A Photo Update

First off…

Here’s the pumpkin I carved last week for Halloween.

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I was aiming for a cute wink and a grin, but I think I just got grumpy. Oh well.

But, on to more exciting things – pictures of my weekend in Illinois!

Friday night we drove into Illinois and met up with some of my friends from college for dinner. We had a wide range of people, from two newlywed couples, to a couple who’s been married for four years, to a couple who’s been married for eight and has two kids and another on the way! We had a great time and some great food too.

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Me being a dork
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Me, Amy, Kate, and Danyel
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Saturday we went to a family wedding. I won’t actually bore you with all the pictures, but here are a few (so you can see how very different it was from our wedding).

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Bridesmaids
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Flower girls
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Bride and Groom
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Unity Candle
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Me, cousin Kristen, and Mom
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Sleepy Grant
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First dance
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Eric and me

And Sunday, we met a friend of mine from high school (as far back as 7th grade, actually) for coffee, and then had brunch at my aunt and uncle’s house. On the way out of Illinois, we stopped at 7-Eleven for Slurpees.

7eleven
Wish they had those here.

We actually did grocery shopping on the way home and had the car unpacked by 6pm, which was nice. It felt much later, though. It was a busy weekend, but overall I was very happy with our plans and how things worked out. I was quite surprised that everyone was actually free to get together, and it was good to see them. Most of my friends that we saw I hadn’t seen in at least three or four years, and none of them had met .

I also got a lot of work done on the baby blanket that I’m knitting for ‘s baby (who was born on our wedding day). There’s still a lot to be done though, and I’m not sure if it’s going to be finished by Christmas, which would be a vaguely reasonable time to get it to her. Oh well. I remembered the other day that the reason I stopped working on it was because my tendinitis flared up right before the wedding which stopped my knitting altogether. I’m back and trying to work speedily to make progress though.

Not much planned for this week – homework and house cleaning and so forth.

I think that was supposed to be easier…

Giving the blog a new theme, that is. Alas, it was not. I am… disappointed in that. This comes from not knowing or understanding PHP at all. I was essentially done at one point this morning, only to realize that the theme I’d modified wasn’t widget-ready, which, in the end, meant starting all over again with a new theme. Even now, I’m not using most of the graphics I created, but it will have to do for now. [Editor’s note: please let me know if you see any errors or if things don’t work for you, and I’ll get to work on fixing them next week.] There are only 22 minutes left in the work day and I will be out of the office tomorrow, so perhaps I should get things in order.

Tomorrow and I are driving down to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding. Friday night we’re meeting up with a bunch of my college friends and their significant others (and children, for one friend) for dinner. Then we’re staying at ‘s house (supposedly in the RV instead of the pull-out sofa). Saturday morning we are hopefully having brunch or coffee with a friend from high school, lunch with and (and and and the Grantster), and then going to the wedding that night. Sunday morning there’s brunch at my aunt and uncle’s house (parents of the groom), and then we’re driving back up to MN. A whirlwind, a blur I tell you! I’m pretty sure we’ll be exhausted by the end, but, at least for me, it will be in a good way. I haven’t seen said college and high school friends in years (at least three or four for most of them, if not more), so I’m very excited about that.

OK, wrapping up work… Have a great weekend!

I have not yet adjusted

to my new schedule, that is. Every day this week so far I have tried to get it right, but with no success so far. To recap:

Monday:

6am wake up
7am eat breakfast (yogurt & granola)
7:19 miss bus, get Starbucks
7:51 take bus, discover there is no eating or drinking on bus
9:30 finish most of Starbucks, which is now cold
1:30 starving (duh), eat lunch (cup of Ramen)
5pm go home, realize on bus that I am starving, nauseous, and have a headache
5:45 complain to husband who quickly attempts to remedy situation with food (which works)
9pm hungry and munchy, trip to CVS, several Twizzlers consumed

Tuesday

6am wakeup
7am grab breakfast bar on way out door to catch bus
7:19 on bus (yay!)
9am get Starbucks
11:45 plan to get Chipotle for lunch
12:00 thwarted by co-worker’s absence, must now work until 12:30 and skip lunch
12:30 chew gum
1:45 falling asleep in class, on break find Wheat Thins which keep me awake through rest of class
4:30 bus home
5:30 consume soup and salad with husband at table (whoa)
8pm find bag of cookies that the Mike-arita I had with dinner requested to keep it company and consume

