Sunday, September 30, 2007

field trip!!

After church today some friends and I took a field trip to one of my favorite restaurants: Chowpatti! I love that place. It was supposed to be a youth group outing but with RSVPs low (homecoming was last night, after all), we canceled and just the adults went. woohoo! I got to eat Indian food (my main dish was baingan bharta with brown rice and roti). We also had some incredible indian "nachos" that blew us all away, hummus and really good pita, and I taste-tested Jodi's Dosa (excellent), Cecily's stew (fab) and Scott's uttampana (??)--probably my favorite of all the dishes. I even finished up with an ice cream sundae topped with mango sauce! It was incredible. I was so happy, oh my.

Follow that up with a trip to Whole Foods (which is a good 45 minutes away from here when there's no traffic) for "a few things" that turned into lots of things--organic arborio rice in bulk, and miso, and amy's refried beans (which my local stores are no longer carrying), and chocolate chewies, and and and and. It was a truly fantastic Sunday afternoon. I needed it after the hectic morning. there's a reason I'm not a solo pastor or a senior pastor--it was insane. Three services on my own, with three casts for the drama, a whole host of excitement, children's choirs, deacon ordination....wow. Crazy. On my own next week too....better get started now! Well, after a chocolate chewie and maybe a good night's sleep. (not right this minute, it's not even 7! but soon. Since it's getting dark earlier now, and light later. My days are less productive when there's less light.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Real Bargain--a sermon for Ordinary 26C

Rev. Teri Peterson
Ridgefield-Crystal Lake Presbyterian Church
A Real Bargain
Jeremiah 32.1-3a, 6-15
September 30 2007, Ordinary 26 C

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord in the tenth year of King Zedekiah of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar. At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah, where King Zedekiah of Judah had confined him. Zedekiah had said, ‘Why do you prophesy and say: Thus says the Lord: I am going to give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it;

Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of your uncle Shallum is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth, for the right of redemption by purchase is yours.’ Then my cousin Hanamel came to me in the court of the guard, in accordance with the word of the Lord, and said to me, ‘Buy my field that is at Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for the right of possession and redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.’ Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.

And I bought the field at Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out the money to him, seventeen shekels of silver. I signed the deed, sealed it, got witnesses, and weighed the money on scales. Then I took the sealed deed of purchase, containing the terms and conditions, and the open copy; and I gave the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, in the presence of the witnesses who signed the deed of purchase, and in the presence of all the Judeans who were sitting in the court of the guard. In their presence I charged Baruch, saying, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Take these deeds, both this sealed deed of purchase and this open deed, and put them in an earthenware jar, in order that they may last for a long time. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.

~~~~~
Please tell me I am not the only one here who hears this story of Jeremiah buying a field and thinks either “so?” or “what?” Anyone else? Oh good.

This isn’t the kind of story we generally hear a lot about. It’s not a thrill a minute, it’s not an exciting healing or a particularly powerful sermon. In fact, it all seems a little ordinary. I mean, buying a field? That is Bible-quality narrative?

Well, yes, in a lot of ways it is. You see, Jeremiah was “confined in the court of the guard” which basically means he was imprisoned. Maybe not in a cell or a dungeon or the pit of despair, but imprisoned nonetheless. Why was he in prison? For telling the king God’s Own Truth. You see, Jeremiah is a prophet. He hears God’s voice and then speaks God’s word to the people….in this case, very important people. It’s not an easy job, speaking God’s word to people. Especially when the word is not favorable to the administration. So the king, tired of hearing the voice of God through Jeremiah, tired of hearing how he and everyone else have broken the covenant with God, tired of hearing how the Babylonians are coming and we can’t stop them, has Jeremiah confined. But Jeremiah has tried before not to speak the word God gives him, and that has gone badly for him. So he keeps relaying the message of God’s judgment and God’s hope, of God’s plan to pluck up and to plant, of God’s future for the people. He’s been bringing these messages in spite of the ridicule, the mocking, the torture, for years now. He knows that exile is coming. He knows he will live out the rest of his days far from his home. He knows that his people will suffer in exile. But he also knows that one day, though it may generations from now, they’ll come home. And so he continues to speak.

