November 2nd, 2010

Rainbow || Rainbow northern lights.

(no subject)

This post is to let my mother know that I am alright.

* Friday my second lecturer, Barbara, told me she remembered me from first year Exploiters & Exploited because I was the last one to leave during the nematode practical and because I had a memorable name. We then had a boring male lecturer who put me to sleep because I was ill and in pain (hip & monthlies), sleep being my body's response to pain. I slept through Barbara's lecture. When it was through I apologised to her and she put her hand on my arm to reassure me, telling me she thought I must not have been well and that I didn't seem well last week, either. Pip told me to go take a break and get a drink so I went to the loo. Pip later told me that she had told Barbara, "I hope you don't mind me sending her off--she's ill and needs breaks sometimes." Barbara had responded that no, of course she didn't mind, and that she had got that impression when I fell asleep! She asked why I had come and Pip explained that I seem to have this idea that only death should keep me from lectures. When I came back I complimented Barbara's skirt and made it through practical. We discussed sewing, knitting, crochet, her husband and the fact that he buys her excellent science equipment for Christmas. She added, "He's started buying me jewellery lately and I don't know what to do with it! But look how you can see the larvae with this little camera!" Favourite lecturer this semester, hands down. I felt guilty for being ill and falling asleep. When I left and thanked her in the corridor she squeezed my arm reassuringly again and told me to get well. Quirky and kind - I very much approve!

* I am now exhausted just from writing that up, and feel guilty for taking time away from writing my novel.

* I was terrible and made heartsways get all stuck in traffic as she came to pick me up. We discussed a great many things in the car and I then had a brilliant time at hers eating nummy food she made, watching Buffy and chatting. She has the coolest house ever.

* Met up with queen_of_snapes the next day. We travelled around London until we finally arrived at the AnimeExpo...and then we waited in queues for half an eternity. Huge adventure of finding my friends, meal out of the Expo where we discussed a great many things (like contact juggling), then back in. Lots of interesting cosplays - like Luna Lovegood hand-in-hand with a Smurfette. Checked out the merch. New conference record of not buying ANYTHING. Back across London including a closed station we needed and taking an extra bus, dip into a Tesco (I bought caramel chocolates...) and back to Queen's! Then we lounged and blew our noses. She played Fable 3, we laughed and inspected the character's chest and I did online stuff. We said goodnight to Snape and McGonagall before sleeping. Sunday we lounged around in jammies playing video games and Interneting. I prepared for NaNo. She brought me to Paddington and home I went! I had a brilliant time.

* Downton Abbey (which I need to re-watch), household removal of rubbish (including the mattresses my housemates put on the stairs to make a giant slide -- yeah we're students) and Rocky Horror, which Tinboy and Batgirl (housemates) had never seen but knew much of the music to. They were confused and delighted. Fell asleep at my laptop.

* Today felt icky and apathetic. Skipped useless lecture from the student-only-presentation class for a mental-health/self-pampering/productivity day. Worked on my presentation & got most of the notes done. Watched two films. Wrote 3,000 words for my novel. Made korma quorn and rice.

* Jacquie (housemate) just went up to bed after playing Zelda. Tinboy & Mark are playing Magic Cards. Dimitri is reading and watching. I am going to continue writing - would love to get to 10,000 before I go to sleep, no matter how late that is. Tomorrow is another get-life-sorted day since no lectures.

I am not the student I used to be. I have been angsting over this. But I think, in the end, I'm okay with it. The whole point was that I didn't want to feel I HAD to be the student I was; I wanted to be that student when I desired it. When I have teachers like Barbara.

Happy belated Halloween and First Day of November!
Rainbow || Rainbow northern lights.

(no subject)

Little Window

My friend Andrew wrote that entry.

I've been thinking of years and time lately. I miss the windows behind my congregation's pulpit, framed by these massive natural tree trunks. I miss watching the seasons change as the minister I've known my whole life speaks softly and with great humour. I miss sitting, back against a smoothed tree trunk at the back of the service area, watching the year go by behind my minister.

(Funny how we put these possessive words on things. She is in no way mine, really; indeed, I'm far more hers than she is mine, for she can carol me into doing anything. She's powerful enough with her integrity and compassion to witness her name as a verb meaning 'to convince someone to do something (s)he might not want to do, but really should anyway, because it is the right thing to do even if it's inconvenient or hard.' So, no, she isn't mine, but for the length of my memory when anyone has mentioned the word 'minister', her face comes to mind--soon joined by Ann's, 'my' forever Religious Educator. In my mind that makes them my ministers - memories claim certain things!)

Winter is my favourite season. I've tried to pretend I don't have one, but the thought of winter during any other season can send shivers of delight and excitement down my spine; to me, that means it's my favourite. Despite not feeling any special religious draw to Christmas (Solstice is when my heart sings), Christmas services have always been my favourite (even above the Chocolate Auction - shhhh!).

So often there is snow outside, or fluttering gently down past the window behind my minister. The darkness outside allows me to focus more clearly on the light and warmth inside--for me, that is the essence of winter: contrast of cold without and warmth within, love throughout. The gentle, soft lighting - I've always loved low lighting. The beautiful passing of love and light that is the candlelight ritual. The songs I know and sing with the voices belonging to my loved ones. One early service, catered to the young folk, and one evening service, for the older congregation members to enjoy. Excited talk of the year to come and celebrations. So many hugs and so much laughter from these people I adore.

The first time I lit the Chalice was a Christmas service. Mum signed me up, and I remembering thinking, "Oh boy, the first time I do it and it has to be such a big one!" I wore that pretty little white dress that I also wore to my family's winter portrait - one of the only years we did that. I'm glad now that my first Chalice lighting was on Christmas, even if it's not 'my' holiday.

Christmas is not what marks the year for me by any belief in a deity or a son, and indeed Solstice is not even my year-mark for the passing of the sun. New Years not for the jump to a new calendar. It's not any particular point. It's the moments that I can feel myself surrounded by love and community, that I ease my way through into understanding of another year to come and the reminder to appreciate the year before for what it was.

I think the moment closest to that is sitting, back to my tree trunk, watching the darkness behind my minister's window and listening to softly-spoken and softly-sung words of love. For me, my experience is not about belief in a certain dogma or creed, it's about the experience of love. In winter I am acutely aware of love. Winter rejuvenates me.

Guess that makes me a deciduous, eh?

This is on my mind because it is autumn, and it is my own version of a child's excitement over Halloween being over (clutching candy) and the knowledge that Christmas (and all other winter holidays) is around the corner. And because I get to go home, physically and spiritually, to the places and atmospheres that nourish me best - where my roots grew!

Winter + time = wintertime! :D