Wednesday

6am wakeup
6:30 drink juice and take vitamins
6:45 overwhelmingly nauseous, blame multivitamin-empty stomach combination
7:20 drive to work
7:55 no longer nauseous, eat breakfast (granola & yogurt) in college parking lot
8:20 pick up Starbucks before getting to work
11:30 discard Starbucks mainly undrunk
12pm starving, munch a few Wheat Thins (so as to not ruin my appetite), can’t leave desk due to phone duty (daily from 12-1)
1:30 get Chipotle that I was denied yesterday
2:30 finish consuming lunch, very full
5pm realize still full, plan to get Jimmy John’s for dinner gets tossed, grab Propel and bag of peanuts
5:30 bus to college
6:00 class
6:45 break, eat a few peanuts, find Wheat Thins in bag
8:20 class over, Wheat Thins nearly gone
8:30 drive home
8:55 stop by Taco Bell for dinner
9:30 again overwhelmingly full, consume Pepto-Bismol as a precautionary measure

Today:

6am wakeup (boo, quite difficult this morning)
6:30 eat All-Bran granola-ish bar (they’re yummy!)
7:19 bus to work
9:00 take vitamins
9:30 overwhelmingly nauseous, contemplate alternatives to throwing up while trying to find some food that might settle stomach, consume remaining Wheat Thins
9:45 no longer nauseous, would like to get coffee

Now, arguably there are many factors at work here. But this is what I’ve concluded so far:

  • Waking up at 6am sucks (but is the grown-up thing to do, blah blah blah – got a notice from the Post Office saying drugs from Canada have come in, so hopefully that will help the situation)
  • There is no breakfast that will keep me sated until 1 or 1:30 when I used to go to lunch
  • There is no breakfast that will keep me from feeling nauseous when it is time to take my vitamins etc at 9am (the only solution may be taking them with food)
  • There are no acceptable lunch options downtown St Paul at 11:30
  • I have no idea when I should get coffee now that will result in it actually being drank
  • I have trained my co-workers to expect my coffee break around 11 and lunch break around 1:30, so they take their breaks at times when I probably would like to take mine now that my schedule is different
  • Cup-o-Ramen, while my easiest workplace lunchtime option, is wholly unsatisfying and not even worth the effort if there’s nothing to add to it
  • Regardless of when I eat lunch, I’m going to be starving by dinnertime
  • I will remain tired all day long until about 9:30 or 10pm, at which point I no longer want to go to bed (when will my body adjust to the new sleep schedule? will it ever? I’ve always been a night owl, and while I might be able to train my body to get up at 6am, I’m not sure I can train it to be tired at 10pm)
  • I am very good at making bad food choices (but we all knew that)

This is why honeymoons exist, of course. Because and I had one whole blissful week of sleeping in and lazing about and enjoying each other’s company without feeling the pressures of work and school. And now, well, I just haven’t been that fun to live with this week. There was complaining yesterday morning about getting out of bed, and this morning I was downright belligerent (almost had a flashback to high school with my parents, which sadly wasn’t enough motivation to get me out of bed). has been remarkably good-natured about getting me out of bed, though he knew what he was getting into on the not-a-morning-person front when he married me. And after work, I have been some combination of grumpy, cranky, tired, and busy with homework. There hasn’t been much time for anything else (I haven’t talked to or since the wedding, and I still haven’t finished unpacking from our honeymoon). So I am looking forward to “date night” tonight, when someone else will hopefully prepare the food (we discussed going “out”), and we can spend some quality time together, even if it is just watching television and addressing thank-yous.

