Busy Busy Busy

The school year is in full swing, and so are my various part-time jobs. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be doing most of my work from home so I don’t have to put Charis is childcare, but I am finding balancing everything to be something of a challenge. So here I am blogging instead of working. Hmmmm. . . Better get back to work.

Kudos to Mark

Kudos to my husband, Mark. No, he hasn’t signed a contract with a big publisher for his latest book idea. No, he hasn’t been named “theologian of the year.” But he has been great about caring for the kids and just running things around the house when I’ve been gone for my new job efforts. Today I was gone most of the day, and he handled after-school pickup, homework, and dinner with no problems. He was glad to see me when I walked in the door tonight, but he is really handling a lot with me gone more than I have been since before we had kids.

Our Littlest Girl

We still call our youngest child who is a 2-year-old girl “the baby.” Seeing that she is our last, she will probably always be “the baby.” I know because as the youngest of 9 children, at 40, I am still, “the baby.”

Today after awaking from her nap, our littlest girl needed her diaper changed. I said, “You’re dirty. You need your diaper changed.”

She was laying on the changing table, and she said, “I am not.”

I said, “You are dirty,” and I proceeded with changing her diaper.

She put her hands over her ears and shouted, “I can’t hear you!”

Pride and Hard Work

As mentioned in an earlier post, our 3 older kids are attending school this year. Our oldest boy has some learning issues–he is easily distracted; he can’t seem to write fast enough to keep up with the things he has to copy from the board; he has a hard time keeping all his stuff organized. Despite all this, he loves to learn and he wants to do well. He is also enjoying his overall school experience. He has a great teacher who is willing to help him work through some of his deficient areas. In the weeks since school has started, he has improved in many areas, and he has demonstrated dilligence in completing all his homework and studying for his tests that has made me very proud of him. His first report card comes home at the end of next week. I am sure his grades will not be “great,” but he gets an A from me and his dad for working so hard and sticking with it when things get tough.

Bride and Prejudice

Peter Leithart is an expert on Jane Austen. He wrote this brief review of Bride and Prejudice, the musical bollywood Indian version of the popular Austen novel. I am sure Dr. Leithart is right about the problems with the pacing and balance in the movie. I also agree that having no scene equivalent to the original’s confrontation between Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Elizabeth Bennet is disappointing. However, the movie still works, and it is very true to the plot of Austen’s original.

First, the Indian caste system seems a perfect backdrop for a contemporary retelling of Pride and Prejudice. In western cultures, arranged marriages and the hunt for a husband are not nearly so important as they are in India.

Second, the Indian actress who played Lalita Bakshi, the counterpart to Elizabeth Bennet in Austen’s original was forthright and believable as the strong, idependent thinking female lead character. I also appreciated some of the other innovations that had to be made with characters to make them fit into the Indian setting. No offense to accountants, but having a well-off LA CPA who is a native citizen of India play the counterpart to the dithering Mr. Collins was classic.

In Bride, there are only 4 sisters in the main family instead of 5 as in the original. The 2 least sisters, Mary and Kitty, have sort of been combined into one in the form of Maya. One of the best and most hysterical scenes in Bride is the adaptation of Mary’s scene in Pride. In this version, rather than insisting to play the piano and sing poorly for a socially unacceptable period of time, our Maya does the Indian equivalent. When all the main characters are gathered at the Bakshi home for a meal, Maya performs a belly dance that is embarassing and invasive of everyone’s personal space. I thought the lack of decourum that was present in the original is equally present in the Indian scene.

This version of Pride and Prejudice was only 2 hours long–not 6 hours like the BBC version. Some pacing issues were bound to arise. The fact that this is a musical with several coreographed numbers interspersed also throws off the timing from the original. Also I suspect the Wickham incident was downplayed somewhat because of the audience for which this movie was intended. If you took the situation with Wickham in the original to its logical contemporary end, it could get pretty explicit, which wouldn’t be appropriate for the audience or for the upbeat tone of this film.

There were some other things left out of this film as well. For instance, the relationship between the eldest two sisters and the relationship between Darcy and Bingley are barely developed at all. This takes away from the story somewhat, but again lack of time to include every aspect of Austen seems the obvious culprit.

