Wednesday, May 28, 2008
I was planning on writing a deep and profound post, but I'm not up to that today (again, I suggest the great philosophers if you want consistent deep thought) so I'll just say Happy Anniversary and Thank You to the two people who gave me life and give me an example of what real love is supposed to look like.
First of all: The drive was horrid. According to my mother I actually got excellent traffic. Uh-huh. My first words to Scott after "Hello" were "I hope you appreciate what I just did". He was appropriately appreciative and I did not need to get cranky, which is good because cranky isn't quite the way to start off an afternoon with your boyfriend's family.
Almost immediately after walking in the door I got to meet Scott's 13-year-old brother, who was probably curious because he's never seen me before. (He was out of town with their dad the last time I visited.) The rest of the family (except Scott's dad, who was at work), quickly gathered to say hello. Then Scott's mom left on an errand, putting Scott in charge. Scott promptly delegated authority to his 16-year-old brother so that he and I could sit and read Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin and Hobbes Dates are a bit different when you have someone's 4 younger siblings continually coming through the room and occasionally draping themselves over the arm of the couch so that they can read too.
After that, if memory serves, was when Scott and I went out to the backyard so as to talk quietly for a little while. That we did, and it was quite lovely. Then, as we're standing there having our little romantic moment (we would have sat, but it had rained a little and the chairs were wet), his 8-year-old sister comes bounding out shouting "Trampoline!" and then asks "What?" when we both start laughing. So after that 8-year-old sister (who henceforth is merely "Scott's sister") and 11-year-old brother were both showing me all the cool things they have in their yard, including a giant sandbox which provided fodder for a discussion about the inherent differences between boys and girls (boys tend to play Castle and Army in sandboxes, girls tend to play Desert Village, which is just a variety of House).
Then Scott's sister decided it was time to dispense affection, so she gave me a hug and then gave her brothers hugs and kisses. The look on 11-year-old brother's face was absolutely priceless.
It soon began to rain again, so we all went inside and then everybody decided it was snacktime so we all sat around munching for a while and then started on a game of Apples to Apples. At about the time when people were starting to get impatient for the game to end, Ambrose (of Three Anachronisms fame) arrived and took over Scott's sister's cards. When you're only 8 it's hard to play a game that relies partially on references to popular culture. In fact, considering that no one in the room was even born when Reagan was in the White House, most of the popular figures got a puzzled look and a short trip to the discard pile.
By the time Scott finally won, their dad had come home and dinner was ready, so we cleaned up the game and then all sat down around the table, said grace, and proceeded to eat. Ambrose had already eaten dinner at his house, but when you're a teenage boy such small details do not hinder you from enjoying dinner.
After dinner Scott, Ambrose, and 16-year-old started a deep discussion of videogames to which I listened with amused uncomprehension. Then we ate ice cream and discussed videogames some more. After a bit I mentioned that I was going to have to leave shortly so Scott and I went and sat on the couch again. We didn't have time for more Calvin and Hobbes so we just sat. Scott's sister came and joined us, which perhaps might have annoyed me in other circumstances but in these just seemed right. I rather like Scott's sister. She and the youngest brother are both still small enough to set off my cute reflex; make me think, In fifteen years we might have a couple of kids like these. It's pretty much impossible to get annoyed with someone who's that cute.
Altogether, the only unpleasant part of the afternoon was when I had to leave.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
On today's task list: My mother wants me to clean my room, put away my laundry, etc., etc. But I'm escaping after lunch for a rather spontaneous (as in, preceded by only three days of planning) trip to Scott's house. I'm going to be seriously sick of the car by the time I get back (late tonight) but I'll get to see Scott so it will be worth it.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
When we know that the way of love--this exodus, this going out of oneself--is the true way by which man becomes human, then we also understand that suffering is the process through which we mature. Anyone who has inwardly accepted suffering becomes more mature and more understanding of others, becomes more human. Anyone who has consistently avoided suffering does not understand other people; he becomes hard and selfish.