Four for Friday

  1. Sleep: Where is the most unusual place you’ve fallen asleep? I can sleep pretty much anywhere I want to, so if I tried, I could probably have a really great answer for this. But, I’m going to have to say… in the middle of a French exam. In high school, I spent a lot of time sleeping through various classes. One day in French class I was really tired, and put my head down on my desk, and woke up about 15 minutes later. Of course, we were taking a test at the time, and so I picked up my pencil and finished taking the test. As I recall, I didn’t do poorly on the exam.
  2. Guns: Do you think blind people should be issued concealed weapons permits or be allowed to own guns? I’m opposing this question on matters of discrimination on people with disabilities. It seems… well, I could easily come up with an answer, but since I’m at work for a state agency that works with people with disabilities, it seems wrong.
  3. Driving: Taking into consideration errands and the drive to and from work, how many miles do you drive each weekday? Zero. Even when I did have a car, it was probably only around 5, since most days I didn’t drive at all, and then Wednesdays and Sundays I drove to church and back, which was a pretty long drive.
  4. Packing: When do you pack for a trip (the day of, the night before, or earlier)? The majority of my packing gets done the night before. Usually, there’s a small pile that starts earlier than that, things I want to make sure I don’t forget. That happens with my backpack that I take to ‘s house on weekends – sometimes during the week I run across things I need to bring (like the thing I bought for him this week – I’d tell you what it is, but then he’d find out), so they get thrown in there. But all my clothes get picked out late Thursday night.

Don’t Hate Me

I did some math today (shock and awe, I tell ya) to figure out exactly how hard I had to study for my final exam next Monday. With hoping to be induced at the “end of the week,” (I’ll know more by tonight or tomorrow morning, when she calls/emails, I thought it would be fortuitous to know how much studying I needed to do. Here’s the breakdown:

If I get… then my overall class grade is…
0/100… 84%
50… 92%
75… 96%
80… 97%
85… 98%
90… 99%
95… 99.5%
100… 100% (actually, 100.5%)

So, yeah, there will be no stressing out about this. Sure, I’ll write up my notecard and do some studying, but no stress allowed. Especially since I’ve been averaging 95% on my exams. NO WORRIES.

And before I get hate comments, let me just say that at no time in college or high school was I the one with the best grade, and I never had a 4.0 GPA. I did fine in school, mostly As and Bs in mostly honors classes (except for Chemistry, which killed me), but I certainly wasn’t a superstar. I got an academic scholarship to college, but not the best one. My ACT score wasn’t high enough, though I suspect that GPA probably played into the equation too, and it wasn’t high enough. So there. I can be a superstar once in my life.

Wednesday Mind Hump

  1. What’s the longest distance you’ve ever traveled? I flew from Chicago to Romania (via Austria) in 2000 just after graduating for a mission trip. Within the states, I’m not sure which was worse – driving to Atlanta from the Twin Cities, or driving to Arizona from the Twin Cities. Both were freaking long trips.
  2. What’s the longest distance you’ve ever walked? That would have to be the time this summer that and I walked from his house (or relatively nearby) to the MOA and back. Actually, that’s not true at all. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I went on a camping trip at my church camp that was actually a hiking and biking trip. We spent the first week hiking along 12-mile beach in the Upper Peninsula, about 6-10 miles per day with 50+ pound packs. The second week was spent biking back to camp, about 60 miles per day (at least, that’s what they told us – what did I know, I was only 14).
  3. How far away is the friend/relative who lives the longest distance from you? lives in Boston, and that’s pretty far away. Mentally running through the list of other far-off friends, is in Wisconsin, and are in Illinois (as well as a slew of other people), my grandma lives in Florida, and my aunt and uncle and some cousins live in Michigan. So, yeah, wins.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Weeks :: Chris (this guy I went to high school with that I didn’t really know that well, but it’s what first came to mind)
  2. Cough :: ‘n Cold Syrup (which I unfortunately have yet to find a brand/version I can take without losing my mind and/or passing out)
  3. Jail :: Do not pass go, do not collect $200 (it’s been a really long time since I’ve played a good game of Monopoly)
  4. Produced :: by…
  5. ? :: !!
  6. Stapler :: Red… (you should know what this means. If you don’t , you should be ashamed of yourself)
  7. Next :: Day Delivery
  8. Perky :: Pert (OK, there was another word that came to mind, but I’d rather not have people do a Google search and find my website that way… use your imagination)
  9. Oxygen :: is good
  10. Musical :: Rent (my all-time favorite, and I’ve seen a few)

Question of the Week

How’d you get that scar?

As best I can tell, I only have one visible scar remaining. I used to have one on my knee, from a very embarrassing incident in college that involved coffee, a set of stairs, and a cute boy, but most people have heard that story and I won’t bore you with another retelling.

