Friday, July 29, 2005

phew. take this in small doses.

jennie tagged me a bit ago, prompting my response to the following list. no better time than a slow, friday afternoon to work through it :)

10 years ago: 24 hours away from turning 15, i was preparing to say goodbye to my sister, sarah, in her last month before she left for college, and getting ready for my sophomore year of high school ahead. that summer, our family traveled from minnesota to ohio and up and down the east coast, visiting all sorts of friends and family, but i remember our stop in washington, d.c. best. there's a photo of me and sarah parked on a bench near the lincoln memorial, chugging water. if i remember correctly, i was wearing a banana republic logo t-shirt (really, that's all i wore in those days). also, in those days, i listened to jeff buckley's "last goodbye," material issue's "valerie loves me," and jill sobule's "karen by night" on repeat. mmm, sounds good. where IS that tape?

5 years ago: 24 hours away from turning 20, i was living in madison with my friends
laura and jenny in a sublet on the corner of west washington street and bassett. the girls who lived there during the year left us their furniture, so we had a very heavy, mirrored crack table and some lovely leopard print cushions for the futon. nice. i began work at the UW hospitals in the neurology clinic, a job i kept for my junior and senior year of college. my journals will tell you that 2000 was one of the most painful summers of my life, but i remember things much differently now. because god is good at both helping heal hard times and giving you the opportunity to - if not quite laugh, then at least - chuckle to yourself a bit about days gone by. wow. i still can't believe that's 5 years ago. and still no gray hair to show for it!! argh ...

1 year ago: 24 hours away from turning 24, i had just recently moved into my second apartment in chicago. i had two new roommates,
erin and kat, who i adored (and continue to adore). i was entering into my third year of work at the same place i'd been since i moved, so the change of apartment came at a good time. i hit a real low that year with god - something i think began developing 5 years earlier - and it wasn't till this past october that the smoke cleared. last year was one of those years where you have to choose. you know ... the kind when you make the decision about who you really want to be. and though i absolutely loathe the phrase, it was indeed a "hard but good" year.

Yesterday: i moved into my new office (still feels weird to say that) and tried to ignore the felt urgency to buy a lamp and correct the lighting in the room immediately (what can i say? i am obsessed with lighting) . i came home from work with the intention to go to the gym, but kat and i went for a walk instead only to find ourselves in the line at taco bell (you can never go wrong with a bean burrito - no onions - and a regular hard shell taco. mmm, maybe i should stop there again today). we came home, cleaned a bit, and then kat, erin and i all worked on a crossword puzzle together. seriously, an ideal day.

Today: 24 hours away from turning 25, i woke up at 5 am, took erin to the airport, drove back in traffic to my office, parked out front of the breakfast joint where i had a meeting at 7, ate, went back to work, came out at 8:40 to feed the meter, found the car being hoisted up on to a tow truck, ran to the tow man in shock, totally flabbergasted. he told me it was a rush hour zone. yeah, rush hour my ***. but my horrific look of shock evidently shook some pity in him and he told me he'd take it down, no problem, and let me off the hook. still have a $50 fine, but that's a lot better than spending the day searching chicago lots for erin's car. phew. went back to work, left at noon, came home and will find out what the rest of the day holds in a bit. am feeling very thankful regardless.

Tomorrow: my 25th birthday. my cousin mike is in town so i hope to hang out with him. and then dinner with a few folks at 8. tapas and sangria. the perfect way to ring in the quarter century.

5 snacks I enjoy: archway lemon-frosted cookies, carrots, oyster crackers, french bread & nutella, and dried cranberries.

5 bands whose songs I know most of the lyrics to: u2, over the rhine, ben harper, tim mcgraw, counting crows ... this list could go on and on and on.

