Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A few of my Favorite Things

(Addendum to last post: I finished the book a few days ago. Don't read Beyond the Summerlands if you hate surprise endings. This one is rather upsetting, though once you know to look, you can almost see it coming. I still want to know what happens, and if the writing improves, but I don't think I will now, or for a while. I'd rather spend my gift cards on classics, Lewis, Peter Kreeft, or John Piper. As long as I decide before I use it all on coffee in the Cafe.)

Today, for lack of premeditated profundity, I'm writing about some things I'm thankful for.

My dear Daddy
The other night he took me out to eat, but better than the delicious coconut shrimp dipped in raspberry sauce was spending time with my daddy. We talked about lots of things, like changes in life, work, writing, the oddities of English classes, the oddities of people's hair, and the mysterious tiny forks (one was brought out on my plate, caught in the very act of impaling a hapless lemon slice). It was a good time. Girls, if I can be a bossy sister for a minute, I implore you to spend time with your dad. Be his little girl, and let him know it, and seek his advice. Not only is it right and beautiful to God when we honor our parents so, but it's also great practice for when we get married. You know they tell girls to watch how guys treat their mothers? I think the converse advice is also telling. I know I'm not the perfect daughter, Daddy, but I'm working on it. You are so dear to me.

I'm finishing a skirt I started a while ago, and it's turning out nicely. Since I'm not an experienced seamstress, it's usually a toss-up if clothes I sew will fit or not. Most often they bulge, gape, or constrict someplace, and some have done all three. But this is a simple skirt, with a nice busy pattern to distract from minor flaws ;), and all I have left is the hem and some hand-stitching. Since I finished a scarf earlier, around Christmas, I haven't done much besides read, write, and do dishes. Which all needed doing, and had varying levels of worth attacked. But there's something about handwork that gives more satisfaction than staring at a page or screen. Washing dishes may be a distant relative, since that's doing something with your hands, and bringing order to chaos. But making dishes would be more fun. I know, in our busy culture it's not many who have time (or would want) to make all their own clothes, build their own house, and grow their own food. But I hope we don't forget the value of working with our hands to make useful and/or beautiful things. And by value I mean a sort one can't find at Wal-Mart. So I'm thankful God gave me hands, and work to do with them.

I've started Jane Eyre, and so far it's quite good. Rather dreary, as it's a Romantic novel, and perhaps even Gothic. So far, poor Jane has had a miserable childhood, living with a mean aunt and cruel cousins, and now she's just arrived at a charity school for orphans. I've only heard a bit about it, and don't know much of the story at all. Last semester I was given a horrified look when a 19th century British Lit classmate heard my confession of not having read it yet. I may have to finish it amid many other books, though, as the re-advent of homework is only days away. I also need to finish North and South by Elisabeth Gaskell, which I had to abandon during last semester, alas. But it's so comforting to know many good classics await me, patiently. They don't get flustered and fall to dust when flighty folks overlook them and snatch instead new thrillers and popular-for-a-month paperbacks. They know none of those will keep in bondage people hungry for good meat. Maybe it's the difference between whole wheat bread and the white bread fluff. One might go down easier, without as much chewing, but for those who want more nutrition, fiber, and lasting goodness, the sort that needs chewing is chewed with pleasure.

*Note: The above picture is called "Northwest Passage," by John Everett Millais, a Pre-Raphaelite painter

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