rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)
Yesterday I woke up early enough to ride my bike to work, but it was so freaking cold outside that I just couldn't do it. But it should be warming up soon. I want to get back in the habit of biking more because there might be something on the horizon to save money for. Sara and I were planning to move this year, and we might be doing it soon. Like, within the next two months or so. Maybe that isn't soon to some people, but it sure feels like it to me. I'm trying not to stress. I had a dream last night that we moved and it all went really well, which I think is a good sign.

I'm excited about possibly living in a bigger city, but this will likely be a long-distance move. Which means I'll have to leave my temple. I can't even think about that right now. My congregation has become like a second family to me. Then there's the fact that we'll probably be moving before I've been matched with Briana for a year, which is what BBBS asks of you. :\

Sara and I went shopping on the same day and we each bought milk and cheese. Consequently, I've been eating too much dairy and my stomach hurts. In other food news, one of my Sassy Jewish Grandmothers brought a laundry basket full of home-grown lemons to services on Friday, and I just about picked up the whole basket and walked out with it! They are so, so, so big and juicy and delicious. And our mom gave us a bag of strawberries that are really good, too. Hmm, it just occurred to me -- maybe it's all the acid that's making my stomach hurt?

Or maybe it's the thought of leaving my temple.


As the winter dies, the Earth is brought to life
And a thousand merchant ships sail to find
A worthy village to land and start again
With one more year for a man to change his ways
{From "Winter Dies," by Midlake}
rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)
I made my once-a-year trek into Target yesterday (okay, I'm exaggerating - but not much) and hallelujah, I'm finally done with my Christmas shopping! My only reservation is that my gift for Mom seems kinda... cheap, but she's never been an easy person to buy for. Adam and Sara at least don't ask for the same stuff for nearly every birthday and Christmas. I was so tired when I got home that I conked out and slept right through yesterday's new NCIS episode. The weird thing is, I dremt that I got up and went into the living room to watch it (I have a lot of very literal dreams - they get annoying) and what was happening on the show happened to be the fanfic I'm currently writing.

Today Sara and I went out to lunch with Mom and got a little cup of the trail mix Athena went crazy for. Her family is going up to Little Rock this weekend to visit her, and I was planning to send it with them as her Christmas present. Then, lo and behold, I discovered that they're leaving bright and early tomorrow morning! So I will be getting out of bed very early to drop it off with them before they leave. Ugh! Athena so owes me for this.

Tonight I spent the evening at Mom's house, making bacon & eggs, wrapping my Christmas gifts, and watching Star Trek. We saw the episode The Most Toys, and it was darn good. I kept shouting things at the TV: "You messed with the wrong sentient android, buster!" "Data is not an it!" "Go, Data! Kick his ass!" I've tried watching episodes online, but I can't really watch it by myself because 1) I don't have anyone to explain it to me, and 2) I don't have anyone to make comments like, "Is Data the sweet invention of a scientist's dream? Or is he really as sentient as he seems?" And now, onto my NCIS notes.


Notes on 10x10 "You Better Watch Out" )

SIX DAYS MORE TILL LES MISERABLES!
Six days more
Another day, another destiny
This never-ending road to the movie
This film will surely be sublime, I'll go and see it fifty times
rebecca_in_blue: (Default)
This is me and Grandma, on my birthday three years ago (which I posted about back here). It's not the best photo of Grandma because she's looking at the cake instead of the camera, but I still love it. I love the glow of the candles, and how you can see Grandma's old kitchen behind us. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.


If someone said three years from now,
you'd be long gone,
I'd stand up and punch them out
'Cause they're all wrong.
When someone said count your blessings now,
before they're long gone,
I guess I just didn't know how.
I was all wrong.
{Lyrics from "Who Knew?" by Pink.}
rebecca_in_blue: (dozing off)
And have I fallen so far, and is the hour so late
That nothing remains but the cries of my hate?
The cries in the dark that nobody hears
Here where I stand at the turning of the years

 - "Valjean's Soliloquy," from Les Miserables

Shabbat shalom is the greeting for Sabbath peace, but Rebecca sure wasn't feeling any of that on Friday evening. Our temple is a small congregation with several different lay leaders, but one of them (the one who did services yesterday) totally grates on my nerves. He uses his sermons to wave his arms around and YELL AT US about politics and the election. UGH! There are not enough words for how much I hate this. I need to stop going to his services.

