C-c-c-cold!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quote for Inspiration

I keep a running list in Blogger of little things for inspiration. Old fortunes from cookies, quotes from books I read, that sort of thing. I realized today I have nothing particularly interesting to say, and actually remembered the list, and thought I’d put it to good use.


“What do you want to be?”
“I would like to be myself. I tried to be other things but I always failed.”
-Anonymous

Trying to explain my thoughts on this without people reading the wrong things into it is proving difficult. But I’ll just start where I start and see where it takes me.

Since I was 16, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Before that I was trying to decide between being a teacher, a psychologist, or a lawyer. (Yeah, I know that last one is pretty laughable.) But once the whole ministry thing came into the picture, it all came into focus and became clear rather quickly. And that was the path I was on from that point.

So when I graduated college and started working full-time in my chosen profession, it would make sense that I had some sense of arrival, that I was finally “there.” And I think there was some of that, though it’s hard to say really, because the situation in the church went downhill pretty quickly and most of my time involves memories of the arguments people had and the hurtful things they did to each other. Thankfully, I was almost never caught in the crossfire, but any personal growth and maturing or accepting adulthood that I might have done got put on the back burner, so to speak. And then I moved to Minnesota and into a job where I was very unhappy and really began to question if ministry was right for me. But (to put it in the nicest, healthiest way possible) I was delivered/removed from that situation (OK, I was fired, if you want to split hairs) and the next… six months were more about recovering from that than they were about evaluating my career path. I took the next Church job for two reasons: it was temporary, and it was part-time. All I knew was that I couldn’t commit more than that to a church, after my last experiences. My “temporary” position lasted nearly 3 years, and I’d still be working there if I hadn’t taken a proactive stance on my future.

Back around Christmas 2004, after several conversations with people (who know who they are and that they’re partly responsible for major life changes that ensued), I realized that I didn’t want to be working at the Church any longer, but that I needed a way out and a new direction for my life. I ran through the possible careers that involved working with teenagers. I’d already tried several different social work venues through volunteer opportunities, and really wasn’t inspired. Psychology wasn’t the way I wanted to go either. I suppose I could have thought about coaching or music lessons or something along those lines, if I had any amount of talent in those arenas to be able to make money at it. When teaching crossed my mind, it felt right. It was, after all, the part of my ministry jobs that I enjoyed the most and spent the most time on (much to the chagrin of many junior high boys, who would have rather played football in the parking lot all night long). I tried to be smart about the decision, job shadowing to see if I could really do the work all day long (having now worked full-time for five years and knowing what I could and could not handle), talking to teachers, going to the preview night at my chosen school…. And all the signs pointed to moving forward.

Once accepted to Hamline, I turned in my resignation and waited for time to pass. And it did. And then I realized I needed to take some time off, that I’d jumped a bit quickly into the grad school thing and needed a breather. It wasn’t that my decision was wrong or I was doubting my new career choice, but that I needed to take a step back and just be me for a while.

Part of leaving the Church that I was looking forward to was not attending services for a while. Years upon years of required attendance at 1-2 services every Sunday plus all the special stuff, on top of four years of required chapel attendance in college, just meant I was a bit burnt out on the thing. And I wanted it to be a choice again, something I wanted to participate in, not something I felt like I had to do. Worship should be a joyful choice, not a task or a job. For the most part, I have really enjoyed Sundays off (with the exception that it is sometimes hard for me to remember when Monday comes, because I can’t define Sunday by early morning services anymore). I’ve been to exactly two services since May 22nd, and at the moment really don’t feel compelled to go. And I’ve already blogged about a bunch of this, so I’ll just instead of repeating it all.

That was a very long, roundabout way to get to this statement, which I will explain right away.

When it comes to “being myself” these days (see inspiring quote), I am feeling quite lost.

This really isn’t the personal crisis that it could be, I suppose. I mean, I don’t think about it all that often. It doesn’t keep me awake nights. I don’t have weird dreams that when I throw the symbols into search engines they give me interpretations that are bizarre and confusing. In fact, I haven’t had a single conversation with anyone about this (that I know of, at least). So really, it’s not all that big of a deal.