For the last two chapters Jeremiah has, for a change, been talking about God’s future for these stubborn people. God said “surely I know the plans I have for you, plans for your welfare and not for your harm, plans to give you a future with hope.” And then God said “I will make a new covenant with the people. I will write it on their hearts. They will not need to teach each other because they will all know me.” And now God says “Jeremiah, buy a field.” Well, if everyone didn’t think Jeremiah was crazy already, they sure would now! So Jeremiah waits. He takes some time to discern if this is really the voice of God or if he’s cracking up. I mean, the Babylonian army has arrived. They are besieging Jerusalem. They are occupying the land and preparing to take the people into exile hundreds of miles away. They are working out how best to destroy the Temple. They have overrun God’s holy city, they have taken over God’s chosen people. Buy a field? That’s insane! You can’t buy property when you live under occupation. It’s not your land to buy or sell. You certainly can’t go inspect the property, since you can’t freely move about your own country because the occupying army thinks you are dangerous. Besides, money is precious when you live in an occupied land, since the economy is generally destroyed under occupation, and the Babylonian occupation of Israel and Judah was no exception. Buy a field!?!? Please.

It’s not just any field, but his cousin’s field, and Jeremiah has a duty to keep it in the family and to help out his cousin who must be in dire straits to sell his land. Or is he? It’s possible he needs the money, and it’s also possible he’s looking to unload the field because it’s not helping him make a living anymore. You see, Anathoth is just a couple miles north of Jerusalem, the perfect location for a besieging, occupying army to camp. The Babylonians are literally occupying this field. Hanamel is therefore in need of other income and also willing to sell the field for a good price. Yeah, Jeremiah, this field is a real bargain! Buy it for yourself! One day only!

Jeremiah, now certain that it was in fact the word of the Lord, walks into this crazy scheme and buys the useless field, in an act that defies both his own government and the occupying forces. He knows he’ll never see the field, never plow it or build a house on it. He knows everyone will call him crazy. He also knows that God has plans to give us all a future with hope. What better way to show you mean what you say than to put your money where your mouth is? Jeremiah makes an investment—but the return is so far in the future that he will never reap the benefits. He invests in God’s vision, in hope, in faith, in trust of God’s promises. That’s a real bargain, not the “bargain” Hanamel offered. This is high-stakes investment at bargain-basement prices. All Jeremiah has to do is act on the words he’s been preaching. That’s not so hard, right?

Wrong, of course. As David LaMotte says in his song “Hope”—“I’ve got a lot of hope for the future, got a lot of faith things can work out fine, got a lot dreams for a better world…got a lot of work to do if I’m going to make them mine.” It’s a lot of work. We all know how hard it can be to practice what you preach. Well, if you’re a prophet like Jeremiah, it becomes even trickier. It’s easy to say the nation is full of covenant breakers, and less easy to model keeping covenant. It’s easy to say “trust in God” and less easy to stop placing your trust in the government or your locked doors. It’s easy to say “have hope!” and less easy to act on your hope in God rather than despair. Jeremiah lived in a time of national tragedy, of despair. To preach about hope was one thing. To actually have hope was something totally different.

Yes, it’s easy to use words. It’s much harder to prove that your witness, your testimony, is valid by marrying word and action, by sealing your life to your testimony, by acting on what you say. That’s exactly what Jeremiah does here. He doesn’t just say “God said that houses and fields and vineyards would once again be bought in this land,” he demonstrates it, he invests, he seals not just the deed of purchase but all his words with action. While this same action doesn’t say the same thing to us today, there are plenty of ways we can practice what we preach and so bring hope to the despair many people face, ways we can put our money where our mouth is and so bring light into the darkness of the world, ways we can seal our life to our testimony that God promises a future with hope. Downstairs there are tables upon tables of places and ways you can be involved, ways you can invest your time or your money and your prayers in bringing hope and light and good news to people who need it.

To speak and act in truth and hope can be dangerous, at least for your social life. It can be a risky investment. But to defy the order of the day, the culture of fear, the prevailing despair, with God’s hope is a real bargain. Those who spend their time and money for such things rather than material things are often ridiculed, and those who invest in hope rarely see the return on the investment, but that’s the price of being a prophet.

Archbishop Oscar Romero said it this way:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.
We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.
