Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic selfhood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be.  
Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moving

Dear readers.


In answer to your unspoken questions. Yes I am still alive and yes I plan on continuing to blog. BUT... [smile] I feel the need for a new star. It is with a degree of sadness that I have come to this decision. I've loved blogging on "Just Me" over the last two years. I've met some great blogging friends, enjoyed sharing my life with the world, and loved the process of self-exploration. This experiment has also reminded me that writing is something that can be fun, exciting, relaxing. (Four years of undergrad tended to leave me a little jaded when it came to expressing my thoughts in the written word. [smile]) However, to continue to feel the same way about writing I feel I need a bit of a change... a new volume in which I can continue my journey. And with that I would like to announce that I'm moving to a new webpage. The website will continue in a similar blogging format though I'll have a few more subject specific pages (books, movies, etc.). I'll also be launching a cooking section, as I've taken on the role of chef since I returned home. Keep your eyes peeled for a Julie/Julia type challenge that I plan to embark on in the new year.

This space is filled with great memories that I will always cherish and I'm sure my new site will be as well. Join me if you would like, though please forgive as it is still very much a work in progress. HTTP://MARGARETBAGWELL.WORDPRESS.COM/

Now for a final time I'll sign off as Just, Margaret

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Today we're watching Fear Fest on AMC, cooking chili, carving a pumpkin, handing out treats... all in all a pretty perfect Halloween and a nice Saturday. Hope you enjoy your day as much as I plan too.


And before I forget a very happy birthday to my bff, Jane Marie.

Just, Margaret

October Book Review

Excitedly most of the books on the list this month were bought at Shakespeare and Company in Paris though I'm sure you could find any of them in your local bookstore.

I actually finished this book in September but traveling prevented a review until now. First to say I enjoyed this book doesn't feel right at all. How can one enjoy a story this depressing! I did find the ethical dilemmas of genetic engineering and organ donation intriguing. When I finally reached the ending- a task that at times felt like a journey toward inevitability- I found the author's conclusion predictable and lamentably tidy for an otherwise challenging/frustrating text. Read one if you want to know what all the fuss is about, but don't expect to find a classic wrapped in a summer read. [read]

THE READER by BERNHARD SCHLICK
I devoured this book in little over 24 hours. Remarkably easy to read for an English translation of a foreign text. The story is excellent and made me really appreciate the movie's interpretation. Still make sure to read the book because brilliant passages need to be verbally consumed. Next time I pick it up I plan to read it aloud. [read, re-read, recommend]

A well written, short ghost story. This is definitely a classic read for October when if you are at all like me you enjoy thinking of ghost and ghouls. Not overly frightening, it reads like a conclusion to a night of ghost stories around a fire as it is intended. [read, re-read]

The final installment to THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY diverts little from the trajectory set forth by the four books previous. Still humorous, the story plays with the idea of linear time measurements which made the timeline of the first few chapter more than a bit complicated. Overall a great conclusion to a very fun series. [read, re-read, recommend]

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rediscovering a beloved classic


I loved the Anne books when I was a child. I wept as I finished the final chapter Rilla of Ingleside simply because I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend. I decided just before I left the UK that I would re-read these favorite books of my childhood. I'm kinda hoping to rediscover what it is that attracted me to the books and what about Anne I so admired... probably that after all her silliness and flights of independence she ended up with Gilbert [smile]. He was my first literary love.

Just, Margaret

Art in Paris

Okay just one more post about Paris. While walking through the city I encountered street art, galleries displaying their wares, and even full blown art exhibits.
Too cool... and begs the question "Why wouldn't something like that work in the United States?" Quick answer, we don't walk anywhere, but I don't really want to get started on that. Too early in my new life in the US to complain about some of the ways we could learn from the rest of the world. Just something to think about.

Just, Margaret

Monday, October 12, 2009

Paris

Just a few pictures from the almost 200 that I took over three days in Paris. The fall palate made taking photos like a tourist too hard to resist. I had so much fun despite the rain. Really felt like a birthday present to myself. And I have to say that it never occurred to me when I was younger that this kinda of trip might coincide with my 26th birthday. I used a day-by-day guide to the city and crammed my days with the sights I missed on my first visit to Paris... La Marais, Montmartra and Sacra Coeur, Musee d'Orsay, Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company, and a boat tour down the Seine. I feel like I've now experienced the city in full... at least until the next time I find myself passing through. If anyone was wondering my high school French was barely passable. Could read some signs, but not speak a word. So apart from breakfast in the hostel, most of my day was spent in silence. [smile]


Just, Margaret

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Today's my birthday.

Not sure what else to say other than I've enjoyed celebrating with the family. Hope you've had a good day too.

Just, Margaret

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm home

Arrived safely on US soil Thursday afternoon. It feels so great! Really I practically knocked over my dad hugging him at the airport. I've already checked three things off my "American foods I'm craving" list. Thin Mint Blizzard on the way home from the airport, Waffle House breakfast yesterday morning, and for dinner last night... can you say PIZZA from Mellow Mushroom! I've also started working on sorting out my life here. Already picked up a new cell phone and reactivated my old number. Text or phone if you have the number... as I'm trying to update my old contact info. Picked up a few applications for some part time work and will start looking for a car next week.


But this weekend, I'm celebrating. Tonight several of my best friends are headed my way for dinner. Tomorrow grandparents, uncle, and a sister or two will make the journey for church and lunch afterward. In the midst of it all I'm still trying to get on the right schedule. Going to bed at what is an appropriate EST time 10 to 10:30 both nights, but waking up so so early. Yesterday exactly at 6AM and this morning at 5:30. At least I have a sweet dog, Tootie, who is cool with keeping me company until my parents who can sleep to a decent hour are up.

Lots of updates to come... of my time at Taize and in Paris. Stay tuned.
Just, Margaret

Thursday, October 8, 2009

D-Day

Got on a plane early this morning bound for the United States. Sad to say goodbye to Bristol, but so excited to be going home. I'll give you an update in a few days when I've had a chance to recover from jet lag and celebrate a little.


