Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We didn't go to church last night which turned out to be an excellent choice. Dad read a devotion, Hannah and I read the Christmas story, we took communion, and then the kids did a phenomenal skit that involved the real meaning of Christmas and 50mph donkeys. I was impressed. It was also quiet and peaceful. It seemed like the right thing to do the night before Christmas.

I love being home. And I was right. I think a lot about my friends at Penn State because I am in as little contact with them as I am with home friends while at school. Somewhere along the way I'll learn how to keep in contact with people. I'm assuming that it takes more effort than I've ever bothered putting into it. I'm assuming that that is true about most things that I've failed at.

Home also means reading and resting. I finished off "Peter and the Starcatchers" at Gretchen's demand and a book by Lauren Winner. On the list of "To Reads" include finishing Master and Commander, To Own A Dragon, Velvet Elvis, and Letters to a Young Poet. Wish me luck because I'm rather certain that I won't manage such a crazy ammount of reading even with all the heavenly breathing space given every day.

Our house has moved into Topsy Turvy world while we head toward a massive room switch between every single bedroom in the building. Hannah to Isaac's, Isaac to the girls', the girls to Mom and Dad's, Mom and Dad to ours. Seeing as we've had it in this order for over nine years, the change is radical and is causing more than a few frustrations from those with better rooms and insisting from those with the dark, sunless chambers.

And our family has become the poster family under armour. Without a doubt (or objection). And I now own the entire set of hardback Harry Potter books. I stroke their covers and think of all the stories I have about reading them for the first time and its lovely that now they can sit on my shelf in unpeterbed happiness.

I would add music to Miriam's list of what makes a gift a gift: can you watch or listen to it? Can it be read? can it be eaten?

The last is the most important, of course.

My first week home is almost up... two more to go! Such luxury is unheard of! I'm so thankful for it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"dancing cucumber, dance, dance, yeah!"

It has been a really wonderful weekend. I finished a number of projects so I was able to spend time hanging out and doing things as opposed to being strapped to my books as if my life depended on it.

What I can't remember telling you is that I have a new room mate! We get along splendidly and I'm so glad to have her there.

(This is of us last night at the LIFE House Christmas Party. Everyone dressed up and hung out in the supplemental lounge which was fun. The music and dancing lasted far too late though and the whole building hated us)

The Navs Sweater Party though is well worth mentioning. Maryn picked us up around 7:45 (Sarah and I were the only ones from our Bible study to go) and we went to the Ramada Inn where we had taken over the basement.

We looked completely and utterly silly the entire time. Ugly sweaters will do that to any group of people but dancing in them was exceptional, I must say. We had a grand time though and I was completely exhausted the following day.

I want home so badly... but I'm growing repetitious. Any and all of you should call me and leave me happy messages.

What is so funny is that I know I'm going to get home and start missing people at school. And when I'm here I miss people at home. What is life but a continual lesson in how to miss more people than you ever thought you knew or enjoyed?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Far too real seeming

Last night I went with Kate (my RA) to Cru since I had finished most of my studying for the day. It was an enjoyable time and we were hanging out in the HUB auditorium afterwards when Tim Henderson grabbed a mic and said that we all needed to stay put. Then he was on the phone with a worried look on his face. Everyone sort of froze while we waited for him to tell us what was going on. He said that there had been a shooting, it was not clear where the gunman was, and that we should stay put and not walk back to our dorms before we had more information. To be quite honest, I was scared. We all were. People immediately broke into groups to pray. Cell phones were used at alarming speeds and rumors kept floating around as to what was actually happening. I called Mom and interrupted a concert (which I later felt very bad for but at the time it seemed the reasonable thing to do). About half an hour later it was decided that according to the University Police, the event had happened several hours ago and that there was no reason to be alarmed. A group of us walked back to East together. Caity got a call from the police since there was suddenly a scare at Atherton Hall related to a call she made to a friend. But back in East on our floor the news hadn't arrived. Kate called the coordinator to confirm that nothing had happened while people came one by one to find out.

Thank God nothing was really happening. Oddly enough, parts of the rumors were true. Such as: nothing was actually going on, he was seen on South Atherton street (though hours earlier), there actually WAS a lock down in Atherton Hall and the place was swarmed with police leading to the idea that there was SWAT team on campus. Check out the article.


It just seemed so real and frightening. But then there is truth to the mob mentality. When there is fear, people bunch and kind of freeze up until someone tells us what to do. There was actually a lot of peace about it where I was as well as fear. I just hope that I never have to go through that imagining ever again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Video Rejection

Did you know you could upload videos on here? Well you can. I can't apparently, but you can.

The other night I read "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to a group of friends. It made me miss home. And it was the highlight of the week thus far.


Tomorrow: Science. Story final draft.
Friday: Theatre.
Wednesday: math
Thursday: Mythology

I have to wait a very long time for the last two finals.

But lots to do. Navs on Friday. Life House formal on Saturday. Church on Sunday. Tea with Erica on Monday.

And studying in all those times in between. I'm trying to sound desperate and panicked. I'm not though because the whole final thing doesn't sound to dreadful. I'm convinced that my school load this semester was one of the lightest I've ever known but for the fact that I was frantically running around all the time.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Once Upon A Midnight Dreary

Naps combined with racing thoughts combined with odd, frightening nightmarish dreams do not make for a happy Dana.

Neither does a lack of sun. And an overabundance of grey clouds.

Nor the fact that three hours of writing work disappeared into the bowels of erased internet death housing.

I may be, according to Cindy, one of the best adjusted college freshman from my friends.

I am NOT well adjusted to missing Christmas with the family. I'm ticked that classes go so late and that finals go even later. I miss home and I want to be there.

So sue me.

(I don't know why I felt that last line was appropriate for the occasion but I'm sure it is)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


I miss home like crazy right now. One more week of classes... one more week of finals...

And then I'll be home for a long break.

I have a new roomate and I'm totally psyched about the whole thing. I'm so glad this worked out and that we'll have the chance to hang out next semester. We talk and I feel like I can play Chris Rice without bothering someone. The strange thing is that she's leaving for the weekend today. I'll have three nights by myself which will be the wierdest thing since the first weekend here when Michelle didn't show up till Sunday. So anyone who wants to come visit, please do so. There is plenty of room and I might be rather lonely during the day.

And I love the girls in Bible Study. This past week was really good... some great fellowship time and sharing and praying for each other. Much love to Paige and Maryn!

My brain is dead. Afternoon class was cancelled. I worked on math for a few hours, read science, Seneca, all sorts of interesting things.


This is to my family: for heavens sake, get a tree, put it up, and then send me a picture so I can have it as the background on my computer. That is an order! Or at least let me know when it is and you can all go on video ichat.

Video ichat is a very strange thing.

Monday, December 03, 2007

December is Here

Aunt Dale's comment on the post below has brought me to my senses. It is time to post again!

First, piece of news: it feels like Christmas. Advent celebration started yesterday at church. The decorations were so lovely... and then we had a dinner afterwards in the sanctuary with homemade lagsana. Why do I think there is a g in that word? And the night before it hard started snowing really hard around midnight. The majority of the top two floors of Tener rushed outside in boots, coats, hats, scarves, and mittens to pretend that there was more snow than there was and celebrate the first snow of the year! It was lovely, actually. Some among us had never seen snow before and took an initial dislike to it when it got in their eye. Their first reaction was that it wasn't going to melt and they paniced. We tried to have a snow ball fight but there wasn't really enough for that. However, the roads and sidewalks were perfectly icey and we did some serious sliding on each. Don't worry. I stayed out of the road.

It kept me up far too late but I loved it.

Heading back to classes this week. Two more weeks of classes... hard to believe that my first semester is almost over. I have a final and a final project due next week. Then two finals. One class has finished giving out assignments, or rather I finished all the projects due for it. Celebration!

