Friday, October 27, 2006

Oklahoma, OK!

I know we have countless fans waiting impatiently for an update (Hey, my mom does too count!), so I don't want to disappoint. Unfortunately, I am at work right now (don't tell...) so I am going to have to make this quick. So, though I would love to share the same "little details of our life" update that Mike wrote last time, you will have to deal with a general broad strokes update, once again.

Trip to OKC, OK. What a great conference last weekend! For those of you who we haven't talked incessantly about it, we went to the "After Ricoeur" Conference at Oklahoma City University, where we each presented course papers from our Ricoeur class last spring. The conference went well--we met students and professors from various colleges and universities, some of which we are applying in just a few short weeks! As far as touristy things, we went to Ground Zero, or rather the Murrah Building, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the OKC famous spaghetti Warehouse (not to be confused with the chain restaurant--the spaghetti Factory, comon people!), lovely Bricktown, and the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens. Of course we also toured around Oklahoma City University campus, finding Paul Hansen Drive, and Paul Hansen Fitness Center (HA! That's for you, dad!).

Reading Week. We have been reading, of course, and also working. Some of the latest: The Cunning Man (finally finished by Y), Lectures on Philosophy (Y), Plenty of journals about pedagogy in higher education (Y), Freakanomics (M), Bernard of Clairvaux's sermons (M).

Well, that's about all for now, expect more later, I promise! We have the internet at home now, so hopefully we will be able to update more frequently! ICS Worldview Conference tomorrow, it is going to be a good one, I'll tell you all about it when I get back...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The stories of Mike's life...

Hello to all,
Yvana has already written a more comprehensive note just a few days ago, so I will write on some fragments of life here in Toronto.
*Went to our neighborhood coffee shop Cafe 2 Day, Bloor Street, on Thursday. I like the place: robust fair-trade coffee, plenty of comfortable seating, and clean but unsexy. It's kind of like Kubata, our other local place, but closer, slicker, and a bit cheaper. I like Kubata as well, and I have a bit more heart for it, because I think the lady is the owner operator (at least she's there every day) and a Starbucks opened right across the street from it last January. How evil. Anyway, I like Kubata's jazz better than the stuff they play at Cafe 2 Day. It's a top 20 mix station that grates on me. Also, the sound system in Kubata is better, with several built in speakers, while Cafe 2 Day is one boombox at the front of the store that irritatingly echoes against the pane class. But I stopped by there on the way back to our apartment last Thursday, and a friendly guy was working there. So I'm hoping to make it a customary Thursday thing to go by for a cup of coffee-maybe become a "regular". There's something about being a regular thats mysterious to me... I heard David Sedaris on This American Life address this issue a few weeks ago. At one point, he had been living in Paris for over a year and a half, and every morning David stopped by this one kiosk to buy a newspaper from the old woman who owned it. For 18 months she said nothing to him; never acknowledged his continued patronage with even so much as a nod of recognition. Then, one day she looked at him quizzically, and asked, "Are you a tourist?" He was at once elated and deflated. She finally acknowledged him as a person, not just someone who gave money in exchange for goods, but refused to acknowledge that he belonged, after a year and a half of seeing him every day. I really liked that story, and I'll pay 1.35 a week until I am recognized as a regular in Cafe 2 Day, or maybe Kubata. ...Sponsors anyone?
*I don't really remember the point of that last story, but here is another. We were riding home along College the other day, and there was a huge traffic backup from Ossington to Dovercourt. As cyclists, we zipped right through to Dovercourt in no time, and saw that the traffic light was out. But the civic mindedness of Canadians knows no bounds, for there, in the middle of the intersection, was a scruffy young man directing traffic: cars, bikes, streetcars, you name it. He was taking his calling serious as a brain surgeon, and people were obeying and expressing their thanks as they passed by him. Pedestrians were hailing him as a hero. I'm sure this scene could have occurred in any city at any time, but to me the image of a unkempt twentysomething neo-Marxist looking guy dutifully directing traffic at rush hour, while people submit to his guidance and thank him in the process, completely embodies the Toronto spirit. I love this place.
*Act Three. Yvana, Ben Austin and I went to a party hosted by some Toronto School of Theology folk last Saturday. Mostly Regis, St. Mike's and U of T people there, but ICS made a good showing when Stu and Chris showed up. Everyone had a wonderful time, and I realized that I was more connected to this community than I thought. Saw a guy I'm taking a class with now- did his MA at Notre Dame on Augustine's malleable conception of the good life. Met someone who's a sessional instructor at St. Mikes, working on some things very similar to my own area of interest and, ironically, his dissertation director is my adviser: crazy things happen here at TST. Met a professional musician who is over at U of T faculty of music and spoke with her at some length about public art, fine art, and John Dewey. When we left, Chris was firmly in control of the liquor table, making White Russians for the whole kitchen crowd. ICS... so much better than the rest...

Miss you and love you all. M

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Quick update post:
We are having to make do with far less time on the internet this week, since we have found ourselves unable to access the wireless network at home. (And considering that I only come into school on Thursday and Friday, both for class, my Internet time is short indeed!) It has been a helpful forced discipline, helping me especially get far more work done than I had thought possible before. It is also interesting in terms of self-reflection on my dependancy on the internet. Do I need to check my email several times a day, or even every day? (some people think so... but, happily, no!) It has been quite a release--giving up. I would love to say how wonderful it has been in terms of making my life more full, but I do miss what the Internet provides by way of contact with people who I don't see regularly and keep in touch with a larger world of information instantaeously--yes, I miss it, but am trying to make the most of it. [What am I saying, it has been four whole days without the internet... poor me!]

Celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving on Sunday (and Monday), which is only called Canadian Thanksgiving when you are talking to people in the States (by the way). Wonderful trip to the (Andy and Jenny) Bouma's home in Bowmanville, ON--where we saw Ryan, and got to spend time with his siblings Kristen and Chad (Jack, for those of you who are in the know...), and of course Ben, who came with us. In addition to the enormous meal of turkey, ham, and all the "traditional fixin's," we invented a new game, based on components of Yatzee, Scotland Yard, Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit--a great game, we will have to play it with you sometime!

Took the GRE yesterday, for which studying for has been eating up a lot of our time lately. Mike and I both did well enough to feel confident sending our scores to the schools to which we are applying... In case we hadn't told you personally which ones: Boston College (Boston, MA) and DePaul (Chicago, IL) for Yvana; University of Chicago Divinity School (Chicago, IL), Harvard Divinity School (Boston, MA), Nortwestern University (Chicago, IL), and Boston University (Boston, MA) for Mike [roughly in order of preference... it is quite a debate at home, let me tell you!]

And, as a last weekly feature, what we are reading right now (or, in this case, what we would like to or should be reading...)
Yvana: The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies (a very popular Canadian author that I had never before heard of... This is for our book club which meets the end of the month); The Christian Platonism of Simone Weil (still...); Critical Essays on Simone deBeauvoir (This is just for fun, though I haven't started it yet...)
Mike: Sermons on the Song of Songs by Bernard of Clairvaux; Eros and Allegory; Voice of My Beloved by Matter; Paul Ricoeur: Owl of Minerva by Richard Kearney; Freakanomics by Levitt (though not nearly enough time for this one!)

Well, that's about all for now, we will try to get back on a regular schedule with posting, though next week we will be in Oklahoma City, OK--lots of news from there, I am sure! Stay tuned!