Project Sunburn

While unemployed, I felt this driving need to be productive, hence the large number of completed sewing projects and the many hours spent painting trim.

One of my projects (self-imposed) was to clean up this area of our back yard. Our bedroom window looks out on it, and it was getting embarrassing. (However, we’ve had a rash of robberies in our neighborhood recently, so we’ve started closing the gates on the fence, which means that this part is no longer visible from the street, so it’s not as embarrassing anymore. It would help if there weren’t so many foreclosures / homes for sale in close by. I haven’t heard about any new incidents in the last week or two, so we’re probably safe, but there’s nothing wrong about compulsively checking to make sure all the doors are deadbolted.)

Prepare yourself – I discovered that I don’t like to do weeding unless I have homework to avoid doing. So, basically we haven’t done any weeding this year. On the bright side, we have very fertile soil.

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The back walkway was… no longer passable. Those tall guys – I don’t know what they are, but they scared the crap out of me. At any point, I thought they might get up and start attacking me for killing their brethren.

 

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On the left is our air conditioner, and next to it is a shrub that I tackled back into submission earlier this summer. There’s a large egress window behind it (for the family room). Prior to our neighbor removing a tree next to our shared fence, this was all shade, all the time. Now it’s all sun, all the time. I have plans to plant vegetables and flowers here. Someday. After I remove all those rocks.

 

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I had already pruned back the bushes significantly in preparation for painting our house (which we still haven’t done). One of them was dying out a bit, so they’re looking particularly scraggly. The large pile in between them was from that tree branch that feel in November. This was not our permanent solution, but it had been several months since we’d done anything with the pile.

First up? I tried working in the shade as much as possible, or at least alternating the time I spent in the sun with time spent in the shade. It worked as far as preventing sunburn, but it was still ridiculously hot outside, and the shade could only mitigate that so much.

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I finally won the war with this bush! Mom and I pruned it down to the dead trunk two years ago, and every once in a while I’d wiggle it and wrestle with it to see if it was ready to give up its firm grasp on life. It finally gave in, and I felt quite victorious. (It’s amazing how many dead bushes there were when we bought this house. Or, rather, nearly dead, which might be worse.)

After several long, hot days, drinking lots of water, and walking through the sprinkler whenever possible (the grass gets watered every day at 2, which was probably the hottest part of the day, but the cold water helped a great deal), this was the end result.

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Safe passage! I realize it’s not the prettiest sight, but it sure looks pretty to my eyes.

 

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Branches moved (to the deck next to the fireplace, where they can be burnt).

 

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My summer respite. Hammock, candle lantern…. I could use a little table and some mosquito netting, but this will do just fine.

I was glad to learn that the rodent damage to my hammock was minimal and will not affect usability. This is potentially a dangerous spot to have the hammock – you have to remember to disembark towards the yard, or else you will fall into the egress window, which would be unpleasant.

Normally, my hammock would go under my favorite tree, but that area is currently under construction in our much-ignored irrigation system project, so I needed a temporary place to put it. The only problem with this spot is that it is in full sun for much of the day, but it should be fine in the evening.

I think that when I finally get this area ready for planting, I’d like to replace the “fence” around the air conditioner with taller (6′?) lattice that can be used for viney plants like green beans. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe just on two of the sides – it does still need to be accessible after all. Ideally, those bushes will decide to die all on their own, but I fear the one on the right has been invigorated by the harsh pruning I gave it – it seems to be thriving, even though reduced in size by half. Those ones on the right are kind of sickly (not sickly enough, but not terribly healthy either), and their days might be numbered.

What is it that I have against bushes? Aside from their general unruliness and the need to constantly prune them to keep them from taking over the world, the evergreen varieties make me itch. That should be reason enough, right? I mean, I’ve eliminated so many other things from my life that make me itch. I gave up caffeine, regular soap and lotion, fabric softener, switched laundry detergent…. Surely we can add evergreen bushes to that list. 🙂

Though I haven’t had the opportunity to fully revel in the glory of my respite, I have sat in my hammock for a bit and read, which was lovely. There’s so much to do that I really don’t get the time I’d like to to just chill here, but at least it’s set up for that random moment when I have the time to relax. Plus, I felt like a conqueror for getting all that work done in the 90*+ heat. Also, no sunburn.

