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, April 30, 2009

April Film Review

I'm trying out a new concept:  the reoccurring thematic post.  Over the long Easter weekend, I watched a few movies, all that I enjoyed, and wanted to recommend to others.  Instead of taking up several posts I decided a better idea would be to review them all on a single day.  With hope that I would see a few more films this month that I'd want to add to my review I thought I'd try lumping them all together in a post at the end of the month.  As a quick preface, let me say that my tastes in films is quite eclectic.  I enjoy a good romance, horror film, or drama.  I'm most critical of comedies.  I tend to think that very few really great comedies are made currently... the low brow humor that seems to be en vogue just really isn't my thing.  I love Hitchcock classics and a new favorite includes films by Danny Boyle.  I love old Hollywood actors, but I watch a lot of new films too.  So on to April's watching brief:

I love this film.  Part documentary, part graphic novel, part comedy, part romance.  "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."  Based on the graphic novel/autobiography of Harvey Pekar, it basically chronicles his process toward becoming a writer of realism comics.  It is a must see if only for the ANNIE HALL-esque love story stuck in the middle.  "Harvey, I think we should just skip the whole courtship thing and get married."  Absolutely brilliant!  (5 out of 5 stars)

French film about a 25 yr. old art history masters student who decides she is ready to get married then goes about trying to seduce her best friend's cousin.  Sounds like it should be funny, but it plays out more like a documentary.  Lots of talking, but I found it interesting- probably because I could identify with the character (25, masters student, ect.) though I've never thought of trying to force marriage so purposefully.  I found the ending as well as the crazy 80s French music and dress to be the best parts of the film.  The acting felt a little flat, but that's also what I think made it feel so realistic.  (3 out of 5)

Zombies infected with a virus that causes intense, violent rage.  Enough said regarding the plot.  As monster horror films go I'd say that this is a pretty great one.  The concept is simple which I think is the best thing going for it.  The fatal flaw in horror films is that the premise is too complex and instead of actually watching the film the audience is left trying to figure it out the whole way through.  (Two great examples of the failed suspense thriller:  Stephen King's THE MIST and as much as it pains me to say it because I'm a big M. Night Shyamalan fan THE HAPPENING.)  However back to the film at hand, I also loved the twist in the plot.  I don't want to give away completely for anyone out there who hasn't seen the film, except to say that there comes a point when zombies aren't the worst enemy.  My favorite element of the film has got to be the soundtrack.  Like in SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, Danny Boyle makes some unusual choices, but I think it indicates his expectation of his audience's intelligence.  My only complaint I guess is that its fairly violent and I don't really like violent films.  I think films can sometimes be just as scary without all of that.  Overall though, a great film if you are looking for that rush of adrenaline that is characteristic of the best horror films.  (4 out of 5)  

Not sure whether I should count this as 1 movie or 4... for sake of time and space in this post I think I'll lump them all together.  These are made for TV films, but per BBC tradition they are "top notch," including up and coming British talent, great sets, good directing.  The quartet includes modern (i.e. 21st c.) reinterpretations of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, MACBETH, and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM.  I think what I like most is the perspective of reinterpretation... Shakespearian quotes are littered throughout, but interwoven into the story to give just the right touch of classicism.  The situations, settings, and language have been changed to fit the time.  Brilliantly illustrates the storytelling mastery that is William Shakespeare.  MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S was a bit disappointing, but MACBETH was frightening.  By far, TAMING OF THE SHREW was my favorite... I was laughing out loud.  I recommend renting them if you get a chance.  (4 out of 5)

French film following the turbulent life of a French boy (about 12/13 yrs. old I think).  He's labeled a juvenile delinquent by his parents who are arguably emotionally abusive and teachers.  Considered to be one of the classic films of French cinema.  I wasn't wholly impressed by the plot (very thin and not logical), but the cinematography was quite remarkable.  In one scene the young boy and a friend attend a "Punch and Judy" show in a park.  The scene is largely composed of close up shots of the very young children in the audience. Their expressions are so truthful and so beautiful.  I have to wonder if the director just employed real French children to simply naturally watch the puppet show and used the camera to observe.  The scene below has to be the most hilarious and I couldn't help but think if I were them I think I would be tempted to skip too. (3 out of 5)
A fast-paced, smart, political comedy.  Mocumentary style (you know like they use in The Office) that explores the ins and outs of political speak and the complex political relationship between London and D.C.  I think what I like most about this movie was its focus on the aids.  Neither President nor Prime Minister ever made even a cameo appearance.  Overall very funny, but beware of the London offices penchant for shall we say "off color language."  (3 out of 5)

