Friday, May 30, 2008

First Class All the Way

So, on to California. First off: how did I get there? I am broke! Well, a co-worker of Cordelia's at her church is, simply put, a saint. He used to work at a church in Minneapolis, and when Cordelia asked if anyone knew of a way she could find money to fly her little sister out to graduation, he stepped up and said he could donate his frequent flyer miles! What a guy! But wait, that's not all. He also managed to get me first class seats all the way!! This was my first time flying first class, and I loved it! I would have taken pictures but I didn't know if I was allowed and also didn't want to look like some hick who thought real plates and cutlery on a plane was something like a fairy tale (which, of course, I did). They showed Sea Biscuit on the way out and The Great Debaters on the way home. (I recommend both) They gave us warm towels which I used to wipe my hands, per what I saw others doing, but it was only later from one of Cordelia's friends that I learned I could have used it for my face as well (which is what I wanted to do).

OK, on to the fun stuff! Here are some pictures with captions:

A fun one: this is Les and Cordelia in the sumo vs. Godzilla cut out. Apparently, in this film, the hero tries to defeat Godzilla by wooing her...stay tuned to see how successful it was!!

This was taken before the Graduation ceremony, hence the absence of hoods. This is the Pacific School of Religion Class of 2008. Cordelia was awarded the Master of Divinity, as was her roommate Gail, also visible in this photo. Gail is off to Winamuka (sp?), Nevada soon for her placement. Those lucky United Methodists have job placement for life!

Here is my favorite before the 'show' shot I took. It seems so fitting that she should be posing while everyone else is getting ready to move!

Here is my favorite of the day! You can just see the PSR colors on the hood, green and gold, and the red shows she has her masters in Divinity. You can also see Les standing below holding Cordelia's purse. HA!

And now for the finale - and the answer to whether or not that Sumo Wrestler succeeded in wooing the Godzilla....apparently it worked!

Soybeans and Paprika

On my trip to Iowa I saw lots of Soybean fields. I did not take any pictures, because, quite frankly, I am not used to taking pictures and although beautiful, soybeans do not excite my imagination. I didn't get to take many pictures because of the rush rush of things. This is one of the many things Lydia and I are different in. She is tall, I am short. I have big hips, she, well, not so much. And, she seems to need to do everything at the speed of light, whereas I am very chill, often late and pretty sure there will always be enough time for everything. I like to think we balance each other a bit.

At the restaurant (which was called Rubaiyat) I spoke of in my earlier post seemed to have a thing for paprika. Each plate came with paprika "decorating" the edges. This was amusing, but as they say, "it's all fun and games till someone stains their shirt" which is what happened when some of the red powder got on Lydia's shirt.

Here is a picture of Lydia on her graduation day with her Swedish mother and Scottish father. The Purple cord is for Women's Studies which she minored in and she is also wearing a little Social Work pin which was her major. Congratulations Lyd!!

RE: Re-Cap

OK, I have been very remiss in my blogging and I apologize! I am going to try and start being better (and I may even start another blog with more of a theme, which will hopefully be more interesting, but we shall see)

So here is a quick re-cap of what's been going on before I get in to any more detail. Plus...Pictures!!

1) I got my grades back: I got a B in both my film classes and a C in my Child Development class. I also took an incomplete for my English class and will be taking a real live sit down version this summer to get a grade without having to pay for the class again (and without having to have an F on my transcript!).

2) I went to Decorah, Iowa for my BFF's graduation from Luther College. I drove down on Saturday with her parents, who bought us dinner at a fancy restaurant (See photo below), and stayed over night in her dorm room. I quickly remembered why it is a VERY good thing I didn't go, and do not plan to go, to a private liberal arts college! But I am VERY proud of my friend and all she accomplished there.

3) I worked my butt off for half a week, trying to get everything that needed to be done, done,- including everything from organizing people to work my retail shifts to getting a letter out about the new boss I will soon have- in preparation for my trip to Berkeley, California for my sister's Graduation from Seminary!!

