Friday, January 28, 2005


i am a control freak. i'm also a little impatient. and i'm a tad extreme.


now the weekend can begin...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

i'm so whiny

wednesday, 1:05 p.m.

i took an abbreviated lunch today, running upstairs to grab a quick meal before the cafeteria shut down. since i came much after my development office co-workers, i sat instead with our librarian and an admissions officer. our conversation was pleasant, and both the librarian and admissions officer got a chance to share stories about their children's wedding hooplas, their travel plans for summer, etc. meanwhile, at the next table over - where half of my office sat - laughter erupted, the storyteller beamed and immediately, she delved into a new tale.

i don't miss that table. i mean, i'm sure i'll be back there tomorrow when we all leave for lunch together, but i get tired of it. i get tired of listening to this one person tell story after story while everyone else sits in silence. and yes, she IS funny, she IS a fantastic storyteller, but she does not excel in conversation. how often have i sat at that table and wondered what everyone else was thinking? at any given table, there is a wealth of personal joys, disappointments, etc. and so i hate when people don't get to share ... i think we love the sound of our own voices too much.

i'm guilty of it, i know. i subject all my friends to way too many tales of personal drama. what i need is some self-control. but beyond that, i hope when i'm at a table, people feel they can share their stories. any story. how many times have you, have i, sat down with someone and never actually LISTENED to them?

fine if the dialogue-dominating lunchtime lady from my office wants a stage and a microphone. but can't she leave the cafeteria tables to the rest of us?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


paul rusesabagina, mr. hotel rwanda himself, is coming to the school april 22nd. can i tell you how thrilled i am about this? anyhow ...

i had a board meeting tonight following a committee meeting following a day of phone calling and meeting planning. i feel accomplished. the people on my board are incredible - very thoughtful, warm, driven, honest. i just want to hang out with them.

anyway, i have nothing else to say. besides the fact that i'm tempted not to go to our church's weekly gathering tomorrow night because i'd rather sit at home with the regulars and watch "sports illustrated swimsuit model search" and "alias," there's little else that's on my mind. i keep sitting down to blog, but there's nothing.

no captivating thoughts. no astonishing insights. nothing.

BUT one thing there always is: a soundtrack spinning. and tonight nelly and tim mcgraw are serving as guest djs with "over and over again"

Cause its all in my head
I think about it over and over again
And I can’t keep picturing you with him
And it hurts so bad, yeah
Cause it’s on in my head
I think about it over and over again
I replay it over and over again
And I can’t take it yeah I can’t shake it

for real. what a good song. play on, djs.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

back to work

here's the thing.

i've always been a people person, always loved talking with people, laughing with people, listening to people, watching people. i love it. i can't imagine being in a job where i had no regular interaction with people. but my people person personality is ever evolving, and i have recently found that i need a quiet, alone space in order to do any serious work.

so today, i slipped into the little, windowless, stuffy 8' x 8' office, set up my computer, forwarded my phone line, turned up my music and got to work. and already i've accomplished more this morning than i have all week. i LOVE it. after the extreme rage i felt bolting through my veins yesterday at work, this is a MUCH needed change. of course, i can't stay in this office permanently (just yet), but knowing that i work better here without so much noise gives me a great dose of hope.

with that, back to work.

Monday, January 17, 2005

cake from scratch

the fact that it is already 2:24 p.m. bothers me. i love this day and it is going too fast. i woke up at 7:30 this morning, scoured cooking magazines, cookbooks, and the web for just the right recipes for tonight's dinner. i've been to jewel three times today, visited the local mercado where the owner and i discussed what could possibly substitute for rotel cheese in a tortilla soup (he suggested i visit a cheese specialty store ... i think i will instead return to the books for a new recipe), and am almost done making a cake (icing and all) from scratch. i caught the last 20 minutes of days of our lives (seriously, bring back the old belle! sean had so much more chemistry with her) and am now taking a break to update my blog.

i'm so thankful for this day of rest after a 4-day weekend with 23 high school students in Ann Arbor, Michigan. to be honest, i wouldn't have minded spending a few more days, or a week or two, more with them. i love them more than i can explain. they spent the weekend drafting resolutions to solve the world's ills at this model united nations conference. so smart, these kids. so talented, driven, focused. i'm so proud of them, even when they drive me up a wall. i have so many stories to share - i'll have to pick and choose the right ones. i'll blog 'em later.

in the meantime, it's back to the kitchen for me. i miss cooking, i miss slow mornings, i miss walking outside in the negative degree temps with bitter winds biting my face - i really do. it's days like this i wonder what would happen if i just up and quit my job and could actually live my life like i want to. i would win the lottery, adopt 10 kids, cook real meals, play outside, drink coffee and read sojourners and fabulous novels, take my 10 kids and their friends on trips around the world or around the city, visit all the museums i have yet to visit in chicago, volunteer, drop food off at peoples' homes, call my sisters, send care packages ... (sigh).

i'm so thankful for this moment of temporary pleasure.

back to my cake.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

thoughts on music and genocide

this morning i was reading adam's blog about soundtracks for his life. i love this idea. back in the day, when i thought my life was really so fascinating people would want to read & then create a movie based on my journals, i created a sidebar list of songs that should be played in the filming of any particular entry.

i imagined it like a scene from "my so-called life." like an episode when claire danes' character, angela, came home frustrated with jordan catallano, frustrated with her parents, and agonizing about who-knows-what, marched upstairs to her room and shut out the world with a slam of her bedroom door. the cranberries mourned her loneliness over the stereo while angela stared at the wall and let her mind wander.

