Monday Madness

  1. When is the last time you moved? September 2004, six blocks. Soooo happy I don’t foresee having to do that any time in the near future.*
  2. How many times in your life have you moved? Let’s see… we lived in the house on Moore Avenue until I was seven and then the house on 14th (that Mom sold two years ago). Then I went to college and had six different dorm rooms in four years (including one summer). There was the summer in San Francisco too. After college I moved to Michigan, then to Minnesota where I lived first at a church family’s home, then in an apartment in Hopkins briefly, then down in Arizona for a summer, then into the house by the Fairgrounds (where I met Amanda), then the house on Laurel, and then the place I’m at now. That’s…. too much to count. You do the math.
  3. In your opinion, what is the worst thing about moving? I think it’s the rush at the end, like you have all these high expectations of how wonderfully it’s going to be, how you’re going to sort through crap and throw it out, fix things, get different furniture, paint before moving in, whatever, and then none of it really happens because it all ends up in a blur. I also don’t like that sad feeling of seeing everything you own in the back of a truck and how shocking it is how little space it takes up.
  4. What is the most exciting thing about moving? New decorating possibilities. I usually move furniture around in a new place every few months for the first… year, until I figure out what works best for the space.
  5. If you’ve lived in the same place all your life, do you plan to move in the future? Not applicable.
  6. Do you WANT to move somewhere else; if so, where? No, I hate moving. I mean, eventually I’ll have to move (because I hope some day that at least I can afford an apartment on my own, or get married and have kids which would require a different living space), but I don’t want to unless it’s necessary. No frivolous moving.

*but there is some exciting house news about moving that I need to share when I get a chance.

Friday Fun

  1. Do you think it is possible to find true friends on the internet? I’ve never actually made friends via the internet. I’ve met a few guys to date, but only through dating sites. (At least one of those worked out pretty well, seeing as how he’s cooking dinner for me tonight.)
  2. Do you still have the same friends that you had in your school days? Absolutely not. I have one friend left from high school, and we talk maybe every six months. I’m still in touch with several of my college friends, but most of them are married with kids and live in Illinois, so I don’t see them very often and we have less in common as time goes on. That’s sad to me, but a fact of life nonetheless. My oldest and dearest friend (not in age) is Betsy, and we’ve been friends since junior year of high school, but even we’ve not kept in contact as much as we’d like to (but we do more than email, which is more than I can say for a lot of my other long-distance friends). She got married last summer, so getting together has been harder, but hopefully she’ll be in town for Christmas (our respective hometowns, that is) and I can get together with her for coffee. I should go email her.
  3. Do you have close friends of the opposite sex as well? I have, on many occasions, had guys I’d consider my best friend at the time, but most of those relationships have gone down in flames (due to my apparently irresistible charm). The ones that didn’t end disastrously just faded out, and now I don’t have any guys I’d consider “just friends,” and that’s been true basically since college, or at least since Arizona, which is why I used to get so flustered when just trying to have a conversation with one, being completely out of practice.
  4. What are the 5 qualities you find most attractive in a friend? Loyalty, trustworthiness, openness, comfortability, and compassion. (And yes, I would describe Amanda and Liz that way, and probably throw in a few more fantastic descriptors as well, seeing as how they’re wonderful and all.)

Question Of The Day

Do you believe in fate?

See, that totally depends on how deep you want to go with it. Technically, no, I don’t believe in fate, when you look at the definition. But it depends on how you want to read “the supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events.” I completely believe in predestination, that God has a plan and has set things in motion, knows what’s going to happen, etc. I know a lot of people have a problem with that, think it affects their free will and all, as well as just find it a hard pill to swallow. It all works out in my head though, and I’ve never been able to explain it to someone else in a way that they understand. I still make my own choices – I have no idea what God has planned, am not just following a path blindly – but also think I’m being guided, that there are circumstances beyond my control that He uses (either good or bad, it all changes who I am, hopefully for the better). I can’t believe in a God who doesn’t care enough about His creation to take an incredibly active role in its outcome. Why bother? As much as some people have a problem with predestination, this belief has gotten me through some incredibly difficult times that I don’t know how I would have gotten through otherwise.

