Bazar Pazar six

Well this post is a day late and a dollar short.

This expression is difficult to convey in this culture. The concept of being both late and/or short on cash doesn’t have the same negative connotations that we’d ascribe. Speaking of idioms- I knew, cognitively, that idioms comprise a large part of our culturally bound communication. But I had no idea how difficult it would be, in practice, to try to speak without them. Now, for language learners, its vital to pick up idioms eventually. But, most of my students are at an A-1 level (creeping up, inshallah) and introducing idioms needs to be a gradual process. So, for the most part, I shoot for 1 new idiom a week (we write it on the board, act it out, etc.) and then I attempt to avoid them the rest of the time. This is hard! I feel like Archer (but without the king-fights and Island parties, obvs)…

Anyway, this week was a blur (idiom). We were supposed to have Thanksgiving off, but I teach two courses on Thursday that only occur on Thursday so I didn’t want to miss them. I ended up giving a short lecture on Thanksgiving and American history. I shifted focus from our holidays to their holidays which inevitably lead to some conversations about how I would make a very good Muslim. It also brought up perhaps the most interesting fight about prepositions I’ve ever been in (and, lets admit, I fight about prepositions more often than most people). I asked my group of Doctors what they were thankful for and they insisted they were only thankful for God. I pointed out the difference between “to God” and “for God” but the distinction is tricky. We all agreed you could be both thankful for and to God, but, as Muslims and non-native speakers, they were unsure i they could admit to being thankful “for” anything else. The conversation ended on pins and needles (idiom) but I promised we could continue it next week.

Another idiomatic anecdote from the week: I play tennis with my tennis club Saturday and Sunday mornings. On Saturday, I played terribly and the coach jokingly told me that I’m not allowed to come to tennis anymore if I can’t concentrate on the ball. He said he knew the Prime Minister was coming to town, but that I needed to get my head in the game (idiom that apparently works on both sides of the Atlantic). I thought he was joking about the Prime Minister, some sort of localized expression that meant to make fun of political self-importance while reinforcing focus on the present. But, later that afternoon I was sitting in a coffee shop, talking with a friend and we watched as a huge bus passed with the Prime Minister waving from a window. I should have realized earlier why the streets were filled with armed soldiers and hundreds of policemen.

Final story: my office-mate and I took the train to Hasankale last night. We had been talking about taking the Doğu Ekspresi since I got here. Its the same train line that used to run the Orient Express and it runs along the route of the ancient Silk Road. The landscape is stark and lonely, beautiful in its rugged emptiness.



We took the train to the tiny town of Pasinler where the Hasankale fortress is located. We had planned to go see the castle, but the buses had all stopped running once we got there. Here is a photo of the place in summer:

So instead, we headed towards a famous fish restaurant in the center of the town. On the way, we asked two different men for directions. They each gave the same apologetic expression and said they didn’t know. We asked a third man and he invited us into his grocery shop to get warm by the wood stove while he called his friend to find out. After talking to his friend, he confirmed that the fish restaurant is not open during the winter and had in fact had enacted closing ceremonies the previous day. We laughed it off and asked for the next best place to eat. “Yok” he said, “yok.” There is not. There is not. There are no other restaurants in town. It was such a Turkish exchange, with all the apologies and thanking and general good humor. We ended up calling friends in Erzurum and asking them to pick us up and bring us back to town. We holed up in the grocer for  while as it was far below freezing outside. Adventure time on the Silk Road.

So, for a few things to read/think about from the week:

1.) I made an advent tree for my office. I’ll put up some sort of ornamet or picture of leaf everyday until Christmas. I also joined this global advent calendar creation, just to feel a bit more connected:

2.) Unrelated to advent, but also a daily type of activity:

3.) Poems (thanks to Megan and Shavawn and David Wright)


Snowballs, Speaking Exams, and Spain

Its snowing! It started yesterday afternoon and its not supposed to stop until Friday night. I drank apple cider and watched the snow fall last night while editing two academic papers for Turkish friends and a grad application for another Fulbrighter. Oh yeah and listened to this:

Just kidding, I didn’t listen to that pony. He just showed up on Pandora when I was making coffee this morning and I laughed out loud alone in my apartment. Its surprising to me how often I do that. Anyway, snow!

