Thursday, March 29, 2007

Getting to Awana

You know how sometimes all occasions do conspire against you? Last night I was trying to get to Awana. I really was. But it sure was difficult.
This map indicates where I was at 5:58 yesterday evening (Quizno's) and where I had been hoping to be at 5:50 (Awana).
Quizno's was astoundingly slow. Good, but slow. I pulled out of my parking place and headed south to the roundabout (the yellow 1), where I waited for a National Parks Service truck being driven at least twice the posted limit, with the driver chatting away on his cell phone. I reflected on the virtuous nature of Parks Service personnel.
I got to the corner of Main and Central, at the yellow 2, and surveyed traffic conditions. They were heavy. So I turned right rather than holding up progress and waiting to go left. I'd just go round the block; Oppenheimer just ahead had a light to get onto Trinity. Splendid. So I went way round the pond, finally got going east, and just about at McDonald's saw...people directing traffic. And flashing lights. And orange cones across the street. Uh-oh.
So I followed traffic and turned back north at the bank (yellow 3). I waited an interminable time to get back onto Central. One thing, it was really easy merging from Central onto Trinity, with it blocked off both ways!
So yeah. It just shouldn't have been that hard.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Quote of the day

"Anybody want a postprandial cup of tea?" Me
"Sounds like a posthumous award." The sister 3-27-07

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Farsi of the day

Spring, "bahar."

Spring is here! Bahar injas!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Trip to Virginia

My blog has been rather quiet for the last week because I went to Virginia for a visit. :-) This was a happy thing.

Tuesday, March 20
Flew out. I got to watch the road we always drive to my grandparents' house as we went, for quite a long way, and pick out landmarks until the clouds covered the ground.
Kay picked me up and we went to dinner at the Potbelly Sandwich Works in Ashburn. It was fun, except for the howling guitarist.

Wednesday, March 21
Tiff and I went to PHC.
Lisa and I went to a bit of banking and then to Market Street. I got to say hi to April and Benavidez, which was fun. Then we squeaked in some shopping at Pville Marketplace.
I got to see Bales and approximately five million other good friends at chapel. :-) I sat next to Bales and tried to pay attention, but honestly can't remember who the speaker was.
We had lunch with various people including Trissie and Natalie H.
I sat around until it was time for Chorale.
Then I learned to play Halo. That was pretty sweet.
Then we went down the trail and then occupied one of the D5 lounges for a while. That was pretty sweet too.

"No, I don't blame you. You have no idea how many friends I've had snatched out from under me by boys. ...Why do you find this funny?" Trissie
"It's because you're a love potion." Me

"And pax vobiscum to you, too!" Natalie H
"A pox on your house, too!" Bales

"I think you have awakened my bloodthirsty inner something." Me

"Okay, break it up, break it up." Trissie
"I won't!" Me
"Try again." Bales

Thursday, March 22
Wing chapel with Dean Corbett--that was very good, all about hope and love and suchlike.
Lunch with Dr. Gruenke
Lisa and I had a nice talk.
I visited Dr. Mitchell's Democracy class, which was highly entertaining. I'd forgotten how much fun he is.
Then Bales and I walked to the Catholic bookstore and the library for a history book, some danceable CDs, and a collection of Wodehouse stories. We then had a photo shoot and a duel with trailside-lying sticks. He won, but it was a good fight. :-)
Then we went to hear Dr. Gruenke's announcement.
Kanary had me over to their house for dinner, and we read a bit of Heinlein aloud, which he proceeded to lend me.
We watched Ella Enchanted in D2, ending up with a stolen teddy bear. It was rather surprising and really funny.

"Did you have some comment? Or did I just ask you to comment about your book?" Dr. Mitchell to David S

"Aren't we all a mix? Sometimes I sit on the couch and eat potato chips, and sometimes I go out and do something noble. I weed the garden. Nobly. In a toga and sandals!" Dr. Mitchell

"Watching fifth-grade girls figure out kissing jokes is hilarious." Emily-Rose

"Bales, she's giving me a look. Call off the Carolyn. Please?" Emily-Rose

Friday, March 23
I visited Topics and made a controversial comment about sound and meaning of words.
Maggie and Rebekah T. had me over for some hospitality in their room.
Brittainy spoke for chapel.
Emily-Rose discussed courtship in connection with Tess of the d'Urbervilles for Brit Lit.
I had lunch with a lot of freshmen and Christina I.
I visited Linguistics and then found out that Carver and I didn't really disagree about what I said in Topics, it only sounded like we did from how I phrased it.
Bales and I studied geometry and Farsi (respectively) and then read Wodehouse.
Dinner was rather exuberant, and then we all piled into slightly too few cars to hang out at Tiff and Kay's house. That involved Scrabble (hurrah!), tea (I'd been wanting some), "The Princess and the Pea" from Faerie Tale Theater starring Eliza Minnelli, and the Ideal Husband outtakes. And Ben A put a kiwi in my hoodie.
Bales and I talked almost until curfew. :-)

"There's more to life than school, David." Amy A
"Like Scrabble." Katie T.