Yes, my parents’ divorce sucked, and I don’t think that God planned that (here’s where the whole predestination/foreknowledge thing gets wonky, so if it doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, because I don’t usually explain it well) so much as just knew the choices my parents would make, and used that event to shape who I was becoming, my view on relationships, some relationships I had at the time, and my commitment to certain basic principles.

Yes, the whole church thing in Michigan was horrible, to be so naive and innocent and fully believe in a rosy future, and then have it be torn away, to watch people I loved be hurt by others’ cruel words and actions, to know I had to pick up and start over again. But God used that too. I don’t think he chose for those people to act the way they did, but He knew the situation and He knew me and He knew them, and I think He brought me there to be a friend to some, a force for good to (against) others, and as a way of strengthening my own resolve and identity as a person.

And I’d love to think that God had no idea what was going to happen with that church that remains nameless, that if He did he would have protected me from all that pain, from the years of bitterness and feeling wholly inadequate, from being fearful when I glanced at a stranger who looked familiar or heard a voice, from relationships that ended without any sort of closure at all (for the kids as much as myself). But where would I be had I not gone through that? Yes, there have been some negative effects, like how I find it really hard to trust people now and second-guess my own judgment more than I used to, but I think I’m right where I should be in life (despite any complaints I may make to the contrary). I love that I live so close to Alison, that while I don’t have many friends I have quality friends, that Minnesota feels more like home than Michigan and Illinois do (though Illinois will always be more familiar). And though there were definitely some bad parts of my jobs in Arizona and my last Church, I built some great relationships and learned about myself.

So I have a hard time playing the blame game with God, as if He is completely responsible for other people. I make my own choices, don’t hold God responsible when I mess up, and other people make their own choices too, regardless of how wrong I may think they are or how harmful they turn out. Maybe it’s Pollyanna of me, but that’s how I see it. Sure, with a wild imagination, I’m sure that all those positive effects could have been brought about through other (perhaps less painful) situations, but who am I to question the way God does things? I might be arrogant, but I don’t need to be hubristic.

Prince Charming suggested that if I wanted comments, I shouldn’t ask questions at the end of such long diatribes, but nonetheless I’m going to ask, what do you think about fate?

Four For Friday

  1. What are the directions for making a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich? You’re gonna need bread, two slices, preferably of the really crappy worthless white kind, unless you want to go all gourmet. Take the peanut butter (creamy, preferably) and apply to one slice of bread. Try to make sure you go all the way out to the edges. Don’t spread it on too thick, or once you take a bite you’ll never again be able to open your mouth. Place second slice of bread on top. I suppose if you like jelly you should apply some of that, but really it belongs nowhere near my sandwich.
  2. How many weddings have you been to, and what is your most memorable wedding-related moment? Let’s see, of weddings in my memory, there are:

    • Cousin Julie sometime during high school – I was in charge of the guest book, and Alison and I got these grapevine hearts they’d used to decorate the church with, and we both still have ours.
    • Cousin Vern in California my junior year of high school (fabulous trip to San Jose in the middle of February).
    • Nate & Danyel at the end of sophomore year of college (trip up to Wisconsin, weekend at the cabin with friends).
    • Cousin Mark Christmas 1997 right after my parents’ divorce (yeah, that was fun).
    • Angie & Noah, and Stef & Jon at end of senior year of college (one right before moving to Michigan, one a few weeks later that I came back for).
    • Kate & Christian, summer of 2001 (?)
    • Dad, July 2002 – scripture reading, made special trip home from Arizona for the weekend (and enjoyed hot showers since the water heater had broke down in Arizona and wasn’t fixed until after we left at the end of the summer)
    • My cousin Katie, August 2002
    • Alison, July 2003 – maid of honor
    • Sarah & Chuck in Boston, May 2004 – scripture reading
    • Betsy & Mike in Illinois, July 2004 – bridesmaid
    • That’s… twelve, a nice even dozen. Most memorable moment was probably Alison’s wedding, watching her walk down the aisle and I was trying so hard not to cry (though really it’s unlikely that any sister would succeed in that).
  3. Would you rather spend money on good times and nice things now or invest it for the future? I think that anyone who looked at my bank statement would know that I far too often spend money now and don’t look to the future. Also, I have no self-control where I’m involved (really, I have no problem saying “no” to others, but to myself? now that’s nearly impossible).
  4. Earlier this week, while acknowledging that there’s an acute shortage of priests in the Roman Catholic Church, bishops from around the world reaffirmed the Church’s stance on celibacy for its clergy. In your opinion, should Catholic priests be allowed to marry? I think that the Catholic Church can go wherever it wants to with that, since it really doesn’t affect my life, as a non-Catholic. Protestant pastors are allowed to marry all the time, and to me it makes them more human, and that’s a good thing. I’d rather take advice and guidance from someone who’s been through it and can ‘fess up. I take much more issue with their stance that women can’t be clergy, but that’s a whole other rant.