Caramel apple cider sounds perfect right about now. It is snowing again and the wind that slammed into our building last night was enough to wake me up around 3am. "I'm walking in a winter wonderland..."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

TImes in 1006 Tener

I love technology and how I can hang out with my family and listen to Hannah read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone.

It also seems to be a fact that the more I have to post about, the less I actually do. The fact that today is Saturday and I'm lazing about the dorm room, resting, laundry, some school, and "visiting home" is obviously why I am going to post.

I went to a girl's dance last night after Navs. It was crazy and a lot of fun. I danced like a mad woman which apparently surprised them all. I do love dancing like a mad woman.

How amusing... I love going home and hanging out with friends.

This week someone who was a friend in elementary school walked out of a door in the stairwell and said hello. Very strange. I can't remember her after sixth grade.

Christmas is so soon!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Today's Thoughts

As I am sitting in the dinning room once again, stealing internet from the Herds next door and up the hill, sitting, as I am, looking at the first real rain Georgia has seen in months, sitting as I am, listening to Katie command the baking of cinnamin rolls and Boss scratching at the door to get a way from the rain,

…All this sitting on this Thanksgiving morning led to the thought: is there a difference between grateful and thankful?

In fact, there is and that is why they are two different words.

Grateful is having a desire or reason to thank someone. Thankful is feeling or expressing that gratitude.

Who knew?

Oh and grateful also means (in the archaic or literary way) of giving pleasure or comfort to someone. Is that what the band name Grateful Dead really means?

But enough digressing. I write today to perhaps tell some of the things that I am most thankful for… or grateful for… probably thankful because today is not Grateful-giving day.

I am thankful for…

My Family: Mom, Dad, Hannah, Gretchen, Jen and Isaac. And for the fact that I have siblings at all. And for my aunts and uncles, and all the cousins that go with those. Grandparents, those here and those who have moved on. For all the stories they have given me over the years and how the interactions have shaped my understanding of the world. We don’t have three English majors out of ten grandkids for no reason. J

My friends: I would list but I would be sure to forget someone

Those who have invested and helped me through this first semester at Penn State: Greer Nabb, Kate DeVann, Katie Stick, Paige Moyer, Maryn Hill, The Bensons, Caitlyn and Joe, Jaimy (for that fantastic treck through a cornfield) and others.

For the community at Calvary Baptist Church.

For paper and ink and book publishers for making books so widely available for every person. That paper smells so wonderful and covers can feel so heavenly.

For those books that line my shelves and the ability to multiply their number every chance I get.

For weather.

For tea (particularly mint and chai in loose leaf varieties) and its abundance, particularly in Websters.

For computers and Apple computers and the fun it is to type on them.

For cookies made by recipe on the back of the Nestle Chocolate Chip bag.

For random phone calls and emails that tell me that someone loves and cares about me.

For a childhood marked by happiness.

For the sound the earth makes when it rains.

For contacts and glasses and tooth brushes and hair dryers and clothes.

For movies. Lots of movies. And the times with friends that I have spent watching them.

For cold nights and warm blankets.

That there is an England and someday I will go there and see Oxford.

Red umbrellas.

For cell phones that let me call home every day.

For gala apples.

For being homeschooled all the way through and how that changed my friendships and classes and will let me be an RA next year in school.

For Mom reading to me when I was little.

For a senior year of highschool of just playing.

For coffee houses. I went into one yesterday in Five Points called Jittery Joe’s. It was in an old garage and had a theme of skeletons in oddly humorous attitudes. It was so a Kulp coffee house.

For Shaine.

For cars and drivers licenses.

For a God and Savior who is somehow both of those things, who provided more for me than I ever realize in each immediate moment, and will provide in ways I won’t understand or like perhaps, and will always be there. God of Justice and God of Love.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Georgia In Person

Well, here I am, happily typing away at the dinning room table at the Tingle's house in Watkinsville, GA. What? Watkinsville? You've never heard of it? Don't worry. I wouldn't have expected you too. It is like Hummelstown is to Hershey EXCEPT it is much bigger than Hummelstown, just as Athens is MUCH BIGGER than Hershey. As opposed to freezing on my grandmother's couch last night as I did the night before, I was comfortably warm and cozy on the couch in the basement. I was even given the gift of an unexpectedly pleasant wake up by Boss, the dog, somehow coming into the room and putting his nose in my face. It was adorable but I had to make him leave as he isn't supposed to be inside while we diseased Ray's are here. It is rather sad how much work the Tingles went to to make sure our lungs wouldn't fill up and prevent us breathing... our stupid lungs! If only we didn't have allergies...

But things are going quite well I think, however short the time seems to be. Emma, Hannah, and I ran around last night after dinner at G-Mom's which was fun though I was my typical restraining older person. They aren't very happy with me when I try to behave. :-)

Umm... I can't think of anything else to say. Perhaps I can get Emma to say something profound to share with you all...

Nope. She isn't to be found.

In other news, proffessors shouldn't give homework over Thanksgiving. It is evil as can be to imagine all the work I left in my dorm room, thinking "oh I'll just do it when I get back." Sunday night and Monday morning is hardly enough time to read most of Vergil, read science, write a story, an essay, and finish marking my script in theatre. (insert Mr. Angry Eyes)

I've found that I have glowering days even when I'm not particularly in a foul mood. I glowered my way through an entire Thursday a week or so ago.

The Village isn't half as scary the second time through.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dietary Failure

That is what my pricked finger says to me. I ate spinach and citrus fruit and vitamins for two weeks and even so

my iron is still too low. No blood giving for Dana. And we're loosing the drive to Michigan!

In other news, I have no other news. Oh, I take that back. I never told you all about Faith for Thought! It was really quite well done. I enjoyed meeting students I had never run across before from PSU as well as new aquaintances from Ohio, Maryland, and all over the place. There were 90 of us, making just the right size for discussion groups. My favorite of that was Aesthetic Faithfulness, by Erica (the college equivilent of Cindy Lear at Calvary Baptist). It was great actually. It was great to throw ideas back and forth with other students either "artists" in their own right or consumers of it. What does it mean for us to create in His image? What does that look like in our content? Do we have a need to create? How do we fulfill this calling? And all sorts of questions. If found it interesting that so much of what she presented to us, this idea of pulling out order and beauty from the "chaos", was a lot like Sayer's ideas in "Creed or Chaos." The thing was that she actually pulled a great deal of her material from Madeline L'Engle's "Walking on Water." The book actually looks pretty good. It surprised me.

And there was a bookstore. And I bought books. Steve laughed at me and said he knew I would leave with a stack. I found a book on a Christian reading of the classics, an aid which I have since implemented in reading along with my assignments for Greek/Roman Mythology class. And someone said I should work for Coalition Christian Outreach when I graduate and come spend the summer at the beach with them. It sounds cool but I tried to assure them that my heart was sold to working with Worldiew Academy next year. And explaining what that was made them want me even more. (hits head on wall). If one more person comes up with a brilliant thing for me to do this summer, I may have to kill them from frustration.

Don't worry WVA! I'm coming back!


I also read the book Academic Faithfulness by Derek Meleby. While in general, I felt I understood the concepts and things they wanted to see done pretty well, the final chapters had more in them that I felt I needed to act on. I'm going to talk it over with Erica on Thursday when we meet, but I'm thinking it would be a great idea to have an academic "accountability group." In other words, a legit meeting of Inklings but for artists of all types to come together and discuss school and their crafts and their attempts to make work that will be to God's glory. I've been struggling with that having my work critiqued by my proffessor in short story class. He isn't a Christian and therefore has no way of evaluating my work based on the content, but only in the writing, and in actuallity, the two can't be seperated. And he keeps reading the craziest things in to the things I say in my stories that either I have a deep seated, subconsious sexual perversion, or he keeps bringing things to my story out of himself. Granted, everyone does that, but when you attribute it solely to the author with the excuse of "Well, I'm just going off of what is on the page," it gets frustrating. I really just want someone who understands art from a Christian perspective to look at it and tell me what its worth. Maybe this is one reason I so want to go to Calvin's Festival of Writing in April. And Jubilee. Anyone want to go to Jubilee? I'm so excited if only I can scrounge money from thin air...

wouldn't that be a skill worth having!