The one scar I do have is on my left elbow. I got it the first night of high school youth group, freshman year. We were playing… some team sport outdoors (Ultimate Frisbee perhaps?) in the church parking lot, and there’s this spot underneath one of the lights that is kind of in a corner and collects gravel. I ran through it and slipped and gashed up my elbow pretty bad. I believe there was gravel embedded in it at some point. I don’t think I cried, because I’m not that type, but I’m sure I complained a lot. (I am that type.)

You think I would have figured out sooner that “church can hurt.” Oh well. Really, it’s not church’s fault. I was (and am) a generally clumsy and graceless individual, and at 14 was still growing at weird rates. I grew 6 inches in junior high, my feet kept pace, and my limbs did as well. So I was generally … gangly and awkward. And never really good at team sports that require talent and competition (I’m much more for leveling the playing field and games like “Wacky Ball,” or at least playing games for fun and not competition).

I don’t think anyone has ever actually noticed the scar without me pointing it out though. Handy.

I do have a red spot on my chin where I had the ringworm. And a spot on one of my fingers where I used to get warts as a kid.

Wow, I sound sexy in this post. You know you all want me.

I think I protest!

Most people who know me know I’m about as political as… socks (or pick something absolutely non-political), and so consequently politics and all things government are almost never discussed here on ‘wonderment.’ I’m going to have to stray from that path for a moment and discuss a recent law Las Vegas passed [link removed]. Read the article first. I’ll wait.


Done? OK.

I don’t want to sound like an extremist here, or, God forbid, liberal, but I think that’s the biggest load of [Republican] crap I’ve heard in quite a while. [Nevada is a red state – I looked it up. And, for the record, before anyone gets offended, I’m just slightly Democratic, like… 51% or something. I test right down the middle of the road. And if you’re easily offended by things political, I can understand why you might enjoy reading this blog, since we never discuss that stuff, but you might have to go read someone else’s blog today. It’s alright. I won’t be offended.]

Now I realize I have a slightly different perspective on homelessness and that whole world than the average citizen. Take into account the following:

  • I grew up in a Christian home and have been part of several Christian communities where serving those less-fortunate has not only been encouraged but sometimes promoted as saintly.
  • In high school, our youth group went to a soup kitchen to volunteer a couple of times. We also had events where we collected soup cans for the food bank or otherwise did something beneficial like that. When I was volunteering with the junior high youth group, we took a weekend trip into Chicago and painted apartments in Cabrini Green (so that they would be available for people to move into, something that the management couldn’t keep ahead of, which resulted in fewer subsidized housing units unless the community helped out). That was an eye opener (especially when I temporarily lost a junior higher, but that’s not relevant to this conversation).
  • In college, we had a group of students that went down to lower Wacker Drive in Chicago (Ctrl-F to search the page for “Wacker”) to feed sack lunches to the homeless there once a month, and I often participated, until I 1) had a boyfriend, and later 2) they closed lower Wacker Drive and “cleaned it up.” [link removed]
  • Also in college, I chaired the Missions Committee, a part of Student Senate. We planned the spring break Missions trips (which I’m getting to), and also local missions opportunities. We went to Nashville several times and worked in an extremely impoverished neighborhood with a children’s’ program. I remember clearly a little girl sitting on my lap on the swings, maybe 6 or 7, telling me about how her dad beat her mom and that’s why her mom lost the baby. In Chicago, with CSM, we went on a prayer tour of the city, which highlighted areas that were in need of God’s hand (that would be you and I, by the way), including housing projects, government buildings, parks where the homeless would sleep, neighborhoods with high volumes of adult entertainment centers and bars, etc. This was a pivotal experience for me, that resulted in my summer spent in San Francisco.
  • Then I spent the summer between my junior and senior years of college working for CSM in San Francisco (Dana was my boss, if you read partway down the page, and all those projects outlined we worked with). We lived in the Salvation Army building in the Tenderloin neighborhood (you really should read the first few paragraphs of that article), which was an experience in itself. There I daily worked with the homeless, the impoverished, families in transitional housing, people who chose to be homeless, people dying of AIDS, etc. I cannot go into enough detail to explain how this changes my view compared to the rest of America.
  • I also spent a summer in Arizona, and while nobody was homeless, we did work with a community that had a very low income rate and the majority were unemployed (70-85%).

