Tuesday, December 1, 2009

She Has Chosen Gratitude: Jamie

If I have a tombstone, I want it to say that. More than that, I suppose, I want it to be the truth. "She has chosen gratitude." (But, let's be real here, I want to be cremated.)

I have a lot to complain about. I do it a lot and it doesn't help. It shrinks my world down and makes it small and puts me smack dab in the middle of it. That world is boring and dramatic and makes me eat all the peppermint Oreos.

In an effort to conjure perspective, I tried to arrest my hatred and replace it with gratitude which is the mother of all beautiful virtues. And the things that make me feel most thankful happen to be specific individuals that have taken up permanent residence in my life, like a huge piece of furniture. So, I need a place to dwell and that's why God created blogs.

Today, let me tell you about Jamie. I choose Jamie because I was thinking about where I was a year ago and how present she was with me and it made me miss/ feel supremely loved by her (also, Jamie is the only person that I know for sure reads my blog).

I don't remember when Jamie and I officially met. I just remember being very confused by her. I was a Sophomore. She was a--I'm still not really sure. I knew she was ahead of me and I knew that they had her stationed in the Freshman dorms. This did not make any sense and she petitioned hard to get moved to live with the older girls. Eventually this happened, but thankfully not before we became minor acquaintances. It took some time but eventually we each became one another's safe-haven. She used to spend the night in my room (I, shockingly, rarely ever had a roommate) when her roommate became too much to bear. I used to go to her when I needed to get away from everything. This was easy because, oddly enough, Jamie and I ran in very different circles. We didn't have a lot of overlapping friends and just walking to her dorm was a little like walking to a different planet. Jamie teaches me about finding comfort in other people.

Jamie and I have always been on the same page regarding Jesus. We both like
him. We both want to look like him. We, neither, have any clue how to do this. Together we have searched for churches and thrown ourselves in with hope. Together we have been disappointed. Separately we kept looking and once I found a church that I really loved, I saw her during greeting time. Of course. Me and Jamie--always on the same page. Jamie teaches me about never giving up.

We made dates every week to eat dinner and share music and talk about books and boys. She pretty much only talked about one boy. She was in love with the same boy for, what,
five years? He was the only boy she ever talked about, he was the only boy she ever needed. He, on the other hand, did not seem to return the sentiment. This fact, combined with the fact
that I had never seen any evidence of his existence, clearly indicated to me that he was undoubtedly imaginary. After years of hearing about this fellow, I finally met Mr. JD and he really was all she said he was. Only by now, he was completely into her and that doesn't seem to be waning any time soon. The last time I saw either of them was when they got married this June. I wrote very touching things in the guest book. Jamie teaches me about patience.

A year ago, Jamie and I had been living in a barren and exhausting landscape for about six months. She had a long bout with unemployment and had just found a job. Two jobs, to be accurate. I didn't know it yet but I was thiscloseto getting fired from my first real job. We were in South Dakota to help start a church and it didn't seem to be going anywhere either. I was out of options and had to leave her there and go back to Kansas City where I battled my own unemployment status with fists of fury. I hated leaving her there. I felt defeated. She felt defeated. We both seemed to find ourselves in corners but we wrote letters. We relied heavily on our unlimited text messaging plans. Now that she lives in beautiful, hopeful South Korea, I can't text her. It's been months and I still instinctively pull out my phone when I see the woman at Walmart who wears cowboy boots with her Capri pants. Jamie teaches me about endurance.

I have to save all my texts for the end of the day when I can sit down and email her. By then, though, I've forgotten most of the silly things that happened and instead of knowing the little bits of my life, Jamie gets a very broad overview and I get the same but I'm very happy for that much. Jamie teaches me about gratitude.

Well, that was nice. It doesn't make today suck any less but it does take some edge off. At this point I'm going to take a shower, drink half a beer (to take the rest of the edge off) and then read my book in bed until I fall asleep. And tomorrow will be a brand new day.

I hope.

I'm not a lot but you can have all of me,

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I want to be my me.