Just, Margaret

P.S. If you haven't discovered yet, all the links connect with IMDB.com.  Just thought it might be helpful if you read about a film you might be interested in watching.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Focus has been something that has been a little hard to come by over the past few days.  I blame the spring.  Anyway, I need to really buckle down and get a proper proposal for my dissertation hammered out this week.  So officially I'm on a blogging fast.  No posts from me, expect one that I already wrote and scheduled to be post.  Also, I'm going to try not to read blogs this week either.  A total fast.  See you next week.  

Just, Margaret

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A weird week

A few days ago a friend at my house and I were reading our horoscopes, just for fun, from a magazine supplement that comes in with the Sunday paper.  I don't really believe in all that stuff and neither does he.  That being said the planets or stars or whatever certainly seemed to be converging into a crazy heap this week.  Maybe its the spring weather- making everyone a bit cagey.  Simply stated it was weird.  I even had this whole out of body experience... at least thats the only way I can think to explain some of my actions.  I don't really feel like rehashing it all here.  Not something that needs to be remembered necessarily though I know myself well enough to know I will.  It is over now.  Things happened and next week we begin anew.  In honor of the crazy week I've had and of "the Bard" who we started things off with, here's a quote from A Midsummer's Night Dream.

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

Just, Margaret

Friday, April 24, 2009

A digital scrapbook

This Sunday I volunteered to represent MIH at a Methodist church service.  Apparently they requested that a few students attend the service to talk about their church experiences in their home countries.  What the church will be getting is an American and an Australian... not exactly the most exciting combo at least in my mind.  I guess its still hard to think of myself as an international student.  International students should come from exotic locales and Georgia just doesn't feel "different" enough.  So the last day and a half I've been thinking about the experiences I've had in the United Methodist Church, basically since infancy though I've decided to focus on the last few years (missionary experience and such).  They also asked that we bring any "artifacts"- actually their word not mine- that we may have to share.  Since I do really have a whole lot of material artifacts I could share, I decided to put together a quick slideshow to loop throughout the morning.  I've actually had lots of fun going through photos again.  Finding ones I remember taking in Fargo and then Baldwin, remembering the different events in Georgia before I moved here.  Its cathartic to reassess my life over the last few years in this way.  Reminds me of the blessings, things I should remain thankful for.  Not sure if the photos will make much since to people who haven't lived through the events with me... maybe they'll think their exotic. [smile] 

Speaking of blessings, today is my beautiful grandmother's birthday.  I don't think she would mind me telling you that she is 80.  The women in our family don't tend to freak out about telling their age.  I think my Grammy would say that there is no reason not to share her age because each year has added so much to the joy of her life experience.  That's one of the things I love about her and hope that I can inherit.  She loves people so fully and with such amazing joy and compassion.  I love that I share her name.  The photo above is the most perfect of the two of us together, but I love it because I think we've sat on a porch together talking or not talking, sometimes both intently reading more than any other place.  Love you Grammy and Happy Birthday!

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Its the little things in life.

Tonight I had another Rotary event to attend (3 down and 3 to go before the end of April). I was speaking for a club out from Bristol. (Really small club and about half of the members were absent.) Anyway, one of the older men (in his 70s) who was there looked at me before I began my "talk" and out of the blue just said "you're gorgeous."  He promptly asked if that was okay for him to say and I said of course.  Flattery can get you anywhere with me.  [smile] Plus I was having one of those days when I needed to hear something of the sort.  So after my talk about Georgia was over and I convinced them all they should visit, he said the same thing again and added "I'm not sure if its because you remind me of someone or if its because you're a unique person.  Lets say you're uniquely beautiful."  I don't want you to get the wrong idea, the whole exchange was totally not creepy.  He was just a really sweet old man... reminded me of my grandfathers.  

