lying around. I'm not a trinkety girl, but I've somehow accumulated far too many. You can't even see the books in our book shelf for all the trinkets setting in front of them.

I love my trinkets and don't know how I'm going to streamline what I have, so I will simply and politely make this humble request:

For Christmas/birthdays/anniversaries/Hanukkah, we are not allowed to accept any more trinkets.

I know Scott's gran doesn't use the "intercom" as she calls the web, so we will undoubtedly continue to receive trinkets from her, but for all who have access to the intercom, we apologise for being so picky and ungenerous. We love you, and we love the trinkets you have given us and would love the trinkets you plan for the future, but something has to be done to stop the mania.

That is all.

All the pretty thoughts...

Lori Bori sat on a wall
I’m reading Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte), thanks to my aunt’s suggestion. I’ve uncovered a completely new-found love for Victorian literature. For ages I was totally into modern/postmodern literature for pleasure – possibly as rebellion against the past ten years of required reading in school and at University. But I’ve fallen deeply in love with 19th century lit. It all started with Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy) and has filtered into Thomas Hardy, the Bronte sisters and Charles Dickens. In my near future I am looking at opening up Wuthering Heights, A Tale of Two Cities and probably The Scarlet Letter.

I had a most lovely lunch involving a dark, quiet café, a steamy café mocha topped with whipped cream and Jane Eyre. Upon leaving the café at the end of my lunch hour I felt I had been many miles and centuries away from Glasgow and The Year of Our Lord 2005, and the short vacation from present reality eased my disordered soul.

Lori Bori had a great fall
I’ve been wary of text messaging since it was first introduced to me many years ago. Something seemed so vile, so dangerous about it. I have since discovered three (though undoubtedly there are many more) reasons to be suspicious of “txt”ing.

1. It promotes anti-social tendencies.
2. It promotes bad grammar.
3. It is prone to embarrassing mishaps.

It promotes anti-social tendencies.
Text messaging allows people, who under normal circumstances would have to face up to their fear (or dislike) of verbal interaction with another, to avoid human interaction while yet satisfying an immediate necessity to communicate. For those of us who really hate to call certain people for whatever reason – dislike, nervousness, awkwardness or paranoia – are now able to side-step that niggling obligation and are no longer forced to face our ever-growing anxiety of interacting with other human beings.

2. It promotes bad grammar.
wot if i wer 2 alwys talk 2 u like this? u may think its no big deal until u read a hole msg n txt spk. even then u may think its no big deal. but wot if ur kid brought home a book report & the teachr wrote on it ur kid is below avg in punctuation capitalisation & spelling. ur kid cant seem 2 stop writing like hes on his mob. plz teach ur kid 2 stop txting bcuz he is gonna fail skool.

3. It is prone to embarrassing mishaps.
I’ve worried since my first text that I would accidentally send the wrong text to the wrong person. I often send my husband cutesy text messages through the day, and it is not uncommon that my texts include rather personal and… er… intimate information. “Scott” falls in my phonebook between “Sarah & Ian” (a landline) and “Sherri” a mere acquaintance at my previous church. I have feared that some day Sarah and Ian might come home, see the blinking light on their answering machine, press the Play button and hear an automated voice recite, “Hello, sweetiepants. I hope you aren’t busy when you get home because I’d like to get that way.” And of course, I wouldn’t want Sherri to get that SMS either.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) it finally happened; however, it was only sent to “Sarah” who is first in the S’s and is a good friend. I’m sure she won’t hold it against me. (Again, fortunately, not only did it go to a good friend, but it also safely said merely, “I love you Scotty McHotty. Kisses and love.”)

This can happen to anyone with various negative outcomes. I know a guy who accidentally sent a flirtatious message to his girlfriend – addressed to Michelle, most definitely not his girlfriend’s name. Michelle never knew why he didn’t text her back.

All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
I think the problem was that they sent out the horses first instead of the men…

Couldn’t put Lori together again.
I have always been a conscientious Christmas shopper. I look for deals on new, factory sealed items on eBay, and I begin my shopping early, usually in September.