After Amy didn't predict the Topics quiz: "The quiz priestess has failed us." Emily-Rose
"I'm sorry!" Amy A

"Can someone restate the question?" Clarice
"We're already in the midst of answering it. Don't confuse us with clarity!" Dr. Hake

"I came up with this really disturbing theory over breakfast, and I think it's Tess' fault." Emily-Rose

"What do I do with a kiwi?" Emily-Rose
"Well, stop bouncing it!" Carolyn
"Where'd we get a kiwi?" Tiff
"Out of Ben's pocket." Carolyn
"I should make you empty your piockets before you enter my house." Tiff

"So why do I have the camera?" Bales
"Because I've taken pictures of everyone else in the room, and it's high time someone took pictures of me." Carolyn

"How many minutes?" Ryan A, on security, wondering how long before he'd have to let me back into D2. I guess you had to have been there.

Saturday, March 24
I visited "Tale of Two Cities" rehearsal and was properly disturbed by the French peasantry, especially the storming of the Bastille and the guillotine. It was amazing.
I had lunch with Bales and Katy G.
Then I went up to the Soundboard room and Heather showed me what she does up there and let me listen to parts of the podcast. :-)
I played Halo and air hockey with Bales; he won the former and I the latter.
Then I ran to the grocery store and McDonald's with Lisa, buying chips and chocolate kisses.
We hurried home and got ready for the dance.
That was splendid fun; lasted five hours and was worth every sore muscle.

"Wear the piano; don't let the piano wear you." Heather

"Great interaction with Paul-David." April
"What?" Paul-David

"Yeah, He's definitely been faithful." ::glances aside:: "I'd better go storm the Bastille." Jessica M

"Offstage, dead people!" April
"We're not dead yet!" dead person
"Dying people!" April

Sunday, March 25
Visited Catoctin Presbyterian. It was a nice, little church; I don't think I've been to a little church since my church was little, getting on for ten years ago.
I packed, talked to Emily-Rose and Meredith, and proceeded to hang out with Bales until Rose and Kanary came to take me to the airport.
I got through security and discovered I had a good two and a half hours, so I sat down and had a proper lunch and quiet time.
Then I spent the flights home writing a sonnet (a very bad sonnet) and thank-you notes, and reading the Heinlein book.
I also slept a bit, for which I was grateful, as I got home rather late and had to work the next morning. :-)

"And then I'll go do my dusting and consign you to couple goopiness." Emily-Rose

Monday, March 19, 2007

Quote of the day

"Life is too short for scumbags." Lisa-here-at-work


Today's a slow day, and Lisa here at work was craving a breakfast burrito, so I made a quick food run. I went to El Parasol for her burrito, and to Ruby K's for a pastry for me, and when I got back (perfectly timed to check out the patient) I compared receipts. Both of them were number 196. Isn't that strange?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More test driving

Last weekend, my family all went to Albuquerque to spend the night and do a bit of shopping. Now, Albuquerque is the place to find--you guessed it--cars. So we drove up Friday night, had a nice dinner, wrote "Not a Rodent--Do Not Feed to the Snake" on the to-go boxes, and got up Saturday morning, raring to go.

I'd printed out a page of classifieds for red Focuses that we thought might be worth following up. Anything manual we eliminated right away. Somebody said there'd been a mistake and he didn't have a red Focus for sale, but he had a blue something or other I didn't want. I was particularly interested in one from a "Mike Faris," but it was already sold. (Such a great name, though.)

Daddy and I finally came across one still in the possession of the person at the phone number. She was an India-Indian lady, very pleasant and very Indian. "You come drive the car. You drive it, you like it, you buy it!" It would take about twenty minutes from where we were, she said. Excellent, we would see her there.