IMG_1473 IMG_1490 IMG_1499

Hopefully it keeps at it.

In other news, I gave my students their second Speaking Exam yesterday. The students each selected a partner and when they came to my office, I gave them two topics that we’d covered in the course (campus life, neighborhoods, hobbies, etc.) about which they had to speak together for 5 minutes. They did a surprisingly great job. I’m very proud of the improvement many of them show. Some of them still don’t try and I’ve yet to find a way to motivate them, but most come to class willing to try. I’m honestly amazed that they try at all since they take 30 hours a week of English courses and for most of them, passing the course isn’t mandatory. They are required to be enrolled and to have some level of attendance, but their grade will have no bearing on their future studies. This year could be an opportunity for them to just hangout with friends, party, and coast, but instead most of them study hard, try to improve, and just generally breakdown the stereotypes of Turkish students that were set out for me at the beginning of this year. I should have guessed they would! Where is my optimism when it matters?

To again shift topics abruptly (An aside: during this semester of teaching, the importance of shifting smoothly between activities has become very apparent to me. If I have a good strategy for changing gears, class progresses without a hitch. If I haven’t thought through why or how I’m going to introduce new material or games, student progress is impeded. Teaching=the ultimate teacher)… Jenny, Spencer, Noah, Amanda, Daniel and I are meeting up in Spain for New Years. People I love, a villa, warm weather, paella, wine. I can’t wait.

Friendsgiving- Turkish Edition

On Friday night, I went to my cell-phone carrier store to add more data and minutes to my phone. This was one of those moments when the collision of new and old was utterly striking. Everyone has a cell phone here. Everyone. The little 8 year old kids in the worst part of town. The teyze’s at the bus stop selling bread. Despite the ubiquity, you can’t just pay for a contract or get automatic payments set up. Instead you must physically visit the store each month to reload your plan. You must also visit the store on the exact day that your previous plan ends, and even, I was told on Friday, at the exact same time (my time happens to be 10:30am) or they will charge you extra. So I renewed my plan for Nov 21-Dec 21 and paid extra since I was 8 hours late. I was laughing the whole time in the store at myself, at my notions of convenience, and at all the surprises various cultures afford. Türkiye’ye Hoşgeldiniz.

On Saturday, I hosted a Friends-giving celebration for our Turkish friends. With the other two Americans here, we’d all decided to throw a Thanksgiving party, but we never really coordinated and so I ended up cooking everything. It was honestly pretty fun to cook for 10 hours. I love tasks 🙂 The only real stress was whether my Turkish friends would think my house was clean enough which, probably it wasn’t. But hey, I tried!

For most of our friends, this was their first Thanksgiving. We tried to give a brief rundown of the history of the holiday and then talked about how our individual families celebrated. I made a “thankful board” per Schaffner tradition and everyone (including the Americans) thought it was a noble idea. The menu: lots of slow-cooker Apple Cider, Alton Brown’s Turkey recipe, mashed potatoes, Daniel’s grandmother’s dressing recipe, green bean casserole with greek yogurt instead of cream-of-mushroom soup (AWESOME), sweet potatoes, biscuits, pumpkin cake, and apple pie. My only regret is that I didn’t make gravy. The Turkey came with all giblets (what a gross word) removed and I coudn’t figure out how to ask the butcher for just what comes inside an animal. My Turkish is still elementary. Ah well, it all turned out well and we enjoyed ourselves.