Love itself is a passion, something we endure. In love I experience first a happiness, a general feeling of happiness. Yet, on the other hand, I am taken out of my comfortable tranquility and have to let myself be reshaped. If we say that suffering is the inner side of love, we also understand why it is so important to learn how to suffer--and why, conversely, the avoidance of suffering renders someone unfit to cope with life.
Pope Benedict XVI
(Quote courtesy of the Happy Catholic)
The funny thing is I'm usually the other way--I don't mention aches or pains or other funny things until well after they've passed the point of becoming serious (fortunately I'm not prone to getting seriously sick or this might have gotten me into trouble). My philosophy can be summed up as: "If you can stand, you're not sick."
Perhaps I am whining especially now because the one time in my life I can recall being so sick I literally couldn't stand up was this past February. However, I was at school then so I just slept for a few hours, dragged myself out of bed, and got through all 5 of my classes (it was a Wednesday) and somehow survived until the weekend arrived and I could get enough sleep to bring myself back up to a functional level of consciousness. Now that I'm at home where I have the leisure to whine about being sick, I'm taking full advantage of it even though I'm not really "sick" by my standards.
Now I must go and get some shoes on so Mom, Sister, and I can take a little road trip. We'll be gone most of the day. Then the whole family is traveling to see relatives over the weekend. We'll be gone from Friday to Monday, and I can pretty much guarantee there will be no blogging because any free time I get (which won't be much) is going to be spent calling Scott.
Monday, May 19, 2008
We were a bunch of Catholic, homeschooled, teenage girls, forming a little band of sisters against a world in which the stereotype of a teenage girl was not one we wanted to emulate. Now, though, five of us have graduated, three have entered their twenties (and Durnhelm will, soon enough). In a little more than two years we will be a bunch of Catholic, formerly homeschooled, twenty-something young women. Who knows what our little band will look like then. Two of us started dating this spring, and goodness knows that adds something to the dynamic--at least, I sincerely hope it adds something. It goes against the grain to think that Scott or the other guy (who is, by all accounts, a wonderful young Catholic man, although I've never met him to form an impression of my own) could take away from what makes us what we are. After all, they defy convention as much as we do. I know that Scott, for one, is about as far from the stereotypical 18-year-old boy as it is possible to be. I've a feeling that these men of ours will only help bring out that quality that drew the six of us together in the first place--that quality of not conforming to the standard the world has set for us, but rather allowing ourselves to be transformed by the grace of God.
Sequencing/pace: Some instances I was more willing to let slide than others. Although the book is not so long that it couldn't have been made entire into a movie, there are certain scenes that were admittedly a bit slow-paced and thus perhaps not well-suited to film (at least not in this age of films with constant action). However, there are certain things I think were done badly: for instance, they cut out the meeting with Aslan that occured during the journey down the river and replaced it with a 5-second scene much later in the movie. Then there were the things they added: The storming of Miraz's castle, for instance, was entirely made up out of the filmmaker's heads and I think did nothing for the movie except add a long and rather dark battle scene. The summoning of the White Witch was also unnecessarily protracted, although it did allow for a very admirable bit of action by Edmund, who has matured and learned some things since the last movie.
The character of Caspian: I think I liked this one least of all the characters--not that the character was bad, but just that he caused the most cringing. The first objection was purely subjective, so I won't count it against the filmmakers: I always pictured Prince Caspian as being a young teen (perhaps 14 or 15 at the most); in the movie he's played by 27-year-old actor. This isn't a huge flaw and I can see why they want to do it. As Durnhelm said, he looks more the age she pictured Caspian being in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and of course they would want to use the same actor. The real objection I have to Caspian's character is that in spite of his age, he is far more immature than the Caspian of the books. Sure, book-Caspian was often unsure of himself and did some silly things, but he had a good head on his shoulders and was willing to take correction from his elders, unlike movie-Caspian who was constantly arguing with Peter.
The character of Peter: This is one of those instances of symbolic blindness on the part of filmmakers attempting to adapt a Christian-themed book. Nobody seems to get that Peter is really supposed to be a sort of servant-leader to the others. He's not High King Peter so that he can have a fancy title and boss everybody around. He's High King Peter so that when Aslan's not around he's the one who lays down his life for the sake of the people of Narnia. Instead, the filmmakers portray him as your typical (or stereotypical, I should say) obnoxious teenager who wants his own way all the time, doesn't take responsibility for his mistakes, and is constantly losing his temper with those who get in his way.