Slight Swooning Required

I have a co-worker who’s getting married next weekend. He’s done this before, and as is stereotypical of most men, hasn’t been too vocal or stressed about his pending nuptials. Well, he’s leaving for the day, and I overheard this conversation:

Groom: See you Monday! Have a good weekend!
Co-Worker: Yeah. Hey, last weekend of freedom! Haha
Groom: Yeah. After this, life will be much more enjoyable.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did ya.

Now, I have no doubt that there are many men out there who think that very thought (or at least did at some point, since they shelled out some cash for a ring and proposed and thought it would be a good idea to be married). But how many times do you hear something so honest, especially at work, instead of the usual jesting about the ole ball-n-chain or a lifetime sentence or whatever.

In other news, yes, I am very glad that it’s Friday. Maybe not so much “glad” as “relieved.” You see, on Wednesday I could have sworn it was Friday. Yesterday too. So by today I feel like it has been a very, very long week. And I am much relieved that today actually is Friday.

For those of you who cared, I did almost no packing this week. And very little wedding planning (except for that whole hair thing). Why? Well, quite frankly, there’s not much to be done. And I was a little tired. I got the things on my list done, but they were kind of minor things. I cleaned off my bedside table and another side table so that they’d be ready to move. I have an ever-growing pile for Goodwill. We’re taking some things to ‘s this weekend so the stacks of boxes in ‘s spare bedroom will decrease. I went through the stuff on the last table in my room (that’s three tables, if you’re counting) and got the box of reception decorations all set to go. But that was kinda it.

And I keep having these thoughts like, oh, I’m going to need to go to Goodwill, I should email and and see who might want to go, or I need to go to a different Macys that has a bigger selection to buy this thing, and I should see who would like to take me, and then realizing that, unless things go horribly wrong with someone’s Visa to Korea, I’ll have a car next week and won’t need someone to go with me (not that I wouldn’t want someone to come with if they desired). It’s a whole mindset change I’m not really into yet. I have had some positive thoughts this week regarding my future car, like Wednesday night when I was hungry but it was too late to find food anywhere that was accessible to me, and I knew that if I had a car I could have gone to Cub which is open 24 hours. Or last night when I ran out of yarn for a hat I’m attempting (why, I’m not sure, because I’m guessing it’s going to look laughable on me and I’ll just have to give it away) and thought that it would be silly to spend an hour in transit on the bus to and from WalMart for a $1.50 ball of yarn.

Last night I was good to myself, to make up for Wednesday when I was apparently feeling that I needed to be mean to me. So I went grocery shopping. And then I made (and ate) dinner. And took a book and some crochet out onto my deck and sat in my hammock for about an hour until the sun disappeared. And when I got hungry, I ate again. I supplied myself with the chocolate of which my house had been completely devoid. I went to bed before midnight, and fell asleep quickly. So no more grouchiness today. (I’m sure is thrilled to hear that.)

Crap. I just realized I forgot to feed . Must go email .

Sentimentality

I took some pictures last night. Originally, I went out to take a picture of the tree limb that had fallen in Monday night’s storm. I am sorry to say that it did not turn out as artistic as I’d like. But I think that’s because I’m not actually a very good photographer. I’m OK with that. We all have limitations. It means I appreciate those who can take good pictures all the more.

But then I took more pictures. They’re after the jump.

I found lots of things to take pictures of that I will miss when I move. In all fairness, I also found a few things that I won’t miss.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. While moving to a townhouse in the suburbs isn’t exactly my ideal way for the fairytale to end, I do live in the real world, and it is the best decision for us to make. And I’m on board with that. And in the big picture, I choose living with over my other options, regardless of what that means. That doesn’t mean I can’t miss some things about my current living situation.

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My front door. Yes, it's horribly huge and heavy and a pain in the butt. But at least in this picture, it's pretty. (You can't see the peeling paint and the rest of the entry which is sorely in need of cleaning or a power wash or... an exorcism.)