5 things I would do with $100,000,000: give first. then, i guess i'd put some aside for kids if i ever have any. i
calculated the price of raising a child from birth through college in a city or suburb in the midwest, and i'd be spending $471,646 on the basics for one child. that's a big chunk of money. so i guess it's: 1) put aside some dough for kids 2) donate to food for the hungry and, yeah, i really can't do this. that much money could eliminate so much poverty, so much hunger. i'd really have to pray about it.

5 locations I'd like to run away to: prince edward island (canada), salamanca (spain), the virgin islands, sonoma/napa valley, and greece.

5 bad habits I have: incessantly checking my email, jutting my stomach out like i'm pregnant (if you don't already have this bad habit, don't start. it's addicting), heavy reliance on tall skim toffee nut lattes, pulling the hair out of my brush and letting it fall where it may, and clipping my fingernails in the presence of other people (at least erin says it's gross).

5 things I like doing: meeting one-on-one with people any time, perfecting the lighting of a room, seeing live music, hosting visitors, celebrating people

5 things I would never wear: tapered pants, that infamous j.lo dress, shoulder pads, white pants (i know they're cute on LOTS of people, but i'd fear sitting down too much!), and white-pink lipstick

5 TV shows I like: extreme makeover:home edition, ed, friends, and because i can't think of any others, can we count pbs's "anne of green gables" and "anne of green gables: the sequel" as tv shows?

5 movies I like: last of the mohicans, love and basketball, french kiss, reality bites, good will hunting

5 famous people I'd like to meet: paul rusesabagina, margaret thatcher, kofi annan, malcom x, jane austen

5 biggest joys at the moment: two incredible birthday packages in the mail from two incredible people, not getting towed, having a moment of clarity to see how overwhelmingly blessed i am, celebrating my parents 33rd anniversary today (though in spirit in mpls - happy anniversary, mom and dad!!), and feeling hopeful in general. there's nothing in the world like hope.

5 favorite toys: erik's ipod, my crossword puzzle book, our cd burner, this blog

5 (+2) people to tag: allan, eric j, erin, jenn, jon, laura, teresa

thanks for spending my last day at 24 with me :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

try 2

i need a new blog photo

Monday, July 25, 2005

prematurely gray

this afternoon, on the way home from work, i found myself walking behind a prematurely graying man. i had seen his gray hairs from across the street and imagined him to be about 35-40 years of age. but as he crossed the road and fell into step right in front of me, it became clear that he could be no more than 30 and no less than 25. i decided his name was mac. mac, the 28-year-old, prematurely-graying academic-for-life (he was wearing a collegiate tee and running shorts at 5 p.m. so unless he dresses at the speed of light, he doesn't hold a normal 9-5 day job).

mac's hair got me thinking. i like prematurely graying people.

when my sister sarah was planning her wedding two years ago, the process - which, as far as i could tell, never choked her spirits or drove her to wedding lunacy - may be the reason sections of her hair gradually grew silver. on her wedding day, i was surprised at how many grays graced her locks over such a short period of time (please don't kill me for writing this, sarah. it really is a compliment). i admit, i was a little jealous.

i've maybe - MAYBE - once found a gray hair on my head. i plucked it out so i could belong to the club of "every time i pluck out a gray hair, another grows in its place: argh." unfortunately, i haven't seen another gray in years. this is disappointing.

i remember, too, when my mother went gray. my mom has the most beautiful hair in the whole world. it is deep dark jet black, and only recently was she naturally lucky enough to sport beautiful silver strands in her 'do. it's so beautiful. my dad's full head of gray is quite handsome, too. refined, if you will. like a ralph lauren ad where everyone's playing cricket in sports jackets in new england.

gray hair says so much. it's a shame that it seems more beneficial for men, while women are told how to dye their hair or what to cut out of their diets to counteract the onsetting grays (fyi: excessive intake of tea, coffee, alcohol, meat, and fried, oily, greasy, spicy, sour, and acidic foods can reduce the moisture and nutrients reaching the hair follicles and may lead to premature graying). there's even an entire diet plan written out to disrupt the onset of gray.

but why? gray hair is much too beautiful. so while i pray for some wintry gray/white/silver strands to grace my head, those of you who've already got it should celebrate. after all ...