This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

May God give us the courage to join with Jeremiah in investing in hope, in sealing our testimony with our lives, in practicing what we preach, in working for God’s future, a future with hope.

Amen.

Friday, September 28, 2007

a busy but fun day off

--slept in as much as cats would allow
--road-tripped the 40 miles to 10,000 villages, hoping for either a rug or a table for the Fellowship Hall and also hoping not to spend hundreds of dollars on things I just wanted for myself. Got a table, but it's square so who knows how that will go. Also got organic fair trade mint chocolate, which I ate for lunch on the way home. Awesome.
--had spider in car while driving in express lanes. freaked out. adrenaline still in body.
--played with children of friend/colleague for a couple of hours to help out in a crunch. Killed spider by shooing it out of car then crunching it underfoot while small children were in car.
--contemplated briefly what had happened with said spider: saw it on top of car a few days ago, decided to let live (eating bugs and all) but hoped would fly off top of car while driving. No such luck apparently as same spider was in car today. Killed part of God's creation in interest of not freaking out while on road a second time.
--ate Taco Bell for dinner, cuz that's healthy.
--looked at 10,000 Villages rugs online. Wanted all of them. Went virtually bankrupt dreaming about rugs. Plotted way to sell the idea of a very expensive rug to session (as opposed to $100-200 rug from Target): "it's handmade, the people actually get paid to make it, it's not made by children, it's naturally stain resistant, it only needs to be cleaned every 10-20 years, it will last between 100-200 years even with extremely heavy use...." That should work, right? I'm talking about approximately $500-600 more than they gave me to spend. Part of me says "that bequest has tons of money in it, why don't we spend some to give some Pakistani women an honest living and way to feed their children as well as practice their craft" and another part of me says "we're running a deficit budget this year--get the cheap rug, even if it means we replace it later!"
--wishing I had some Breyer's Fried Ice Cream right now. Dang that stuff is good.
--Remembering these "people" from my childhood...
--Did not write sermon. Guess I'll do that tomorrow...AFTER going to the Johnny Appleseed Festival and having some good old fashioned small town fun. :-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

to those who have asked...

...my wish lists at Amazon and Williams-Sonoma have been updated.

But remember, what I really want for my birthday (coming up soon for those who don't know!) is to pick out my very own djembe from holy goat.

27 days until I'm 27!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

facebook=timesuck

so there's an application you can ad to facebook that allows you to test your geography/travel memory/recognition. It's crazy addictive with the little quiz. It tells you a place or shows you a photo and you click on the place on a map.

Now, the map is too small to really get right on anything (except by sheer luck) though the application seems to think you can do that.

In any case, I want desperately to be good enough at it to advance past level 10.

So, I am going to bed right now with a map of central and eastern Europe rattling around in my head so maybe I'll recognize Croatia and Belarus and Bulgaria next time. I mean, really. I call myself well traveled and intelligent and I mixed up Belarus and Bulgaria. oy.

;-)

resting

Yesterday I finally took a real day off. And while I was off from work I decided to also be off from...oh, everything else. I left my laptop in the office so I couldn't check email or headlines or blogs. I didn't go to the gym so I wouldn't watch CNN or MSNBC or Oprah or whatever. I don't have any TV channels anyway (literally--the television is only for DVD watching). I didn't listen to the radio in the car. I was off, unplugged, media fasting, whatever.

I hopped a train into the city, met some friends for a few minutes, got horrible blisters from wearing new but adorable shoes, and saw panels from the Gates of Paradise at the Art Institute. They are amazing. Saw the replica doors in Florence a couple of years ago, but there's nothing like seeing these restored panels up close and personal. So cool. Met up with a church member/friend on the train, took him home when we arrived, got invited in by his wife (who happens to be the music director and also a good friend) for bread, cheese, and wine, and ended up there for more than 5 hours, just talking talking talking.

It was awesome.

Today I have gone out shopping for cat food and people food and also some clothes...fall/winter is coming! I have eaten mushroom brie and a baguette for lunch, followed by mango sauce (yum). Now I'm getting ready to make my own veggie broth, to roast and freeze some eggplant, and probably to make deviled eggs or something. I also need to practice this piece of music I'm supposed to have all learned by Monday night...hmmm.....