Life is good. I am happy. I have job security. I have good friends who are willing to put up with my melodrama and listen quite well, and then, at the right times, smack me upside the head. (They’re also very fun to hang out with – girls, we need some margaritas one of these days – Amanda, perhaps when we go shopping to spend your winnings?) My family continues to amaze me and get healthier as time goes on. I actually met a boy, despite my complete inability to make new friends or talk to strangers or generally interact with people (OK, that was quite the overstatement – I’m just a little shy, OK, a lot, and have a touch of the social anxiety, not enough to put me into panic attacks or anything, just enough to avoid people… often). I have a new direction for my life that, while I’m not currently pursuing, makes me happy and I will find fulfilling (I can handle being in a holding-pattern of sorts with that for now, since it is self-imposed and greatly needed for my emotional health and sanity).

But having defined myself for so long in terms of church and faith and belief, and trying to come up with new ways to define myself, has left me a bit without a working definition. I no longer feel like I’m on a path (even if the path gets rocky, or one gets turned around and doesn’t know which way is coming and going, or one comes across a fork in the road and doesn’t know what to do). I’m in the middle of a field. A really big field. Generally, I can tell where the field is (to use the analogy, I could get specific in terms of North America – United States – Minnesota). I can’t see the edges, and it doesn’t really seem like there’s a right or wrong way to go about things. Climbing the trees is fun and all (maybe there’s even a swing to spend an afternoon in the breeze on), but at some point, if I’m going to get headed towards a goal of some sort, it will be helpful (one might even say necessary) to know where I am. (I hear directions work best that way, if you know both the starting point and the ending point.)

It’s like Kathleen Kelly (played by Meg Ryan, whose hair I am still jealous of) says in You’ve Got Mail:

Sometimes I wonder about my life. … I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So good night, dear void.

Good night. (Well, good afternoon. After all, it’s only 12:07.)

Intimate Apparel

[I have a really hard time spelling “apparel,” and it’s driving me crazy.]

[Editor’s note: no, this will not be a post about my intimate apparel, except for the brief mention that I have lost a piece while camping and this disturbs me. Strangely, it doesn’t disturb me nearly as much as the missing pants (that were never found – I have some ideas of where to look for the currently missing piece before declaring them MIA).]

Prince Charming took me out to dinner last night and then to see “Intimate Apparel” at the Guthrie. It was a really good play, and if you live in the Twin Cities area and have the chance, you should really go see it. The description on the site doesn’t do it justice. Our seats were off to the side but in the second row, so we could really see the expression on the actors’ faces. They were very talented – I really believed they felt the emotions they were portraying. Plus, the actor playing Mr. Marks was cute (Note to Prince Charming: I’d put him on my “list” if he weren’t so local; hardly seems fair – if Salma was a local I might protest more, though not so much if Brad were.)

I never was very good at literary analysis or movie reviews, so I don’t think I’m doing the play justice. Suffice it to say it was good and you should see it. I don’t know if I’ve ever been to a play that was actually good. Musicals, yes. But I think most, if not all, of the plays I’ve been to have been junior high or senior high productions (a few college ones, and those were decent, but I think our theatre department’s annual budget was the equivalent of a day’s wage in Mexico). That was one of the things I didn’t enjoy so much when I worked at church – going to kid’s plays and concerts. You want so much to like it and enjoy it and be proud of them, but let’s be honest, it’s junior high band, how good is it really going to be? They’re always so happy to see you, too (though really it’s the parents who are the most touched by your presence), so that part’s good. It’s just the 2 hours sitting through squeaky instruments, off-key singers, and awkward kids who forget their lines that’s the hard part. Love them anyways (the kids, not the plays/concerts).

