Thursday, 31 December 2009

Almost Over

The year is almost over. I cannot believe the changes in my life, and the lives of those around me, which happened so gradually that I almost can't see how they happened, but now, I see how very fast it really must have been.
I see the things that I could have done. I see the things I did. I now have opportunities which I could hardly have thought of a year ago.
I've been stretched. I've gone through almost five months of treatment for something that I would never have imagined happening to me.
I've completed one semester of school, and met some amazing friends along the way. I've learned quite a bit about cooking on a manic-depressed stove that doesn't always decide to like you. I've learned that even when it hurts, we still have to keep on loving.
Of course, for most of the year, I thought that at this time, I'd be preparing to go to London. But now, I'm not. It nearly broke my heart when I was told that because of being sick I wouldn't be allowed to go. But God can turn even that disappointment around. I'm not sure how yet, but I know that at the end of this coming semester, I will see that good has come of me not going to London.
It's hard to believe that 2009 is nearly gone. But tonight, and already in some places around the world, the year will be gone and we shall see the end of a decade.
And when I think of all that has changed since 1999, I simply sit back and sigh. And I wonder what the next one shall bring.
God alone knows. And I shall leave that in His hands.

Sunday, 27 December 2009


Christmas has come and gone.... I wasn't able to go home to Alaska, which was hard, but Theophilus and I had a wonderful time with my grandparents and my uncle's family.
I found myself missing my friends at school, missing my friends and family at home, but still, God blessed us with a wonderful few days together.
Hopefully I'll be able to post photos at some point soon, but if not, expect quite the updates when I return to Houghton!

Monday, 21 December 2009

One Down

Yes, that's right. My last day of school was Friday!
I came pretty much straight to Gramma's, and then Merry flew out a little bit later. Since then, I've been mostly just hanging around the house with Theophilus, who is over in NY for part of break. We've been baking cookies and seeing family and watching movies, all of which are very relaxing because they have absolutely nothing to do with school.
In some ways, I still can't believe that I've now finished one whole semester of college. Where did the time go? Wasn't it just a few weeks ago that I was packing all my stuff to come down here?
Oh well, time to go to the Indian market, I'll write more later!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Favourite Things: Ceramics

I found out that I really like hand-crafted ceramics. They are beautiful, useful and can tell a lot about one's personality, I think.

So there is a guy at my school who makes beautiful ceramics. I saw his work the first week at school and have been wanting to get some ever since. Then yesterday, he was selling some in the Campus Centre.

Including this beautiful bowl for a ridiculously low price for something handcrafted. I just couldn't pass it by.

And a very cheap mug that reminded me of birch beer. It was unique. That's one lovely thing about his stuff. He guarantees that no two pieces of his will be the same.

And this cup had swirly patterns inside!

Although these two look almost identical, they have different coloured swirls and different glazes. So they're enough alike to be a set while still keeping a uniqueness about them. And they swirl opposite ways.
So I bought them for my host family for Christmas. Because everyone can always use another mug or two.

Monday, 14 December 2009

A Day In My December

~14 Dec. 09~

This morning started finals week here at HC. I can't believe how fast this semester has flown. However, my finals all fall on the last three days, so today and tomorrow are falling to be study days. (And heaven knows how I need them!)
Early in the morning, I went down to the health centre for my scheduled blood-draw. They took quite a bit today, and my arm was numb for hours afterwards. But once that ordeal was over, I returned to my room, made myself some tea (with catnip, to relax me from the stress of studying). It was a fairly productive time.
I finished a long paper that is due on Wednesday. Of course, it's frustrating because I'd already written that paper before Thanksgiving. However, Glorifindel (my computer) decided to be like his namesake and died last Thursday, wiping the hard-drive completely and I lost everything that was on there. So, since then, I rewrote all of it, found all my sources and actually managed to get a half-way decent paper. After that, I turned to studying for my Biblical Literature final, which is my last one, on Friday.
At noon, I headed over to the cafeteria for one of my last meals there this semester. I've already talked to them about keeping my plan reduced for next semester, which makes me very happy. I also checked my mail and had a package from the lovely Gwynhyfar out in Cali. Inside were cards for me and Merry, as well as gifts and a bag of teas from her sister Stephanna. They both know how very much I love tea, so this gift was quite welcome.
After opening the presents (which also included books and a pair of silvery earrings) I went back to studying. I'm happy to say that I think I'm nearly done with what I need to have read.
Around six, I went over to have ice cream with Joia and Isabel, which was fun. That lasted quite a while, and of course, Isabel and I had a blast with pink peppermint ice cream. I'm so glad the cafeteria has decided to carry my favourite ice cream for the month of December. Next time, I should take a few photos of it.
Seven thirty came and I headed up to my host family's house to study for the evening. They thought (correctly) that I would like a quiet place to study with no distractions away from my usual study places where I could easily lose focus. Mrs H. made me cookies and mint tea, and then we all settled down for studying. Mr. and Mrs. H. are both going for degree completion here, and they were studying for finals as well. It was nice to sit by their Christmas tree and sip on my hot tea while taking fourteen pages of notes for my cultural anthropology test on Thursday. I got all the studying I wanted to accomplished, and left them around midnight. Mr. H. offered to drive me down to the campus (it's about a five or eight minute walk) because it was dark, but since they had been nice enough to let me come up, and he looked far too tired to drive, I opted to walk back. The night was fairly warm for December, and I reached my dorm at midnight, if the bell tower is to be believed.
And you know, bed sounds really good now. ^_^

Sunday, 13 December 2009

A-Wassailing We Go!