Time is moving on. I need to read my math textbook before meeting my friend Mimi for a trip to Starbucks.

(on a side note, I have such a terrible time spelling...)

Speaking of Starbucks, I was reading my journal from last year at this time and it is full of times of people getting together at Starbucks and youth group and the Warren's and just hanging out. I miss that. Looking back now, I'm so glad I spent last year playing. Of course I did take classes that helped put me a bit ahead of the masses trying to schedule, and I picked a college which was stressful as anything else I've ever done, but I also played continually. I went to parties and hung out with people and enjoyed friends and company. I drank frappicinnos (or however that is spelled) and had discussions and watched movies and learned how to play the bowling game on Wii. I wrote some letters to friends that said how much I appreciated them and I'm glad I did that.

So I definitely recommend taking year before college to not do anything. People and relationships and community were the focus and I'm glad it was like that. It shouldn't have been any other way.

I just had to share these! Dad was at Wheaton last week and knew I would be totally excited about the things he saw in a... what was it?... as C.S.Lewis museum? And he even knew to take a picture of the Sayers section. Amazingly cool, in my opinion. Thanks Dad!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Comfort: Soft Soap and Depression (or however that Lewis reference is supposed to go)

My Soul Waits for God Alone

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

1For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

3How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.

5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.

9 Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.

11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.

I love this Psalm and everything it says to me, sitting in a small dorm room, tea in hand, head ache pounding away. I am so easily distracted and even wrongly comforted and refuged in crazy flimsy things. Be that tea, a book store, the next movie on my list, a story, the fact that I am an English major so math doesn't matter too terribly... but whenever I find great (a small ammount isn't wrong) comfort in these things, I am standing on a rock from which I will be greatly shaken.

Praise God for friendly faces and a list of music to find and listen to.

Hannah has her license and I am so proud and excited. And a cell phone. I would put it on here but that would violate rules of safety. Actually, probably not since no one reads this.

I take that back. Zac Kanoff reads this which never ceases to surprise me. Who else knows about this and reads in silence...

But if they read in silence it wouldn't be half as interesting.

I went to see Pentecost (a play) last night. Theatre is a strange, unweildy beast. It somehow lessens the impact of film... theatre is so immediate and real. You are actually seeing it and living it, mere feet away. If you wanted you could jump out of your seat and rush into the set and the actors. But then it would all be broken. And in attempting to be there you would have destroyed what so allured you. Lewis said once somewhere that nothing facinated him like imagining what was behind the set on stage. It may only be ropes and stage crew exhausted and grumpy, but the wonder of what was behind... that held all the magic.

It was a play that I cannot call good or bad. It was well done, certainly. But in my utter ignorance, I had a hard time following what was said. There was no remote for me to pause, rewind, and rewatch again (another element of the magic). It was hard and surprised me by its harshness. I definitely didn't see the warning at the bottom of the title page. But... it worked mostly if somewhat philosophically inclined in its monologues and almost bashed you over the head with its point. But all the characters believed so passionatly in what they said, it was hard to tell what was truth and what was masquerading brilliantly. I need to find a copy of the play and dissect it a bit. It would be a play worth doing that with I believe.

Saying that, I never want to see it again.

It smells like snow. I think it is too early. But some have expressed envy. If you are envious, come visit and smell it for yourself.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Little, Odd Things

I promised not to tell but you don't count. You aren't Penn State.

My prof in short story writing is named Morris Collins. It is a very bizarre name and he doesn't look like either parts or the combined whole of his name. He likes strange, disturbing stories but gives good advice non-the-less. He also has an ongoing battle with our classroom (too hot, too cold, bad desk arrangement, the table squeaks when he sits on it, the bulldozers are so loud we can't think etc). Yesterday, his lecturn thing that you put on the table to pretend you are important, was sitting in the corner of the room, not on the table. So he proceeded to kick it towards the table, not pick it up and move it. He shoved it to the table and then said how funny it would be if he kicked it onto the table. Gavin offered $20 if he could make it the first try.

So we promised not to tell. And he kicked the lecturn.

It didn't make it so he lost the bet. However, on the second try, it made it off the floor and where it was supposed to go.

He then let us out of class 45minutes early. I don't know why but I won't complain.

College is a bizarre thing.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

In Times Such As These...

...Only desperate pleading might work.

I am home and I am so grateful. I slept and worked a little and read more and hung out and ate cookie dough.

And I wrote and read and...

I have a story on Tuesday.

And I have nothing else to say.

Thursday, November 01, 2007



Good and bad and miserable and happy. It has been a long week and I'm exhausted beyond belief. Mentally going, yes its true.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Jess, me, Taylor

We just finished getting changed after Navs for the costume party. A Cave Woman, Hermione, and Pocahontas of all imagination compact.

It was a crazy time. Very strange costumes but creative undeniably.

This is me and Mimi, my math tutor and friend!

Granted, you can't see my entire costume, BUT I am repeating the costume for an entirely different set of people at an entirely different party Wednesday night. Hopefully the hair will turn out better and more Hermione. AND. I just went want hunting in the trees behind the music building and was SUCCESSFUL! It is rather lovely and convincing looking. It even has some dents in it from when I fought off Death Eaters a few times. Good times.

And I don't have any better pictures. I'm sorry!

Write me. Email me. Remember me.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Strange Days

It is frustrating how one person can completely throw me off, frustrate me, and convince me by their complete silence that I must be offensive in some obscure way.

Penn State is flooded with people right now. The band is playing in the field beside my dorm. Everyone has crowded the commons to watch College Game Day on ESPN (broadcasting from the front of the Bryce Jordan Center). It is crazy exciting. There is going to be a student white out. We are playing the #1 team in the nation.

And I'm working concession stand (poses proudly).

I am so excited. I really am. It will be great.

Last night was Navigators and Mimi (my math salvation) came with me! A guy from Wycliffe Bible Translators spoke and told his story of living for ten years in New Guinea. It... well it was very moving. Not on a whole scale though, just me. He spoke very quietly and simply but with an odd passion seeping through it. And I was reminded of how all I wanted to be as a little girl was become a missionary to India. And how convinced I am right now that I need to study English here at PSU. And I thought of my plans and past the end of college and realized how unappealing graduate school sounds, at least in the direction of a PhD. Maybe a masters so I can teach or an MFA but PhD...

But then, those aren't the only things I have to do. Why not disappear into the world for a while after graduation and do something worth while? What harm would that actually do? It wouldn't.

I was so glad that Mimi came. She's really a sweet girl and I enjoy her company. She dressed up as a hippy for the party afterwards. Maryn drove us over and we got lost. I'm always amazed how we get lost with her and yet end up one of the first people there. Not everyone arrived until at least 10 or 10:30, but mainly because they had such elaborate costumes. There was the bobsled team from Cool Runnings and a Lost and Found box and a dude in this blow up flamingo and "Twice Baked Potatoes" (Maryn and Megan in tin foil), Office characters, a cow, "Kids on a rope" (a PSU thing), two Joe Pas, and who knows what else. I was a rather tame looking Hermione. Or maybe Ginny because my hair wasn't kinky or wavy whatsoever. But I had a tie and skirt and it was fun. Oh, and there was a full fledged Disney original Peter Pan. It was very strange.