Thankfully I never really had any kids who were big into sports, or at least not to the extent that I was ever invited to watch their games. I suppose high school sports aren’t really that bad, and watching sports live is so much better than on television (that surprised me, the first time I went to a Saints game, and the Twins game was even better; I don’t remember enjoying the Cougars games we went to in high school youth group). Maybe I’ve just learned to appreciate sports a little more in my old age. (No, I don’t have the home on speed dial yet, nor is my Medic-Alert bracelet on order. Just because I’m closer to 30 than to 20 [time out to take deep, calming breaths] does not mean I’m old. Really. [Yeah, just keep telling yourself that.])

Well, those were some random tangents. Amanda has informed me that my missing piece of clothing was not in her luggage. Now I’ll have to re-check my luggage (that I’ve already unpacked, though I may have forgotten the pockets…), and perhaps the deep recesses of my closet. This is quite unnerving to keep losing things. Next thing you know, it’ll be my sanity, or my head’ll fall off (though Prince Charming seems to think that pipe dope will fix this problem; note – don’t do a Google search on that term while at work if you think your boss might walk up behind you; stick to the term “Teflon tape” instead).

Last random tidbit. Liz was notified on Monday that she got the job she was downtown St Paul interviewing for last week. Very exciting. She is now gainfully employed at three (3) different places. That, on top of the whole grad school thing, might mean Amanda and I will have a hard time scheduling time for all of us to get together. But we’ll make it work. And hopefully Liz and I can take advantage of the times we’re both downtown at the same time. Congrats, Liz!

My younger self often amuses me

I’ve been using old notebooks as scratch paper – to journal in, make lists, whatever. They’re perfectly good notebooks, just most of the pages are gone, so there are only a few sheets in them. The one I’ve been using lately must be from college, though I’m not sure, and is decorated with quite a few cutouts, on the cover, on the back, and on the pockets separating the sections (of which there are none). Here’s, by far, the best one:

“The only thing better than her very own pony is her very own cowboy.” “He was a cowboy! She was a lady! They were branded by love! The adventure begins.” Can’t you just feel all that teen-angsty drama?

Music

Music has always been a very important part of my life. I started taking piano lessons in second grade, but started playing by ear before then (not like I was some Mozart, just that at an early age I had a connection). By junior high I was good enough to begin expressing myself with music, not just playing what was on the page but finding the emotion in the piece and within myself. In high school, playing the piano became more therapy than anything, though I practiced for lessons and accompanied school choirs and so forth. I sang in choirs from junior high partway through college, but have never fully connected my emotional self to the act of singing – it feels somehow much more vulnerable, I think, than when I play the piano, even though in truth I express so much more of myself when I’m sitting at one that I am most open and my truest self sitting on a piano bench. I didn’t get to play that much in college, and started learning the guitar. I’ve definitely gotten better over the years at the guitar, but I don’t fully connect with it most of the time.

When I was interviewing for jobs at the end of my senior year of college, I made sure no one knew that I had musical talents. I really wanted to get the job for my other skills and vision and gifts, and then the church could be pleasantly surprised later on down the road. When I moved to Michigan, I did keep it a bit of a secret, but my office was right off the sanctuary (literally) and the grand piano was maybe 15 feet from my desk, and I didn’t stay away long. At first I would only play when I knew I was the only person in the building, but as people slowly learned that I could play and I began to share that, it quickly became public knowledge, and it was OK. I joined the praise band, and then when both the organist and pianist quit, I filled in for the next 11 months as the pianist. I loved most of all playing the offertory, since that was the place I got to express myself the most, and I learned some pretty awesome arrangements of great worship pieces. I also played certain pieces just for special friends, like when D&C had their last Sunday and I made sure to play C’s favorite (or was it W’s favorite?).