I watched this movie tonight, 500 Days of Summer. I'm going to tell you kind of a lot about it. So, if you're thinking that you really want to see it and don't like having things spoiled for you then you should probably stop reading somewhere about now-ish. You can leave your window open, go rent the movie. Don't forget the goobers and the take out. I'll still be here when you get back. That's fine. It's probably best this way, anyway, that way you'll know what I'm talking about most of the time and you can get your brain set with your opinions and what not.

But for those of you who are going to keep reading, then I guess you'll have to deal with some spoilers. It's the story, as the trailer states, of Boy Meets Girl. But where the trailer leaves off and as the title would even imply, it's obviously not one with an ending where boy and girl walk off into the sunset hand in hand. It's 500 days of Summer. It's a girl named Summer and obviously these two know one another for, what, a year and a half? A rough rounding, that is.

Tom has been looking for the one until he found her, she hasn't been looking for anyone. Early we get the understanding that she doesn't believe in true love. In bed at an IKEA she tells him that she's not looking for anything serious. He says he's cool with that. Before they leave the living room section, she holds his hand and walks with her head on his shoulder. Not long after that they're in bed in a much less public venue.

Here's my favorite thing about the film: the chronology. It runs through the course of the relationship the same way that our brains do. It gives us a scene from day 1, when they met. Then it gives us a scene from, say, day 49 with that day in the park when he drew a city scape on her arm, then shoot back to day 27 with the glorious/ dangerous shower sex--and weren't those the favorite days?

Shoot to day 279 or something like that, when things start to go down hill and they get in a fight and she says, "Look, Tom, we're just friends." And he sets her straight with the fact that she's not the only one who gets to make that decision and that with all they've been up to, they're a couple, goddammit. And he leaves. She shows up at his apartment a few hours later with sexy, wet, walking-in-the-rain hair and an overdue apology. Go back to one of the early days when she first sneaked up on him in the copy room at work and suddenly we only remember the happy times again.

But officially and inevitably it ends and Tom is worthless. Walking to the corner store in a bathrobe buying whisky and Twinkies kind of worthless.

At this point, the audience chooses a villain. My movie watching companions all did, anyway. One would say that she was a heartless bitch who was just using him. Some say she led him on. Some say there were mixed signals. Another said that he was a bum, a schmuck and should get on with his days and over with his self-indulgent, broken hearted bullshit. Hearts break. Bad things happen. We live through them.

I couldn't pick a favorite. I couldn't pick a villain and I couldn't pick a hero. Sure, I sympathized with him because I've been there and no one wants to see a broken heart. But let's be honest, in the first few days she said "I don't want to be anyone's girlfriend. I don't like the idea of being anyone's anything." She spelled it out in the first place. My paraphrased version says, Don't get your hopes up. I can't promise I'll be here every morning when you wake up. She was fair from the beginning.

I don't want to be anyone's anything. I'm afraid to tell all of them that while I don't know which one's worse, I think I'm Zooey in this movie. I get her--she says most of what I want to say. It's not that easy though because I'm him too, sometimes. My heart has hurt so heavy at times that it took a day or two to get my shit together. There is one chapter in my life story that reads little more than "She drank vodka and cranberry out of the same Styrofoam cup for four consecutive days."

(It's never been worse than that one time, though. That was one four-day stint 5 years ago and I think we're all a little happy that we've all moved on.)

But there seems to be the underlying sentiment that it's all well and good that she doesn't want to be anyone's girlfriend but she forfeits all that extra stuff, too. And maybe in this case she should have. Maybe knowing how in love with her he was from the get go--Tom shouldn't have been the place to go for it. But does a girl who doesn't want a label have to be the girl who doesn't get whimsical dates to IKEA and doesn't get to hear wonderful things and doesn't have to surrender herself from time to time knowing that she owes him an apology? I don't know.

I don't want to be anyone's anything. I want to be my me. I know that I was created for more than solitude and it would be nice to be my me next to someone else who was his him--but that's muddling the ultimate point.

