Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gonna Take A Sentimental Journey

We are at the airport now. Very excited to start our new journey. Love that we have a direct flight from Incheon (Korea) to Toronto (Canada)! That's awesome. Please pray for us as we have a lot of moving to do once we get there.
Thought I would post a song that's been in my head for the past two days of craziness. Seemed appropriate. :)

Gonna take a Sentimental Journey,
Gonna set my heart at ease.
Gonna make a Sentimental Journey,
to renew old memories.

Got my bags, got my reservations,
Spent each dime I could afford.
Like a child in wild anticipation,
I Long to hear that, "All aboard!

"Seven...that's the time we leave at seven.
I'll be waitin' up at heaven,
Countin' every mile of railroad track,
that takes me back.

Never thought my heart could be so yearny.
Why did I decide to roam?
Gotta take that Sentimental Journey,
Sentimental Journey home.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Don't Look Now, There's A Bookworm on My Back

Lately my outings with friends to the used English bookstores have taken on shades of "Sex in the City." Before entering, I stop, look them in the eye and deliver the following charge: "Now I am going to enter this store where there are books. There will be books that I will find interesting. I will pick them up. I will open them. I may even start to read a few lines. But please understand, that under NO circumstances, should I be allowed to actually PURCHASE a book. This is visit is of a recreational, rather than retail, nature."

And there you have it folks, my real addiction-books. Or rather reading. Since I'm making myself vulnerable to you, I'll go ahead and divulge a secret fantasy I've had for quite some time (I can see you start to squirm now at the thought of hearing my fantasies. Do not be alarmed. It's G-rated.). My fantasy is that some day I'll have some sort of aliment (not life threatening mind you) that requires bedrest for 3-6 months. However my sight won't be affected so I will be able to do nothing but read all day long!

It is a tad sad that I would wish such misfortune to befall me but you have to understand the lifelong love affair I've had with reading. It started with me learning reading very early on (I honestly can't remember how-Sesame Street and Electric Company I suppose?). I do remember my first chapter book though. It was my first week of first grade and instead of being in reading class, I was sent out to the library to pick something to read until the teachers figured out just what they were going to do with me. The chapter book was this mystery about the scary ghost in the barn which turned out to be a harmless owl. Surprising that such a gripping plot would stick in my brain over the years!

However that illustrates how much reading has impacted my life. Like many other parents, my parents read me books every night before bed. In fact I blame Heidi for ruining my eyesight and causing me to need glasses in the 4th grade. I was so engrossed in the drama of this little orphan that as soon as my mom or dad would stop reading at a particularly good place and closed the bedroom door, I would turn on the dim nightlight behind my bed and read on ! I learned unknown words by context and didn't bother sounding them out so consequently my spelling and pronunciation were atrocious for quite some time!

My reading addiction got worse as time went on. My mother got frustrated at my long periods of withdrawal (The Lord of the Rings book set from my Aunt Nona or the Chronicles of Narnia set were often the culprits.) and would take to confiscating my book of the moment, hiding it around the house and demanding I do something active outside. Books became my friends and I loved everything about them.

It's no wonder that I got an afterschool job at the local public library. My reading really took off then because I wanted to see what was so great about books like Bridges of Madison County (It took me literally 45 minutes to read and I wanted my life back.) or The Firm (Definately better but unfortunately every John Grisham I've read after that was kind of the same.) that flew off the shelves and had long reservation lists. During university years, I also worked at the library on campus and during the summers went back home to the public library to coordinate the children's summer reading library program. I still love teaching reading and helping children discover the magic of books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlotte's Web and Where the Red Fern Grows.

I also can't deny I was heavily influenced by people around me. The children's librarian (and the first Seventh Day Adventist I ever met) sought me out to recommend Lloyd C. Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydair. My cousin who sent me book lists and recommendations and later the books themselves. The best (and worst) books I've ever read both came from her. My boss at the university library was forever asking me "So- what are you reading?" instead of "How are you doing?" This line of questioning persuaded me to read books with more depth, if only so I would avoid the embarrassment of admitting to reading the latest Anne Rice novel! My father loves books and has boxes and boxes of books that he wants for reference or got as gifts or fully intends to read at some point. And of course I was influenced by wonderful book clubs that I belonged to both in Kansas and in Korea.

Unfortunately I've inherited my father's addiction to literature collection. This is problematic when moving and packing. So I lately have been making an effort to READ the just the books I HAVE and NOT get MORE. I am proud to say that I'm down to five books now! I've read and given away/returned the rest. And although it's been hard (see the first paragraph above) I know I have a couple of boxes of unopened treasures just waiting for me when I cross this pond on August 29th. I'm already thinking of which book I'll start on first. I can't wait!