Isabel, after jumping into the snow-drift with me.

Jon, who is from Texas, learning to make snow-angels.

Here is my lovely snow-angel, after Jon had so kindly pulled me up.

Afterwards, when we'd traipsed back to campus, Isabel decided to sit on the snowy bench. After all, she was already completely wet from our angels and snowfights and drift-diving shenanigans.
Yes, Christmas Carolling at the nursing home gave us so much energy we had to expend it in the freshly fallen snow. The people there were so sweet, I'm not sure who was more blessed- those who heard us singing, or the eleven of us who got to see the smiles which Christmas songs could bring.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Favourite Things: Christmas Carols

This afternoon, I was rehearsing over in the music buildings for a concert I'm in tomorrow. After i was finished, I was spending a few moments with some friends.
One of them decided to grab me back into a practice room. He, Joia and I began randomly playing Christmas music: he sang, she played my violin and I played the piano. It was such fun that I forgot all my stress over finals and friends and everything else.
And it reminded me how much I love Christmas carols. Which is exactly what I needed.
Now, go listen to some Christmas music and think of the wonder of the season!!!

Friday, 4 December 2009

More Pixie Photos

I promised more photos of the hair- so here they are! I'm really still loving the ease of care and the feel of the style. I think I'll let it all grow out again just so I can donate and chop in a few years.

Thursday, 3 December 2009


Well, after nearly a year of no new foster children, my parents informed me this afternoon that I was getting three new siblings! M (a boy) who is 12, K (a girl) who is 11, and A (another boy) who is 7!
I can't wait to hear more about them. We're not sure how long they will be with us- not for an extended period, most likely.
Still, siblings are great, and I love my family very much.

Monday, 30 November 2009

From Elf to Pixie

So, for the last two months, I've been plagued with migraines- some terrible, and some light enough to allow me to function like they weren't really there. I've tried everything- washing things without scents, non-scented soaps and shampoos, vacuuming and dusting till all little bunnies ran away, walking, no coffee (which made things worse), and everything that I'd learned from that study I did back in senior year of highschool.

Nothing helped. I tried different ways of wearing my hair, which sometimes alleviated the stress on my head for a little while. But still, no go. I talked to the doctor, and after we tried a few pain killers and other stuff, he simply told me that perhaps it was time to chop off my hair.

Sunday night, I remarked to my friend Joia that I should cut my hair off. She just looked at me. "If you want, I could do it for you..."

"I'll have to tell my mom." Next thing I knew, I was calling her. She said okay. I told Joia. Well, we had already agreed to get together to eat rice at five this afternoon.

"I'll bring scissors. How much?"

"I think I want to donate. So, like a foot?"

Well, it ended up a little over that. Thirteen inches, in the longer part, a little over twelve inches in the shorter sections. And then of course, the trimmings to make it look even.

I really like it though!!! As I get a few more photos tomorrow, I'll show you how it really looks.

And sorry, my hair's not really this dark! All lights but my desk lamp and computer were turned off when I took this photo, and the flash was being silly. And the kitchen light is notoriously dark, I've had people assume that I have dark brown hair when they've met me in there, and half the lights in there aren't working right now.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Black Friday

So, for the second year in a row, I have braved the craziness that is Black Friday. We spent yesterday (actual American Thanksgiving) with my uncle and aunt, and this morning, Gramma stayed with my little cousins.
Merry and I went with my uncle and aunt to the stores. Starting at five in the morning. That's right. I was dressed, cleaned up and had two cups of coffee before four forty-five in the morning. It's a good thing that Black Friday is only once a year because there is no way I'd ever do this more than this.
However, I did get some good deals at the stores, so I'm happy.
And yes, the prize buy: $20 for a hard-back edition of the complete works of Shakespeare.
I am happy. And tired. So now I'm off to bed. Tomorrow I have an early family birthday-party!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Over the Hills and Far Away

I've been listening to this a lot today as I pack... Yes, I know. It's hard to imagine that I am a European symphonic rock fan, but I am. (Nightwish won me over.)

This song makes me think of Le Comte De Monte-Cristo, that or Dunsany's book Over the Hills and Far Away. Both of which make me very happy.

