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Archive for November, 2008

Eulogy to My Sweater

Last night I worked a banquetting shift at a large hotel here in town.  It was an unexpectedly long shift for a Saturday night function, so by the time 11:00PM rolled around I was ready to go home and go to bed.  Now, the way our Saturday night routine goes when I’m working is that Christopher and I walk into town together, and he heads to New College to study while I go to work.  Then, when I’m done with work, I just walk over to New College to meet him and we walk home together.  So, when I finished my shift, I headed down to the locker room at the hotel to grab my things and go–my things being my sweater, coat, hat, scarf and a bag with some odds and ends in it.  (I don’t take a purse with me because we never have anywhere to lock our stuff up.)  Well, when I saw my pile of wrappings, my first thought was that it looked a little different than when I had left it.  It didn’t really strike me, though, until I was putting my coat on that the reason the pile looked different was that it no longer contained a sweater.

At this point, let me just say a few things about my sweater.  This is a wonderful sweater–not only is it the warmest thing I own, which, in this increasingly chilly winter has been invaluable, and which has resulted in my wearing it a minimum of five days a week, but it is both comfortable and goes with just about anything–dressy or casual.  On top of that, it’s a maternity sweater, which, as those of you who’ve spent much time shopping for maternity clothes know, wasn’t exactly cheap, even at the outlet store in the states where I bought it this summer. (For the record, I do own one other maternity sweater, it’s just not nearly as warm or as versatile.)

Back to the story– I looked all over the locker room in vain, desperately asking people if they had seen a wonderful, warm, long, dark gray sweater (well, not in those words exactly…) but nobody had.  So, even though it was late, I went back upstairs to find a manager and see if perhaps somebody had reported it to the lost and found (which seemed unlikely considering that it was in a pile with my other things, none of the rest of which seemed to be missing).  The manager looked around a bit and talked to some people and came back about twenty minutes later reporting that nobody had seen a sweater by that description and apologized that there was nothing he could do about it.  While I was waiting for him to return, I discovered that the thief had also made off with the bus money I keep in my coat pocket.  I mentioned this to him upon his return and he was kind enough to reimburse me the £1.10 for that.  I left him with my phone number just in case and headed out into the cold, very sad.

Maybe it was just the late night or the long shift or maybe it’s just pregnancy hormones, but I cried the whole way down Princes Street, from the hotel to New College and when I met poor Christopher just before midnight he must have thought something really horrible had happened.  In any case, I am still very sad about it.  Not only does it feel like I have lost something very valuable to me (I know, it’s a funny thing to say about a sweater, but warmth is as good as gold around here!), but it’s also just disconcerting to have something stolen from you, especially when it’s something that seems like it couldn’t possibly be as valuable to the person who stole it from you as it is to you.  One small source of comfort has been that this poor thief, whoever they were, surely didn’t realize that the item of clothing they were making off with was in the maternity genre and will have been disappointed to discover it when they got home and tried it on.  Who knows, perhaps, they’ll “drop it off” at the hotel again when they decide they don’t want to be walking around in the latest maternity fashions.

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Kumabumba?

Several weeks back, on our Saturday adventure, I endured what ranks as one of the oddest experiences in recent memory.  We stopped at a little store so that J could use the WC, and  I waited outside.  Seconds later a jolly Indian fellow in a baggy red sweatshirt bounded down the sidewalk. He stopped only inches from my nose, offering me a choice whiff of his curry breath.  His first words were, rolling the ‘R’ quite pointedly, “Are you lost?”  I replied that I wasn’t.  Was he?  “Oh yes. You see, I know that I am standing in front of a bookie, wearing a red shirt, looking at a four to five story building, talking to you, but I’m lost.”  Naively, I asked him where he wanted to go, to which he replied he had no idea. He asked where I wanted to go.  Still believing him to be coherent, I tried to explain that I knew where I was going and that if he needed help I would do my best.  At that he spun around, nearly running into some dude whom he then greeted as if they’d known each other for years.  As the dude extricated himself from curry-breath, I made eye contact with him, and he rolled those eyes way back into his head as if to say, “Can you believe what a nut-job this guy is?”  Next, curry-breath ducked into the bookie, caused a ruckus, and returned to me on the sidewalk. The next question was, “Where are you from?”  I told him I lived in the area…apparently the wrong answer.  “Oh no, you’re from Kumabumba!” Time stood still, and I stared blankly at him. “Where?”  “Yes. You’re from Kumabumba; I can see it in your eyes.” And then, right up in my face, he let out a maniacal, curry-laden, hysterical belly laugh. Amazing. Ten seconds later, Jackie rescued me, and we continued our walk.

