Saturday, September 30, 2006

This pic is for Jenny and her dad...

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When Jenny and her dad visited I made them walk outside the back door to show them the biggsest spiders I have ever seen.
And of course, they had all crawled away and were nowhere to be seen; making a liar out of me.
I hate spiders!
Anyway, these creepy things are always outside our front porch and in the back near the backdoor. They are unbelievably longlegged. I had to use the ruler to really show the scale of their size against the wall. Since without the ruler it just looks like a very close up of the darned thing. Taking the picture was not an easy task, but I was determined to show Jenny, her dad, and the world outside of Blacksburg- that these things really do exist. So, here I present to you-
Mr. Daddylonglegs-For-Reals!


Thursday, September 28, 2006

How about that

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Fat?... you are consuming...? (violent shudder!!)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My letter to Trader Joe's

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Dear, dear, dear TRADER JOE'S,
BLACKSBURG is is a college town in desperate need of a Trader Joe's. My husband and I just moved here two months ago. When people ask what do I miss the most, I say, besides family and friends, I miss Trader Joe's the most.
We moved here from Los Angeles- where you can get almost anything you want everywhere! But TJ's is the best. Here there are two major grocery stores, and one small "world market".
I am not the only one that feels this way. There are other people here that remember and loved TJ's. There are lots of transplanted families here. They come here pursuing higher education or, like myself, moved here because a spouse was hired by the university.
They share my pain. They defeatedly say they just got used to not having one. I don't want to get used to it, I want a Trader Joe's! I want to start a campaign to get one in this town. What are your requirements to open one up here?
- this is a college town.
- the biggest population group is college age
check out the stats at the Blacksburg gov. page...

Trust me, there are lots of people here that know and miss Trader Joes!

Another thing, since this is a college town, it means people here are transient. Therefore, they will love TJs and go to their towns and will spread the word about this great place called Trader Joes.
But no worries about losing customers and all that, because in the US Census Bureau Metropolitan Statistical Area that includes Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford (where there is another university) there is a permanent population of a hundred thousand that will surely keep business steady.

I love, love, love Trader Joes! Please come to my town.

Sincerely,
Jessica

The link to the email form letter to TJ's is here.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Joy as intense stab

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Ever since I read C. S. Lewis's Surprised by Joy, I felt something in his definition of Joy (capitalized to distinguish it from the common definition) resonate with me.

Lewis describes Joy as a sudden stab of intense consciousness, very different from mere pleasure. And there is something better than joy--as much better than joy as joy is better than pleasure: Christian faith. Joy came to Lewis as often and as sharply since his conversion as before. "But I now know that the experience, considered as a state of my own mind, had never the kind of importance I once gave it. It was valuable only as a pointer to something other and outer."

I have felt this Joy he describes, and it did not seem situational. It contained within it hope, a kind of "longing" or desire. It was a signpost giving me strength and encouragement that I am heading down the right road. To the non-believer who experiences this, it may seem like a "longing for I know not what". And though I can say that the longing is for God and life in all its fullness, I still don't know what all that means or entails for my life here and hereafter.

Giancarlo and maybe Ryan or John from Ann Arbor read the book too, and I wonder if their experiences were similar. I also sense the presence of this Joy in Lewis's other books, especially in Narnia, the Space Trilogy, and Till We Have Faces, if you're interested in finding out more.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy, happy, joy, joy...

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It is cold.... it is a beautiful and sunshiney day. It is amazingly beautiful. But it is cooooold..... burrr...

Last night at our life group, we discussed joy through adversity. We studied Phillipians 1,2, and 4. Even though we all learned the appropriateness and necessity for joy, and the difference between joy and happiness... yadda,yadda, etc.etc.... in the end, someone asked. "So what does joy look like?" And I don't think any of us came up with a very good definition. Is it hope, faith, perseverance, humility, endurance? What does joy look like? How does it manifest in your life? (grumble, grumble, mumble, mumble- I am thinking....) I just don't know. Anyone wanna give a shot at defining it? What is joy to you? Please do not define it as a situational thing, or as happiness, and such. When going through adversity, how do you experience joy?