I think I might take a nap first. Maybe while the veggies are simmering into vegetable stock?

Remind me again why I don't take days like this every week?

Monday, September 17, 2007

everybody's doing it...

This is funny to me because a) that's pretty much what my hair looks like and b) this is almost exactly the outfit I'm wearing right now (brown pants, burgundy top) except for the shoes (olive green dansko mary jane clogs..."madrigal" style).

from SimpsonizeMe

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A time for everything?

Reverendmother has already written eloquently on the concept of time scarcity. After much thinking, I am ready to sign on. I've been thinking a lot about time management and all the things that are expected of us, and how difficult it is to get volunteers and to get youth involved in church things and all kinds of other stuff.

You see, we started this new Wednesday Evening program, which is awesome and so far has been a wonderful success (in its two weeks!). But I'm having trouble getting volunteers to help out with things like children's storytime, helping coordinate food/catering, and cleanup. If we continue like this, the program will last maybe another month before I die. That sounds melodramatic, but I mean it. There's just not enough time for me to do all of the things involved in WEAVE and also the youth and also supervising sunday school and also teaching confirmation and also leading worship and also and also and also...you see what I mean.

Now, I know that people are busy. I understand that none of us have the amount of time we want to do the things we want/need to do. The question is: how do we still get things done? I don't know the answer to that yet. I want to be like Jesus: just stop in the middle of the work and take a rest. but I haven't done it yet--it's been three weeks since I had a whole day off. Or even a half a day REALLY off.

On to the real point of this post. Given the fact that no one has the amount of time they would like to have, why is it that we feel the need to be busier than other people, or to suggest that our time is more valuable than others' time, or to prove that our things or our busyness is more important than others? Can we not just say "we're all busy, how can we spread the work-love?" instead of "don't tell me how busy you are...I'm even more busy!" or "it's just a small inconvenience for you to do that." Both of those are unhelpful and condescending things to say, and they only make us defensive. Or at least, they make me defensive. I recognize that's not a helpful response, but it's my response nonetheless. And the follow up response is to prove my busyness by being more busy, which is, frankly, stupid.

So, how can I stop being stupid?

It's clear that I need to change this pattern ASAP because the fall will kill me, either physically or spiritually. My brain is full, things fall through the cracks (like my hardboiled eggs, the most benign of the examples from last week), and that makes people anxious. but part of my job is to not be the one producing anxiety. you know?

I think that's all I have to think about for today. I'm sure there will be more as I continue to think about this. For now, I'm going to eat dinner, listen to Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me by podcast, and figure out the children's time for tomorrow. yippee!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

lots

There's tons I want to blog about, but not tons of time to blog.
Maybe this Saturday?
by then the things I want to say about the whole Petraus/Crocker hearings will be irrelevant, but maybe my temper will have cooled down by then too. I mean, who says "Sunni Arab"???? Sunni is a religious term, Arab is an ethnic term...they are not used together except by uninformed people. It disturbs me that a man who is "leading" our armed forces on the ground in Iraq uses a phrase like that.

Also, I'm tired of hearing about how factions within Islam are the only religious groups in Iraq or anywhere else in the middle east. It's just not true. There are Christians, there are Zoroastrians, there are some other small minority religious groups, and guess what? They're all persecuted like crazy. No to mention Kurds, who get no mention at all; even when there's talk of "partition" they only talked about Sunnis and Shiites. News flash: Iraq is more diverse than we give it credit for. Where's the US military for those other people? Somewhere else, apparently. Talking about "Sunni Arabs" as though that's even a thing. And saying things that come out sounding an awful lot like "we can't leave because it would force the Iraqis to work together and that wouldn't be good." I mean, really. You went into a country where you didn't understand the culture or language or really anything else, and now that it's all falling apart (or fallen apart, as the case may be) you're talking about how they don't work together the way we do...well duh...and that it's better not to have an authoritarian government (which is sort of true but culturally not true because strong authority is a key value in Arab culture) but eventually they'll do things "our way" (one of them actually said that). Honestly.