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
it is attained by a righteous life."

lucky, lucky you.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

the week's highlights

it's been noted that i've dedicated myself to topics of the love and marriage nature in recent blogs, so i am responding with a commitment to avoid such issues for at least the next two entries (it's very difficult to write about anything without mentioning love. isn't love the very essence of life? *sigh* but i'll do my very best to satisfy my three-person audience).

so what's new ... the highlights of the week thus far have included:

  • getting my IL driver's license. i had to take a written test since my last license was from WI. i nearly failed, but that wasn't my problem. they asked the most ridiculous questions! for example, you tell me how a round yellow circle clearly signals railroad tracks ahead. ridiculous. the lady passed me, drew a check on my test, but looked up, caught my eye and said, "you make sure you study the signs." i kept her stare and replied - unhesitating - "you show me a plain, round, yellow circle anywhere in the city of chicago, and then i'll study your signs." for crying out loud ...
  • finding out i am actually, finally, knock-on-wood, getting my own office. it's small, that's for sure. but it's mine. during our stand-up staff conversation yesterday, i felt for a moment that i'd be relegated to the worst cubicle hole for a fourth year in a row. i'm situated in a spot in the office that - while it offers an ear to every single conversation in the office - also offers an ear to every single conversation in the office. that and my walls are the lowest in the office, so every now and then a co-worker will snap her fingers at me to get her a pen and paper if she's having a conversation with someone right at my desk. gotta love that kind of respect. so anyhow, i'll be ordering office furniture soon enough and am hoping to create a welcoming space, a creative and engaging environment, a workspace that says, "you belong here." exciting ...
  • discovering that i have no pigment in my retina. or at least, i think it's my retina. regardless, some part of my eye doesn't have any pigment in it, which is the reason my optometrist never has to dilate my pupils. he says that they're already so big. that plus the fact that my eyes are so blue is the reason that i will forever get red eye in photos. he also said i should never ever leave the house without sunglasses or a brimmed hat. this is exciting news. i have always envied old women for their crazy, large, eclectic hat wearing skills. and now i have an excuse to join them in their stylish accessorizing.
  • seeing the most beautiful rain clouds i have ever seen. on the way home this afternoon, these gorgeous, smoky gray, smooth, curvy, skin-like clouds swam into a sea of ash gray cumulus clouds. it was breathtaking. and dreamy.

actually, they're still out there. so i think i may sneak out on my porch and watch them dive through the sky a bit more. no use dreaming of it if the reality of it is beckoning you. i'm just saying ...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

scattered thoughts

saturday, july 16th. 11:30 pm.

after a slow morning here, erin, jenn and i went out for a late lunch at coobah's. red sangria, jamaican jerk chicken salad, and quality company make for a sweet afternoon. and it was made extra wonderful topped off with mason jennings playing at the neighborhood festival a few blocks just west of us.

it's true. mason jennings is a beautiful man with a beautiful voice. and he plays the harmonica. double bonus. but it's chris morrissey who steals my heart every time i see him play. he's the skinniest guy, very twiggy. and unlike my roommate erin, i'm not drawn to real skinny boys. but there's something about his crouched over bass-playing, his fro-y hair (cut shorter for summer), and his obvious passion for music that make me think i'd move back to minneapolis just to become friends with him. or pick him up in my (imaginary) car, drive out to marin county north of san francisco, and start a vineyard with him. i love people who love things.
sunday, july 17th. 10:30 p.m.

a full day. i woke up this morning with a bad dream. i was taking a bunch of kids to madrid with the two chaperones i traveled to china with. my hotel room was on a different floor than theirs. i got in, and had a bad feeling almost immediately. but started getting ready for bed just the same until two drunk men started pounding on my door and began opening it. i ran to it, leaned hard to close it but couldn't find a way to lock it. they were intent on coming in. i woke up uncomfortable and afraid. it left me with that ill at ease feeling that makes any day difficult.