Just, Margaret

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Retreat in the French Countryside

After 10 lovely days traveling around Great Britain, I'm off to France for a retreat at Taize. Please be in prayer for my experience there... first that I make it to the center safely and without incident and second that this time will spiritually prepare me for my return to the states. I'm also praying for the continued revelation of what I am being called to pursue next.


Before I return to the UK to board a plane I've scheduled a few days in Paris to rediscover the city I first met when I was 19, though this time without my great aunt and uncle who were such gracious hosts. Hope my high school French will see me through.

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy 85th!


My Granddaddy is 85 today. Contrary to how it may seem from this photograph (which is my favorite photo of him by the way), at 85 he is as sharp as ever... though he does enjoy acting goofy every once and a while. As much as I enjoy laughing with him, I also enjoy philosophizing and praying with him. He is a man of great faith and great love for my grandmother, his children and grandchildren, and the small community in which he lives. And we all love him so much in return. Happy Birthday, Granddaddy!


Just, Margaret

Course work completed!

Can't believe that I'm finished with my Masters degree. Just seems to awesomely brilliant for words. So a photo instead...
Yes that is my 56 page, 14988 word dissertation in the box. What else would you suspect from a girl who insisted her dad take her photo when she voted for President for the first time in November 2004? Got to document all of life's crazy milestones.

Now off to pack... and anticipate the arrival of my parents in about 48 hours!
Just, Margaret

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sarah and Rachel!


My beautiful and brilliant little sisters turn 21 today. I only have the faintest memories of their birth 21 years ago, mostly revolving around the "Big Sister" presents that I received at the time. [smile] I do remember the many years that have brought them to this point to celebrate such a milestone. Their existence has so enriched my life, allowing me to explore my identity as an older sister (sometimes to their ill favor... but what older siblings don't play tricks on their younger brothers and sisters [smile]). Beyond this though I have always felt so proud and blessed to watch them grow.

Sarah- You have become such an amazing artist. Your creations, which I love seeing displayed around our home, illustrate your passions and spiritual awareness. I admire you so much for your commitment to issues of justice... I did drop meat from my diet at your insistence [smile]. I look forward to seeing how your creative spirit will change our world.

Rachel- As you work diligently toward your goal of becoming a nurse, I am awestruck by your deepening compassion for others. You have always been a peacemaker... stepping in on those occasion when Sarah and I were at odds (usually arguing over whose turn it was in the bathroom [smile])... and I know your peace and deep joy in life will serve your future patients and co-workers so well.
Three cheers for my little sisters on their big day! With love.
Just, Margaret

*By the way, Rachel is on the left and Sarah on the right in the photo above.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

So dark.

The days are getting shorter already. It seems like just yesterday it was light until 10PM. I love experiencing the changing of the seasons in England.


Just, Margaret

Monday, September 7, 2009

Goodbyes.


Tonight I attended the last 20s and 30s Bible Study scheduled before I say goodbye to Bristol. I consider myself very lucky to have formed several different groups of friends while I've been in Bristol... "The HistArchs", the other arch students-especially the North American contingent, my housemates, the Dean's Court flat group, MethSoc, and "20s & 30s". With the "20s & 30s" group I've found friends with whom I could laugh and share. I remember the first time I attended 20s & 30s I was quite nervous as I didn't really know who or what I might encounter, but before the night was through I realized it would be a fun group to be a part of. Tonight I said goodbye... for now, hopefully not forever. Thinking about leaving isn't terribly easy, but it helps to know they will continue to meet on the 1st Monday and 3rd Wednesday to think, grow, and pray together. Best wishes and hope to see you in February.


Just, Margaret

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Act, Love, Walk

When I think about what I'm looking forward to returning to in the United States, I think superficially of foods and amenities (free laundry, my own bathroom and queen sized pillow top mattress [smile]). And of course people are on my list... I'll have not seen most of my family for 10 months when I finally arrive home. But I am just as excited about joining in again in the life of my church community.


The sermon this morning used the passage from Micah 6- "What does the Lord require of you? To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God." The passage felt relevant not only with the thoughts I've been giving particularly to discerning my future, but also my prayers that God might reveal ways in which I might serve within my home church community while I am in transition. While the priest focused mostly on the explication of the virtues mentioned in the passage, he also spent a few minutes to emphasize the verbs- something that felt new to me. I realized anew that God calls me to action within the church, not just passive attendance. Its exciting to think of the possibilities and I pray I will be connected with others who share this call to action.

Just, Margaret

Friday, September 4, 2009

On the verge of tears

I feel overwhelmed by emotions today... a not so unusual feeling these days. I write this not really to complain or seek companions with whom to commiserate. In fact, I actually feel blessed by the opportunity and capacity to feel and experience emotion. And when my eyes do begin to tear its more a catharsis than annoyance. I'm not sure I can articulate why I am so capable of weeping these days... stress from my tight deadline looming, joy at completing another year of study, excitement at the possibility of being home in Georgia in a month and four days, anticipation of my parents arrival in Bristol in just two weeks, uncertainty of where my journey will next take me, rapture at the natural changing of seasons, sadness at having to say goodbye to the place that has become my home and to friends.


So many seasons of my life are converging these days and I weep, but in a good way.
Just, Margaret

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Smells like September...

I emerged from my writing cocoon for a quick afternoon jaunt around the neighborhood to pick up a few fresh ingredients for my dinner (tomato, pesto, and mozzarella sandwich and baked breaded zucchini sticks... in case you were wondering). And I was overwhelmed by the feeling of September. Sounds odd, I guess. Buts it like how something can taste or smell pink. The day with its late afternoon sunshine and slight breeze just felt September. But what really took me off guard was it wasn't a feeling of just British September, but of Georgia September too. The day reminded me of those first few days of each college year when the anticipation of the opportunities that might present themselves are somehow tangible or the excitement of the first high school football game of the season and I could almost smell the gloriously fried delights of the state fair.


Its autumn!

Just, Margaret

The Story of Stuff

I woke up this morning with a message in my inbox from my Daddy. He was sending me a link to this video- The Story of Stuff. Instead of trying to explain it myself I've included the explanation from their website, but better yet why not take 20 minutes to watch it yourself.