One more thing. I'll be the first to admit I don't understand all the complexities of this, but I have a basic logic question. IF "Al Qaeda in Iraq" is in fact linked to Al Qaeda the original, THEN doesn't it make sense that spending resources dismantling (the polite way to say killing, unfortunately, since we can't seem to see any nonviolent way to dismantle anything) Al Qaeda the original would ultimately put a stop to AQI? If there's no command central, then organizations like that (particularly in the middle east where authoritarianism is valued) tend to crumble, right? So we could actually solve the AQI problem by focusing on Afghanistan? I have yet to hear a convincing argument against this, though it must be out there in the ether I don't understand...otherwise, wouldn't we be doing that? I can't be the only one who's thought of this.

Okay, so apparently I let all of that out today instead of Saturday. But there's more, about other stuff, so that will have to wait because now I have to do some work. ta.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

so maybe my brain doesn't work right

I put a dozen eggs on to boil so I could turn them into pre-gym breakfasts and egg salad lunches.

Then I forgot about them for about an hour.

11 are intact...can I still eat them? the cracked one smells burned...are the others burned too? They were still covered with water, so it's not as though they just sat in a hot pan or anything. Of course the yolks will be discolored, but is that bad for you? Please advise.

Comments on my Saturday evening absent-mindedness welcome as long as they come with egg advice.

apropos of nothing....

I came across this in a facebook group called "good grammar is hot"--a letter that exemplifies the badness of grammar, especially among teens. oh my. It's hilarious and painful all at the same time.

Turn your sound up when you go here so you can hear the letter read aloud. It's worth it.

WARNING: not so much family friendly--there are a couple of swear words. also, the grammar and spelling and punctuation are so bad it's painful. Plus there's general teen pain as well. but with the reading out loud, oh wow.

I am still laughing at the dramatic reading.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

more on WEAVE...

...this time from a personal perspective rather than just the program/ministry/institution perspective.

I don't have volunteers to work on this yet. We need a team or committee who organizes things like catering, set up and clean up, hosting, etc. But those people are hard to recruit during summer months, so we went ahead without it. We won't last long without it, though. Yesterday I did all the set-up of tables and chairs, and all the tear down of the same, myself. I (and the church secretary) organized the catering, and she went to pick it up. Eventually this will get even more stressful, I think, as the need for a variety of foods increases (ie we can't have the same thing every week, though it would be easier!). And the time involved in setting up/tearing down tables and chairs for 60-100 people every week is significant.

But at the same time, there is something immensely satisfying about moving tables and putting chairs back on the rack. I came from a big church with "housemen" (they were all men then) who did all of that. I never moved a single chair or table in my four years of every-sunday (and often every-day) time there. In the small church where I interned and worked, I moved some tables and chairs but not many--it's one of the few things I could get volunteers for (perhaps cuz it was in the South and I'm a girl...). And while I'm not one of those who thought, "once I'm an ordained pastor I'll never have to move another chair," I also never thought, "moving chairs and tables is a really satisfying work." But you know what? When you talk, write, read, and follow up with youth on facebook all day, when you listen, have small groups where people share their journeys, lead Bible studies, and do all of those "pastor things" that you almost never see the fruit of, ALL DAY, there is something really fabulous about moving a bunch of chairs and tables. I can look around the fellowship hall and think "I did something and it had tangible results." And while moving them, I had all kinds of time to think about how the first night of WEAVE had gone and what could be improved (specify that we don't want spicy spaghetti, issue personal invitations to youth for the Bible Study, tablecloths vs. placemats, etc) and how exciting it all is and who I was surprised to see and who I was glad to see back after a long summer away, etc. Plus I got kind of a workout.

Having said all of that, I still really need some volunteers who want to make WEAVE a part of their ministry here at RCLPC. Maybe people who find moving chairs and tables a really satisfying mindless activity. People who enjoy washing dishes (thanks Sally for stepping up last night!). People who have their fingers on the pulse of restaurants and catering options in the area. You know...people.

In the meantime, yay! I'm really excited about WEAVE.

excellent

WEAVE, our new Wednesday evening program, kicked off last night with quite a bit of success. Lots of kids in the children's choirs, lots of people here for dinner, lots of people in the adult ed class, and (by all accounts I've heard, anyway) an energetic and intense adult choir rehearsal. I'm really excited about this program and the opportunities it presents us as a congregation! Opportunities for spiritual growth, for fellowship, for good music, for all kinds of things! Good times were had by all last night, and we even had leftovers. :-)

(What does WEAVE stand for, you might wonder? Wednesday Evening AVEnues. Cuz we are weaving together a bunch of different things on one evening--get it?)