Despite what Bride and Prejudice lacked, I enjoyed this fun, energetic contemporary adaptation Austen’s classic. If nothing else, it might expose an entirely new audience to the great Jane Austen and make them want to at least see the BBC fillm, and they might actually take the time to read the novel for themselves.

Stream of Consciousness Blogging

Lots of thoughts on my mind today.

School for the kids continues to go well. Our oldest who has the biggest challenges in school is making progress. We are grateful and praying for it to continue. Our middle son is much more easy-going and does things according to the teachers schedule, so we have been happy that he has kept up his normal behavior and seems to be fitting in quite well. Our daughter is doing fine, too. She just needs to keep her head out of the clouds a little more so she can finish her assignments a bit more quickly.

Housing is another issue that has been on our minds a lot lately. Back in the early part of the summer we started working with a realtor to find a home to buy. We are FTHBs, so it has been a learning process. Our lease here isn’t up until late November, so we wanted to find something that would allow us to close so we wouldn’t have to pay rent and a mortgage payment for even one month. About 2 weeks ago, we put an offer in on an older home in a “transitional” neighborhood (that realtorese for “not the best, not the worst”). We had a building inspection done at the end of the week we made the offer, and it revealed a lot of problems. Then we had a contractor friend look at the place to make a bid on the repairs so the sellers could decide if they would make the repairs before we purchased the house. Between the negative vibes we got from the inspector and from our contractor friend, we had the gut feeling that this was not the right house for us. So we walked away from the deal. Of course all of you who have purchased homes know that we also walked away from nearly $600 for the inspection. As a result of that loss, we are suspending our search for a while.

Our rental house is really fine in lots of ways. It is in a great neighborhood. It has a 2-car garage, which in our price range for buying, it is likely we wouldn’t be able to get this little perk. But throwing away the rent every month really irks me. Then there’s the fact that we would really like to be paying even a small bit less than we are currently. For now, the rental is ok, but I am hopeful and praying that we will find either a less expensive home to rent or a house we can afford–either in a neighborhood we would like to live in. It’s a tall order in a city like St Louis where the housing market is somewhat inflated.

The other thing on my mind a lot lately is work. I started working in a sales job in July. Most of July and August was training. Now I am getting into the nitty gritty of doing the sales work. I like the job since I can do most of the paperwork and “leg work” from home. I am selling fundraisers to schools. The main product is a food co-op that schools sign up to do with our company and the parents place orders every month and one day each month, our truck arrives at the school where I work with the school volunteers to unload and fill orders. Then the parents come and pick up their items. The schools make 10% of retail for their designated project, and I earn a very modest commission. Our company also offers traditional fundraisers like candy bars, cookie dough, strudel, and make your own pizza that schools or groups can do for a one-time event. So far the work itself is going well, but having never worked in commission-based sales before, I am struggling wtih waiting to actually make some money.

Now, how’s that for disjointed unrelated topics for blogging. But since it is my blog and my readers are few, I don’t worry too much about cohesiveness.

Have a good week!

Update on My Sister from Biloxi

My mom told me that my sister and her family were able to go back to the Biloxi suburban home on Friday. Their home as well as others in their neighborhood had very minimal damage. Praise God for this blessing! Both my sister and her husband will be in some uncertain times in the months ahead, though. The hospital pharmacy where my sister works was destroyed. The roofs of boths buildings where my brother-in-law works were blown off. His employer told him it would be months until they are up and running and that he should try to find temporary work if he can. They also have to young adult sons who are living at home and attending trade schools. I am sure it will be some time until their schools will be functioning as well.

So even people whose homes have sustained little damage will be dealing with many abnormal situations in the months of recovery in the area. We need to keep them all in our prayers.

Ministry in New Orleans

This is an interesting update from Desire Street Ministries in New Orleans. Desire Street is an organization that was helping people in New Orleans for years before the hurricane, and it looks as if they are committed to continuing their work. At the end of the post regarding the condition and the future plans for the ministry since Katrina, there are some helpful aerial photos with labels.