Thursday, June 30, 2005

let this sink in

"For half the world's population the brutal reality is this: You'd be better off as a cow. The average European cow receives $2.20 a day from the taxpayer in subsidies and other aid. Meanwhile, 2.8 billion people in developing countries around the world live on less than $2 a day."

-Charlotte Denny, economic correspondent for The Guardian, putting the global economy in sharp perspective.

Monday, June 27, 2005

until that day ...

this past saturday, i went to the over the rhine concert with erin, kat, laura and amanda at schuba's. it was yet another unsurprisingly wonderful evening with karin, linford and friends. we held our ground in the (more or less) third row and enjoyed a clear view of karin and their sweet drummer for most of the show.

when i couldn't see them, it was the fault of a man of about average height who stood directly in front of me (okay, and also the fault of my own genes for not being tall enough to see over him in the first place). i digress. the guy didn't become a nuisance until halfway through the show, when he felt the necessity to suffocate his girlfriend standing immediately in front of him. now, my apologies to those of you in great relationships who either a) enjoy being the person wrapping your arms around your sig other at a concert or b) enjoy being held so firmly and closely you would certainly die in case of sudden stampede. but really, i couldn't handle it. i felt suffocated. because a) this guy had no rhythm so he'd be trying to sway to his tempo, when obviously his girlfriend was the one with an ear for the beat. so he'd just pull her off course. and - because of their mismatched heights - she'd be hunched over as he held her. i was secretly praying that god would let her be free, unhindered by guy-with-need-to-keep-tight-rein-on-girlfriend. i kept wanting her to stand up straight and be free to dance to her rhythm. he let go eventually when a girlfriend of hers came by to sing along by her side. i feel my prayer was answered.

alright. fine, fine. you can see i'm fully not ready for a relationship. it feels smothering. of course, i can't give this answer to anyone who asks me why i'm not dating. they laugh, and say, more or less, "oh, mary, someday you'll meet someone who you won't mind being smothered by." gag.

so until mr. you-smother-me-good comes along, i've been sent this article. finally, an answer for the very popular question, "why aren't you married?"

making a list, checking it twice

this thursday marks one month till my quarter-life birthday. i love birthdays. i love balloons and streamers and cakes and goodie bags and group pictures and birthday dresses and signs up around the house and shaving cream on the kitchen table and presents stacked up on the floor near the couch. i love all that. i love people singing happy birthday and scooting in towards the birthday honoree. i love watching someone made to feel special. when i really love someone, when i really care about a person, there is nothing better in the entire world than to watch them glow, to watch their faces light up and feel like they are the star of the day. there is NOTHING like that.

i was thinking today that if my life should change assumed course, i'll work to buy a bed and breakfast in california or prince edward island. and it'll have so many rooms, but still feel undescribably cozy. and i'll invite all my friends and acquaintances to come and stay for a weekend, a month, a season, a year. it doesn't matter. and i'll throw them the best birthday parties, too. celebrations they will never forget.

for me, the hardest part will be picking presents. i love presents but i stink at getting them. so i will have to hire a present-picking genius to join me at work in the b&b. i wish i had good ideas, but i don't. i wish people would tell me all the things they love in the world. ok, yes, i'm sure my friends have many times said what they love, but my hearing priority is always towards how people are feeling, what they're thinking, etc. somewhere in my head, i misplace those obvious details. i apologize.

have you ever met those people who know all of their friends favorite things? i love those people. i envy their brains and memories. but i need help. i need lists. i need everyone i know to make a list of everything they love (or really don't love) and send it to me. this is no joke. i want to get good at present-giving. please help.

as an example (and only as an example, ok?), i've provided a sample from my list below:

1. i love books about the civil rights era.
2. i love candles.
3. i also really love fireflies and fireworks and anything else that lights up the night.
4. i love live music.
5. i love picnics and wine and bread and cheese (though i've never been on a picnic with wine and bread and cheese).
6. i love stationary and stamps.
7. i like house things from pier 1 and crate and barrel.
8. i really love dinner plates and mugs and glasses.
9. i like butterfingers and 100 grand bars (do those still exist?)
10. i love big presents that are obnoxiously huge.
11. i like chunky bracelets and small necklaces.
12. i really enjoy corn on the cob and freshly cut green beans.
13. i like crew neck sweaters or sweaters where the seem is straight at the shoulder (i look stupid in sweaters where the seam goes from the armpit to the neck - i may very well be the only one but it makes me look ridiculously geeky).
14. lotions are nice, but anything really goopy or too fruity is not for me.
15. i like big nights out where you go from one place to another to another and take your time at each one.
16. i like car rides.
17. i love a good board game.