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I do love my "Bath" hooks. I'm keeping it, but it's going into storage. There's really no appropriate place for this at Prince Charming's. Maybe it'll fit in better in our next home.

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This has got to be one of the worst pictures I've taken of my fireplace. And sure, it has its problems. Like the fact that it doesn't work. But it's still quite pretty and I have enjoyed the luxury of its beauty in my bedroom for the past year-plus. You just don't see fireplaces like this in modern homes.

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Prince Charming and I actually discussed this over the weekend. I have lived with this makeup shelf since A and I lived over by the fairgrounds, so I'm kinda set in my routine about it. But I think it's time for it to go. It has always lived in a hidden-away area of my bedroom except for that year A and I lived in that 3rd floor apartment, so it hasn't mattered that the whole world could see my "stuff." So now I'm trying to figure out what to do at the new place, where to put my stuff, how it's all going to work. Not really a big deal, but worth photographing one last time.

And now we get to my porch.

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This has really been the part of my current living arrangement I like the most,

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even though it doesn't get used 8 months of the year,

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and I've barely had time to be in my hammock this summer with all the wedding and moving stuff.

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Still, it is a nice little haven when I have the chance, and I will miss it.

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Lily

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This is, I think, the first flower Prince Charming ever gave me.

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It's not making the move, however. It's a bit too fragile, and in the end, not worth it. I do, however, have a box with all the petals from the roses he gave me for our first Valentine's Day.

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Ah, my shutters. I bought these back when I lived in Michigan. They haven't actually been on display in my current house, at least not in the last year or so. Like some other things, they're not really going away, just into storage. And hopefully I will find the perfect location for them in a future home. (I'm under strict orders not to give them away, which is fine because they were a great find when I bought them and they're hard to get sometimes. They have character. They speak to me.)

And then there’s the things I won’t miss. A few I don’t have pictures of, like my landlords, or walking through the kitchen in just a towel (wtf?) or the myriad of issues related to the poor care of our house since it has been a rental for way too long. But there are a few that I do have pictures of.

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This is the gate I had to install on my bedroom door to keep the dog out of my bedroom.

Why would a dog in my bedroom be a problem? Besides the fact that she sometimes forgets that Matea is not actually a toy for her amusement, she has this bad habit of eating ALL of Matea’s food, which annoys me to no end. Like “I could seriously hurt that dog” annoyance. So with this $10 gate from Target, I fixed the problem. But I will be glad to no longer have to step over it every time I enter or exit my room. I’m sure Prince Charming or anyone who comes to visit me will be too.

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This is the neighborhood cat (who is clearly tagged and lives right next door) who is allowed to wander aimlessly. The problem with this?

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She's not fixed, and occasionally, as nature demands, goes into heat. Outside my bedroom window.

Last night I saw her while I was out taking pictures and had to go back and check my room to make sure she wasn’t . They look nearly identical, except that does not have a bright blue collar or tag. She has a pretty bell. And a grey (I think) tear-away collar. This cat was quite skittish and afraid of me. Probably because whenever I see her on my property, I chase after her with loud stomping footsteps. I think she got the point.

Oh, did you want the pictures I originally set out to take? Here they are…

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Storm Damage

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Storm Damage

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Storm Damage

Spring Semester Classes – Help!

I have some class decisions to make and I need some input. I don’t think that Bethel will get the second copy of my transcript before the semester starts (well, the probably will, but will it be evaluated so that I know what I need to take? probably not), so I’m winging this semester. They did say to me that any class taken at an accredited university would be counted, so I’m not worried about that (unlike Hamline, which was very picky). (And just so you know, I was smart and ordered two transcripts, one to be sent to me since it turns out I don’t have even an unofficial copy.)

So, that being said, here are the classes that I’m currently signed up for (if only to hold my spot in the class and validate my full-time status). I’d like to take three, which would be a big jump from one, but I think it’s do-able. Four, however, is not, and I can’t decide which class I shouldn’t take. Plus, then there’s the ones that I’m not signed up for that sound good. This is where an academic adviser would come in handy, I know, but in the absence of that, y’all get to play the part.

