Lusting After Photoshop

For the past few years, I have been admiring the results of Photoshopped pictures on websites and blogs. Unfortunately, the program costs nearly $600 on Not so unfortunately, you can download a free trial version to use for 30 days. So, for the past few days, I've been fiddling around with Photoshop. Here is one of my favorite results so far.

By clicking on the image above, you will be directed to a slideshow of all my Photoshopping. Oh boy!

What's With Today Today?

Today was the first day of classes of my second semester at PTS. Classes are looking good. It looks like I will probably be writing more lesson plans, but that's okay.

I found a job. Actually, a friend told me about a job and when I went to talk to the supervisor, she told me I could start Monday. Hopefully, it will be something that can segue into more hours in the summer.

I did Tae-bo before class and didn't die. It's part of my new schedule, which includes working out every day except Sunday.

I became a vegetarian who eats fish. The choices in the cafeteria aren't incredibly healthy and I thought avoiding the meat dishes would help me limit my intake of fatty foods and increase my intake of fresh veggies.

It's been a big day. It's been a good day.

I Hate To Even Link Them...

My pal Julie, over at the blog with the ever-changing name, wrote about "The Modesty Survey," an online survey to be taken by guys only. The survey has nearly one hundred questions about everything from bathing suits to tutus to laying on the floor.

I spent some time perusing the survey and got more and more indignant as I read things like:
  • "Nude colored nylons are a stumbling block"
  • "It is a stumbling block to see a girl lying down, even if she's just hanging out on the floor or on a couch with her friends"
  • "Girls should always wear clothes that show little body definition (e.g., jumpers or loose dresses)"
  • " Exposing the chest below the collarbone, even without cleavage, is immodest."
I am a fairly modest person. Mini-skirts are not for me, my shorts all hit mid-thigh or lower, and wouldn't show my cleavage even if I had it to show. I agree with a lot of the standards of modesty that this "survey" seems to be presenting.

However, I DON'T agree with calling something a survey when all the questions are asked in such a way that you already know the answer you should give. This phenomenon struck me the most in the Swimsuit category. The first questions says, " A one-piece swimsuit is modest." A few questions later says, "A tankini with a bikini-bottom is immodest." Clearly, the survey taker is supposed to answer "yes" to both questions.

Just like Julie, the language of the survey bothers me, too. The word "girl" is clearly diminutive and makes me think of prepubescent females. I don't believe that the survey creators meant to imply "female child" by using the word girl, but I do think they should have considered their language more carefully.

There is also a clear double standard built in. We are told again and again that men and boys are more easily stimulated visually than women and girls. While this may be true, there are standards of modesty that should extend to both males and females. Honestly, I think the difference is overstated because of the myth that women do not have sex drives.

Finally, this survey made me think of The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, which I highly recommend. In this story, women are forced to cover themselves completely. Rather than curbing the sex drive of men, it makes them excited over things such as exposed ankles and wrists. Obviously, this book does not represent reality, but I think we need to remember that humans are innately sexual beings, we don't need to see exposed flesh to get excited.

I'm not advocating walking around naked, but I do think we need to be careful about how we send messages about modesty. We need to couple the message of modesty (for both men and women) with respect and love for our good bodies, in order to remind ourselves and others that we don't cover up because our bodies are evil.

I'd love to hear your reactions and comments on this survey and my evaluation of it.

Polar Dip

Thirty-four degrees Fahrenheit, the perfect temperature for a swim! At least, that's what Sadie, the wonder-pup, thinks. Yesterday, Jordan and I took her hiking for a couple hours at Green Lane Reservoir. You would have thought that she was in heaven running along those trails. Jordan's brother takes her there several times a week. She knows the trails and we can let her run ahead without too much worry. Anyway, she really likes being with her people, so it's unlikely that she would ever run away.

At the beginning of the trail, there are woods on both sides. Sadie went in search of a stick that we could throw and she could chase. She has the silly habit of finding sticks that are at least three feet in diameter and five times her length, so we have chisel a stick of suitable length out of the ones she brings. She's probably just trying to demonstrate her incredible strength.

While we use a hacksaw to hew a stick out of the huge limbs she brings us, Sadie sits on the trail and waits for us to stop being so slow. She gazes up at us sympathetically. Probably thinking about how slow humans are at everything.