Just, Margaret 

5 hours ahead

Most of the time, Bristol doesn't feel that far from Georgia at all.  So I can't hop in my car like I could in Louisiana and be home in 10 hours.  I'm still in the Western world and I basically speak the same language as the local population.  The one constant reminder I always have of how far away I am is the time difference.  Everyday I wake up 5 hours ahead.  While this usually means I have some emails from friends and family to read when I wake, which I love- thanks "The Nine,"it also means I have another 5 hours before I can expect to hear back from any responses I might send.  Sometimes it kinda feels like someone's hit the pause version... that I'm living in this liminal space of two time zones at once.  My brain registers both times whenever I check the time.  (8 and 3, noon and 7, 10 and 5).  About a month ago when the US had already moved into Daylight Savings and the time difference was minus one hour, you'd be surprised how exciting that felt.  Such is the life of an international student.  

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Royal Fort and the crowded library

Who knew that for months I've been studying within a block of an active archaeology site?  Moreover why did the Department not think to arrange a tour, especially when one of our activities last term was a map regression of the site?  I guess there's no use asking why.  I should probably just revel in the fact that I got to view the site today before it is possibly covered up again.  Sorry I don't have photos forgot my camera, but if you are desperate to see/read about what I'm describing, visit this website.  It was fun and who knows I might be in a background shot on the local BBC tonight.  Today was day two of Mark Horton's (one of my lecturers and BBC star archaeologist [smile]) media storm and they were filming while I was there.  

Now I'm in the crowded Arts and Social Sciences Library with stressed-out-prepping-for-exams undergraduates, which translates to a not so great studying environment.  Think I'll head home after checking out books in a few minutes to study... maybe in the garden.  We are having another glorious day.  

Just, Margaret

Monday, April 20, 2009

Re-reading Shakespeare

After watching several Shakespeare adaptations in the last couple of days, I decided to pick up the real thing.  I'd forgotten how adept Shakespeare is in communicating the ups and downs of love in his comedies.  Speaking of, I think that one of the failures of my South Georgian education was that most of the Shakespeare I was required to read were tragedies (Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, ect.).  In fact I can't think of one of his comedies that I actually read in conjunction with a class.  There's just so much murder, betrayal, and suicide one can take before you develop this picture of Shakespeare as some depressing sadist intent in destroying the lives of all his characters.  [smile] So I'm re-reading Much Ado About Nothing and reading Taming of the Shrew for the first time in hopes of remembering the storytelling skills of one of England's most famous playwrights.  Its quite relevant reading actually as "The Bard's" 445 birthday is just a few days away, plus I'm hoping to journey to Stratford upon Avon sometime this summer.  

In other news, Bristol is enjoying another beautiful (and warm) Spring day which means the parks are populated with students preparing for exams, professionals on lunch breaks, nannies with strollers, and the random dog chasing a frisbee.  Its great!  I just hope it lasts through the summer. [fingers crossed]

Just, Margaret

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Consider this your sign

I read this a couple of days ago when I began reading The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.  

The whisky they drank that evening (two big bottles of it) is important.  Otherwise, it would be hard to account for what followed.  Perhaps without it there would never have been a cafe.  For the liquor of Miss Amelia has a special quality of its own.  It is clean and sharp on the tongue, but once down a man it glows inside him for a long time afterward.  And that is not all.  It is known that if a message is written with lemon juice on a clean sheet of paper there will be no sign of it.  But if the paper is held for a moment to the fire then the letters turn brown and the meaning becomes clear.  Imagine that the whisky is the fire and that the message is that which is known only to the soul of a man-- then the worth of Miss Amelia's liquor can be understood.  Things that have gone unnoticed, thoughts that have been harbored far back in the dark mind, are suddenly recognized and comprehended.  A spinner who has thought only of the loom, the dinner pail, the bed, and then the loom again-- this spinner might drink some on a Sunday and come across a marsh lily.  And in his palm he might hold this flower, examining the golden dainty cup, and in him suddenly might come a sweetness keen as pain.  A weaver might look up suddenly and see for the first time the cold, weird radiance of midnight January sky, and a deep fright at his own smallness stop his heart.  Such things as these, then happen when a man has drunk Miss Amelia's liquor.  He may suffer, or he may be spent with joy-- but the experience has shown the truth; he has warmed his soul and seen the message hidden there.
Lightening strikes and everything becomes clear.  Have you ever felt that... the honesty of self-revelation?  Epiphany moments make things happen.  It made me think of the "Dear Anon..." post a week or so before.  Not sure why.  Maybe because it describes what I'm waiting for "a shot of Miss Amelia's whiskey."   

