Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What in the world do I do with myself?

On Tuesday afternoons, I typically come home from school, immediately change clothes, and head to the barn. However, today, I stayed home. This is partly because I'm tired, partly because this week is insane at school (tons of papers to grade), and partly just feeling blah. But I don't know what to do with myself! I'm so used to constantly running, doing, going, teaching, riding, teaching again, that I don't know what to do when I just stay home. Just sitting still? Ugh. Just watching random TV? Ugh.

Even in school I had riding lessons, piano lessons, drama practice, etc. In college, I was involved in a ton of stuff and had evening classes. Even in Montana, I taught piano lessons, had an overnight at the school each week, and made plans to stay busy.

Now, it just feels strange to come home and do nothing. I can't decide if I want to do this kind of thing again on a Tuesday.

What in the world do people do when they come home from work and don't have somewhere else to go immediately?

Monday, March 31, 2014


In my favorite class to teach, I'm just starting this week with all the background/context and such for Hamlet. It truly has become one of my favorite pieces of literature to teach.

I stumbled upon this great version of the play online. It's Hamlet done completely in stick figures. It's the entire text of the play (which is rarely how it is performed or filmed...except for Kenneth Branagh - his version is not only beautiful, but it's also the complete play) and it's told in comic strip style frames with stick figures. Hilarious - and useful! 

Hamlet Stick Figures

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I've noticed in recent years that I do this strange, self-sabotage thing in my friendships. When they are real and deep and good (everything I want!), I find myself withdrawing from them. It's not a conscious decision, and I typically don't even notice it until weeks or even months have gone by and I haven't bothered to contact whichever friend it happens to be at that time.

Take as an example my friends D & G (I don't have their permission to write about them, so I'll stick with initials). D and I went to college together, and we were incredibly good friends. He was a year behind me, but we ended up spending a lot of time together because we shared a major (Bible & Religion) and because we were in the same musical group, The Refreshment Company. We'd hang out and talk, laugh insanely, and play music. We took a Ballroom Dance class together (which is HILARIOUS if you know how awkward I am). We won the talent show one year with a pretty smashing piano/violin duet called "La Folia." (Seriously, it's an amazing piece....see here for an example that's not us). Even after graduation and I had moved back from Honduras, D and I kept in touch. When he was in seminary in Atlanta, I went to visit him. When I lived in Wheaton and in Montana, he came to visit me. His friendship was always that comfortable t-shirt that ALWAYS feels like home.

D told me all about G when he met her. She was perfect for him, and I prayed from the beginning that they would marry. Well...they did! They now have two beautiful boys - a perfect little clan of incredible people. I've gotten to know G better over the times we've been able to spend together, and she's a gorgeous soul. But, for most of the past decade, D and G lived in Virginia...hours away from me and Jim. We were able to visit a few times here and there, but nothing too consistent.

Then, last summer, D and G moved to a town only 40 minutes away. Forty minutes! Jim and I helped them move in to their house, and we visited over several weekends. But then, it's been so easy to just let it slide...to let time pass without making the effort to reach out to them and continue to hang out. Why????

Why do I do that? They are the types of friends that I love dearly - we can laugh and the silliest, junior-high-boy kind of humor; we can talk about our deep struggles and doubts; we play board games; we watch movies. I love them. I truly do. So, why do I find myself going weeks and months without reaching out, even just a Facebook message to say hey?! It's sad, too, that it actually takes those weeks and even months for me to even notice what I'm doing!

And D and G aren't the only ones! I do it with my best girlfriends here from the barn - I do it with my longtime sweet friend Koryn - I do it with my other college friends (especially Jules, who is also good friends with D and G). I've almost completely lost touch with other friends who, when we were spending all our time together, felt like they were a very part of my heart and soul. And yet, we don't speak now.

I only have myself to blame if I feel isolated and alone. The sabotage I craft for myself is sneaky, silent, and able to grab my heart before I know it's even around.

I don't have answers. I'm not even sure why I started writing about this today, and it feels weird to leave it hanging there with so much unresolved. I'll let you know if I figure it out...but don't hold your breath!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The story...again

As I was driving to the barn this afternoon after school, I was thinking again about the story of Ella and John. John was from a large family...13 children in all, though 11 lived to adulthood. His youngest sister, Gay, raised my mom (and she's who I consider my grandmother, though in actuality she's my great-great Aunt). Their mother, Martha, probably instilled in them their strong personalities. She had come from a childhood of misery - orphaned as a child, raised by a family that used her as a house servant and nanny rather than treating her like their own child. At Christmas, they would give her coal while they purchased beautiful gifts for their own kids. I can't imagine that kind of childhood; even further beyond my grasp are the effects that kind of upbringing must have on the heart and mind of a young girl. I wonder about Martha - I wonder if she sought escape in her marriage to W.W. Rector (my great-great grandfather) - I wonder if she ever in her life felt like she deserved to be loved, even as she was married for many years and surrounded my many children - I wonder if she ever struggled with anger and bitterness and hatred.

