Monday, April 25, 2005

selective memory disease

i leave tomorrow again. this time for new york city. i admit, for all my frustration and confusion about what to do career-wise, i do have a pretty incredible job. i get to travel and meet cool people all the time. i really am thankful that this position ever came to me.

i remember the summer of 2002, moving to chicago before i had any idea where i might work, how i'd make a living and afford the rent of my swanky little flat i shared with brenda. i can still smell that summer ... it was chicago air: the lake breezes and the cool, spring air wafting right through the exhaust of traffic on the main drive outside our apartment and in through my windows.

brenda was gone for the first two weeks of our move to chicago, finishing up a teaching job in madison. so i spent a lot of time in my bedroom journaling, trying to figure out if i was an idiot for coming to a city without a job or a gaggle of girlfriends or promises of any tangible good thing. i rarely sat in the family room. i don't like sitting in family rooms alone. the name alone implies the necessity of company. and i didn't have any friends yet. and brenda wasn't gonna be there. so if i wasn't walking around the neighborhood or biking to the lake, i was sitting in my bedroom, waiting, i guess. yeah, waiting is probably the best word for it.

i look back on that summer as a peaceful one, though i'm sure my journals would cry out otherwise. it's crazy how we can obscure details in our rear view mirrors. my girlfriends will tell me that the summer of 2000 was an awfully difficult one for me, but i remember it as one of the best. i have a selective memory. it's true. that's why i journal as much as i do, so someday when my children are trying to tell me, "yes, mom, we did live in awful, cold, lonely greenland for 10 years," i'll have my journal to verify that horrible truth (should it ever happen to be so).

this selective memory disease also strikes with numbers. but with numbers, it's more like a subconsciously formed retaliation selective memory disease. see, my mother (and i love you, mom) loves numbers like no one else i know. you could be discussing anything and she'll find a way to bring numbers into it. take for example a conversation i might have with her on the way home for the gym. the number of questions here is innumerable ... for instance:

how far are you from home? in miles? in minutes?
how many times a week do you go to the gym?
could you take a bus and what number bus would that be?
how many people are out on the street at that time of night?
how long was your workout? and how many machines did you use?
how much is your gym membership again? and how many months did you have to commit to?

now, i mean no criticism of her. but you know - and please, those of you who can relate, please comment to affirm me so my mother doesn't think i'm the one cruel child on the planet and god had to send me to her - you know how when your parent(s) asks about certain things that you just don't think are important, you find that you make a specific effort to give no value to those things whatsoever in your own life? i mean, i bought 3 new shirts on saturday and i know i got a good deal on them which i happily shared with everyone on saturday, but now, i honestly couldn't tell you how much they were or how much i got them for. because i've pointedly forgotten. i know if i ever have children they'll surely comment on how i can never remember any numbers. and they'll assail me with questions like:

how can you forget what time i get home from school?
why do you always get dinner reservations for 5 when there are 6 of us total?
mom, it's my 14th birthday. why are there only 9 candles on the cake?
uh, mom, remember how i've been asking you for $3 every day for school lunch? yeah, well, the 25 cents you've been taping to the inside of my bookbag is really not covering much ...
mom, you gave me a bad cell phone number and i've been trying to reach you since this morning when i got back to the school at 9 a.m. after my week-long vacation in france that you still owe the school $1200 for. it's 3 p.m. where ARE you?

i need medicine. someone help me quick. i need a cure for my selective memory disease.

one last thing: mom, you're the best. happy early, early mother's day. i love you.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


here's a new thing: i love my church. i love that saturday night means sunday morning is coming soon. i love that i get excited about being with other believers. i love that my whole self comes ready to learn, that my heart shows up soft.

this has all been a long time coming.

jon, a pastor at the church, spoke this morning about worship. why we do it, what it looks like, where our hearts are at. he spoke about churches he goes to where people are jumping up and down, dancing, raising their hands and he spoke about our church - the polar opposite. acknowledging that neither is better than the other, he said he was looking for a place in the middle. i know jon and i are probably on the same page, and my objection to his statement is probably just all in the semantics, but i think i want the freedom of jumping, of dancing, of raising my hands, of sitting when i want, of quiet, of loudness, and that i don't want to find a happy medium. i think freedom is what we both want. and freedom doesn't come from searching for a middle ground. i think freedom comes when you give yourself completely over to god, when you are unashamedly his, when you are fully engaged in seeking god.

lots more to say about it, but probably not blogging material. besides, my heart is ready for some out-loud worship, gospel-syle. after incredible conversations yesterday with my roommate kat and friends allison and allie about the global community, international accountability, etc., my heart rested on micah 6:8 before i fell asleep last night: "and what does the lord require of you? to act justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with your god." and to think on those things that god loves - peace-making, people-loving, caring for the poor, feeding the hungry, you name it, man, it just makes you love god even more. you can't help but be overcome with what an amazing god he is.

alleluia. you can hear the countless echoed amens.