4) California. Need I say more? Of course. But I will do that in my next post. I will simply say now that it was a wonderful journey with lots of laughs that came right out of my gut and good times with friends, new and old!

(Me and one of my new friends, Leslie, outside Ichi Ban Kan (Different Thimgs) in Japan Town.)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

.11% Makes ALL the difference

OK, so I was in a bit of a mood yesterday. Here's why:

Reason 1) I looked at my bank account and realized I would be scrapping by until my paycheck comes, which unfortunately has been mailed already (instead of dropped off) and won't arrive until this afternoon or tomorrow. If you have known me for any amount of time, I am sure you are shaking your head, thinking, "Oh, Elinor, when will you learn to be conservative with your money?"

But I have been! That is the most frustrating part! The problems really stem from my teeth (which my dental hygienist said were very well cared for by me), which I am having $4000 worth of work done on. And did I mention I have to pay out of my own pocket?

The gist is this: Where I once had over $900 in my savings (which is a HUGE amount for me) I now have $25 . And where I once had over $1000 in my checking, I will soon have about $100 (and that's hoping my paycheck goes through before the dental bill!)

Reason 2) My grades. I have been struggling balancing everything this major with a lot of technical aspects, two part-time jobs, two of my classes online...and there's the key. I really should not have taken ANY online courses. I thought I was ready to be that self-disciplined, but I am just not. At least not when I have to be in every other part of my life. I need a professor, standing in front of me every week, discussing, in person, the topics and my work.

So, yesterday, I was done with classes, I couldn't submit anything more. But looking at my grade for my Child Development course was making my stomach hurt. I was at 57% That, my friends, is real bad. But my professor was not done grading yet, and the grades from the final that I took, through mind blowing tooth pain, on Saturday weren't up yet, so I still had hope, but not much. 57 is hard to come back from.


I was going to wait until after work to check my grade because I thought I could work better if I put it out of my mind. Of course, about 10:30 I realized that was pure fallacy, and I had to look.

I was so happy I thought I would pee my pants. Seriously.

I got 70.11%...that's .11% more then I needed in order to pass the class (my school does not pass you with a D)

I told my boss, who knew of my woes, and she screamed (something I do not do readily, but she is inclined to do. I enjoy it, because I can't make my voice do it). She wrote - ".11% Makes All the difference!"- on a piece of poster paper and ran around trying to find a place to hang it.

So, that's how I feel today. My grade problems are gone, but my money ones remain.

I am feeling .11% better, but that makes ALL the difference.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things that bother me...

Knowing that I will soon have to go back to fretting over every receipt after my root canal

Actually being excited about a root canal (no more soft food! Yay!)

Knowing I am done with this semester, but not really feeling like it

Knowing I didn't do as well as I could/should have this spring

Not having the energy to clean my apartment

My apartment being messy, therefore sapping my energy

Wanting it to be this weekend and then next weekend...

Knowing that when I get to Berkley I will have to clean

Wanting to go out and celebrate, but not having the $$$

Even more then celebrating, wanting to sleep and sleep and sleep...

Pets dieing (other's, not mine, but still too sad)

Nosey non-members who should try not being so rude

Again, money...

Mr. Bush: 'nough said...

but here's some more;

Why am I, poor, voting, tax paying, good citizen that I am, only getting $300 from the stimulus, and people who are NOT below the poverty line getting $600 or more...? I feel punished for being young, working hard, going to school and not having gotten myself pregnant!

OK, that was my bit of a rant. I havn't had a real one for a while, so I think it's good to get it out. Seriously though, how do you go from $1000 in your bank account to $100 in two weeks? I've got two words for you people: school. bills.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Student Film - Finally Here!