Since I’ve moved to Minnesota, I’ve played much less. I had access at both of the churches I worked at, but didn’t get to take advantage very much. And now that I’m not at a church at all, I don’t have any access to a piano. My guitar has filled in well, but doesn’t really compare in the way my soul is moved. The piano I own (or that is known to be mine) lives in Illinois at Mom’s house. It’s 100 years old and belonged to Dad’s mom (the one who died a month before I was born). It’s what’s known as an upright grand, and it’s the one I learned on and continue to have the best relationship with. It’s a very special piano – it never needs to be tuned. Sometime in high school we had some pads replaced, but basically that’s all the repair it’s needed in my 27 years. I wish that I could have it with me, but there are far too many complications. Pianos aren’t meant for apartment-living, and due to its age I’d have to pay people to move it for me and be very careful, and just getting it to Minnesota would be difficult (and probably expensive).

I originally started this post to talk about songs that move me, ones that I listen to, not ones that I perform. There are certain songs that make me stop in my tracks, that transcend my soul to another level. There are ones that make me speechless. There are ones I can’t help but sing along to (and occasionally dance to, though that is reserved for times when I know no one will see me). Sometimes I understand what it is about a song that moves me, but some of them completely baffle me. I get why “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” by Selah makes me pause; it’s such a spiritual experience to just listen to that song. “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks reminds me of my first big adventure; I listened to it on the plane out to San Francisco, and I was terrified that I had made a big mistake and wasn’t feeling up to the challenge and it calmed me down and reminded me that adventures are good and fun. “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera helps me walk talker and feel more confident, reminding me that the crap I’ve had to deal with and the stuff others put in my way just makes me a stronger person.

The one that currently is moving me is “Brass Bed” by Josh Gracin (see yesterday’s post for a copy of the song). But I don’t understand exactly why. Musically it’s fantastic; it’s got this great bass line played by a cello, I think, that I didn’t pick up until I was listening to it on my pda – it’s virtually undetectable in the music video (which is where I first heard the song). The singer isn’t all that gorgeous (not that he’s bad-looking). He has a good voice (but not one that would instantly make me rip off all my clothes). The words are good, but not entirely kosher with what I believe. Somehow though, when all the pieces get added up, the sum is definitely more than the parts, and I am taken away. It’s been in my head for days, and I keep playing it over my headphones every once in a while to get my fix.

What songs move you?

What A Way To Wanna Be

Every once in a while, I run into someone for whom it seems their whole goal in life is to make others smile. Like the bus driver who gave all the women flowers as they exited the bus. Or the guy who walked in a door behind me and asked me if I was a natural redhead and said it was beautiful (no comments on the dye job from the peanut gallery). They’re just little things, but so totally random, and they make me feel special and loved by the universe, if I can say something as nebulous as that. I think it must be really fun to be them, to be such a source of joy for others, to do or say something and see an instant smile on a stranger’s face. Sometimes I’d like to be a person like that. Of course, my fear of strangers and loathing of social interaction in general get in the way of this, but if I were a different person, if I weren’t so shy or socially distant, I would love to make strangers smile.

When Betsy and I were in high school, or maybe I had just graduated and she had just finished her freshman year at U of I, we got together weekly at Starbucks to catch up, talk faith, and enjoy the summer. I remember several times, having gotten tired of the air conditioning or perhaps just wanting movement, we’d take our coffee and go walking, usually over a bridge that crossed the Fox River (there are a couple of these in close proximity to the different Starbucks we’d frequent). Being the 17-year-old that I was, I would make the effort to look guys directly in the eyes and smile, taking joy in the fact that they would stand a bit taller, put a bit more in their step, and generally continue on thinking that someone saw something special in them. (This of course being long before the multitude of life experiences that have made eye contact difficult for me.) I loved that. I wasn’t trying to hit on them or even talk to them – I don’t think we ever did. They were just smiles, something that (hopefully) brightened a stranger’s day.

When I worked in San Francisco, I loved serving food at the soup kitchen, especially because it was a comfortable environment to show a stranger unconditional love. I loved teaching the students what to do when delivering meals to AIDS patients or shut-ins, and then watching them go to work at bringing food and love into another’s life. In high school, I used to write letters to some of the girls in the junior high youth group, knowing how special it made them feel to get real mail.