C-c-c-cold!

It’s freezing in my house tonight – 62 last time I checked, but it’s getting colder. Landlords could turn the heat on anytime now. I keep reminding myself of all the people not a mile from here sleeping outside. At least I know that soon I’ll have heat, and until then I have warm blankets and cats to snuggle with and hot tea if I really wanted it (it’s late, gotta go decaf).

The cats have been all over me tonight. I think they know that if we keep together we’ll stay warmer. I cleaned tonight. The chair in front of the TV is now available for sitting, though arguably still too close to the TV for comfortable viewing. It’d be a good place to read a book and listen to music. The stacks of papers on my desk and hamper and elsewhere are gone. I even organized my bills and did some shredding.

So at 10 pm when there’s nothing left to do and its freezing in your house, what do you do? Well, given my options, I chose sleep. Only I wasn’t tired. So I’ve been reading and playing games on my pda, and might be tired enough soon. Its going to be painful getting out of bed tomorrow. I’ve got a skirt outfit all laid out for tomorrow – how much do you want to bet I don’t wear it? I did give in and pull out a late-fall jacket. Realized, sadly, the one I was thinking of had a broken zipper last year and was sent to Goodwill. So my Judson one came out – it’s huge and I always feel a bit silly but also terribly comfortable in it. I’m sure the fashion police don’t approve, but sometimes sentiment wins out over style.

Prince Charming thinks it’d be a great idea if tomorrow night we do something neither of us has done before. It’s a good idea, and creative, if we can think of something. Of course, there’s lots of things I haven’t done. I’m really no fun in that “I’ve Never…” game, not that I’ve ever been invited to play (so all of you who have, drink up!). Really, though, it’s silly to say that, because there are plenty of things I’ve done that lots of people haven’t. I’ve:

  • preached a sermon.
  • tried to chew a whole package of grape Hubba Bubba.
  • taught English in Romania, been to the square in Timisoara where the revolution against communism in that country began, and seen the lions at the entrance to the bridge in Budapest that the sculptor committed suicide after completing when he noticed he forgot to give them tongues.
  • seen fireworks on the fourth of July over the San Francisco Bay with a boy I could have married.
  • fed the homeless in more cities than I care to count, breakfast, lunch and dinner, vegetarian, soup and bread, cafeteria line turkey and mashed potatoes.
  • backed a 12-passenger van into a tree in a parking lot I’d been in so many times it was ridiculous.
  • seen the Nutcracker, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and Les Miserables (twice).
  • stood in Lake Superior up to my thighs in freezing water.
  • had poison ivy.
  • fallen up a flight of stairs, including a charming incident freshman year of high school.
  • fallen asleep in the middle of a French exam, woke up and finished it, and passed.
  • slept through two years of high school math.
  • adopted stray cats from the woods and a parking lot.
  • worn a blond wig to complete a Halloween costume.
  • spent entire weekends without leaving the house.
  • taken rides from strangers multiple times when my car has broken down.
  • been sunburnt so bad I was sick for days.
  • lost a toenail.
  • tickled Alison until she cried.
  • yelled and screamed and shouted “I hate you” and slammed doors.
  • held my tongue even when provoked.
  • told the truth when its been painful.
  • worn Mom’s bell-bottoms from the 70’s.
  • hugged a redwood in Muir Woods.
  • won tickets to a concert (several times).
  • roofed a house.
  • spent an entire day in bed with a good book.
  • fallen in and out of love.
  • sang in front of an audience with a microphone.
  • read the entire Bible at least twice.
  • been line dancing.
  • forgiven.
  • said I’m sorry.
  • admitted I was wrong.
  • eaten at a restaurant called The Big Texan.
  • walked the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • eaten fresh seafood at Pike Place, Pier 39, and Cape Hatteras.
  • worn a large yellow banana suit while lip syncing and dancing.
  • climbed up a ropes course to balance 70 feet in the air on a log with a friend.
  • cried on a plane when seeing Chicago first come into view (Prince Charming – that makes four times I’ve cried in public).
  • been stuck in the top of a closet and in a swing at a park.
  • been pooped on by a bird.
  • won Trivial Pursuit (albeit by the grace and kindness of Amanda and Liz).