Just, Margaret

Friday, April 17, 2009

End of term field trips: A retrospective, part 2

Thanks for bearing with me yesterday. I do hope these picture are worth the wait. This second set of photos are from my weekend visit with the Severn Vale Rotary Club in Gloucestershire. Pronounced for all you non-Brits out there kinda like this gla(short a)-tu-sure... well at least thats how it sounded to my American ears. [smile] On the agenda for the weekend was a wine tasting, tenpin bowling, visits to the local Cathedral (renown for being the site of Edward II's grave... he's got a really horrific death story, look it up if you dare and for being one of the composite sites for Hogwarts) and Frampton Court, and a drive through the Cotswalds. Can I just say now that house I was dreaming about with the Bristol blue door will also either be the color of Cotswald stone... a beautiful luminescent yellow. I totally fell in love with the villages my great tour guide, Sally, showed me. 

Just one last note about the Cathedral... part of the tour was a "backstage pass" so to speak to see the bell tower.  I've been in many cathedrals, but never actually up inside of them and it was an amazing experience to see what is above a vaulted ceiling. Turns out it looks nothing like I expected.  Its the complete opposite of the finished look of a gothic ceiling, very rough and dusty.  Nothing of the beauty below is evident.  Anyway not to go totally philosophical on you, but it made me think a bit about the dual selves we present to the world and what we are inside or another way to look at it might be to think about how a beautiful creation can come from something that appears ugly or unfinished.  Just a thought.  Now for photos.  

Looking down at the cloisters used for Hogwart's Halls. 

At the very top of the bell tower in the Cathedral.

I love this photo with the cloudy sun.  
Some images just happen upon you.  

Amazingly beautiful isn't it?  

Frampton Court

This is the summer house in "Strawberry Hill Gothic" style for the residents of above.  
Really roughing it, right?

Okay so hopefully now that you are all caught up on the specifics and have enjoyed the photos. [smile] That's all for now.
Just, Margaret

Thursday, April 16, 2009

End of term field trips: A retrospective, part 1

So I realized that I've let a few of my last "field trips" pass by without sharing photos.  I put "field trips" in quotations because one trip/tour was for class but the other was a Rotary-thing.  Both were great fun... for different reasons of course.  Just a quick run down of the 5 Ws before I post a select few of the photos.  

The first set of photos are of my trip to the Defense Estates on Salisbury Plain (near Stonehenge... so I also got to see the monument in person for the first time, well from the car [smile]).  Basically we were exploring the military heritage the on-site archaeologist manages:  WWI practice trenches (some of which I will be helping to excavate this summer); a mock German and Iraqi village again for war practice; arborglyphs, aka tree carvings from WWI and WWII and at least one really recent one; and lots of old tanks for target practice.  Interesting stuff despite its aggressive history.  I do have to say the highlight of the trip was crouching on the bank of one of the WWI practice trenches and imagining what it might have actually been like for all the men we've been studying about the past few months to live and fight in a similar earthwork in France or Belgium.

One of the "target" tanks.  Luckily no live fire the day we were there.

Can you read what it says on that sign?  
I just finished uploading the photos for Salisbury Plain and realized this is getting really long... so check back tomorrow for part 2.     
Just, Margaret 

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I received an email yesterday that I need to write a short (3-4 sentence) bio to be included in the journal.  Who am I?  No sure myself.  This might be more challenging than actually writing the paper.  [smile] I'm going to read a few bios previously published, perhaps I can get an idea of what they are after.  