Monday, 23 November 2009


Well, today at three, I got out of my last class for the whole week. That's right, it's American Thanksgiving now!

Merry still has a class and some work tomorrow, so we won't be heading to my wonderful Gramma's house until after seven. But all the same, I'm excited about going "over the river and through the woods".

I've had a busy weekend, full of plays, homework, friends and going to an Ethiopian restaurant.

Oh yes. I'll have to blog about that. Lovely people, delicious food, all on a Sunday afternoon. Even though I'd have preferred Asian food to African, we still had a wonderful time. And I loved the tastes of the spices and the meat and the flat bread, which reminded me greatly of chapatis.

I'm not sure how much I'll be online at Gramma's, but I will at least post a short update at some point. ^_^

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Favourite Things: Shakespeare!

Last night was closing night for The Comedy of Errors. It was hilarious, fun, and sad. Because now, I won't have a house to run. Or crazy, slightly stressed actors to hang out with. (They're back to just being students...)
But I have lots of memories. And several hundred photos.
Huzzah for Shakespeare making my week so much fun!

Monday, 16 November 2009

For Theophilus

Look what I found on youtube today while I was studying...

Donald, Where's Your Trousers

Just for Theophilus. I thought he might enjoy that. It certainly brings back memories for me... back to Freshman year when we tore down our house and listened to this on the record player a LOT.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Remembering to Slow Down

Bare feet.
Crunchy leaves.
Remnants of a frost.
Soft woolen sweaters.
Long warm skirts.
Talking with dear friends.
Admiring the beauty of the world.
Wondering at the simplicity of nature.
Wishing for the wildness that I remember from Alaska.
Evenings spent with friends.
Hot cocoa and relaxing piano music.
Resting and taking time to listen to God on this day set apart by Him.
Remembering to thank Him.

These are the days that I need to remember. These are the days that give me space and distance to see what my life is. The days that allow me to think and reflect. The ones that give me energy, motivation and remembrance of what it is that is important.

Bloggy Thoughts

As I sit here, battling day who knows what of a migraine, I find myself thinking about this blog. For a year and a half, I have written here, and changed greatly through that writing. I've realized much about myself, about others, about what I want in life. Also, it shows me how I live the life I have.

And living in a dorm setting, I've come to see how much I really want to have a real house soon. How I love kitchens (and cooking), crafting, and all of the things that go with homes. (Including cleaning... who'd have thought I'd ever miss washing dishes?) I try to find ways of living the 'down-to-earth' lifestyle while still being here rather than just dreaming. It helps that I'm not really on the meal-plan and so am cooking for myself.

However, I still find that my most recurrent dream is that of living in my own home. I suppose my mind has a built up ideal, Willowcliffe Cottage, if you will. And so often, I see this blog as being tied to my desire to grow in the "down-to-earth" lifestyle. It is where I write about cooking, crafting, and those things which mean "home" to me. I no longer teach music lessons and run my own business, thus making "Willowcliffe Studios" passé. So what am I to do with the blog name?

I'm thinking of doing something in terms of the homing aspect of the blog, yet I'm not sure if I want to abandon the "Willowcliffe" part since it is so intrinsically linked to my dramatis personae. I'm tossing around ideas with "cottage of dreams" or similar titles. A new blog layout would likely go along with a new title.

Most likely, it will be "Dreams of A Place Called Home", or some similar derivation. I'll post before I change anything.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

A Day in My Life for November 2009

It's been a while since I've done this... but I haven't really forgotten it completely.

This morning, I woke originally at about five thirty, to eat a quick breakfast and take my medications. Since Merry was still sleeping, I went to the floor's study room and read for a little while. (Psalms, for Katana's sake, and because I'm probably going to have to write another paper on them for Biblical Literature here soon.)

However, I was still pretty tired, so at about six thirty, I went back to bed. I ended up sleeping until about nine thirty, at which point I decided to make another apple cobbler. This time, I made the large pan, but with a different recipe, and then the small pan with my regular recipe. I find that the newer recipe made the top be really crisp and brown, so I don't think I'll be making it again. But I have plenty of guy friends who will likely not care a bit about that and eat it all for me. :)

Much of the morning was taken up with paring and spicing the apples. Then, around noon, my grandfather dropped by for a few minutes with some of my warm clothes that I got thrifting two weeks ago and my Gramma had altered for me. (Thanks Gramma!) I did a little bit of work for calling from about 12:15 till maybe ten minutes before one. After I'd finished with that, I went back to the dorm kitchen and baked the cobblers. After they were both finished, I cleaned up the kitchen, then went back to my room to let them cool.

Since I'd had a crazy busy week, my room was in a state of entropy. I rectified that and then settled down for a lovely Saturday afternoon nap. Around four thirty (my life revolves around 'thirties' for today...) Teodor called me, waking me up. I headed over to the third floor of the library (which isn't really the library, it's the religion and philosophy department) to meet up with Teodor, Nora and Ben (and JC came later) to watch V for Vendetta. I took the cobblers, and Nora brought some other food.