The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.
It is really well done and quite insightful. Most of what its saying I've read about previously in a book called Cradle to Cradle, but still very nice to see it all put together in a compact way. Follow up the video with "10 Recommendations for Another Way."

*In regards to Recommendation #10: It takes courage, I think, not to buy in (pun intended) to the "Golden Arrow of Production." Luckily its easier if we choose make our communities into places that value something different. Join me there.*

Just, Margaret

Monday, August 31, 2009

August Book Review

I’m reading so many books these days that I can hardly keep track. So I thought I would add a book review post to my regular movie review at the end of each month. Though instead of using the handy star rating system, I’ve devised a different scale of my own. (Skip, read, re-read, recommend.) Hope you enjoy.

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Very funny novel following the adventures/exploits of Flora Poste, a busybody with the goal of making the world “tidy”, as she visits her distant relations on a farm in Sussex. Such a delightful book sustained by enduring wit and humor! (read, re-read, and recommend)


The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
I've read one other of Atwood's books, The Handmaid's Tale, and neither it nor this one were disappointing. Both were well written, uniquely conceived tales of womanhood throughout the ages. This was particularly singular in form of style and structure... both modeled in ways from Greek mythology, literature, and drama. I enjoyed it, but I find reading Atwood requires at least for me a desire to immerse myself in feminist language, plot, attitude and sensibility not something that I'm always in the mood for in recreation reading. (read)

This popular fiction read is not my normal fare, but the movie trailers spiked my interest. I wasn't terribly disappointed. It was well written and the story was truly unique. A quite long book (500 odd pages if I remember correctly) and so becoming attached to the characters was really inevitable. Of course I was in tears by the end of the book, even though I had a feeling I knew how it would end. I guess the most interesting part of the book is the timeline. Each chapter is subtitled with a date and the ages of the characters involved... it all has to do with the issue of time traveling. Though I did find myself looking back once or twice for clarification of which version of each character was speaking (the book is also written in a split narrative of the husband and wife's perspectives), Niffenegger accomplished the feat of transporting the reader along with Henry, the time traveler of the title, on the backwards and forwards progression of his life. Definitely perfect for a book club, as it would bring up an interesting discussions: time, relationships, trust, absence, ect. (read and recommend)

Just, Margaret

August Movie Review

THE PROPOSAL
Just okay. I’ve seen better romantic comedies and better Sandra Bullock movies. Good for a few laughs, but I would definitely wait to rent it on DVD or better yet wait to watch it on TNT or USA as it will inevitably end up being one of their “new classics” in a year or two. Most bizarre was that the female lead’s name was Margaret... completely threw me for a loop. I don’t plan to watch this one again. (1 of 5)


I hesitate to even admit that I paid money to see this awful film. Misogynistic to the nth degree, predictable, and not really funny. I am a fan of Katherine Heigl (I like her portrayal of Izzie Stevens on Grey's), but after reading about her criticism of Knocked Up as sexist I assumed she would be more discriminating of other scripts. After seeing The Ugly Truth, I'm assured she is not. (0 of 5)

THE TIME TRAVELERS WIFE
Another not so great rom com, especially when compared to the book. I guess I should have expected that last part. Films are rarely as good as their literary counterparts. Somehow the real thrust and emotion of the book was lost in translation. (1 of 5)

Just, Margaret

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"Zabardust"


Apparently this is the Pakistani word for really great, cool. I learned it at that international covered dish meal I mentioned I was going to and that I baked the Key Lime Pies for. It was so fun! Really. Zabardust (pronounced za-bar-dusth)!


I feel very blessed to have been able to meet the people I have this year. My international education has been as defined by my interaction with them as any of the lectures in which I have sat. Success this year isn't defined by my ability to trowel out the perfect trench (though I do think I've come a long way on that front [smile]) or to be able to explain stratigraphy for various audiences, but by the relationships I've formed. I'm not sure how many people I'll be able to keep in touch with as we scatter to all corners of the world, literally. (I hope it is more rather than few.) The season to part has come, as I reminded by someone this evening. It is not something that can be changed any more than I can change having met these wonderful people in the first place. God has ordained my life to include this rich experience and I am thankful. What my journey will include next I can only attempt to imagine!

Just, Margaret

Friday, August 28, 2009

Southern Classic


Some of the soon to be ex-residents of MIH are having a covered dish, aka potluck dinner, tomorrow night. Blog surfing through the posts of friends of friends I ran across a recipe for Key Lime Pie and decided that was one I had to bring. What says "Southern Summer" better? I had to adapt it a bit with my English ingredients, but I'm fairly certain I got it right. Most exciting of all is that I've never baked one from scratch before, which made it all very adventurous and fun.

Just, Margaret

Monday, August 24, 2009

Its here!


My backpack was the "large parcel" referred to in the previous post. And yes I totally just took several pictures of myself with the pack to post here because I was so excited. Ignore the crazy hair (I just took a shower) and the "farmer's tan" (a result of the dig). France here I come... or should I say "la France voici moi!"


**Pardon my French. Seriously that's the best I could come up with from my high school training and my hand-me-down phrase book. I probably should brush up on a few phrases. Or at least get very friendly with "Je parle tres peu le francais."**

Just, Margaret

MAIL!!

This note was waiting for me when I arrived back to my flat today.

Dear Margaret, There's an extremely large parcel for you in the office. Regards, Warden Team
I think it must be my new backpack!!! If it isn't then its a big surprise. Either way I'm excited because I have mail. Oh, I love receiving mail. It has to be one of the simplest of joys. I hope I never grow to old or cynical to not appreciate snail mail. A full email box (like the one I had waiting me this evening as well) is great, but there is something about the old school postal system that just can't be beat.

Just, Margaret

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Voila!


De-turfed, mattocked, scooped out, and troweled TP 19 all by myself. Also finished all the paperwork to make it official. I will say that deturfing and trowelling are two of my favorite things to do on a dig, simply because they produce results. Its like instant gratification to see a perfect 1x1 meter square of earth exposed and then to trowel down to a flat level, square box. Well there is just nothing like it. Hope I can remember that feeling when I start work again tomorrow morning.