This year we have been struggling a bit (I’m being modest) money-wise, with Scott’s University fees and books and lack of immediate action on the part of SAAS to get some government money flowing our student’s way, so I have yet to get started on my Christmas shopping. It is a real burden for me, which Scott can’t seem to identify with or share. Having always been a Christmas-Eve shopper, he feels I’m ridiculous for counting October a late start on Christmas shopping.

But luckily, once some dough comes rolling into our bank account, I will be fully prepared and ready for action. I have a detailed list of what everyone shall get (or at least what store they shall get it from)*, with an approximate figure of how much it will cost. If all goes according to plan, I shall be able to purchase a few gifts a week until all the gifts are purchased with plenty of eBay trolling time and before the stores have all sold out!

*I am still uncertain of two people – my dad and my mother-in-law, but these will come in time. Last year, the ole mum-in-law made it easy by oohing and ahhing over a certain item in a store while I was in her presence. And my dad is always hard to buy for ahead of time, but I am usually able to find something while searching for someone else that hits the nail on the head – or so I hope – and I am depending on another such event this year, though I may never be able to beat the CS Lewis box set I found a couple of years ago. Note to Christmas shoppers – if you do really good one year, it only means you have to do better the next. Hold out on the good stuff until you know you’re about to die.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

So much to say, so little time to say it...

Scott and I are about to leave for his gran's house for dinner tonight, so I don't have time to write about all the things going on in my head.

Of which there has been a lot.

I will say, though, first of all, that not being able to access Blogger from work is a pain in my ever-increasing bum.

I'll also make a quick list of things that are quick to list:
1. We are cat-sitting next week. Little Cocoa (a "cat-ten", neither a kitten nor a cat) will be packing her bags and coming to stay with Aunt Lori and Uncle Scott on Saturday until Wednesday. She likes socks and bathwater.
2. I've been a bit more broody today than usual. A friend at work got her Marks & Spencer order in today of clothes for her son, and the excitement she felt as she unpackaged each item and exclaimed how much he would like it made me desperate to have my own children on whom I can lavish gifts and love.
3. The school inspectors are currently inspecting our school. Everyone is running around like there's an avalanche. I say, act like you usually act and I bet you anything you'll still pass the inspection. The only thing you fall short in is feeding your employees chocolate cake whenever they want it. (But they'll serve you calamari. No, I'm not kidding. Calamari. Squid.)
4. The sun is now rising just as I step off the train to walk to work. In about a month, it won't rise until I'm already well-settled in with my morning cup of tea and bowl of Mullerice. And it'll be down again before I leave.
5. Since we are too po' to afford Rangers tickets for the upcoming game against Bratislava, I entered a draw for free ones. All I had to do was answer this question: "Who scored the third goal against Porto last month? A-Dado Prso B-Sotirios Kyrgiakos C-Peter Lovenkrands." Duh. [EDIT: Scott just discovered I had to pay £1.50 to text in the answer. Crap. I meant to leave that part out.]

I want my digital camera back. I have so much photoblogging I've been simply dying to do. (You haven't even seen what Scott and I got each other for our anniversary!)

In the meantime, did anyone notice that my last post was a link to a most excellent ecard?

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Spider on the Ceiling


I am being such a brave girl right now. There is an ENORMOUS spider hanging just above my head on the ceiling and I am not freaking out. Well, I am, but I'm keeping under control. I've decided he's asleep so he's not gonna bother me. But believe me, when Scott gets home, he's dead. It's just the way it goes.

I left the house for an hour hoping he'd take that opportunity to find a place to hide where I couldn't see him, but when I came home, he was still there, in the same spot. So he must sleeping. It's what I've convinced myself.

I cannot, read me, CANNOT believe I am on the computer when a spider is on the ceiling above me. I have really grown up. Even though I get panicky every time I look up (which is like ever other second because I have to make sure he's not going anywhere, like up my legs or into my shoes). But seriously, folks, this is a break through.

And I bother because internet access at work is completely ridiculous. I can't even read blogs anymore. All blogs, games and shopping is access denied now. I can't even check my website for comments. So I have to be on the computer now so I can catch up on some friends.

Ok, as I promised, up there is my school picture. It's ridiculous.

I think I use the word "ridiculous" too much. It's ridiculous, heh.