So, you see, I have seen first-hand how government money, community efforts, kindness of strangers, hard work, etc, can positively work in people’s lives. Don’t misunderstand me – I refuse to give money to people on the street, but if I had a granola bar with me, I’d certainly pass that on. Especially in communities where the housing vacancy rate is around 1% and affordable housing is non-existent (like San Francisco), sometimes throwing money at the problem, like in the case of transitional housing shelters for families, does work.

And at the very least, even if there’s absolutely no government assistance whatsoever, there are [almost] always caring individuals in a community who want to make a difference in an individual’s life, or who want to bring more meaning to their own lives, or who just want to give back. And just on an individual level, what right does the government have to take away the satisfaction that helping out one less fortunate than you can bring?

I understand the concerns of a community with a growing homeless population. And the argument that people need more than a sandwich, they need social workers and doctors etc, is valid, but slightly off. Yes, people who are homeless, who desire to change their situation, will usually need the help of a community to do so, in the form of social workers and shelters and doctors and clothing and job readiness and …. the list goes on. But not everyone who is homeless desires to change their situation. And I’ve seen first-hand how that isn’t always a bad thing. I met some wonderful men in San Francisco who chose to be homeless and were perfectly content – they knew that the confines of life as you and I experience it were not for them, made them unhappy, or they just couldn’t adapt. And that was OK. Not everyone who is homeless is violent or belligerent or constantly asking for handouts or drunk. Sometimes they’re just people who step to the beat of a different drum. And in a community like San Francisco that is so open to the homeless population, there are social agencies that help, by providing free showers and toothbrushes, vegetarian soup kitchens, cots in shelters, etc.

The idea of actually making it illegal to make a tuna fish sandwich at home, pack it up, and take it to the homeless guy in the park across from your house… is abhorrible to me. Where does the law stop and start? If I walk over there and instead invite him into my home for dinner, is that a crime? Because it’s probably less safe for me than just handing over a sandwich. What if instead I hand over a business card to the local shelter or soup kitchen? Can I let him sleep on my front lawn? Can I give him things that aren’t food, like blankets or money? If I offer him a job in my warehouse, is that wrong too? Because all of those things could be construed as “enabling” and encouraging homelessness in a community.

Yes, that last part was a little extreme, and I did say I was going to try to avoid such statements. And I know some people have mentioned that when I write such long posts, even if I ask for comments, no one is going to leave them because it was too long. But I’m still going to end by asking for your comments. and , you’ve worked with some diverse populations of people and probably have some good views on this. And I’m going to stop talking before I sound like the guy on the bus last night who was militant that the US government owed him millions of dollars of restitution for the enslavement of his ancestors 300 years ago. Because that just made everyone uncomfortable.

Where I Should Live

Took this test  [link removed] (found on a new blog I’m reading), and here’s the list of the top 24 places I should live. should be overjoyed that her hometown is my #1 compatible city. I’ll leave my comments, when I have them, after each suggestion.