I try to say “Thank You” to my bus driver upon exiting (unless the ride has been particularly horrendous). I’m cordial to the checkout girl (or boy) at Target or the co-op. I say “Thank You” at the end of business phone calls, even when the person has called me. I’m not rude to waiters and waitresses, try not to get upset at the telemarketers who continually call our house looking for the Yangs, and have yet to actually lose my temper at work (though I’ve come very, very close). I know those things matter, but they seem… insignificant when compared to some of the things others do.

What have you done lately to make a stranger smile?

Finishing an earlier post

Do you ever wonder if you’re irreparably damaged? That’s the question I was meaning to get to weeks ago when I wrote about John Mayer’s “Daughters.” (BTW, the video for this was quite disappointing to me – the song lends itself so well to a music video in story form, since the song is quite story-esque. Of course, so are most country music songs, and their videos don’t follow the lyrics either, as far as I can tell.)

I got to thinking, I wonder if I’m permanently damaged, at least in relation to men. All throughout high school, I was an unabashed male-basher. Why, I’m not quite sure. It couldn’t have been just that I wasn’t asked out on many dates. But my memory seems unable to pinpoint any incident(s) that would cause me to feel this way, and since I can’t perform hypno-therapy on myself, we’ll just have to leave it in the unknown.

High school and college saw me have lots of good guy friends (OK, well, “lots” is relative to the total number of friends I’d ever have at any one time, which, for me, is smaller than most people). I never did date much, though that didn’t mean my love life was uninteresting (as proven through posts on this site).

And though my parents’ divorce hit hard, both Alison and I pulled through that and learned a lot about love and life, and for the positive.

So why is it that when I’m around guys my own age (or relatively so), whether or not I’m attracted to them, as long as they’re single, I feel like a 12-year-old girl? An awkward, gangly, braces-wearing, bad eighties hair, clumsy, unbrilliant 12-year-old. It’s not a giggly-cute-nervous deal. It’s actually quite… well, awkward sums it up pretty good.

I can’t seem to make eye contact with strangers, unless they’re providing a service like giving me my mocha or ringing up my groceries. I could blame that on my time spent on the reservation, since eye contact was not exactly encouraged there, or on my time spent in San Francisco, when eye contact on the street was avoided so you didn’t accidentally send someone the wrong message.

I have some body-image issues, I’ll admit, but those are entirely related to the media and what American culture has determined is “beautiful” for women these days. Some people, I’m sure, would like to beat me senseless for having body-image issues, but seriously folks, we all have our own demons, right?

What is it that is getting in the way of me but me? If I can’t pinpoint an exact moment, incident, or even an era that has caused me some sort of harm in this area, I can’t actually be damaged, right? In that case, I was just… messed up from the beginning. That doesn’t seem right.

If you know me, could you give me some insight please?

I’m like an onion

Taken from Kazoofus

LAYER ONE:

  • Name: Kelly Johnson (yeah, try to Google that one!)
  • Birth date: June 24th
  • Birthplace: St Charles, Illinois, at Delnor-Community Hospital when it was still in St Charles and not in Geneva. The building’s gone now.
  • Current Location: My 6×6 cube at work, downtown St Paul. It’s pink. Yeah.
  • Eye Color: Grey-blue
  • Hair Color: Red
  • Height: 5 foot 8
  • Righty or Lefty: Righty, though fairly ambidextrous just because I’ve played piano for so long
  • Zodiac Sign: Cancer (ain’t that just a kick in the pants)

LAYER TWO:

  • Your heritage: Swedish (OK, only 25%, but it’s the most-practiced), French, Norwegian, and a little Dutch with something else
  • The shoes you wore today: my Indeed brown ones from Marshall Field’s
  • Your weakness: lots of them – where to begin?
  • Your fears: the dark, icky bugs (yeah, Liz, I know that “all life has value,” but it doesn’t need to be valued near me)
  • Your perfect pizza: Spinach-Garlic-Mushroom
  • Goal you’d like to achieve: To follow Money Expert and get debt-free (ah, the American dream!)