We invaded the professors lounge and set up all of our stuff. After the movie was over at seven thirty, we all went into the hall and splayed our things everywhere. We stayed there talking until about one in the morning.

And that is just a day in my life here. (Not the staying up till one, necessarily...)

Friday, 13 November 2009

Favourite Things: Friends

So, I had another Favourite Things post all prepped, then realised that I really ought to post something else. Of course, this is more of a thankful thing than a favourite, but it still applies...
My friends here at HC. Teo, Stephen, Nadea, Nora, Ben, Henna, Emy and Carter. Just a few of my favourites.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Favourite Things: Nadea

I thought I should share a bit about Nadea.
She is one of my favourite 'things' too... though I feel like I should break from tradition and say "favourite person" instead.
She's there for me when I'm stressed, sick, silly and every time in between. She reminds me to smile and to keep going when times get hard.
Maybe later, I'll post a photo, if she's okay with that. ^_^

(Edit: She was okay with it, so I decided to add this photo!)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Apple Cobbler

Some of my friends decided to give me a bunch of apples. What was I supposed to do with them was left up to me. So I choose a few of them...

And then I cut them into eighths! I had an idea building in my head of what I wanted to do...

I cut them into little bitty pieces and then sprinkled lots of spices on them. (The spices hadn't been added at the point in which this photo was taken...) And then I let them sit for awhile.

Next step was to make a cobbler topping and then a sugar glaze for the top, and bake it.

Last of all, I took it to the Campus Centre, and shared it with my friends who donated the apples (and the spices!) in the first place.
The cobbler didn't last long, and by the next day, I had even more apples in my room again. Looks like this process is going to be repeated sometime soon!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Remembering to Hope

Miserere Mei, Deus - Westminster Cathedral Choir

I think this may be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. So peaceful, so stilling. It fills me with longing and remembrance.
And it reminds me that in the darkest moments, there is still hope.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Favourite Things: The Spice of Life

My dear Nora had her sister visiting over the weekend, and she brought me a bunch of spices. Needless to say, this made me very happy. And my room kinda smells a bit like a spice cabinet now.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Favourite Things: "Jhaniel"

In keeping with my rather hectic, less than peaceful, and slightly (okay, more than slightly) traumatic week, I think FT posts are winning out on my mind. I've been singing the song all day to remind me to smile; and as I drank my trillionth cup of tea, I settled on my Favourite Thing for the day.

Meet "Jhaniel": my tea kettle. She heats up water beautifully, brings happiness (and warmth) and just is so pretty that every time I look at her, I smile.

Huzzah for tea, hot water, and kitcheny items!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Favourite Things: Cardamom Cookies

I have no photos right now of cardamom cookies right now, but I thought, due to a comment from Mythopoeia, that I ought to post the recipe for them.

1 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cardamom
2 cups flour

1. Cream butter and sugar, add egg
2. Stir in cardamom
3. Add baking powder and flour
4. Make dough log, wrap in wax paper, chill in refrigerator
5. Cut into 1/4 inch wedges and bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 F.
6. Cool on rack till firm.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Favourite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Recently, I decided that I needed to remember what things made me happy and focus on them, or bring them back into my life, whenever I'm feeling down. So, over the next few weeks, I'll be posting about my favourite things.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

An Autumn Walk

Autumn is definitely here at HC. I love the leaves, the smell, the wind and the sounds of autumn here.
I took a walk this afternoon, attempting to clear my muddled mind of facts about economics in Kenya, indigenous tribes of the Himelayas, and the meaning of Ezekiel in relation to the epistles of the New Testament. Do you know what those all turn into when you've just seen the doctor for more news about your stomach bug and he gives you a strong dose of meds to help?
Well, you get Nepalese arguing in a crowded market place about the prophets of old and the meaning of life.
Not really. But that's what I kinda felt like after trying to study for several hours. So I went out with my camera, my bag (with a notebook and texts and suchlike...) and my new coat. (That'll be another post.) And I'd talked to Cynthia about taking photos of the pretty colours and where I go on my walks. I also decided to do something I occasionally did with my little sisters. I went "house-shopping".
Basically, you look at all the houses around and decide which ones you like best and which one you would live in if you could. And I found the perfect house for me and the girls. (The one you can kind of see in the middle picture.) I'm going up there again tomorrow with my friend Nora to show her. I think when I'm allowed to live out of dorms, I'll try for that house if I can.
And the best part? Studying went so much better when I came back, and the medications are making me happy.
And I'm going to Gramma's tomorrow!!!

Friday, 23 October 2009

Fun, oh Fun...