Just, Margaret

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tyntesfield



Today due to foul weather and for the sanity of the archaeologists on site (me included) we toured the Victorian Mansion on the estate and the real reason we're able to explore our field with National Trust blessing. Beautiful is not exactly the right word for the house. It is ornate and exquisite, but mostly its just quirky. The house is filled with all the everyday things accumulated by the family over the last 150 odd years and they are all just waiting to be catalogued as part of the collection. Already National Trust has catalogued 30000 artifacts. The quirkiness is perhaps intensified by the detachment of the house from the surrounding gardens by the massive scaffolding. (The house is undergoing an extensive repair... roof, rewiring, central heating, then clean up and restoration.) Still it was quite fascinating to poke around a piece of property in the process of becoming a proper national museum. Sorry about the poor quality photos. I couldn't use my flash and my camera never focuses properly with out it.

Our special name badges also meant greater access... into the cellar and up on the scaffolding to examine the repairs to the roof. And can I just say being on the Victorian roof checks of my wish to have a "Mary Poppins" experience before I head home. [smile]

By the way the first link goes to a 360 degree panorama of the estate and some of the rooms and the second goes to the news clip regarding the extensive collection.
Just, Margaret

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This week's daily schedule:

I've been going to bed extra early this week, between 9 and 9:30. Here's why:

Get up 7ish... dress (put on dirty dig outfit from day before and pull hair up), eat breakfast, pack lunch and kit
Picked up at 8:10... drive 20 minutes to site, unload kit/tools
8:45-10ish... dig, trowel, mattock and get at least one new scrape or bruise, uncover one new layer of stone, silt, sand, or clay
Tea Break (how very British right... though as the American on site I do feel it is imperative that I drink coffee [smile])
10:30-1ish... more digging, troweling, mattocking
LUNCH (PB, honey, banana sandwich, insert fruit of the day, Jaffa Cakes-for sugar boost)
2ish-4ish... hopefully measuring and recording, but probably more digging, troweling, mattocking
Clean up, ride home
Pick up lunch supplies for next day and an afternoon snack (usually ice cream)
Veg on couch in TV room
Shower, remind myself each new bruise is a symbol of living my childhood dream
Cook dinner, eat, bed

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

BBC Points West

Our dig was covered on TV today. Still haven't figured out if I made the final cut. I'll try to post a video soon. It tide you over, click here for an online article.


Just, Margaret

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Big purchase

I bought a backpack for my trip to France in October! I don't usually spend this much money on myself apart from travel arrangements... at least at one time. I have to say it feels a bit like Christmas and as I clicked "submit order" at REI.com I had this rush of all the exciting places I plan to go with my backpack over the next year... Taize and Paris, journey back to the UK in February for graduation, D.C. in the Spring, and I hope road trips to Tennessee, Nebraska, South Carolina, and definitely back to Louisiana to visit friends and family. Perhaps I could even convince my sisters to go camping with me somewhere, since we'll all be in the same state for a change. I can't wait for it to arrive. [smile]


Just, Margaret

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dig it!

Tomorrow is the start of a two week excavation. For real, not just ice cream. [smile] I'm away for about 8 hours each day, 11 days total. The exciting bit is I do get to return to my own bed and hot shower each evening. No camping in a cold tent. Yahoo! I'll try to bring a few updates throughout the weeks... though don't expect too much as I'm sure I'll be exhausted. Pray for nice weather. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a tan at the end of the 2 weeks as opposed to a cold from rainy England? I think I might be a bit too optimistic on that front.

If anyone is interested, we'll be excavating a Second World War site occupied at some stage by US GIs. Its located just out of Bristol city limits... at Tyntesfield- a national trust estate. Overall there is very little information about the site... all shrouded in a mystery for some reason. I'm not sure you can expect me to be very enlightening at the end of the two weeks. We'll just be digging 30 odd test pits and trying to shed light on what areas and how deep actual trenches should be for next year's continuation of the project. Still I'm hoping the extra practice will help me hone my digging techniques and recording skills while inspiring me to finish my dissertation. Perhaps we'll find some indication of a significant homefront interaction (a stockpile of nylons, a big gum ball, etc. [smile]).

Just, Margaret

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Phish Food Excavation


Maybe I'm just going a bit insane with all the stress of dissertation writing, but last night as I happened upon what has to be the perfect ice cream for archaeologists. Ben and Jerry's Phish Food. Think about it... It has an easily discernible stratigraphy: marshmallow gooeyness, slightly hardened caramel, and chocolate ice cream! And the chocolate fish: artifacts! Am I right or am I right?

Just, Margaret

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Nightly Rituals

Okay so I'm kinda obsessed with using facial mud masks... you know to exfoliate and such. Its a de-stresser for me and it also seems to help my skin, so I do it about twice a week. Usually later at night, just before bed or in the morning before I shower... though I'm never really worried about seeing anyone with it on cause I'm in my room and if I see my housemates is usually running into them in the hall or kitchen. Sure you can see where this is going. I decided to prepare for bed early cause I'm waiting on a Skype call from my parents and grandparents and I also wanted to read and it is a Sunday and so what if I get ready for bed before 10 sometimes (my teacher friends go to bed by 9). I'm also tired from a busy weekend (JM and I walked at least 5 miles yesterday and mostly uphill) and I didn't allow myself to take an afternoon nap. So I put on the mask (which is a pale lavender that when dried I'm sure makes me look like one of the walking dead... ghostly pallor and all) and start reading and forget its there until... "Knock, knock". Yep go to the door and its Ibrahim and Hiro, nice guys but guys none the less. And so I yell out the door as I'm opening it because its inevitable now that I've already asked "who is it?" that "my face is purple and I'm sorry. What do they need?" [oy] That was one of the longest 3 minutes in my life because I and they are acutely aware of my abnormally colored face. Conversation over and I close the door and all I can think is "of course this would have to happen to me."

Just, Margaret

Balloons over Bristol!


