Is is Nov 21 yet?

<insert fangirl> OMG Harry Potter! My excitement is renewed. Sooo excited. Surely I’ll find someone in Scotland to go see it with me.

Happy birthday Harry! 🙂 And as Amber pointed out, it would be his 28th birthday, so the (unnecessary, fan-ficcy) epilogue hasn’t happened yet. Hmm…

Woolly thoughts

My job has thoroughly taught me that I do not want a management career, nor do I want to work in corporate business. Seriously. However, I have been listening to Dr Lee’s fabulous lecture series on the Anglo-Saxons on my iPod–now that is exciting. The Wanderer, The Ruin, Dream of the Rood, Beowulf… I can’t wait to learn Old English! I’m glad I know Middle English already, and some German, so picking it up should be fair enough. I’ve begun making Lists to prepare for the move: of sweaters, what books I’ll bring, what books I’ll read before I leave, traveling, who else I need to contact regarding my medications (the biggest headache so far, besides the visa). I’m ready to be there, mentally, to see what I wish I could see so I could Plan for how to live there. Only 47 more days. In the meantime, this South Texan is trying to prepare for a year-long winter.

Music Post: TGN

I’ve figured out how to zip files and upload them, so now I can share playlists. 🙂 Here’s perhaps my most successful playlist (even Kali likes most of the songs), “To Govern the Night.” It was my NaNoWriMo ’07 inspiration mix. It’s still my favorite; even if technically that book doesn’t quite exist in that form anymore, it still captures the atmosphere of the Alliance/Elite war.

Click to Download: To Govern the Night

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Read, learn, accomplish

My mom put a box of old school papers in my room. I mean old, from elementary and middle school. I did a quick look-through to make sure there isn’t anything valuable (I’m still in search of the Europa project. Jenn, do you have a copy somewhere…?). I pulled out two folders out of curiosity, “Fourth Grade Memories” and “Fifth Grade Memories.” Apparently my favorite subject in 4th grade was math “because you solve problems” and my least favorite was reading “because I can’t pay attention.” Hah!

What really interests me is my coat of arms that I made in 5th grade. My favorite color is still blue (though I favor green sometimes too). The three personality traits I wrote are: “Free, because I can make my own decisions,” “Peace, because I like to have peace around me,” and “Read, because I like reading.” I had an independent and harmony streak already, it seems. And the motto on my shield was: Read, learn, accomplish — “because I think these are important.” …I was 10, and my motto was Read, learn, accomplish?? Wow little Chera, you were precocious.

A Phone Call

“Hello, my name is Angela and I’m calling from the British Consulate regarding your appeal for your student visa. Everything is fine and I am happy to go ahead and issue your visa.”

Hip hip hooray! Huzzah! Oh my. This comes with amazing timing because I was already prioritizing Plans B-G in order of time sensitivity, since I wasn’t expecting to hear back from the Consulate so quickly, not until September, and I was preparing for the worst. In my mind I was already moving to Dallas (Plan F): I was looking at apartments online, job hunting, and planning to apply to UTA, UTD, UNT, UD, and SMU for the spring semester. So, it’s sort of weird, and amazing, that Scotland, is real.

Edited 25/07/08:
…and an email. I got the British Council Scotland USA Graduate Scholarship. For real? For real. Oh my.

Sedes Sapientiae

While I was in Shawnee, I made sure I went to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art, to visit Delaynna, et al, and also because my exhibit was up (!). “From the Seat of Wisdom: Medieval Art from the Mabee-Gerrer Collection.” This is a very photo intensive post… my apologies. But it came out so great!

I chose most of the pieces… and wrote the labels for them. Hannah Byland also helped. She translated the Latin from the manuscripts we had.

The focus is on the Sedes Sapientiae, or the Madonna & Child Enthroned. I loved researching them and being able to touch them (with cotton gloves, of course). But because we didn’t have enough just Madonna & Child pieces, we expanded the exhibit to include music and recreation in the Middle Ages. We had examples of both secular and sacred music, and aristocratic past times (dominoes, hunting).

A wall of painted Madonna & Child’s. Look, in the second picture, Christ is holding a finch. 🙂 The Byzantine Madonna is one of my absolute favorites. I remember doing a condition report on her a year ago, when we had a miniature exhibit for the annual meeting of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. And the Ecce Homo (“Here is the man”) is also a favorite.

Some of Hannah’s handiwork, and the German fowling crossbow. Clay was trying to get that into the exhibit from day one, but it wasn’t until June when I realized we would have to include the secular element as well as the sacred that we decided to add it in.