Today was the last Shabbat of 5772, and our temple marked the occassion with havdalah and tashlich services at the 9/11 Memorial on the lakefront. (The three little American flags I left on Grandma's birthday were still there.) We had a bigger turn-out and nicer weather than last year, but it was held later in the evening, so seagulls didn't flock out to eat our bread this time. Yeah, a big group of Jews singing Hebrew prayers in public did get some strange stares, but I didn't care. As we were leaving, lights came on in the memorial's reflecting pool. I didn't even know it had lights and said, "Oh, that's pretty," sounding cynical and sarcastic, like I always do. Maggie said at the same time, "Look, Rebecca! That is SO beautiful!" There is something so enthusiastic and innocent about her outlook on life that is almost bittersweet to me.

Tomorrow evening marks the beginning of a new year, 5773, and I'm hoping that with it, I can turn over a new leaf. Lately I've picked up some bad habits and put down some good ones. I need to stop staying up so late, oversleeping in the mornings, and getting to work late. I need to start recycling again. I need to start cleaning my room more. (I was so excited when I first moved into that big bedroom, and now it's just become a place for me to lose things! My chest has been tight tonight, but where's my inhaler? I have no idea!) I haven't been bike-riding nearly as much I used to, and I need to start doing that again. You know how cranky smokers get when they haven't had a cigarette in a long time? That's Rebecca without her bike-riding.

We're having a dessert oneg after Rosh Hashanah services tomorrow evening. Last year, I brought delicious pumpkin bread that Grandma baked and let me take credit for. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. I got it from Grandma and gave it out to a few people, but I didn't think to keep one for myself. I took for granted that Grandma would be around to make it for me for years. So this year, I made bacon & eggs instead. I know no one will love them or want the recipe, but I enjoy making them -- and I made way too many! I better give some to "Briana" tomorrow.

And I better go to bed now, because believe me when I say I have a busy day tomorrow. Until then, there's my Tovah (on her bay window, as always) wishing y'all a happy new year!



SHANAH TOVAH, FROM TOVAH!
NINE ... DAYS ... LEFT UNTIL SEASON 10 OF NCIS!
(We're in single digits, y'all!!)
rebecca_in_blue: (trembling hand)
Athena was in town this weekend, and on Sunday, she, Sara, and I went to see The Possession. (AKA the Jewish exorcism movie I posted about here). I was pretty disappointed. Some scenes that were supposed to be scary just felt stupid, and its treatment of Judaism was borderline offensive to me. The only highlights were the two young actresses and Matisyahu, a Jewish rapper. He has a great song called "Miracle" that I've been listening to non-stop lately (even though it's a Hanukkah song and the High Holy Days are approaching). Anyway, they made up for Kyra Sedgwick, who I find absolutely insufferable. Seriously, I wanted to SLAP her every time she came onscreen!


Matisyahu (with child actress Natasha Calis) exorcising the demon.

After the movie, we all ate lunch at a new deli that just opened, and the food also didn't thrill me. But it was fun getting to visit with Athena. She discovered some new trail mix that she went absolutely crazy over. Then I spent the evening at her parents' house, petting their new guinea pig and helping Eva with her French homework -- yes, this qualifies as fun for me.

So September is here now (can you believe it's September already?) and for Rebecca, that means three things:
1) Cool weather! Hallelujah!
2) SEASON 10 OF NCIS! 22 DAYS LEFT!
3) The Days of Awe. Our temple is kicking them off this Saturday with Selichot. This time of year, especially Yom Kippur, calls for a lot of reflecting and soul-searching, and I'm trying to get into an appropriate frame of mind. Since Matisyahu doesn't have a song for these holidays, I'll share this one from The Maccabeats. It's a parody of "Good Life," by OneRepublic, which I absolutely hate, but I love this parody.



