Thursday, September 28, 2006

Failure of the UN

"Let's be honest. The UN system, born after the Second World War, collapsed. It's worthless."

--Hugo Chavez

I couldn't agree more.

Gulp! Did I just say that?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Books!

The Servens did this on their blog, and I thought it looked like fun, so here goes.

1. What is one book that has changed your life? The Bible, certainly. The Word is sharper than any two edged sword! Secondarily, God really used A Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, by Hannah Whitall Smith, to pull me out of a pit a few years ago.

2. What is one book that you have read more than once? The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. I've read each of those three or four times straight through. There are many, many others that I've read at least twice.

3. What is one book that you would want on a desert island? Umm, well, for practical purposes, some kind of survival guide, I suppose. For emotional, mental, and spiritual purposes, definitely the Bible.

4. What is one book that made you laugh? The Complete Adventures of Homer Price. There is absolutely nothing profound about these stories, but they are undoubtedly funny.

5. What is one book that made you cry? I don't remember ever actually shedding tears over a book, but I've gotten a little choked up over a few. A Tale of Two Cities was one, I think. A couple of short stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Birthmark and The Minister's Black Veil) more recently.

6. What is one book that you wish had never been written? Mein Kampf, Das Kapital, Origin of the Species, and Descent of Man. I'm not doing very well with only naming one!

7. What is one that you wish had been written? Oh, I don't know. There can never be too many books!

8. What is one book that you are currently reading? Pilgrim's Progress. I've been familiar with the story for as long as I can remember, and I've read the children's version, but this is the first time I've read the original. I've hardly cracked it open yet, though, so I can't really tell you how it is.

9. What is one book you are meaning to read? The list is endless! I'll limit myself here and only mention one: The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis.

The Whirlwind Trip

I'm back! It was a fast, short, full, and exhausting trip that I haven't had a chance to recover from, but I'm very glad I got to go. I was able to not only observe and learn how things are done, but also jump in and help. I spent most of my time working at the registration desk, and I did a lot of different things. The attendees were mostly hospital CFOs and vendors who were trying to sell stuff to the CFOs. Most of them were nice, but there were a few strange people like the lawyer who was walking around with a piece of junk mail he'd received that had the words, "I JUST WANT TO BE CREMATED." I guess he thought it was a good conversation starter. Oh, and then there was the, uh, person who'd had a sex change. Yikes.

The conference was held at a nice hotel in Fort Worth. Our conference was in the Grand Ballroom. I felt a little like a country girl who'd gone to a palace, but I tried not to look like someone who'd never stayed in such a nice hotel before. I did take pictures of my room, though! Maybe I'll post some tonight. Or maybe I'll just go to bed as soon as I get home since I've been experiencing fuzzy thinking due to my sleep-deprived brain.

I've decided I need two things if I'm going to continue in this business: a sharp-looking but very warm jacket for the frigid meeting rooms, and a laptop case with WHEELS. Maybe I'll go shopping for one next week when I'm finished with my current job (my last is Friday!) and I've had a chance to sleep for a day or two.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Business Trip

I'm off on my first ever business trip this weekend, which should be an interesting adventure. It'll be a flight, a taxi ride, a two-night stay in a three-star hotel, the whole nine yards. It's for a new job I'm starting working for an administrative services firm. Part of what they do is organize conferences and be on site to handle registration and make sure everything runs smoothly. I'm going in order to tag along and learn the ropes. I'll let you know how it turns out, and if they put a chocolate on my pillow, I'll be sure to take a picture of it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Myth Debunked

Take it from me; there is nothing romantic about fainting.

Oh, don't get me wrong. If there's a dashing young lover in the vicinity, the aftermath might be romantic, but there is absolutely nothing inherently romantic in fainting.

How do I know? Well, this afternoon, I was innocently walking through our dining room when I felt a sharp pain in the ball of my left foot. I got to a chair and examined it, and found a small splinter with the end just barely protruding. After my own efforts to extract it with tweezers were fruitless, I asked my mother to try. When she said she would have to use a needle, I decided I would let it work its way out on its own. I got up and went to the kitchen, and then started to feel light-headed. I made it to the chair in the living room with about five seconds to spare before I fainted dead away. My next memory is coming gradually out of la-la land, and my mother asking if I was okay. It took me a few minutes to recover, but I'm back to normal now, other than the slightest of headaches. My younger siblings thought I was dying.

By the way, this was not completely unprecedented. I once fainted after skinning my knee, and I've gotten light-headed over other injuries.

It's rather mortifying. I like to think of myself as such a strong person. I guess there's nothing like a good fainting spell to humble a person, after all.

Sigh.

But this will never do! If I go on like this, I'll have to change the name of my blog!

So, on the lighter side, it came to my attention this afternoon (before the splinter) that my younger siblings didn't know how to do the hokey-pokey. Not wanting my near family members to be ignorant of this established tradition, I taught them! They caught on quickly, and we greatly amused our parents with a complete rendition.