Also, in Turkey, the word for a turkey is “hindi” because the Turks historically thought that the bird came from India (Hindi is the Turkish word for Indian). When western European’s came to Turkey, they thought that the bird originated there, so they dubbed it a “turkey.” So all the “I’m eating turkey in Turkey” jokes were compounded because one of the other Fulbrighters is Indian. I ate hindi with a Hindi who called it a turkey in Turkey. Our Turkish guests could not grasp why we American’s found this so funny.

EDIT: Pictures!

Pumpkin cake and random decorations I foraged from campus.

Pumpkin cake and random decorations I foraged from campus.

I made all those things. Here's to avoiding boredom!

I made all those things. Here’s to avoiding boredom!




Thankful Tree

Thankful Tree

Istanbul (Part The Second) + Birthday

Well Happy Birthday to myself. How odd to celebrate it half a world away from anyone who knew me in years 0-26 1/2. The Turks like to celebrate and they definitely did their best to make me feel at home. I got presents, chocolates, songs, and a cake. My students were adorable and wrote me notes, bought me candy, and generally just fawned over my fine foreign self.

But back to the weekend! Hurry, before another one approaches with all new stories and songs that I’ll dul(l)y report and repeat (I just finished reading all three LOTR and what stuck with me this time was the amazing woven quality of J.R.R.’s tales, a chief facet of which is the songs, chants, and poems that interlace the story of the Ring itself).

But really, back to Istanbul. After the Hagia Sofia, I went to the Basilica Cisterns. I could go back to the guide book and look up lots of fascinating things, but I’m tired. Lets just settle for this: it was built in the 6th century by Justinian. It could store 100,000 tons of water and many of the columns were pilfered from nearby temples. It lapsed into forgotten memory for many centuries and was only restored in the late 20th century. It was probably my favorite part of sight-seeing in Istanbul:






After the cisterns, I meandered through rug and spice shops, trying to make my way towards Topkapi Palace- the residency of the Ottoman Sultans. Honestly, I wasn’t too pumped about the palace, but it was a “must-see” in all the guide books. I wasn’t that interested since all descriptions focused on the expansive collections of jewels, furniture, and other royal finery. But, I’ll admit, the place was extremely impressive. The most fascinating area was the hall of relics, also called the Privy Chamber. The relic collection was impressive, as was the aura of reverence that was created by the breathless crowds of visitors shuffling in slow, open-mouthed wonder past the staff of Moses, Joseph’s turban, and Muhammed’s beard hair. Who knows where these relics came from or who collected them, but they were potent reminders of the shared history of the 3 strands of these religious traditions.

In addition to the Privy Chamber:

Harem gates

Harem gates

You've got to store your turbans in style!

You’ve got to store your turbans in style!



And onwards to the night. I spent a few more hours just wandering around Istiklal and Taksim before meeting with Lisa for a delicious, traditional Turkish dinner of Shake Shack. Then it was off to our hostel for a night of hostel life which I’ll have to write about some other time. Its a world unto itself.

Sunday morning, we got up around 6 and ate a breakfast of spinach pastry before heading to the race grounds. By the time we got there, I was definitely wishing that I’d signed up for a longer run! The weather was chilly and a bit damp, but perfect for running. And the energy was infectious. Signs said that 30,000 people had signed up for the 10k, 15k, Marathon, or Fun Run. I haven’t checked the time logs, but from the size of the crowd and the the incredible line of buses, I believe it.

Starting line 1 hour before we set off

Starting line 1 hour before we set off

About 2 minutes before the race began, the mayor of Istanbul stood up on a platform no more than 20 feet from where we were poised. He began to speak into a megaphone, smiling and waving. Almost as soon as I could pinpoint the source of the voice, everyone around me started booing, shouting, whistling, and raising their fists. The energy of the crowd changed drastically in only seconds. A woman next to us whispered in my ear that he wasn’t Erdogan, but that he might as well be. While I’ll only speculate internally on the exact meaning of her comment, the truth is that the mayor was booed off the stage. As soon as he walked down the steps, the starting gun went off and the crowds energy shifted to the Bosphorus. It was immediately as if nothing had happened. We were off!