So my question is who do you think that I am?  (Slightly biblical sounding, though definitely lacking the contextual import.  [smile])  Regardless I would like to know.  Email me, leave a comment, whatever.  

Just, Margaret

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lots to share

How should I start?   The conference turned out to be a really fun event and quite eventful.  I couldn't really enjoy it (actually I didn't attend any panels) until my paper, but the rest of the time was exciting.  I mean... I was walking around and sitting in on panels with some of the leading European archaeologists and anthropologists... people I've been reading for the past 6 months.  I even attended a lecture by Cornelius Holtorf, the author of from Stonehenge to Las Vegas, the first archaeological text I read after starting this program.  Like I said it was exciting.  Plus it was fun to just observe the other people in the discipline.  I began to notice some patterns in the way anthropologists/archaeologists dressed (usually demurely, but with some sort of unexpected twist... like "authentic" jewelry or once a bright yellow shaggy faux fur bolero).  There were a handful who looked as if they had just stepped out of the field (hiking boots, waterproofs).  Most carried backpacks instead of briefcases.  Hair was a popular form of self expression, dyed purple or red and in one case half in long dreds and half cut short.  Apple users definitely outnumbered there Windows counterparts, although it appeared that this discrepancy was as much an indication of generation as being an anthropologist.  There were a lot of younger people present.  (Now this is beginning to sound like an anthropology field journal. [smile] I guess it got in my system or perhaps you might say I've been converted.)

Back to my participation in the conference: The panel of which my paper was apart explored the idea of ruins. How they come to be? How they are perceived?  What is the interaction with the local population?  All quite fascinating topics.  The panel had a bit of a rough start as the fire alarm sounded and we were all evacuated from the building for about 20-25 minutes.  Not great for the nerves, but good for networking.  I met a Cambridge PhD student who was also presenting in the panel and who had several people to suggest that I contact in the process of completing my dissertation.  Her paper was great too!  She explored the process of a developing a fictionalized landscape of ruins in Bosnia.  Apparently there are these natural hills that one man (an amateur archaeologist) claims were built by a prehistoric population of which native Bosnians are descendants.  She theorized that perhaps part of the ability for such a fantastic story to be accepted by the general public is due to economic crisis which grew out of their recent history of civil unrest.  I'm not explaining this well.  Google Bosnian Pyramids for some more information.  My presentation was the last to be read for the panel... I think they were attempting to move forward chronologically.  And though the questions came slowly at first, by the end of my five minutes or so of extra discussion a pretty great and intellectually challenging (at least from my end- presenting new directions for research) had begun.  My lecturer, the one who I was anxious about presenting after, even came up to me at the end to applaud my efforts and encourage me to keep going with the research.  To celebrate my friends, other MA students at the Uni, and I went out for Mexican food and margaritas.   [smile]

Anyway Wednesday evening after more of the conference, this time a panel on theories of hospitality, and the customary Wednesday gathering of the archaeology department at our University cafe/bar, I headed home and before retiring found I had an email from my lecturer (the one in the panel) asking to publish my paper for an edition of Archaeologies he's editing.  I was practically speechless.  I still can't quite believe it.  The funniest thing is that I had mentioned hoping I could get published some day twice that day.  This... getting something published... is another one of those things (like studying abroad or becoming an archaeologist) that I've always hoped would happen.  I feel so blessed.  I've got a fast deadline, but as the paper is essentially written its just a matter of working out the formatting.  Speaking of... best get back to work.  Thanks for letting me share.  I'll definitely post photos of the article once its published (not sure yet when that will be).