Hopefully this year will bring us happiness and peace
Hopefully sensitivity to others will increase
Hopefully we'll open our eyes and think more consciously
'Cuz hopefully we'll go from where we are to where we want to be

Also, the September words of my Emily Dickinson calendar:
     The Leaves unhooked themselves from Trees --
     And started all abroad
     The Dust did scoop itself like Hands
     And threw away the Road
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

Well, today was the day that I'd been both dreading and looking forward to. After a delicious breakfast of hot chocolate-chip scones in the dining hall this morning (I will miss having all of my meals prepared for me!), I finished packing, checked Muse Watson's tires, and went on my way. The trip back home was smooth, and I only had to make one stop outside Baton Rouge to eat, use a restroom, and buy gas. Muse Watson made good time, and I'm so proud of that cranky old car; I don't think either of us really believed he would make it safely there and back!

I am definitely happy to be home -- I missed Sara, Tovah, my hair straightener, my room, etc. -- but I was also sad to leave such a beautiful summer camp, even though my time there had some rough spots. I posted in my entry on the first day about how hard it was being there by myself, but really, it was hard the whole week through. I've always sucked at meeting people, and my week there was no exception. Still, there was a wonderful, welcoming, relaxed, safe atmosphere at camp that I can't really explain. I will miss the cool weather, the slow-paced summer days under the pine trees. I will miss the sense of a shared Jewish identity, which is something else I can't explain (and unless you're a minority, I don't think you can really understand). I'd never been in such a huge group of people who all knew how to sing the HaMotzi or the Birkat Hamazon. It blew my mind the first time everyone in the dining hall started singing it, and I hope I never forget that.

But what blows my mind more than anything else is knowing that at this time in 2010, just two years ago, I'd never even set foot in a Jewish house of worship. Seriously, never. I was still researching and learning about Judaism on my own, biking past the temple frequently, and trying to get up the nerve to walk through those doors. If you had told me then that in a year, I would officially convert, and within two years, I'd spend a week working at a Jewish summer camp -- would I have believed you? Probably not. Already, Judaism has become a bigger part of my life and my identity than I ever could've imagined. I hope I can remember to never totally lose faith in what might seem unlikely or even impossible.

I'll find my way home on the western wind
To a place that was once my world
Back from where I've been

And in the morning light, I'll remember
As the sun will rise
We are all the glowing embers of a distant fire

rebecca_in_blue: (pursed lips)
I can't believe it's the end of only my second full day at camp. The day here is long, busy, and active, so this morning's breakfast already feels like days ago! The Maccabiah Games wound down today. Team Yarok won, which surprised me because Team Adom won most of the contests that I was a judge for. I stayed busy doing administrative work for the office, mostly sorting mail, but I did have some free time. After dinner, Alan Goodis, a touring Jewish musician, gave a great outdoor concert that I just got back from. He sang "One Day," a song that a few different Jewish singers have covered (I have the Maccabeats' cover of it on my iPod) and I was amazed when everyone in the audience seemed to know it. Seriously, they sang along for every word!


Beautiful crepe myrtles are in bloom all over camp, including these right outside my room.

In fact, I've been amazed by many of the things I've seen here. Like at evening services, when the campers bow during the Baruchu, cover their faces during the Shema, and whisper the second line of it. Maybe it's because I wasn't raised Jewish, or maybe it's because I attend a temple where we don't usually do any of those things, but it blows my mind that kids as young as these campers do that when they pray. They also sing the Birkat Hamazon, the full version, after every meal here! I felt pretty stupid after my first meal in the dining hall, when everyone was singing it except me. I'm trying to learn it, but the Birkat Hamazon is a very long prayer and I'm not familiar with the melody.



This young woman leads the campers in all their songs/chants after every meal. She is so talented and looks and sings just like the camp's own personal Taylor Swift.

In short, I realize that I've been living in a very narrow Jewish world. I think this is understandable, since I only officially converted less than a year ago. And I've learned a lot during my first year as an official Jew, but here at camp, I see that there are still so many different ways of being Jewish and practicing Judaism for me to discover. I am so grateful to be here.



A portion of the mural on the wall of the dining hall. This photo does it no justice! The words at the top say, "If you will it, it is no dream. To be a free people in our land of Zion and Jerusalem..."

At his concert, Alan Goodis sang several Jewish songs (like a great catchy version of "Al Sh'losha D'varim") and a few secular ones -- a few by James Taylor and two by Warren Zevon. One was "Keep Me in Your Heart," which made me a little emotional because it was the song we played at Dad's funeral. The other one was "Don't Let Us Get Sick," and this verse especially struck me because it so perfectly fits this camp, the atmosphere here, and the lake at night. It almost made me wonder if Warren Zevon had ever been to this camp.


