Sing with me now: ~Memories, light the corners of my mind…~

brought me some goodies when she came over this weekend, and I thought I’d share.

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Dad's sock monkey, just chillin' on the piano. Yes, that's my crewelwork that I finally framed there in the background.

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Maybe you couldn't see this guy clearly. A train. A pony train. Of my name. Bet you don't have one of these. Bet you're totally jealous. (Yes, it needs a bit of work - some sanding or painting perhaps, but I think it's supercute.)

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I think it's completely appropriate on top of the piano. Not that there was any doubt it belonged to anyone else. I didn't have anything else going on the top of the piano right now anyway (except for a bunch of nails sticking out of the wall behind it, left over from Christmas decorations - I really need to pull those out, because they're driving me crazy).

And, here’s a picture to justify why I don’t have any more content to share with you today:

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This is how I spent my evening. Trying to turn these diagrams of that book into a paper. It didn't go well. (Correction: Two paragraphs, nearly one whole page, are written. It only has to be 5 pages long, so at this rate... ugh.)

Thankfully, the next section of class will not require diagrams or philosophical thought (we’re studying the New Deal).

Happy Tuesday!

Redefined

Many of you have heard me tell a story about my parents that has already been redefined once. When I was younger (junior high or early high school), one day something happened that resulted in the following being written on the family calendar: “Dad was right, 19xx.” The next year when Mom copied over the birthdays etc to the new calendar, she copied this over as well. For many years we celebrated the day Dad was right. We thought it was cute.

Years later when I looked back on this (perhaps in retelling this story to someone in an attempt to be cute), I realized that it wasn’t actually a cute story. It was quite insulting, really. Dad’s a smart guy. Dad’s frequently right. So is Mom. It’s not like one of them was superior somehow (yes, we all have our strengths – what I’m getting at is, it’s not like Dad was always wrong about things and Mom was always right). I realized this after the divorce, however, and things post-divorce look different than when you thought everyone was perfectly happy.

While shopping with Mom, Dad had been right (about who knows what at this point), and it got written onto the calendar because he asserted himself enough to point out that he was right and he fought for himself. That was what was really being celebrated.

How many times do you think family/childhood memories can and will be re-written over the course of one’s lifetime?

How about you? What memories have been re-defined for you?

What I meant to post yesterday

(but couldn’t because my blog was still broken. Also, apologies to Amanda and Liz, since this isn’t actually new content to them. I’ll put something up for you shortly.)

My Aunt Shirley died Sunday afternoon around 4. I’ll be going home for the visitation and funeral Thursday through Sunday (carpooling with Alison and her family) and staying at Dad’s. Our cousin Katie had called Alison Sunday afternoon and had said the prognosis was “any day now,” which Alison told me over the phone around 3 while I was out shopping with Mom. Dad called while I was driving home at 5 and told me she had died about an hour earlier. The end was really fast, which is good I suppose. She’d only been in hospice care for a little over a week, and they were originally saying “a couple of months,” so I think everyone is a little shocked. Dad actually sounded alright when I talked to him. Everyone was there with her – Dad and Candy, my grandparents, her husband. Her kids are flying in this week (the three that live on the west coast, that is), which probably is why the funeral is so late in the week. Alison and I are thankful, since work and school pressures would have made life very difficult if there wasn’t a weekend nearby.

My aunt was a really great part of my growing up. They lived in the next town over, right by church and we all went to church together (my grandparents too), so I saw them at least once a week, more often later when we were in youth group together, etc. Shirley is three years older than Dad (which is brought up every year at Christmas when gifts are open by age), and got married young and had her son V. She got divorced quickly and was single until she met B, who had three kids of his own (his wife had died in a terrible accident that isn’t really relevant), and he became my uncle and they became my cousins. Alison and I always had an extra gift to open at Christmas because she gave us each an ornament that was just from her (not from the family). She’s the reason my Christmas tree never has any empty space.