My Evil Side Comes Out

I was looking through a catalog last night, and it became entertaining when I found this doormat:
Someday, I'm going to have a charming house with a big, inviting wooden porch, a bay window, a porch swing, and this doormat....

...or maybe not. We'll see.

????????

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Divided House

I saw a car on my way to work this morning with two bumper stickers. One said:

Texas Aggie Grandmother

and the other said:

I'm a Longhorn Grandma

I wonder if she's pleasing everybody or nobody.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Bathroom Pictures

Here are a few pictures of a project I just finished. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from before the work.



The Icon

Last week, my dear friend Mrs. H took me out to lunch at the Hotel Icon downtown. It was a fascinating place. The hotel has only been in business for a couple of years, but it is in an old bank building. The huge vault door is right behind the registration desk! I always love the high, carved ceilings in old buildings, and this one was no exception. The furnishings were probably not genuine antiques, but they certainly gave an authentic flair to the building. It was all perfectly chosen, even to the draperies.

The food, by the way, was scrumptious.

Wireless Networking Blues

I've decided to set up a wireless network at my house, and so far, the score is Computer: 1, Katie: 0. The supposedly simple network that I'm trying to set up is made more complex by the fact that our main desktop is old and doesn't have a wireless card or an ethernet connection. So, I pretty much ignored the router setup instructions and used my laptop to configure the router. Then, I unhooked my laptop and tried to access the wireless connection, which did not work (of course). Oh, the wireless network is floating around out there, just like all the others in the neighborhood, but it won't let me in.

I'm sure all you network experts out there are laughing your heads off, but go ahead. I'll figure this out if it kills me! I will not be undone by a computer! I'll have to make a trip to the computer store and get some parts, then maybe I'll be able to follow the instructions on the second round.

One thing's for sure: I know I worked on the problem too long before calling it a night because I had a dream about internet connection properties windows. Yikes; I don't even usually remember my dreams.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pictures!

I was told by a friend of mine the other day that my blog needed pictures. Problem 1: I don't have a digital camera. Problem 2: I really haven't taken any pictures for the last couple of months. Undaunted however, I have scanned in a couple of shots I took at Arches National Monument on our vacation this summer.
This was sort of an accidental shot, in that I didn't realize what I was getting. It's at Double Arch, where there are two arches with a cave-like area in between. I took the picture while sitting in the smaller arch, looking down into the in-between area. The large arch is the opening on the right, but what I love about this picture is the way the smaller arch is silhouetted. You can even see us at the bottom!
This is at Delicate Arch, probably the most famous one. Tired hikers on top of the world!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Focusing on the Lord in the Dizziness of Life

I read an article yesterday that included this paragraph:

"Seeking approval from everyone in our orbit is akin to the nauseating dizziness a dancer experiences when she does not keep her eyes on one object as she twirls. Just as dancers are taught to spot, Christians are also taught by God's Word to spot. The Bible tells us that we are to keep our eyes on the Lord and seek His approval only."

Being a dancer, I know exactly what this author was talking about. The world can be whirling around you, but if you focus on a steady spot, you won't lose balance or feel sick. This analogy was a good reminder for me, because I tend to fear the people around me and lose my focus of living only for the Lord. I need to stop concentrating on myself and on the crazy world spinning around me, and trust that the Lord will guide me safely if I keep my focus fixed on him.

The Best T-shirt Ever!!

I spotted someone at the pizza shop yesterday who was wearing a shirt with these words:

Who are you, and why are you reading my shirt?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Flying

We've been learning a fun new dance for a performance later this month. It's so much fun because I get to fly! Here's a picture of some other people doing it:


It's really not as hard as it looks. In fact, when the guys start running, it's easier to fly than to not fly. I will admit though, I got the timing wrong the first time, didn't lift my feet soon enough, and started screaming! Since I wasn't hurt, (just scared), everybody was laughing. Yeah, I really am the comic relief everywhere I go!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Starting Drama

Thursday was the first day of a drama class I'm taking through our homeschool support group this year! Yah-hoo! There are eleven people in the class, and we're doing a murder mystery called Murder in the Window. I'm playing an old, rich, and heartless widow. I'm not the villain though; I'm the victim! We'll be performing sometime during the first two weeks of December. Exact date is TBA. I'm really looking forward to this year!

Five Years

This is the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It's hard to believe that it's been that long.

Remembering

Success!!

I had my first Pampered Chef party yesterday, and it went very well in spite of the fact that my director couldn't come and I forgot a bunch of stuff that I was supposed to say! My guests seemed to enjoy it though, I had fun, and there were no catastrophes. There were only minor mistakes and mishaps that just made it all light-hearted and fun. I was laughing along with everybody when I did stuff like shred the cheese onto the floor! It started turning into a comedy act and I was thinking, "This really wasn't supposed to be this funny!" Oh well, I had fun anyway, and sold a bunch of stuff, so I suppose it was a success. Whew!!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Pleasure and Pain

I seem to have hazardous hobbies. I keep getting a blister from playing the bass, and now I have a bruised foot from doing a lift/jump move in a dance. (I came down a little too hard on a tile floor.)

