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

Friday, July 31, 2009

July Movie Review

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)

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)

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)

"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


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


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