The character of Aslan: Again, are you illiterate or just non-Christian, that you do not get what Aslan is supposed to be like? In the movie he doesn't even show up until about 2 hours in (yes, I was looking at my watch) and then it's just: Oh, Aslan's here, battle's over, the end. Aslan is not a deus ex machina to just sweep in and smash the opposition. I find it very frustrating that they don't really treat him as a character with his own unique personality. He's just a plot device.
The character of Susan: Cringe, cringe, cringe. What is it with filmmakers that they always have to have at least one female character who goes and fights with the men? First of all, it downplays the sacrifice the men are making to protect their homes and families. Second, it downplays the role that women have, which is distinct from what the men do. Book-Susan was still not somebody to be messed with and could certainly give Legolas a run for his money in the feats-of-archery department. But she is not supposed to be in the battle! That's why she has a bow and arrows! Did anyone else think it looked rather absurd when Susan was trying to fight at close range with her bow? That's not what they're for, sillies. *takes deep breath* I don't have anything more to say about this character right now...someday perhaps I will write a post about my thoughts on ladies and knighthood in the context of the fantasy genre. Back in my pre-blog days I wrote a cranky email to Durnhelm because I had just finished reading The Lord of the Rings and needed to rant about how I felt the female characters were all messed up in the movies. But I digress...
The thing between Caspian and Susan: All I can say is: huh?! Who thought that would be a good idea? I was ranting to Scott about this last night. Perhaps I was made more cranky than warranted because I had been watching another movie at home earlier (The Prince and Me) that had wayyyy too much making out between the two main characters. First kissing scene: kind of cute. Tenth kissing scene: would you two stop that already? I mean, did they ever actually have a conversation? Okay, so there was one scene where they were discussing one of Shakespeare's sonnets. But still, it seems like this whole romance was based simply on the fact that they found each other physically attractive, not because of any shared interests or goals or anything like that. Why is it that every time they found a second to be alone together they would start this passionate embracing thing? What every happened to just spending time getting to know each other? The fact that I was telling my very own boyfriend all about the disgustingness of modern romance movies shows how bad it was. I have nothing against romance, in fact I rather enjoy it...BUT I do not think it's romantic when passionate kissing is all your boyfriend ever wants to do with you. I would say it's a lot more romantic when one's boyfriend actually knows the meaning of "self-control".
Well, I've gone off on a huge tangent now, plus I've used up my daily allowance of italics, so I will let you, my dear readers, go on to something else.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Meanwhile, I am learning the invaluable skill of hair-cutting. This might not seem like a Domestic Challenge at first glance, but when you have half a dozen little ones you don't want to spend $10 a head getting them trimmed up. So this morning I cut my dad's hair, with Mom's supervision and assistance. Afterwards Mom suggested that if I really wanted to complete the Hair Cutting Challenge I would have to practice on someone other than Dad, as his hair...has some unique qualities, shall we say, that make cutting it slightly different than what one might otherwise do for a man's hair. On that topic, however, I shall say no more.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
~I'm probably not going to play the "almost nineteen" card just yet because that would take the fun out of teasing a certain person--who is much closer to nineteen--about being old.
~Disadvantage of wearing a long, flowing skirt to the library: when you sit down so as to peruse the books on the lower shelves at your leisure and then stand up, you will end up standing on your skirt and thereby get stuck awkwardly halfway up. Then you will have to perform feats of balance in order to get your foot off your skirt without falling over. Yes, I'm very graceful.
~I wrote an email yesterday that was close to 4,000 words long. If only I could do that with my poor little novel (currently 55,856 words).
~One of my good friends is probably becoming a priest right about now. If you think about it, say a prayer for Father Ryan. (And for his classmates.)
~My family and I are going to go see Prince Caspian tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes.
~I'm going to paint my room sometime this summer.
