Monthly Archives: September 2007

One year ago


 So, I have been here for a year now. With short visits home. It has been an interesting and eventful journey and I have learned a lot about myself , some of which I either did not know or had only inklings. So, I thought I would make a list of things I've learned about myself in the last year. 

  1. I never knew how stupid I was until I started doing my Ph.D.  [Most of my colleagues agree they feel that way, too. This is why we all pick one very minute area of interest in which we will come to know more than anyone else in the world.]
  2. I enjoy living alone. A lot. Scary thought. But I also like living with the grandkids.
  3. I miss the family and especially the grandkids more than I thought I would. Thus, I babysit for a couple families here. So the moms can get out more than for being with the kids, though.
  4. I don’t like lettuce salads. I never make them and lettuce rots in my frig. I much prefer my vegs cooked. And I really like the little Steamer Vegs that I get here – little pouches of mixed vegs that include asparagus and peas and snap peas and carrots, aborted baby corn, filet beans. I only like green salads that have lots of stuff in them and someone else has made.
  5. I like going to films (movies) by myself. I often go to the small downtown theatre on Sunday afternoons since I’m already downtown.
  6. I enjoy being invited to parties but don’t like going to them.
  7. There is a good reason that I don’t like long walks. I thought my feet would eventually adjust to all the walking here. But at least I finally realized why. They were frostbitten 25 yrs ago. You remember, that really cold January in 1982 in Northern IL, when it was 30 below, -70 wind-chill! So, I have to husband my physical capacities. Fortunately, there is a theological resolution: Karl Barth considers that recognizing our creaturely limitations is a part of our reasonable worship.
  8. It is amazingly stressful to have to change the way I think about buying food. Not only is it surprising how many of the same foods I can buy here, but also how hard it is to find staples. Frozen juices are non-existent. No Kool-aid, either. Potato chips are odd flavors: prawn, roast-beef, ketchup flavored, BBQ’ed chicken, etc. But, one also has to get food 2 or 3 times a week instead of 2 or 3 times a month. AND remember that I have to carry it home. But rhubarb and asparagus are common and strawberries are in season from March through October. There is rhubarb flavored yogurt.
  9. I don’t have the mental energy to think about cooking. Fish filet and steamed vegs are the best menu I can conjure. Un/Fortunately, the one thing Scottish cuisine is good at is sweets and puddings. To balance out the healthy meals. That and being really, really close to Belgium — and Belgian chocolates are a grocery store staple.
  10. It is disconcerting not to understand people when you know that they are speaking some form or dialect of English.
  11. I really enjoy twentieth century music. Debussy and Ravel, of course. I always knew I liked Impressionistic. But also Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Delius, Saints-Saens, Hans Zimmer, Karl Jenkins, Philip Glass, Peter Maxwell Davies. I don’t like Mozart. (But neither does FAM.) Too mathematical. Deepest apologies to Karl Barth and von Balthasar.
  12. Russian novels are boring. This is not good since so many theological references are made to Dostoyevsky.
  13. Translating Italian and French is fairly easy and straight forward. This, of course, is compared to translating German.
  14. I can get tension head-aches from self-imposed deadlines. (cf. #1.)



Ex-Tractor Fan



There was a man who loved tractors. He had model tractors in his home, pictures of tractors, posters of tractors, and books about tractors.tractor fan One weekend he went to a farm show near his home. He was very excited to see all the real tractors and he asked the first farmer if he could drive his tractor. The farmer refused. He asked another farmer. He vehemently refused to let him drive his tractor. All the farmers rejected his pleas to be allowed to drive one of their tractors.


So, he went home disconsolate. And smashed all his model tractors and burned all his pictures and books. In the evening, he went down to the local pub to drown his sorrows in a couple of pints. But, the pub was extremely smoky and the pub-owner refused to open the windows due to the cold wind. So the man took a deep breath, inhaled all the smoke from the room, went outside and exhaled it all. Back in the pub everyone was exclaiming over this amazing feat. “How did you do that?” said the bartender. “Oh, it was easy,” he said. “I am an ex-tractor fan.”

rainbow cardie 2


Big exciting news! Cardie one is finished and being worn and is gloriously warm for the climate. Coolcardie one





cardie twoCardie 2 is also finished and in a box flying across the pond to the intended recipient's mom. It was fun and a challenge. I had to kool-aid dye some extra wool. I made a couple of false starts, finding out halfway around the sleeve that there was not enough of that color so had a pick a different one. But it was fun all in all. And sort of the same but sort of different from mine.

Here they are together.


Now I'm on to a lichen-dyed sweater while I watch Terminator videos. Life is good.