Health Update

Sandy, the nurse from Humira Homecare, came over today to make sure I knew what I was doing when I took my injection. The hospital sent me pre-filled syringes instead of pens, so it was good to have someone here for my anxiety. She said that they can send me the pens for the next shipment, and she showed me a better way to take them that’s less finicky. It was fine, though as usual I just want to sit still for a moment and have some sweets until my heart is a bit calmer. But, I’m back on my meds after being off them for a month, which is a Good Thing, and hopefully I’ll start getting my energy back sooner rather than later.

Still get headaches—had one the other night that put me out of business for a day and a half. I wish my sinuses weren’t so whacked up, and I’m sure my liver doesn’t like all the meds I have to take. Which, by the way, we’re hoping for optimistic results from my liver function test. *crosses fingers* My ears have stopped bothering me for the most part, too.

I’m not meaning to sound melodramatic. Overall, health is good. This town has the cleanest air I’ve breathed in a long time. The temperature is constant, so although the weather is often damp, my arthritis hasn’t been too bothered. The town is small enough that I haven’t had to over-walk myself to get anywhere. My continual plague is headaches, but I’ve had unexplainable headaches since I was 9, so I doubt those are going away anytime soon. Most of the time I don’t bother mentioning them.

However, for now I’m going to Edinburgh for a couple days. Should be back the 31st (yes, I’m going to miss out on Hogmanay in Edinburgh…just as well). Happy New Year, everyone!

Christmas

Actually, Happy Boxing Day! Which means for the second day in a row everything is closed. My parents are taking a walk around the Old Course and the Sands, and I’ve come back up to my dorm to do some work. The past couple days I’ve stayed with my parents in the flat they’re staying in and it’s been really nice to have a home away from home. The flat has definitely convinced me to move out of Gannochy the first chance I get.

We went to Christmas Vigil at Holy Trinity Church on Christmas Eve. Then, because we didn’t photo-20have any stockings, Alex and I left our slippers on the hearth with high hopes. The next morning, our shoes were left outside in the hallway with goodies from Santa. πŸ˜‰ Apparently Santa was honoring our Dutch roots this year. I’m pleased to come away with new fun socks, enough soap to last me another year, a new battery for my camera, and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Felicity and Ginger came over for Christmas Lunch and we watched It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas. Then we went back to our respective corners: Dad playing Monopoly on his computer or watching the news, Mom reading or dozing, Alex playing video games, and me on my computer writing. The first draft of “Masterpiece” is coming along nicely. I’m not expecting it to be readable until a long, long time from now [‘Beauty is perfection’] so don’t bother asking about it. πŸ™‚

Winter Solstice

Today is the shortest day of the year. The sun rose at 8:44 AM and set at 3:36 PM, and at noon the sun was only 30 degrees above the horizon. But there was sun, and we stood facing it like sunflowers. I will be glad to get daylight back. “O come thou Dayspring and cheer…”

I’m making a playlist for the Bible, because I realized I probably have enough songs to tell the narrative from start to finish, and I do, just about. It definitely won’t fit all on one CD so I’m making it long enough to fit two. Right now it’s pretty Andrew Peterson/Sara Groves/Third Day heavy, and I’m lacking songs for the OT Wisdom literature and the Prophets and for the NT Epistles. If you can think of any, please do recommend, and hopefully email the songs over if you have them. (I’d really like “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds…)

And in the spirit of the season: Behold, the Child – Christmas Mix

Magic & Fantasy

I’ve just finished watching the last episode of Merlin, and let me say that I am SO GLAD it’s returning for a second season! It’s been so long since I’ve seen a fun, fantasy TV series—the last time I can think of is Hercules and Xena*—and I’m quite relieved it’s been renewed, since most TV shows I wholeheartedly enjoy from the start tend to be canceled after the first season (Γ  la Firefly, le sigh). Now, the question is: when is Merlin returning? Do we have to wait until next September, or, pray tell, will it come sooner? Does anyone know?

And this brings up something I’ve been wondering for quite a while now: why is there such a lack of good fantasy films? Granted, I don’t really watch TV anymore and haven’t for years, so when I think “wow, this is the only fantasy TV show!” I’m in complete ignorance of what else is out there. But for films, the only comparable movies I can think of—comparable in terms of medieval-esque setting, commonplace nature of magic and mythical beings—are The Last Unicorn, Dragonheart, Merlin, and Willow. Yes, there’s Lord of the Rings, but that’s epic, and there’s Harry Potter, but that’s set in our world. Pan’s Labyrinth might fit. Once again I’m reminded that usually for fantasy I turn to books, and for science-fiction to TV/film.

Am I on to something here, or am I completely missing out on good fantasy films that I just don’t know about? (And if so, do please enlighten me!)

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* Yes, I admit my loser/nerdiness, but they were fun.