Did I mention earlier this week Jane Marie was scheduled to visit this weekend? She finagled her boyfriend, "Himself", into organizing a bike ride in Wales then a visit with his University friend who now lives in the city so that we could have a day to hang out. Perfect day! We enjoyed the delights of a sterotypical "Girls Day Out"... shopping, eating, gossiping, etc. The evening we spent in classic Bristol summer fashion, picnicing on the Downs overlooking the Bridge and watching the mass launch of Bristol's Famous Balloon Fiesta and attended the Night Glow on Ashton Court Estates. So fun! Photos are above and below... the first is courtesy of Josephine who joined us for the picnic and the video is to give you an idea of what the Night Glow was like and how silly JM and I are when we're together. [smile] Yay for experiencing the real Bristol and for a fun weekend with a friend!


video

Just, Margaret

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bang, boom, boom

Tonight I can hear the fireworks for the Bristol Balloon Fiesta. Its all happening just across the bridge (so about a mile away) and it feels like they are in the aiming right into my open window. [smile] Tonight is the first night of the festival. I'm planning on attending Saturday with Jane Marie who'll be visiting. I can imagine that it will all be quite exciting. For the next three days, mass balloon launches will occur twice a day (6AM and 6PM), then Saturday evening another "Night Glow" (balloons inflated on the ground... kinda like giant lanterns) and more fireworks. If the wind is right in the morning, they should pass by my window. I'll post some photos this weekend.


Just, Margaret

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A theology of hope

I attended a evening church meeting tonight... tackling the topic of "free" will and predestination. I thought for sure I knew what I was in for, namely conservative theology. And while that did come up in the time for questions, I was pleasantly surprised by the openness and inclusivity of the speaker's perspective. He did not try to explain away the questions the idea of "free" will or what it might mean to be "predestined", rather he embraced a theology of hope and the idea of fellowship within suffering. What I really wanted to share out of all of this though was the quote he ended the discussion with.

Hope has two beautiful daughters, their names are Anger and Courage- anger at the way thing are and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.
The words of Augustine rang out in truth for me at least... the profundity of connecting my personal capacity for hope with my passion for justice ministries.

Just, Margaret

Sick Day

Yesterday morning after waking up fine I began to feel not well. Still not exactly sure why or what happened. Maybe it was something I ate, maybe it was stress. I will be so glad to be on the other side of this dissertation. Today thankfully I'm feeling better and hope/plan to get a good bit of work done.


Just, Margaret

Friday, July 31, 2009

July Movie Review

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
This is of course a re-watch. I love Star Wars, but my least favorite scene/line in the original 3 movies occurs in this film. See video clip below.



The sheer arrogance of Solo is so frustrating I always have to yell at the screen. Note to any male readers out there: "I know" is not the correct response to "I love you." (5 out of 5)

PS I LOVE YOU
Good movie if what you're looking for is a reason to weep. That's what I did throughout. Really sad, sickly sweet at points, totally a Hollywood romance. Wish I could say I thought a man like Gerry actually existed, but I'm afraid I've learned I shouldn't hold my breath. I'll make sure to rent this again when I have that monthly hormonal urge to cry. (2 of 5)

THE READER
A different caliber of movie all together from the others I've watched recently. Really a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Kate Winslet is phenomenal. Though at times difficult to watch, definitely one not to be missed. (5 of 5)

DANNY DECKCHAIR
"Will you join me on my journey? What about you?" I loved this movie. It was an iTunes rental... something that just caught my eye. It was so funny, a change from most of the romcoms I've seen lately. I don't really have anything bad to say about it. Just a very cute movie, perfect for the whole family. One I would have no qualms recommending to my grandparents and I'm sure my 20 something friends would love it too. Rent it tonight. (5 of 5 stars)

A French film with Audrey Tautou. Really could you ask for more? Absolutely sweet movie. The best description I can think of is to describe it as a reversal of Pretty Woman... if you can imagine what that might be like. I giggled throughout at the silly scenarios that follow this couple on their road to love. I am a bit puzzled by the the R rating... no nudity or "coarse" language, must be the "gold digger" plot. If you're okay with subtitles definitely something to see. (4 of 5)

I will own up to being a total HP fan. Read all the books... even pre-ordered the 7th book. Now that that's out there I'll say this was my favorite of the movies and also my favorite of the books. The adaptation was great... or as good as an adaptation of a 600+ page book can be expected to go. Plus, for the first time one of the films captured the humor of the books in addition to the suspense. Definitely worth seeing in the theater... twice (which is what I did). [smile] (5 of 5)

Not sure exactly how to review this as it is the first Japanese anime film I've ever seen. I enjoyed it, but also found it quite confusing. It did help to have a Japanese friend watching along to explain some of it. I do think I should (and will) watch it again because I'm fairly certain there's an ecological lesson to be gleaned. (3 of 5)

Just, Margaret

Writing


Its hard not to be distracted by the beautiful day beyond my desk. If its still nice this evening I'll take a walk or go for a jog... assuming my legs don't fail me.


Just, Margaret

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Nun on the London Tube

So have you heard the one about the nun on the London Tube? No, well, me neither. It just occurred to me when I was giving a title to this post that it sounded like a joke. [smile] Last time I was in London, I happened to be sitting in a train next to a nun... completely habit wearing, kind older woman stereotypical nun. The nun's not really the odd part of the story. The oddity is the crazy urge I had to ask this woman who I don't know from Adam (or should I say Eve) why she chose to be a nun and how she knew it was the right thing for her. I should have said something I guess, I mean, wearing a habit is sort of a visible signal that she wouldn't think I was absolutely ridiculous. The problem or issue is that I keep having this same desire. There's this person I know through a friend who is my age and who is basically serving currently as a full-time, career missionary and I keep thinking if I can just ask them why maybe I'll be able to find some answers myself. Then last night at an event at a community church I've attended several times while in Bristol I happened to be sitting next to a couple who I learned had been missionaries in Pakistan for 12 years... about 16 years ago, when they were around my age. And all I could ask was if they enjoyed their time in mission... to which they replied yes of course.