[Really, here’s the debate: do I take Minnesota History with it’s questionable applicability, or do I take History of World Civilizations since 1500 which means I have two classroom classes (I was shooting for one in-class and two online) ?]

Contemporary World History
This course surveys contemporary world history, from the end of World War II to the present with a focus on Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Significant forces, ideas, events and people that have influenced the world since 1945 are studied while course themes highlight how and why events transpired and created change in people’s lives. Historical events are studied to provide an appreciation for their influence on contemporary society and the implications they may hold for the future. Online. I should sooooo take this, if only to be more knowledgeable in conversation. But really, how could this not be required/counted?

US History to 1865

This course surveys the political and social history of America from the seventeenth century to the end of the Civil War. The interaction of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans through the Colonial Era, the American Revolution, and the Early Republic will be discussed. Topics covered also include Jacksonian Democracy, westward expansion, the role of women in the nineteenth century, nineteenth century immigration, and the controversy over slavery. Monday and Wednesday mornings. This is the first of the course I took in the fall, taught by the same teacher with the same setup, and I’m pretty sure I could ace this one too. Plus, it just seems smart to know the whole of US History.

Minnesota History
This course surveys Minnesota’s historical development from the pre-Columbian period to the present. It focuses on the historic importance of Minnesota’s geography and natural resources, American Indian-white relations, the development of Minnesota’s unique political tradition, and the emergence of Minnesota’s diverse society and economy. Course readings, videos and class discussions are supplemented by visits to metro-area historic sites and the Minnesota Historical Society’s History Center. In addition, students are exposed to the tools and techniques historians use to study the past as a part of completing research projects. Online. This is probably the one I shouldn’t take, but I think it would be really interesting. I’m guessing that it wouldn’t really go towards any requirements that I need to get through unless it’s “general history courses.” Not being a native, however, it’d be nice to know some of the stuff that perhaps kids learned in elementary school.

History of World Civilizations since 1500
This course surveys world history from 1500 C.E. to the present. Course themes focus on political, ideological, economic, social, cultural, religious, technological, and environmental developments in Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas. Special focus is given to global factors that allowed the West to exercise significant influence over the development of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Tuesday nights. Definitely something I’d need to take, I think. I mean, I’ve got “World Civilizations” or something like that under my belt from college, but this is different. Plus, I’d probably pay attention this time around.

Another that I’m not signed up for but sounds interesting…

Social Issues In A Changing World
An examination of the many ways in which the United States is interconnected with other societies in a changing world. This changing globalization process and related problems that threaten human well-being are studied from a sociological perspective. Online. A sociology class, not a history class. But man, doesn’t it sound interesting?

Microeconomics
Ok, “interesting” does not begin to describe my feelings for this class. It will be required, as will macro. However, they’re not being offered online this semester, so I won’t be taking them. Ah, a summer spent in the hammock reading economics textbooks… doesn’t that sound lovely? Gag.

Thoughts?

Tuesday Twosome

Goodbye summer…

  1. Did you go on vacation? If so, where? If not, where do you wish you had gone? I actually went on 3 vacations this year, which was amazing! Camping twice (Scenic State Park and Tettagouchee State Park) and an actual vacation on a lake shore in a condo in Grand Marais. I can’t remember the last time I was this well-traveled, or well-relaxed.
  2. How many times did you swim in a pool? How many times did you go to a beach or lake? I swam in a pool exactly once, at the birthday celebration for and myself. I was at a lake many times… Scenic had one, and Tettagouchee and Grand Marais are both on Lake Superior, as well as Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls.
  3. What are the two best things about summer? Explain: I love the long days of sunlight, when the sun doesn’t set until almost 10, and I love that, because of the nature of my workplace, summer is really quite relaxed and not much is expected to be accomplished.
  4. What are the two worst things about summer? Explain: It ends just as I’m beginning to catch my stride, and while I love the sun, it exhausts me, and turns me the color of lobsters.
  5. Recall the two best memories you are going to remember about this past summer (2006): Can I just lump all my time spent with into one? (Highlight: this past weekend’s trip to Grand Marais, and yes, photos are coming – be patient!) Also, maybe a tie between moving here, time spent in my hammock, and ‘s dad buying me a bike.
  6. I’m adding a question: Two least-favorite memories of this summer: All the moving that people did, in and out of my house, … at least I didn’t have to move furniture for ! Also, saying goodbye to was heart-breaking, and a relief.