Just, Margaret

Monday, April 13, 2009

A book without a reader

Thursday evening I stopped by the University library to stock up on reading material and DVDs for the long weekend.  Needing to relax from academic work, I decided to look for a novel... something to escape into, somewhere different from here.  So I wandered into the literature section of the University library, honestly a new exploration as my previous research had most exclusively been limited to the CC section of books in anthropology and archaeology.  Somehow I happened upon a section of Southern (as in the US South) writers... quite odd and coincidental right, but exactly what I needed, where I needed to travel I think.  [smile]

Rifling through the books before me I immediately grabbed McCuller's The Ballad of the Sad Cafe and thought I'd try for one more just in case the grip of that odd ailment that promises a premature death of the relationship between book and reader took hold.  My eyes were drawn to an older volume with a yellowed blue spine on which the title: Siesta and author:  Barry Fleming were prominently displayed in the fantastically modern simplicity of a 20s font.  Hoping you can picture exactly what I'm describing, instead of just thinking I've lost it by spending so much time describing something so inconsequential.  [smile]  Its just that as I reflect on this book and choosing it in the library I'm hoping I'll be able to divine my own unconscious reasons.  Sometimes I guess people don't choose books, books choose their reader. And if any book in that library needed a reader to choose it, this was the one.  Since 1977 when it was acquired by the library no other student or faculty had checked it out.  The sheet on which dates were to be stamped, bearing the old university logo, was completely empty.  Something about a book which had no reader felt so sad to me that I decided I must read it.  Ridiculous reason to check out and read a book, I know, but like I said sometimes books choose you.  

Its not such a bad book either, though definitely not the best work of Southern literature I've read.  The author is a native of Georgia and thats where the story is set.  Georgetown, Georgia in the 1920s.  It was published before the Second World War, so there's no eerie nostalgia for a time lost.  It really seems like Fleming is just writing what he's observed.  It is filled with racism and sexism, but that was very much a part of that world.  In some ways (not those I just listed as much), it reminds me of the Georgia I know.  The cotton fields, the heat of summer, the magnolia blossoms, the tensions of small town life.  The book's only real main character is Georgia sun that beats down upon the town waiting for rain.  Random citizens of Georgetown flow in and out of focus.  I have some feelings that just as the clouds will eventually converge to bring rain, the characters are also building toward some type of storm.  

Didn't mean for this post to become a novel of its own... I think I'll get back to reading my anonymous book for a bit.
Just, Margaret 

Saturday, April 11, 2009

How do you eat a chocolate bunny?

Starting with the ears of course.  
Happy Easter!
Just, Margaret

Friday, April 10, 2009

A day out: Chew Lakes

Today Pat, my Rotary host here, took me out to visit some of the areas that she once visited for her job as a speech therapist for the hearing impaired in the local school system.  The Chew Lakes were absolutely beautiful, despite the cloudy, misty, very English day. [smile]  We also ate fresh trout from the lakes in the perfect English pub.  I learned I do like hard cider.  All in all a great day.  I took several photos but I think this one with a bit of late afternoon sunlight reflected on the water is my favorite and sums up the peace/relaxation of a day off from my grad school life.  

Just, Margaret

P.S. I know I still need to update you all about the conference.  I promise to get on that.  Expect something tomorrow or early next week.  

Monday, April 6, 2009


Tomorrow is the day of my conference presentation.  I'm prepared:  have read over my presentation with slides several times, know what I'm going to wear, planted the questions I want to answer in the audience (okay so maybe that's an exaggeration, but I have tried to think through what I might say to certain questions that might be asked).  So why can't I catch my breath? (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration too, but saying I'm nervous or have butterflies isn't quite as exciting. [smile])  Perhaps because my panel also includes papers given by two of my former lecturers or because this is a professional conference and I don't have my first professional qualification in archaeology yet.  Kinda freaking out here.  Any good thoughts you might want to send my way tomorrow around 2:30PM UK time would be so welcome.  

Just, Margaret

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sushi Night

Sushi, I think, is one of those foods that you either love or hate.  And I happen to be of the former disposition.  I remember the first time I ate sushi in New York City with the US-2s.  It was a unique experience.  Harris drank a whole shot glass of soy sauce... but that's really another story for another time.  Back to tonight's festivities... Earlier this week some of my international friends, Jessie from Taiwan and Hiro from Japan invited me to join them this Saturday for sushi night.  I've never really made sushi at home, but told them I would join and bring some dessert.  To make a long story short, we had a great time and sushi night really turned into an international feast with cheese and quince jelly from Spain and Chinese rice and fish stew and Japanese sushi of course and to finish American style brownies.  [smile] We had so much food.  It was really amazing... one of those 5 loaves and 2 fish things.  I've always thought that the miracle was actually the generosity that the young boy inspired in the other people gathered.  All in all I had the most perfect Saturday night!   