I think we should have stayed in character. It got confusing to talk to people in their costumes.

I took pictures. And then my battery died (you think I would have learned my lesson). And then I forgot it on the kitchen counter. Dan promised to rescue it for me but he won't be found until tomorrow as he's waiting in Paternoville for front row seats. If you don't know what Paternoville is, you don't live in Penn State.

In other news, Websters is bad for my storage room. My shelf space is completely full and that isn't including the books I've loaned to people since being here. And then Rethinking Worldview and Redeeming Law came in the mail. They both feel and smell lovely and I can't wait to read them. Which means Thanksgiving... or not since we're going to GA. I can't wait to go to Georgia! I was reading Eudora Welty's autobiography and she spends a great deal of time talking about her extended family, drawing a picture of where she came from and how she came to be. And it made me miss cousins and grandparents and aunts and uncles and all the drama and fun times that goes with that. Cousins are brilliant things. I'm glad I have lots and lots of them.

Time to get to work. Or avoid work some more which is what I'm doing now.

Concession standing from 6pm till midnight... what was I thinking...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Me Right Now

Me right now is a strange and boring thing. I worked liked crazy this past week to study for the test this morning. And I've been reading and writing maniacly.

But my prof cancelled class today. So I took a test and it went really well. And I went to Websters and holed myself in the back corner with chai and scone and computer and wrote away. I even proved to my prof that I used the free time wisely when he walked through on the way to the OTHER coffee house. Very strange. And I wrote and wrote and smelled really old books and watched the crazy people walk through on their business or nonbusiness.

And I went to the art museum and wrote on the computer in front of a painting. It was lonely but fun.

I felt collegy and artsy.

And then I sat down, read intelligent books.

That ended when I got the next disk of Gilmore Girls and a bag of popcorn. I'm resting and enjoying this break. Saturday will be crazy. And so will tomorrow. And so will Sunday. So I'm resting now.

Hurrah for resting!

Monday, October 22, 2007


The sun was not even over the horizon when I was woken to the sound of an insistent, madening, who knows what, akin to the sound of a machine gun being shot in an empty room made of metal.

There was construction. And the room smelled like exhaust. The hallway was even worse.

No one wants to be woken up by construction. (ANGRY FACE)

So what do you do? Do you close the window and become unbearably stuffy with a lesser smell of exhaust and the sound of machine guns OR do you feel comfortable in your blankets and feel like someone got into your room, banging pots and pans?

The decisions I have to make every day.

In other news, its cold. And I'm watching Gilmore Girls. It isn't the most amazing show ever but it is rather charming in a small way. It is a great excuse to ignore school work too.

This is Maryn who I am so grateful for. I'm thankful for Navs in general. And for new friends and a leaf fight in church clothes and Simmons brunch and a enlightening discussion on swearing.

This Friday I'm going as Hermione Grangerto a costume party. (grin) I'll do some before/after and compare/contrast photos on here if you like. Hannah said that it was unimaginative. I said it was practical because it really only involved a black skirt and black sweater, both of which I have.

And a tie... I'm going to have to beg around the ninth floor for that one.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Habits Slipping Away

At Gretchen's insistence I am returning to my blog though I had not intended to abandon it in the first place. I'm afraid that my journal has also been ignored which I regret. I just never think about it during the day.

This week has been good and horrible. So many things have been there to enjoy and love, but others were just dreadful. Math was one of them. I've been getting help with it but it hasn't done much good to be honest. I still am frustrated and confused every time I go into class. I am also not getting very much sleep or the sleep that I ignored getting in the past month is finally catching up to me.

I've tried to start a post every other day for the past two weeks. And I haven't been able to think of anything to say.

I was home last weekend. It was fantastic and I wish I could live here and with them all at once. Mom was a dear and had all my favorite foods as if it was my birthday. Hannah and I stayed up late into the night talking nonsense about serious things and decisions and coming up with wise proverbs about moose heads on the wall. I saw good friends and spent time with them even if the conversations didn't have much time to go anywhere. It was simply good to be with them and enjoy them.

My list of people I miss is shrinking. It is still pretty big but oddly rather small compared to the list of people I had to see before I left.

Eating in a dinning commons gets exceedingly weary after a while. I do appreciate the abbudance of cheaper sandwhiches available all over campus... sandwhiches, and the heavenly wraps. I eat wraps about every other day and the ones in West are particularly delicious as I learned yesterday.

Speaking of West, when I was there I was totally blundering my way through the order system and had to get help from a friend who also ended up being there. I felt so silly. Being a freshman hasn't quite been erased from my forehead but it is fading, slowly but surely.

I've been drinking tea constantly. I think that is a very good thing.

Last night after Navs (around 11), some aquaintances of the past month came up and invited me to go with them and see Harry Potter at the HUB. I think I started dancing, I was so excited. We went to the movie theatre place there where I impressively blundered my way through getting in. I didn't know why the police dude and the security guy were standing at the door for. I thought maybe they wanted to check bags or something but they didn't say anything until I was two steps past them and then they stopped me and asked for my campus ID. As I floundered my way through my backpack, looking for it, the folks I was with assured them that I was simply their guest. It was rather amusing if it hadn't been me... having to be rescued by the sophmores... yeesh.

I got two letters this week. One box from the little kids who hang out at youth group and a card from Uncle Alan and Aunt Gayla. I had no idea he had my address. It was so encouraging and exactly what I needed to hear.

In other news, I've been rereading Till We Have Faces and all the references to Greek mythology actually make sense now. I know what it means and can see other myths interwoven with the basic one about Psyche and Cupid. In fact, all my three humanities courses have been tying in somehow with the others. I like that.

What does one get a friend for the first birthday of their becoming a Christian?

Must go do laundry now. Hopefully, Phil moved his clothes out of the way so I can put mine in the washer. I doubt it. :-)

Monday, October 08, 2007

It's Your Beauty, Lord (that makes us stand in silence)

Many Returns of the Day, Elia Barlough!

I am weary and busy and sweaty with no AC.

But I spent an hour with dear friends working on math and helping them out with their papers. I guess I just find it exciting that I can spend time with them and help out and they're so grateful.

But probably not more than I am, looking at that sheet of finished math problems.

I love swing dancing, I really do. A group of girls from the floor went this past weekend.

And I'm going with Maryn to Walmart tomorrow. I can't wait to hang out with her.

And I'm coming home this weekend and will be Sarah's Saturday evening. If you don't know about, thats okay, because now you do. And I am going to see her pretty walls that aren't red anymore. It has been THAT LONG since I've been there

It is Monday and my heart yearns for Friday.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Time's Passing

It has been a week since leaving from the curb outside Findley Commons, packed into Maryn's car, on my way to the Navs Retreat. It was dark when we got there, a faint light coming from a door in a dome shaped, tin roofed building. My thoughts were at Summit Lake and the comfort and welcome of the dinning hall lights across the lake as the buses pull in.

The weekend felt shorter than any Summit Lake weekend ever. Enjoy them particularly in early highschool. They last for ages and ages and you don't know what to do with the free time and freedom. Make memories and never look back.

Enough philosiphyzing.

Right now it is almost midnight after a long, long day. I am tired and weary and coated with the odd discouragement that seems to dog my every step since returning to campus. I came back encouraged and refreshed and so ready to go. And all I manage to feel is a sense of failure, with school work, in new friendships, in time management...

But a feeling is only a feeling when the sun sets at the end of the day. Because people fold baskets of laundry.

I put my laundry in the dryer and went to class, leaving a note saying just to take it out when the next person needed the machine. I come back from class to find my clothes folded in pristine order, sitting in the basket outside my door. The button down shirts were buttoned and the jackets zipped and everything looked as if it was ready to be put on a "for sale" rack in a store. I think I was near tears over this. It struck me as being the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. While I know that is rather an exaggeration, I couldn't help but feel rather overwhelmed at the servant's heart.