She worked in the church office as secretary for a while, and was also the church organist/pianist. Her and B must’ve gotten really close to their 25th wedding anniversary (Katie and Alison are 27 this year, and Katie’s mom died right after she was born, and I think they got married within a couple of years of that). Nine years ago she fought breast cancer (yes, even with her non-existent Johnson breasts like mine) and won. In May she was diagnosed with kidney cancer (a separate incidence, not a recurrence of the breast cancer), had surgery, and started chemo. She was able to be healthy enough to travel to Seattle in July for D’s wedding (Katie’s older brother). She sent me a really nice letter explaining why she couldn’t come to the wedding, and I’m glad I took the time to write her a letter at that point as well as last week to say thank you for the wedding gift. I have no regrets about that.

Dad said “it’s an adjustment” when I asked him how he was doing (or rather didn’t ask him, since it seemed like a stupid thing to ask). He said my grandma is taking it really hard. I’m sure B and the kids are too (and all the grandkids – I think there are seven now, ages 2-10). Dad seems to be alright, but who knows. It’d only been an hour and I’m guessing he was still in shock. I was the first phone call he made.

I’m alright. I have a crap-ton of homework and laundry to do (that I understandably didn’t feel like doing last night) including an unfortunately-timed take-home midterm that will be passed out tomorrow in class. At least we already went grocery shopping for the week and Prince Charming will be around to take care of Matea for me. And thankfully Prince Charming’s grandma came over and cleaned on Friday during the day, so the house is clean and I don’t have to think about the vacuuming that I should have done two weeks ago. Boss let me use sick leave instead of vacation leave, so that’s nice, though I start accruing more hours on this next pay period anyways (can you believe I’ve been here almost 5 years?). I can’t wait for the peak load of this semester to be over. I think I’ve got another week or two and it lightens up significantly. OK, I just checked, and it actually doesn’t lighten up until the second week of November. Oh well.

I’m going to go back to studying census data for Eagan (for my Geography homework) and tracking “consumer success stories” and printing mailing labels (for work).

Four For Friday

  1. Back Seat Driver: When sitting in the back seat of a car, do you have a preference of which side–passenger or driver–you sit on? What if you were the only passenger sitting in the back… would you have a preference then? Related question: As the driver, do you have a preference of which side a lone back seat passenger sits? Driver’s side. Because throughout my entire youth, that was the side I sat on, and Alison sat on the passenger’s side. I think we switched once. It was weird. But in all honesty, it’s usually better for me to sit on the passenger’s side, because I have long legs, and have a better chance at leg room on the passenger’s side.

I don’t have good answers for any of the rest of those questions.

There are no good synonyms for “random” (I checked)

  • Last night on the bus ride home, there was a blind woman and her guide dog sitting near the front. The driver proceeded to describe, in detail, the entire trip. It included descriptions like “the city is laid out around the capital with the roads coming out of it like spikes” (I didn’t know that), “I don’t really know where I am,” and “this is a really cute neighborhood with lots of coffee shops and restaurants and so forth” (referring to my neighborhood). It was kinda fun, though that middle part was a bit frightening. (I’m guessing she just meant she’s a Minneapolis gal and not a St Paul gal, as most bus drivers seem to associate themselves with one or the other, and then when they’re in the opposite one, claim ignorance about local buses and sights.)
  • Dad called three times last night, and I missed all three attempts. He’s in North Carolina (has been since sometime last week) and won’t be returning until Sunday night. This puts a slight crimp in a few wedding details that are in the works. Oh well.
  • Miracle of miracles, Bryan cleaned the house yesterday. A potential roommate came over, so he got the place all nice-looking. Swept the floors and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.
  • So, I cooked in my kitchen. Salmon with beans and carrots (from the farmer’s market) and a French baguette with olive oil. Then I had Twizzlers for desert.
  • This morning while out for coffee, a bird crapped on my shoulder. No joke. That hasn’t happened to me since 4th grade when I was on a Girl Scout camping trip.
  • I tried to finish watching “One True Thing” that I’d recorded and watched most of last week. It was on the Indie channel, and was really good, but kinda depressing so I couldn’t finish it (Renee Zellweger’s mom is terminally ill, for a brief plot synopsis). I had half an hour left. But the last 10 minutes were blank. And… I think it’s actually more than that that I’m missing. So I’ll have to Netflix it I guess. Do I remember how to login?