LAYER THREE:

  • Your most overused phrase on AIM: don’t use AIM.
  • Your first waking thoughts: ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  • Your best physical feature: haven’t a clue
  • Your most missed memory: a bunch of stuff from college, as in I miss those days, not that I can’t remember them

LAYER FOUR:

  • Pepsi or Coke: Right now, Coke Classic. Traditionally, Diet Pepsi.
  • McDonald’s or Burger King: Wendy’s.
  • Single or group dates: I don’t date.
  • Adidas or Nike: Asics
  • Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: Not a big fan of either, but as long as it’s sweetened w/lemon, I’ll take it
  • Chocolate or vanilla: depends on the mood.
  • Cappuccino or coffee: Eggnog latte – I go for the “fancy” drinks

LAYER FIVE:

  • Smoke: No
  • Cuss: No
  • Sing: Yes – especially while in the car – feel free to laugh the next time you drive by
  • Take a shower everyday: Um… if I wake up early enough, then yes. I’ve been known to go days without, however.
  • Do you think you’ve been in love: yes, a couple of times
  • Liked high school: No. My parents wish they’d sent me to a Christian high school instead of our public school. My time there was… less than pleasant
  • Want to get married: Yes, but not planning my life around it
  • Believe in yourself: Usually, but not always
  • Get motion sickness: Used to all the time, including on the way home from church (a 15 minute drive) when I was a kid. Now, I’m almost never the passenger, so I’m not really sure.
  • Think you’re attractive: Depends on my mood.
  • Think you’re a health freak: No, really not. I own (and consume) more sugar and/or chocolate products than is healthy
  • Get along with your parent(s): Now that I don’t have to live with them, yes
  • Like thunderstorms: Yes, very much so. Especially dancing in the rain.
  • Play an instrument: Piano (almost 20 years). Guitar (not well).

LAYER SIX:In the past month…

  • Drank alcohol: Yes, a lovely bottle of White Zinfandel for Thanksgiving
  • Smoked: No
  • Done a drug: only prescription ones
  • Made Out: That’s funny
  • Gone on a date: That’s just sad
  • Gone to the mall?: It’s Christmas, so, yes, including the horrible day-after-Thanksgiving experience I’d rather not remember
  • Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: I don’t actually like Oreos
  • Eaten sushi: Yes, and it’s yummy
  • Been on stage: Yes, and not just school plays. A couple times in college during chapel. Open Mic with Liz at the Coffee Grounds. I’ve ran a few church services including preaching.
  • Been dumped: Only twice. I’ve done much more dumping.
  • Gone skating: Of course. My ice skates are currently in storage, but they’re somewhere in my house.
  • Made homemade cookies: Yes, yes, yes, though I don’t make fantastic ones or anything. I rather enjoy making pies and bringing them into work
  • Gone skinny dipping: No
  • Dyed your hair: Last night, in fact
  • Stolen Anything: Yes, a pen set, when I was in 6th grade, from a family friend’s store.
  • You sound boring: You have no idea

LAYER SEVEN Ever…

  • Played a game that required removal of clothing: no
  • If so, was it mixed company: no
  • Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: no
  • Been caught “doing something”: no – that would require ever having “done something”
  • Been called a tease: not to my face
  • Gotten beaten up: no
  • Shoplifted: see above
  • Changed who you were to fit in: isn’t that what junior high is all about?

LAYER EIGHT:

  • Age you hope to be married: I try not to box that up, lest I be disappointed, or unprepared
  • Numbers and Names of Children: none. I’d like a bunch, maybe all through adoption (depending on whether or not I can actually have kids – the jury’s still out on that)
  • Describe your Dream Wedding: casual, casual, casual. I want to be comfortable and have a good time. I don’t want to be stressed for 6 months prior to the event. I want to leave having been able to talk to everyone, eat good food, loosen up enough to dance, and enjoy myself. Other than that, could care less.
  • How do you want to die: Without pain.
  • Where you want to go to college: I went to Judson in Elgin, Illinois. I’m considering going to Hamline for my graduate work.
  • What do you want to be when you grow up: I used to know the answer to this. Amazing how fuzzy things get the older I get.
  • What country would you most like to visit: France, because I can speak the language, it has great history, and I could pretend to be Canadian so they wouldn’t hate me