Well, I feel better about me now. Your turn – add a few of your own to the comments.

Embelishments

Today I’m wearing happy jewelry. Each piece has a story. The anklet I bought at Taste of Minnesota 2003 with Liz. The necklace was a gift from our jewelry lady in Arizona. And the bracelet, which surprisingly enough matches the necklace perfectly, was brought back for me from Dad’s honeymoon in Colorado. 🙂

Deer Hunting

This morning on the bus, some older women were talking about deer hunting (I believe one’s granddaughter’s new husband went out and shot several in one weekend) and it led me to remember a story from Arizona that I haven’t shared here before (though some of you may have heard it before).

If you remember, while in Arizona (summer of 2002) I worked on the White Mountain Apache Tribe Indian Reservation. I had 3 staff, made up of two wonderful girls who I consider good friends (even if we haven’t actually spoken in months), and a boy with whom I was deeply infatuated (one might even say I fell in love, but that’s not really the point of this story).

One afternoon, after a particularly stressful week, I decided I needed a little break. We had this building we used as our kitchen/cafeteria, and on the porch we had some picnic tables set up. I laid down on one and closed my eyes, and just enjoyed the calm, peace, and quiet. (It must have been a Saturday, because those were the only quiet days on the site.) Justin came and sat down next to me and asked what I was doing.

“I’m going on vacation,” I said. “Wanna come with?”

So we went on a little “trip” (and I don’t mean in the psychedelic, drug-induced kind). With eyes closed, I described our little vacation. Walking through a forest, a light breeze blowing, very quiet and peaceful. Oh, there’s a creek running through the trees, a bird here, and then a bunny. We kept “walking,” in the forest and came upon a deer.

Whereupon Justin promptly said, “and I pull out my rifle and shoot it.”

And the vacation was over like that.

There’s no better way to put the damper on an imaginary vacation in the woods than to pull out a rifle and kill something. Of course, we laughed, because it was a very Justin thing to do, being a Minnesota-bred boy and all. I mean, seriously, his father has a 2-story ice-fishing shack. Deer hunting is a big thing here in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the like. Apparently there’s too many of them. Also, it seems that the meat is “gamey,” which some people don’t like. Not being one to eat many animals, I wouldn’t know. Not being one to kill animals, especially with a gun (sometimes, with a car, it’s unavoidable), it’s not a favorite pastime of mine.

But whenever I think of deer hunting, I think of Justin, and our imaginary vacation that afternoon.

And it makes me smile.

This weekend (part 3)

Part of the concert involved special guest Jeremy Camp. I have enjoyed his “Stay” album since it came out, and have had a bit of a crush on him as well (which, as it turns out, wouldn’t work for a variety of reasons, including the fact that he just got married in December). I absolutely LOVE his music. There’s a song called “I Still Believe,” which is about life being crappy and still believing, still having faith. He told us that it was the first song he wrote after his wife’s death three years ago. If I’ve got my math and details right, he was 22 and they’d only been married a few months. Now he’s 25 (and remarried) – he’s my age. Then he sang the song. I had to try to keep myself from crying, it was so moving.

