Tuesday, December 30, 2008

like old times

Christmas has come and gone and I am back in the city for New Years. One of the highlights of my time spent at home was going back to a place I thought had been passed and gone forever. Not the place physically but a place of relationships. I went back to the barn for a visit and found Joan working there again (filling in for a few weeks) and began to work there again myself as much as possible (around family commitments etc). At first it was the same old catch up interaction that I have experienced every year since I left the barn but then we just naturally went back to the way we were for the years I worked there. I never expected to be able to do that and it made me really happy (and really sad that I am not there still). I love it when God surprises us with unlooked-for blessings. He is so good.

Monday, December 15, 2008


I believe it was around this time last year that we welcomed Dundee into our home (literally at that point although she's an outdoor dog now). So to commemorate this anniversary, here's a picture of her taken last week.


It has been quite a while since I have posted a quote from Oswald Chambers. The end of today's entry from My Utmost for His Highest struck me especially because I often think about the reasons to read a book and benefits derived from such an activity:

The Author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance.

This along with a line at the beginning of the entry reminded me of a comment a friend made last night while discussion types of artists. He said that artists are either Mozarts and Beethovens: either ideas/inspirations come easily or they have to be worked out with a struggle. I definitely see myself more on the struggling side of the line. Unfortunately, in a lot of ways, I would rather not bother with the struggle which is why this following quote is pertinent to me:
If you cannot express yourself on any subject, struggle until you can. If you do not, someone will be the poorer all the days of his life.
Of course, I think this depends on the quality of the sentiment struggling to be expressed...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

frozen chicken wire

from the bit of ice storm we had last week

Once more unto the quotes, dear friends...

I realize that I have been behindhand in writing out some of the quotes that I have been gleaning from books and because I am also slightly behindhand in the gleanings I feel a remedy of one might help the other. I have finished re-reading Emma and part of the time I had my quote/note book (I would combine the two words but am prevented by the difficulty stemming from their similarity) with me and so gleaned a few felicitous quotes. I love Austen's style and, although many of her turns of phrase are only seen perfectly when viewed in full context of the plot and what has gone before, I did manage to find some quotes that are quite as good when lifted from the pages and set by themselves.

Having been attending, for the past few months, country dances in my small town, I am finding that I understand and have experienced many of the feelings described as surrounding such events in Austen's work. I believe that I may have posted something further on this topic earlier so I will suffice it to say that now that I am in the habit of attending these dances I gladly put myself in the place of the young people mentioned in this quote:
It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at a ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind; - but when a beginning is made - when felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt - it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more.

Being, as I am, interested in linguistics, grammar, and also the imagination, I laughed at the following quote:
Such an adventure as this, - a fine young man and a lovely young woman thrown together in such a way, could hardly fail of suggesting certain ideas to the coldest heart and the steadiest brain. So Emma thought, at least. Could a linguist, could a grammarian, could even a mathematician have seen what she did, have witnessed their appearance together, and heard their history of it, without feeling that circumstances had been at work to make them peculiarly interesting to each other? - How much more must an imaginist, like herself, be on fire with speculation and foresight!

Finally a quick quote that mirrors what I often experience:
Emma denied none of it aloud, and agreed to none of it in private.
I know this is not a good thing but there you have it.
And there you have three lovely quotes from one of my favourite authors.

Oh, I'm just booking

One of the aspects that I have enjoyed most about this section of my life is the oodles of time I now have to dedicate to reading and discussing books. Any books that I want. Books that I have been meaning to read for ages. Books that I have been acquiring at an astonishing rate at used book sales and the like. This is indeed a recipe for true bliss. The one problem, the fly in the ointment as it were, I am now facing is that my desire to read books has outstripped the time it actually takes to read them. As I am reading (or contemplating reading) one, another pops into my head as a great one to read next and I'm off again. If I read several at the same time I don't feel as though I'm getting through any of them fast enough (and often the less-interesting at the time fall by the wayside and never get read when perhaps I would otherwise have been interested at a later date). But if I read one at a time I feel as though I would find it too narrow to accommodate my ever-changing tastes. So instead of savouring whatever it is I am free to read at the time I spend energy looking forward to what I will be able to read next.

But, to state the obvious, this is a wrong view to take. The goal is not to rush through as many books as possible merely to be able to check them off the list. That I do believe in this viewpoint is evident from the fact that I enjoy re-reading a good book, even sometimes on multiple occasions. I know I should take the time to taste each book as I'm chewing them. I would ideally like to remember enough about any book I've read to be able to discuss it reasonably well with other readers (my poor memory for details often gets in the way of this but I do believe it is something that should be worked on and not merely used as an excuse for lack of intelligence). I do know that there are too many books out there to read within a lifetime. Skipping from one to the next is not the way to garner any enjoyment from them either. It's strange because I generally already have this outlook on most aspects of my life. I realize that I am not able to take every career path of which I can think. I realize that there are pros and cons to everything; things that I would like and dislike in every possible situation and that the best way to go through life is to enjoy whichever situation one finds oneself in at the time. But why is it so hard for me to find a similar contentment with books?

Perhaps this book-ADD stems from the very fact that I have a new-found freedom to read anything. When I was younger I was limited first by age/comprehension, then by resources (I had completely sucked dry the content--this word obviously excludes the multiple trashy series fobbed off on kids--of the children's section of our local library by the time I was twelve), and time (working almost full-time while in High School), and finally at the time when I entered the English program I made a pact with myself that during the school year I would only read assigned books. This is one of the first opportunities where none of these limitations apply and I haven't found another way to narrow down what I am reading. I'm not sure that I want to place limitations but I do wish to start enjoying and remembering whatever book I do happen to have in hand at any particular moment. In general I have a decent attention span, I just need to find it in this aspect of my life.

Friday, December 12, 2008

so happy together

After a hiatus that lasted for months (with occasional, slight reconciliations that only served to highlight the estrangement) I am finally on good terms once more with my camera. I spent the better part of a week back at home and, other activities being suspended while the outdoors outdid itself in its decorations, I spent a fair chunk of the time out and about the house (obviously said in a Canadian accent. How else would I speak?). I think I took around 300 pictures. In looking over them I realize that, as is usual with me, of those pictures approximately thirty percent are of my wonderful puppy, and the rest are of plants/trees/sky/ice/snow etc. Oh, there are three pictures of people on the camera from the week but they were not taken by me and are an unfortunate shade of yellow because the lighting inside was not great. We got a new car this week and, instead of taking a picture to show what it looks like, I instead have several pictures of the icicles dripping from the grill and the hood. I'm hopeless. I have determined to have my camera about me more now that I have resumed my former relationship with it and hopefully this will result in more pictures that other people would want to see, pictures that will be helpful to posterity.
But all this aside I shall post some of the pictures that are not helpful to posterity but that I really like for their picturesqueness.

Saturday, December 06, 2008