LAYER NINE:

  • Number of drugs taken illegally: none
  • Number of people I could trust with my life: quite a few
  • Number of CDs that I own: Over 400 (it’s an expensive addition)
  • Number of piercing: ten. I know. My right ear has two on the lobe and one in the cartilage (which always has a small hoop in it). My left ear has three on the lobe and five in the cartilage. I rarely wear more than one or two earrings, though.
  • Number of tattoos: none – I could never decide exactly what I wanted, and since it’s permanent, I thought I’d wait until I could firm up plans
  • Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper?: Twice when I lived in Michigan for the outreach event our church held.
  • Number of scars on my body: One on my left knee when I fell down a flight of stairs staring at a boy, junior year of college. One on my left elbow when I fell in the gravel section of the church parking lot, freshman year of high school, during youth group. Many on my hands and arms from cats.
  • Number of things in my past that I regret: I don’t have any regrets. I like where I am now, and if any of those things were different, I wouldn’t be here today, the person I am today, and that’s a sad thought. So, there are things that definitely could have gone differently, and that would have been a good alternate ending, but I like the unwritten present.

Commie

Commie is the new name of my PDA, an iPAQ 3955. I didn’t want to name it Packer, in case people thought I was a Wisconsin Packers fan. Commie, however, has prompted me to attach this graphic to his exterior:

“When you pirate MP3s, you’re downloading Communism. A Reminder from the Recording Industry Association of America.” And you know Communism is EVIL.

My car’s name is Sly (as in Sylvester). He looks like this [picture removed].

Prior to that, I owned a 1992 Honda Civic LX in navy blue. He was never named, which was supposed to prolong his life, but it didn’t work.

There was Skippy [picture removed] who was both my first car and my fourth car. I drove Skippy in high school for two years, and then Alison got to drive him while I was in college. Dad then bought me Merle, [picture removed] who lasted many years, through college and into Michigan. Alison then owned Skippy, and sold him to me (Merle was given to a college professor). He had a computer problem, and I drove the church van for several months. Briefly I drove a really old truck. Skippy was fixed, and then promptly died again, when I bought my Civic. Which died on Labor Day 2003. And then I bought Sly.

Other things that have been named? Most recently, the squirrels that hang outside our apartment, Merle, Berle, Earl, and Girl.

I’m sure some of you have great stories – please share!

Wisdom Source: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
Today’s Wisdom: Proverbs 10:7, “We all have happy memories of the godly, but the name of a wicked person rots away.”

Swearing in front of mom

So I was reminded today of the first (and only, because I’m not stupid) time I swore in front of my parents. I was sixteen (or soon to turn it) and was learning how to drive. Dad had been teaching me on Saturdays mostly, in the parking lot of his store and then on the ride home (funny side note, he would recline his seat all the way and go to sleep, and I’d been driving not very long….) and sometimes out in the country (the official test of good driving – can you check out if the farmer has sowed his rows straight without going off the road?). But this time I was driving and BOTH parents were in the car. This flustered me to no end, and about 3 blocks from my house I was going to make a left turn into a parking lot, and there was a car coming, and instead of hitting the brake I slammed on the accelerator, while doing a left turn, hit the curb, took a chunk off the hubcap on the passenger’s side, and said “sh*t!” which was quickly followed by “sorry.” I’m not actually even sure they heard it, they could have been so confused and scared about what had just happened. But there it is.

One time, Mom was talking to Alison, and Mom called someone a b*tch, and Alison said, “ooh, can I say it too?” Alison was a senior in high school at this time.

Now then, anyone who wonders why I might be a little… conservative, shall we say… take this into account when judging me.

Listening to: Maroon 5, “Harder to Breathe” and “This Love”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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