Also, after the concert I was standing by the Compassion booth, and an old co-worker came up to me. This was someone I’d worked with at the church I’d been fired from. She’s a super-sweet person – before I got fired she had me over for Easter with her parents, since I couldn’t go home and my family wasn’t coming up. Back in the fall I had been at a training session where (but not really, because they revamped their entire staffing structure at the church), and then shortly after that I found out that the associate pastor had left. I finally felt able to “release” the whole situation – I no longer check the website for updates, etc. Talking to this wonderful woman I found out that the senior pastor had recently left – he was the one who, essentially, fired me. I just don’t know what to do with that information. He and his family went back to California. Long ago I stopped thinking that I saw him on the street or heard his voice (although there was this one horrible temp job I had where someone down the hall had the same voice as he did and it grated on me every day and kinda put me on edge). Now it’s really over. I mean, he’s not dead or anything, but he’s definitely far far away. Yay.

Sorry if I sound like a horrible person, but what he did was awful, and I haven’t found a way to forgive him yet. While I’m glad things turned out how they did, because it obviously wasn’t a situation I wanted to be part of, and I never would have gotten to make the friends I have now or had the Arizona experience or anything else that has happened in the 2 years since, the experience itself is within the top 2 most horrible times I’ve ever lived through.

I need some lunch.

Listening to: Kenny Bristo and Bj Irmiter, “113” on the same CD

10 years ago: – I was 15 (yeah, do the math) – I w…

10 years ago:
– I was 15 (yeah, do the math)
– I was a sophomore in high school
– I worked at Dad’s store on weekends

7 years ago:
– I graduated high school and started college
– I got my second kiss (thank you, MB)
– I made some of the best friends of my life

5 years ago:
– I worked in San Francisco for the summer
– I was in love with *multiple* boys (only a few of which were in love with me)
– My parents divorce was final
– Alison started college

3 years ago:
– I graduated college and moved to Michigan
– I was very lonely in Michigan
– Several friends of mine got married
– Several cars that I owned died (in rapid succession, I went through 4 cars that year)

2 years ago:
– I moved to Minnesota after the church I was working at got rid of the pastor
– I was very cold in Minnesota, but not as lonely because Alison lives here
– Watched Alison go through heartbreak, and then find the love of her life, Josh
– I went through pain myself as I was fired from a job unexpectedly
– I went on the adventure of a lifetime to Arizona for the summer (Rodeo-Chediski fire included at no extra cost)

1 year ago:
– I made some great friends (see pic below)
– I was settling into two new jobs (they’re only temporary, but now I’ve been here… longer than I thought)
– I started losing touch with friends from college 🙁

Today:
– It is very hot at work, but cold and rainy outside (rain is better than freezing rain or snow though!)
– I’m applying to Seminary
– I’m healed a lot from my two negative church experiences
– I have two adorable cats and one pretty cool roommate (even if she was moody yesterday)
– I have a meeting at Church tonight that I’m not terribly excited about

Tomorrow:
– I’m getting my hair colored (I miss the blond streaks!)
– Who knows?
– Hopefully I’ll get to join the gym soon so I can look great for Sarah’s wedding in May

Listening to: Van Morrisson, “Best Of,” Warm Love

the friday five

1. What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done?
Within 24 hours I decided to take a job in Arizona for the summer (from Minnesota) and left within 2 weeks.

2. What one thing would you like to try that your mother/friend/significant other would never approve of?
I’d really like a tattoo.

3. On a scale of 1-10, what’s your risk factor? (1=never take risks, 10=it’s a lifestyle)
I’m pretty cautious. Probably a 2.

4. What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a result of being bold/risky?
In Arizona I made some of the best friends I have. And I got over a guy while I was there. And had the chance to heal over getting fired.

5. … and what’s the worst?
I was really unprepared for that summer (and, to be honest, a little emotionally unstable).