The course was lovely and I felt great. 10k no longer feels like a chore, I admit. I never thought I’d feel that way- especially after how much I hated cross-country in high-school. But truly, running is now a source of peaceful joy. And Istanbul was no exception.

58 minutes.

58 minutes.

And now, perhaps the most “Rachael” part of the day. After I finished running, I felt way more energized. I convinced Lisa to walk another 1.5 miles from the race finish to the Chora church, which I’d written about in my MA thesis. So we trekked along, exclusively uphill and soon through a steady drizzle, till we reached the space, the place, the dwelling, the land, the womb, and all the other things that chora can and has meant. I’ll admit that I’ve not always enjoyed my time here in Turkey, but walking into that church was a reminder of all the curiosity, wonder, and complexities that brought me here. And while it doesn’t make up for the frustration, home-sickness, or displacement, this chora did what Plato said it would: the chora rests between the sensible and the intelligible, through which everything passes but in which nothing is retained






Thus concludes this chapter of my adventure. Ah, with one adendum. Istanbul street food is incredible:


Cross the city, the country, the continents

I’m back in Erurum after a delightful weekend in Istanbul. Our trip started out in Turkish style: we got to the airport and our flight had been delayed 4 hours, meaning that we didn’t arrive in Istanbul till after 1:00am. Of course, the airport shuttles into the city (about an hour ride) stop running between 1:00 and 4:00am. I was with Leah and Janesh so we succumbed to the call of our hostel beds and jumped in a taxi. I made it to my hostel around 2:30 and immediately was pulled into a conversation with a group of Hungarians, Poles, and Kurds. We talked about the history of violence in Eastern Turkey and the current administration’s take on Kurdish-Turkish relations. The Hungarians taught me to blow smoke rings. We drank German beer.

At 6:30am, my roommate from orientation made it to Istanbul on her night bus. We decided that we would be better off just powering through our day so we headed out for a full Van Khavalta (breakfast!).

Breakfast with Lisa

Breakfast with Lisa

Galata Tower with Kaye

Galata Tower with Kaye

Bridge to Asia with Starbucks

Bridge to Asia with Starbucks

We then headed out of the city on a series of trams, metros, and buses to retrieve our race packets. We met a few fascinating characters along the way and saw a few sites. After returning from the Race Expo, I set off on my own to explore the part of the city called “the peninsula,” the Old City, or Sultanahmet. I wandered through the spice bazar where I took no pictures because if I even stopped for a second at least 4 shop owners would run up and try to physically drag me into their shops. Istanbul definitely is much more pushy with their tourists than the other areas of Turkey I’ve visited. Since its a huge industry for the city, its hard to blame them. After the spices, I walked past countless stunning mosques, found the Hippodrome, and headed towards the Blue Mosque:




Odd story here: There is a entrance for prayer and an entrance for tourists. The line for the tourists was very long but probably only too 10-15 minutes total to wait in. While I was waiting, I heard a group of young men saying to people in line “how many in your party?” When they asked me, I ignored them and hoped they’d just assume I didn’t speak English. A woman behind me responded, saying “Oh we have 6” and the young man told her that for 100TL he would take their party to the front of the line. The woman agreed and handed over the money and they started to bi-pass the line to head straight into the mosque. Another women in front of me turned around and started yelling “Shame! Shame! No respect! Go home!” Many other members of the crowd took up the chant and yelled or booed at the group skipping the queue. This same series of events happened at least 4 or 5 times while we waiting. I was frustrated the entire time because I wanted to ask the woman in front of me to stop yelling and publicly shaming people who were about to enter a house of prayer. So they skipped the line? So they paid money to enter a free holy place? This doesn’t need to dictate the mood for all the rest of us who are hoping to enter this space with a peaceful, reverent heart… Anyway, I should have probably said something to her, but I was busy trying to be calm. Ironic.