I have a slight cold. (My tissue box will testify.) Maybe more than slight. My nose resembles something of a broken water hydrant. I'm coughing like a crazy mix of a chain smoker and a foghorn. (Also, kinda what my sneezes sound like...) My eyes are feeling like they're being hammered out of my head. And my stomach is staging a re-enactment of the seige of Normandy crossed with the Battle of Pellenor Fields. I haven't been able to keep any food down since lunch yesterday. (Not pleasant, let me assure you...)
The cold medications the doctor gave me the other day are messing with my other medications. Basically, my mind is blurry and confused. I can't get facts straight, and when I try to study, all I get is a worse headache. That I can't take painkillers for.
And I have my Biblical Literature mid-term today. I'm sure you can see how I feel like this won't be a good thing.
But God is amazing.
My professor for that course found me sneezing and coughing my lungs out on my trail yesterday. And asked what was wrong. After explaining, she looked at me for a moment.
"You know, if you feel up to it, you can take the test tomorrow. If you don't want to you, you don't have to. Or, if you feel you did badly and could do better, I'll give it to you again another day. Just let me know. I won't hold this against you."
I was so grateful for this, I burst into tears. (My headache was somewhere between all the dwarves of Moria pounding on my skull and the warhammer from the third LotR movie booming into my cerebrum.)
Then I saw my Global Issues professor, who'd been told by my doctor that I was feeling badly and really shouldn't be stressing or studying too hard. I have a paper due for her class on Monday, and had just found that four of my five sources were only temporarily open to public viewing, thus meaning that I had to find new ones and rewrite my paper to reflect those new sources.
She informed me that she'd give me till the following Wednesday or Thursday to finish my paper. This gives me this afternoon to visit the doctor again.
God is amazing, and I love my professors here.
Oh, and I love my tissue box, cough medication, hot tea, and my room-mate. (She's awesome...)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Procurement of Kitcheny Items

So, the last few weeks at school, I've been having a blast, but have had just one problem that refused to leave me alone.
I was losing weight a little too fast. I've never been fast at gaining weight; it's hard for me to maintain. So about two weeks ago, I started to force myself to eat more. The results of that are less than pleasant, and I shall leave most of those adventures unspoken.
It became more serious for me when even friends of mine started mentioning that I was looking a bit thinner than I had when I first arrived at school. Then I realized that my pants were more than roomy about my waist, not to mention almost all my clothes looked baggy to some extent.
I finally decided that I'd have to start making some food to compliment the three meals I eat at the cafeteria. The doctor here added that especially with my medications, I had a lot of limitations on the food here, and that I should eat more than three meals a day. Five or six would be ideal. Of course, since I hadn't planned on this at the beginning of the semester, I was not in the possession of any sort of pots or pans. Or really any ingredients had I owed those aforementioned pots and pans.
However, I have been going to a nearby town for church on Sundays with two girls from my floor. They told me that at a certain thrift store, I could easily buy what I needed, and then get some basic groceries to supplement my diet.
This morning, I headed in there, and thirty three dollars later, I was the proud owner of a saute-frying pan, two saucepans, one Dutch oven/stew pot, four wooden spoons, four stirring spatulas, one frying spatula, one baking sheet, and four Tupperware containers. Not to mention the milk, eggs, canned soups, salt, flour, sugar, egg noodles, baking power, bread, butter, and cough drops.
Next week: regular frying pan and a mixing bowl/measuring spoons and a tea kettle. Perhaps ginger, vanilla extract, cinnamon and cloves. (And maybe measuring cups if Mum can't find mine and send them to me?)
I've been happy and bubbling all day since. Amazing what the procurement of kitcheny items can do to brighten my day.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Photos from the Weekend

Last weekend was Homecoming at HC... which meant absolute craziness. For the most part, it was fun and I enjoyed myself. But I'm still rather glad it's over now.

Here are some of the girls I spend a bit of time with, including the second from the left, Esther, who not only lives on my floor, but is also going to London with me. :) And then, there's Chad, the Venezuelan/Thai physicist from Chicago.
Yes, that's me, and one of the Canadians, she also lives on my floor.
We even had bagpipers for the parade on Saturday! Okay, so that's not so unusual given that our mascot is the Highlanders... but really, three bagpipers playing at seven thirty in the morning was pretty impressive.

Okay, so Carter is one of my favourite people on campus, so naturally I had to show my favourite photo of her and I together! This one was also at the dance.
Mum, I want Carter to be my sister- any more room?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Autumn Arrives at HC!

Yep- it's been windy and colder and the leaves are changing! Autumn's finally arrived here at HC, and I'm enjoying it. I may be one of the few students here who is happy, but the other day as I danced amidst the leaves on the quad, I realised I wouldn't have it any other way.
I love weather. It doesn't really matter what sort of weather, just weather itself. I suppose that's better than forever hating anything other than warm sunlight. (Heaven knows HC doesn't specialize in that sort of weather!)
I can't wait to have more apple pies (curtesy of a friend's mother...) and drink more hot liquids (curtesy of Merry and my ample collection of teas and sundry hot things...). Autumn is the most convienent excuse we have right now.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Books from Home

Thanks Mum!!! I loved getting this package- the books are much appreciated by me, and are seeming to wow some of the girls on the floor. :) And I've gone through a lot of German for my refresher course I wanted to do.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Be Still My Soul

They played this recording in chapel today - and it was the best chapel I think we've had yet.