Did anyone…

…smell the rain this morning? It smelled like childhood and camping and Saturday afternoons spent on the couch, and a little like locker room and wet dog. All in all, not the greatest smelling rain, but still quite… sensory. I enjoyed it, while walking to work this morning. Arguably, not the best morning to walk to work, but the bus didn’t pass me until the Xcel Center, so I didn’t lose much time.

Thankfully, last night I finally finished the bottle of White Merlot that has been kicking my butt for a week now. I thought that maybe I’d like White Merlot, or tolerate it, since I hate Merlot. But no, this is bad too. Oh well. Won’t know unless I try, right?

Miles walked since 6/1: 43.3
Peeve of the moment: Co-workers (what else?)
What I’m wondering: if we’ll actually be able to cook with a fire this weekend while camping… 🙂

FYI

In case anyone wanted to know, Snack Packs freeze amazingly well. I highly recommend it, especially if you often find yourself on the run needing something to eat. The chocolate varieties turn out like the pudding pops Mom made when we were kids.

The Me Meme

That I stole from Kazoofus, who stole it from Michelle, whose blog I’d never read before today

I know ~ that blogging is cathartic for me (therapeutic), even if most of what I say is just blabber.
I believe ~ I have not yet reached my full potential.
I fought ~ with my parents all the time when I lived with them.
I am angered ~ by many, many things (haven’t you read my 100 Pet Peeves list?).
I love ~ without regret.
I need ~ chocolate and Starbucks.
I take ~ really long showers.
I hear ~ phones ringing and cringe.
I drink ~ [alcohol] rarely, but enjoy a good margarita occasionally.
I hate ~ it when I find a hair product or lotion or makeup whatever that’s perfect, and then it gets discontinued.
I use ~ more hair products than you even want to think about.
I want ~ the necessary “stuff” of life to be easier (paying bills, cleaning house, figuring out what’s for dinner, etc).
I decided ~ when I was 11 to wait until marriage to have sex.
I like ~ microwave popcorn. A lot.
I am ~ afraid of the dark, mostly in places I don’t know all that well, and I’m not afraid to admit that.
I feel ~ all the time, and even when I think I’m hiding it well, I know I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
I left ~ lots of things behind as I’ve moved over the years, but what I most hope I’ve left in the past is pain and old hurts.
I do ~ like to spend entire weekends in my pajamas watching TV.
I hope ~ Mom’s move up here will be as smooth as possible, and her living in the same state as me will be a good thing, and not the bad thing I initially thought it could be
I dream ~ very strange stuff.
I drive ~ very, very rarely, and usually with great rage.
I listen ~ to my iPod on the bus, and it keeps strange people from trying to talk to me.
I type ~ over 100 words per minute. It’s one of the reasons I currently have a job.
I think ~ obsessively about the negative things people have said to me, or the stupid things I’ve said.
I wish ~ they hadn’t sent the wrong color hammock, because I’d like to sit in it tonight.
I compensate ~ for several of my shortcomings by being honest about them, owning them, and apologizing readily when I know it’s warranted.
I regret ~ nothing. No regrets. It’s just looking back and wishing life were different today. And I’m good with today.
I care ~ deeply and passionately about things – I just can’t always articulate why.
I should ~ get some work done, instead of blogging.
I am not always ~ the organized neat-freak that people seem to think I am. If I didn’t have people coming over to my house all that often, my bedroom would be a total disaster area.
I said ~ almost nothing this morning so far.
I wonder ~ what the future holds.
I changed ~ a lot in college.
I cry ~ alone. Unless you’re very special, or you’ve really, really done something that ticks me off or upsets me. The last two times I cried in front of others were when Romeo left and when my parents got divorced.
I am ~ uniquely geeky, and not ashamed of that (usually).
I am not ~ “cool,” and will not ever be, nor do I actually aspire to fit in what that crowd.
I lose ~ ponytail holders, sunglasses, and watches.
I leave ~ the house ever morning wondering what it is I’ve forgotten.