In other excellent news, I've had some luck getting people to help with confirmation. Now I just need senior high leaders and all will be in readiness. In theory, anyway!

Monday, September 03, 2007

labor day

why is it that on labor day no one labors?
just asking, not complaining.
I know, I know, we celebrate and recognize the people who have labored to make this country great, or something like that.
I just think it's a funny name for a day when very few people actually work.

I've been in my house all day reading and napping and eating and learning french by podcast and all kinds of random things. It's sunny and beautiful out so my sliding doors are open, my cats are sleeping in various places around the house (which, when put that way, makes it sound like I have significantly more cats than I actually do), and I ate leftover homemade Indian food for lunch, followed up with irish coffee cheesecake. Which is still amazing.

I just finished A Spot of Bother, which I started earlier today. (yes I'm a fast reader when I have uninterrupted time and when the book is interesting...) It was good...I recommend it. It's frustrating and sad and brilliant and funny all at the same time. Since it's about family and life, I suspect that means it's just surprisingly well written, rather like the Curious Incident was--no surprise since it's by the same author. I expected the book to be good, an expectation which is rarely met...and was happy to find my expectations exceeded. enjoy.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

varieties of fun

On Friday, Amy, Noell, and I went to Madison for the day. I love Madison because it has lots of fun restaurants in its small downtown, and other fun shops too. I got new shoes, Nepali food, and butterscotch cream pie all in the same day! However, it's a college town and school is just starting, so the place was packed with students. passing all the first years on the sidewalk, or being in crowded stores with them, made me feel old. They're furnishing their first dorm room with stuff from Urban Outfitters, they're walking around town in shorts that are too short and in flip-flops that are not the same shape as their feet...they may as well not be wearing shoes, since their feet are hanging off the shoes (often on the inside...weird). I'm not sure about the fashion choices of today's college student, I guess. I'm also not sure when college students started looking so young. I mean, I was a freshman not THAT long ago. Well, okay, 9 years ago this year, but still.

We hung out with Amy's grandparents a bit--they were awesome. They bought us both lunch and dinner, AND Nonna made us cookies! The cookies were amazing. I took some to Richard too, since I should not eat all those cookies. He concurs that they are some of the best cookies ever. Thanks Amy's Nonna! (notice how I just made that spelling up? whatever.)

Yesterday I made another visit to the Apple store--hopefully this time the grey screen of death will be gone for good. I am not excited by the grey screen of death and I pretty much never want to see it again. After 2 hours in the store I have all my photos back in iPhoto AND no apparent death screen. I hope it stays that way! Now I have to learn how to rename photos in iPhoto so they don't disappear but I can also recognize them by file name rather than having a long list of numbers. I also bought an iPod Shuffle (the littlest one) so I can take it with me to the gym. It clips on your clothes! How clever is that? I am downloading French by Podcast and planning to load the french lessons so I can brush up. I'm also thinking of downloading the arabic lessons from ArabicPod so I can keep up some Arabic too. What better way to pass the time at the gym than to immerse myself in languages I already sort of know, rather than mindlessly watching CNN for an hour of the same four news stories repeated ad nauseum? Just saying.

MM made me a cheesecake this weekend--it's amazing. Irish Coffee, made with Jameson Irish Whiskey. It's an incredible tasting cheesecake and I will NEED to spend more time at the gym as I am planning on basically eating the entire thing before heading back to work on Tuesday. :-)

Speaking of fun, I'm off to read a new book. I bought a whole bunch of new ones at Borders last week. Yes, I'm terrible. I need to use my library card more often. Or I need to figure out if bookcrossing is alive and well in the suburbs, or something else like it. The main trouble being, of course, that I don't like to give up my books. I love having lots of books. I grew up in the middle of a huge personal library, and now I have one too and it's awesome. They're like constant friends. But bookcrossing is cool too because then I could travel with my books. So who knows....

off to eat cheesecake and read..ta!