28 January 2008

Common Sense?

The director of UN HIV/AIDS programs tells Youtube viewers how to do their part to prevent the spread of the disease: use a condom, of course, but also don't be promiscuous, and wait to have sex, if you're young. Wow, that's... common sense.

27 January 2008

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

President Suharto, who was de facto dictator of Indonesia in everything except title, has died. He controlled Indonesia, which became the fifth-most-populous nation in the world, from 1966 to 1998. Many in the US are probably unfamiliar with his regime, but he truly was one of the most significant figures in world politics of the latter half of the twentieth century. Suharto rose to power as part of a prominent anti-communist movement, ousting the more leftist Sukarno from power with strong support from the US. Being hopelessly mired at the time in Vietnam, US leaders were all too eager to gain an anti-communist ally in Southeast Asia, and so colluded with and/or did not protest Suharto's often ruthless and corrupt regime. But hey, that's how politics play out much of the time.

Keeping Up

Okay, so I haven't been doing much that is blog-worthy these days. One thing I could mention is that we visited the ob/gyn (yes, again; Amanda is right: we should just get cots and move into the dr's office at this point) this past week, and Fuzzy is now in his proper head-down position, though there is no cervical dilation yet.

I've really been trying to do all the proper, healthy things while I've been pregnant, lack of sleep notwithstanding. I've eaten a fairly balanced diet and even done a bit of exercise here and there. Proof positive that I will do anything for my baby: I've even been drinking a glass of milk pretty much every day! I do this solely for the benefit of calcium and protein, as I don't much care for the taste of milk, and I'm always rather bemused as to why we humans are so enthused about consuming something that comes from the underside of a smelly, dirty animal such as a cow. Think about it, seriously.

I try to do something active almost every day. I started walking for 20 minutes or so, on days when it is sunny out. Our apartment complex also has a heated pool, and I decided to try something new for exercise: swimming. I've been swimming, after a fashion, for almost as long as I can remember, but I've never been able to really sustain any sort of fitness regimen related to aquatics. It's really not My Thing. [Contrast this with Jeff, who swam competitively for I don't know how many years, or with Mia, who swam competitively until a tragic accident derailed her promising athletic prospects. You can really tell, because my naturally athletic sister's arms and shoulders are very buff, whereas "buff" is the last word anyone would use to describe any part of my upper body.] I like to point out that I'm not a bad swimmer, i.e. obviously I've never drowned yet, but neither am I a particularly good one. But because I'm not that good, I really get a workout just doggy-paddling from end to end; my heart rate is elevated and my muscles really feel that they're being exercised, so something must be right. I know some "proper" technique, but I generally just do my own thing. Believe it or not, I actually remember learning the basics of swimming by watching the frogs in the river at Meyokda! I guess it's easy to believe it, if you observe my default stroke: a breaststroke with a very froggy motion in the legs.

I just don't compare my performance with Jeff's, who swims at least 80 brisk and properly performed laps, several times a week.

I actually had swimming lessons once: When we lived in Wheaton, my parents sent Dan and me to the Wheaton College athletic center to "learn how to swim" from a nice student named Stu, who was a PE major or on the swim team, or maybe both. Dan took to it and turned out to be pretty good, but eventually, Stu went to my mom and said, "Look, I'm not going to take your money for Deb's lessons any more. She hates it, and she won't work with me." Yes, I got dumped by my swim teacher, and I deserved it. I did hate swimming lessons: the pool was always COLD, which was horrible for me even back then, and I really didn't see the point. I could tread water, would be able to stay afloat if I got thrown in deep water, and I knew I wasn't going to be swimming in any stupid Olympics, so why did I need to know fancy strokes?

No doubt my punishment for lack of swimming discipline will come when Fuzzy turns out to be a swimmer like his daddy, and I'll be forced to spend many an hour at swim team practices and meets.

26 January 2008


I have been stricken with insomnia again. In this case, I know it's normal: I'm in my eighth month of pregnancy, and most women at this point struggle with sleeping through the night. After all, we're sharing our bodies with a very squirmy person who's getting bigger every day (and who thinks it's fun to kick our ribs and diaphragms), it's impossible to find a comfortable position while lying down, and if, by wildly crazy chance, we DO get comfortable, we immediately have to get up and visit the bathroom to empty our bladders.