Jesus's was so folding laundry in my dorm last Thursday.

(and even the underwear was discreetly tucked in the folds of shirts so as not to be awkward while sitting in my hallway.)

(this was actually from a few weeks ago at bowling)

Sunday, September 30, 2007


It was a lovely time from Friday after class, skipping down sidewalks, singing praises to the heavens, and packing my suitcse.

It was a lovely time on Saturday hanging out and fellowshiping with other Nav students.

It was a lovely time today, to come back to my dorm and not feel trapped anymore, to breath and relax, and hang out with Kate, go to church, and see Jamie.

I'm tired and busy and I have a test tomorrow. Real postage will come later, perhaps much later, so I leave you a picture.

This is a fragment of my Bible study. I am so glad to have them.

This weekend was a gift. I am learning and growing. I think being a freshman puts you an accelerated adjustment settings, for which I couldn't be more grateful. I know that this year will be marked by the Hand of God.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


There is a man who stands in front of the side steps of Willard Building Tuesdays and Thursdays and lectures about Christianity. There are students who sit quietly and listen to him talk and talk. There are students who brush past and won't listen. There are the atheists who stand with posters. All in all there are about 30 students who listen to him talk and talk. Only a few question and debate. He brushes off their questions.

There is a man who stands in front of the HUB or used to anyway. He would yell so you knew he was there as you walked through the hundreds of people toward the front door. He yelled and ranted and called out to "Brother and Sister" and told us we were going to hell.

And I wonder what I'm doing to tell the truth. At least they're saying it if not very eloquently or perhaps even with the right heart. I just smile at my profs and try to keep up with work. How frequently do actions speak louder than words?


Today I sat under a tree and wrote in my journal. I love my theatre and short story classes. Somehow what one is teaching so is the other only to a different craft. I feel like I'm being challenged in academics and I'm getting better. I'm so glad of that.

And this weekend I leave campus with Navigators (navs). I wait in eager expectation of not seeing my dorm room or east commons or hear people yelling in the night or bother about swiping a card to eat. I can't wait to be where I can't hear cars and rest in the quiet. I can't wait to hang out with people, the friends I've made so far and the ones still to be met.

And I miss home more and more everyday. I think I might go crazy if I don't go home soon. I should have gone last weekend... I don't know why I didn't. How I'm going to last till the 12th is beyond me.

And here are some pics from Hannah's visit (or really, actually the picture scavenger hunt that she happened to be on):

Friday, September 21, 2007


I am reading Girl Meets God by Lauren Winner. It is her story, her version of the walk to Christianity, like Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz. I am reading her chapter on Lent and its role in the Christian faith and how being a Jew, being a part of Judaism, changes how she approaches Lent and approaches the celebration of the death and ressurrection of Christ. She talks about how Passover changes when you come to Christianity. She talk about the people she would have Passover with every year in college, how they became her family, she their daughter. She talks about them never contacting her after her conversion. She talks about how she didn't know that was part of what she was leaving when she went to Jesus.

And it makes me sad, thinking about the culture she left behind, the people and the love, the things that largely defined her life. I find myself almost wishing for her sake that she could have stayed a Jew.

But she didn't. She became a Christian.

She sacrificed to be a Christian. "Whoever leaves mother, father, brother, son, daughter, for my sake..." I became a Christian when I was too little to have lost anything. All I have from Christianity is all I have... my family, my friends, my identity. And my sadness for her loss of Judaism makes me wonder if I would have given what she had to be with Jesus. What if I had to give up Christianity for the sake of Jesus? Would I do that? I've never given or left anything to follow Christ. Nothing.

What is my faith, anyway?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Little Things

It is lovely when someone remembers my name. It is okay when they don't because I have most certainly forgotten theirs, but I like it. I suppose that is why I went to RUF two weeks in a row... everyone remembered my name.

Sarah came and visited which was wonderful. We had lunch at Irvings and then went to Websters. I spent far more than I really should have on wonderful, cheap, used books, one of which ended up being a first edition of Lloyd Alexander's The Book of Three. It is a wonderful place in there. The guy at the counter talked to me about the authors of the books I was getting and how he had met some of them working in a children's book store in NYC for years. I've decided that Webster's is my dream job.

New Additions to my library:

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
Shadow Spinner by I can't remember who
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley

and a gift from Sarah, On the Beach by Nevil Shute. She said I had to read it so she gave it to me. Everyone dies but that should not deter me from reading it, she says. I'm looking forward to it when I finish my bout of Dorothy Sayers and Lauren Winner.

Those of you who know how I dance will laugh when you hear that I am gaining a reputation as an excellent follower. It is absurd but somehow I'm doing better at it than previously, part of that coming from dancing with guys who won't let me get a way with leading but have complete, mad ideas of their own about what we should be doing next. The dancing nights of this week were exciting as well as challenging. I'm frightfully bad at it but I like it immensely. Names are starting to stay with the appropriate people in my head so I can enjoy the conversations a bit more.

Hannah is coming tomorrow! I cannot wait to see her. We'll do everything Penn State-ish that I like best and watch movies and hang out like we haven't done since I moved here.

It struck me yesterday as I emailed Maryn, my Bible study leader, to let her know that I would be going on the Nav retreat, that I won't be at Summit Lake this year. And I wish I were. Everything in the fall semester led up to that weekend. I think it was more important to me even than Christmas break from CHESS. So much always happened there.

Just think... it isn't more than one and a half months.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Quiet Hour Between Class

I keep trying to write a post bt when I open the page, my mind goes blank.

Dancing has taken a large role in my free time. I love it that way. There was a Navs barn dance on Saturday, which was ridiculous and silly but mad fun at the same time. Then swing on Monday. I'm learning far more there than I ever knew there was to learn. I love doing it even if I'm still working on meeting people. Most just come for one lesson and never come back so if I keep being consistent...

I don't even know what I'm talking about. Sarah is coming today. I have a job at the Noll Lab which is very similar to the med center job.

Everything is going well...

They workshopped my story yesterday. It was really stressful though my prof has been incredibly encouraging. He chatted with me before and after, giving good suggestions. However, other things need tending to before I sit down and do a major work on the story.

I don't know when I'm coming home next. And I overslept this morning and had to rush without a proper breakfast. I can't wait for lunch.

See, I told you there wasn't much to say.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I was standing in the library, looking at the dvd collection when I saw the film The Shining. I know very little about this film aside from what one person had told me. "It is the scariest movie ever. You have to watch it in the day time, with lots of people, and your favorite pillow to hold. It is incredibly scary, you will freak out."

Seth told me that. Seeing the movie made me think of him and exactly what he looked like as he said that.

I went to T.G.I Fridays with some people after RUF Thursday evening. I met a girl named Katrina there who I knew reminded me of someone very distinctly. The next day I realized that person was Mrs. Ratti. I thought about Georgia and things Mrs. Ratti had said and stories of them over at our house.

And something reminded me of Grammy. I havent' actually pictured her or imagined her voice for years; heard the squeaky, tired voice and imagined the way her lip always twitched as she spoke, or how frail she felt when you hugged her, or the way she shuffled around her house or the paniced look in her face when we found her on the kitchen floor with a broken hip.

These are strange memories. I don't know why I thought of them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Red umbrella

Note to self: never wear flip flops in the rain again. Boots are the order of the day.

And it is strange how life moves on. Six years... I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't counted up the memories myself.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Jennifer Ray: 10 Years Today!

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Piglet!

The I'm Always Missing You, Pooh

Sunday, September 09, 2007

"Too Many People in This Little World"

But its alright, right with me...

Coming back to the dorm was hard.
But not as hard as I had thought.

