Saturday, December 29, 2007


Even though I'm at home for Christmas and New Year's and I happen to be staying in my old bedroom, I'm feeling a lot like and intruder. My cat, Max, seems to think that he is being very generous to allow me to be in HIS room.

He spends the practically the entire day lounging around on my bed. Then at night he insists on my attention being either on him or nothing. I can't spend more than a few minutes on the computer or reading a book without him getting right up in my face, purring loudly as he walks across my keyboard (very delicately, as though he knows he's being a twerp) or laying across my book. It's not enough for him that I pet him and scratch his chin and behind his ears while I do whatever (even though this makes it drastically more complicated to type and turn pages), I have to focus on just him. When I turn off the computer or close the book he immediately returns to his spot right smack in the middle of the bed.

I would also like it to be noted that cats (and small children) somehow manage to take up more space on a bed than should be physically possible. I argue the the physics of a bed are entirely different than normal physics, otherwise someone please explain.

Or perhaps the very nature of a bed (being a catalyst to enter the dream world) is by definition part of an alternate reality.

It's late. I'm tired. I'm also starting to type dyslexically.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Seeing the World from the Inverse

I was in an airplane a few days ago. It was my first real opportunity to fly and sit in a window seat. It's odd to me that flight is possible. Don't get me wrong, I understand the physics of it. I know why it works, and that makes sense, but it still seems so wrong. And I even enjoy flying. But it's like one of those dreams. The ones that seem real, and you want them to be real, but you know they aren't. It's kind of like that, I suppose. There I am, and it all starts off ok. I am sitting there in a normal position safely buckled in, kind of like a car ride. And then I start moving. Suddenly, I am going faster than I have gone in any car, ever. And then I am off the ground. And it's just not right. Fun, and kind of cool, but wrong.

Eventually you are going through the clouds. If it's a really cloudy day you are looking at a backwards world. The clouds are all beneath you. A big layer of glorious pillow soft looking white. And it's all under you. If you care to you can look up. And that, my friends, is where the really sight to be seen is. Upwards, there is a color not normally known. It's this deep glorious exquisite color of blue. It's not the Crayola sky blue. Crayon sky blue is a cheap washed out imitation in comparison. It's this wonderful blue of the deepest ocean, or a perfect sapphire. You can almost see stars peeping through, it's that dark of a blue. And for about an hour, I wondered why green was my favorite color. Because if I could be continually surrounded in that wonderful azure blanket I think I would be happy forever.

I don't understand what bothers some people about flying. Aside from the outright wrongness of it all. I don't know why some people have trouble sleeping on the plane. To me the sound of the engines is kind of comforting. It's this soothing continuous purr that drowns out everything else. There you are floating in a pure blanket of cerulean. You are separated from the world below by a downy soft looking ocean of cloud. You might as well be one of the last people left. For all you know you are.

But then, for about fifteen minutes during the descent into Portland, you are drowning in a sea of grey and white. Everywhere you look there is only cloud, and you can't help but think that the pilot is going to crash you into a mountainside. But then, right before you are sure you will never see anything again, and you have begun to suspect you have gone blind, you break through the clouds that hang over Oregon in the winter. And you remember why green is your favorite color. Because suddenly you are awash in a jungle of it. Shade after shade pops out at you. As wonderful as the infinite and eternal expanse of gorgeous sapphire was, the forest of chartreuse and emerald is even more breath-taking. While the sky high above the clouds and the world was the perfect blue, the color that the hero's eyes always are in romantic stories, the variety, the limitless selection of shades, outweighs it.

Green is comforting, it's alive, it's breathing. And while the blue of that sky will make you feel like you are the only person within the atmosphere, the green of the trees and the grass and the rivers will remind you that you aren't. It wraps you up, and carries you home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Scotland Here I Come!

So I've been thinking lately about my obsession with Scotland. It's rather unexplained. I haven't read a lot about it, or seen a lot of movies about it. Basically, all I have to go on is that kilts are hot (or they can be), bagpipes are amazing, ancient castles are cool, and the accents are awesome. I don't even really know that much about Scotland. Aside from where it is on a map, and that's it's green and pretty there.

I finally decided to do some investigating. Part of this was inspired by an early Christmas present from my roommate. A book entitled "My Heart's in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland" by Liz Curtis Higgs. It's awesome. It's basically a step by step description of a trip to Scotland. The cover is gorgeous and it has some cool illustrations.

I also remembered that two years ago while doing a project for a genealogy class, I ran across some people from Scotland in my ancestry. I recall it being just one or two and that the research for that line ended there. So I set out to do some work.

I remembered it was on my paternal grandfather's side of the family. From there I didn't have much else. I set to work on to solve the mystery. I found that I am related to Henry I King of England, whose father was William the Conqueror. I am also related to Charlemange, some Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Finish royalty, a bunch of Welsh people, and bunch of French people (which I was rather unaware of, so a bit of a shock there, I'll have to stop making fun of the French), some Italian royalty, and oddly enough, Old King Cole. I don't remember his real name, as I was laughing when I saw the "Old King Coel" part. He lived sometime around the year 125. I was getting really frustrated to not be finding any Scots.

I finally in an act of desperation typed in my great-grandmother Josephine Wing. And lo and behold! Scotland!

It took me three hours of searching to discover one of the coolest things (I think) about my ancestry. I am a descendant of Malcolm III King of Scotland, and a bunch of other Scottish people, (many of them from Galloway, which is in the Lowlands) mostly royalty. Why is this so amazing? First off, I can finally claim with confidence Scottish ancestry. Second, I am not only part Scottish, I am part Scottish royalty. Third, Malcolm III was fictionalized in Shakespeare's play Macbeth, which is one of my favorites.

This explains many things. Maybe it is my Scottish blood that is calling out for me to return to my homeland. That is why I am so darn obsessed with something I know so little about. It also supports my obsession with Shakespeare. Hey, it's in my blood. I also have a pretty good excuse to go there now. I could do more research on that line. It only goes about ten generations prior to Malcolm III.

Mostly though, I'm just happy that I can say I'm part Scottish. It's like a dream come true.

Friday, December 7, 2007


I need a Christmas tree. Every time I go to Macey's it's almost more than I can stand to drive by the Big Lots and Rite-aid window seeing all the trees for sale. I really need a Christmas tree.

Despite redecorating our apartment a few weeks ago (which definitely did make it feel more welcoming), it is still terribly lacking in the Christmas spirit department. The two strands of white lights strung around the room hardly add any seasonal delight, and will probably stay up until Charlotte moves from the apartment whenever that happens. And the small advent calendar (which is continually being forgotten) is not nearly prominent enough.

There should be holly and mistletoe. A Christmas tree (which I believe I have already pointed out) covered with lights and glass ornaments. I'm tempted to string lights on the small bonsai money tree plant, but then it seems kind of flimsy for ornaments to hand on it. There should be music playing constantly on a (nonexistent) stereo. And Christmas movies.

I'm not going home until two days before Christmas. I'm going to miss out on all the tree decorating fun, but I'll probably be around to take it down. I miss hiking out in the mountains and cutting down a real tree. The piney smell of the tree, mmmm.

I miss the anticipation that kept me awake every night for weeks before Christmas, I can't afford that anymore. I miss having a real fire burning in the wood stove, and the whole room smelling of woodsmoke. Heck, I even miss going out in the rain to get wood for it. The rain is infinitely better than the snow! It wasn't ever even that cold.

I need a Christmas tree.