But that's still not asking the question that I'm really after... WHY? I know at issue is my own contemplation of what's next for me, but it takes great courage to ask the right questions and patience to wait for the right time.

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Another fun Rotary field trip


This time I visited the Bristol Council House with Alderman Withers, a member of the Bristol Rotary Club- my sponsors. It was so fun! Really the building is beautiful... with two great painted ceilings. If you live in Bristol you should stop by and ask the security guards if you can check them out. The one in the actual council room is sort of an interpretive mural of the city's history (with landmarks around the edge and in the center the types of boats and aircraft built in the city).


Just, Margaret

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I feel like I might throw up.

Sorry to be so blunt and crude, its just that I went jogging for the first time in a long time just now and now I'm trying to catch my breath. I walk all the time around the city and love it! Really and I'm not sure what made me decide to start jogging today, but I felt like it might be nice... I mean the weather is cool and its not raining. I was thinking this will be a piece of cake. I might have slightly over-estimated or under-estimated something here. At least I found a nice route. If I go out again tomorrow, perhaps I can slowly ease this sick feeling into something resembling a runner's high. [smile]


Just, Margaret

Monday, July 27, 2009

Final Post of the Day

Another day has gone by and I don't feel I've accomplished much, but I'm told that's typical of dissertation writing. I've set some goals and I'm hoping to start afresh tomorrow working toward achieving them. I'll make sure to post toward the end of the week how I do.


Before I say goodnight I do have a silly story to tell. Last night while drifting off to sleep I happened to glance at the wall beside my bed where I saw a big spider... and I don't mean big by my over active, almost asleep, arachnophobic brain. It was really quite large about an inch and a half in diameter spread out on the wall. For those of you who know me... especially those who have lived with me... I'm sure you're wondering who I found late last night to help me capture the spider. I will admit my first instinct was to scream, then I though how silly that would make me look. Waking up the whole household because of probably harmless spider. So somehow I captured it using a plastic bottle I had in my room which I then, at the suggestion of my mother whom I called to freak out on the phone to after the whole episode, placed outside my door so I wouldn't have to think of it actually being in my room. It all feels like a blur today, but I have to admit I am a bit weary of getting ready for bed tonight in fear last night might be repeated. Where there was one there might be many... think Aragog in Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone. Still makes me shiver to think about it. Just in case you were wondering the spider was released this morning into our garden by the warden.

Just, Margaret

Words in my head...

I can't even place where or begin to fathom why these words have been in my thoughts lately. I think it must have something to do with confronting the uncertainty of the future, but wanting to do so with great hope. I do remember that the words Maya Angelo shared at President Clinton's first inauguration were imprinted on my brain by Encarta, the computer encyclopedia on our first family computer. As it opened the last line of the poem were read aloud- a recording of Angelo's performance I'm sure. I remember the words were said with such deliberate promise and I always feel a bit of a shiver of anticipation when I re-read them (I've highlighted some of my favorite words). Count me among the people standing up for hope today.

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.


Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.


Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.
Just, Margaret

Just finished.

Just closed the cover on the first final istallment of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy of Four. If that makes sense you've probably read the books, if not I'm not sure I can help you. Though the question evoking the meaning of life the universe and everything (which is 42) was never revealed I still thoroughly enjoyed the series. I even found a passage that I might use in my dissertation. Hope my tutor likes the books. [smile] It was a perfect summer read... entertaining enough to keep me interested, but not so entertaining that I couldn't put it aside for a few hours and get some other work done. Best of all, the books are total nonsense so there was no danger of feeling like I had to understand a word of it.


Just, Margaret

Expect a few posts today!

Like I mentioned on Thursday I've had a good bit of stuff on my mind lately. At the top of the list has been trying to figure out what to do with my life. "Not that again." Yep, sorry to say but despite a year loving and learning all about archaeology I'm not entirely convinced I want to be what I thought I wanted to be at 8 years old. Part of me thinks thats a little sad, but the other part feels like its a very smart thing to recognize. Despite all that I do feel there are many so great things that have come out of this year of following my childhood dreams and I wouldn't begin to change it.


That's all just to say that I'm in a process of discerning. Where to go next? What to do next? Amidst all the thoughts of the future are some other random incidents and feelings I hope to post about throughout the day. So check back later... no telling what you'll find.

Just, Margaret

You've seen this right?

How could you have missed it? All over the morning news programs and entertainment news serials in the US, posted on all the blogs you read. I know I'm a little behind the times in posting this and I wasn't even going to, but I saw the Saturday edition of NBC Nightly News was still questioning why this video (a family recording of a wedding) had gone viral. To offer my own analysis I have to say that its the joy and the love, but it also exudes hope. Hope that Jill and Kevin's future will be filled with laughter and excitement. They're off to a good start, don't you think? Makes me want to join the dance with them. I love it.


Just, Margaret

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On the agenda:

  • Pick up relevant books for research from Borders
  • Spend a couple of hours visiting pubs in Bedminster
  • Lunch with Josephine
  • Write
Wish I could say that I had more fun-filled plans for our one really sunny day this week (and really sunny day in weeks... the sun and warm weather left with my cousins). Though I guess research in pubs over the course of the afternoon might provide some entertainment. [smile] Sorry to be so brief, but I've been so busy lately. Perhaps I'll update some this weekend... certainly have many things on my mind that I could share. Mainly just wanted to reassure all of you that I'm alive. Until later.

Just, Margaret

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Blast from the Past

So last night I found my favorite favorite childhood movie on YouTube... the whole thing. WILD HEARTS CAN'T BE BROKEN!!!!!! I was in heaven or maybe just "Atlantic City: Where all you're dreams come true." Not sure if anyone else out there will remember this film, but I think I watched it ten bazillion times. I know for a while it was the only movie my sisters and I would want to rent from the video store. It got so bad that my parents just refused to rent it (or at least that's what I remember)... Grammy on the other hand would always let us rent it when we were visiting. Watching it all over again reminded me how much I loved it. I was a little wary at first... wondered if my honed movie tastes might gag on the syrupy sweetness of the "dream big and it will happen/you'll also meet the man of your dreams" plot, but they so didn't. I think I loved it just as much as I did when I was a kid. I also remembered how much I thought the actor who played Al (Michael Schoeffling, aka "Jake Ryan") was "the bomb" with his perfect 90s bowl haircut and serious, yet charming voice and the whole protector/supporter role. I think he was my first real crush. Wonder what he's doing now? There are so many reasons why I love this movie, but the best one I can think to share is that my sisters and I all loved it. And with five years separating our ages it was kinda a rare thing. Other than that I think I've always been one for movies with a female lead who lives her dreams. I couldn't embed the video, but click here if you want to see one of my favorite scenes in the movie... Sonora's first critical dive in Atlantic city and the proposal.


