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Archive for December, 2008

Peace

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

On earth peace…

And seek the peace of the city…

and pray to the Lord for it

for in its peace you will have peace.

…goodwill to men.

Christ the Savior in born.

Colophon “Peace” composed of letters taken from signs in our favorite St. Louis neighborhoods. P from Pin-Up Bowl on the Loop, E from Euclid Avenue in Central West End, A from the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the Washington University campus, C from the City of University City city hall, and E from the
Pageant music hall on the Loop.

The Ghost of Christmas (Hall Decorating) Past

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Per usual, my semester ended with me collapsed on the couch, soul-sucking seminar papers turned in, exam blue books thoroughly scribbled upon, piles of books and essays covering the dining room table, and very, very little done in preparation for Christmas. I was absurdly proud of myself for decorating our tree 6 days before Christmas and designing Christmas cards and writing our Christmas letter 5 days prior to go-day. Sure, no one will actually get said Christmas cards or letters by Christmas, but I’m not ashamed to lower my standards to attainable levels at this point.

And then I remembered the two weeks leading up to Christmas break at good ol’ Cov Col. Surely calling upon some wisdom too lofty for mere undergrads, the powers-that-be ordained that the weekend prior to finals week was Time to Clean Your Rooms. Bathrooms were doused in bleach, bunkbeds had to be re-stacked, everything needed to come off the walls, and all earthly belongings were shuttled to storage or stuffed inside our minuscule closets. This was character-building and all, but also directly counter to our professors’ admonitions to study for our imminent exams.

But then, since — clearly — cleaning and studying for exams wasn’t enough for our over-active undergraduate bodies, our dorm also declared the Wednesday before finals to be the annual Hall Decorating Contest. Because, really, the best use of time would be to decide that the hall theme should be Narnia, corral freshmen into cutting down assorted pine branches from around campus, string said branches along the entire length of the hall, craft an ingenious lamppost out of a cheap Wal-mart floor light, create huge brown craft paper “wardrobe” doors for visitors to walk through, and then spread cotton batting and spray snow everywhere.

So we did.

And then, because no one had papers to write or projects to finish, of course, we all assumed a character to fit the Narnia narrative…

…Tricia labeled everyone in order to prevent confusion…

…and I got to sit swathed in a white sheet (wearing Betsy’s tiara) and offer passersby Turkish delight. I think I threw flour — er, magical freezing dust — at people who refused me.

Frankly, even as I can feel myself becoming the bitter old professor who is aghast at how students spend the last weeks of the semester, I am still ridiculously proud of this feat. I have romanticized it to the point of utter brilliance in my mind.

I am also incredibly grateful that I never have to do that ever again. Amen.

Dirty, Dirty Santa

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

I take a break from my self-exile in paper-writing-wonderland to report on the results of our small group’s Dirty Santa gift exchange last night. We gave:

  • Our extra copies of C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters and an extra copy of John Calvin’s Golden Booklet of the Christian Life. We feel a little less Presbyterian having given these away, but we’ll manage.
  • A three-in-one picture frame that had been sitting in our bedroom for a while. I’m not sure why. And the unbelievably hideous brass wreath ornament that Noel received at last year’s company Christmas party. There’s an engraved fighter jet  tearing around the world in the middle of the wreath.

Noel received, in a single, black, white, and pink patterned gift bag:

  • 4 pink, green, and white striped cotton napkins
  • 6 write and erase stem markers for all those wine parties we throw; it came in a difficult to open plastic cube that almost proved too complicated for Noel to open
  • 3 orange plastic packs of paper soaps. In citrus!
  • 1 pale yellow plastic tube that the gift-giver swore was for peeling garlic

I received, in a single gift bag:

  • A translucent pink, white polka-dotted, glitter infested bracelet. Words really don’t do it justice.
  • Uno.
  • A magnetic key hider box that says KEY HIDER EXTRA LARGE in incredibly large type on the front. Way to be discreet.
  • The heaviest tea light candle holder in the history of mankind, crafted from some kind of Pakistani stone.
  • And, the ultimate Dirty Santa gift: a length of navy blue velor edged with artificial pine garland and complexly stitched and pinned to allow the lucky recipient the opportunity to wear it as a “Christmas tree costume.” Liz claimed she had worn it for several years. I don’t know how they celebrate Christmas down in Alabama, but that seems like a bit much.

Thanks, Dirty Santa. We can’t wait to give all of this away next year!