It's really such a pain to get just 2-4 hours of sleep at night, because not only is one perpetually exhausted, but there's really nothing to DO at 3:00 AM. Can't go anywhere, can't do anything around the house (since Jeff is sleeping like a normal human being), and can't even read productively, since perusing anything serious (like, say, the Bible) isn't useful because even though I'm wide awake, at the same time, I'm groggy (other insomnia sufferers will know what I mean). So, I'm generally reading "Bones" fan fiction (courtesy of Sara) or playing WoW with all the other sleepless losers.

20 January 2008


Aka Esther. The name of the Babylonian goddess of sweet sweet love. Coincidence? Hmmm.

What would be a good tagline for the book of Esther, this section of Scripture with disturbing Harlequin-romance-novel undertones?

"Courageous-but-humble Hebrew girl saves her threatened people!"


"Sexy schemer makes good, brings relatives along for the ride!"

Think about it, people.

16 January 2008

Kudos - Sierra Mini Storage, Visalia, CA

One thing I'd like to do, on occasion, is highlight businesses or individuals that have operated in a praiseworthy manner. Businesses that offer excellent goods or services deserve to be recognized. This is all based on my own subjective experience, of course; other experiences may differ.

Last month, I received great customer service from Sierra Mini Storage, run by manager Sandra Sterling, which provides U-Haul rentals at the storage site. Jeff and I had reserved some items for our big move, and when I went to pick up our stuff, a few of our items were not available (due to other customers not having returned proper inventory to Sierra Mini Storage) and we had decided to change other things in our order. Instead of telling us "Tough luck" (since it wasn't really her fault) and having it be a really negative experience, Sandra went the extra mile as a business professional, picked up the phone and called other local U-Haul dealers to find one that had exactly what we needed, then transferred our order over there. By doing so, Sandra essentially gave away our order and didn't make a cent of profit from it. However, she did demonstrate great business sense. Now, if I ever have a future need for moving or storage services in the Visalia area, Sierra Mini Storage will be the first place I call, because I know that the customer really does come first there.

Sierra Mini Storage (and U-Haul Rentals)
Sandra Sterling, Manager
555 S. Lovers Lane (at Fwy 198)
Visalia, CA 93292
Phone 559-734-2000
Cell 661-972-5916
Fax 559-734-2003

15 January 2008

Kids these days

There are three adolescents-- two giggly girls and one boy-- hanging out in front of my apartment window. Believe it or not, for someone who doesn't like people, I actually like communal living, in apartment or condo situations. As long as they don't make too much noise, or interact with me in a personal manner, I don't mind having close neighbors, even children or teenagers. Since this is the first time I've ever lived in an apartment on the ground floor, it's the first opportunity I've had to actually view people's outdoor activities at eye level while at home.

Anyway, these kids: I can only assume that today must be a half-day at their middle school (I doubt they're as old as high school), since it was only a little after noon when they started chillaxin' out there. As far as I can tell, they are not doing anything illegal or immoral. They are not ditching school, because I saw the yellow school bus come by on its route to drop them off. I see no cigarettes of any kind, nor bottles of anything but water (okay, sure, it could actually be vodka, but they're not MY kids, so I'll let it pass with the benefit of the doubt). Nope, they're just talking and laughing and enjoying the end of their formative years.

Oops, now they're gone. They might have become uncomfortable with my observation of them; I didn't stare, and my eyes have been almost entirely on my computer monitor, but I'm sure they didn't need a square old grown-up watching them and spoiling their fun. Or maybe they have Big Plans, Things To Do, and the gravel in front of my apartment window was merely their staging area. Strangely enough, now that they've left, I kind of miss them.

11 January 2008

Nudity (in the world today)

Apparently, the best way to get people to comment on your blog is to include a naked picture in your post.


Even funnier is the fact that Blogger actually chopped off the right third or so of the linked picture, so while Adam is in full view as all-naturally created, you can't see that GOD is wearing an ethereal gown-type thing. Yeah, God is clothed.

07 January 2008


There exists a Dilbert cartoon in which Dilbert is sitting at his computer, fully wired, and realizes that with the internet at his fingertips, he no longer needs to seek human contact. He bursts into song: "People, people who don't need people, are the luuuuuuckiest people in the woooooorld!" This is, of course, a play on the famous song "People", from the musical Funny Girl, in which Barbra Streisand as Fanny Brice celebrates people who do need people, which concept really confused me from the first time I heard it sung: Even at age 13, I was definitely of the Dilbert point of view, plus the Funny Girl song seemed to hint of a sort of codependent neediness.