Just, Margaret

Disclaimer: I do realize this is such a silly post, but sometimes reliving the old days is exactly the thing you need. By the way I am loving the Hitchhiker's Guide Series... just about to finish book 2 of the 5 part trilogy. [smile]

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

[tear]


I was originally supposed to fly home tomorrow... that is when I booked my flight (roundtrip) last summer. I did book the flight with the thought that I might have to change it later. Still because of the screwed up policies of an airline that shall remain nameless today as I'm canceling my flight for tomorrow I can't help but feel slightly homesick and ready to go home. Really, it would be so nice to have a quick visit... I've got too much left to do to leave for good. Gotta keep telling myself that's not a possibility at least not yet. October 8th, my D-Day, will come and I can head home to my family, our sweet dog, my purple room and the porch in Broxton, and my WELCOME HOME PARTY (see flyer above)! If you might be able to attend, shoot me an email to let me know you're interested in more details. Should be fun, especially since I've not had a real birthday party in years. Until then its something to look forward too at least.


Just, Margaret

Sunday, July 12, 2009

See "Worth Your While"

Today (and last night) I'm with my BFF Jane Marie... exploring her English home, meeting her English boy for the first time, who I will say is pretty great, though I don't plan to tell him quite yet. [smile] Having so much fun. Loving the comfort of being with someone who knows me so well. Tomorrow off to research in London, but to tide you over until then check out this post by said best friend at her blog Worth Your While... might be helpful in putting our friendship in perspective. I will add that for as much as we are different we do share several loves, which I've listed below:

CHOCOLATE (today was a 5 truffle day for us both)
ADVENTURE (hey we are both ex-pats)
GRITS (you can take the girl out of the south, but not the south out of the girl)

... there are more but as these are the most relevant for today's events that's all I've got for you now. More later.

Just, Margaret

Friday, July 10, 2009

Archaeological Pub Crawl

Sounds crazy I know, but I really do have to visit several pubs for my research... pubs frequented by US servicemen in the 1940s. Today I'm printing out my map and making a plan to visit them sometime next week. I don't expect to find these establishments under the same proprietors, but its just possible some trace of the story will still exist. If I'm lucky I'll find the "Holy Grail," period graffiti in a booth or maybe a few relics (buttons or badges) collected by the bartender and passed down. Oh I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but this could really be the BIG break I've been waiting for. [smile and sigh] Now the only problem that I see arising from this research scenario is that in order for people to talk to me I'm going to have to order something... multiply that by lets say five establishments that I've confirmed are still in business and I'm in trouble. [smile] I'll probably just limit myself to lemonade or ginger ale with the excuse that I'm on the job. If there are any Bristol friends out there who would like to tag along and lend me some legitimacy in that arena let me know.


Just, Margaret

Thursday, July 9, 2009

House of Lords


Yesterday I visited the House of Lords as a guest of Lord Peter Brooke of Sutton Mandeville (quite a mouthful right... he actually introduced himself as Peter Brooke [smile]). I find it a bit hard to describe the experience because of the sheer surreality of it all. First sitting in the security/cloak room of the Houses of Parliament waiting to be escorted by Lord Brooke and having my Rotary counselor, Pat (who made the visit happen) point out various Lords who were passing in and out, then sitting on the floor of the House of Lords watching question time, finally my personal tour of the building by Lord Brooke including tea and cucumber sandwiches in the swanky tea room for members of Parliament and their guests. Lord Brooke was so kind and so knowledgeable and I could tell really passionate about his role in the government. He actually asked a question in the House which made it all the more exciting to watch. A quick aside about the beauty of the building: which I can attest totally extends into the interior... a beautiful Victorian interpretation of Gothic. Oh and I also saw a copy of the Magna Carta, c. 1215 and displayed completely anonymously in a corner of a chamber. Another amazing, once in a lifetime experience! I feel so blessed!


Just, Margaret

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Song of the Week

Can't stop listening to this song. I even used the genius option on iTunes to create a custom playlist which is just awesome! Hope you enjoy.




Just, Margaret

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Misplaced my towel.

Those of you who've read Hitchhiker's Guide will understand the title of this post to mean that I'm a bit confused these days. So many thoughts are bouncing around in my head... what still needs to be researched for my dissertation, booking my ticket home in October, finalizing my travel plans for my trip to France, and deciding what to do with my life. Read in preparation for Bible study tonight something that felt relevant. Maybe it just felt profound to me because of my current state of mind, but I still want to share. The closing statement to the lesson was: "The risk in playing it safe is the risk that we never grow into the person we are called to be." So I added another question to my list: Who am I called to be? I feel like I'm on the cusp of a big change in my life, leading to what I'm not sure and I guess that's kind of the point of this post. I'm entering a period of discernment and maybe reading a book that humorously attempts to provide a survival guide to the vast universe of which we are only a small part is the perfect place to start... "Don't Panic."