The moon has a face, and it smiles on the lake
And causes the ripples in time
I'm lucky to be here with someone like you
Who maketh my spirit to shine
Don't let us get sick, don't let us get old
Don't let us get stupid, all right
Just make us be brave and make us play nice
And let us be together tonight

Ken y'hi ratzon -- may this always be God's will.
rebecca_in_blue: (bemused shrug)
My first full day at camp was very long and busy, but it went well. I met and had conversations with a few of the other adult staff members (thank you, Lord!) and I learned how to get into the dining hall a few minutes early to get a seat at the grown-up table. In the morning I sorted the camp's incoming mail, and in the afternoon I drove around in the golf cart picking up and sorting the outgoing mail from each cabin. I love cruising around in that golf cart! It's the perfect way to see all the sights of camp without getting sweaty and exhausted!


All of the buildings have beautiful stained-glass signs in front of them, with both their Hebrew and English names.

This morning started the Maccabiah Games, a camp contest where the kids are divided into four different color-coded teams, Kachol, Adom, Tsahov, Yarok. It is a big, noisy deal. (One of the other staff members told me that the adults hate it, but the kids love it.) After dinner, we all packed into the camp's performing arts center, where each team competed in stuff like original song and interpretive dance. I know it sounds corny, but it was fun. Since I'm on the staff, I got to be one of the judges. It lasted a long time -- I only just got back to my room -- so breakfast will be a half-hour later tomorrow morning! Yay!


Every meal here is followed by a session of songs/chants. Here's Team Adom standing on their chairs, singing "Hebrew Warriors" with hand motions.

This evening, we also took a break for prayer services in the camp's amazing outdoor temple. It's right on the shore of the lake, under the pine trees. Services were held just as the sun was setting, and it was so beautiful and peaceful. Three camp counselors served as the lay leaders, and they did a great job. They led us in a beautiful version of "Hinei Mah Tov" mixed with "All You Need Is Love." I was sitting next to a visiting rabbi from Metairie, who teared up. I think Shabbat services will be held there on Friday evening, and I will try to take more pictures then.



Singing together at evening prayer services.

Another new song I've heard here that I love is this one that the campers sang during dinner:


Give me freedom, give me fire, give me reason, take me higher
See the champions take the field now, unify us, make us feel proud
All around our hands are lifting as we lose our inhibitions
Celebration, it surrounds us, every nation, all around us
Singin' forever young, singin' songs beneath the sun
Let's rejoice in the beautiful game, and at the end of the day we say
When I get older, I will be stronger
They'll call me freedom, just like a wavin' flag

I love it. I can still hear the campers outside singing it right now, as they head back to their cabins. What a great place.
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)
This is a short entry because work lasted forever tonight, it's late, I'm tired, and I'm waking up bright and early tomorrow morning to leave for summer camp! I'm not sure how often I'll have Internet access there, so posts may be sporadic for a while. My back-up plan is to keep a paper journal of my experiences, take lots of pictures, and put them all on LiveJournal later.

I'm going to a summer camp run by the URJ (Union for Reform Judaism). I'll be there for a week. I'm so nervous about it because even though I've heard great things about this camp, I've never been before and I don't know anyone there! But I keep telling myself that if I can fly to France alone and live there for nine months, then surely I can survive at a summer camp in Mississippi for a week. Right?

Besides the normal clothes and toiletries you put in a suitcase, can you guess what else Rebecca has packed?
  • Detailed, turn-by-turn directions the camp.
  • A Louisiana state map.
  • A flat-tire emergency repair kit (that's in addition to the spare tire in Muse Watson's trunk).
  • A tire inflation pump and gauge.
  • A spare gas tank full of gas.
  • Enough snack food to last for several days.

Tomorrow morning, it's Mississippi, or bust! But I probably shouldn't say that -- Muse Watson might choose "bust"! For tonight, I'll leave you with this beautiful, moving video about travel, discovered recently via [livejournal.com profile] littlesammy:




If all the days that come to pass are behind these walls,
I'll be left at the end of things in a world kept small.
I'll travel far from what I know, and I'll be swept away.
I need to know I can be lost and not afraid.
rebecca_in_blue: (trembling hand)

Even though we had a large turnout and an oneg afterwards, there was a pretty sad feeling at services tonight. We had a farewell oneg for a family in our congregation that's moving to Texas. Our temple is so small that our congregation really feels like a family, and it can be hard when folks leave.