Late Night Thoughts

I just started reading Finding Our Way Home by Mark McMinn. I bought it the last time I was browsing for cheap books on Amazon and set it aside so I’d start it next (after finishing Pride and Prejudice, or which I still have about seven pages that I can’t seem to make it through). It seemed like the kind of book that would… meet me where I’m at, and journey with me, and lead me… on. And I was right. The bus ride over to SNB tonight gave me the chance to read the first chapter. McMinn used an illustration from his own life that I could have written myself, and it resonated deeply with me.

The book is about home. There are many different types of homes, and many different ways we experience it. Sometimes you arrive somewhere and just know you’re home. I felt that way the first time I walked onto Judson’s campus. Sometimes it takes longer – a place grows on you, you have experiences, and it becomes home. Living in Minnesota was that way for me. And sometimes home isn’t a place at all. I came up with a lot of different personal “homes” as I was reading.

Homes Past – places, experiences, memories that were home and will always be remembered that way, but are gone forever. Playing the piano in my childhood home. Running the outdoor track at Judson with Sarah at 11pm. Dinner at 5:30 every weekday as a whole family, and homemade pizza on Saturdays. The piano in the empty sanctuary at my church in Michigan. Chapel at Judson. Laying on my back staring at a sky full of stars in the middle of the field outside our dormitory in Arizona. These are the homes that we long for, choose to remember the good and forget the bad.

Homes Nearby – experiences and places that aren’t everyday, but can be recreated. Starbucks with Betsy. Lying in a hammock with Amanda and Liz (like the summer of 2003). The first smell of hyacinth in the spring. The first sip of White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks in the fall after summer’s deviation to frappuccinos. During stressful times or a particularly hard day at work, these are the type of experiences I seek out to comfort and calm me.

Homes Present – places, experiences, things that mean home for me right now. Hearing Etta James sing “At Last.” Romeo galloping down the hallway when I first get home from work. Being in Prince Charming’s arms. Nothing in the world could make me give those up.

Homes Future – that which causes my heart and soul to cry out for more, something beyond the now. “Ocean” by Ten Shekel Shirt. Certain books. Worship experiences that are extraordinary. Special conversations that catch me by surprise, often with a stranger or distant acquaintance.

and some other people know that if I get injured and have to be on life support in such a way that there’s really nothing of “me” left, I’m DNR – Do Not Resuscitate. Why? Let me go. I want to go home. Heaven, where I can be with Jesus, and everything is made right. The pull of that home hasn’t been as strong in the past few years; I’ve been much more disengaged from my own spiritual life. But it’s still there, that pull of home, always, and it’s what will eventually motivate me to… re-engage. It’s happening already. The book is helping too. Despite my recent revelations of my disillusionment with the church, I am starting to feel ready to again be active in my own spirituality.

I may not necessarily have figured everything out or be able to put what I have into clear statements, but my original desire to figure out who I am outside of the church, I feel I’ve accomplished that (as much as anyone can define themselves). There’s a separation now – I am my own person and exist independently of any church. (Before it was much closer to a co-dependent relationship, which we all know are unhealthy but hard to get out of.) I feel… healthier, more defined as a person, well-rounded, balanced, and as though I experience a broader part of the world than I did before.

Well, if anyone actually read all the way to the end of this, here’s a question for the comments: what is home to you?

Tuesday Twosome

(I know, I said I was going home, but then, well, I didn’t. Sue me.)

