"the eternal husband and other stories" by fyodor mikhailovich dostoevsky

my tour through classic russian lit is off to a great start. this book is a collection of dostoevsky's short stories, focusing around the longest of them contained in this collection, "the eternal husband." i am altogether impressed by mr. dostoevsky's ability to write from within a character's head. "a nasty anecdote" left me a desperate feeling of sadness for both the protagonist and the antagonist in the story, sometimes finding hard to distinguish whom was whom, though ivan ilyich is cited by the author as the "hero." "the eternal husband" was a very interesting snapshot of a russian romance gone terribly wrong. "bobok" was kind of light and fluffy in its approach to a living man chatting with the dead, peeking into the world beneath the tombstones. "the meek one" was one of my favorites. the entire story consists of a husband trying desperately to recall the details of what could have possibly led to his wife's suicide, which is the event that christens the story. you hate the husband, you love the wife, you like the husband, you're confused by the wife, you empathize with the husband and wife. it's good. "the dream of a ridiculous man" takes you all the way back to a garden absent of sin and an unfortunate infiltrator who goes from contemplating suicide to ruining paradise, but gains insight into what makes the human soul stir before it devolves.

each and every story taps into a soulish detail, which without dostoevsky's words often remains elusive to capture with language. he puts into words that which many of us know, feel, and think, but can not articulate. i look forward to reading more of his work. i just received an e-mail from the ames public library, hereby to be known as "the apl," telling me my hold on "the brothers kamarazov" has come to fruition. i'll be picking that up on "library day" this saturday with paige! i expect nothing less than brilliance. i look forward to seeing how his characters develop over the course of a longer novel, especially now that i'm girded with the genius of his ability to do it within the context of a short story.

sometimes it feels less lonely to read thoughts which are those which you had never before been able to name. seeing them verifies your humanity in a way. your feelings and thoughts are not alien, even if you often feel like one.

dead russian authors!
woot! woot!

bobby lee duke's lollipop shop

just got home from seeing "fireproof" in the theatres. i loved it. if you go, which i highly recommend, look for bobby lee duke's lollipop shop. it's in there somewhere. i promise. but also pay attention to the movie, it's pretty sweet. i cried like 4 seperate times. i'm getting very sentimental in my older age, especially with a child on the way. i hope he loves God. man, that would be a blessing. i've been praying for my boy's wife, if God would bless him with a woman someday. i hope paige and i serve a great example to him. so in summary: fireproof = good movie, crying = soulishly cathartic, atticus = my son, bobby lee duke's lollipop shop = where's waldo-ish fun!

have a great sabbath!

really random and disjointed. such is life.

hi all!
so, life has been plugging away. we've been pretty busy, which is nice, since it makes the time go more quickly. like they say, a watched pot never boils. and a watched baby never boils either. whatever. i'm ready for him to be here.
according to the midwife at my appointment yesterday, it has been the baby's tiny little butt that keeps nearly breaking my right ribs. meaning, good he's head down, bad he's apparently got some junk in the trunk. i hope his wide hips don't get stuck on the way out.

we've been having a horrible time figuring out what we're going to do for insurance for the kid. my insurance has been of NO HELP in trying to figure this out, todd's insurance won't cover the kid, and i'm realizing that being a grown-up isn't everything it's cracked up to be. here i am in my pajamas at 8:30 on a friday night, getting ready to go to bed and worrying about insurance. oh, the thrilling life i do lead!

on a side note, this was given to me by one of my second-graders. is this not the cutest thing you've ever seen in your life?! (but the fact that the pregger belly looks more like a tumor is a little unnerving, not going to lie.)

also, last weekend todd, my sister, her boyfriend, and i all went to iowa city for my dad's wedding. while it turned out to be an eventful day full of drunk buses, prosopagnosia, unitarian lesbians, and all around white trash, this was probably the climactic moment, caught on film:

that's right, the hulk and iron man taking on their enemy, the merciless and beguiling bald eagle.
here are some other, less superhuman moments from the day:

um, yeah....that's all.

hello wisconsin!!!

a few weeks back our friend andy invited us over for some rockband after church. we acquiesced and the rest... is history!

you can catch us live by clicking on "gigs" on our website:!

election '08

in lieu of a candidate that stands for the same values as i do, i am seriously leaning toward an alternative, write-in candidate whose track record is impeccable, whose conscience is free from corporate lobbyists, whose integrity is never in question, whose is not a good ol' boy, whose is not corrupted by washington politics....

deal with it washington. there's a new sheriff in town and he's tiny, cute, and ready to shake things up (and kick a few ribs in the meantime). talk about hope: is there any other candidate who possesses so much promise? this kid is lightning in a bottle!!!
i'm not atticus jacob rhyne van voorst, but i did approve this message.