Last night after the friends had left and my siblings gone to bed, I lay on the couch thinking of how much I love Hershey and the community there. And I thought of the dorm room as compared to sharing a room with Hannah and the comfort of going to bed early and getting up late and having sour dough bread and home made dinners.

So I sat a little, and cried a little, and did not want to come back.

But I did. And the girls said how much they missed me this weekend and asked how the birthday party went. And I saw Jamie and talked to her after church and went to dinner with Katie and Michelle and some others. And I did laundry and took a nap and wrote my story.

And it isn't bad at all.


On the shuttle back to campus from church, I sat by this fellow named Ben, part of the Honors college for nuclear engineering or something similarly incomprehensible and prestigious sounding. My shoulder bag was on my lap (the black one with the flap showing a white fern). He looked at it and pointed to the fern and asked if it was a rugby bag. I looked at him rather bewildered. Not that I knew of. "But," he said, "that fern is the symbol of a rugby team. But then it is probably just a fern." I laughed. After a moments pause I added that my dad had brought it back from New Zealand on a business trip. He grinned and declared that it had to be a rugby bag since that fern was the symbol of a famous New Zealand all black ruby team.

He pointed out the irony that such a cleanly designed messanger bag is trade registered merchandice of a rugby team in New Zealand.

I carry my bag with pride. And ignorance.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


I have been sadly underpostified in the past days. I am sitting in the HUB, unable to find a chair, happily employed with writing to you. The macBook arrived and I am very, very happy with it. The keyboard is just right and makes me want to keep typing even after I run out of things to say.

Last night I went to a discussion, activist group titled Aequitas. It is a group of Christians on campus who want to focus on living as Christians in every aspect of their lives from the art they consume to what kind of coffee they buy and whether or not they drink out of styrophome cups. I thought of Mim and how much she would have enjoyed it and I have to say that I enjoyed it too. After being out west and seeing how "green" people are out there, I suppose I think it is rather a good idea even if the world isn't ending due to global warming. Jamie, my friend through Jenny, met me in East and walked over with me for which I am quite grateful. The leaders drove me back. It is rather odd have to make sure that I have someone with me everywhere I go after nightfall. I never had cause to be concerned with it before. Kate, my RA, is always making sure we have someone to come get back to the dorms with and made me leave her a note when I got back so she would know I was okay. There aren't many RAs who would do that for one of their residents. Kate is so much fun and I couldn't be more grateful for ending up on her floor. When I lay my hands on the camera cord I'll post pictures of my room, the hall, and some of the characters that populate it.

Yesterday, I walked downtown after my 2pm class to find the public library. I didn't know that college libraries are only for academic works so the library here was a disappointment. However, the public library more than made up for it. It has a huge and wonderful children's section, a whole collection of Dorothy Sayers, and an enormous dvd collection. Now, I can get pretty much any film I've ever wanted to see for free. I proudly hung my new library card on my lanyard. Kate is going to come with me on Friday when I return the videos so she can get a card as well.

On the walk back to the bus stop, I saw a small store named Websters: Coffee/Tea House and Bookstore. As this is my dream combination I could not resist crossing the street and going in. Not only was it a bookstore but it was a USED bookstore with all kinds of books for very little and a lovely display of teas to choose from. Hannah, you would be proud. I resisted buying any books but that may have had something to do with the stack I already had in my hands from the library. I, however, felt I could not leave without giving it some support so I bought an iced chai latte, made with real chai tea and not powder. Mim would have loved it though I should have asked for vanilla in it.

I am also in love with the boy next door.

(just kidding, but as speculation seems to be running wild, I thought I would just add my two cents in there)

Saturday, September 01, 2007


1006 Tener Hall
University Park, PA 16802

Thursday, August 30, 2007

little in the way of

I went swing dancing last night and it was grand. And I looked utterly foolish out there but I suppose everyone does in the beginning. Yeah, I was a beginner. These people do all kinds of crazy stuff that I never even dreamed of. And my feet ached gloriously and we quoted Shakespeare the whole way back to our dorms.

Mom and Dad are coming to visit this weekend. If you have large and expensive gifts to send along with them for me, please let them know post haste so they won't neglect to bring them. Because I know you all bought large and expensive gifts for the next time you saw me, right? Of course, right!

Homework time. And I can't think of anything else to say besides that it is ridiculously hot. I still have a pool of sweat drying on my back from where the back pack hung all day. I'm going to be hunched when I'm 40 at this rate.

-the end-

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

new every morning

I don't even know where to begin in telling about the past three days. From the pep rally to this afternoon at the involvement fair, I can feel myself growing more comfortable with my surroundings and the girls in my hall and His continual hand with me in everything.

Today, I looked up from the computer while sitting in the HUB and saw Heidi out the window. It was wonderful to see her and we ate lunch together. Yet another meal where I wasn't even slightly alone. And then I went to the second day of the involvement fair and I saw someone from Ligonier that I had met visiting Jenny. I was so excited. And then short story class promises to be wonderful and exciting even if science will be difficult and drawn out. And another girl from the floor asked about going to Cru. And last night as we got ready for bed, Sang ran in and asked if I could help her explain Christianity to her roomate. At this point, Michele must think I'm a radical enthusiast but then again, I am. And she isn't too normal herself. Lord willing, my thing about no guy visitors will not become a huge issue between us. Navs came up to our floor last night and talked about starting a Bible study. Sarah and I are quite interested in that but we are both torn between it and Cru. Everyone has been so encouraging to us that I feel it will be hard to choose between the two, or even adding RUF or Alliance into the mix. It will all work out though. I am confident of that.

There is so much to be involved with. I almost fear to do too much rather than too little. This semester... it holds nothing but promise right now. I am so excited about what it will bring. This is where I need to be. Every day convinces me of that more and more, even while I sit in class and wonder whether it could have been taught better by a Christian prof. Some things last longer than that.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

That's What A Heart is Beating For

I walk down the sidewalks, thinking I just saw someone I know. So far I've seen a Tim, a Becky from Harvey Cedars, a Cameron Seavers, a WVA Miles, and a Liz Bertou (sp?). Things vaguely remind me of wva but without the delightful conclusions of dapping up at the end of every event.

Michele is nice. She lets me use her computer since I still don't have a cord that goes long enough.

Praise God for other Christians. There were six of us who went to the multi Christian group church service on the lawn of Old Main this morning. One of them, Sang, joined us half way there since she was going and didn't know we were. Perhaps we should more loudly advertize our Christianity... but we were all very excited to find one another. It makes it seem less lonesome and more like a home to know there are people praying in the dorms around you. Then I ran into Chris Lengerich who was wonderfully friendly and invited me to go with him and some others to lunch in another commons. Sang was also invited to go the same place so we walked over together. While I lost Chris in the dinning commons and ended up eating on the other side of the room with Sang and the Asian Christian Alliance, I still was vastly appreciative of him being friendly to me. Hanging out with the Asians though was delightful! And I find Sang a wonderful person to hang out with as well. We both felt so much better after eating lunch with all of them. Penn State will be bearable with other Christians around. This is something I am very grateful for, this growing dependence on the Christians around me. I can't take their presence for granted anymore. It isn't even a given that I'll find a way to church on a Sunday. Being with them is like having a home even when I forget their names every other minute. Above every good thing that has come out of these past two days, discovering this has been the best.

I do miss the worship team at home though. That is something else I took for granted. I miss guitar driven worship and a drummer who can drum and a solid beat to the songs. We didn't know what we had there until we didn't.

I'm off in an hour so I think I'm going to nap. My feet ache. Classes start tomorrow which is a relief in a way. I don't think I'm going to get lost anymore. I'm the one finding everything for the girls on my hall. They keep getting lost and I've wondrously been able to keep my head. Thank goodness!