my roommate kat says this is enough. she says people will think i'm making my birthday list to which i fervently disagreed. i just wonder if my favorite things are pretty generic. so please send me your list. i need to start planning.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

uploading a photo

hodge podge

so i've rated the top running songs ... they are as follows (in no particular order):

1. e-pro ... beck
2. girl ... beck
3. complicated ... poi dog pondering
4. song 2 ... blur
5. you get what you give ... the new radicals
6. hey ya ... outkast
7. lips like sugar ... coldplay
8. girl ... destiny's child

i am loving running. and i'm getting better at it. in fact, my face has stopped reddening so much when i run. i'm again having these grand fantasies of running a marathon someday. i've decided to add that to my before-40 list. so now i've got three things to do before july 30, 2020:

1. get a seat on the board of education in my local school district
2. bike across america
3. run a marathon

in other news, my new friend betsy and i met for lunch today. she encouraged me in my immediate goals - taking my GRE, getting involved in church, and continuing to let god mature me as a believer. i really enjoyed lunch with her because a) she made this incredibly beautiful chicken salad, b) she pulled out her fancy silver (i love people who use their fancy stuff more often than once every seven years) and c) she was so honest with me about her life. her husband died about two years ago, and she talked openly about those struggles, and of living life now. "of course i miss my husband very much," she said, "but i really enjoy being single." it's not what i expected her to say. but we chatted about being single, about being married, about dating, about the whole nine yards of relationships, and came to the conclusion that god will indeed make everything beautiful in its time.

my heart has felt like a balloon lately, like i can actually feel it swelling, expanding. i do enjoy this. and talking with betsy today, being with my parents a couple nights ago, talking with my roommates - all of this has seemed more important than it has in the past two years. i think it's a consequence of this heart-swelling stuff. i feel like, as god expands my heart, i begin to embrace Life. Life - as in Him. i'd felt distant from Him for so long, and now, it seems i can't get through a day without seeing His fingerprints everywhere. and He is beautiful.

a new season. it feels like summer in my heart.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

happy father's day

my parents are about to be here in any minute, but i thought i'd post quick in between my sudden cleaning spasm and their arrival.

the only thing i really want to say here is that i'm so happy that my Father is good. i had a hard talk with a friend today and i am trying to wrap my mind around it. but i feel peaceful about it - even though i have no idea what really the consequences of that talk will bring. i still feel like it was a GOOD conversation to have. and because i know my Father loves my friend so much, i am confident that everything is not lost. and because i know my friend loves my Father so much, i am confident that everything will someday be healed. i know it. i am glad that my Father is so good. i am proud of Him.

and the other thing i want to add is that after i ran through the conversation with my roommate later, after all her comforting and incredible listening, she started to share some things on her heart, things that have been tucked away deep down. i think my roommate is absolutely beautiful. she is such a good friend. i feel lucky, so lucky that i know her. i love her so very much.

it's amazing the kind of ups and downs we experience, these stories weaved together. i am glad God is over, in, through, around, with us in all of it. i am grateful that He sees everything. God, i am so grateful to you. happy father's day.

Friday, June 17, 2005

tailbone tumors

second half-day friday of the summer. i went to DQ after work with a colleague for lunch and came back home to make a doctor's appointment. i think i have a tumor. fine, fine, before you berate me for my pessimism, maybe it's not a tumor, but something in my tailbone is out of whack. it's like there's an abnormal growth under my skin right at my tailbone that won't let me lean back in chairs or lie comfortably on my back. unfortunately, the only time i could get an appointment was for this coming monday. in the meantime, the nurses at the hotline told me to take warm baths and paid medicine. they don't realize the tumor will be getting larger all weekend ...

i've been in great health all of my life. so stuff like this tends to freak me out. on the way home, i felt my ear ringing again, and as i walked up the stairs to my apartment, i felt my knee joints cracking all the way up.

i am getting old. i'm not even 25, but i am getting old. i should probably win a guinness world record prize for this.

alright now, where's my advil?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

bloggedy shmoggedy

blogging, shmogging.

i feel everyone has left the blogging world for the beauty of summertime and the great outdoors. so i am considering abstaining from the blogging world for the next few days or weeks. or 72 hours or whatever.

i've had nothing exciting to say. work's been fine. and i'm figuring out relationships. and every now and then i have moments of "oooh! this is great blogging material!" but then i forget it. because my memory stinks. so i have to devote all the time i've given to blogging to crossword puzzles instead. i hear they're supposed to delay alzheimer's.

maybe i'll go do one while i sit in starbucks, wishing i could be at the gym challenging my body to another 3 mile run or wishing i could be at the DQ down the street from our house enjoying a reese's peanut butter cup blizzard or wishing i had at least remembered to shave my knees so i didn't notice the stubble every time i crossed my legs. ugh. annoying.