"the grace exchange" by larry huntsperger

i simply adore this book. first some back story: i helped out with the jr./sr. ministry at cornerstone church back in the day and was asked to help chaperone a ski trip/retreat. during the course of the road trip, we stopped at a goodwill (rather a mcdonald's i believe with a goodwill adjacent to it). we tried on wigs, looked at funny clothes, and perused the books. i found an old heidelberg catechism which i found very interesting having grown up in the sunday school's of a first reformed church in sioux center, iowa. i also found "the grace exchange." i had never heard of it. i don't even remember the circumstances of it, whether or not i read the back, skimmed the contents, etc..., but i bought it for a nickel.

i read it a year or so later for the first time. it is amazing. it was fun to revisit again. God brought this book to me in a random goodwill on a random ski trip of which i remember little now other than the purchasing of a book that has given me great encouragement. if anyone thinks about their faith a great deal and finds such dissatisfaction in their ability to conform completely to image of Christ, this book is Godsent in its comfort and intellectual instruction. i not only feel better about my walk, but i know that it is from a Biblical source of encouragement, a bank of knowledge so hard for my overly religious mind to somehow make room. if you struggle with wondering whether or not your struggle with sin disqualifies you from heavenly membership or if you find yourself searching for contentment, but feeling guilty about it because of your knowledge that Christ is sufficient, this book will be a great companion to you. it has served me well. i have no idea who larry huntsperger is, but i know i have deeply been affected by his words.

Micah 7:7-9
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me.

Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the LORD will be my light.

Because I have sinned against him,
I will bear the LORD's wrath,
until he pleads my case
and establishes my right.
He will bring me out into the light;
I will see his righteousness.

the new ben franklin.

i'm not even lying to you when i tell you i witnessed this very conversation between two six-year-olds today.

stephen: caden, why do you like star wars so much?
caden: (shrugs) because it's the new khaki.

stupid tiny feminists.

so, after school today i headed up to north grand to check out the farmer's market (which was so-so. i was looking for cheap such luck). however, when i got there at 2:30, i saw the sign that said it didn't start until 3, so i figured i'd walk around jcpenny for a while to kill time.

i looked around a bit for the maternity section, just to see what they had. i walked past it a couple times before i realized that a four-racks-and-a-wall-display section was the maternity section. the only way i figured this out was by eyeballing all the petites clothing (cute tiny cable-knit sweaters and whatnot for cute tiny ladies) and accidentally stumbling on the next rack over...the paisley polyester potato sacks they like to call "maternity wear."

seriously. i think the jcpenny layout designer and maternity fashion director must both be fascist, baby-hating, tiny feminists who want to make preggers ladies feel bad for reproducing. "hey, i have a good idea. let's put maternity right next to petites to highlight how tiny the ladies are who actually shop in petites, especially compared to the big, swollen, water-retaining baby incubators. eww, pregnant people are gross."

then, to make it easier to spot us from long distances, they incorporated hideous, brightly printed tops made of fabric sure to make us sweat (for easier smell detection). that way, anyone who may not have otherwise known we were pregnant can spot us coming and cross to the other side of the street before we infect them with our fertility.

i hate jcpenny. it's too bad they have sales all the time, otherwise i'd boycott.

of mice and men

i read of mice and men this past week. it was an interesting work. as much as you want to dislike george for being so rude to lennie, you also cut him some slack for taking it upon himself to look after such a difficult person. i wish there was more back story about george and lennie however. that was my only real "complaint," per se, not withstanding the obscene amount of gratuitous obscenities. it does leave the reader a bit conflicted however. lennie is loveable, but dangerous; sweet-hearted, yet unstable. the book left me feeling that it ended too soon. i wanted an explanation, a manifesto, some justification, but none was given. steinbeck leaves the reader to work those "why's" out. nicely done mr. steinbeck. now go get some soap for that mouth of yours ya rotten scalliwag!

i've recently decided to start reading all those "classic" books that i hear about. it seems like a good idea. plus, we have library day now on saturdays, so it seems like a natural progression. i've recently read to kill a mockingbird. i think next i'll read the bell jar by sylvia plath. i looked at the classics section at hastings the other day and got really excited. the brothers kamarazov by dostoevsky, david copperfield and the tale of two cities by dickens, anna karenina by tolstoy, pride and prejudice by jane austen, little women by alcott, as i lay dying by faulkner, how to read a book by adler, the well-educated mind by bauer, don quixote by cervantes, the scarlet letter by hawthorne, moby dick by melville, the confessions by augustine, the republic by plato, a doll's house by ibsen, canterbury tales by chaucer, etc...

just writing them has got me excited to read them all. i love that God has made the human experience so accessible to... well humans i guess. not every mind that observes these truths by necessity respects the Maker of them or acknowledges His dominion over all things, but i find it very gracious of God to give any a window into the deeper truths of this word. there is something worth investigating and some are given inquisitive minds, others anxious bodies, some longing hearts, others captivating hope, some utter dissatisfaction, and still to some the grace to put it all together that we may recognize our God, the Maker of it all and give Him thanks for it, the pain, the love, the dissatisfaction, the groaning, the yearning, the pining, the repentance, the acceptance, the grace, the enlightenment. all of these poets are messengers, whether by reluctance or by volition, of His eternal Message. i am excited to listen and learn.