Other news #1:  Jackie has formally applied for a freelance editing job with HarperColins Publishers and.  Yesterday we returned the completed editing aptitude tests, but we have yet to hear back. Not only would the job offer predictable work hours and certain financial advantages, but it would allow Jack to work from home, which, come March, will be immensely helpful.

Other news #2:  I’ve settled on a new, approved! thesis topic–a contextual reading of Ezekiel 40-48. Basically, I’ll be trying to explain the mysteries of Ezekiel’s temple vision (40-48) in light of chapters 1-39.  In Ezekiel studies this is an untested approach to interpreting the vision. To evangelicals this may come as a surprise because we generally accept all 48 chapters of Ezekiel as a single literary composition. But academics rarely make that assumption; most see 1-39 and 40-48 as two separate literary units that an editor has combined.

Other news #3:  It’s time for the second installment of “Trivia: Random Questions of Fun”.  1) If a Scot asks if you’ve had “a wee deco”, what does he mean?  2) Jackie read an article this week entitled “Everything Potty”. What was the subject of the article? Hint:  It has NOTHING to do with the common use of the word in the States.

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Back Online

I confess, I never wanted to be one of those people who can’t live without their computer or who acts like they’re no longer connected to civilization when they have no access to the internet.  I’m definitely a fan of leaving the modern world behind when heading out into the wilderness for a camping trip or taking the phone off the hook every now and then for a quiet, uninterrupted evening at home with my husband.  However, despite all that, having our computer in the shop for a week and a half has felt surprisingly disruptive and, dare I say, painful?  I guess I’ve been surprised because I didn’t realize how much I was depending on the internet to give me that daily, comforting connection to the familiar world of home, that is, family and friends in the US.  So, all that to say, we have our computer back, and it feels like a good friend has come back from a long journey.  (Please pardon my emotiveness.)  

For those of you who were wondering, our hard drive did crash irreparably, but the Mac techs were able to install a new one for a comparatively small price.  They also managed to recover all the files from our old hard drive including all C’s seminary work and the work he’s done here so far, our pictures and all our music.  We couldn’t be more grateful, especially considering that Christmas is just around the corner and we were inconsolable at the thought of Christmas with no Christmas music! 

You’ll notice, I finally got around to changing our picture header to an Edinburgh picture, something we intended to do shortly after getting here.  Unfortunately, we haven’t been very good about remembering to take our camera out with us when we go exploring…  Last Saturday, however, we finally remembered and managed to take a couple of shots.  We had a lovely day walking around an area of the city called Leith which is on the harbor.  [For those of you who are geographically challenged (like me!) Edinburgh sits on the Firth of Forth (a firth is kind of like a Fjord) which flows off the North Sea.]  We packed up a picnic lunch and walked out to the water where we sat  on a deserted pier (in the sun, no less!) and watched the pigeons and seagulls play on the rooftops. It was so peaceful, not to mention comforting, to be near the sea, smelling the “ripe”, familiar smells of the salt water.  Anyway, we took that picture on the pier after lunch.   (And, for the more astute among you who will actually look at the time on the clock in the picture, it really was just after lunch and not 7:11 as the clock suggests.  Remember, the pier was deserted–apparently nobody winds that clock anymore.)

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