Monday, April 18, 2005

by the numbers

a monday morning perspective:

1 cup of coffee bought after making a promise to myself not to buy any coffee this morning
1 nick drake cd downloaded to my i-tunes (thank you, co-worker)
2 people i've "killed" off in the magazine i put together for work
3 germans and 1 american who stayed at our place this weekend
3 guys who gave me the cold shoulder this morning at breakfast
4 pimples i notice before anything else when i look in the mirror
7 pieces of chocolate remaining in my desktop candy jar
10 minutes it currently takes me to run a mile
20 quarters i lost on 2 loads of laundry yesterday
23 hours before i leave for DC

179 dollars i spent on clothing this weekend after a nearly two-month shopping hiatus
20178 days left on earth if i make it to my 80th birthday
1 prayer of inexpressible thanks that god is bigger than me
countless echoed amens.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


saturday afternoon, 4:27 p.m. ray charles singing soulfully through the speakers, sunshine pouring through the windows. these are the moments i wish i could bottle up and drink as doses of hope in bleaker times.

mmm, gonna go soak it up. hope it's beautiful where you are, too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

see mary run.

yesterday's rainy, windy conditions beckoned us inside the Y last night. willingly obliging (hello, i pay $40 a month to belong here) and eager to sport my matching workout clothes (cute outfits do wonders for gym enthusiasm), i entered the Y fully prepared to take on a hard-core walk.

yes, i walk. i don't run. i don't like running. it makes me feel rushed.
okay, no, that's not true.
but running requires so much focus that you don't get to enjoy life.
fiiiine, no, that's not really true either. it's just that i've been trying to distance myself from running snobs, from all those people who CAN run and DO run and then start running MARATHONS because they're CRAZY.

but i certainly don't need to run a marathon to prove myself to anyone. so i walk fast. real fast. fast enough that my speed on the treadmill is often the same as the person running next to me. ha ha.

okay, go ahead and diagnose it. the real issue here is the combination of extreme competitiveness and stealth jealousy. a deadly mix. i'm not saying i haven't noticed this before, but it finally sank in last night during my super-walk on the life fitness machine. i was thinking about a conversation i had with my sister, and how her husband told her that maybe running would be more fun for her if she didn't start off on a sprint, that maybe she'd enjoy it more if she paced herself. i rolled that over in my head. and then i thought about another friend, someone who wasn't an avid runner in college but who's recently started taking on every single possible run/race/half-marathon/marathon in the state of wisconsin. for real. how did he just start doing that?

i walked faster.

if it's all about pacing, and if anyone can do it, then i should be able to do it. i mean, old people run marathons. c'mon. i can do this. that is, of course, if i wanted to ...

and then, as if on cue, blur blasts through my headphones with "song 2." and i started to run. i like my feet to hit the ground on the beats and my 4.6 speed wouldn't allow it. i turned it up to 5. i ran. i ran. so i turned it up gradually till i hit 5.6. and i ran a mile.

i. ran. a. mile.

so i feel lame writing this now because everyone who reads my blog is probably now in hard-core marathon-training, preparing to run their 17th race in 3 years. in fact, you're probably having this message read to you via wireless handheld blackberry technology while you're running amidst a crowd of cheery runners, their short shorts flapping in the wind. you people make me sick. and also, i kind of want to be you.

i mean, i don't want to get ahead of myself, but don't be surprised if i win the chicago marathon in 2010. i'm just saying ... it's possible.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


i have an awful, terrible, no good, very bad temper. i hate it. it takes only one itsy bitsy teeny weeny little thing to set me off for hours. like johnsonville italian sausages. 1/2 cup water in a medium-warm skillet, covered for 10 minutes, flipping once, uncover and cook on medium for 10 more minutes. but no! once you uncover the little ... skillet, the whole bottom just burns! blackened, burned pan and the sausages are still not done. this set me off on a tiny tirade, spoiling my sunny afternoon not to mention my peaceful home not to mention my appetite. the next 3 hours were tumultuous indeed.

i feel like a child, like a 6-year-old girl being forced to wear red, subjectively-ugly, hand-me-down corduroy pants, and all i really want to do is stomp my feet, jump up and down and scream and cry until someone makes me lunch, strokes my hair, and tells me that all cooking directions from johnsonville are evil spawn sent here to ruin our lives.