PS. There are hardly any Classics and Philosophy majors here. I find that sad. We would be great friends, I'm sure of it.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"all worlds come to an end, little one."

I've been here at PSU for less than 24 hours. My room is cozy and homelike but the full effect of whatever it will be isn't yet because my room mate won't be here until tomorrow. Tomorrow as in Sunday. That is frustrating but I suppose I should enjoy the peace of it while I can. Internet isn't hooked up yet so I'm in a computer lab typing away and finding out important times online.

It will be a long day.

And my stomach is very very angry at me. It hurt like crazy a few minutes ago and I don't know why. Part of it could be the fact that they don't feed us breakfast on weekends or at least none that I could find. So I ate a granola bar and a clementine was I thought that was good until my stomach started yelling.

So far, so good. I love my RA. I'm having trouble getting to know the girls but then ya'll know how I am with new people. Desperatly trying to pretend I'm back at WVA where being friendly and getting to know people was so easy and so natural.

I'm going on a walk to find my classrooms, visit the bank, visit the library, and perhaps, oh just perhaps, find a copy of Foyles War to watch during the first week of school.

Please pray for me. While the new isn't scaring me right now, it isn't helping my nerves either. I need courage and confidence to meet new. It'll be easier (I hope) when I start classes.

I'm off. Cheerio!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Famous Last Words

Tim: Frat parties are dangerous. Don't go there!

Cindy: Don't take bets you don't want to pay. And it takes three hours to move into a dorm room.


Andrew: Aren't you lucky? You get a hug from me!

Emma: Who will I snuggle with?

Beth: Ewww! Dana that was so gross!

PC: The Ray girls are like chocolate covered licorice. They start out sweet but with a biting finish.

Kent: So we're just trading battles.

Nate: Don't drink too much.

Squigy: Have fun.

Alright. I will.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

"and out of her heart grew a red, red rose"

Once upon a time, there was a book by Robin McKinley and it made Dana exquisitly happy.

There was also a time when large masses of people went on a yearly migration to such places known as "colleges." I'm going on such a migration Friday for the first time ever. I don't think that last years 3xs a week trips to PSU Harrisburg counted too terribly much. I was frightfully lonely there and it won't be that way this time. My RA promises to be wonderful (her facebook said that she likes Pride and Prejudice and that is the basic requirement for at least superficially getting alongness). Hiedi (who hasn't spoken to me in years) promised to eat lunch with my next week. Rebecca from Campus Crusade said to call her in the next few days so I could get together with her. And Kent declared that Michelle is my sister whom I simply haven't met yet. His confidence in our ability to get along is actually quite an encouragement.

And Mrs. Kearns is praying for me, so what do I have to worry about?

(other people are too, I know, but she was one who told me very specifically about it)

Saying goodbye to friends this past week has not been hard and I don't know why. Seeing Kelly, Megan, Christy, Rachel, and Emily off was completely an unemotional event. Saying goodbye to Mim after spending a day being completely unlike ourselves (we went shopping) felt far too common. Why am I not upset about this? Why do I not feel dreadful over loosing Hannah as my roomate, Gretchen to hang out with, Jen to snuggle with, and Isaac to tickle until he yells and hollars at me? One theory is that I am too excited and pleased over new dishes and food electronics to make dorm life less dormish. I have two plates, a bowl, a spoon and fork, cups, tupperware, and a water heater to make water scalding hot for mugs of tea. Another theory (and far more likely) is that it hasn't quite struck me that I am leaving. Every goodbye feels like a goodbye until the next Thursday youth group or the next Sunday church service or the next evening at Starbucks or the next sports night.


Today is a fall day. It is my favorite temperature, the weather that calls for longs sleeves and long pants. Any more clothes is overkill and any less is cold.

It smells like the end of Gilead when they sat on the porch swing in the evenings and he tells about his walks down the avenue of oak trees.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

"Or Carriages that Work!"

Home is a lovely place. Herbal Essence Shampoo is lovely shampoo. My own bed is a lovely bed.

But I really missed that shampoo while travelling.

In a week (.5) I will be at Penn State. Rather crazy and exciting but Hannah gets grumpy when I talk about it, Gretchen and Jen go from alternate moods of ecstacy at room changes and depression, Isaac demands that I wrestle with him since it will be the last time EVER (or so he says), and Cait tells me to shut up. Well... not in those words. Cait wouldn't say that exactly but that is what she says.

"It seems, its always the crazy times..."

I got shots today and they hurt and now I feel really oddish. Thank goodness we only did two and not three like the nurse threatened. She got rather huffy when I asked about the lack of long term studies on a new vaccine and Hannah made signs to me to let it go. So I didn't get that shot.

Last night I went to Hotel Hershey with Cindy, Amanda, Hiedi, Megan, and Christy. It was a crazy time talking about plans and sharing old stories and making new ones. Christy got lots of money by taking a bet. Poor Cindy is a very poor woman now.

Time to get back to work.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sunday as Pagans

We drove and drove and drove. And I take back what I said about Oregon being prettier than California. It is very different but not an ounce prettier. California has a fascinating way of being beautiful even with atrociously twisty roads.

And I just ate a ridiculously good salad. I can't even tell you how good it was.

In other news, I miss home. I've seen the West Coast and the green woods and corn fields and tourist abominafied Hershey is waiting for me.

I've been making Dad listen to Fellowship of the Ring and it is incredibly boring. I can't believe how bored I'm getting listening to my favorite story. Part of it (a large 75% of it) is the narrator whose voice is good when narrating but fails utterly in the dialogue. It simply is dreadful the way all his voices sound the same and how he butchers important lines. Actually, the parts of description he tries to read in a sweeping, epic voice and comes off as melodramatic. I've never noticed before how steeped in mythology Lotr is. In some ways, listening to it instead of swiftly skimming the history parts makes me wonder if the plot was simply an excuse to tell Middle Earth mythology without detection. But I love those parts now (if I wasn't trying to convert Dad into a fan right now) as part of Tolkien's craziness and wonder.

Perhaps I've simply been reading too many modern novels and thats why it stands out.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

LOST: The West Coast Version

My camera battery died yesterday before we even reached Redwood National Park. I was under the completely false belief that it would last me through the trip. I was wrong. There are no more pictures to share with you for the time being. Perhaps forever.

Maybe not that drastic.

Redwood trees are big. All we could manage was "Woah, thats a big tree," as we drove down the dirt roads through the forests. It was like walking through a giants land, half expecting to see large people peeping around the trees at our littleness.

Saying that, I like the Oregon coast better than California's. California has seen fit to allow billboards along the roads which is exceedingly frustrating. That, and Oregon just seems bigger. (note the again use of "big")

Last night we were without hotel and couldn't find one. The town of Eureka was pretty large but ever single hotel was booked because of a county fair and a car show. It was completely full. The nearest towns were 1.5 hours north and who knows how far south. We went south. Reaching Garberville (a shady hamlet of questionable origins) soon showed us that we were without hotel there. The only option was to keep going. We even stopped at campsites randomly passed to see what was up. They only had a few places left and gave us a faint hope of finding a motel either down 101 or 1. We chose 1. It was a nightmare twisty and turny drive up these mountains that weren't shown at all on the map. Fort Bragg was our destination, about 30miles that took an hour because of the strange roads. As we drove in (around 11:15), we were again greeted by No Vacancy signs blaring. One had a vacancy sign but a note on the door saying the light for the word No was broken. By miracle, there was one hotel with a vacancy, 1 room left because of a cancellation not 15 minutes before. We took the last hotel room in the town.

It was the longest ride I'd ever been on, beating out even the ride to Liberty with Kim and Mrs. Harris where we got lost on mountain roads.

Saying that, we are now very near San Fransisco, two full days a head of schedual. Craziness.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

What are men to rocks and mountains?