YAY!! I totally just finished my last class of Film and Video 1 (a.k.a. Cinema Production 1, as of next fall) by "handing" in my music video project and my 16mm Chase Scene...

and now, for your viewing pleasure...


conceived, directed and filmed by Elinor Strandskov
Music by Ozone

So, I hope you enjoy it, and I will try to put my ellipsis project up as well. I wish I could show you my 16mm, cause I really like it, but unless you have a projector, that'll have to wait till I have the money to put it on tape!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Five: Short and Sweet

I am going to try and make these answers short and simple, as a reprieve from the last two posts!

Sally at RevGalBlogPals writes:
"Part of the Ascension Day Scripture from Acts 11 contains this promise from Jesus;

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Then he was taken from their sight into the clouds, two angels appeared and instructed the probably bewildered disciples to go back to Jerusalem, where they began to wait and to pray for the gift Jesus had promised.

Prayer is a joy to some of us, and a chore to others, waiting likewise can be filled with anticipation or anxiety....

So how do you wait and pray?"

1. How do you pray best, alone or with others? Alone, silently, unless it is a sung prayer, in which case there better be a lot of people and some loud praises!

2. Do you enjoy the discipline of waiting, is it a time of anticipation or anxiety? both. I love the waiting of Christmas, but the waiting to be done with school (entirely, that is) is pretty obnoxious.

3. Is there a time when you have waited upon God for a specific promise? I am waiting, but more for myself to complete things I have promised God. She is just really good at holding up her part of a bargain, you know!?

4. Do you prefer stillness or action? stillness in still times, and action when needed..."there is a time for every purpose under heaven"

5. If ( and this is slightly tongue in cheek) you were promised one gift spiritual or otherwise what would you choose to receive? sometimes it would be nice if I could go where I was needed, spiritually, not physically, but consciously. does that make sense?

Photos With a Man I Never Knew

Although my mom saved this photo as “another” one of my Grampie, my brother, sister, mother, Uncle Malcolm and I (the baby being held up above Grampie’s head), it is the only photo I can recall seeing with myself and Grampie in the same place at the same time. My Grandfather, H.C. Petroff, died in Maine, when I was about 3 and living in Minneapolis. I had recently seen him, as three months before my Grammie had died, and I went along for the funeral (which I did not end up going to, as other family members thought it would not be a good idea). It’s hard to think that I never had a real opportunity to get to know this man, who I have been told I would have enjoyed the company of.

So. Now that my mom is putting all these photos up on the Picasa Web Albums, I am learning things about Grampie, and other relatives no longer with us, that no amount of oral storytelling could ever give me.

What they looked like.

In my application essay to the film program at MCTC, I spoke about how I consider myself, first and foremost, a storyteller. For better or worse, it is what I am called to do, whether through singing, acting, making friends and family laugh…or filmmaking. I was finally drawn to filmmaking because it can encompass all forms of storytelling: visual, oral, and auditory. The only aspect I think it lacks is that of kinetic learning, but I have no doubt that one day we will find a way to utilize that as well. After all, film is only just entering its second century…we have a long way to go.

My mother has in her possession some old reels of film from her child hood. If they were still in Minneapolis, I could take them to school and put them on a projector. As it is, I will have to wait until they can be transferred to DVD and shared more broadly. But when that happens…well, I can’t wait! I am sure there is no sound, but to see the movements of someone you never knew but are so intimately connected with…it is one more reason that I love my chosen medium.

If I ever get a chance to bum around in Maine, living off my parent’s goodwill, I would like to spend some time finding music to put with those old family films. I used to nanny for a family where the father run his own business. He is a musician and he interviews people, and, using old family films and photographs, puts together little Life Story DVDs for their families, complete with original composition accompaniment. He has had clients put these together for loved ones anniversaries, 90th birthday’s, or for their children and grandchildren to have after they pass away.

Anyway, I guess what I am saying is this: it is easy to fall into a place of sadness or regret when we think of loved ones gone before. But, what I would rather do is learn from their lives, and do what I can to ensure my children and their children have the opportunity to learn about my family, past and present.