this is also the kind of thing that makes me realize i should probably never get married and have children of my own. i can see it now, my own children having temper tantrums, and me looking right back at them, and crying and screaming and tearing my own hair out. man, i'm not okay.

three deep breaths. i'll get back to you when i've calmed down.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


i shouldn't be typing yet this morning. i'm still sitting in my robe with my towel turbaned around my head (and yes, it IS 10:45 in the morning), but roommate 1 is in the shower and roommate 2 has yet to emerge from her room, so i feel no inward reprimand to get on with my day. the only thing that may make me move is the gnawing hunger in my stomach, but as i've reminded it, we have no breakfast food in this house so it will simply have to wait until lunch. period.

i've been wanting to write for awhile, but even taking a lunch break to update my blog has been impossible. since i spoke with my boss and another colleague about potentially leaving at the end of the summer, i've felt a new interest in my job. they both have been decidedly disappointed to hear my frustrations and have counteracted with endless messages of encouragement and affirmation in the work i'm doing. i admit, i feel more energized and more inspired. in fact, i see how it's drifted over to other parts of my life, so that i feel consistent in attitude and mood in every aspect of the day-to-day. that's a pretty wonderful place to be.

i used to have weeks like this in college. weeks where all my conversations went right, where i could study to the point of really learning, where my roommates and i were completely selfless in doing each other's dishes, making meals for each other, listening before speaking. it was incredible. these days, i feel like these moments are few and far between. but i think it's because my actions carry a lot more weight now. i don't get to see friends as often as i used to, so when i do, i feel like i need to be ultra-aware of their needs, their heart's positioning, their dreams.

hmm, i don't know for sure if this is what i am thinking. i'm still wrestling with my thoughts to get to the root of it and then dig it up. bear with me ...

in other news, the movie blue crush ranks easily among the worst-acting movies i've ever seen, in the same vein as centerstage and you got served (which i've never seen, but according to my roommate erin who i polled for bad-acting movies is salvaged only by the hip-hop battles). not only does blue crush make me never want to surf, it also makes me think of drowning, which makes me think of the titanic and driving over bridges - all which easily could easily lead to ill-timed death. i'm just saying ...

and finally, it's 11:07 and my feet are starting to freeze. i forgot to take them into account when i was disciplining my stomach, so now i think they are feeling angry with me and want to be stuffed into wool socks. i should really just go outside and melt them on the blacktop in the sun. oooh, the sun ... time to go.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

is this a (insert problem here) i see before me?

sunday night, i went to bed with this ill feeling in my stomach. not the kind that portends nausea or sudden vomiting, but the kind that makes you think your whole world is going to fall apart in a matter of minutes.

i wondered if it was because i had really wanted to go to church on sunday, but didn't. i know what you're thinking, and no, it wasn't guilt-induced stomach trauma. i think i just felt like i should have been there. alas. there's no taking back sunday. so i prayed about it and let coldplay lull me into a nice slumber.

but monday morning came and i woke up feeling nervous. that same feeling i used to get in junior high and early high school when i thought about the concept of time - how it can go too fast, how no one here is really in control of much at all, how one day you're young and the next day you're old, and how can the world just keep spinning like this?!?!? ahh, but i couldn't identify exactly what it was that was making me feel so sick this time around. i listened to wilco on the way to work and let them sing me to distraction.

yesterday afternoon, kat and i went for a power walk up along lake shore path to the skate park (i know, i know, i was just there on sunday afternoon. but you know me, i binge on everything in life. i'll probably be there today, too, and maybe for the next week, but then i won't show my face there for a month ... until the cycle starts up again. who can explain it?) and enjoyed the spring temps. by the time we made it back to the house, it was dark and the ncaa championship game was about to get underway. i did my laundry, cleaned my room, watched the game, put my pjs on and BAM. the feeling hit me again. nausea. things not right. something felt out of place.

so i prayed. and i journaled quick (i was tired!) and i told god that i really couldn't handle this and i just wanted to go to sleep.

fine. easily done. sound sleep. but wild dreams. which woke me up with that same sick feeling again. i don't get it. what is my deal? it's like a fear/anxiety/confusion/nausea that only comes late at night and early in the morning. right now, i feel fine. but i had to post it to analyze it. it helps if i can see it written out. i feel like macbeth: "is this a dagger i see before me?" yes, of course. duh. but sometimes you really have to separate yourself from the thing to see it better.

step one: identify what the crap is making me ill at ease.
step two: respond appropriately.
step three: wake up from sleep like girl in folgers commercial.
step four: drink coffee and enjoy nausea-less day.