I am going to miss this family a lot. I celebrated Purim and Passover with them for two years in a row. Rachel so friendly and welcoming to me when I was new there. She was also the driving force behind the temple Sunday School. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it wouldn't have existed without all her hard work -- and her kids were half the school! I don't even want to think about how we're going to carry on without her. She got me involved in so many new things: she was the one who invited me to the conga-drum line and pushed me to get over my shyness, stand up, and recite all of the Who Knows One game during the Passover seder (which I did!). She gave us all home-grown cucumbers from her garden at the oneg -- I took two -- and I hope that with them, we'll get a little bit of her spirit and drive.

Another mom in our congregation will probably be moving away soon, too. Our temple is shrinking! I'm surprised none of my Jewish grandmothers have told me to marry their grandson and have four kids to replace the ones who'll be moving.

L'chi lach to a land that I will show you
L'chi lach to a place you do not know
L'chi lach, on your journey I will bless you
And you will be a blessing, l'chi lach

rebecca_in_blue: (downcast eyes)

It's that time of year again -- spring has returned to southern Louisiana (it came a bit early this year). The Live Oak trees are dropping carpets of pollen, and the baby's breath, ligustrums, jasmine, and azaleas are blooming everywhere. Everywhere, that is, except in the front yard of Grandma's old house, where the azalea bushes and other plants that stood there since the 1960's (I have photos to prove it) have been ripped up. I live near Grandma's old house, so I get to see a huge part of my childhood being remodeled beyond recognition on a daily basis. It was depressing before Grandma died, but since then, it's been especially hard.

The other day, I was riding my bike past her old house and "Copperline," by James Taylor, came on my iPod. (I got hear Taylor sing it live when I saw him in concert last year.) In the song, the singer waxes nostalgic about his favorite childhood haunt, Copperline, but he isn't bitter when he revisits it as an adult to find it's been "torn up good." These are the last lyrics, but with Copperline replaced by Seventh Street, where my Grandma used to live.

Day breaks and the boy wakes up
The dogs bark and the birds sing
The sap rises and the angels sigh




I tried to go back, as if I could
All spec house and plywood
Torn up and torn up good
, down on Seventh Street



It doesn't come as a surprise to me
It doesn't change my memories
Now I'm lifting up and rising free, down over Seventh Street

Sunday Snapshot
rebecca_in_blue: (excited grin)
I was going to sign off, clean the kitchen, go to bed, and post this another day, but then I decided to write it down before the feeling goes away. There was another session of Sunday school at the temple this morning. I've posted before about how it hasn't been going perfectly for me, and I expected today's class would be more of the same. We got all the kids together to plant a fig tree sapling on the temple grounds in honor of Tu Bish'vat, a Jewish holiday celebrating trees. I got my coworker EJ to switch shifts with me so I could go, and when I told him this, he said, "Y'all just have the most random holidays! That's awesome!"

To my surprise, I really enjoyed it -- and I think the kids did, too. They all worked together to dig a hole and plant the sapling. It's a Celeste fig tree, which produces the sweetest, juciest figs of all -- of course, it'll be a long time before this one produces any figs! -- and is very popular in the South. I took a few photos, and this one is my favorite. I don't even mind the insane amount of sunflare (it was early in the morning!) because you can really see how much fun the kids had.


I'll share this love I find with everyone
We'll sing and dance to Mother Nature's song

Afterwards, we had Hebrew lessons; not all of the kids could stay for that, so I ended up with just two little boys in my class. They're not twins, but they're brothers very close in age and look SO much alike. Even though I've known them for almost a year, some months ago I gave up on ever trying to tell them apart. (I'm not the only person at temple who has this problem. I've seen them both answer to the other one's name.) But this morning, I somehow did what I thought I could never do and learned who was who! Now I can call them by their first names, instead of "Mr. C----."

I also managed to teach them a little Hebrew, even though the older one speaks the language better than as well as me. I hope I never forget how their faces lit up when they sounded out and read new words for the first time.