~From my sister: "Scott has a very deep, manly voice on the phone." File under: I so need better soundproofing for my phone calls.
~Scott's brother Frank is hilarious. During the aforementioned phone call he was listening to Scott's end and keeping up a running commentary (at least from what I heard). Then Scott put me on speakerphone and I got to hear Frank do one of his Gollum/Smeagol parodies.
~Did you know copper has a smell? I noticed that because I am trying to get rid of the ridiculous quantities of change that have accumulated in my wallet and I counted out a whole 75 pennies. Afterwards my hands smelled like copper.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Durnhelm, at the other end of the line: Well, I hear you've been talking on them a lot lately.
Me: Only out of necessity.
Durnhelm: Oh, I see. I'm not necessary.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
While we are on the subject of phones, can I just say "Woe is me"? Scott's internet has been broken since he got home. Investigation by Resident Tech Support (that's what I call my dad sometimes, Scott's dad is about the same when it comes to computers) has discovered that it is very broken. Whether it is fixable or not I don't know, but for the time being long IM conversations are not an option. So long phone calls are now in vogue. Except last night my cell phone decided to run out of batteries in the middle of a conversation. And my charger is lost somewhere in the piles of junk littering my bedroom. So for the time being I am limited to tying up the home phone if I want to contact my boyfriend. Woe.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Early Saturday afternoon my grandma (Dad's mom) arrived and we socialized for a few hours before leaving for the Big City, where we picked up Scott. I thought that I was just going to pop in, grab him, and get back to the car. Instead, we all went in and ended up chatting with Scott's family for about 20 minutes. Part of Scott's family, I should say, since his dad and one of his younger brothers weren't home. I did get to say hi again to his mother (whom I haven't seen since Leap Day) and meet three of his younger siblings, including his baby sister (she's eight; I use "baby" in the relative sense) who is absolutely adorable. I honestly think that was my favorite part of the evening, watching Scott interact with her. She brings out a side of him I hadn't seen before and very much enjoy. The Sister seems to like her a lot; but then she always has an affinity for small children and prefers them to the company of her chronological peers. Meanwhile Scott's mom became my mom's New Best Friend. My mom can make a New Best Friend standing in line at the grocery store, but it still made me happy that they get along so well.
Finally we tore Mom away from her tour of their homeschool room and the six of us (Dad, Mom, Grandma, Sister, Scott, and I) piled back in the van and drove to this very unique sort of restaurant which was also a theater. So we ate and conversed and watched West Side Story. I rather enjoyed it. It's been a while since I saw a play. Then we drove Scott home and I walked him to the door, which was a little weird for the simple reason that pretty much every time we've been together before this it ends with him walking me to my door. Despite the strange role reversal, that was also a nice little moment. Then I slept most of the way home. The end.
Friday, May 9, 2008
But I digress. Yesterday’s first lesson was How to Buy Bananas on Sale. It entailed the following conversation:
Mom: So there’s this ad that shows bananas on sale for eighteen cents a pound...
Me: Where? What ad?
Mom: They should have some inside.
Me [slowly]: So I need to go inside and…get…an…ad?
Mom: No, the ad just explains that we’re coming here today so that you can get them for eighteen cents, limit five pounds.
Me: Okay, then tell me ‘Get five pounds of bananas’. Simple, concrete instructions. None of this extraneous information about why we’re here. This isn’t metaphysics.
As you can see, my grocery shopping skills are nothing to write home about. But! I did manage to get two bunches of bananas, one ripe and one slightly green, and when I put them on the scale they weighed in at 4.9 pounds and the little old lady waiting to use the scale complimented me on my good eye. So I am not entirely inept once I am armed with my simple, concrete instructions.
Then we went to two other stores. At the first one I was helping the Sister buy a Mother’s Day present. So I asked a friendly sales associate where the [things I shall not blog because my mother reads this] were and she told me. So the Sister and I found them and then went and browsed the electronics section, where she found a new Nancy Drew computer game. We got that too. Then we got some pop. It cost something like $40.10 and I was very proud of myself, but I got in trouble afterwards with Mom because apparently “Don’t let her spend more than $40.00” is secret Mom-code for “Don’t let her spend more than $40.00 and make sure she buys herself some food.” Again with the lack of clear instructions.