One version of the text that I found:

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Lovely HC!

Here are some of the guys playing Ultimate on the quad. On the left is the HC Library (aka, my place of residence) and on the right is the Place of Paine! (aka, the science and math building.)

Me and another floorling, goofing off and playing fairies around a tree.

And a pretty tree already turning colours! Amazing- this was taken last week, coming out the tunnel betwixt the Music building and the chapel. (Which you can see the corner of in the right corner of the photo.)

Tuesday, 15 September 2009


I love packages. Last week, my dear mum sent me one that had Persuasion and other lovelies in it... which made me happy indeed.
Yesterday, I recieved one from Jhaniel. It made my day. She sent me The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, three other books, lychee candy (how'd she know I love lychee?) and tea. Not to mention bracelets and two cds. I've been listening to Princess Bride and reading the Hobbit in my spare time now. It's so relaxing... then too, that might be the tea helping as well.
Apparently, there are many Tolkien-lovers on campus as well, which makes me happy. No wonder I fit in well here with the people I've met so far.
It's like going home again, reading The Hobbit. I read it many times a year, so it's the cheapest way to go home.
Yep, I love packages. ^_^

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Quick update...

Yesterday morning, I got my package in from Mum, and so was very excited over the prospect of watching Persuasion very soon. Plus, my dear mother added in the yarn I asked for, and so life is perfect. I'm still in love with my classes, and have some of the most amazing friends here. I miss my friends from home, but not so badly yet.
Soon I'll upload photos of my room, and of life around here, but only when I feel like starting the photo battle with my computer. Also, I now have a job calling alumni, and one for admissions mailing. Both are part time, but I'm really excited about them. Especially the first, since my boss is an amazing person. Yeah, so it's the girl I mentioned last time. :) Heather's pretty cool.
I mean, working in an office decorated in Princess Bride meets 007 style?
I love Houghton.

Monday, 7 September 2009

One Week In

I'm having a fantastic time here. I really can't say enough how much fun I'm having. It feels like I've known these girls for all my life.
Yesterday, I went to a Wesleyan church that's across the street from my school, which was an interesting experiance. I'd never been to a Methodist/Wesleyan church before. However, it was pretty close in form to the services I'm used to.
Plus, I've spent quite a bit of time recently in the library. I love our selection of old books- we have some that are about two hundred fifty years old. (Unfortunately, I can't take them out of the building to read them. However, I'm still allowed access as all the librarians know me.)
The one slightly embarrassing thing would be how I've now met a friend's older sister. She is either a senior, or is working on a graduate degree here, I don't remember which. At any rate, I've been told all week that I ought to meet her, and apparently, she's been told the same. This morning, I was at the library studying, and a girl came up to me.
"Ma'am, I don't mean to disturb you, but I'm trying to find a book, it'd be in the B section. Do you know where that is? Maybe you'd know where this book is."
It just so happened that I looked at that book on Friday, so I knew where it was. I just thought she was being very polite. After taking her over there, she thanked me.
"I'm just a student, and don't really have this place figured out. I don't think anyone but you librarians do. Thank you again."
Glancing at her, I realised how much she looked like my friend. "Are you Heather? 'Cause I'm not a librarian, I'm a freshman, like your brother."
Suddenly the realisation dawned on her, and we were offically introduced. As we left, the only question that I didn't ask, and really still want the answer is: do I really look old enough to be a librarian instead of a freshman student?

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

First Impressions

So, Tuesdays and Thursdays are my light days- my only serious commitment is Intro to Linguistics for two hours every morning. However, Wednesdays and Fridays more than make up for the lack of multiple classes on those days.
When I last wrote, I was heading to my Intro to Global Issues. So far, it's my most challenging class, but it's still interesting and I know I'll learn a lot (plus it's necessary for my degree) and thus I like it. Still, it was the only class to assign 35 pages of reading, plus a two page essay and a presentation on the first day which was due two days later. (Got it all done, too!)
My linguistics class (Tuesday) looks like it's going to be a lot of fun; difficult, but interesting and wonderful. It's important for me to find out if this is really what I want to study, so I'll probably be writing quite often about it.
But this morning my new class was Cultural Anthropology. At eight in the morning. Can you imagine how I feel about having eight o'clock classes four days a week? (CA and InLing both...) Not so very awake or thrilled. Then Dr. Arensen walked in. He's a large, rather imposing (if I were a few years younger, he'd be absolutely frightening) man who didn't seem to be the smiling sort. The whole class looked like we were about to die if he called our names. He began talking and within thirty seconds, I fell in love with the class. He's the nicest professor so far, told us all about practical cultural anthropology, explained that textbooks can't actually really teach you anything because you have to just read books and live it to learn it. It's more relaxed and studentcentric than any of my other classes. It's now my favourite class for the semester.
Oh, and I wasn't tired at all. I was practically vibrating throughout the two hour period. The rest of the day went fairly well, but nothing has topped it yet.