Who's to say I can't do everything?
Well I can try, and as I roll along I begin to find
Things aren't always just what they seem
I don't want this feeling to go away

{Lyrics from "Upside Down," by Jack Johnson. Listen here. The video is adorable.}
rebecca_in_blue: (happy smile)
I've kinda been looking forward to this day for a while. It's my anniversary with the temple! Exactly one year ago today - Friday, August 27, 2010 - I rode my bike and attended services there for the first time. It's so strange to think that it's already been a year, when I still remember my first visit so well. Mostly I remember how nervous I was. I had never attended any sort of Jewish service before, never walked through those doors before, and even though I'd done a lot of research into Judaism, I didn't know anyone there and really had no idea what to expect.

It's hard to write about how much it's changed my life. One year later, I've officially converted. I'm a first-name basis with a whole group of people that I didn't know before. It's given me a sense of peace that I've never found anywhere else, and I like to think it's made me a better, happier, less selfish person. To put it simply, I have a family and a life now that I didn't have a year ago. It's almost hard to remember what I did before I had Judaism, and this temple. I mean, how bored and lonely was I?

I didn't have anything exciting planned for today, but almost as if they knew it was my anniversary, two members of our congregation - Cheryl and her little girl, Maggie - swooped by and picked me up. Maggie is the sweetest kid, and for some strange reason, she really likes me and thinks I'm so cool. (Eva thought the same thing for a long time. She'll be 14 at the end of the month, and I think she's finally starting to realize how lame I really am.) First we had lunch at Burger King, and then we went to a family fun day downtown. There was face-painting, balloon animals, games, door prizes, etc. - fun, but so exhausting that I conked out as soon as I got home.

More cool stuff for today - back in October, our temple was visited by a camera crew from the History Channel. We're featured for about five minutes in a two-hour long program called "You Don't Know Dixie," that tries to debunk stereotypes about the south. It's on TV tonight, and although the History Channel's played it before, this will be my first time to see it. Lots of faces from the temple are in it, including Rebecca! (When Jacob told me, my first response was, "What was I wearing that day?")


Screencaps from our part of the show! )

I almost ended this entry with a nice verse from the Torah, but if you know me, you won't be surprised that I went with The Beatles instead.
Man, we was lonely, yes, we was lonely

And we was hard-pressed to find a smile
Man, we was lonely, yes, we was lonely
But now we're fine all the while
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

Sara has caught a wicked cold and is trying her darndest to give it to me. But I credit all my bike riding with helping me avoid it. A nice cool front came through recently, and I've been riding my bike a lot. I made a batch of Marlene's stuffing for dinner tonight. I hardly follow her recipe to the letter anymore - and even when I did, mine was never as good as Marlene's - but I like that +3 years later, I'm still making it.

And now, for no reason, some lyrics to my favorite song at the moment and a picture I took earlier today. The second stanza is how I always feel on Friday evenings. :)

I been waitin' on the sunset, bills on my mindset
I can't deny they're gettin' high
Higher than my income, income's breadcrumbs
I been tryin' to survive

 

The glow that the sun gets right around sunset
Helps me to realize
That this just a journey, drop your worries
You are gonna turn out fine


You can listen to the song here. But be warned: it's catchy as hell!

P.S. Holy Moses! The season eight finale of NCIS airs ... tomorrow!

rebecca_in_blue: (stiff shoulders)

Mardi Gras isn't a holiday that Sara and I are big fans of. We both work on the parade route, so we have problems with traffic and unruly parade-goers wanting to use the restrooms. Fortunately we were both off for Fat Tuesday yesterday, so we skipped the insanity, stayed inside, and ordered pizza. It literally rained on the parade here, but I could still hear it from our apartment.

This was our Mardi Gras weather:

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
But that doesn't mean my eyes will soon be turnin' red
Cryin's not for me, no
I'm never gonna stop the rain by complainin'

rebecca_in_blue: (raised eyebrows)

These photos were taken within a week of each other, right outside my door. I like seeing the seasons change, but geez, it's supposed to take a little while to get from one to the next. Could the weather down here by any crazier? I think not.

You can't really tell, but those are frozen raindrops on the grass in this one. It was so cold! 


This one was taken yesterday. The first little white flowers of spring! And notice how the grass is in focus (although perhaps too sharp, because I had to shrink the photo) while the background is blurry? I'm in geek heaven over this!
 