At the second one we were getting a Mother’s Day present for Grandma and then Sister and I went and got cards for Grandma and Mom. I thought it would be simple to find the card aisle a few days before one of the biggest Hallmark holidays of the year, but it was not so simple. So I accosted another helpful sales associate (that’s what we pay them for, after all) and got directions to the card aisle, where we found two cards that struck the appropriate tones. Then we checked out.
With the life-sucking task of shopping (can we tell someone doesn’t like to shop?) out of the way, we were able to go home and I relaxed a little bit before helping Mom with dinner. I made the mashed potatoes. I’ve been making mashed potatoes since I was old enough to put a pot of water on the stove, so that wasn’t much of a Domestic Challenge. After dinner Sister and I washed dishes (well, I washed and she dried) which is another thing I’ve been doing for years and hasn’t been much of a Domestic Challenge since I figured out that the way to prevent one’s hands from becoming scaly and reptilian is to wear gloves.
Then I IMed with the Three Anachronisms most of the rest of the night. No, that’s not in any way related to Project Domestic Conquest, unless you count the fact that Scott is the one who inspired me to get my act together on the domestic front. Anyway, I was able to catch up with Scott after having not seen him in two days (*pine*) and meet Ambrose and get to know Mari a little better. All in all, a very nice night.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
If that's not sweet enough for you, guess what else? He brought her flowers. Came home from work with a big bouquet of daisies, and I'm all "How pweshus!" (In a high, squeaky voice.)
Then while they were gone the Sister and I were eating frozen pizza and watching The Princess Bride (good times, good times) and then we got to the scene where Westley is leaving to make his fortune and Buttercup is like "What if I never see you again?" and Westley says that he will always come back for her because "This is true love. Do you think this happens every day?" At which point I turn into a puddle of mush, because...um, because I take any excuse to turn into a puddle of mush these days.
Then when I woke up this morning Scott had written on my Facebook wall telling me that he and his dad got home okay after we met Scott's dad partway through our trip and transferred Scott and his stuff (it's complicated, the way Scott and I go partway home together, but you'll just have to be confused, dear blog readers) and then added that he wants to keep in touch this summer by writing me letters. Letters. By hand. And I'm all, "The cuteness! It kills me!"
All this is to say that I bet my parents, who used to tease me for being a Vulcan, are wondering what strange alien race abducted their daughter and replaced her with this sappy, emotional creature.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Today also happens to be exactly one month since I told Scott I would date him. Not that anybody's counting or anything.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
First, a post which I found quite amusing: Like Father Like Son at the Postmodern Papist. I think my favorite part was this:
She never ran away screaming, even after I confirmed myself as a card-carrying
nerd by played her orchestrated music from Final Fantasy.
Considering that Scott courts me with such as this, it was interesting to note that I am not the only woman in the history of the world who had the Final Fantasy songs as the background music to her romance. I also found the picture at the end of the post absolutely adorable. That's probably a good thing, considering that my kids are likely to toddle their way over to a Playstation long before I get them out of diapers.
The second post was We Need a New Motto at The Better Part. I first had to get the Cobbler to reassure me that I am "amazingly good" at not leading my brothers into temptation with how I dress. Then I got to thinking. There is an idea that has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while, and it is this: Modesty is an act of love. I mean, think about it. If I love Scott that means I want him to be happy. Getting to Heaven will make him happy. I do not, therefore, want to do anything that would cast stumbling-blocks along his road to Heaven. Furthermore, I want him to be as happy as possible while on this earth, and if you've known Scott for any length of time you'll figure out that the sight of half-dressed females is not his idea of an enjoyable thing (Just ask, "Scott, do you like going to the beach?"). Anyway, what I was saying was that when I dress and conduct myself modestly, I'm not just doing it because I respect myself, or because I don't want guys lusting after me. I'm doing it because it's something that a writer who is sometimes no good with words can do to say "I love you."