  1. Cincinnati, Ohio Of all the places in Ohio to live (and several made it onto this list), this one’s my favorite, though I’ve never been there.
  2. Bloomington, Indiana Um, no. No Indiana. Not ever. Bah. Indiana is only good for camping (they have great state parks, or did 15 years ago at least) and making fun of.
  3. St Louis, Missouri Not a big fan of Missouri, either. Drove through St Louis on our way to Arizona; didn’t really care for it. Plus their Six Flags sucks (went there on a family vacation when I was in junior high).
  4. Springfield, Missouri See notes about Missouri above.
  5. Jacksonville, Florida I like Jacksonville. Spent a day there during a college Thanksgiving break. Nice mall with a Barnes & Noble (or maybe it was a Borders). Kinda surrounded by nothingness, though.
  6. Charleston, South Carolina I like the idea of living in South Carolina. For a long time I wanted to go to college there. We took a family vacation (our last) to Nag’s Head, which is on the coast, and it was wonderful. Love the ocean.
  7. Cleveland, Ohio I’ll say it again, not really a fan of Ohio, and all I can think of when I hear “Cleveland” is the Drew Carey Show. And those are not my sort of people.
  8. Minneapolis – St Paul, Minnesota Glad that where I currently live made the list. I really do like living here, and don’t plan on moving, especially now that lives here, because that’s like 3/4 of my immediate family unit. I could wax poetically about MSP, but I won’t. My only complaint is that the Twin Cities were considered one unit, and Minneapolis and St Paul have their differences, for sure.
  9. Ann Arbor, Michigan I like Ann Arbor. I applied for a couple of jobs there when I was looking to change jobs when I lived in Michigan. Love the college town atmosphere, how it was big city without being industrial. Beautiful city, too. Just be careful driving around the stadium during a sporting event – the streets are packed.
  10. Indianapolis, Indiana Again, Indiana, in any shape or form, is not acceptable. Moving on.
  11. Grand Rapids, Michigan I like Grand Rapids. I have family there. I applied for jobs there – I think I even interviewed there at the end of college. Beautiful city, on a lake, kinda hilly.
  12. Rochester, Minnesota When considering moving from Michigan, I figured Rochester would be an acceptable city to live in – get me closer to , still a decent-sized city. I haven’t been there, though, so I can’t actually speak as to how well it’s fitted for me.
  13. Overland Park, Kansas Um, I haven’t even heard of this town, so it’s automatically off the list. As is Kansas in general.
  14. Knoxville, Tennessee Ah, Tennessee. So beautiful. Don’t really want to live there, but I probably wouldn’t complain all that much if I had to.
  15. Topeka, Kansas See #13
  16. Orlando, Florida I don’t think I’d like Orlando. It’s a little too… touristy (there weren’t any questions about touristy towns in the quiz). My grandma would be close by, and that’d be nice, but I think I’d burn to a crisp. The ocean would be nice, though.
  17. Duluth, Minnesota Having driven to/through Duluth several times, I think I could live there. I’d complain more in the winter, since there’s more snow and it’s colder, but I could still be happy there. I think I’d like it more than Rochester (#12), but I can’t be sure.
  18. Seattle, Washington I love Seattle. We went there in high school on a choir tour and I fell in love. Actually applied (I think, or at least strongly looked into) going to school there. My cousin and her husband (the ones that just got back from 2 years of missionary work in Indonesia) went to school there and live there, as does her brother (also my cousin). The market, the ocean, I’d even love the rain. (But is it sunny enough for me? Maybe not.)
  19. West Palm Beach, Florida Eh, I don’t think so. Not sure why. Maybe for the reasons mentioned in #16.
  20. Omaha, Nebraska Definitely no. can perhaps comment on this, since I can’t definitively, having never been to Omaha or Nebraska in general, but I’m quite sure that I would die in Nebraska. Wither up into nothingness.
  21. Evansville, Indiana Again with the Indiana!?!
  22. Columbia, Missouri Again, not so fond of Missouri. Haven’t been to Columbia, though.
  23. Toledo, Ohio Definitely no. Of all the places in Ohio that I’ve driven through, Toledo was my least favorite. , wasn’t Toledo the place with the really, really disturbing Motel 6 we stayed at? I shudder to think about it.
  24. Columbus, Ohio I don’t know Columbus at all. I’ve got nothing left to say about it.

So, there you go. Now, if only someone would make up a localized version for the Twin Cities metro area, maybe and I could come to some sort of agreement or compromise. It’d have to include all the suburbs individually, as well as each of the neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St Paul. That’d be a lot of work.

Looking back over the list… I sure have been to (or at least through) a lot of places! You could almost say I “get around a lot.” (Stifling laughter.) [Editor’s Note: my apologies for the horrible joke. I was temporarily taken over by ‘s sense of humor.]

If you follow the link for the test and take it, please comment on what your results were, if you’ve got the time/energy/will. I’m very interested!

Today’s Reading

I frequently find myself looking for ways to entertain… myself… while at work. This leads to a lot of reading on the internet. One of my standbys is Christianity Today’s Single Minded column. There’s a new entry every couple of weeks, so occasionally I forget to check it for a while, and then have several columns to get caught up on. Today was such a day – four columns since last I’d read. Let me give the quick breakdown of my thoughts:

Surprised by Marriage [link removed]
by Jason Boyett, excerpted from Pocket Guide to Adulthood
July 19, 2006

I liked this article, except that for being an article that’s supposed to encourage single people, it seemed way too “go out and get married already!” I’m not sure how that’s going to be received by … others.