When the night has been too lonely
And the road has been too long
And you think that love is only
For the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter
Far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed that with the sun's love
In the spring, becomes the rose

rebecca_in_blue: (Default)

When I was about 10, this was one of my favorite songs, and I used to hum it to myself whenever I felt stressed or upset about something (even though I didn't really understand what it was about at the time). What I had to be stressed or upset about at that age, I don't remember. But anyway, I loved it. Today, February 20th, would've been my dad's birthday.

It felt like springtime on this February morning
In a courtyard birds were singing your praise
I'm still recalling things you said to make me feel all right
I carry them with me today

It's only recently, by googling the lyrics, that I've been able to understand what she's singing in the second verse.

I wonder why I feel so high
Though I am not above the sorrow
Heavy-hearted till you call my name
And it felt like church bells
Or the whistle of a train on a summer evening
I run to meet you barefoot barely breathing

(I know, the shit we like as kids. My taste in middle school was even worse.)

The weather was so perfect today, cool and sunny, and I had one of the most glorious bike rides ever. I didn't have any specific route in mind, so I just meandered all over my neighborhood and downtown. You know you've hit your stride when you can ride your bike for a solid hour and a half (or maybe two hours, I wasn't keeping track of the time) without stopping, loving every minute of it, listening to the same song over and over on your iPod. I hit the acapella version of "Amazing Grace" a few minutes in, and although I love all the songs on my iPod, none of them sounded very good after that, so I just kept going back to it. I probably listened to it at least twenty times, but I wasn't keeping track of that, either. I didn't want that song, or that bike ride, to end, but when I finally did, I didn't feel tired at all, just energized, rejuvanated, alive.

Sara, yesterday, about me and NCIS: "It's really weird, because she's never been this obsessed with a TV show before."

P.S. My amazing new LJ profile! 

rebecca_in_blue: (red riding hood)
Well, I'm still exhausted, because Heather and I woke up at 6:00 to go to Laon for our medical exams this morning. My appointment was at 8:15, and hers was at 9:00. I couldn't understand why she left with me instead of sleeping in an extra half-hour and leaving later, but it's a very good thing we did go together, because by ourselves, each of us would probably be wandering around Laon lost. I have never seen a city with such a confusing lay-out. We had to take a bus and a trolley to get to the hospital. (Well, it wasn't exactly a trolley. It was actually a lot like a roller coaster. I enjoyed it, but I think Heather was terrified.)

I'm leaving for London tomorrow (Friday), so this will probably be the last update I make until then. I know I'm going to have a very good time, because I'll be in the heart of JM Barrie country and I'll be visiting family (however distant), but I am really going to miss being at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve. I hope the box I mailed arrives before then, but it probably won't. Until then...

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Oh, it's all right, it's gonna be okay.
'Cause next year I'll be home
Come a Louisiana Christmas Day.
Oh, let the good times roll,
Les bons temps roulez,
'Cause next year I'll be home
Come a Louisiana Christmas Day.
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)
I was online yesterday when I saw a news headline that made my jaw drop: "Which Harry Potter character did JK Rowling reveal as gay?" Of course I immediately clicked on the article (my first guess, by the way, was Sirius; there are huge rumors among fans that he was gay and in love with James or Remus) and my jaw dropped again as I read it. It wasn't Sirius – it was Dumbledore! Apparently Jo Rowling was at a press conference with her fans, and one of them asked about Dumbledore's love life, and Rowling came right out and said that he was gay. I was so shocked that I sent a text message of the news to Sara, Adam, and Athena. (Athena texted back, "You mean the actor who plays him?") Today I checked my e-mail and discovered that both Sara and Adam had read the article before I did and sent me links to it. I wish I coud talk to them about it. What's ironic is that when we discovered in the seventh book that Dumbledore and Grindelwald used to be friends, I made jokes about how they met when they were young men working as ranch hands on Brokeback Mountain.

