Friday, September 7

Madeleine L'Engle is dead

I'd been expecting this for a while; I knew her health hadn't been good. But I'm still sad. It's hard to accept that someone who taught me so much about life is dead.
I think I picked up Wrinkle In Time when I was 10 or 11. I knew I'd never read anything like it before, and read straight through the whole Time series. Some of her books, I had to grow into (An Acceptable Time, and Many Waters, both of which are now favorites). Others, like Swiftly Tilting Planet, made an immediate impact.
A few years after reading Wrinkle, I discovered that L'Engle wrote non-fiction books based on her journals. I read the Crosswicks journals shortly after, of which The Irrational Season is possibly my favorite.
In late high school, I stumbled upon Walking On Water, her mediation on faith and art. To say that this revolutionized my view of the interaction between faith and art would be to damn the book with faint praise. It "baptized my imagination," to use Lewis' powerful phrase. I have read it regularly, at least once a year, ever since.
In college, when I was living with my grandmother for a short time, I checked out A Live Coal In the Sea from the library: I started it at 9pm, and finished at 2am, in tears. It remains one of the most powerful portrayals of human sin and God's mercy that I have yet seen in a modern novel.
Madeleine L'Engle was my introduction to sacramental thinking, and a constant reminder of the wonder in the everyday world. She was realistic, but never glum. She was able to see the wonders of science, without losing sight of God. She taught me to love beauty in all its forms, and to be willing to go into darkness if that is where God lead.
She wrote poetry that moved me past myself and towards God. "Farewell to all I thought was me, that I may find what these were meant to be."
How do you say goodbye to someone you never know, who meant so much, and who impacted you so deeply?
Goodbye Madeleine; I know you were not afraid of death, and I am sure that you are with God now, delighting in Him as you always did. You did so much to keep my heart soft when I would have hardened it, and to strengthen my faith when I would have lost it.
I will miss you.

Grey hairs and henna

I colored my hair with henna a few months ago; I'm a big fan of henna body art, and had heart it does marvelous things for the hair. It did make my hair very shiny, along with intensifying the red tones in my hair.
Also, I wanted to cover up a few grey hairs that I had recently found.
Of course, the problem with coloring to cover up grey is obvious: you have to keep doing it regularly; if you don't, it will appear that you've aged overnight! Granted, it's not that I have very many grey hairs, just one or two at the moment, but the question is still pertinent.
I finally decided not to color my hair again: it's too much trouble, and at the end of the day, I'm ok with the grey beginning to come through. I'm not out to impress anyone, and I've always looked older than I am anyway.
But it's still a struggle not to rush to the bathroom and yank out every silver hair!

Thursday, September 6

Back from a Long(ish) Absence

Sorry for not blogging much lately; my dad has been visiting, and I haven't gotten on-line much. Hope to be blogging vacation photos sometime soon! Although come to think of it, I think my dad has most of the pictures...
Anyhow. Dad got here on Wednesday, so we didn't do much that day: I took half the day off work, picked dad up at the airport, then stopped back by work to show him the office. Plus, my co-worker Latrice wanted to meet the person responsible for my wacky sense of humor. That night, we ate out at Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ, a place I'd always smelled when I went to my bank. I have to say, it lived up to the deliscious smell: that was probably the best brisket I've ever had, and the ribs were just amazing! Pricey, but nothing out of the ordinary for a ribs place. It's nice to know that someone in California knows what barbeque really is!
I went to work on Thursday, so dad could have lunch with a friend and get over jetlag. We watched movies that night, since my dad player could hook up with dad's hotel tv. I had Friday through Wednesay off, so Friday we went out to the beach. It was so much cooler out there! I think it was the best weather I've ever seen on the beach: warm, but not particularly hot, with a good breeze, but not blowing sand in our faces. The surf was really rough, and gave us several good tumbles, but it was fun.
Saturday we went to the swap meet at Goldenwest College: I bought a lovely cheap pink sunhat, some books (did you know that there were two books after My Father's Dragon?? Me neither! I bought them, and they were fun, but not as good as the original), some honey sticks, and some pineapple. Oh, and a Paul Simon CD, to replace the one that the art department stole. I love Paul Simon's music, especially songs like Kodachrome, Hearts and Bones, Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes, and Slip-Slidin' Away.
Sunday we went to church, then headed out to Upland to visit a distant relative, Irene. If I have this straight, she's my dad's grandmother's sister. So she's his second cousin, and my third cousin. I think. Anyway, she's 93, but still very alert and active, not to mention cheerful! She really seemed delighted to see us, and kept telling funny stories and jokes. My favorite was when she talked about her marriage: I'm going to retell it here, but you should hear her talk about it!
She said: "When I was a young girl, and Harold was courting me, we'd gotten engaged, and I had ordered my wedding dress from the Sears and Roebuck catalog for $2.50! Well, I was always half-crazy, and started seeing this other boy for awhile. He told me that if I'd marry him, he'd take me to California! I thought, 'Ooh, Califnoria!'. Well, this boy went up to Harold and said, 'You think you're going to marry Irene, but you're not! She's going to marry me, and we're going to California!'. Well, Harold got someone to take his shift at the factory that day, and he came and found me, and said, 'Get packed, I'm coming for you tonight!" So went off that night and got married!"
She also told stories about a flodding cellar during a tornado, and travelling by covered wagon, when her sister fell out of the wagon! It was really neat to listen to her. I'd be happy to be half that alert, active, and cheerful when I'm her age!
Monday was a nice slow day. We really didn't do much except lunch (The Olde Shippe, my favorite pub) and a movie (Death At A Funeral, which was hilarious! Alan Tudyk as a drugged up Englishman. Frank Oz directing. Obviously going to be funny).
Tuesday was the trip into LA. Our first stop was the Music Box staircase, on Vendome st. This is where Laurel and Hardy filmed their movie, The Music Box, eighty years ago (for those who don't know, that's the one where they try to move a piano up a huge flight of stairs outside a house). After getting very lost, we finally managed to make it to Forest Lawn Glendale, where we saw the graves of the Hortons (founders of Biola), L. Frank Baum, Jay T. Ward (creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle), and Jimmy Stewart. From there, we headed out to Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, to see the graves of Buster Keaton, Stan Laurel, and Bill Peet (artist, Disney animator, and children's author). We stopped for lunch at Bob's Big Boy; dad used to take me out for breakfast at the Big Boy in Fort Worth, and there are hardly any left. From there, we went to Graumann's Chinese Theater, and walked around Hollywood a little.
All in all, a very fun week!