I never had a sister. I have two older brothers, and I couldn't possibly love them more, but it's just not the same. Brothers don't especially like to gossip about people at school with you, you can never offer them any of your clothes to borrow, and their shoes, though cool, don't fit you. And they tend to get upset if they find you borrowing their jeans or money (sorry about that, guys). But one of the cool things about brothers is that through them you get sisters. I got my first sister when I was 17, and my second when I was 18. I didn't get any more sisters until I was 26, when Nathan and I got married.

I now have four great sisters, all unrelated to me by blood, but all so wonderful. There's Arla, who is so bubbly and fun, and so good at commiserating when I just need to complain. Jenna started out as one of my best friends in college and went through all that craziness with me and then became a sister. Ashlee I feel like I've known my entire life, even though it's really been about nine years, and she's my advice guru. And Heather, the newest sister and, at this point, an honorary one, who is so easy-going and easy to be with, and has a sly sense of humor. I love these women so much, and I know that I could go to any of them with any problem I had and they'd listen and advise wisely. They are all such good examples to me in such different ways and I love having them all nearby. Even Ashlee still feels somewhat close, since we talk more now than we did before they moved.

Last weekend Brian and Ashlee were in town and Nathan and I got to meet the twins for the first time. We met up with them and with Jeff and Heather at Ruby's on the pier in Balboa. After we all ate the boys took off with Eszter and Judah and the three of us girls sat together on the lawn with the twins. While Ashlee fed them we all sat in the sun and talked about whatever came to mind, serious things and funny things, and it was such a truly female conversation, where we jumped from subject to subject and then back again, and no one ever got lost. It's funny, because without the Cowell boys I don't think the three of us would have ever been friends. But now I can't imagine my life without them. We work so well together. I'm not sure we'd be this close, even if we were actually sisters. And I'm so glad to have these sisters. All of them.


Feeling nostalgic

For a few years now I've been logging in to bubbs through the internet. Yes, I'm still on bubbs. Yes, it's my primary email still (in fact, my only email). The reasons are many, but it's mostly because I don't use email enough to bother with setting up a new account with another provider.

Anyway. The other day I logged in as usual, went to send an email, and found that there was something wrong with the system and it was leaving off the option to send. So I could write letters, but couldn't send them. Frustrated, I left it until the next day, figuring it would fix itself. It didn't. So I finally did what I should have done forever ago and downloaded the bubbs program from the Biola website so I could log directly in to bubbs. I think I waited so long to do it because I'm from the bubbs generation where you actually had to obtain a disk with the program on it from someone who already had it, and it was a total pain. Obviously, things have come a long way since then.

So tonight I got online to check my mail and decided to wander around a little since I hadn't in years. And it made me so sad. Not that bubbs is bad, it's just so changed from what it used to be. When I started using bubbs, way back in 1994, it was THE THING. Everyone was on bubbs as much as they possibly could be. I'm feeling all nostalgic about it, so here's a little trip down memory lane for those of you that were there in the beginning.

Remember when you'd chat someone on bubbs rather than walking across the hall and knocking on their door?

Remember when resumes were like the personal ads? They were so important, and your resume totally defined who you were. Online tonight I checked out a number of undergrads, and couldn't find even one who had a resume. We used to spend hours crafting ours. They were works of art.

Remember the two hour per day time limit? And how some of us used to log on at 10:00pm so that we could be on for four straight hours? Come on guys, I know I'm not the only one who did this......right?

Remember when you could see the whole list of who was online in one box? And when seeing 50 people on at once was some kind of record? And then there were the times you were the only one there...

Remember chatting with four or five different people at once? If you set up your screen right, you could see four chats at once, and usually the people you were talking to thought they were the only one you were chatting. Unless they typed fast, and you took too long to reply. Then they'd catch you and sometimes you'd be in trouble.

Remember Soapboxes? There are still a few out there, but not many, and not like they used to be. They used to be pretty popular. I had one called The Hanging Garden that was not very exciting, but I liked it. Dale Lee deleted it (without asking or informing me) several years ago.

Remember when Chaos was the biggest news on campus? It was like a soap opera. Everyone loved it.

Remember when people checked their email obsessively, whenever they had a few seconds, on their way from chapel to McNally, or at the breaks of night classes?

Remember how often this conversation took place?
Person 1: "Do you know so and so?"
Person 2: "No, but I've seen her on bubbs. She's a jerk."

Remember Dot's Poetry Corner? It was all these serious, angsty poets, and they posted their very heartfelt efforts there. And mostly Barbara and I went there when we needed a laugh. Because inevitably there would be a line in just about every poem that was so beautifully awful, so tragically funny. Usually that line was something like "I get out of your deceptive car." So perfect.

Some of you weren't there. Dave, I know you're shaking your head and thinking I'm a big nerd. But it was this whole sub-culture and it was all brand new and so cool. Several of the friendships that turned out to be very important in my life would never have started had it not been for bubbs. I wonder what it's like on campus these days? Are people still into it, but just in different ways? I suspect that it's mostly a resource for kids now, a way to collect and turn in assignments, and that for entertainment most college students are on myspace or other places like it. It seems so strange. It was such a huge part of our lives in so many ways. Sometimes I miss it, being part of a small, tight community like that. But I guess that's what college was all about anyway, huh?