Not so perfect, not so young

Saturday, April 22, 2006

My gift to you

Crystal, Daniel, and I went to the movie American Dreamz last night, so you wouldn't have to. Aren't you glad?

You may be thinking that a movie directed by the guy that directed About a Boy and staring Hugh Grant as a nasty person can't help but be funny. Well, I admit that we did laugh from time to time, but not to an acceptable degree. I'd give it a score of 4 on a 10 point scale of funniness. The girl who sat behind me thought it was pretty stinking funny, and had a few good outbursts, but she doesn't get to post on my blog.

There was one thing I liked about the movie, but it requires a bit of back-story.

A lot of the slang that the kids are using nowadays is really only distinguishable from common English when it is typed. Examples are "hott" and "sux". I have started indicating when I'm using the slang version by saying things like:

"That sux, with an x."


"You're hott, with two t's."

Otherwise, how will anyone know that I'm not just using the plain old versions of "hot" and "sucks" that everyone else uses?

So I was very excited that the lyrics to the theme song of the tv-show-within-the-movie ended with this line:

"American Dreamz, dreams with a 'z'."

I'm really looking forward to seeing this phenomenon take off. Unfortunately, since American Dreamz sux pretty bad, it may not set off the wave of slang-spelling that I've been hoping for.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Where my ideas come from

I don't come up with much to say that I haven't heard or read elsewhere. One of the books I've read lately gave me lots of food for thought, and I enjoyed it so much that I want to share a bit of it here.

Of my few faithful readers, I know that there are some who have had the influence of Christianity in their lives in the past in some way or other. If you are thinking, "She's talking about me," you're probably right, because it's true of most of my dear friends, whether or not they call themselves 'christian' now, and I'm thinking of you all.

Digression: Since I've been working on my research project, I usually type 'deaf' instead of 'dear'. Every time. Read on, my deaf friends.

The thing is, there's a LOT about capital-C "Christianity" in general and about Christians in particular that bothers a lot of people. Or makes them furious.

Unfortunately, many of us who come out on the other side of the trials of adolescent/university life and still embrace our faith feel like we have to pretend that we aren't bothered by anything about Christianity. Or worse still, we may even imagine that we have to support conservative politicians and their various agendas. So I liked it when I read this:

. . . Christianity was always right; we were always looking down on everybody else. And I hated this. I hated it with a passion. . . . I wanted to love everybody. I wanted everything to be cool. I realize this sounds like tolerance, and to many in the church the word 'tolerance' is profanity, but that is precisely what I wanted. I wanted tolerance. I wanted everybody to leave everybody else alone, regardless of their religious beliefs, regardless of their political affiliation. I wanted people to like each other. Hatred seemed, to me, a product of ignorance. I was tired of biblical ethic being used as a tool with which to judge people rather than heal them. I was tired of Christian leaders using biblical principles to protect their power, to draw a line in the sand separating the good army from the bad one.

That's from "Blue Like Jazz" by Don Miller. Whether you identify yourself with Christian spirituality or not, it's a great read. The author's dissatisfaction was very satisfying to read about. I liked it a lot. There are so many other good passages, that I would be here typing for hours if I included them all.

Okay, just one more, from the chapter called Church: How I go without getting angry:

One more thing that bugged me, then I will shut up about it. War metaphor. The churches I attended would embrace war metaphor. They would talk about how we are in a battle, and I agreed with them, only they wouldn't clarify that we were battling poverty and hate and injustice and pride and the powers of darkness. They left us thinking that our war was against liberals and homosexuals. Their teaching would have me believe I was the good person in the world and the liberals were the bad people in the world. Jesus taught that we are all bad and He is good, and He wants to rescue us because there is a war going on and we are hostages in that war. The truth is that we are supposed to love the hippies, the liberals, and even the Democrats, and that God wants us to think of them as more important than ourselves. Anything short of this is not true to the teachings of Jesus.

Are you still here? Sorry I've gone on and on and on. I just really liked this book, and I'm not so good at boiling it down into a few points. Despite the content of the excerpts here, it's not all about dissatisfaction - it points to solutions as well, and focuses a lot on loving people, in real ways, in everyday life, no matter what differences you may have.