We made it in fifteen. An Indian gentleman came to the door and told us all about it. Yes, he wasn't surprised it only took us fifteen; certainly he didn't think we were speeding. His wife only drives sixty. But he drives seventy, because if you go only five miles over, the police won't stop you, but if you do any more they might get upset. The car wasn't actually his; it belonged to his sister-in-law and her husband, who own two Schlotzsky's in town. His wife is showing it because she's always home to answer the phone. No, down, dog! She [meaning me] isn't [Indian name]! "The dog thinks you are my daughter," he apologized. "She has not been here for three years; she lives in New Zealand. She works for a large company and now manages two departments even though she is only twenty-nine. What do you do?"

I admitted I was a dental receptionist for a very good dentist. Ah, he said, he has a very good dentist too. He has been going there for ten years and he is a family friend. Daddy said that was a wonderful thing. The friendly gentleman gave us the car keys and said to drive around the development all we liked, but we ought not to go any further because the car had no license plates.

So we hopped in it. It was a fun little thing, and the development had lovely loopy streets that wound right along the lava flows, but the windows were bedimmed to within a shade of their lives and it was really dark in there. Also the radio didn't work and the fuse box cover was gone, so it looked like someone had been fiddling with it. So we took it back and went exploring in our own car.

It appeared that if we took Unser way north, we might wind up at the part of town where we'd agreed to meet Mom and the sister for lunch. So we zipped along the high land west of town, through new developments, through empty fields, up a lava flow, and came out at Paradise Hills among a garden of church ads. Approprate place for them, I thought. Paradise came out, by way of some cloggy traffic, at Eagle Ranch Road, which was just right by the mall.

We stopped at the Kia place to test-drive a Rio, because I think they're cute as all-get-out. The salesman let us try a Spectra first, which is a little bigger and classier. I liked it pretty well. But then--oh then--he let me try a Rio. Now that was fun. I took it around the parking lot. I squeezed between two parked cars and circled a light pole. I circled it--and circled it--and Daddy asked if I was done yet. "Once more!" and then I was. If the Toyota pickup has the turn radius of a beached whale, that Rio had the turn radius of a minnow. Boy was it fun. I parked it (sigh) and the salesman showed us what he might have in my price range. He pointed across the lot and asked if we saw that brown car. "Where?" "Over there. At the end." Hmm.

We got there and it was a gray car. Oh well.

We didn't buy it and went on to the Ford place on top of the hill to see what they could do for us.

The guy worked really hard to find us something. The thing is, I didn't want to finance my purchase. I wanted something I could afford. I don't like debt and see no reason why I ought to have any. He finally led us out to a 2003 Monte Carlo--a sporty two-door thing--red. Very red. It was exceedingly and impressively red. It had a CD player, all kinds of dials that I could read, and crayon marks around the backseat drink holder. I test-drove it and, though it had the turn radius of, oh, a dolphin, I thought to my soul, "Soul, you could live with this car."

So while our nice salesman talked to his manager to see if he could really bring it down into my price range, Dad and I went and had lunch with the fam. They tentatively approved--we showed them pictures on Dad's camera :-), and went back to see. No, they couldn't actually bring it down quite that low; was I sure I didn't want to finance that last $3,000? Yeah, I was pretty sure. Sad days. They showed us something else but I didn't want it, and that about wound up my car shopping for the day.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Not-to-do lists

"Are you going to send in my insurance?" A patient
"I will." Me
"How nice! Something that will get done that I don't have to do!" Patient

I liked that quote because I've spent the weekend, in connection with Becca and Bales, coming up with not-to-do lists. I'll let you guess which entry belongs to whom. :-)

-Die by spinach poisoning
-Play paintball without a mask
-Win a land war in Asia
-Meet a space alien
-Invade Paris (it's been done)
-Win the lottery
-Be a travel agent
-Rappel down Dorm Five
-Let Germans start a world war
-Grow ears long enough to throw over one's shoulder like a continental soldier
-Work at McDonalds
-Get rid of the English aristocracy
-Burn heretics at the stake
-Ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel
-Drive in NYC rush hour traffic
-Swim the big pond
-Draw second in a gunfight
-Make Episode I
-Eat blood pudding
-Spend the winter at the North Pole
-Swim with the whales
-Deforest Europe
-Convert a refrigerator to not run with CFCs

And, just for fun, another quote.

"I haven't flossed my teeth in a really long time!!" Little bitty girl to me
"Thank you for being so honest." Her mama

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I was, for some reason, reading Boundless this afternoon, and came across a duo of articles on--of all things--Dante. And why he's good for the 21st century church. And why suffering is good for the 21st century church.