... alright, i've written and erased in this space for the last half hour. it's a sign. i need to give this a break. i'll be back when i'm back.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

playing with dolls

i need to make this a quick post as my tummy must be fed - preferably at a nearby mcdonald's (i've been thinking about greasy cheeseburgers for days) - before i head off to bible study tonight.

it's been awhile since i've stayed at work later than my colleagues. i like writing when everyone's gone home and all i can hear are the janitors conversing in the hallways. i try eavesdropping, but my spanish has gotten so poor, i am only able to pick up things like, well, my name, when they're talking to me. fine, fine, my spanish stinks. and my french is going right down the drain with it. sad, because i feel i owe it to my 7-year-old french-loving self to maintain at least a beginner's level comprehension of french. as a child, i told my mother i wanted to live, eat, and breathe france. the posters in my room were of paris at night, the eiffel tower by day, and the riviera at dusk. of all my dolls, the "hot looks" doll mimi was my favorite. she was a writer who lived in paris, and she wore a pink beret with a silver star and a beautiful off-the-shoulder purple cashmere-esque long sweater over her purple stockings. she had gorgeous blonde curls and she was the most beautiful, by far, of all the dolls my sisters and i had put together. plus, she spoke beautiful french. or so i imagined. when we played with our dolls, mine always threw in lots of "oh la la"s. she was dramatic - as any good parisian writer should be - and liked to flip her hair over her shoulder.

talking about this kind of makes me wish we all still played with dolls. i'm embarrassed writing this at work, because i'm surrounded by all sorts of tech-savvy gadgets and instruction manuals and catalogs vying for my business. and here i am writing about how i miss playing with dolls.

i think what i miss most about it was it was a safe fantasy world. you could make up stories about princes from switzerland and how they would woo your dolls with the perfect words - and god knows what those words were - you didn't even have to make them up; you could have him say nothing, but both of your dolls had a clear understanding that what was said was perfect, so off they rode into the sunset, happily ever after. and then your mom would call for dinner and you wouldn't think on your dolls a moment later.

i don't really know where i'm going with this. and since my stomach is calling me back to reality, and kat will call any second to tell me she's at the sedgwick stop, i best be off. i wish i could write more on this. i was about to get lost in my thoughts again. i love that.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

hags, lylas, and bff 4eva

it's quiet at school this week. exams finished last thursday, and students are here today only to receive test scores, clean out their lockers, and return library books. these seniors are ready to move on. their speeches so far have bemoaned the hardships of - for many of them - being at one school for 14 years of their lives. they've found ways to disrespect the administration and clearly state how little they appreciate the sacrifices and decisions made to better them. it's a sad thing. obviously, there are some incredible kids in this class. kids i went to london with two years ago, or traveled with to china this spring, or chaperoned on model united nations conferences. kids walking in the hallway who look up to catch my eyes and say hello, kids who have the maturity to recognize everything that they've been given, kids who make me laugh, and kids who watch out for each other.

but, honestly, i won't miss this graduating class as a whole in the same way i've missed departing classes. my first year here, i cried as i watched some of them cross the stage and manage the flashbulbs and headmaster-handshaking with true hollywood flair. in a year i discovered i had lost hope, they beamed with it.

as i paged through the new yearbook, i immediately fell on pictures of those faces who've caused the most trouble, who've been the most difficult, who've made this year one many teachers will wish to forget. but as i skimmed through, i found my attention being drawn to a handful of kids whose smiles seemed to beam with a hopefulness reminiscent of the class of '03.

obed's portrait in particular caught my eye. he has the kind of smile that exudes calm. in the middle of chaos in senior hallway, obed can be found watching, laughing, enjoying life. and always, always, he will catch my eye to smile and say hello. i appreciate a person - and especially a kid - who will look you in the eye. makes me think that person notices something outside of himself.

his senior profile listed some beautiful quotes, but one jumped out, and i felt a rush of hope come to my heart. "the deepest waters," goes this guatemalan proverb, "make the least noise." i am still smiling. he gets it.

i think i will cry a little when he crosses the stage on thursday to accept his diploma. but quite honestly, i am excited for the world to meet him.