And I'll end with a few things that he said which I madly scribbled into the margins of my notebook.
"Everyone knows a lot about something."
"Learn not because you have tests or it's demanded. Learn because you want to learn it."
"Learn from people - not just paper."
- J. Arensen

Monday, 31 August 2009

"The Perfect Day"

As one of the girls on my floor proclaimed this morning: It's going to be The Perfect Day today!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, we all start classes today. Merry's in French as we speak. My first is Chapel, in about an hour. I have a light day- three courses. One is chapel, then Biblical Literature follows, and I end with Intro to Global Issues.
Mostly, I'm excited about that last one. Then I'm heading to the library, I hope, to do some rambling there. This evening, my floor (okay, so Merry and I are heading it up...) is hosting a movie party and watching Princess Bride.
Last night, we had a floor wide (plus a few mainers, and one girl from another dorm) chai party in the kitchen and played the name game. So far, I've been told that I know more people than any other freshman. But we've got lots of plans for more tea-parties and games and movies, so I really can't wait to see how this semester goes.
If you couldn't tell, I love it here!

Friday, 28 August 2009

College, First Day!

So, today is my first full day on campus! I arrived last night and unpacked my room with Merry. Now everything is set up and arranged and we're having a blast. I'm on the international floor, and absolutely love it. I haven't yet met all the girls, although that should be happening sometime soon.
I have done everything possible already this morning, and am just waiting for the dedication service in about two hours. My schedule's pretty full, but I'm still enjoying it. And today was lovely and sunny, the perfect setting for the first day!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Happiness Comes In Six-Foot Packages

Merry arrived safely, but very tired, this morning from Arizona! She was supposed to arrive yesterday, but flights were delayed badly. At any rate, she's here at last, and is currently sleeping.
We were planning on shopping today, but that looks like it'll happen tomorrow instead. Also in the plans for tomorrow: arrive at school!!!
Can you tell I'm excited and a little happy?

Monday, 24 August 2009

So fill to me the parting glass...

For all my friends, as we travel off to school.

"So fill to me the parting glass,

Goodnight and joy be to you all.

So fill me to me the parting glass

And drink a health whatever befall

And gently rise and softly call

Goodnight and joy be to you."

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Missed Opportunities

Why Laura Should Always Make Sure Her Phone Is Charged

But the first title is shortest, so I'll use it anyways. On Friday, my grandmother and I went to southern Pennsylvania to see Sight and Sound theatre. Now, my dear friend Kat lives not so very far from there, but I knew already that she was in Arizona, and she'd told me she wasn't getting in for a while. (I thought on Monday, or some thing like that...)
Sometime Saturday morning, or perhaps even Friday night, my cellphone ran out of batteries and the charger was at my grandmother's house. I didn't think much of it, since I was pretty sure that no one was going to call. I had a blast looking in the shops and seeing the play and the ride back was beautiful. (I entertained myself with looking at the hills with trees all the way to the top that had no mountain ranges behind them. Till Gramma informed me that those were the mountains. Oops.)
We got back to Buffalo very very late, but I thought I ought to at least start charging my cell. After a few minutes it beeped irritably at me, and I stumbled out of bed and saw that I had a few messages waiting. (Yes, Mum, Dad, thanks for the info!)
One of them was from Kat, informing that she'd got back to PA, and was wondering where exactly I was, and when I'd be in her area... from quite early in the afternoon. If my phone had been on, we probably could have stopped in and seen her.
I'm still berating myself for missing this chance to finally meet her. I can't even take comfort in coffee right now.
I guess I'll always make sure my phone is charged now, won't I?

Thursday, 20 August 2009


So, I'm here in New York now! The weather is warm and wonderful, and the trees are gorgeous!!!
I got in late on Monday, and spent Tuesday doing my college shopping (which is all done now!) and Wednesday I went to the country's largest county fair. It was huge, and I had a blast. I ddidn't stay that long, but I saw a great deal, and got cotton-candy. That made the day complete. When I get to school, I'll see about uploading some photos of the events, and my adorable cousins. (And the candy!)
I'm off to Pennsylvania for the next two days (highly put out that Kat won't be there) with my gramma, and so it'll be next week before I write again.
Hope you're all having a beautiful day, as nice as the one I'm having! (84 degrees fahrenheit by ten thirty in the morning...)

