Sunday, July 31, 2005

comfort reading

Well - we have been in Greensboro for a full month now. I am trying to get settled in. Things are moving along - but it just takes time. I've been trying to find things to help me get past the stress and be comfortable in this new town. "Comfort food" has been a good option in the past - but as I age, I am trying to find healthier ways to get "comfort." In that light, I just finished my umpteenth reading of Pride and Prejudice. And I have been so in love with the BBC miniseries from a few years ago, I can only imagine Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy when I read it.

And so I share one of my favorite pics with you. Colin, in all his loveliness, commenting on what makes an attractive woman (from an interview about the first Bridget Jones's Diary movie). Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

abelard and heloise

I've been reading about Abelard and Heloise lately - Heloise in particular. Abelard was one of the best known philosophers/teachers of the 12th century in France. He apparently was really, really smart, charismatic and a hottie to boot. (I'm not quite sure how that kind of information comes down through history, but the idea persists...)

Heloise was a very smart young woman under the guardianship of her uncle. Abelard became her tutor. (He was probably in his 30's, while she was a number of years younger. These two previously celibate, but apparently well-matched people, began a very intense love affair. It resulted in a son, a big-big scandal, and in Abelard's castration at the hands of Heloise's uncle. At Abelard's insistence, Heloise entered a convent (where she eventually became abbess), while Abelard as well entered a religious community. After about 10 years, at Heloise's insistence, they began corresponding - some of the most beautiful letters ever written. They also saw each other on occasion. Heloise clearly maintained that Abelard was the love of her life - above the church even.

Such a tragic story. Abelard was never the same after he was so horribly violated. As a theologian, he countered some of the prevailing dogma of the day - and but for different circumstances, the church might have followed his insights in a way that could have avoided some of the horrible things done in God's name over the years. His teachings have always been marred by being someone "who gave into lust and temptation."

I've been working on a paper that in part tells about Heloise. I keep wondering what things we can learn from her story. Should we not give into temptation? Do we want to continue to separate the flesh and spirit instead of seeing God in all things? Or should we see love as a gift from God and find ways in the world to celebrate that love? How do we do that without harming others? Or eventually harming ourselves?

Heloise and Abelard are often thought of as star-crossed lovers. I think of Romeo and Juliet that way - and who on earth wants to end up like that? Yet, after all the tumult, Abelard and Heloise were able to continue their lives - making important contributions to the world and people around them - and able to forge a lasting relationship with each other, albeit not the one they would have probably chosen.

Lasting love seems always to get past the exciting, heart-throbbing beginnings. May not be exciting at all sometimes, may be mundane and even trying later on - but I do think with some really hard work and committment - people can turn out better than Romeo and Juliet.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

moving to the big city

So a couple weeks ago we moved to the big city of Greensboro - about 3 times the size of my beloved Asheville. I'm in the big city, driving around unable to find things half the time, feeling overwhelmed by the size, hearing reports of rising crime and drug activity in NC (especially along the major highways), etc, etc.

And what are the lead pictures in the local paper the past two days? Yesterday showed a picture of the major highway running the Greensboro with a horrific traffic jam. The cause? Way too many SUVs and tractor-trailer trucks driving 80 mph? A deadly car chase after drug runners? A high-powered exec talking on the cell phone while driving? No - the traffic jam was due to 2 bulls who escaped from a truck (while it was still moving or not, I am unsure) and were chased by officials for a couple hours before rounded up. Where have all the cowboys gone?

Then today's lead photo - the major road that goes from W. Greensboro to East Gboro - an 8 lane monstrosity. Big traffic jam - and the reason? A gaggle of about 30 geese crossing the road.

Good thing a grew up in the country...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

the best james bond movie?

Well, I spent some time working today (mainly unpacking boxes), and then I came home and unpacked more and kept trying to put the house together. We have a renovated 1923 bungalow, and the upstairs bath is really beautiful - but absolutely no storage - no medicine cabinet, no shelf, nothing. So - on my every other day trips to Target, I have bought an "American Cottage" medicine cabinet, standing cabinet with shelves, and a wall shelf with towel rack. I spent 2 hours today putting together both the medicine cabinet and the standing cabinet. 2 hours !?

So - had to come and do nothing in front of the tv for a while. How can I have 100+ channels and still not find anything I want to watch? (and what on earth does that say about me and our society). So - I did find Dr. No - and I figure a good James Bond movie is always worth watching (and my Dad would agree).

My Mom has always said that if you live long enough, you are bound to look good for your age at some point. And then there is Sean Connery, who has never looked bad a day in his 70+ years. As I was watching him evade destruction on his way to the faux Asian "mountain woman" (as I like to call her), I started thinking about my favorite James Bond movie. I have liked a number of them. I think Dr. No is my favorite. I definitely have to rule out Moonraker (except for the scenes with Jaws), and all the Timothy Dalton ones (not sure if it was him or just the writers - but those movies were awful!). And I have truly loved Pierce Brosnan since Remington Steele, but Dr. No was just the best. It had the original guy, techno stuff advanced for that time, the beautiful women, the great villians, and great action.

Any thoughts out there on your favorite JB movie?