(speaking of senior quotes, i thought i'd drop in a few more popular ones from this yearbook. enjoy.)

"on a large enough time line, the survival rate for everyone will drop to zero." fight club
"i catnap now and then, but i think while i nap, so it's not a waste of time." martha stewart
"all my life i've wanted to be somebody. but i see now i should have been more specific." jane wagner
"keep on rockin' in the free world." neil young
"i got an idea, an idea so smart my head would explode if i even began to know what i was talking about." peter griffin
"new schedule: 8:15-10, rock history. 10-11, rock appreciation and theory. then band practice for the rest of the day. what about math? no, not important. world cultures? not important. the band is what's important!" mr. shneebly, school of rock

and finally, one of my favorites:
"i want to be all used up when i die." george bernard shaw

Saturday, June 04, 2005

survey the land

this morning, i got an email from a friend of mine. he and i connect irregularly, but with each communication, i feel like i know him better than i ever have. i don't know if it's how he's writing or what he's writing, but something comes through each time we speak that illustrates so perfectly clearly a maturing character. i mean, it's like this handsome man who everyone has always liked is becoming even more handsome - like something out of beauty and the beast, when the beast transforms into the prince. so, t, if you're reading this, thanks for sharing so openly about your heart. it makes me feel like i'm getting to read a fairy tale ...

my friend also sent me news about an old ex and an old roommate's wedding. i haven't spoken with either in years (we all went our separate ways on not so good terms), but their wedding breathes a sigh of relief into my life. makes me survey the land, so to speak, and feel like, ok, this is mine. this is my life. i can do anything. and i admit, there's nothing like that thought on an early saturday morning.

more later. for now, off to a wedding ...

p.s. fancy capris - ok or not ok to wear to a wedding?

Friday, June 03, 2005

one remaining nerve

last night, our office went out for drinks after work. i don't know why i go. i feel like ally mcbeal TOO much of the time with these people. for instance, right now, i'm sitting in my office and my skin is starting to crawl. i'm thinking about how i'd like to rip my headphones out of my computer, blast my new destiny child's find "girl" and do cartwheels everywhere. this is dangerous, however, because our office is a maze of boxes, archives, and misplaced employees.

anyway, as i was saying, last night we all went out. and my colleagues filled me in on what i missed while i was giving a "tour" of the school to an alumna. as it turns out, an office next door thinks our office is just a bunch of divas. and everyone has decided to "fine, then" play the part. lord, if it weren't already true, it'd be funny. then the conversation turned to hollywood - stars, their relationships, their TV shows, their babies - and then i left (many many thanks to brenda for letting me stand up in her wedding so i had to go bridesmaid dress shopping!! i'd try on those dresses every day of the week if it got me out of stuff like this).

i think i'm feeling so irritable because i'm PMSing (okay, okay, i'm sure that's too much information to put online. oh well, too bad). these little things are really driving me up a wall. an example? drumroll, please. a colleague and i were invited about a month ago to coach b's party in june. the evite list didn't list anyone else in our office, so we never said anything. in fact, it wasn't until recently that i RSVPd i was going that she mentioned to me in private that it'd be fun to have people over at her house after coach b's party. so this morning, when the girl who drives me the most nuts here exclaimed, "oh! look at the invitation to coach b's party! how fun is this!" i couldn't help but cringe. not everyone was invited in our office and here she is shouting to everyone how she's been invited now!

so of course, i just couldn't muster up the energy to lunch with her. i wanted to be by myself. but no ... another colleague was going to leave for lunch and i was heading to lunch at our restaurant nearby so i told her i'd walk with her. and she decided she'd have lunch with me. so i spent the entire time listening to her stories. really. it's like being with someone who's paid to read out of a book. i don't think i've actually ever heard her ask a question. and she's funny, don't get me wrong. but sometimes when i'm with her it reminds me of a really bad date i had in college with a guy who talked the ENTIRE time. moments like that i like to light up a disco ball, throw on some tunes and host a party for all my closest friends in my head.

later this afternoon, the girl who drives me the most nuts got a bouquet of flowers from her fiance for their 1-month till the wedding anniversary. i participated in all the oooing and ahhing i could take. but evidently i didn't do enough, because she's put the flowers in my cubicle.

i think i have one nerve left. hmmm, i need dark chocolate.