Friday, 14 August 2009

Time Crunch

When did summer go by? Honestly... isn't it only mid-July? Not mid-August? Not two days before I leave?
I don't have enough time for everything I need, or would like, to do. Some people that I wanted to see just don't have the same time openings as I do, so I won't get to talk to them before I go.
To tell the truth, I'm a little stressed, and broke out in tears when I heard that our goodbye party was scheduled for six this evening when I had thought it was for seven. But at least everything will come together at last. That much I'm sure of. :)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Things My Mother Taught Me

I found this on another blog a while back, and wanted to post it. In a few days/weeks, I do hope to do a series of posts on homeschooling for Saminda in connexion with my Mum. But for now, I hope this at least makes you smile.

What Mothers Can Teach Us!

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
'If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.'

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
'You better pray that will come out of the carpet.'

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
'If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!'

4. My mother taught me LOGIC .
'Because I said so. That's why.'

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
'If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.'

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
'Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident.'

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
'Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.'

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
'Shut your mouth and eat your supper.'

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTION.
'Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!'

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
'You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone.'

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
'This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.'

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
'If I told you once, I've told you a million times: Don't exaggerate!'

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
'I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.'

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
'Stop acting like your father!'

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
'There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do.'

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
'Just wait until we get home.'

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
'You are going to get it when you get home!'

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
'If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.'

19. My mother taught me ESP.
'Put your sweater on. Don't you think I know when you are cold?'

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
'When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me.'

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
'If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up.'

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
'You're just like your father.'

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
'Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?'

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
'When you get to be my age, you'll understand.'

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
'One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.'

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Confessions of the Egotistical Autodidact

So, for the longest time, I've reserved a notebook to carry with me everywhere. I don't remember when I first came up with the idea. But the basics was to always have a notebook with me, and a pen. Then I was free to jot down any scraps of poetry or observations, as well as what I was doing, or what had happened, or something someone said that I wanted to remember. To all this, I added quotes from whatever book I was reading, and then thoughts about the quotes, or what the author was talking about, and if I agreed with him, or where I differed, or what I did or did not like about the book.
Anyways, I thought I was quite sharp for coming up with this nifty idea to help my already autodidactical habits.
Before I go off to school and more study, Mum suggested that I read a few books she had about how to get the most out of books, and the methods of classical education. I started The Well-Educated Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer, this afternoon, and found that in the third chapter, the author mentions how Commonplace Books could be handy and had been used for hundreds of (possibly nearly two thousand) years to help readers digest and analyze books, and go towards the process of rhetoric (forming one's own opinion based on the analysis, whether in agreeing, or disagreeing, with the author). Well, in explaining Commonplace Books I found that she was talking about my nifty little idea of the notebook that I carry with me everywhere.
At first I was a little disappointed to find that I wasn't exactly the first one to have done this.
Then I realised that I was in company with E.M. Forester and Thomas Jefferson and decided that wasn't such a bad lot, and am happy that at least I was approaching reading and learning from the right angle.
It was just a bit of a hard hit for my egotistical autodidact...

Monday, 3 August 2009

Getting Roped Into More Music

Every year, the peninsula orchestra puts on a Summer Gala Concert, and for the two weeks before, there are noon-time concerts all over the place. This year was different. I wasn't playing in any of them, not even the final concert.
Then Thursday, I went to one of the noon-time concerts. And somehow or another, got talked into playing for the concert. So I kinda crashed learned all the pieces by Saturday. All this week, we have nightly rehearsals, for a concert on Friday and Saturday.
Thankfully, I got new strings for Sirius on Friday, and they sound lovely. And the music isn't really all that difficult. (As I learned it in two days, basically.) It just wasn't really expected. But I am having a lot of fun, so I guess that's alright. Flexibilty is a good thing, isn't it?
But next Sunday, I'm planning on crashing for a lot of sleep, and packing and cleaning the whole week after that. 'Cause by the Sunday after that, I'll be on a plane...

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Fireweed Strikes

I've always known that my mother is allergic to fireweed. When Theophilus and I were small, we formed the Fireweed Brigade and would pull up every last stalk of fireweed we could find. In the last few years, it hasn't been much of a problem.
This morning, Mum told Theophilus and I that she needed us to pick it all. We started gathering, and then decided we should take some photos. A few minutes after this photo above was taken, my arms started to itch.
Then my neck. Then my scalp. Then the rest of my whole body. My eyes were watering and my throat started to close up.

What do you know? I'm allergic to fireweed too.

Monday, 27 July 2009


Daisies and clover. (And my shadow and camera strap!)
Golden-rod. I think... :)

Lupin! I love lupin, or wolf's bane, as the old common name for it was. Such a lovely blue flower.

Fireweed, the judge of Alaska summers and arriving autumns. And they're purple! So yes, I do love them, even if I know destroying them is necessary for my mother's health.

Just a few flowers I snapped photos of today between rain-showers.

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