Just, Margaret

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Escape of or should I say from "The Scapegoat"

With great intentions today of finishing du Maurier's tragic and somewhat depressing novel, The Scapegoat, I strolled over to the Oxfam Bookstore where I volunteer this morning with the book in tow. Sadly or happily (I haven't quite decided yet which) after cashing out our first customer of the day and settling at the till with my cup of coffee, I realized my book had disappeared. I looked around for it, beside the register and in the drawer where I normally lay the book I'm reading while helping a customer, then realized I must have haphazardly dropped it along with the books he purchased in our first customer's bag. Oops. And people look at me funny when I talk of renaming my blog "The Misadventures of Margaret." [smile]


Part of me found misplacing the book I was so close to finishing slightly dissettling. I looked briefly to see if we had a copy in the store I could borrow to finish, but sadly no. Then I began to think about how the story had taken a slightly depressing turn in the last few chapters. The life of the protagonist was unravelling... a missing daughter, a pregnant wife who fell from the chateau's second story window, finding out he was responsible for the death of his sister's fiance. Maybe losing the book was actually a good thing. Sure I won't know how the story ends originally, but I don't think it will end happily and I would like to think that the problems were worked out in the end and a new, happier, guileless character emerged.

The other exciting avenue of imagining is what the man will think when he finds the stowaway among his parcels. I think if the situation were reversed I'd feel particularly drawn to the book that seemed to have chosen me. Perhaps he'll find it an interesting read. I hope he won't try to return it... sort of would ruin my fantasy of the book's travels.

Think I'm silly for spouting on and on about this if you must, but I do have one other detail to add. Not an hour later, a woman came by to donate some books. On top of the pile she handed me was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Why is this significant? Well, when I was choosing the book that escaped, The Hitchhiker's Guide was among the books I was choosing from. It kinda feels like that's the book I should have been reading all along. I'll let you know what I think when I've finished.

Just, Margaret

Friday, July 3, 2009

Rocky Road Ice Cream

I didn't know until I stumbled upon it today that Bristol actually has a Baskin Robins. I've eaten ice cream from BR since I was really little. My first memories of eating ice cream are of having some at BR. So its a special place to me and when I saw the logo in Bristol's Galleries Mall today I did a double take and then walked toward the case not breathing in what felt like slow motion movie style wishing that Rocky Road was a standard flavor in this country too. And it is! I must have seemed absolutely insane to the girl behind the counter, muttering something about how I couldn't believe they had Rocky Road ice cream, how I must have a scoop in a cup, and thanking her profusely for a stocking my favorite flavor of ice cream on the planet though I know she had no control over it. I went on to explain that I hadn't enjoyed any Rocky Road ice cream since I had last been home in December. Turned out she likes Rocky Road too and felt it was a pleasure to sell their last scoop to someone who enjoyed it as much as her (I'm not making that up she actually said that). [smile]


It tasted just as I remembered it and I had to fight back tears as I enjoyed the first few bites. I guess I've been feeling a bit homesick... now that the visits from Blair and Adam and Janell and Emily are over. Today the Rocky Road was my gift of home.

Just, Margaret

Happy July 3rd!

May I just briefly suggest to my fellow U.S. citizens that today on the eve of our July 4th celebrations as we prepare the fireworks displays, the classic jello fruit salad in the shape of our flag, and clean the grill for the ritual BBQ, we also take time to consider the wonder of all the other countries and people that populate our world. If July 4th is deemed the celebration of our own nation, perhaps July 3rd should be set aside to remember that the United States does not exist singularly or centrally on this planet we call home. Seek global awareness and understanding. For the majority of the world's population, tomorrow July 4th is just another Saturday. Something to think about.


Just, Margaret

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June Movie Review

Haven't had the chance to see many movies this month with all the traveling I've been doing. Actually I just have 3 to review.


I loved LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE so I was really excited to see that the director teamed up with my favorite actress Amy Adams for this new film. Another dark comedy, tackling issues of self-esteem, death, vocation, measuring life's success- just to name a few. I loved the movie. Funny, sad, and sometimes absolutely disgusting. Beware the first scene, its the most violent, but happily the violence doesn't follow that level of intensity the rest of the way through. (5 out of 5 stars)

I hate this film... I love this film... I hate it... I love it. I've never felt so confused about a movie. I hated the movie because it highlights a bit too realistically the complexities of the female mind. I loved it for the same reason. I hated the wishy washy female characters and the jerky men. I will say the ending for all its faults (meaning it actually negates the movie's premise) had a couple of great one-liners. "You're my exception." Still a fun, albeit predictable chick flick/rom com if that's what you're looking for. (2 of 5 stars)

Put simply this is a fun kid's movie. One dimensional characters, transparent story line, and predictable ending, but still a good rental. (3 of 5 stars)

Just, Margaret

Planning a research trip to London

Places to visit:

The Imperial War Museum
The British Library
The British Museum (possibly)

Legitimate research time in actual museum archives: Priceless

How dorky/geeky am I? I'll leave that to you to decide.
Just, Margaret

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cousin Vaca: Random shots

A sampling of random shots from the two weeks together.  Stories to accompany these I think just might have to remain inside jokes mostly because I don't think they'll make sense otherwise.  [smile]  


"The coconut shot of the day":  
Here are just a few of Emily's coconut pics for her friends in the Bahamas.  Part of the fun of each day was finding the perfect location for the required "British-Bahamian" photo. 
 

What were we thinking:  
No better description for these photos.  I love that in the first one Emily is channeling her inner monk.  




Devotion to Mr. Darcy:
Enough said! Well I will add that it was my idea to take these, which is a BIG surprise to you I'm sure. 
 

Yummy food:  
We ate well and often.


"The Sights":  




Last photo album post, I promise. All good things must come to an end... so tomorrow back to work. Please pray that research goes well.  I'm beginning to feel the pressure.     
Just, Margaret

Cousin Vaca: Group photos

1st group photo at the Tower of London and 2nd in front of Tower Bridge:  


Buckingham Palace is behind us, we promise!

Movie night in Derby (pronounced Darby): 

In York ("The Shambles" and pub night):


In Durham in front of the Cathedral:

Facials and hotel terry cloth robes at the Marriott: 

Edinburgh for the Day!



Our last day in Durham in the Castle courtyard.  

Laundry Day in Bristol:  (The concerned faces worn by Janell and me are because we weren't sure we had put the soap in the correct compartment.)


In Bath leaning on the Abbey and in the Jane Austen Tea Room.    

Loads of photos, but aren't we beautiful in all of them?  I'm sure our Mom and Pop at least will think so.  A second album of a few silly photos to follow.  

Just, Margaret