PS: I've posted my list of the last five books in the comment section as well but wanted to post here so that you could click on the links for more information.
1. Gay Theology Without Apology (currently reading)by Gary David Comstock
2. One Was Annie by Laura Kay Reiter (my university writing professor)
3. We're Here, We're Queer, We're Used to It (edited by my friend here in Seoul, Rebecka) a whirlwind tour through the lives of 11 young emerging authors and artists from across Canada and the United States.
4. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century by John Boswell (I read his recent book Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe last summer in Great Bend and LOVED IT and you should know I'm not into non-fiction AT ALL.)
5. some learning Korean book (hope springs eternal)
Oh and my daily devotional book The Word Is Out: The Bible Reclaimed for Lesbians and Gay Men by Chris Glaser so technically six books I suppose!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Way We Were

Last Tuesday I was having a bad day. It could have been for a variety of reasons. My hours at the English language academy have been extended to accomodate parents who wish to fill the summer vacation hours of their children. My partner and I have been packing our belongings, selling our furniture and downsizing our worldly possessions in preparation for our move to Toronto at the end of this month. It's been incredibly hot and humid and we've been having trouble sleeping at nights in our non-airconditioned apartment.

However I think the REAL reason was because I was mourning a friend I lost two years ago this month.

It all started with that daily intermediate writing class. The activity was to write an advice letter after reading a story about a boy who was teased and bullied. I was disturbed that the children thought "killing yourself" was not only a viable option but the most hilarious solution. Much to my dismay, they launched into numerous morbid methods in which this final solution could be achieved. I tried to point out that this would not only fail to solve the teasing/bullying problem but also would create further problems. The kids were too busy cracking up to care so I just moved on...

I realized later the reason I was so upset was because I'm still angry at "GB Dave" for thinking suicide was the answer to his problems. "GB Dave" was named thus to distinguish him from my brother (who is and will always be the original in my life). GBD came from the town of Great Bend and was a few years older than me. He held the title of "first" in many areas of my life. My first gay friend. My first introduction to the joys of champange and Godiva chocolate. The first (and only) fervent Barbra Streisand fan I've met. My First Hollywood Screen Kiss (and thensome). My first introduction to a gay dance club. My first introduction to country club brunches and dinners. My first ride in a red convertible.

Our relationship never turned romantic because we were just so different but the friendship remained and deepened over the years. I was there through all the people that excited and disappointed him. I was on the other end of the line whenever he needed to talk. It was ironic that I had initially hoped he could mentor me but turned out mentoring him somewhat as well.

I always thought things would get better for him. I put my faith in his goodness, not his darkness, in the medications, not the side effects, in people lifting him up, not tearing him down. In the end, he didn't even bother saying goodbye to me because he knew I would try to stop him as I had before. I regret that I was unable to attend his funeral (My mom and ex-boyfriend were kind enough to go and report back. Even though no mention was made of GBD's partner, Babs was played at the beginning). I regret that he was unable to love himself as much as we loved him. I regret I haven't forgiven him for leaving me like this. I will someday I know. But today is not that day.

If we had the chance to do it all again,
Tell me, would we? Could we?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Raindrops on Roses

In August 1965, two events happened that were important to me. The more important event was the marriage of my parents at the First Baptist Church in Twin Falls, Idaho. Their relationship has been the model of the kind of partnership that I strive to have. My brother and I annually honor this important family event.

The second event of 1965 was the debut of a family favorite, "The Sound of Music." I remember watching this musical many times at my grandmother's kitchen table in El Dorado, Kansas. I learned to sing and play the songs from the Sheet Music magazine. I always thought of our family as the Kansas version of the Von Trapps as we often sang together as a family.

In honour of both events, here is a list of..

MY Favourite Things!

*steam billowing out the window after a great shower.

*cream bubbling up in my coffee after I've just poured it.

*singing Carpenter songs in the car with my boyfriend.

*shaking the blanket so that it perfectly covers the bed.

*walking up to the platform exactly as the subway pulls up.

*closing the novel I've just finished and then sitting and staying in the story for a bit longer!

*finding an unexpected Kleenex when I desperately need one.

*the moment my muscle finally unknots during a great massage.

*the exact moment of waking clarity during my morning shower.

*and finally opening my passport (back after weeks of FedEx limbo!) to find that permanent resident visa that I've worked 2 years to receive! Yay!

So enough about me! What are your favourite things?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

On Top of Spaghetti, All Covered with Cheese

In response to upcoming Kansas State Board of Education elections in Kansas, today I'm posting some relevant satire brought to my attention by recordstoregeek (who had the foresight to purchase and give this domain to me- among the best gifts EVER!). This is meant to be humorous and my apologies to those who don't/can't find the humor contained therein. If you wish to seriously read more on this topic, follow the hyperlinks provided for your convenience!

First a little history for those of you unfortunately born in some other lesser state (haha):
The increasingly bitter seesawing of power on the education board began in 1998 when conservatives won a majority. They made the first changes to the science standards the next year, which in turn were reversed after moderates won back control in 2000. The 2002 elections left the board split 5-5, and in 2004 the conservatives won again, instituting their major standards revisions in November 2005. (source: NYTimes)

Now for the fun stuff! Enjoy!


I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them.

I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action.

I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith. Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence.

What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease. I’m sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don’t. You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to hear our views and beliefs. I hope I was able to convey the importance of teaching this theory to your students. We will of course be able to train the teachers in this alternate theory. I am eagerly awaiting your response, and hope dearly that no legal action will need to be taken. I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence.

Sincerely Yours,

Bobby Henderson, concerned citizen.

P.S. I have included an artistic drawing of Him creating a mountain, trees, and a midget. Remember, we are all His creatures. (source:http://www.venganza.org/)