There also exists a popular proverb relating to the human race: "It takes all kinds of people to make a world." My father, who is a man of age and wisdom (and also an introvert), puts it rather differently: "It doesn't take all kinds; we just have all kinds." And you know, that's generally how I feel. I'm not much of a people person, or more accurately, I'm not any kind of a people person at all. I'm usually pretty comfortable with my lack of social drive, but it was then irritating to spend all those years in seminary, being told, "As humans, we need others; God created us to be in community with each other and with Him."

Lately, I've been thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know), and it occurred to me that the thing about people is that we all carry the image of God. It's a damaged and sullied and defective image, because we are sinful and fallen beings, unworthy of the glory of being His creation and bearing Him in our persons; but it is there nonetheless, and to meet and interact with another human being is to see a flash of the Almighty God Himself. And perhaps through being with a whole lot of people, we can cobble together all the different flawed glimpses of God and gain a slightly clearer composite picture of Him. In community, in a cluster of God-images, we experience God, however briefly and darkly through a glass.

Implications? Definitely.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is over. Hope you enjoyed it.

The Saviour was born, the Wise Men came, now Mary and Joseph take the family on an extended vacation in Egypt...

And so, to the next phase of life.

05 January 2008


Real friends are people who know all the bad things about you, and love you anyway!
They drive 200 miles to visit you on a whim.
They might get together to get you presents that are so perfect you almost cry, and then make it even more perfect by including a pack of sour gummy candy, because they know it's a favorite.
They might tell you exactly what they want for Christmas, because they know you're a terribly indecisive shopper and need a little help.
They listen to your woes, great and small.

02 January 2008

2007 in Review

It must be admitted that 2007 was an eventful year, although in reality, many of the years of my (or anybody's) life can be classified as "eventful" in one way or another. I had some good times, and some hard times. Upon reflection, I came up with a few things I hope to NOT see in 2008.

5. Laptop on the fritz - Okay, this is more of an inconvenience than anything. Compared to huge problems like war or pestilence, for example, my non-functioning laptop is pretty minor. And yet... it matters to me! I don't have access to my files, and I can't just move my computer and sit wherever I want, to blog and chat and browse to my heart's content.
4. Morning sickness - Yes, it is as unpleasant as everyone says it is. And the term "morning sickness" is so terribly misleading, seeing as how "all-day sickness" would be more accurate. Nausea, headaches, exhaustion, occasional dizziness: It's like having most of the symptoms of a bout of malarial infection.
3. Enduring a police lock-down while trapped with several irritating middle school students - In retrospect, this wasn't actually that bad. It lasted only a matter of hours, and it makes for a good story. But I wouldn't want to live through it again.
2. Living without my husband for several weeks - While pregnant. Not fun.
1. Cleaning up after a dead body - I've done cadaver clean-up many times. I was a lab TA for biology courses during my undergrad years. However, on this particular occasion in 2007, there was no tidy formaldehyded cadaver in a body bag. We had to clean up blood from the ground, after someone shot himself. I came to the conclusion that while films, TV, and video games can inure us to violence, to the sights and even the sounds of gory death, the actual experience of death will still be horrifying, because (to my knowledge) no movie has ever duplicated the smells of death. Most unpleasant. For the record: If you ever have a need to perform this task, I recommend first putting down a layer of kitty litter, to absorb as much of the liquid as possible. Then, make a strong bleach solution and pour it over the area to be cleaned; repeat with a few applications of bleach solution, as necessary; rinse with at least twice with clean water. Note: The bleach will generally wither most plants it comes into contact with, but isn't it preferable to have a few sections of unhappy grass than a blood-covered area in your yard?

I have plenty to anticipate in 2008. I wonder if "labor and childbirth" will make it onto next year's list of top 5 things I don't want to experience again. We'll find out, as Fuzzy makes his appearance in the world in mid-February. This year, I'll be focusing on home life, for the most part, and plan to really make it a priority to keep in touch with family and friends and let you all know how important you are to me. I am not, by nature, a demonstrative or even very communicative person, but as I grow older, I'm finding that I finally have an urge to reach out and maintain relationships.

01 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Classic New Year celebration from Show Boat (1936):