After the first mile or so, the trail continues along the bank of the reservoir. Sadie LOVES water. Every time she ran ahead of us on this portion of the trail she would come back with her legs wet just a little higher up each time. Finally, Jordan made her "stay by" because she was soaked all the way up to her chest. Fortunately, the weather wasn't freezing or it would have been necessary to hustle Sadie out of there and I'm not very good at hustling on rocky trails.

As it was, we just got her away from the water and let her sprint up and down the sides of the ravine. In the time it took us to walk up one side (panting the whole way and taking a rest at the top) Sadie had already run down and up and around and played a game of fetch with a bear and run down and up again about thirty times. By then, she was dry just from the 3000 BTUs she was throwing off and we were practically dead from the thirty foot climb.

Since we had already been hiking for about an hour and a half, we decided to turn back and follow the trail home. We were tired and thirsty and ready to eat some lunch. Sadie was still running ahead, bringing us gigantic sticks to throw and chasing every shadow that moved in the woods. She had more energy than when we'd arrived.

Our assumption that Sadie would suddenly recognize her exhaustion and fall asleep immediately upon our return to the house was foolish, to say the least. Just moments after we flopped on the couch with tall glasses of water, Sadie jounced up to us holding her ring toy in her mouth with a look that said, "Time to play now?"

Fish Dish for Fish

Since yesterday was pay-what-you-wish day at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Jordan and I decided to head out after church and take the train to Philly. We missed the 9:51 a.m. train by about thirty seconds, so we killed the next hour at Dunkin Donuts. Mmmmm...white hot chocolate.

We arrived at the 30th Street station around noon, ate our bag lunch, then walked directly to the PMA. Jordan and I both like the Impressionists, so we wandered around that area for a while.

There was an alcove in the contemporary art collection dedicated to Mircea Cantor, who was born in 1977. Four years older than me and she already has her art displayed in the PMA...

One of my favorite parts was the special exhibition of silversmiths which included this fish dish. Clever!

For more pictures of the stuff I enjoyed, including two unique renditions of the four seasons, click on the picture below, which features Jordan standing next to a miniature parking meter. What do you suppose you would park next to this thing? (Maybe there is a video camera set up nearby to catch people's reactions...)

P.S. Some day, try eating a hard pretzel while looking at a digital clock. Seriously trippy!

Music Meme

I got this from Katherine.

Go to your music player of choice
and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud (or...not), and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.

How does the world see you?
"My Sweet Prince" - Placebo (prince?)

Will I have a happy life?"
"Matilda Mother" - Pink Floyd (wtf?)

What do my friends really think of me?
"Sister Amazing" - Taxi Doll (This is a no brainer!)

How can I make myself happy?
"Invitation to Understanding" - MxPx (Honestly, I can't believe I have this band on my player.)

What should I do with my life?
"These Thousand Hills" - Third Day (huh?)

Will I ever have children?
"Distance" - Schiller

What is some good advice for me?
"Furnace Room Lullaby" - Neko Case & Her Boyfriends

How will I be remembered?
"God of Wrath" - David Crowder Band (I do like the OT.)

What is my signature dancing song?
"Adam & Eve" - Ani DiFranco

What do I think my current theme song is?
"One More Addiction" - Natalie Imbruglia

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
"Show Me Your Glory" - Third Day (so true)

What song will play at my funeral?
"Help Me" - Johnny Cash

What is my day going to be like?
"Bobcaygeon" - The Tragically Hip


Friday, 7 a.m. - Confession and Forgiveness paper - check!
9 a.m. - Old Testament final - check!
3:30 p.m. - Education 101 paper - check!
Saturday, 9 a.m. - Hebrew final - check!
Thursday, 10 a.m. - Radical Reformation paper - check!

Now...10 days of no school work!

There Are Four More!

I didn't mean to let it happen... Emily watched 24 while I lived in Virginia with her and I tried my best to remain aloof while Jack was saving the world. And I did. I can honestly say that when I left Virginia, I had no desire or intention to continue watching 24.