Below is another photo with Grampie. Although you can’t see me, I’m there. This was taken the summer before I was born. My mother, standing near Grampie on Eagle Island, is pregnant, as is my Aunt Nancy with my cousin Ivory (and that’s Cordeliaknits standing with Nancy).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Songbird, a blog friend of my mom's, has a cool blog where she often
talks about her life as an interim minister. In a recent post, she
talked about a book by Henri J.M.Nouwen , Life of the Beloved, and how,
although he wrote it for a secular friend, the friend still found it
too "religious-y". I have not read the book (summer reading list,
maybe?) but I know all about the secular/sacred friend divide.

Nouwen and I seem to have a similar challenge when speaking with friends about
faith and spirituality. Of the non-church friends I have (meaning, friends I didn't grow up going to church with), I can think of one off the top of my head who still goes to church. And really, all I know is that he was raised Lutheran and still goes to services with his sister on occasion-but the important part for me is that he does not condemn me for my faith practices.

Now, condemn is a strong word, and I don't mean it to be. But it seems to me that most of my friends were raised in left-wing, middle-class families that worked so hard not to pressure their children into any particular path of faith, that it led
them to have a disdain for it in general. Since the majority of faith we see represented in the media is conservativeChristianity, this doesn't really shock me. I think some of their disdain stems from not understanding.

If you had never seen a flower bloom, would you believe it could?

That's a little cliche, but I am totally serious! It has literally made me cry
to think that I have friends who are unwilling or unable to tap into
the higher power that I am blessed to encounter, simply because they
are not open to it.

But what has having these friends done for me, and what have I done for them?

For me, I think it has led to both positive and negative outcomes. A
negative one is that I tend to be very defensive about my faith. "I go
to church, and I dare you to laugh!" I expect people to be offended or
contemptuous right off the bat. In my defense, I have been in enough
situations where my defenses do need to be up, but defense is only a
small step away from offense, and that is not a path I want to take.

A positive outcome, however, is that "And They'll Know We Are Christians
By Our Love" has become a mantra for me. I recently had a conversation
with a new friend from Karaoke. I had known her for maybe two months
when we had this conversation.

We were standing in my tiny kitchen and it went like this:

Friend: "Oh, this is a great magnet! "Thank God I'm not a Christian!"
Me: "Yeah, it's funny cause I am one, but that was my sister's back when she was Wiccan. HA! Now she's graduating from seminary, she's going to be a minister!"
Friend: "Umm, I don't understand that" and she gave me a look like she was suddenly a little frightened of me, not sure if I would reach in my pocket and
pull out a "Jesus Loves You, too" packet.

It turns out she is herself Wiccan, and has felt oppressed by Christians in her life. I understand that. I remember a "friend" telling me in fifth grade that I was going to hell with my sister because she was a lesbian and I loved her - seriously. she said that to my face, like, "Oh, so sorry to have to break the news, but..."

Anywho, back to the magnet story.

So, I saw this as an opportunity to enlighten my friend and maybe ease some of her
wariness about my religion. I think it went well. I explained a little
about my sister's faith journey (what I know of it mostly from sermons
she has preached) and my own path that I still walk of finding daily wisdom's that I add to my personal theology.

And this is where the "knowing I'm a Christian by my love" comes in. If I
had had that conversation with her right after I met her, she wouldn't
have been open to hearing it. I am not saying I was trying to convert
her, not in the least. But I like to think I opened her heart and mind
to the possibility that my RELIGION'S past does not dictate my SPIRITUAL

If this was a sermon, I would now say,

"Let me say that again: My RELIGION'S past does not dictate my SPIRITUAL future"

and I did this by showing her through my actions that I am a good friend,
one that is caring and will be there for you when you are down and will
visit you at your crummy job at the mall, without having superficial
concepts like "religion" as a prereq.

So, did I get anywhere with that? I am not sure. But I am now headed out of here to work on a screenplay, film a chase scene and go to the last full screenwriting class of the semester :(