Anyway, after I got over that shock, Heather, Nakeisha, and I went to McDonald's yesterday. It was a long walk, especially in the cloudy, cold weather, but we were desperate for some familiar food. And since we knew we wouldn't be able to come back for another week at least, we decided to make the most of this visit. We stayed in McDonald's for over an hour, spent about ten Euros each, and stuffed our faces. They played American music inside the resteraunt, and we heard "Wake Me Up When September Ends," "How to Save a Life," and a fairly recent song called "Hey There Delilah." This last one came on while I was eating my chicken nuggets, and I suddenly remembered one hot day when I worked at the bookstore and drove to the McDonald's across the street to eat the same meal of chicken nuggets, French fries, and Coke, and I heard the same song on the truck radio. It made me more than a little homesick to remember the heat, the sun, and driving my truck, and being in a country where I spoke the language, then to look out the window and see that I was in France, where it was cold and people usually spoke too fast for me to understand.

A thousand miles seems pretty far,
But they've got planes and trains and cars.
I'd walk to you if I had no other way.
Our friends would all make fun of us,
and we'll just laugh along because we know
That none of them have felt this way.
rebecca_in_blue: (worried eyes)

What will this day be like, I wonder?
What will my future be, I wonder?
It could be so exciting
to be out in the world, to be free.
My heart should be wildly rejoicing.
Oh, what's the matter with me?
I've always longed for adventure,
to do the things I've never dared.
Now here I'm facing adventure.
Then why am I so scared?

This will be the last entry I make before I leave for France, and all day my emotions have been on a roller-coaster. I'm alternately excited, terrified, and depressed -- the way I feel when I'm reading a Harry Potter book for the first time, but of course this is bigger than any book. I've been running errands and packing all day, trying to make sure I'm ready to go, which has actually made me feel worse, not better. It just seems like I've left everything waiting until the last minute, which is very bad, because if I'm unprepared now, what is it going to be like when I get on the plane? When I get to France? But some good news is that while I was driving Mom's car earlier, I heard the song "Superman (It's Not Easy)" on one of her CDs, and for whatever reason, it made me feel a lot better about everything. I'm adding it to my iPod right now.

I have said goodbye to all the family, which of course was very sad. Aunt Connie and Eva actually interrupted me in the middle of typing this entry by driving over just to say goodbye to me, which was incredibly sweet of them. I think Uncle John almost came close to crying when I said goodbye to him, but he didn't (which is good, because I've never seen him cry and it would have been weird). And tomorrow, the day I'm leaving, is the third anniversary of Aunt Carolyn's death, which makes it even worse. Mom, Sara, and Adam will be coming to the airport with me, so I'll be saying goodbye to them last. I actually think leaving Sable will be the hardest part of all; it causes me real physical pain to imagine that Sable will think I don't love him, or that it's his fault I'm gone. I just love that dog so much.

I'm worried about so many things. Even with all the classes I've taken on French, I don't feel prepared, and I don't know what to expect. What will the school be like? What will the students be like? Last May, when I had to do a presentation on ten different film adaptations of Peter Pan for screenwriting class, I was nervous about talking in front of the class, even about a subject that I knew so well. What the hell makes me think I can be a teacher? Last August, when I moved into my new apartment, I didn't have any idea what to expect either, and of course moving in with three strange girls is scary for a shy person like me, but it doesn't even compare to moving to a new country where everyone is a stranger. In 2003, I was so terrifed to start college in a new town, but even then, I knew it wasn't as scary as it could be, because Sara was with me. I'm doing this all alone. But I should probably stop this now before I make myself even more worried.

I like to think of "Defying Gravity" as my personal theme song, and last November, while I was filling out the application to have this little adventure, I rewrote the song to fit my situation. It's not quite correct anymore, because when I wrote it, I thought I would be going to Lille, not Amiens. But Amiens doesn't rhyme with anything, and Lille does. Here are the lyrics to the original song, and the ones that I wrote.

So if you care to find me, / So if you care to find me,
look to the western sky. / look south of
la manche.
As someone told me lately, / As my professors told me,
everyone deserves a chance to fly. / you deserve a chance to go to France.
And if I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free. / And if I'm going solo, at least I'm going now.
To those who'd ground me, / To those who'd ground me,
take a message back from me. / take a message back from me.
Tell them how I am defying gravity. / Tell them how I am becoming fluent.
I'm flying high, defying gravity. / Listen to me talk, I'm becoming fluent.
And soon I'm match them in renown. / And soon I'll speak just I'm French.
And nobody, in all of Oz, / And nobody, in all of Lille,
no wizard that there is or was, / in les banlieues or
la centre-ville,
is ever gonna bring me down! / is ever gonna bring me down! 

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March 2013

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