  1. Do you care what other people think? Explain: Yes and no. I try very hard not to do things because others want me to, but I know I also fall prey to caring what they think in regards to certain things. It all depends on who they are, I guess.
  2. What two things do you sense you’re supposed to do before your life is over? I hope that through my church work, I accomplished one of them, which would vaguely/broadly be “to change the world.” Other than that, I guess I don’t really know. Make a positive contribution to society. Life the life God planned for me.
  3. Is your family life the way you imagined it would be? If not, what can you do to change it? This is way too deep of a question that opens a whole bag of worms, and, well, it’s time to go home for the day, so I’m pleading the 5th.
  4. If you can go back to your childhood for one day. What day and age will you choose? I think any time before junior high, because I don’t remember my childhood well, nor do I remember it terribly happily because of chemical imbalances in my brain, but I know that I had a good childhood and had fun, and I think it’d be nice to experience even a piece of that, knowing what I know now (and medicinally-altered as I am).
  5. What are two skills you’ve wanted but don’t have? I wish I had any artistic talent in terms of painting or sculpting or the visual arts. I also, sometimes, wish I had a tad more grace, because that would enable me to dream for several skills, like… not falling down stairs, or dancing, or just generally being less self-conscious.

Friday Fiver: Cheney’s Got a Gun

  1. Do you have good hand-eye coordination? Not really. It got better while I worked at the church, simply because I played sports more often. But I’m better at fine motor skills. Gross motor skills (you know, walking, climbing stairs, catching things thrown at me) never really were my thing.
  2. Have you ever held a gun? No, and I really don’t want to. I don’t even think I’ve been in the same room as one, except those carried by law enforcement officials.
  3. What do you think of toy guns? Bad idea. Mom never allowed them in the house. (Conveniently, she had 2 girls, and so it was never much of an issue.)
  4. When is the last time you asked for forgiveness? Asked? Ooh…. I’m not sure. I know I’ve said “I’m sorry” lately.
  5. Your favorite Aerosmith song: Sadly, I had to look up a list of Aerosmith songs to be able to answer this one. I’ll go with “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” from that meteor movie (Deep Impact?) because it’s the one I know the best.

So Fooey on Them!

I grew up in the Color Me Beautiful era of makeup/beauty/fashion. What this meant was that as a child with strawberry-blond hair (and really, emphasis on the blond, it’s just that Alison and Dad were white-blonds and Mom is a brunette, so I really stood out), it was considered a faux pas to wear any number of colors. For instance, red, orange, yellow, and pink. Navy was generally the color I ended up in, or lavender (because when Alison and I had matching outfits, which happens when your mom makes most of your clothes, and yes, there are pictures, but they’re all in Illinois; she was the one in pink and I was the one in lavender). By junior high, neon colors had become popular, and then I got to wear hot pink, but really, very few people actually look good in neon, and I’m glad that phase passed quickly. As time went on (also known as puberty, or the age of hormonally-induced insanity), my hair gradually got redder and redder. (Of course, at some point I started coloring it as well, but these days I color it about the same color as my roots used to be before they started going brown, and you can see my natural color in my pictures from Arizona after I chopped all my hair off and it all grew back in au naturel. No, I won’t link to those pics, because as far as I’m concerned they’re hideous and I’d rather forget I ever had short hair. But this is a really long tangent.)

Well, that was a really long intro to basically say… they were all wrong. I can wear red, and some oranges (let’s be honest, very few people look good in orange and yellow). And best of all, I can wear pink. Baby pink. And I look good in it. And it makes me happy. Especially when my boss tells me that I look pretty today. It’s all the baby pink mohair, I’m telling you. It makes anyone look and feel pretty. Well, maybe not everyone.

(I’m trying to focus on things other than my dying coworker, about whom we just got news today. So pardon me if my posts are shallow and frivolous, but it’s how we’re going to get through today.)