Monday, September 18, 2006

The pope's comments

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As usual, I find thought provoking the commentary by First Things on current events, namely Pope Benedict's speech and the reaction to it. First Things contributor Robert T. Miller thinks that the pope's speech is a turning point in Muslim-Christian relations, that now "Muslims can expect Christians to present their grievances, current and historical, against Islam with the same frankness that Muslims present theirs against Christianity... The rumor has long been that Benedict intends to take a new diplomatic approach toward the Muslim states, an approach based on reciprocity, i.e., a demand that the religious freedom accorded by European states to their Muslim minorities be accorded by Muslim states to their Christian minorities. He intends, in other words, to hold Muslim states to the same standard that the Western states hold themselves." Miller thinks that Benedict went about this imprudently and that all anyone will remember from the speech is the quote saying that everything new Mohammed brought was "evil and inhuman." Perhaps so. Just like so many people who've commented on it, I haven't read the speech myself. I don't know if the Iranian president has either, but at least he's expressing respect for the pope.

Pictures,

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So I have spent a little more time that I'd like, trying to add pictures to the blog. It takes too long! Ugh... so, sorry, no pictures for you.. :P If anyone wants to give me some insight as to the best way to do it without using flicker.... I'd appreciate it.

one quart peroxide, half a cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon dish soap..

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A week ago yesterday we had our first out of town visitors. It was so exciting. Shane's friend, Jenny, and her dad stopped for the night in Blacksburg. They had traveled across the US and were heading north to New Jersey. We took them on a short cruise through the town, gave them a campus tour of V-tech, then we went out to dinner. It was really nice. (I had coffee before they arrived, which turned me into a complete chatterbox. Boy, I can really talk a lot while under the influence!) Well, needless to say, we really enjoyed having them here. I hope more of our friends and family will make the treck over here. Hint, hint...

In that same weekend, on Saturday, we went on a long hike (7 miles roundtrip!), to Mcaffee's Knob. Afterwards, we went to our neighbor's block party. He recently purchasd a (bbq?) smoker, so he wanted to try it out on all the neighbors in the nearby vicinity. It was a pot luck kind of thing, where he provided all the bbq chicken, pork ribs and pulled pork. It was really fun because we got to meet the other neighbors. It turns out that many of them are vet students at Vtech. One of them was wearing a t-shirt that said "B is for Brewski".


This weekend:
Friday, we went out to dinner at "Vincent's". It's funny, every time we drive passed that restaurant I hear in my head Mrs. Mia Wallace (from Pulp Fiction) introduce her dance partner in the Jack Rabbit Slims Twist Contest. "Vincent, thank you." I don't know why... (Pulp Fiction is one of my favorite movies ever. Up there with Silence of the Lambs and The Shining. And some parts of Scarface.)

Saturday, Vtech had a home game. The town gets crowded with fans and a bunch of tailgaters so we left town. We went to the mall in Roanoke. We drove around a lot that day. We couln't quite find the mall! We could see it from the freeway, but the exit took us around where we couldn't quite get to it. We finally found it, and Shane now has three new pairs of pants- he looks quite the hottie in his 501s! heehee! We then went looking for some cowboy boots that I want. (Okay, if you don't already know, I am originally from Texas. I moved to CA when I was ten. I have always liked cowboy boots. I used to wear them when I was at Cal State LA... people looked at me all weird. But they weren't your typical kickers, they were lace-up ropers. Which do look quite interesting... Anyhow, they won't be so strange to wear around here. I don't think.) Well, we didn't find the boots I wanted. This calls for a trip out to good Old El Paso to the boot stores, Tony Lama and Cowtown.

In the evening we drove into town to walk around. We didn't feel like the long walk there (a whole mile), so we parked then walked around. We had ice-cream at Ben N Jerry's. There were a lot of people walking around. Those college students... all in their Vtech gear. There is a lot of Hokie pride!

Sunday, was a day of church, some leisure shopping at Target, leftover's, reading, napping, and star gazing. Shane took out his telescope. He spotted a galaxy. I am amazed at the wonder of our skies... the heavens. My grandma, grandpa and now my cousin are up there.

Yeah, my cousin, Sonia, passed away last week. She was killed by a car late at night, in Texas. Her and a friend got plowed down and thrown 150 feet away. It was a sad week thinking about the situation. She was only 29 years old and she left three little boys. Although I have not seen my cousin for at least 12 years, it was sad to hear she's gone. Especially because I hurt for my aunt's sorrow. It was her youngest child. So, now she's joined my Abuelita Kika, Abuelito Inez, and my cousin, Indio, too.(Background: When I was a kid my grandpa, Inez, told me that when my Abuelita Kika died she went to heaven and became a star. And that she was looking over me every night. Although I don't really believe it I do like to think about them when I look up at the skies.)