Dreams

I had a whole slew of dreams last night – I kept waking up and realizing that I’d dreamt about yet another weird subject. I dreamt about… , and Dawson’s Creek (I was actually in that world and one of the characters, though I couldn’t tell you who), and wasabi, and… other weird things. Clearly, Chubby Hubby right before bed can be harmful to your sleep. (Yes, I’m sure there’s a “your mom” joke in there somewhere, and I’m sure it’s dirtier than anyone wants to put into writing.)

Everything that needed to be done to get ready for camping has been. I did a bit of laundry last night, cleaned out the fridge, made up trail mix, pulled the rest of the stuff that’s at my house together in a nice pile at the end of my bed… I even remembered to turn off the alarm clock feature of my TV, and my speakers, and my computer. Wow.

was fully of whoring-goodness this morning. If I could bring her camping, I would. But I think the quantity of “strangers” and dogs, as well as the long car trip, makes that impossible. Oh, but she was trying hard to be cute and make me feel guilty for leaving her. At least with kids, you can explain to them that you’re coming back and they’ll understand, so even if they give you the puppy dog eyes and the pout or even cry, you can reassure them and it’s all good. Cats, not so much.

I think its going to be a long, boring day at work. Again. But I get to leave a tiny bit early, to catch a bus to Minneapolis, to meet & co. for dinner and a movie. And then it’s sleep and grocery shopping at Cub and off for camping! I don’t feel like I desperately need a vacation (like I did a few weeks ago), but maybe that’s just because it’s all planned and almost here. I like the idea of being on vacation and not feeling… so desperately needy about the relaxation aspect. Kinda like a bonus. Maybe it’s the hammock – every night I get a mini-vacation.

Speaking of which – has anyone ever given themselves a pedicure while in a hammock? Once you get past the awkwardness… it’s actually quite luxurious. You should try it.

Goosebumps

I’m sitting here in my cube with goosebumps. It was so hot last night, sleeping without air conditioning, that I didn’t even think twice about leaving the porch door open – I desperately needed the cross-breeze. And this morning, knowing how hot today was supposed to be, was already feeling, I dressed appropriately, in layers – tank top, capris, and sweater for work. I even braided my hair, because I knew I wasn’t going to tolerate it hanging down my neck for any length of time outside. So I’m sitting here with my sweater on, and I’m freezing. If I leave my office to go to the bank and cash in my change, and decide that I just can’t make it through the day without coffee… I’m going to have to get a hot drink, because it’s way too cold in here. What’s with that? I am glad, however, that has air conditioning at his house. I mean, I like living without air conditioning too – I like the opportunity to breathe real, fresh air, not stale refrigerated stuff. But when it gets this hot out, the idea of falling asleep in the same bed as someone, or even sitting near them on the sofa, doesn’t sound nearly as much fun unless there’s some air conditioning.

is currently on the road here. We offered to take her out, but she was frazzled yesterday and didn’t think she could handle it. There was drama with the vet (her cat has to be sedated for the drive), and she signed papers last night to sell her house (pending the sale of the buyer’s house), and she had to fight for her benefits and have an exit interview at work. So… she declined. And then asked us if we wanted to come up next Thursday to her new place when she signs papers for that, and we had to decline – movie night, ya know. Oh well. We’ll see her the next weekend when we help her get settled, and I’ll give her her birthday present (and ‘s as well), and it’ll all be good.