This last picture is from the main gallery. Can you see why I loved this place? The painting of St Augustine and St Gregory in the back left is there temporarily, usually a Madonna & Child is there. And that ivory box… I can’t tell you how many hours I spent staring at that thing, researching every detail, trying to find something out about it… but it’s still a mystery.

Long road south

Two rules one should keep in mind while driving long distances (particularly in reference to police cars):

1. Do not slow down when you see that a cop has pulled someone over. This is pointless; he’s already caught someone, so he’s not going to come after you. Keep moving.

2. When you see a cop car not so preoccupied, do not put on your brakes to slow down. Instead, lift your foot from the gas, or, if you are using cruise control, hit cancel. Friction will slow you down just as effectively, and more naturally, than using the brake, and you won’t flash your brake lights as a tell-tale sign that you were speeding.

I crossed the Oklahoma/Texas border yesterday just as the sun set. It was a cloudless evening, a brilliant red fireball falling through a smooth gradient of color, igniting the Red River into molten fire, and then it was gone. I gave one last glance at Oklahoma in my rearview mirror and said good-bye. Everyone I care about from there has left, so I don’t know if and when I shall return, but I will say that something about the Oklahoma plains has seeped into my bones, so maybe someday I might.

Twas a busy weekend, to be expected, and the wedding was lovely, and, for five of us, it was awesome, but that is a story for another day. *wry grin* This post is just to say, yes, it went wonderfully, I am back in San Antonio, and I am well. Over the past 7 days, I have driven 22 hours (at least two every day), so I am tired of driving. Allowed for plenty of time to think, and put into consciousness realities about my personal philosophy that may or may not find their way here, but I am eager to write them in my journal. I’m also pleased because I’m reading again. I had to return Name of the Rose to Kelly, despite having not finished it, but she gave me Tamsin by Peter Beagle (who also wrote The Last Unicorn). It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a book excite my imagination and pull on me to read it, so this truly is a pleasure.

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Philip and Kelly Ledbetter! (As I said, more later. I’m going back to reading Tamsin now. Kelly’s in Portland, so she won’t care if a book trumps her for the moment. ;))

This day

For today, see Kelly’s post aptly titled, Today. A quote she missed: “Do you know how to… pick watermelons?” Oh, and:

Me: This heat is excessive. What was God thinking?
Kelly: Maybe it was accidental.
Me: Oh man, talk about change of worldview.
Kelly: Wow, yeah…
Me: So, that takes the meaning out of your wedding now, doesn’t it?
Kelly: [censored]

Needless to say, I cracked up hysterically, and Kelly was thoroughly embarrassed that Watermelon Lady heard it all.

Also, go see Elizabethtown.


Back in Shawnee! For a few days. It’s really funny how excited I am to be back when for my entire time at OBU I couldn’t wait to leave. I stayed overnight in Arlington with Rani. So much fun, staying up until 2 AM just catching up and being DATA nerds. DATA totally turned us into internet junkies; we are corrupted.

Every time I drive through Moore I think of “O” words, because once when I drove through there the person with me said there weren’t many words that began with “O.” Only, or, ostentatious, oxen, ornery, oak, order, odious, ogre…

It was great to put in Laura’s Circus Runaway mix and just drive. It’s always one of the first CDs I put in on road trips. Funny, too,  how music brings back different memories… my first NaNoWriMo, driving from DATA to my internship at Marketecture, driving past the airport on my way to SAC for summer classes, the first time I moved to OBU.

I’m here at the house before Kelly. She warned me that the house is empty, transitory, and it is. But it’s still These Four Walls–the black and white tiled bathroom, the maroon living room, the two-roomed kitchen. I’m waiting for her, sitting on the green futon with my feet propped up on the coffee table. Just like normal. Even the boxes stacked up under the clock are normal, since the last month in Shawnee, my boxes were there. Now Kelly’s. Labeled things like “Books E-H,” “Books to Donate,” “Marvelous Books,” “Excellent Books,” and “THROW AWAY.”

Wake up, sleeper

This post is to say that I’m retaking control of my life. It’s startling how things can spin out of reach when you are too depressed and stressed to pay attention. Last week I discovered that I had lost yet more weight, the culprit being that I’m a stress not-eater. It was the wake-up call I needed to start reclaiming my self. Now is when my stubbornness is a virtue.

Lots of thinking yesterday, and waking up this morning with the incredible sense of sun breaking through the clouds. To simultaneously dance at the edge of the universe, knowing that grace is an invitation to be beautiful, and to pause and stare out into the black with steely eyes, clenched fists, a stubborn heart, and to say with defiance into the void that threatens to devour all, “His grace is sufficient for me.”

I just showed up for my own life
And I’m standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

I’m going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place

Open the windows and feel all that’s honest and real until I’m truly amazed

“Just Showed Up For My Own Life,” Sara Groves