It seems clear where John may have inherited his big personality and determination. I think that strand of a story will end up in my work somewhere. And I can't deny my own stubbornness that may have its roots in John.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I've stepped through the wardrobe

Seriously, it feels like Narnia here - well, the Narnia at the beginning of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because winter's grip has not lessened despite the time "springing forward" and the "official" start of Spring withe the vernal equinox. I know, I know, I live in the mountains and it's March. But seriously, how far can that excuse really go? It's the 25th of March and we woke up to two inches of sticky, wet snow this morning. It melted off during the day, then it began again a couple of hours ago, and everything is covered again. I love snow...but holy moly, there needs to be an end to everything, right?

Since I'm on the Narnia train of thought...what would I do if I stepped into Narnia and met Aslan? I think I'd be undeniably drawn to him, but I would also be scared...or maybe ashamed? I'm not sure how to label that "negative" feeling, but I feel like I would need to apologize - what for, I'm not sure. So, while I can exult in the idea that "Aslan is on the move," I'm just not sure I want him moving too close to me. Maybe it's because I feel like I have so many unanswered questions and doubts, there so much I just want to KNOW, and I feel so weak in "just having faith" instead. Maybe it's because I don't feel like I pray enough or read my Bible enough. Maybe it's because I'm still cynical about church (not God, not Jesus, not my faith - church) and I'm often reluctant to try to go. Maybe it's because I judge myself much more harshly than anyone else ever could, and I only see the places where I DON'T measure up to whatever imagined standards I've imposed upon myself. I realize those standards aren't Aslan's - but I'm sorry about not meeting them anyway.

In other news (and somewhat related to my thoughts on this), you really should read my friend Koryn's blog. Even if you're not into horses, there's good stuff there, and she has such solid ways of thinking through even her silliest ideas. And, the picture she posted today of her riding Bimini is pretty darn awesome.

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Monday...

Tonight....turkey burgers with all the fixin's (avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion) and fried potatoes (the potatoes from neighbor Ron's garden).

Yep...that's all I got. It's Monday...

Friday, March 21, 2014

In two months...

In two short months, we will be in the midst of our trip to Ireland and Scotland. When things get a little crazy, and the semester seems to be dragging on, and committee meetings pile up faster than dog hair in my house - I remind myself of the diminishing number of weeks between me and the trip I've wanted to make ever since I can remember.

We've bought plane tickets, and we have lodging for our first three nights in Dublin. Other than that, we're keeping it loose. We have a general idea of what we'd like to do, but we don't have a tight schedule, so we'll be flexible to stay somewhere a bit longer or move on more quickly - whatever floats our boat!

So, we'll spend the first few days in Dublin, doing everything we can - Trinity College, the Book of Kells, the Gaol, the Post Office, the parks, Guinness, etc. Then, we'll move out to Tullamore to the west, because there's a horse trials going on that first weekend we're there, and I'd just like to say I've seen an Irish horse show (since I drool over Irish horses in general). Then, we may tool around Kilkenny and the Wicklow Mountain area before heading north towards Northern Ireland, stopping at Drogheda and the Hill of Tara along the way. We'll spend some time in Belfast, seeing where the Titanic was built, going to the Giant's Causeway, and taking the Black Taxi tour that discusses The Troubles. Then, we'll catch a ferry over to Scotland!

A rough approximation of our time in Ireland

In Scotland, we'll dock near Troon, which is near an area where some of Jim's ancestors are from - which we will, of course, explore. Then, we'll drive across Scotland's narrow little waist (such a girlish figure!) to stay in Sterling - we'll do the William Wallace stuff and day-trip into Edinburgh. 

Our plans for Scotland
We'll head back over to Ireland and down to Dublin, where we will catch a plane back to the USA. A little over two weeks traipsing about across the pond is how we're spending our tenth anniversary! 
So, the countdown is on. We're getting clothes (easy, packable, light, made for walkin'), gear (rain! wind!), and our travel guides together (thanks, Lonely Planet!). 
I wish we were leaving tomorrow.