nothing like a good ol' fashioned tractor pull

my parents (tony and jacqi v.v.) called tonight. apparently they were on the home stretch of a long journey which carried them to vermont. why, pray tell, vermont? oh, that's where my dad found an antique tractor, and she is a beaut. he found it on-line. my dad. if you know my dad, you know why that's funny. if you don't, imagine your grandparents finding a toy on the internet and travelling across the country to find it, it's kinda like that.

they took paige and i out to dinner at applebee's, my dad's favorite establishment. he liked my honey bbq buffalo wings. i knew he would, that's why i ordered 20 instead of 10. my mom was rockin' a usa cap. she is awesome. i love my parents. it's been a long time in the making, but we're friends and we're finally restored to the right dynamics of relationship. it feels good. i love my parents. God has used them to bless us routinely. i pray my lil' atticus one day thanks God for us. you can only do what God has asked of you. we can love him, provide for him, correct him, encourage him, and set him free once he's old enough. we can't make him love us though. we can do all the good things parents are asked to do, but only he can choose to love us.

it's a lot like God and us. He loved us before we knew Him, He gave us life, provided us every good thing we've ever known, and yet we're left with the decision to love Him, but He initiated the process, much like paige and i are doing for our lil guy. what an amazing thing love is. what a privilege to be given, what a responsibility to embrace, what a blessing to experience. i love that God set it up that way. it seems more valuable that it cost Him something and it seems more legitimate than the shake n' bake tv evangelists who offer me Jesus at no cost to my life (minus the $19.99 for shipping and handling) love should cost something. if it didn't, it would seem less romantic. i wouldn't want to give my life for something less than love. i know i'd give my life for my wife and my child. God is teaching me about His love for us all in this regard. touche' God, i see where you're going with this. i love you! :)

long time coming

it's been a while since i've updated, so this may be a pretty long post! stuff has been a little hectic around here as i've been settling into the school year...

photos from the last couple weeks (and yes, i'm wearing the same shirt in both...lack of foresight):

it feels like everyday i get a little bigger and my clothes get a little tighter...i'm really wanting to see if i can go the whole 9 months without having to buy maternity pants. shirts, well, that would be highly unlikely (but only since i have a job/go into public, otherwise i could wear my "world's greatest dad" and "spiceworld tour '96" pajama tshirts on alternating days until i go into labor). but we'll see about pants...the belly band is still working its magic, although it's getting pretty dingy since i wear it probably 5 days a week or so... gross.

work is...well, not really "work," just seemingly long. i'm ready for the little guy to come! i've been having some difficulty figuring out what to do for my quit date, since my insurance is only good to the end of the month in which i'll quit. since they tell me the kid's supposed to get here on november 30, i called the insurance people to see if, saying i go into labor ON the 30th and would therefore still be in the hospital into december, my insurance would cover those days in december. the response i got? "well, i don't know, but i definitely can't guarantee it." lovely.

so i think i've decided to just work up until the baby comes, whenever that is, then use my sick leave, personal days, and emergency days to hopefully stretch my insurance into the following month before officially resigning. i was hoping to have a more stone-written plan for a quit date and bypass the possibility of going into labor while at school, but i just don't think that's going to happen. so...if you could be praying the little bugger comes a smidgen early to avoid any insurance confusion and any past-due-date grumpiness that i would end up taking with me to work, that would be awesome!

speaking of work, my job is going pretty well. it's a lot different than last year, but i'm enjoying it. one of the little girls i work with is not autistic, just SO spacey and funny and downright weird! she had been begging her first grade teacher to let her sing a song to her class, so finally mrs. f agreed. so nikki* stood at the front of the class, singing, "i'm a dragon and i looooove myself and i don't wanna be anybody else because i love my spiiiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrriiiiiitt..." i was trying so hard not to laugh, because she was just so sincere....:) then earlier this week she showed up to school with an eyepatch on. not an eye bandage. a full-on pirate patch. she has to wear it for the next six weeks to correct her lazy eye. LOVE IT! too funny.

the kids are really interested in "the baby in my belly." today a little girl asked when he was going to come out, and before i could answer her, the boy next to her said in the most condescending voice, "on easter. duh." and she got defensive (naturally) and was like, "how do YOU know?!" he replied, "because that's when all babies come. on easter." i think he's getting his magical-animal-leaves-a-surprise-in-your-yard stories mixed up.

later today a little girl asked me, "do you know how you get babies?" not sure if she was asking about the whole "sex" part of thing or the whole "labor" part of thing, i didn't really want to answer either way... so i just asked her if SHE knew "how you get babies." "nope," she said, then asked if i wanted to watch her monkey bar routine. um, yes. way more than i want to have to navigate the baby-getting process.

in unrelated, todd news, we've started making saturdays our "library" days - and i LOVE it!! we rent movies, and check out books (todd just finished of mice and men today) and magazines. so much fun! and so cheap! i've been checking out home decorating magazines and getting lots and lots of ideas...!

well, i think that's it on my end...i think i need to get todd to update, since mine are pretty much the same story every week: pregnancy, work, random crap.

and for a little flourish at the end: here are some very classy pictures of me playing poker in my pajamas while eating chips ahoy. being as legacy-minded as he is, todd thought he should document for our little guy his in-utero experience. and this pretty much is it in a nutshell.