Today has been indescribable. I felt as if the world was suddenly much larger than I had ever imagined. This morning in particular as we drove up to Hurricane Ridge at 7am, watching the morning sun cutting through the clouds, so high up above the world that my nose made funny twitches because of altitude change, so high above the world that it was a freezing 43degrees at the very top. The only words that came to mind when faced with such beauty were trite Sunday School songs that gained depth when faced with such vast greatness: "I am so glad that Jesus loves me." "My God is so BIG, so STRONG, and so MIGHTY, there's NOTHING my God cannot do!" "He's got the whole world in His Hands."

Enough words.

A view half way up to Hurricane Ridge.

Some pictures from the top. My camera is too small to capture the scope of the distance and size (and I'm not very ept at doing what I can with that I have either).

Olympic National Park also has its own rain forest.

I had never seen the Pacific ocean before, never walked along it, and looked out across it. It felt distinctly different to imagine Asia waiting over there, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and all of those places, instead of looking across at Europe and Africa. How have I never seen this before? The ocean looked much bigger.

Today we have gone from Hurricane Ridge in Northern Olympic National Park to Newport on the coast of Oregon. The distance we have gone is over 300 miles, up and down countless mountains, and numerous stops to take pictures and stand, mouths open, at the beauty of the North West. This has been an amazing day. And I am completely exhausted. Goodnight all!

GLORY be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough; 5
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: 10
Praise him.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

From Foreign to Mountains

This bathroom is for headless, maimed people with most of their limbs missing. I felt slighted.

Morning found us at Starbucks with scones and muffins and hot tea in transparent glass mugs.

Then we headed downtown, dropped our bags off at the ferry location, and headed out to see the sights in the hour we had before the ship left. Victoria is really a lovely city.

This is me looking stunning beneath the snazzy totem pole.

Those of you who were with me in Quebec City will think this looks familiar: as the parliament building of British Columbia it is pretty close the the parliament building in Quebec City.

The Empress Hotel

A side nitch of the building. It was really quite lovely.

The ferry ride was uneventful in terms of scenery but in terms of company, it couldn't have been better. We sat next to a young couple and chatted the entire 2.5hrs to Seattle, WA. They were really quite lovely. Turns out they were Mormons so Dad got them talking about their faith a bit. It was wonderful to hang out with them. Simply, new people make traveling worth it.

Seattle was a whirlwind as we found a car and headed out. In no time at all we had weaved in and out of all the traffic in our clever and oddly shaped hybrid car (pictures of that later) and got to our hotel near Olympic National Park. If you look at the map, go right from Port Angeles (near the top of the map) and go right to Sequin. That is where our hotel is. We'll be leaving here tomorrow and going to hike in the park.

I can only be thankful that things have been going smoothly so far. Everyone has been wonderful to us, we haven't gotten lost, and meals have been found quite regularly. Tomorrow, the real adventure begins as we leave civilation and plunge into the wilds of western Washington.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Of Trips So Almost Not

You find me in a hotel room, merrily stuffed with Red Robin goodness, and exhausted from a day of flying across the country and out of the country to Victoria, British Columbia. I was awoken this morning with the assurance that despite some conversations to the contrary, we would indeed be heading on a week long adventure to the west coast. So here I am and here you aren't.

It is indeed wonderful out here.

We flew out at 8:15 the morning and arrived in Vancouver at 12:30 or so this time. That means I was travelling from 8:15 this morning to 3:30 your time.

But we were not even close to our destination, oh ho, not even close. This is where the plans of getting where we wanted to go was very, very sketchy. Plans for a rental car had fallen through so we were basically stranded in one sense. We followed odd signs that said "Victoria, This Way" which made no sense seeing as we hadn't left the hunting lodge feel of the Vancouver International Airport. However, we obeyed and met a lost looking man standing beside a bus that was heading to Victoria by way of ferry if the ticket man ever came back. Ten minutes of waiting with this said lost man lead us to take drastic measures: we took a taxi. We invited this lost man to come with us and share the fees that would take us to the ferry which would take us to Victoria. He accepted and we squished into a cab that whisked us away to a port with a large ship looking thing waiting for passengers.

It was the most wonderful boat ride I have ever had. We rushed across the water for an hour and a half, seeing a 360 view of the marvelous landscape of the mountains and water ways of British Columbia. We stood outside the cabins most of the time, getting wind burn, tangled hair, and huge breathfuls of unhumid, chilly air. The rest can only slightly be explained by pictures.

Another taxi ride brought us to the hotel, where our path left that of Dickson our accidental companion. Dinner was lovely, and a rather happy set of Red Robin workers, and a surprisingly splendid Christian bookstore. Has anyone ever heard Robin Mark? He's selling well up here and is quite good but I've never heard of him before. Without a car we aren't able to see much of Victoria but thats okay. The ferry ride was worth it.

All in all, its been a long day. You are all asleep (most likely) at 11:30 but I'm still trying to stay awake and get used to the time change. If all goes well, we're taking another ferry to Seattle in the morning, getting a car, and driving to Olympic National Park. Until another internet location finds me, this is farewell.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Library Book Sale

Sunday afternoon found me with Jen and Gretchen purusing the isles of used books at Hershey Public Library, not looking for anything particular a lethal and dangerous threat to the remnant of cash resting peacefully in my wallet. Unfortunately for it, I found an enormous mound of titles I've always wanted to read and as they were a mere 50cents a book I decided for buying most of them. Hannah was not very happy with me.

The newest additions to my library without shelf space:

The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
Water by Robin McKinely
The Enormous Room by E.E. Cummings
Elements of Style by Philip Bloch
Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian
The Painted House by John Grisham
Cold Mountain by Frazier
French Women Don't Get Fat by Marielle Guillo
A Guide to Distinguished Reading (yeah, it made me laugh so I got it)

I must depart and go figure out what dinner is going to look like. Farewell and all of that. Read well.

(ooo... a perhaps addition to WVA line: Think Hard. Think Well. Read Hard. Read Well.)

Friday, August 03, 2007


Mom and I went to a piano store yesterday. The piano that sits in our living room now is over fifty years old, was originally a puke green color and was used in outdoor tent revival meetings in the Georgia humidity. After being drug from state to state (its travelled with Mom and Dad every location move they've made) and being pounded on for twelve years by a number of Ray pianists, there is only one conclusion: it's dead.

This has lead us on a new piano search. We visited a piano store in Lancaster yesterday and were inundated with information by a knowledgeable sales man. Actually, he made a very bad sales man as he spoke with love and admiration for pretty much every piano I touched. We were there two hours while he explained the companies and the different ways of building them. I did not know that pianos were a work of art as opposed to a tool, an "instrument" to make music with. In Europe companies, they hand build the pianos and analyse them after production to see what its strengths are and make adjustments to enhance those. No two pianos are ever the same. And no two pianos have the same response to the same musician. I played two pianos that are the same make from the same company and they sounded very different with different feeling in the keys. "They just came from two different trees." But as he insisted and I sense when I compared them, the one of the right had an especially beautiful sound. Since yesterday, I've concluded that I'm in love with it and want it to sit in my living room and be our instrument for years and years. Gretchen and Jen are still playing and Isaac might begin soon. Jen is starting violin.

The guy at the store told us that for concert pianists there are special display rooms right beside the factories where the pianos are built. In this room are five pianos, polished, and unplayed. The pianists are invited to try the pianos. When they decide against one, the keyboard is closed and they keep playing the others. When it is down to two, they go for lunch somewhere, give it a break, while experts pour over the pianos and try to make them both have the qualities that attracted the pianist to one or the other. And when lunch is over, they fall in love with one of them and have them taken away to be theirs.

I no longer wonder at the price of pianos.

(Don't be fooled by its shape and size. It is nothing like the church pianos)