i love music. besides fireworks, candles, fireflies and stars, there is little else that moves me like music does. it can capture everything you don't know how to express. songs like Meshell Ndegeocello's "Fool of Me," Fiona Apple's "Never is a Promise," and Over The Rhine's "Suitcase" reach me in places i forget even exist until i listen to them. what else can do that? i would never say no to music. ever.

and then last night, after watching "Hotel Rwanda" about the Rwandan genocide of '94, i sat in the theatre seat paralyzed. i could have stayed there for hours, silent. as the credits rolled, wyclef's rwanda song came on. and it made me a little sick to be honest.

the song's lyrics are great, and i like wyclef as much as the next person, but that song .... i don't know, something felt wrong about playing a song like that after that (i can't call it just a movie - it happened only 10 years ago! real lives! real people! ah, i can't talk about it). it felt like, "okay, now that you've seen a glimpse into this horrific atrocity, it's time to listen to this moving-forward music, let's all be peaceful and love each other, and collect your garbage and get out of the theatre." what?!?!?

kat and i came home, barely saying anything. and normally, i fall asleep to music, but last night, i mean, what do you play? here i am, lying in my comfy double bed in my spacious apartment in preppy wrigleyville, UNAFRAID, and i need a song to lull me to sleep. i'm not trying to make anybody feel bad, i just think, how did that happen? how did a million people die, chopped with machetes, raped, beaten, killed? how? how?

i sponsor a rwandan girl who is 11 years old, born june '93, the oldest of 5 kids. i wonder if her parents were hutus or tutsis. i wonder if they ran, i wonder if they hid, i wonder if her father killed anyone, i wonder if their family members were murdered, i wonder what she knows about the genocide. i wonder how many more genocides we'll face on earth before God calls everything to an end.

come soon.

Friday, January 07, 2005

8 ball in the corner pocket

within the past year, i've played pool twice. each game has taught me that, simply put, i suck at it. and while my usual attitude is to give up if i can't get it right the first time (as with ice skating and downhill skiing), my losses in pool only make me want to get better.

so last night, kat, abby, courtney and i dropped by the echoing chambers of the gingerman tavern on clark for some billiards. my guess is that the 10" of snow cover kept the regulars home last night, but whatever the reason, it left us two tables to choose from and gave me the freedom to get comfortable (i.e. look like an idiot) with the game.

roommates squared off against roommates, and kat and i were beaten pretty badly and quite easily. i practiced my pathetic skills on the remaining two striped balls, failed miserably, and tried batting at them with the cue until abby eventually knocked them in with her hand so we could be done and save everyone the embarrassment of being seen with me.

with half a beer to down yet, the four of us took a seat near the towering christmas tree lit up with small pink lights and silver bells. two hours later, we were wrapping up the best conversation of 2005.

i have to admit, i love it when a small group of people start talking about REAL things, REAL heart/mind/soul stuff. and last night, i felt like each of us brought something unique to the table - a viewpoint, a concern, a revelation, a question; whatever it was, we were safe with each other to express things that we've been taught are too dangerous to really consider, too difficult to grapple with, too uncomfortable to discuss.

the whole conversation felt like a really good pool game. everyone playing, taking a stab at something, carefully watching where the speaker moves the conversation, and responding in their own turn. it never felt like someone was speaking just to speak, but we were purposeful in identifying with each other, hearing each other out, and responding as prompted. sometimes i wish you could just bottle up conversations like those and pour them out on ones that aren't working as well.

last night, i walked away feeling how i had dreamed i might had i been the one to call the 8 ball in the corner pocket.

surprised. and satisfied.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

a new year

we're already four days into 2005. or 96 hours. or 5,760 minutes. or 345,600 seconds. however you look at it, it doesn't seem like much.

in 96 wee little hours, i've already managed to disappoint the resolution-maker within me. why she insists on coming is beyond my comprehension. at the end of each calendar year, the resolution-maker makes a visit and i let her in, unwilling to put up a fight (rather, i CAN NOT put up a fight as all my energy has been exhausted digesting esther price dark chocolate caramel pecans). she asks that i record these resolutions, these ideas on how SHE could better my life if only i would muster up the courage to commit. i always write them down, smiling as i do so - for even if i know they'll never get accomplished, the ideas are rather dreamy and serene and it is nicer to be in a make-believe world when one is too bloated and full of chocolate than to pull on a parka and walk a few miles with the dog.

pen in hand, i oblige the resolution-maker and shorthand her dictation. i NEVER write it in my journal. that is a fool's error. if you don't wish to be held accountable, don't write it down on a piece of paper you'll ever come across again.

i say this because this holiday, i evidently over-indulged myself with the smorgasbord of dark chocolate forever before me and - gasp! - the resolution-maker took advantage of my sugar-fueled high and fooled me into writing in my journal. this is precisely why i KNOW that i have failed my resolutions.

until i find a way to tear out this page neatly, i am stuck re-reading my resolutions (and no, i can't just ignore it. i KNOW it's there. so i am refusing that advice. thank you anyway). and what i find most surprising about these resolutions is not that i've already failed a number of them - really, if you know me, you understand failure is not beyond my grasp - but that they've made me hopeful. and not in a sugar-junkie, happy-bloated-stomach kind of way, but in a could-i-really-do-this, maybe-my-future-is-so-bright-i-should-finally-invest-in-a-pair-of-shades-that-provide-more-substantial-UV-protection-than-my-4-year-old-visor kind of way.

of course, don't check in with me about this come january 1, 2006. i promise by then i'll have found a way to destroy any and all evidence of these supposed 2005 resolutions.

in the meantime, here's to the success of YOUR resolutions, fool as you were to write them down.