the day was a polar day. really great ups and pretty low downs. i won't get into it. suffice it to say it's days like this i'm well aware that i get by by god's strength alone. i often feel like god's hand is ever present, steering me, carrying me, pointing ahead for me. i rely on him.

tonight, i feel much better than i did this morning. drinks and dinner with good friends out on the beach, and then arriving home to see my wonderful roommate katherine home after a week away. my heart is still heavy with thought, but my feet feel steady on this rock.
and one last thought before i close this up for the night and get me to bed, i've decided on the top four male movie characters to fall in love with:

1. christian bale in batman begins
2. daniel day-lewis in the last of the mohicans
3. patrick swayze in dirty dancing
... and okay, okay, ONLY in a REAL moment of weakness ...
4. ben affleck in armageddon

ahhh, sweet dreams for me (lord, please let it be the five of us hanging out and NOT me chatting with one man dressed as a bat, carrying a spear, and doing the mambo while drilling for oil ... please. i need better dreams than that).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

it's a slow day ...

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to those who are unbridled, untrammeled, and free.
In love, you feel the most alive when things are straight-forward, and you're told that you're loved.
You'd like to your lover to think you are loyal and faithful... that you'll never change.
You would be forced to break up with someone who was emotional, moody, and difficult to please.
Your ideal relationship is open. Both of you can talk about everything... no secrets.
Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.
You think of marriage as something precious. You'll treasure marriage and treat it as sacred.
In this moment, you think of love as something you thirst for. You'll do anything for love, but you won't fall for it easily.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

wrapping it up

what a wonderful evening. what a wonderful weekend. i feel so fortunate to be sitting here in perfect lighting this evening, listening to Alison Krauss & Union Station's live dvd, and reflecting a bit on all that's transpired these few days past.

friday evening, my roommates and i hosted a christmas in july party, equipped with a fake palm tree, paper snowflakes, and mistletoe cocktails. i've always wanted to have a christmas in july party since i discovered that my parents met at one in the summer of '69. there's something in recreating events of my parents' 20-something days in my own 20-something days that makes their young adult years seem much more tangible.

we have really great friends, and there's little i enjoy more than a noisy home. at times, i wanted to silently shut my door, press my ear against it, close my eyes and listen to the sounds of the people. it reminds me of my parents' euchre nights back in ohio. it seemed like the perfect way to fall asleep: parents laughing with their friends downstairs, playing cards, eating salami, cheese cubes and pickles on toothpicks, and enjoying themselves. looking back now, i think it made me feel like the world was bigger than me. like my parents had a life outside of me, like their lives didn't revolve around their kids, like someday i'd get to have a grown-up life, too. it made me feel hopeful.

having noise in the house is as pleasurable as watching fireworks with hundreds of people. you know ... everyone's chatting away until the first boom throws a chandelier of orange sparks into the sky and then everyone's eyes turn up towards the sky, and conversation slowly ceases. i love that sound of people watching, of earthshaking blasts of color vibrating in your heart. they both draw a very similar feeling of things being just as they were meant to be.

and then tonight, at the folk and roots festival, some friends and i caught up with a colleague's family. together, we danced to bob marley cover songs and a fusion of reggae and indian tunes. i love that, too. people dancing as the music moves them, kids and adults dirty from running around, and soaking up every bit of freedom that summer offers.

i came home to greet my roommate, my old roommate and her fiance. i hadn't made it back in time for either dinner or dessert, but i couldn't have dreamed up a better way to cap off a beautiful weekend: the perfect lighting, the music of alison krauss and union station live, and a moment to offer thanks.

Friday, July 08, 2005

david's blog

this afternoon, i finally had a quiet moment to read my friend david's most recent blog entry. my intention was to find inspiration to update my own blog, but his writing has moved me to silence and contemplation. i encourage you to read it.

and to david, thank you.