The articles are pretty good, too. So far he only seems to have written on Inferno and Purgatory; I hope he gets to Paradise soon. But you've got to go through the pit and the mountain first. :-)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Quote of the day

::Patient writes his name on one sign-in sticker and a big smiley face on another::

Me: "You’re using two stickers?"

Patient: "I deserve it. I’ve had a really bad day. I’m trying to convince myself it’s a good day."

Me: ::starts sympathizing::

::Patient methodically peels off smiley face and puts it on his shirt like a name tag::

Patient: "And a friend of mine told me he has cancer, and suddenly my day doesn’t seem so bad."

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


It's always pleasant to take a quiz that gives you results you actually like. :-) I'm still slightly disturbed by the Harry Potter quiz that tried to cast me as Lord Voldemort.

I'm terza rima, and I talk and smile.
Where others lock their rhymes and thoughts away
I let mine out, and chatter all the while.

I'm rarely on my own - a wasted day
Is any day that's spent without a friend,
With nothing much to do or hear or say.

I like to be with people, and depend
On company for being entertained;
Which seems a good solution, in the end.

And if I weren't terza rima, says the quiz results, I'd be a sonnet.

I am the sonnet, never quickly thrilled;
Not prone to overstated gushing praise
Nor yet to seething rants and anger, filled
With overstretched opinions to rephrase;
But on the other hand, not fond of fools,
And thus, not fond of people, on the whole;
And holding to the sound and useful rules,
Not those that seek unjustified control.
I'm balanced, measured, sensible (at least,
I think I am, and usually I'm right);
And when more ostentatious types have ceased,
I'm still around, and doing, still, alright.
In short, I'm calm and rational and stable
-Or, well, I am, as much as I am able.

Quote of the day

"This place is littered with corpses."

The good doctor, surveying No-man's-land after a fierce rubber band skirmish. Pretty much everybody had bad aim today, but if you fire enough shots, you'll still get in some hits. :-)

We've got this patient...

I tell you, our patients are a perpetual source of amusement. This morning I got to talk to one, a retired gentleman, who persists in referring to his appointment as a "hot date." I always say I'm looking forward to it, and sure enough, he never stands us up.

My sources tell me that just a couple years ago, his wife randomly decided that he wasn't any fun anymore, and demanded that they go boating in Palau. So they did, and apparently it worked, because we haven't heard any more about him being no fun.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Word of wisdom of the day

A lot of people, I leave messages for them reminding them of their appointments, and they don't call me back. I've finally figured it out.

They're nonconfirmists.

A sublunary road

I see the moon.
A million stars are out tonight...

Once you're down the steep hill on the truck route, you wind through a wooded canyon along a series of curves. The trees and cliffs all look alike in the dark, and the curves keep coming, and when there's no traffic, you enter a kind of time warp. The moon shines steadily through the windshield—the moon, the inconstant moon, that steadily circles above the sublunary earth and its inconstancy. The road keeps curving and the pines keep passing, and you cannot tell how far you've come and how long it's taken at all, if at all, and it seems quite possible that time has, maybe, oh bright hope, curved itself, and you will continue along this road for only a moment and forever.

Lost, you could be, you realize with a shiver. But it's the shiver that is preferable to any warmth, and maybe this time the road will not be bent but will lead to the Undying Lands, where the mirror and the lamp are one. The reality is hidden, but there's the moon, right there, just over the mountains, the promise and the pledge, and if only the road were straightened...

But out my left window I catch a bright glimpse of ragged cliff and shadow, spot-lighted as for a drama, and then I pass into an open space. I approach the traffic signal on State Road Four.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

On fairy stories

The trouble people chiefly seem to have with fairy tales is that the hero is too perfect. I've always rather liked perfect heroes, and it works as long as the hero is a Christ-figure, but if you want a human protagonist, what you need is for the hero to fail at the end.

But if you like happy endings (which I also do), that's not terribly satisfactory.

But I think that's mostly a problem in a naturalistic world. As long as you've got God, then you get a scenario more like Frodo at the Cracks of Doom. He fails--but it's still all right, partly because even Gollum had a part to play, and partly because he had been faithful up till then. As Ben A put it, "He can in some fashion sow the seeds of his own redemption, just as we can sow the seeds of our own destruction."

This is the eucatastrophe: the sudden joyous turn when it seemed sure we'd lose. This only works in a universe with God--an "open system," as Understanding the Times put it, a universe where God is and is active. But seeing as we're all imperfect and possibly not heroes at all--well, that too is an encouraging thought.