Hibernation Day

It never got fully light today. According to the forecast, it’s been in the low-40’s and raining all day, the wind making it closer to freezing. I was going to go to 666 this morning but as I slept through my alarm again, and didn’t crawl out of my bed until 11, I decided that my body had more sense than I did and that I ought to sleep. I’m worn out, and as much I’d like to be diligent and have most of my annotated bibliography done before my parents come, I haven’t the energy to spend on it. Instead, I’ve been having a hibernation day. I cracked the curtains open to let in a bit of the gray daylight and moved my lamp to cast a yellow half-moon onto my nest of blankets and pillows, and have been reading The Black Unicorn by Tanith Lee. I’m waiting for something to happen in it, meaning that it pales in comparison to The Hero and the Crown, but it entertains. I will eventually have to venture out into the cold and wet later to the porter in Sallies, and hopefully not have to wait too long at the door (why Gannochy residents can’t get into the building when we share the same porter is beyond me). Perhaps I’ll be up to some work tomorrow morning, and then reward myself with Christmas cookies and movies at Katherine’s. Even if not, I’m still going to Katherine’s. Cookies, Love Actually, and Chinese take-away are the only reasons I need.

Standing in circles

Well, I had my last class of the semester this morning, the second seminar of “Eras of Medieval Thought” in “Reading the Medieval Text.” I think I might write my 3,000-word essay on this seminar instead of doing the textual editing exercise. Which sounds more interesting, the development of the hero or the transformation of the court, between Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? I’m leaning toward the court, because it’ll implicitly provide research for Bede, but the hero might be easier.

Instead of Research Skills today we had the English Christmas Party… and I have to say that OBU’s English parties are better at getting into the spirit of things. I should recommend a book exchange for next year. It’s a larger group though, so it’ll have to take some thought. It was fun, however, despite my momentary dread as I walked up the stairs (large social gatherings, ergh), as we just stood in our cliques drinking wine (or apple juice). Rachel attempted to make us stand in geometric shapes other than a circle, Jesse almost told me off because he didn’t realize I was drinking juice, and then Scott and I determined that they must all get their PhD’s done well before 2050. Fife reportedly will be underwater by that point, and we will be the first to go. So definitely no 40-year theses here.

I was talked into going in to 666* tomorrow to work, so for the rest of today I am going to finish reading The Hero and the Crown and maybe watch a movie…

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* The ‘Renaissance Room’ in 66 North Street is in Room 6. Made all the more ironic by Bronnie’s PhD topic: science and magic in Renaissance drama…

Things to do

You’d think I would feel a sense of relief after turning in my 5,000-word essay this morning. I’m done, right? No, I’m not. There’s no rest for me this Christmas; I’m not sure how well I’ll be able to relax when I know I’ve got the following:

  • 2,500-word annotated bibliography, due 9 Jan;
  • 3,000-word essay or transcription exercise, due 9 Jan;
  • Latin translations (two hymns);
  • Old English translation (60 lines);
  • Read Buke of the Ordre of Knychthede, and probably begin reading for Special Topic;
  • PhD applications due 1 Jan and 15 Jan, depending on the program.

My parents are coming from 22-31 December, and Laura’s coming 8-18 January, and it’s a good thing for me that the Spring semester doesn’t actually start until 9 February.

Yes, I am quite a bit annoyed that my vacation will be anything but.

Weather Report

Winter on the edge of the North Sea has taught me to expect anything when it comes to the weather. Or, as my friend Jesse said:

Oh well, it’s always difficult to predict the weather in this town, but I have looked into it a bit, and from the best sources I could gather it looks like the weather will be as follows: sun, rain, sun, snow, plague of frogs, raining sun, sunning rain, drought, alternating 1st and 3rd horsemen of the apocalypse for about 45 minutes, and then the weather might get strange and a little unpredictable.

But most likely it’ll be raining when I walk over to the Sharpes’ later this evening for the Christmas party. (I’m not letting the current clear skies fool me. It was a ceiling of clouds just a couple hours ago.)

Edit: So, it wasn’t raining, because I brought my umbrella. Which means it will be tomorrow because I left the foresaid umbrella in Felicity’s purse. It wasn’t even that cold (er, it’s sad when freezing is no longer considered ‘that cold’). Christmas Desserts was fun; good food, great company. I will ever be amused by a Canadian opera singer singing a Russian aria in a Scottlish living room. I really do hope I get to stay here for my PhD.

Brave little boy

Gather round ye children come,
Listen to the old old story
Of the power of death undone
By an infant born of glory
Son of God, Son of Man.

So sing out with joy
For the brave little boy
Who was God, but made himself nothing.
Well, he gave up his pride
And he came here to die like a man.

Andrew Peterson’s “Gather ‘Round, Ye Children Come” (click to download) is one of my favorite Christmas songs. It’s fitting that I’m writing an essay primarily concerned with the Incarnation at Christmastime.

In other news, I’m tired of modern skepticism and cynicism tainting readings of medieval religion. Not all medieval clerics were obsessed with oppressing the laity, or medieval women with having sex with Christ. Seriously. Some people actually believed with sincere, honest, beautiful faith.