Found in Translation [link removed]
by Camerin Courtney
July 12, 2006

The Goodbye Girl [link removed]
by Camerin Courtney
June 28, 2006

These two were alright, but didn’t exactly resonate with me. They’re mostly about the author’s recent trip to Bulgaria. They’re good, but don’t go out of your way to read them.

The Gift of Loneliness [link removed]
by Peter M. Nadeau
June 21, 2006

This is the one that surprised me. Not because of the content, exactly, but because it got me thinking. And I realized that since college, I haven’t really struggled with loneliness. Not that much in college, either, except for the times that it seemed like everyone was getting married, which tends to emphasize your own singleness (and the fact that you haven’t had a date in … how long?). High school was lonely, but I think perhaps more because of the social structure than anything else.I’ve had some lonely times since college, true. I’m thinking specifically about my first few weeks after getting fired, when I had just moved into a new apartment with new roommates I barely knew, had just moved to a whole new state for a church that had just dumped me, and other than , I didn’t know anyone in Minnesota. Those were some rough times.

More so, however, I’ve felt “alone” rather than lonely. When I was working down in Arizona, I made great friends with my team. But when it came down to it, I was their boss, and sometimes there were things I had to deal with that I couldn’t talk to them about (like when my boss told me they might send me home, aka fire me, at the end of the week, depending on my performance that week – no pressure there). And then I felt alone.

When I moved to Michigan, I had a lot of alone time. That was OK, for the most part. The worst part was in April (I was only there for a year and a half), driving back from a trip home to Chicago, when I realized that I was unhappy and was going to have to start looking for a new job. I sobbed almost the entire 4 1/2 hour trip, feeling absolutely alone in this decision and… horrified at the implications.

But lonely? This is something I rarely feel. Even before my weekends were spent almost exclusively with , and before we had SNB regularly scheduled where I knew I’d see and once a week… even then when I spent most of my time working or working at church, and my free time was spent at home watching TV… I rarely felt lonely. Is that strange?

We all know that I’m not a highly social person, that “recluse” is a much better word, and I’m perfectly comfortable describing myself as a “homebody,” regardless of the negative connotation that may hold. I’ve never been one to have tons of friends – two or three close ones is about what I can handle before feeling stretched too thin. And I need my alone time, to regroup, to not have to be “on” for others, to relax.

There are other things as a single person that I felt the absence of stronger. Like physical touch. The opportunities to touch and be touched are sometimes few and far between. Or when I really wanted to do something but had no one to do it with (go to the movies, go out for coffee, things that are more enjoyable with company).

These days, I don’t have those struggles. I have more of a problem making sure I have enough time by myself to get done what I need to (laundry, reading, whatever), and enough alone time to not get frazzled.

I guess, perhaps, I’m lucky? Blessed? I’ve been trying to write this post for over an hour now and keep getting interrupted, so my thoughts have kinda fallen apart.

Miles walked since 6/1: 53

The High School Memories Meme

Stolen from Kazoofus.

