26 November 2005


Advent is almost upon us and I think I'm behind on pretty much everything. At least I'm not behind on sleep. After several weeks of not enough sleep, I've been able to sleep in until almost 9am the past few days, catching up on some much needed rest.

After a busy few days meeting up with folks in town for ETS and AAR/SBL we hosted my brother- and sister-in-law. Jane had been in town for AAR/SBL where she was giving a presentation on pedagogy (she's a New Testament professor) and was joined by her husband on Tuesday. Laurel's taking them to the airport now so they can return home. It was really good to see them and we had a pleasant visit.

On Wednesday we all went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was enjoyable. The PMA is currently hosting exhibits of some of Edvard Munch's work, along with a sizeable exhibit of landscapes by Dutch painter Jacob von Ruisdael.

Thursday involved various food preparations, of course. In addition to the traditional turkey (an herb-laden version this year), I prepared roasted root vegetables glazed in whiskey, butternut squash soup with toasted hazelnuts, herbed rolls, sausage and dried cranberry stuffing, green beans, a cranberry-orange sauce spiced with juniper and star anise, and a baked dried corn pudding. Jane made mashed potatoes and the gravy, while my mother brought some cranberry-ginger relish, sweet dinner rolls, and an apple pie. Everything turned out pretty well, I think, and we have leftovers enough for several days.

Thursday night, after my folks had gone home, we watched Bride and Prejudice, a re-telling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in the form of a India-style Bollywood musical, thus bringing England, America, and India together in a fascinating combination. The film was conceived and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who is probably best known for Bend It Like Beckham. I found it really enjoyable and, despite a few departures from Austen, I was amazed how well the story translated into contemporary India, despite the cultural-situated of Austen's original narrative.

Friday brought a visit from Laurel's sister, her husband, and their one son, who enjoyed our leftovers. Unfortunately I had a bad allergy-induced headache for part of their visit, which was just clearing up about the time they left. Nonetheless, I was good to see them and I went with the rest of the guys, Claire, and our dog on a nice trek through the woods across from our house. The evening was relaxing as we ordered Chinese delivery, eating off of disposable plates, as I finished off the Thanksgiving bottle of Beaujolais, and as we all played a leisurely game of Tri-Ominoes (in which I trounced the competition).

Today Tom and Jane offered to watch Claire so Laurel and I could go out and do something on our own together. We decided to go see the film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which some of our friends really enjoyed. It was a good movie and I liked it as entertainment, though I think I preferred the film version of Prisoner of Azkaban better. Goblet of Fire would really have required a 5 hour film to do the book any justice, so I guess it was as good as could have been expected, though I think the director of Azkaban had a better sense of pacing, overall editing (both in terms of script and visually), and transitions between scenes. It had been a while since I read the book version of Goblet of Fire, so I was able to evaluate the film on its own terms, while Laurel had just finished re-reading the book and so was keenly aware of all the plot changes and deletions.

Laurel has just returned from the airport, so I guess I'll just go ahead and post this, get something to eat and go grade some of the tremendous stack of papers I've got sitting here glaring at me. I do plan on limiting posts largely to (I hope daily) Advent meditations for the next month or so, though I'm sure I'll occasionally post on other matters. I trust everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday.