~Memories~

I’ve recently gotten back in touch with some people I knew when I lived in Michigan. That was… a lifetime ago (OK, 8 years this December). I don’t think I can adequately express how happy I am to be back in touch with these people. My time in Michigan, while short (17 months), was rough, and these are the people who were right there in it with me (actually, more so, as I was really rather peripheral to the whole deal). We lost touch after we all moved away (yes, multiple people moved away from the… situation), and that was understandable (who wants to be reminded of all that? sometimes it’s just easier to leave it in the past). But, I really do cherish these people, and getting in touch with them, being able to look at their pictures and find out what’s going on in their lives (it is Facebook, afterall), well, it’s no substitute for the hug I want to give them, but it will definitely do. I am so happy to learn that their lives have been so blessed in the last eight years (lots of babies, some marriages, people going through high school and graduating from college – yes, some former youth group kids).

I wanted to share some photos with you, but that was back loooong before the days of digital cameras, so I don’t have much in Flickr, but I do have a few (my apologies for the crappiness – they’re scans). Enjoy!

dumc_sanctuary
Mom took this one sometime in the first month I lived there – the sanctuary of the church I worked at. My office is through a door off the choir loft to the right (it was also the church library – ah, the joys of small churches).
dumc_girls
Me with some of my youth group girls. Those middle two are ones I just got back in touch with. Yes, I had some bad at-home dye jobs in the late 90s and early 2000s.
dumc_van
Me in the church van (that I drove for six months, kind of without permission, while my car was broken). I think I look so happy because I’m obviously having a good hair day. However, I just realized that I think I’m wearing overalls in this picture, and am now a bit horrified to remember that I used to do that. At least there wasn’t a plaid flannel shirt to go with….

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 Prince Charming over my other options, regardless of what that means. That doesn’t mean I can’t miss some things about my current living situation.

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.)
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.
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.
Prince Charming and I actually discussed this over the weekend. I have lived with this makeup shelf since Amanda 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 Amanda 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.

This has really been the part of my current living arrangement I like the most,
even though it doesn’t get used 8 months of the year,
and I’ve barely had time to be in my hammock this summer with all the wedding and moving stuff.
Still, it is a nice little haven when I have the chance, and I will miss it.
Lily
This is, I think, the first flower Prince Charming ever gave me.
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.
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 Bryan 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.

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.

This is the neighborhood cat (who is clearly tagged and lives right next door) who is allowed to wander aimlessly. The problem with this?
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 Matea. They look nearly identical, except that Matea 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…

Storm Damage
Storm Damage
Storm Damage

Assorted Wednesday-Friday randomness

I am feeling much better today. Late yesterday afternoon I started feeling quite good – specifically, I could freely breathe again. That was nice. Amazing what some good sleep and relaxation can do. I think the sun helped too, since it was shining both days right into the house. I miss the sun. I will like it very much when I see it more often, and when I can walk outside to get coffee on my break. But, two days at home was about all I could take of the dog, who mopes about the house sadly waiting for her owner to come home, occasionally dragging herself to the front door to sigh and whine. My goodness – you thought I was whiny? I ain’t got nothin’ on this dog.

However, this morning did not have such a great start. I woke up only to find that I’d unknowingly slept with someone over the night. Or should I say something. I had a spider bite on my right ankle, four behind my knee, one on my thigh, and one on the front of my knee. Bastard. Crawled up my pants and everything. I don’t do that on a first date, let alone with someone I’m not on a first-name basis with.

Then, I nearly slipped on some ice outside on my way to the bus. Funny, I’d walked that part of the sidewalk yesterday and it was fine. But apparently the water re-froze overnight. I glared at the house and thought maliciously about their landlords. I’m sure that had no effect whatsoever.

Then there were problems with my bus pass, like the fact that I dropped it behind the thing while trying to use it, and then it didn’t read correctly, and it was just like, “man, it’s one of those mornings.” Needless to say, while I was trying to have a good attitude, it seemed as though the universe was telling me I should have stayed at home. I knew, however, that the universe was wrong about that.

I am sick and tired of watching people on TV that live on the east coast complain about how cold it is there. It was 17* there this morning, and it was “bitterly cold.” Um…? Hello. Do you see Minnesotans on the news complaining when it’s below zero? No. (Do I complain about it, yes, but that’s totally different. The Today Show is not paying any attention to my plight, and that’s fine. I don’t really expect anyone to care about my feelings of the cold.) Boo-hoo for New York. Wimps.

While I was home, I was actually slightly productive in my life. True, I got some good napping in, as well as some quality lounging-in-bed-watching-movies time. But, I also did some homework (including getting a 10/10 on a quiz), cleaned the chair off (though it will only get piled full of stuff again), unloaded and loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, threw away old food from the fridge, took out the recycling, took care of the cat litter, and whitened my teeth. I also went to the co-op (twice) and bought all sorts of healthy foods: bananas, apples, a butternut squash, a yam and a sweet potato (to determine once and for all which one of the two it is that I like), asparagus, baby artichokes, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, milk, eggs, cheeses, and English muffins. I also bought granola and sunflower seeds and fresh strawberries and yogurt. My plans was to eat good foods, that I might be healthier.

And I’ll have you know, I am becoming an expert at cooking asparagus. Don’t ask me what I did wrong the first time (back when I lived in Michigan), but I’m not having any problems now. Of course, when cooked up with mushrooms and served with butter, salt and pepper, pretty much anything would taste good. (Things that would not taste good still include: eggplant, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes. Lest anyone get the idea that I might eat such disgusting foods if they were served in this manner. Not gonna happen.)

The sweater that I was working on, I finished the 13 inches that I needed to, and then started and finished both sleeves, attached them, and am now working on the next 5 inches (I’m halfway done). Then there’s the row with the holes for ribbon, and then 5 more rows, and then it’s done. So I can definitely be done by Spring Break (which is the 19th). I’m floored that I was able to complete a sweater so quickly. Of course, it’s just a simple 2×2 rib, and short-sleeved, and a wide neck, but still… impressive. Hopefully it fits.

Plans for the weekend include homework, hopefully finishing the baseboard in Prince Charming’s bathroom, and more homework. (That was Friday-Saturday-Sunday, in that order, in case you were wondering.) Prince Charming has some stuff that will take him away from the house / require him to work on stuff instead of entertain me. Which is fine, since I have a paper to write this weekend for US History and about a zillion pages to read for my Contemporary World History class. And a mid-term on Tuesday for World History. And then there’s the sweater…. So you see, it’s all good. And hopefully next weekend we’re both much more free and can have some fun (it might even be nice enough outside to go for a walk or something!) I think we’re going to the church again on Sunday as well, which should be good.

Five on Friday: Stress Relief

  1. What stresses you out? Things that I let have that affect on me. Most of the time, when I am very stressed, it’s relatively within my control to stop letting it have that power over me. That’s the kind of outward stress stuff that other people see. It’s the stuff that others can’t necessarily see that’s the hard stuff, because that I have very little control over.
  2. How well do you cope with stress? I think that depends who you ask.
  3. What techniques do you use to relieve stress? If it’s the little stuff, I just rant and rave and talk to people and generally get it out there, as well as talk too fast and too much, and pace a lot. The big stuff… often I clean, obsessively, at inappropriate times. When I lived in Michigan, often I’d scour my kitchen or bathroom at 2 am. Last Tuesday, while Alison was in labor, parts of my house got very clean.
  4. When was the last time you did something for yourself to relax? Um… I watch a lot of TV and veg out – I try to give myself time each day to relax and be myself and not have something to do.
  5. What is your favorite comfort food? Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha if at work. Hot Cocoa if at home.

Thanks for the memories

As of about an hour ago, I have officially lived in Minnesota for 5 years. (I tend to have these grand, life-changing moments happen on memorable dates, but that’s another post.) December 1, 2001 I woke up at Dad’s house in Illinois after having spent the day before loading my UHaul up and driving it from Detroit to his house (with his help, of course), my car in tow. We hopped back on the road and drove to Eden Prairie, arrived at the church-that-remains-nameless, met a youth group full of kids that helped unload stuff into my office, then into my temporary housing, and finally into my storage unit. Then we called Alison, went out to eat at Chevy’s (because, having only lived in Minnesota for 2 hours, the best I could do was find the Eden Prairie mall), and started the slow process of assimilating myself to a new life. The next day was Sunday, whereupon I woke up and went to my new church for the first time, was warmly greeted by all, and ate a lot of Twinkies, among other things. I was also gifted a feather boa (in honor of our then-governor Jesse Ventura), a book “How To Speak Minnesotan” and a Twins baseball cap. The baseball cap is the only thing I have left, since the others were either given back (boa) or away to Goodwill because they reminded me of that church.

It’s been almost 3 years since I’ve seen anyone from that church – during the bus strike of 2004, I saw the church secretary at a concert, and I have actually healed from what they put me through (it helped that both pastors moved out of state). I don’t regret the decision to move here or to take the job, because that’s the way life goes. It got me to Minnesota, including paying my moving expenses, and, despite the cold weather that presently looms, I like living here. My life is here now. It has long since felt like home, and Michigan only felt that way for the brief time after I acclimated myself but before the sh*t hit the fan.

Tuesday Twosome: It’s all about location…

  1. Name two things you love about the city/town you live in: I love that it’s a large city with a neighborhood feel, residential and mid-size-town like, but with all the amenities of the major metropolitan area that we are. I also love… well, I just really like my neighborhood. I’ve been here over 3 years now (2 different apartments), and I really feel quite comfortable here.
  2. Name two things you dislike about the city/town you live in: In my neighborhood particularly I feel a lack of good places to eat. Also, downtown has nothing going on outside of the 9-5 M-F routine.
  3. Name two cities/towns you would live in if you couldn’t live where you are now: I looooove San Francisco, but could never afford to live there. Also, the western part of Michigan, on the lake, is really nice.
  4. Are you a “true local” (born and raised) or a transplant of the city/town you live in? I am a transplant, though in 16 days I will have been here 5 years, and it really feels like home (though I will stay say I’m going “back home” when traveling to Illinois).
  5. Do you like to leave your city/town when you have a long weekend or do you like to stay home? I spend almost all of my weekends at Prince Charming’s house in the suburbs, including long weekends. I don’t think it really counts as leaving, since it’s only 13 miles away and I’d be there if it was a long weekend or not.

Four For Friday

  1. Faith: Nearly half of all Americans are not sure God exists, according to a poll that also found divisions among the public on whether God is male or female or whether God has a human form and has control over individual or worldly events. The survey conducted by Harris Poll found that 42 percent of U.S. adults are not “absolutely certain” there is a God compared to 34 percent who felt that way when asked the same question three years ago. What do you think? Does God exist, and if so, do you think God has control over events?
  2. Work: Do you socialize with co-workers outside of the office? Goodness, no. I like to believe my co-workers don’t exist outside of work.
  3. Holiday Travel: Are you traveling for the upcoming holidays or are you expecting family and friends to come to your home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas? Lordy, there was drama around scheduling Thanksgiving this year. With Alison not being able to travel, there was all of a sudden another set of family that we had to plan for, so trying to fit three family celebrations in nearly drove me loopy. We are trying to be proactive about Christmas. For the first time in a long time, I’m not planning on going back to Illinois for Christmas. Actually, I’ve never not gone. One year that I lived in Michigan I took the train on Christmas Day, and that was the second time I’d ever missed Christmas Eve at my grandparents’ (there was once when we were little kids and it was negative 20 out or something, and Mom refused to let that go down). If I think about it too much, I’ll get sad that I won’t be there this year. But it’s just not practical. Hopefully next year.
  4. You Choose: Which would you rather have…a personal assistant or a personal trainer? Personal trainer. First of all, a personal assistant would have to be trained to organize, plan, etc, just the way I like it, so it just doesn’t seem worth the effort. Secondly, a personal trainer might be the only way that I ever eat healthy and exercise. I’m just really very poorly disciplined when it comes to those areas.

Sigh

I’m trying very hard to work late tonight – I’ve got some hours to make up from when I am in class. However, this is very hard to do when I don’t have any work to do. There’s a bit I have at the moment, but I don’t think it’ll last me as long as I’d like it to. We’ll see.

Had a nice weekend. Prince Charming picked me up right after work and we drove to his mom’s cabin in Wisconsin. We had a nice time – it was dark when we got there, and cold Saturday morning, but the sun was shining. The nearby town is really cute – Prince Charming bought some candy and fudge to share, and a candle for me (someone had given his mom one as a gift, and we liked it enough to take a second trip back into town to get one). We drove back late on Saturday night.

Sunday, his dad came over and we all drove up to Mom’s (that’s 75% of parental units in 2 days!) to pick up her couch and some tables. Just imagine us driving back from Blaine in the station wagon with a blue couch strapped to the top, and you can see what kind of fun we had. The rest of the day was spent watching football (or ignoring football while knitting, if you’re me).

Class this morning was good – I’m getting better at speaking up in class. It’s hard sometimes, if only because with nine students and over half of them too shy to speak up, I don’t want to be the only one talking. But someone has to make the other guy shut up (because until I started sharing, he was the only one who would talk).

I will spend a few sentences to say that five years ago today, I was sitting at home in Michigan watching the Today Show, getting dressed to go to my part-time job (on my day off from church), when it all went down. I remember being quite dumbfounded, and nearly late for work because it was so surreal. We ended up closing the store at about eleven, because no one was coming in. I didn’t really have anything else to do, so I took advantage of the free time and did my grocery shopping. Not many other people out and about. I thought a little bit about the guy I knew who lived in New York (and was thankful when, several weeks later, he emailed me and told me what that day was like for him), but didn’t really freak out. It was a weird time in my life, anyways, since I was already in the process of interviewing for the job that eventually moved me to Minnesota, and many of my close friends had already left the church.

Alright… back to work. Or, at least, whatever I can scrounge up to do.

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 Alison, 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 Prince Charming, and before we had SNB regularly scheduled where I knew I’d see Amanda and Liz 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

Coming up with titles all the time is really hard

Let’s get caught up, shall we? Tuesday night we went to a parade in Northeast. It was actually pretty cool for a local/neighborhood parade, and really long. I mean… unbelievably long. That would be my only complaint (other than kids running amok in the street and people crossing the street between floats). It may have been longer than the the Thanksgiving Parade I saw in Detroit with floats and Santa and the Rockettes and Frankie Muniz and… some teeny-bopper singer. Then we got some food… Liz and I got gyros (mine was from this sweet old man in a questionable trailer but he was so sweet I could totally get over that), and Amanda had cheese curds (“best ever,” according to her). Went back to Amanda’s and discovered her apartment in a state of disarray I didn’t know she was capable of. But that’s what happens when you’re packing to move, right?

What else have I been doing? Um, work has been incredibly boring. I’ve been wavering between suffering over nothing to do, and suffering through Access projects. Both have been boring. I’m almost done spray-painting for a while… the next project will involve actually taking the drawers out of my dresser, and that’s a big commitment (though hopefully good motivation to get it done quickly). Nikki came over and gave me her deposit and application, and was nearly bouncing with joy as she left. She’s excited to move in, which is good, good, good.

That was Tuesday, and the same night Bryan came home (for the first time since early Friday, but it will become apparent why shortly) and told me that Monday at work he got notice of being laid off. (So he went “home” to his fiancee, which is probably what I’d do, or want to do, be comforted by someone I loved…. Unfortunately, last time I was nearly laid off it wasn’t nearly that traumatic to me, and when I was fired I was pretty much alone in the world and had to get by on phone consolation, by Dad nonetheless, since he was the only one who answered his phone, until I could drive back to Illinois for the much-needed love. Anyways….) Apparently it’s politically-based, or so he thinks, and basically his department was told to cut $XX from their budget, and since he’s only been working there two months, it’s him. He has four more months before he’s without a job though, so…. I feel bad, because he’s gone through so much change recently. From what I can gather, he moved in May only to have that situation fall through, so he moved into our place in June, and he started this job in… April or May, only to have that not go so well either. Makes ya long for steady ground, something unchanging.

Also makes me glad that, relatively speaking, my life has been on steady ground for quite some time. I’ve almost reached the two-year marker at my current house. I’ve been at my job for… three and a half years, in Minnesota for four and a half. I’ve been friends with Amanda and Liz for going on four years (come September-ish). Prince Charming and I have made it to 10 months. I know I had a post just recently about all the changes in my life, and so maybe this just seems contradictory to that. But looking over that list, I just want to say, “melodramatic, much?” Really, while some of those things were… emotionally harrowing at the time, it was only because… they were all that was going on. Kind of how much a papercut hurts, unless you have a broken bone, in which case you can barely feel the papercut (or I’m guessing, having never broken a bone, but I’ve complained a lot about papercuts).

Prince Charming is bringing over a picnic dinner and we’re going to go for a nice walk in the woods down by the river in Mendota. Some nice peace and quiet, some calm. I was really feeling the need for that earlier this week, and while I’m not feeling nearly so… frazzled as I was then, it’ll still be good and refreshing, and the closest thing to a vacation I might get until we go camping.

Prince Charming’s hosting brunch on Saturday, and Amanda and Liz are coming, and potentially some other friends. I’ll officially get older that day (though, really, we’re all older every moment that we’re alive). That afternoon our plans are to go to Stillwater – nothing concrete, other than I remember when Amanda and I drove through it looked like a fun place to window-shop for an afternoon. Antiques and… stuff you can use to clutter-up your living space (I think those are called knick-knacks). Dinner out, with the possibility of White Wine Kelly visiting…. Sunday, Liz and I are celebrating our birthdays together, as usual. There will be pool-sitting (I’ve heard rumors that the pool is heated, so there might even be swimming) and ice cream-eating and dinner (margaritas?) and gifts exchanged. Amanda and Prince Charming are celebrating with us, so it should be a fun time for all.

Speaking of, just two more days until my much-anticipated gift from Prince Charming. While I’d love anything he gave me (it’s the thought that counts, ya know), there has been much mystery surrounding this one, and hints, and friends questioned, and… you get the idea. I haven’t gotten today’s hint, but yesterday’s hint was:

It’s something that you and I talked about on our first date.

OK, that’s totally not helpful. Our first date was nearly 5 hours long, and we talked about any number of things. The only one I can remember is shoes, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t get me shoes (though, technically, I suppose that would fit most, if not all, of the clues). Also, he corrected Amanda’s earlier correction and now I’m just confused (he said, “[they] don’t know everything about what you’re getting.” So, that could eliminate my idea of what I thought it was from the pool, but I’m not sure. We’ll just have to wait until Saturday to find out, won’t we.

And with that, maybe I’ll get back to work. Or I’ll try…. there’s not much to do (that I want to do, that is).

Miles walked since 6/1: 18.2
Currently listening to: Phones (everyone else is at lunch)
Peeve of the moment: … currently not annoyed… never mind… co-workers singing Christmas songs in June.
What I’m wondering: why the St Paul Farmer’s Market can’t be as cool as the one in Minneapolis (totally jealous)

OK, now, seriously

This is like the third time I’ve gone to Blogger to post and then forgotten what I was going to write.

I had a dream last night that I was getting my hair highlighted and went almost completely blond. OK, a pale strawberry-blond. And I looked good. I’m not sure the dream-interpretation websites have anything to say about that. I think it just means that after the sun I got last weekend, I should get some more so I don’t have to worry that my roots are growing in darker brown.

What was I going to say in the first place?

Oh, right. So I realized something last night that was very… positive and self-affirming. I used to be a very trusting person, always believing the best in others (OK, not all others) even when evidence to the contrary was front-and-center. I always believed someone could be a better person, had great potential, had the best of intentions (even if their actions didn’t seem like it). I assumed people told me the truth, presented themselves and situations truthfully, and, you know, were basically good.

And then, between what happened at my church in Michigan (with the lies and the deceit) and my first church here in Minnesota (with the unspoken expectations and… just bad stuff)… I didn’t feel that way anymore. I stopped trusting people outright. They had to earn it. I stopped (as much as I could) wearing my heart on my shoulder. It takes me a long longer to warm up to people, not hold everything in suspect.

What I realized last night, when thinking about Nikki moving in and how much I just want her as a friend, was that based on, what, an hour talking to her, I’d totally accepted her and trusted her and believed the best.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m back! It may not seem like that big of a deal to you, but it means… I’m over it. And it’s taken me a really long time. There’s no shortcut on a journey like that. But I happen to have had some people in my life who stuck with me (some with whom relationships even got stronger), and some new people in my life who were OK with where I was at and accepted me as me, and who ended up being trustworthy and deserving of being believed in.

So, doing the math… it only took 4 years to get over the unpleasantness that was my first church in Minnesota. Granted, I only worked there for 4 1/2 months…. It was always really hard for me to get over guys, too, even when they’d just been crushes and I changed my feelings for them, or I broke up with them (the number of times a guy has actually broken up with me is startlingly small, compared to the opposite situation – the ratio is way messed up).

My heart’s like an elephant. OK, that didn’t come out right. What’s the parallel phrase for “memory like an elephant”?

So, really, this is quite monumental. Not… shocking, like it didn’t happen in an instant – it’s been gradual and unless someone was paying attention, they probably wouldn’t notice over the course of time. If I had a therapist, I’m pretty sure he/she’d be quite proud of me. So instead, since my therapist is basically this blog, talking to myself, and good friends… y’all can be proud of me, and I can be proud of me. (Because if you can’t brag about your accomplishments on your own blog, where can you?)

The Many Things About Me Meme

Stolen from KathyHowe

Ten Favorite:

  1. Color: green makes me happy. So does brown.
  2. Food: Chocolate, hands-down. Preferably in ice cream form.
  3. Band: Eh, I don’t listen to a lot of music these days.
  4. Movie: Price & Prejudice – can’t wait for my copy to show up!
  5. Sport: Wacky Ball. Yeah, I know it’s made-up, but it’s so cool.
  6. Season: Fall – its the colors and the changing and the season of college brochures and the overall romance in the air. (Yeah, dead leaves do it for me.)
  7. Day of the week: Saturday.
  8. Ice Cream Flavor and why? Chocolate. I just discovered Ben & Jerry’s Brownie Batter, and that’s fantastic.
  9. Time of the Day: From about 7-10 at night. I’m awake, there’s often nothing of importance to do so I can relax, and I’ve usually eaten by then so I’m full and content. And I’m never at work [anymore].
  10. This one is missing so I guess I’ll add my own– Sandalwood.

Nine Current:

  1. Current Mood: Sleepy (my eyes are really dry, too, so it kinda looks like I’ve been crying.
  2. Taste: Good & Plenty (black licorice)
  3. Clothes: Cream cords, brown turtleneck sweater, brown shoes, brown & orange striped socks.
  4. Mousepad: work-related old retro one, found while we were moving offices
  5. Finger/Toenail Color: Fingers are naked, toes are taupe-ish.
  6. Time: 10:29 am.
  7. Crush: Water – I’ve been so dehydrated lately, it’s been absolutely divine to imbibe.
  8. Thought: I wish I’d stayed home from work today.
  9. Love: Prince Charming

Eight Firsts:

  1. First Best Friend: Mary
  2. Love: Mike, just not in that way.
  3. Screen Name: Redcleo.
  4. Pet: Alexander, a gorgeous short-hair tabby cat.
  5. Crush: That lasted more than a day or two? Brian W in 7th grade.
  6. Piercing: Ears. It was DadAlison’s idea that I could get them pierced for my 10th birthday.
  7. Word: I have no idea. I haven’t heard that story. All I know is that I didn’t really talk much until I talked in complete sentences, at the age of 3
  8. Car: Skippy, the Dodge Colt 2-door hatchback. He was a sexy beast.

Seven Last:

  1. Last Cigarette: A few weeks ago on a Tuesday on my back porch with
  2. Drink: Tall glass of water.
  3. Car Ride: Home from Amanda’s house on Sunday night.
  4. Text Message: Sometime around Christmas from the airline with updated flight information.
  5. Movie Seen: Can’t remember. Obviously nothing special. I’m sure there were at least parts of movies seen this weekend, but I’m spacing out here.
  6. Phone Call: To Alison last night, to catch up and find out if she’s pregnant (she’s not) and generally bond.
  7. Song Listened to: “Baby I Love Your Way” by Big Mountain on the Reality Bites Soundtrack – hey, it’s what popped up on shuffle.

Six Have You Ever:

  1. Dated one of your best friends: No, though it almost happened once.
  2. Broken the Law: The state trooper in Wisconsin seemed to think so, and evidenced it by giving me a $180 ticket for speeding.
  3. Been arrested: No, though I was threatened with it in the afore-mentioned.
  4. Skinny dipped: Absolutely not.
  5. Been on TV: No, though I have had an article written up about me in a newspaper, complete with picture.
  6. Kissed someone you didn’t know: No, though I have been kissed by a stranger, most notably at the Halloween charity event for ‘s employer.

Five Things:

  1. What you’re wearing: Same as earlier (it’s only been 10 minutes and I’m at work – not much of a chance for a wardrobe change).
  2. What you did last night: Went for coffee with Amanda and Liz and knit, talked to Alison on the phone, watched CSI reruns, read, and fell asleep.
  3. You can hear right now: Nothing, it’s blissfully quiet in the office today.
  4. You can’t live without: Target.
  5. You do when you’re bored: Eat, watch TV, sleep. I’m a pretty boring person.

Four States You Have Been To:

  1. California – visited San Jose, San Diego, lived in San Francisco the summer of 1999.
  2. Massachusetts – May 2004 for Sarah’s wedding.
  3. Tennessee – several times for mission trips, once for a conference
  4. I’m just going to throw all the other ones here, since I’d rather not leave them out (the joy of family vacations as a kid) – Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota (duh), Iowa, South Dakota, Washington, Arizona, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, New York, Florida, Georgia… maybe another one or two.

Three People You Can Tell Anything To:

  1. Alison
  2. Betsy
  3. Prince Charming

Two Choices:

  1. Black or White: White
  2. Winter or Summer: Summer – I want sun and warmth and lazy vacations.

One Person You would Do Anything For:

  1. Anything? Yeah, no. There are a few people I’d do almost anything for though.

Play along if you’d like…

Five On Friday – Wall Flowers

  1. What is the wallpaper on your computer? I just changed it to a b&w photo of a little kid with an umbrella jumping in a puddle.
  2. What color are the walls in the room you’re in right now? I’m at work, so they’re mostly white. There are a few that they “cleverly” painted random colors, but the colors they chose are hideous (well, not necessarily on their own, but the combination is atrocious).
  3. Describe some of the wallpapers you have lived with. I can’t remember the last time I actually had wallpaper, or really any of them. When I lived in Michigan I put up a border in the guest bedroom that was sunflowers (it matched the bedspread and curtains).
  4. Would you ever consider using wallpaper to decorate? What would it look like? Mainly no, though the textured stuff you can buy and then paint might be cool if used right.
  5. If you could use anything not specifically intended for walls (no paint, wallpaper, etc) to spruce up your walls, without any nasty consequences, what would you use? I’d love to do a huge decoupage wall (just one, though, or else it’d be too much and I’d just get dizzy all the time) of things cut out from magazines and photos of friends and… so very high school, I know.

Monday Madness

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

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

Question Of The Day

Do you believe in fate?

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

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

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

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

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

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