But, last Sunday, around 7:30 p.m., we were having a dinner party at Lydia and Jeb's apartment (my newly-married, seminary friends) and in order to guarantee the attendance of several people, we had to promise they could watch 24. So, we watched.

And David Palmer's brother is president and Jack is back from Chinese prison and working with a former terrorist and that guy from Harold and Qumar is killing hicks and a nuclear bomb exploded really close to L.A. and THERE! ARE! FOUR! MORE!

...and it looks like I'll be watching Jack save the world one hour at a time this Spring.

Final Exams = Done!

The Hebrew exam went well. The translation wasn't terribly difficult, though there were a few things I didn't get. There were parts where I just guessed what a word might mean in the context of the phrase. Parsing verbs and writing out the paradigm charts was a piece of cake.

AND there was extra credit, of which I got 5.5 points. It was hilarious. Dr. Hutton (who's only about 5 years older than I am), translated four song titles into Hebrew. We got one point for translating the title properly and another .5 for naming the correct artist. I got "Oops, I Did It Again," by Britney Spears, "Walk This Way," by Aerosmith, "A Boy Named Sue," by Johnny Cash, but I didn't learn until lunch that "You Give Love A Bad Name" was done by Bon Jovi. Ah, well, such is life. Honestly, I don't feel bad for not knowing Bon Jovi's catalogue.

As a reward to myself for successfully completing two finals and two papers, I did just about nothing for the rest of the day. Knitting, reading a book, napping, watching football (stupid Eagles lost!), and eating Wegman's Chinese food (with free money that I got for referring Jordan to Wachovia!). It was a good day.

Maybe over the next couple of weeks, I will be able to write a few more substantial thoughtdul posts since I won't have exams and papers to think about. Stay tuned!

1 Hour 40 Minutes

= the amount of time I have before my final exam in Hebrew

7:20 a.m. = the earliest I've blogged in several months
4 hours = the amount of time I studied last night
1 hour 30 minutes = the amount of time I've already studied this morning

I think it's time for breakfast. Then it's time to ace a Hebrew exam!

New Photos

I haven't posted photos in a while, so I thought I would make a quick slideshow of my favorites from the holiday season. Click on the picture below to see a show of my 22 favorite shots from the past month or so.

It's Smooth Sailing From Here

My day so far:

6:30 a.m. - Woke up and wrote a works cited page for my Confession and Forgiveness paper
7:00 a.m. - Printed C&F paper and dropped envelope in the intracampus mail slot
7:15 a.m. - Last minute studying for OT and breakfast
9:00 a.m. - Began the OT final
10:00 a.m. - Finished the OT midterm
10:05 a.m. - Post-exam debrief in Jordan's room
11:00 a.m. - Returned to my room for a nap
12:15 p.m. - Ten minute lunch
12:25 p.m. - Returned to room and finished ED101 paper.
1:00 p.m. - Printed my ED101 paper and turned it in at the Education office
1:45 p.m. - Spent some more time with Jordan
3:00 p.m. - Hebrew review session

It's been quite a day. Not terribly hectic, but a lot of pressure. Getting to bed and waking up early was a good strategy for memorizing. I pretty much rocked the OT final, for serious. I thought I finished quickly, but Jordan left 20 minutes earlier than I did.

The ED101 paper might end up being a debacle. There were three sections that we turned in throughout the semester. Our prof gave us suggestions on the first two sections and we had the option of editing them to get a better grade. I was going to do that. After all, it can't get much easier than that to get a good grade. But, today, I decided that I could live with a B. My overachieving self had a few choice words to say to my content self about this decision. Eventually, my content self told my overachieving self to take a pill and won control of my legs, which then walked me straight over to Tennent to turn in the perfectly adequate paper. Hopefully, the prof won't get annoyed that I didn't care to raise my grade. I don't mean to be disrespectful...the grade just isn't that important to me.

Now time to study for Hebrew. I want to rock this one, too...and I think I can.

Writing Papers

One of the worst feelings in my world is sitting down to write a paper and realizing that I don't have anything to say. Currently, I am writing a paper for my education class. The second half was a piece of cake: write a lesson plan. Done! The first half is proving a bit trickier because I have to suggest an initiative for the church I wrote my case study on and justify that initiative using certain methods. Blah!