And then! And then. After the Blue Mosque, I walked to the Aya Sofya, or the Hagia Sofia as it was called before it was tranformed into a Mosque. My lord, what a place.








While the sheer scale, the art, and the layers of Islamic and Christian symbols were all captivating, I admit that I spend more time staring at the floor than at the domes or mosaics. The marble floors shone in the low light, reflecting the golden lamps and dusky shadows from many corners. They were as smooth as river rocks. The doorways were particularly striking. The marble in the corners where the giant doors were hinged was many inches thicker than in the middle. How many millions of other people of countless creeds and countries have walked there! It made me feel very old (or maybe its the fact that I turn 27 this week? Who knows).

The marble... worn down from 1500 years of shuffling human feet

The marble… worn down from 1500 years of shuffling human feet

Pieced back together countless times

Pieced back together countless times

The coronation circles where the Popes became who they will always be

The coronation circles where the Popes became who they will always be

Maybe that is enough for now. I’ve got to run off to do all the things I neglected by leaving for the weekend including go grocery shopping for the Thanksgiving dinner we are hosting this coming Saturday. Inshallah.

Go West Young (wo)man

This evening, I’ll be flying to Istanbul. Tomorrow, I hope to visit some of the historic and religious sites that define the ancient city and on Sunday, I’ll be running from Europe to Asia. I hope all the high-altitude training that I’ve done in Erzurum will pay off (jk, my “training” consists of running once or twice a week and playing tennis).

It is a strange aspect of my reality that flying to Istanbul will bring me closer to home than I’ve been in 2 1/2 months. Furthermore, the city will be more European/Caucasian/Western than most of Erzurum. I could have never imagined that spending a weekend in Istanbul would be a chance to feel more at home (I plan to drink Starbucks and a few beers). Isn’t the “exotic” a flighty concept?

Speaking of the exotic, this is a great read from the New Yorker:
I love and fear this shiftiness of the “exotic.” The myriad ways it is used in polite or unthinking contexts makes all definitions insufficient. In Erzurum, I am the exotic one, my blond hair and blue eyes drawing near-constant attention. How should I respond? How do I attempt to humanize and explore and represent without merely re-presenting? (Sometimes I miss graduate school).

In other western-looking news, I’m planning to visit Cappadocia over Thanksgiving. I went to lunch with a girl who’s parents live in Cappadocia and operate a tourist bureau. She is going to help us find places to stay and a reasonable hot-air balloon ride. Look up Cappadocia if you’ve never seen pictures. Its a fairy-tale place of geological splendor. Or so I’ve bee told.
We ate the most amazingly delicious pide (sort of like a pizza but far more “exotic”):

Pide with mushrooms and lamb

Pide with mushrooms and lamb

We talked at our lunch about the Shiite/Suuni divide across Turkey and much of the Middle East. I was shocked, as I listened, to realize how closely the conversation pattern was to contemporary discussions of liberal/conservative divide in the US. She could have easily inserted “democrats/republicans” or “left/right” into most of her sentences. How uncanny to be half-way around the world producing such familiar discourse. Here is brief overview of the current conversation.

Off to the airport! Cheer me on as I cross the continents!

Turkish Delights

Some things in Erzurum are delightful.

The construction workers on campus always bring little stoves to work. The stoves look like a drain pipe with a cage on the bottom and a flat griddle on top. They prop them up next to the work sites, feed them with small chunks of wood, and make tea all throughout the day. When the carpenters and electricians and plumbers take their smoke breaks, they all stand around the stove in a tight circle, many of them arm in arm or holding hands, as they try to feed more bits of wood into the smoldering cage. Its beautiful.

My students brought me a wooden carving of a Sivas kangal dog. The Kangal dogs are some of the largest in the world. They are used for hunting, shepherding, and as guards for livestock and people. My carving fits on my desk, which awesomely, the real dog would not.