Tomorrow morning worship meeting with the Quakers and tomorrow afternoon finishing up my presentation for Tuesday.  Busier day than I should have planned for one of my Lenten Sabbaths, but I'm just taking one day at a time and at least I've had tonight to recharge.   

Just, Margaret

Friday, April 3, 2009

Read this.

I read this post by my friend Nate earlier this week.  He presents a really great discussion starter regarding that crucial point in the relationship of every reader with each book that they read when they decide to either keep reading or just drop it.  I know I've felt the inevitable early end to a book coming, sometimes within the first few pages.  Why?  Sometimes the plot is too complex, sometimes its not complex enough.  As I mention in the comment section, sometimes a book is just a victim of exterior circumstances.  I can't explain it any better than Nate, but I know I've been there.  Something to this about... feel free to continue the conversation either here or there.  

Just, Margaret

Ground cinnamon on vanilla ice cream...

with fresh strawberries.  Sounds weird, I know.  Just try it.  Trust me.  That is all.

Just, Margaret

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I read a blog post on one of the websites I frequent last week sometime.  The subject was one that she had piggy backed from a blog she recently discovered and that blogger was responding to a writing prompt from the blog networking site "Twenty Something Bloggers:  The Bloggers with the Most To Say."  Anyway to make a long story short reading B's blog prompted me to do two things: 1. to join said networking site (see badge to the left)- 'cause I enjoy blogging and reading blogs and well I'm a 20 something and 2. to respond to the prompt myself.  So here it goes.  

Dear Anon...
And that's as far as I got.  Perhaps I should explain.  The original prompt that started the whole cyclical blogging process was this: We all have something we want to say to someone. Maybe it’s someone in your life now. Or, maybe it is something you wish you said to someone who is no longer in your life. It could even be Mr./Ms. Random Person that you saw in the local coffee shop today. What do you want to say that you were never able to? You can leave the person(s) identity anonymous, if you’d like. Feel free to feature more than one person. Do it in letter form or any form you prefer. Show us that creativity!  

An awesome idea, right?  If you are at all like me, there are a couple of people out there who you could stand to be a bit more honest with about a number of things, some trivial, some not.  Further, perhaps you, like me again, have one person in particular you thought of when you read the above task.  So I've been planning what to write that person, anonymously of course, since I read B's blog.  And now that it comes to actually doing it my fingers won't type the words I want to say.  Not because they are angry words and might cause problems with a relationship.  My thought was never to use this as an opportunity to rant and rave.  

What I really want to say would take great honesty and I just don't have the courage to write it down for everyone to see.  I'm not quite as worried what "Anon" might think (although that does come into play a bit), but the honesty, real honesty that the words of this letter would represent is just too intimate for this open blog.  As much as I want to use this space for open self-discovery, too much of me might be exposed, maybe this is not a journey I'm quite ready to begin yet.  The whole idea kinda reminds me of David Wilcox's song Hard Part.  "I'm strong enough to take it, And I know what you've been through, You've got a whole heart, Give me the hard part, I can love that too." Confession is good and maybe someday I'll feel like I can share what I'm thinking... maybe.       

Just, Margaret

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Grammy and Granddaddy!

On this day some years ago, my sweet grandparents were married in the little church just opposite of their current home.  I love to think of their beautiful love story.  My room in their house... (yes, I said "my room." It's purple which was my favorite color when they moved into their house.)... overlooks the churchyard.  And I love imagining what their wedding day was like.  I feel certain my grandmother looked absolutely beautiful and I'm sure my granddad was very handsome.  Their life was so full of promise and has proved to be very blessed not because of the location of the wedding, but because of their commitment to loving each other.  Still, I sometimes think that I would like someday to be married in that same little church.  

With love to Grammy and Granddaddy on their special day.  Just, Margaret