Five on Friday – Growing Up

  1. What did you want to be when you grew up? All sorts of things, but none of them terribly fantastical. Actually, nothing really sticks out. I know that in high school before I decided to go into ministry I was looking at teaching, law, and psychology. I probably wanted to be a ballerina at some point (though, having never taken ballet, that would be difficult).
  2. Did you follow through? If not, what happened? Um, yeah, not applicable.
  3. Is your life turning out the way you thought it would when you were a kid? If not, is it better or worse? Absolutely not. But not in a good or bad way. When you’re little, you’re so naive as to how the world works, that nothing you plan is really all that practical or realistic. And you don’t understand or see the little details that make real, grown-up life… real (like paying bills and relationships with co-workers).
  4. Paradoxes aside, if you could time-travel back to when you were 10 years old, what would you tell your 10-year-old self? Ooh, didn’t I answer this for Prince Charming once? I think, instead, I’d talk to my parents (when I was 10) and tell them it’s not going to be just a phase, that therapy and medication might help, and that high school is just going to suck and so if they could not make it more difficult, that’d be great.
  5. Do you think the child you were, would like the adult you’ve become? I think the child I was is still a part of me. My childhood, indeed every step of my life up until this day, has made me who I am today. If the child I was didn’t like the adult I’ve become, that would mean I don’t like who I’ve become or who I am. And that’s not true. I don’t think the child I was would necessarily understand how we got here, but I hope that she’s still with me and peeks her head out every once in a while to be amazed or innocent or unreserved.

3x Thursday: Randomness

  1. “I hate it when ________________. ” Why? (following the reading of the Pioneer Press’s article on avocados…) I buy an avocado at the co-op but don’t use it that day and then when I do go to make a delicious treat out of it, I cut it open and it’s all icky inside. So sad.
  2. What makes you feel violated? Why? People, especially co-workers, encroaching on my personal space. I feel like they should know they’re in my space and are just being rude, but they probably have no idea – lack of social IQ. Still, bugs the crap outta me.
  3. Do you ever have reoccurring dreams? Can you remember any of them? Do tell! As a kid, I had a few reoccurring dreams, but none these days. I have had a very active dream life the last few months, but they’ve all been pretty easy to understand how my subconscious got to that point.

Tuesday Twosome

  1. Have you been called annoying? If so, were you offended? I was a junior high girl. I’m quite sure I was called that and it was true and deserved. And I’m sure I was offended, being the highly sensitive, emotional girl that I was. And I think that some youth group kids have referred to things I’ve done as annoying (as in, won’t tell them what games we’re playing, won’t let them tell each other to “shut up,” that sort of thing).
  2. Have you ever insulted someone? If so, did you feel guilty later? Hasn’t everyone? But at the same time, not really very much to someone’s face. In my first elementary school, there was this boy with red hair who was covered with freckles, and we called him “Freckle Face,” which I’m sure sounds especially cruel coming from me, but it was eat or be eaten in second grade. And in junior high, girls are particularly mean to each other. I don’t know if I felt guilty about any of it at the time, but I sure don’t now. All things considered, I think in terms of face-to-face interaction, I’ve dished out far less than I’ve received.
  3. What is more important to you, someone who looks great or who has a great personality? Why? Personality. A great personality and character (which is really more important than both of them) makes someone much more attractive. Likewise, a beautiful person can become really unattractive just by opening their mouth.
  4. When was the last date you went on and how did it go? Um… do I have official dates anymore? I just spend lots of time with Prince Charming. If they’re assumed, maybe they’re not dates. But suffice it to say, it went well, whenever it was (seeing as how we’re still dating).
  5. What is more embarrassing, food stuck in your teeth or food spilled on your clothes? Stuck in teeth, definitely. I’m quite used to having food spilled on my clothes, and am rarely embarrassed about it anymore. Most of high school had me spilling coffee down the front of my shirt before lunchtime anyways, and it’s just far too easy. Of course, it’s pretty easy to get food stuck in my teeth, since they’re all wedged in there pretty tight, but I try to be… diligent about not letting that happen. Depending on the meal, it’s definitely a fear of mine.