My students made up a story in class yesterday to practice frequency and time expressions. Each student in the circle had to add one sentence to the story. It went something like this “One day, a dog was walking in the snow. Suddenly, he died. Then, he became alive again. Always he was a happy and excited dog. Today, he is Rachael Teacher’s dog. This morning, he bit her. Rachael Teacher is always nice and kind and funny. Usually, she is pretty. Seldom is she mean to us. Today, Rachael died because her dog bit her. Now she is a zombie. Still, she is a pretty zombie.” Bravo Turkey.

Bazar Pazar Installment 5

So… I know that I should probably be blogging about all the wondrous new things I’m experiencing in Turkey, but these past two weeks have been more mundane than magical. Of course, I’m not complaining about this. The mundane allows me to explore parts of life that get passed over in excitement or glee or novelty. So these past two weeks have been very pensive but I like to think I’ve learned more about Turkey by going about my daily routine in a specific spot of ground than I could have by traveling to the four corners of this ancient land. Perhaps. More on that soon!

1.) Poetry! Try reading this article. I was encouraged by the way it interprets the call of language on our bodies, emotions, senses, and minds.

2.)Speaking of health: “The growing science on how a body imbued with meaning becomes physically healthier”

3.) Ok, this one is heartbreaking and convicting and beautifully written in this quiet, confused voice that resonated long after I stopped reading.
“Think in months. Years. Someone loves you. Where are you going? There are some things you will never do. It doesn’t matter. There is no rush. Be the best prisoner you can be.”

4.) Thanks to Ben Maddox for this one. I’m down for anything that can mix Reinhold Niebuhr, post-colonial studies, and consumption theories. Stick it out:

5.) The two seasons of this series are simply beautiful (and the episodes are only 5-8 minutes long so “seasons” is a bit deceiving). I’m nearly finished watching them all and I’m sure I’ll watch them again (a rarity for me).—city-ballet–517995636

6.) It took me three days to read this because I had to put it down so often to consider the implications of these words on my life. Yes, yes, I’m a very strange girl and I think this way about essays in Esquire magazine about my childhood heroes. Please read it.

-“Mr. Rogers has been doing the same small good things for a very long time”
-“The shootings took place in West Paducah, Kentucky and when Mister Rogers heard about them, he said, “Oh, wouldn’t the world be a different place if he had said, ‘I’m going to do something really little tomorrow'”
-“the thing that people don’t understand about him is that he’s greedy for this–greedy for the grace that people offer him. What is grace? He doesn’t even know. He can’t define it. This is a man who loves the simplifying force of definitions and yet all he knows of grace is how he gets through it; all he knows is that he gets it from God, through man”
-“Mister Rogers finally looked up from his watch and said, ‘May God be with you’ to all his vanquished children.”
-“What is grace? I’m not certain; all I know is that my heart felt like a spike, and then, in that room, it opened and felt like an umbrella”

Art in Life

One of the most enjoyable parts of my time in the classroom is doing art projects with these generally interested and hilarious Turkish students. Fulbright gave us a a great teaching resource called “Create to Communicate” and many of the suggested activities combine art with language learning. Most of my classes include at least one activity where the students draw, sculpt, or create something. I’ve found that they really enjoy it. Maybe its because they don’t often get a chance to express their creativity when they study English 40 hours a week. Regardless of why, its clear they like it so I’m sticking with it.

In addition to the art in the classroom, my daily life is often touched by the Turkish artistic sentiment. The city of Erzurum is full of public art in the form of sculptures, murals, and more. The other areas of Turkey that I’ve visited are similarly full of beautiful or strange art. I walked around campus this week to take pictures of some of the sculptures and tried to translate the descriptions. Here are a few:

The plaque said something about the heroines of Erzurum and Tabular (a fortress outside town where many women fought off the Russians in the 19th century).