I've written three of five pages of the first section and am determined to complete the rest before dinner, but I just don't have anything else to say!!!

This on top of the fact that my OT final is tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. (I haven't studied a whole lot) and I have an 18 page paper (already written, but in need of another edit) due by 10 a.m... This is not going to be a good night.

Little Tortilla Boy

RGR showed me this video while I was at her house. Try'll like it!

No Days Left!

I found this picture on Postsecret last Sunday and it made me think of how great it would be to see Jordan again. So, I saved it to my hard drive so that I could post it once I was with him again. Well, we were reunited around 2:30 p.m. yesterday, after eleven days apart. I must say it was wonderful to finally see him again. Life is indeed wonderful!

As an added bonus, I also got to spend some quality time with my lovely college roommate RGR and her husband. We all went to Sapsucker Woods, a local nature reserve, for a nice walk. Not too many birds, but it was pretty and I got some fun pictures (to be updated later...probably tomorrow).

John and Rebecca generously sent me and Jordan out to dinner as a thank-you-for-visiting/Christmas present so we could have some time together. We went to a lovely Indian restaurant, called Sangam Indian Cuisine. If you're ever in Ithaca and have a hankering for Indian food, I highly recommend it.

That's all for now. Needless to say, I'm an incredibly happy girl.

Gainful Employment

When I decided to leave work and start seminary, I knew that money was going to be tight. Having no money is all part of the school thing, after all. But, three years of expendable income didn't prepare me for this much tightening of the belt and now I'm in a little bit of credit card debt that, unless I get professors who don't require books to be purchased or I inherit money from a long lost wealthy relative, is going to persist until at least this summer. Not working was nice while it lasted and I don't really regret taking some time off to detox from the last job, but this coming semester, I am definitely going to have to find some work, preferably about 10-12 hours a week. Wish me luck!

Knitting Mania

I just finished knitting a scarf today. Hopefully, the person I made it for will enjoy it because it took nearly twenty hours. Of course, once I begin knitting, I can't put the needles down, so those twenty hours were spread over only two and a half days. Pictures will be forthcoming, but I don't want to ruin the surprise, just in case the intended recipient reads this post. (Hehe...I love a good secret!)

This evening, I returned to Michael's to get more yarn for another scarf. This one shall be for little ol' me. Selfish, I know, but I used Christmas money to buy I don't feel too guilty. (Except that I probably should have used that money for bills of some sort...bah!) Anyway, I'm going to play around with a new stitch and see what I can do. What a way to procrastinate.

Knitting is the one crafty hobby that I've consistently enjoyed in the past ten years. It's relaxing and quick. I can hold a conversation or watch a movie while doing it. And, in the end, there is a lovely something to give away or to keep and enjoy. If you're looking for something to while away the hours until you see your boyfriend again or a way to avoid writing a stupid paper for a class you hate...I highly recommend knitting.

Three more days...

The Height of Laziness

Okay, who invented this? I mean, seriously, an automatic ice cream cone?

Part of the online description: "By the way, there's no extra charge for the holstein patter, and if you're on a low carb diet, don't worry. With this, there is no cone to eat, just ice cream." (Bad grammar on top of everything else that is wrong with this picture!)

A Walking Contradiction

I prefer self-checkout to cashiers, automated telephone systems or websites to customer service representatives, ATMs to bank tellers. If there is any way to complete a transaction with little or no human interaction, that is the way I choose.

At the same time, I decry the lack of community in American society. I'm irritated that people no longer smile and say hello on the street. It's bothersome that neighbors don't know each other's name, let alone enjoy each other's company.

I am a walking contradiction. I prefer the tidiness of non-human interaction. Clicking a box on my computer screen or punching a few buttons on my telephone is so much less demanding than going to a store or a bank. However, staying at home, staring at my computer is no way to foster the sense of community I desire.

Jordan has silently called me to account on this issue several times. He doesn't know it, but every time he goes to the bank instead of the ATM or exchanges a friendly word with a cashier, I am challenged to be more consistent. So, instead of making the typical New Year's resolutions to sleep more, exercise more, and eat less, I resolve to choose human interaction over non-human in as many situations as possible.

Happy New Year, everyone! What are your hopes for the New Year?