Okay, so you are pro'bly wondering what is up with peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap... well, if you've ever had the misfortune of running over a skunk, you know what that is. It is the formula/recipe for getting rid of the stench! Yup, I ran over a skunk last week. (Ironically, the morning after I learned about my cousin's death.) It was raining and the little skunk came running out of nowhere and before I could slow down it went thudump, under my right tire. As I started to feel sad - BAM! the smell hit me. The smell... ooh that smell... it was with me whereever I went. It penetrated my nostrils! Ugh! I thought I could taste it, it was so bad! Thankfully, I found this recipe, which helped a lot. It is just a matter of spraying it on all the places where the skunk sprayed/splattered.... I haven't figured out where it all is, but I got a significant amount removed (the smell is not so bad anymore). It's funny, cause you can smell it as you walk up to the car. It's kinda like bad breath, it makes you wonder if people can smell ya!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Academia, Nature, Christian fellowship, and Chickens and Corn....

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We had a fantastic weekend. We've had several, but this one kind of marked what our life will be like here (I think).

Friday night we were invited to dinner at one of Shane's colleagues' house. I did not know what to expect. (I had to ask Shane to ask the host what would be appropriate attire for the occasion.) There was another couple and a guy all of which either currently work at or have retired from Vtech. The guy was, like Shane, a young new faculty member (in a different department). The host, his wife and the other couple have been at Vtech for a while and had many stories to share. It was funny because, they started out discussing their fields of academia. Like what they taught, where they had studied, and so forth. They were interested in the newcomers to Blacksburg (the other guy, Shane and me) It was interesting conversation and then.... The inevitable time came for them to ask me about what I had studied. Not being a professor, not having studied at a top university (I studied at Cal State LA- which some people confuse with UCLA. CSULA vs. UCLA, I don't know how, people just do!), I had to tell them "I have a bachelor's in sociology, but it was long time ago, so please don't ask me about it." I wasn't short or haughty about it. It was more of an embarrassed kinda joking response. I thought it was funny. They were kind enough to understand and asked about other stuff. After dinner the conversation was easier, not so scholarly. Not to say that scholarly is bad, I find it very interesting, I just get nervous and self-conscious about contributing to the conversation. Overall, it was a very good time.

Saturday, finally, after the rains and much cooler temperature than the previous weeks, we went on a hike. We went to check out "the cascades" people have been telling us about. The hike was two miles in. It followed a stream that came from the cascades. It was a very interesting hike- rocky, shady, and scenic. We didn't even need our hats, because there were so many trees covering over us. It was really nice. Not too steep but rigorous enough to get the heart pumping. Chispita seemed to enjoy it, too. The cascades were very pretty, we'll post pictures soon.

Sunday, we went to church. Afterwards, we went out to lunch with another couple from the church. Very good conversation, and surprisingly, good food, too. :p (Yeah, upon request, the waiter brought me some "chiles toreados". It made my food that much more enjoyable.) The couple is older and they have college age kids. They were very nice and trying to get to know us better. Like everyone we've met, so far, they told us about different places to go and see in and around our town. It was funny that they said they live out in a "one-stop-light" town, near Christiansburg. One-stop-light... Imagine that.

Later on Sunday evening, we went to yet another event we were invited to. Another one of Shane's colleague's invited us to an annual "Corn Festival" at his house. He has a cornfield- small, compared to commmercial ones, but large for a private home one! So every year he invites people over to help cut it down, then they grill some and people eat the corn. People bring other foods, too. But the main event is cutting it down, tearing off the husks and such. We arrived late, so we missed the "fun" part. We ate and were introduced to other Vtech faculty, staff, and interantional students. Then we kinda toured the property. He showed us his large garden where he and his wife grow tomatoes, squash, peppers, green beans, okra, and much more. He let us pick some green beans and whatever we wanted. My favorite part of the evening was checking out the chicken coop! He gave me the three eggs that we found. One was a pullet egg- an egg from a young chicken. They are smaller than most eggs because they are the eggs from when they first start laying eggs. They lay pullet eggs, for about a month and a half. I thought that was cute. (I want chickens. The idea of fresh eggs is so cool. When we buy our home I want to have space for a small veggie garden, fruit trees, and chickens!)

So, that was our exciting weekend. We ended it by coming home and talking with family and friends on the phone and on the ichat! That was supercool and hitechlike! :P