  1. Who was your best friend? Mainly Chrissy. By senior year, it was really her and I and our friend Nicole. I only keep in touch with Chrissy, and not really all that much.
  2. What sports did you play? None. I sooooo wasn’t into that. Plus, I took the bus and my parents worked, so transportation was an issue.
  3. What kind of car did you drive? Skippy, my oft-mentioned and very-loved Dodge Colt Hatchback. I could fill up the gas tank for $10 (OK, so this was 1996, but still), drive for days on “E,” and when I was really broke, get around town for a day or two on the change I found inside. I usually had at least a change or two of clothes in there, though probably not as much trash as one might think – I was the driver in a carpool to school for a few friends of mine, so a lot of the time 4 people were in the car. Not much room for trash then.
  4. It’s Friday night, where were you at? Home watching TV with my parents, with very few exceptions.
  5. Were you a party animal? See #4. What do you think?
  6. Were you considered a flirt? I’m almost embarrassed to say (though I think I’ve confessed this to enough people who read this) that I didn’t really “get” flirting until college. I mean, I didn’t understand when guys were flirting with me (in hind sight, it makes a lot more sense, and life probably would have been a lot easier, or at least a lot more fun), and I probably didn’t flirt back then. And there’s no way I would ever have been called a tease. Seriously.
  7. Ever skip school? Only for Senior Skip Day, and then when the school called , he said I was sick. So officially… what’s the ruling on that?
  8. Ever smoke? Not in high school. A few times in college (and the occasional tryst with .
  9. Were you a nerd? Probably considered so. It was such a big school and there were so many cliques, I think it would depend who you asked, if I was just shy, an outsider, not popular, or nerdy. I definitely wasn’t the smartest (didn’t even make the top 10%).
  10. Did you get suspended/expelled? Um, no. Chrissy almost was though, for her senior prank. (Fetal pigs from Senior Biology Lab in the toilets in the cafeteria. Quality.)
  11. Can you sing the Alma Mater? Not with the right words. Nicole made up a parody version that I still remember. “Here’s to St Charles High School, land of the snobs. Doing our hair and makeup all day long. [part I can’t remember] …and early parenthood.”
  12. Who was your favorite teacher? I can’t really remember any favorites. There were some that are good for a laugh. But a favorite? Nah. There was French Teacher #1 with the huge gestures about a “Pot of Verbs,” French Teacher #2 who was so tiny and frail you were sure a gust of wind would knock her down, and my Senior Biology Lab professor who had a crush on me and graded accordingly.
  13. Favorite class? Psychology or Sociology. They were both good.
  14. What was your school’s full name? [Name of Hometown] High School (I’ve got a 10-year reunion coming up, and I really don’t want anyone able to find this blog again via Google.)
  15. School mascot? We were the Fighting Saints. We had no mascot.
  16. Did you go to Prom? Yes. It sucked. Not like it was awful, just a whole lot of hooplah about something that didn’t life up to it.
  17. If you could go back and do it over, would you? Absolutely not. I hated high school and never want to have those feelings or experiences again.
  18. What do you remember most about graduation? Besides the fact that it was ten years ago last Friday? I had two cakes at my party – my second cousin is a professional cake decorator, and the second one was a grand piano just for me.
  19. Favorite memory of your senior year? Maybe Chrissy’s senior prank? Not really sure. I try to forget high school.
  20. Were you ever posted up on the senior wall? Not really sure what was meant by this, but I can say that every year there was this wall in the cafeteria that was painted over and the seniors, at registration, put their hand prints on it. So… maybe.
  21. Did you have a job your senior year? Junior and senior year I worked after school (3-5, M-F) for the City in Utility Billing. Plus I volunteered with the junior high youth group, and with all the other church stuff that should count as a part-time job.
  22. Who did you date? By senior year? No one. Actually, in all of high school, I went on… maybe two dates? One was the Mormon, aka the date that wouldn’t end, and one I’m not even sure if it was a date or not. By senior year my friends and I had pretty ruled out everyone as unacceptable.
  23. Where did you go most often for lunch? The cafeteria. We did not have an open campus.
  24. Have you gained weight since then? I should hope so. I could wear size zeros then. If nothing else, I gained love handles and my hips grew.
  25. What did you do after graduation? College. Like 95% of my class.
  26. When did you graduate? 1996. Sigh.

Unconscious Mutterings

  1. Out of place :: Out of Time
  2. Helicopter :: Dr Romano
  3. Francis :: Franny Boy (Or Sir… Drake)
  4. Ryan :: White
  5. Wedding :: Gown
  6. Appalled :: Shocked and
  7. Historian :: Renowned
  8. Powerful :: Drive
  9. Sex symbol :: Marilyn
  10. Uncomfortable :: Feeling

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…

Wednesday Mind Hump

[Clearly, I don’t know how to stop myself.]

  1. Name five famous Georges: Bush, W Bush, Curious, Boy, and Burns.
  2. How many one-dollar bills do you have in your wallet/purse right now? …checking… 6
  3. Ever been to Washington, D.C.? How about Washington State? Tell us a little about your trip to either of those places. And if you haven’t been to either place, tell me what Washington, D.C. monument, institution or tourist attraction you most want to see if you ever go there. Yes, on both accounts. I was in DC for a mission trip with a former youth group in 2000. We did some sightseeing and played music in the park, but mostly worked at a camp outside the city. It was probably one of the worst mission trips I’ve been on – just poorly planned (not by me, or the leader of the trip, but the mission organization itself). I went to Seattle in 1996 with my high school choir. That was cool. I’d definitely go back there – didn’t get to see or experience nearly enough of it.