So I have spent the morning… laying out a diagram of the staffing database I recently designed. I know that sounds thrilling, but after ‘s comments last week about not letting me leave for any reason, and realizing that were I hit with a bus, I’d left no instructions at all, I thought I should get started on at least a rough outline of what’s going on. In case, you know, I am hit by a bus. Or get poison ivy while camping and have to stay at home for a week itching. You never know, it could happen. I’ve had poison ivy before – it wasn’t fun. Not nearly as bad as getting your wisdom teeth removed while awake/conscious and realizing that the Novocaine hasn’t fully kicked in yet, but still up there on my list of “things I’d rather not experience again.”

And I am so, so tired. I was fidgety last night, so even after left, I couldn’t get myself into bed, regardless of how tired I was. That’s frustrating. At least the phones aren’t ringing that much today – maybe 3 or 4 times all morning. Our receptionist has the morning off, so the temp (she’s still got another month or two before she’s permanent) and I have been watching phones. At least my co-worker isn’t here today – I think I’m too tired to deal with his personality today. And, thankfully, brunch has been rescheduled from my house to Hell’s Kitchen, so I don’t have to think about getting up early enough to get to my house and clean my kitchen and make food. I’m quite glad about that. The kitchen’s not messy, I just haven’t cleared off the table that’s piled with things I couldn’t find spots for yet. I’m working on it….

Oh, my hammock is so wonderful! It took a few tries, and two trips to Ace, but by 9 pm we were relaxing away. I love that Hammocks.com’s motto is: Accomplish Nothing. Once you get into a hammock, you really could do nothing for quite a long time. The main reason we went inside was that it started to pour. Now if I remember to get staples for my staple gun this weekend, and we figure out how to install my chandelier, I will have the most kick-a** porch in my neighborhood.

Really, it’s too cold in here. I might have to brave the crowd in the Skyway (there’s a reason I don’t travel it at noon), just to get out of this chill. My back’s starting to tense up, beyond it’s usual computer-using pain.

Can I take a nap please? I haven’t been this tired at work in a long time.

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 ~ ‘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 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.

My birthday

I had a wonderful birthday weekend, even if I was a bit annoyed upon leaving work on Friday. and I ran around doing errands and buying groceries, which means I finally went to Target and got conditioner and light bulbs and a billion other silly little things. And we got wine. Which we then drank. And fell asleep at 10 pm, like an old married couple. Saturday morning I opened my gifts, which included a book on knitting that got me (the one I thought she did), and the DVD I asked for from and a bonus pair of earrings and necklace that are really pretty. got me, strangely enough, exactly what I thought (reference posts from last week). A wonderful Mayan hammock (that has to be exchanged because they sent the wrong color), and a pair of sandals that I’d completely forgotten I wanted (but still really did). We ended up going to the Birk store and getting them in a different size and color (because apparently my feet are even odder-sized than I thought; I had to get narrows). Here they are in all their cuteness:

papillio
New Birkenstocks

Then everyone came over for brunch and we had waffles (with a truckload of strawberries and whipped cream, no complaints) and watched Narnia. and I went to Stillwater for the afternoon, browsing all the little shops (which was only slightly disappointing because I usually love to go into the antique stores, but they were all set up with such a vast quantity of stuff everywhere that it was too overwhelming to think about shopping or even walking into them). We watched the lift bridge go up and down for the boats, found some cracked black pepper (that I’d been looking for), tried to buy more wine but were uninspired, and then walked up this huge flight of steps that still have me hurting. (But there was a pretty view overlooking the river at the top, and a house for sale that was surprisingly cheaper than we thought.) We left Stillwater just in time, because it started raining right as we drove out of town. It took a billion years to get to dinner – we were thwarted at every turn, trying to avoid construction and accidents. It was a good thing I wasn’t driving – there would have been some serious road rage. called, and then while we were waiting for our food to arrive called. Note to self: I was born at 5:56 pm. I always forget that tries to call me around that time, so I had been feeling a bit neglected by my family until that point. The good news is that has a new job. Since the beginning of June he’s been working for a landscaping company as management (which explains the larger-than-expected birthday check), and he only has to work M-F 7-4, which is so much better than when he worked at Menards (and now I don’t have to feel so bad about hating their commercials or occasionally shopping at Ace because they have better service). And ‘s latest test results came back “stable,” which is all that can be hoped for. Back at ‘s, after going for a walk to shake off some of dinner (steak and potatoes sit a bit heavy and make me want to just veg on the couch) and playing some air hockey, we had my birthday favorite, angel food cake, with strawberries and chocolate syrup (Kahlua chocolate syrup, to be specific). Yum! Sunday afternoon, after a bunch more running around to exchange the DVD for widescreen (silly ), get a wireless card for my computer, and swim trunks and sandals for , we met up with at ‘s for another birthday celebration. We exchanged gifts (camping stuff and a gift certificate to the yarn store for me, home improvement stuff for ), changed into our swimsuits, and hung out by the pool eating ice cream. I’m happy to say that I didn’t get sunburnt at all. After all that fun, we went out to eat in uptown, where we had some wonderful tasting food that gave me horrible heartburn for hours afterwards. Maybe 28 is the magic age where you can no longer truly enjoy food that you like.