Ouch!

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Concerning Emerson

I've been reading excerpts from Ralph Waldo Emerson for literature, and I find it tragic that this man was one of the most influential writers of the 19th century. Here are some samples:

Every spirit builds itself a house; and beyond its house a world; and beyond its world, a heaven. Know then, that the world exists for you... Build, therefore, your own world. ~Nature

The world certainly does not exist for us. We, and the entire world, exist for God's glory.

Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind... No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature... the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it. ~Self-Reliance

So man's mind is the standard for right and wrong, and any dependence on the ideas of other people is demeaning? No, man is created to be dependent on those around him, and God is the standard for right and wrong.

If therefore a man claims to know and speak of God and carries you backward to the phraseology of some old moldered nation in another country, in another world, believe him not.
~Self-Reliance

In other words, the Bible is not relevant to anyone other than those who wrote it.

One more:

But thou, meek lover of the good!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.
~Brahma

No comment on that one.

The Happy Bookworm

My sister just started a blog! Everybody stop by and say "Hi!"

Having Trouble Keeping up With My Own Life

Word to the wise: don't change jobs, start two businesses, join the Bible study and praise team at church, and begin a dance performance season all in the same month. It's entirely too much to think about.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Entering the Blogosphere

Well, I've been thinking I'd like to have a blog for some time now, and here it is! About the title... I am certainly a bookworm. I'm almost always in the middle of some book or another, and you'll probably hear about them here! And, yes, I have strong optimist tendencies.

Observation

I find it interesting that a lot of fast-food places are trying to come up with a healthier image by offering salads, wraps, and tons of nutritional info, while Dairy Queen seems to be full steam ahead with the salt, sugar, and grease. They are now advertising the Texas Chili-Cheese Beltbuster. The name says it all, but if you want a picture, here you go.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Answers

At the suggestion of my mother, I'm now giving the answers to all the questions I asked on Friday. After having the weekend to calm down and think things over, here's what I have so far:

Why do I have a crushing feeling that I must prove myself successful to people who seem to be counting on my failure? Because I don't want people to think I'm a loser, which is based on pride, but on the other hand, I'm really not a loser and shouldn't think of myself that way.
What is success anyway? It's being obedient to whatever God calls you to do.
If you try something and fail, does it mean you never should have started? Not at all. Experience is always valuable, and we have no way of knowing how God will use our efforts and experiences in ways we may never see.
Why do people seem to think that because I'm trying several things at once I'm aimless and don't know what I want? Because they don't have the whole picture and may jump to conclusions. But it doesn't really matter that much.
How come it backfires when I tell people only the part of my story they need to know? Same thing, too much jumping to conclusions. It's often just miscommunication.
Do I really have to share all my ideas and ambitions with everybody, especially when I know they won't like it? I shouldn't feel like I have to share things I'm not comfortable sharing, but I also shouldn't be afraid to share my ideas just because people may not like it.
How can I stop caring so much what people think? Just do it! (with the Lord's help, of course)
Isn't it a good thing to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to try something that doesn't necessarily come naturally? Absolutely. How else will I learn and grow? Besides, almost everyone who goes against the flow faces naysayers.
Why does everyone seem to be so wrapped up in how much money a person makes? That mentality has completely taken over our culture, and even most believers have been sucked in.
Why can't I think of all the stuff I want to say until after the opportunity is gone? Maybe I just have insufficient cleverness, or maybe if I stopped caring so much about what people were thinking about me, I could think more clearly and be able to articulate better. I think I need to practice.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Searching for Quality

Finding craftsman who really care about their work is really difficult. The other day I had a conversation with a tile man I had hired in which he offered me a job managing a portion of his projects. His situation intrigued me. He grinds himself into the ground, working 12 to 14 hour days seven days a week, trying to do everything and be everything for his business. He wants to expand, but there is no way for him to do so while he spends all his time racing from job to job maintaining quality control. He is desperate for someone whom he can trust to require a high standard of work from his men when he's not around.

As a manager, I've become impressed by how true it is that if a person in any line of work will hold himself to a higher standard than that which is required by his boss or his customers, he will always be in high demand. I am always watching for a subcontractor who will correct his own mistakes, rather than cover them up and hope I don't notice.

Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will stand before kings;
He will not stand before obscure men.
Prov. 22:29

BTW, I didn't take the job.

Friday, September 1, 2006

The Questions I'm Asking Myself Today

Why do I have a crushing feeling that I must prove myself successful to people who seem to be counting on my failure?
What is success anyway?
If you try something and fail, does it mean you never should have started?
Why do people seem to think that because I'm trying several things at once I'm aimless and don't know what I want?
How come it backfires when I tell people only the part of my story they need to know?
Do I really have to share all my ideas and ambitions with everybody, especially when I know they won't like it?
How can I stop caring so much what people think?
Isn't it a good thing to get out of my comfort zone and push myself to try something that doesn't necessarily come naturally?
Why does everyone seem to be so wrapped up in how much money a person makes?
Why can't I think of all the stuff I want to say until after the opportunity is gone?