The plaque said something about the heroines of Erzurum and Tabular (a fortress outside town where many women fought off the Russians in the 19th century).



Ataturk's visit to Erzurum. He was the patron of the school.

Ataturk’s visit to Erzurum. He was the patron of the school.

Erzurum Ottoman's fighting off the Russians

Erzurum Ottoman’s fighting off the Russians

Title: Palandoken Dolomite in 4

Title: Palandoken Dolomite in 4

This was titled something like "history opens its layered self"

This was titled something like “history opens its layered self”

Double-headed Eagle deonstructed.

Double-headed Eagle deonstructed.

Narnia much?

Narnia much?

The double-headed Eagle is a symbol of Erzurum and the Ottomans.

The double-headed Eagle is a symbol of Erzurum and the Ottomans.

Yesterday, after tennis club, a few of my fellow sportsmen and women went out for tea at the local community center. The center is located at the base of Palandoken mountain which is currently covered in deep snow. We sat outside with blankets and tea in the crisp fall air. Our conversation centered on art, cinema, and Turkish love of Gold. I learned about a tradition called “Gün,” where women gather in the house of a different friend each month to talk, drink tea, and exchange gold. Its a sort of coming of age ritual where you invest in the future of your friends by giving them gold coins (usually worth between 150-300TL) or American dollars. One of our colleagues is having her gün next month and invited me to come. Good thing I brought some $$$.

Finally, on an unrelated note, I drank this yestserday: IMG_1063
Purple Turnip juice with chili powder. I tried… but it was beyond me.

Bazar Pazar – installment dört (4)

Well this week was a whirlwind of wilderness and weirdness.

1.) Pumpkin everything. I made pumpkin puree from my jack-o-lantern and ended up with about a gallon of pumpkin to use. So far, I’ve made roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin chili, a pumpkin pie, and a pumpkin cake. Since I’m running 4-5 miles every other day, I’m just pretending all this baking and eating will have no effect on my body. Anyway, the clear winner was the cake. Wow. I didn’t put any frosting on it, but instead covered the top with pomegranate seeds (they are in season). Try it out:

2.) I read everyday here. I didn’t read at all this past summer… perhaps ONEGas (or more probably Graduate School) took too much out of me. Of course, I only could pack 2 suitcases for my overseas flight which left previous little room for books. I did bring a few, courtesy of Ms. Blankenship and Mr. Smiley but primarily, I’ve been reading on the Overdrive app which lets you check out books from your library from anywhere in the world (having fun isn’t hard when you got a library card! -ARTHUR). I’m currently 300 pages into “The Fellowship of the Ring.” While reading on an e-book can’t possibly compare to the times my Dad read LOTR out-loud to Jenny, Peter, Amanda, and I while we lounged in front of the fire, I’m still loving re-entering the story. I don’t know many times I’ve either read or watched these stories, but I’m not tired of them yet

A few favorite lines, this time around:

“That is a chapter of ancient history which it might be good to recall; for there was sorrow then too, and gathering dark, but great valour, and great deeds that were not wholly vain.” -Gandalf to Frodo on the value of the history of men and elves.

“I feel that as long as the Shire lies behind, safe and comfortable, I shall find wandering more bearable: I shall know that somewhere there is a firm foothold, even if my feet cannot stand there again”- Frodo on the Shire/Me on Arkansas

“There’s earth under his old feet, and clay on his fingers; wisdom in his bones, and both his eyes are open” -said by Tom Bombadil of Farmer Maggot.

And the link to the app:

Kids on Books

3.) A comic for (you?) me: Conflict

And another

4.) I was listening to music while carving my pumpkin on Friday night in my office at school. One of my co-workers was watching and listening too. When this song came on, he said “wow, America sounds so sad.” So we kept listening and he says “Ok, now they are back to normal.” Oh the precious layers of understanding and misunderstanding!

Thats all for this week. I’m off to play tennis before the snow starts falling.