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Me, A, and L

And then was nice enough to install the wireless card in my computer. I repaid him with recorded Star Trek episodes (because he wasn’t accepting “kisses” as a form of payment). Super-tired this morning because of the sun yesterday (not because of the margarita), but it’s getting better. And I’ve found some work to keep me busy for at least another half hour. This afternoon might be rough.

Currently listening to: “Thank GOD we broke up” playlist, because I wanted to hear Kelly Clarkson

Peeve of the moment: co-workers, what else?

What I’m wondering: if I freeze one ice cube at 0* F and another at -100* F, will I have one ice cube that’s warmer than the other, or will they both be the same temperature?

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 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 . Lying in a hammock with and (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.” galloping down the hallway when I first get home from work. Being in ‘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?

TGIF

  1. What is the easiest money you’ve ever made? Most babysitting jobs I’ve ever had. Even when it was the parents’ group and there were 7 kids ages 3-8, relatively speaking it wasn’t all that hard.
  2. What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do to to earn money? It’s a toss-up between when I worked in San Francisco and when I worked in Arizona. In San Francisco, they were long hard days and I made $75/week (so at roughly 6-days a week working 15-hour days, that’s, what, 12-cents an hour?), so in terms of quantity of money made, I definitely worked the hardest for the least amount received. But in Arizona, the work was, like, ten times harder. I made… well, not ten times more than SF, but enough to pay my rent back in Minnesota and a few bills over the summer. I worked harder in Arizona, but earned more. So, I can’t decide.
  3. Other than money, what is the best inheritance anyone could ever leave you? The piano at ‘s house (though I would argue that it already is mine, I just don’t have possession of it, but not everyone sees it that way).
  4. Even if you didn’t need to, would you still work? Absolutely not. I know, I’m lazy. I’d volunteer a lot, and I’d do things, but would I work for someone else, definitely not. I’d rather be my own boss and decide what projects are of value and how I should spend my time, and when I can just lay on the hammock wasting the day away.
  5. What is the most you’ve ever spent for something really dumb? Wow, since most of my life could be classified under “poor financial decisions,” I’m really not sure. I have some items of clothing that cost a lot and weren’t worn nearly enough. I’d love to classify bridesmaids dresses as “really dumb” (since they’re freaking expensive for a one-time-use item). Anything in technology (because usually by the time I can afford it, the technology advances so shortly afterward that my investment is… not nearly as valuable). Cars are just stupid purchases in general because they cost a freaking lot of money and are constantly depreciating. I could go on…