Reading something like this makes me want to change. It makes me want to truly love others. Basically, it shows me that being annoyed or confused about certain aspects of my faith isn't an excuse not to keep trying to live out the parts that I'm certain of, like Jesus' love for people.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Mrs. Deegan

I've had this song in my head for weeks. We've been rehearsing it for an upcoming concert, and only recently have I been able to sing through it without crying. It destroys me. So I thought I would share the poignancy with you. (I wish I could put the tune in your head as well - it's very beautiful.)

Mrs. Deegan

And now who will arrange the crystal swans
frame the petit points
roll the ribbon sandwiches

and now who will give me crocheted doilies
and marquisettes
and what will become of persian lamb coats and
three-button gloves

(okay, I'm crying already and I just started typing it.)

and who will polish the silver service
and who will spread the cutwork cloth
and set the dainty Aynsley cups in their dainty
China saucers
and who will remember the sugar tongs
and who will ask me to pour

and who will be the keeper of all the niceties
of modesty and decorum and propriety
and seemliness

and will there still be Easter bonnets
and jaunty pillboxes and silver lockets

and did I think I would never lose this sweet and
gentle refuge
that there would always be a settee
a book of knowledge facing me
smelling of gardenias and a hint of peppermint
reminiscing of normal school and fancy dance

and why did I think someone could replace her
the lady with a century of memories

and why does it make me cry that all the lavender
in the world went with her
and there will never be another trousseau tea

Poetry by Val Brandt, Music by John Estacio

I am not the only one who cries at this -- it's a women's piece, and most of us have a hard time holding it together while rehearsing it. It's the age we are, I think. In our early- to mid-twenties, most of us have begun to experience the loss of older loved ones. This kind of loss can be deeply personal, and somehow it's also the loss of a window on the past, a loss of an ideal, and a loss of the kind of unconditional regard that is so rare in our everyday relationships.

My own grandmother's health has been poor for many years, but I'm so grateful that we can still enjoy a cup of tea together in the santuary that her home has always been for me.

Dear 2nd Massey Posse

Today I am eating Cadbury's Mini Eggs, and thinking of you.

Friday, April 14, 2006


Oh Blog. How I've missed you.

I set up a myspace account a week or so ago, and the little time I've had on the computer lately has been spent trying to figure that out. I really CANNOT afford to have any more internet-related distractions in my life!

In the meantime, I've been thinking about a few things I'd like to post about here, so I'd better quit messing around and get writing. I've been spending about 2 1/2 hours of each day riding the bus to and from my clinical placement, so I've gotten a lot of reading done. I've also had more time to think. And less daytime television.

My little neurons are very happy about the exercise, and they're trying to set up new networks and revive old ones that work on thinking about spirituality and the meaning of life and things like that. It's nice for a change.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Gold Standard

Part of the speech and language assessment process for a child is a hearing screening. It's a very simple procedure, and can involve using a portable audiometer or an audiometer in a sound booth. Some kids DO NOT LIKE IT because of having to wear the bulky headphones, or having to enter a sound booth, but other kids don't mind having it done.

Yesterday, I saw the second kind of child have his hearing screened, and it absolutely made my day. The little guy was in the sound booth, and was looking out through the window, wearing headphones and the BIGGEST SMILE that I have ever seen. It was a smile of pure and utter open-mouthed joy and excitement. He eagerly shot his hand into the air as he heard each test beep. The smile did not fade through the whole screening. His mom had never seen him so happy.

That child should be sent around to participate in assessment with speech pathologists, just to give them a break from the average child, who doesn't behave as though assessment is a lot like Christmas morning and a birthday party and summer vacation and a new puppy all rolled into one.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What would we do, baby. . .

This is my great-great aunt Ruby.
Yes, my grandfather's aunt.
She's pretty much the sweetest lady of all time, and I love to spend time with her. She still travels quite a bit to visit family, and we had a chance to see her last night at a family gathering.

I'm pretty unfamiliar with this branch of my family (and most of them didn't know me), so a lot of the conversations went something like this:

"Who is your great-grandmother?"


"So, are we third cousins?"

"No, we're first cousins twice-removed."

"Okay. So then my son is your first cousin?"

"Um, he's actually my second cousin once-removed."

"I think I met you once about eighteen years ago."

It's always good to spend time with family. Family-tree confusion just serves as an extra conversation-starter.