Monday’s a B*tch – Sloth

  1. How long can you sit in front of the TV without wanting to kill yourself? Oh, at least a few days. Honestly.
  2. Describe your ultimate day of relaxation. Sleeping in (obviously). Breakfast. Not needing to change out of pjs. Lounging about in front of the TV alone or not, or reading a good fiction book. Eating whatever makes me happy (comfort food, usually, like mac & cheese, or Swedish pancakes, or grilled cheese & tomato soup). The phone doesn’t ring all day. No roommates are home. The cats aren’t obnoxious but just loving. If it’s nice outside, I want it to be sunny and just warm enough to go for a walk without a jacket but not get sweaty, and then going for a walk, to the park, just laying in a hammock outside, these would all be nice additions.
  3. Do you prefer your work environment to be fast paced and stimulating or comfortably routine? I don’t do so well with the pressure, especially when it’s because other people didn’t do their job on time and now it’s all on me. Routine isn’t bad.
  4. Do you do laundry on a regular basis, or do you wait until you’re turning socks inside out? On a fairly regular basis. Sometimes I run out of work pants and that’s the motivator, but I never run out of socks or underwear (I’ve got like 5 or 6 weeks’ worth, last time I checked), so its never really become an issue.
  5. Do you prefer to take the stairs or wait for the elevator? Everywhere I go it’s either elevator or escalator. I walk up/down escalators most of the time.

Friday Fun

  1. What is the one thing that is guaranteed to brighten your mood, no matter what?
  2. You have no place to be, no distractions, no responsibilities, & all the money in the world. What is your favorite thing to do by yourself? With a friend? With family? By myself: laying in a hammock reading a book, with the sun overhead blocked enough for me to be able to see, but still bright enough that you know it’s summer even when your eyes are closed. With a friend: sit and talk over coffee, or watch a movie. With family: uh… I really need to color my hair, so I’m going to go with that, with .
  3. What is the most fun thing you have done today? This week? Today? Well, cleaning up cat pee from inside my favorite brown shoes definitely doesn’t make the “fun” list. I haven’t been awake long enough for anything fun to happen. And I’ve really only gotten ready for the day and come to work, so…. I think the most fun this week was Tuesday night’s SNB with and . It’s good to get caught up and have a few laughs.

Friday Fiver: 3×5

  1. What’s the last item you mailed? A letter to my sponsored child in Columbia.
  2. Who has made you smile recently? Can’t you guess my answer by now?
  3. What’s the weather like outside? Kinda grey and there’s a chill in the air. Great coffee-drinking weather (see last meme).
  4. Do you consider yourself a good judge of character? I used to, but after having gotten burned multiple times (a college friend and two churches, to name a few), I dare not think I am anymore.
  5. What’s your favorite photograph? Favorite? Of what? Of me, I’ve got to go with my bridesmaid picture from ‘s wedding. Of scenery, one from any number of trips I’ve taken to a waterfront. Of people, what comes to mind first is the one of and and me all in the hammock outside our house on Asbury, particularly the one where is trying to get out of the hammock and her mouth is hanging open, because it’s funny.

Sunday Morning

This morning’s weather is the kind that often falls on Sunday mornings. I used to find myself making the drive up to church, stressed or frustrated or just tired, and all I’d know was that I really didn’t want to spend my morning that way. The sun shining, a gentle breeze, whether crisp and cold or pleasantly warm, I knew the day shouldn’t involve work. A leisurely drive to places I hadn’t yet explored, a cup of coffee and a walk in a peaceful neighborhood, resting on a hammock with a good book. On really cold or rainy days, curled up with a cat, an old blanket, and a bad movie on TV (or another book). A phone call to an old friend in the afternoon. A good church service wasn’t out of the question, so long as it was a choice.

Today has been pleasantly leisurely. It has actually been four months of laid-back Sundays, but today I consciously noted the calm and peace and happiness. sits on my lap, curled up on the blanket to stay warm and because I haven’t been home much lately, and every once in a while she just looks up and stares at me. I can’t tell exactly what she’s thinking, but its somewhere in the happiness-gratitude-love genre. A slice of toasted bread made fresh earlier this week, with a few slices of Havarti, sits next to me. Viggo Mortensen prances about on my TV screen talking to his horse in Hidalgo (where for most of the movie his lips are so horribly chapped that its distracting). There’s a hot mocha on my bedside table atop a stack of books that all beckon to be read (“this afternoon,” I tell them).

After I finish my breakfast, I have plans to clean the tub and finish painting the edging in the bathroom. Then maybe some laundry or taking care of camping supplies or a nap or reading. Who knows. Its a choice I can make later, and I can’t really make the wrong choice.

playground
From yesterday’s walk with Prince Charming