I am both of these people all at once and my brain has been in a dilemma since somewhere around the beginning of June. There's a part of me that just knows the kind of girl I am. But then there's the part of me that knows what I always thought I wanted to be. I'm trying to marry these people but there's a lot of pull and a lot of push and I think it's oil and water.

In the end, let's be honest, neither of them would have been able to get all of what they were looking for and remained together. Would you rather see a compromise? I wouldn't have. I prefer a broken heart to a compromised one. Don't get me wrong, though, I don't think that means that plans never change. But no one's got a right to hang on the hope that the other person leaves what they want on the side of the road.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

This Afternoon's Minor Distraction

I'm standing there, absently wiping the green counter top and staring out the window, wondering about what it would be like if I really did get this job that I applied for. Because I want it--I want it real bad. I'm thinking about what it would be like to have a job where advancement was a possibility. I'm thinking about what it would be like to have one of those jobs that I wasn't kind of embarrassed of. And in the middle of the daydreaming, a man approaches me.

He came in on a mission. He didn't look at the menu, he deflected my offer for fudge. He looked straight at me and leaned his arms on the glass counter top. I pointed at the sign that said not to lean, he read it but didn't get up. I think maybe he didn't realize that's what he was doing. "I'm on a fishing trip--of sorts." I surveyed his scene. He sort of looked like he might be going fishing, it was only forty degrees outside though and I couldn't imagine that would be all that much fun. He wore a short sleeved plaid shirt with long underwear underneath, he had grey whiskers and hair that looked like it was nice when he left the house but by mid-afternoon, it was completely out of its initial place.

"Oh, alright," I said, looking at him with marginal suspicion. "Do you want a sandwich or something?"
"Fifteen years ago I was walking behind the stores along this block. There was this gorgeous pickup truck, it was painted bright yellow and there was the most beautiful music playing from it."
"Okay." I smiled, anxious to hear where he was going with this and pleased that he didn't need me to wash my hands and stuff them into plastic lunch-lady gloves.
He smiled back at me and squinted his eyes in resignation.
"But I suppose you don't know anything about fifteen years ago."
"No, sir. I'm sorry. I was... eleven, fifteen years ago."
"Oh." He sounded disappointed and surveyed the scene.
"But, you know, next door there's a florist. He's much older than me, his name is Bob and he wears Hawaiian shirts. He's been here for years and years. I'd say that if anyone knows anything about that, it'd be Bob."
"Bob, you say? Right next door?"
"To your left."
"Thank'y ma'am." He tipped his invisible hat. Kind of a Jimmy Stewart move, on his part.

About six minutes later, I saw him leave the florist and walk across the street, get in his own pickup truck and leave. This didn't surprise me. He had very little to go on.

And here it is, seven hours later and I can't get it out of my head. What the hell was that about?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Don't Pretend There's Not a Little Home-Ec in You

As the weather is getting colder and I seem to be the only one rejoicing in forty degree temperatures, I find myself gravitating towards the kitchen. Seriously. I didn't notice it until this afternoon when I had such a strong desire to make peanut butter cookies that I took to the interwebs in search of a recipe that wouldn't require me to find a way to the grocery store. I generally do not love peanut butter cookies. I've never had a good one. They're always burned and crispy or big and caky featuring a Hershey's kiss (I'll choose to not discuss how combining peanut butter and chocolate isn't my most favorite thing ever). Certain things can be crispy and certain things can be light and fluffy but if there's a spectrum between those two, I feel like the perfect peanut butter cookie needs to land about a quarter past crisp with that chewy snap in the middle. Scanning my cupboards, it's been brought to my attention that I have very little in the way of baking materials but I'm determined and I'm about to venture in there and embark on a sort of hodge podge of an adventure involving flour, sugar, only one egg and 1/2 a cup of peanut butter. Just as soon as my butter softens.

In the mean time, some parts of my house are very clean and fantastic. Other parts are downright embarrassing. Like, how did it happen that my makeup found its way to the television stand? Why is there a pile of towels on my bathroom sink when there's a place to hang them not two feet from where they lay? And more than that, why is it that I keep seeing these things, feel bothered by them and yet, just walk away from them? Who does this? I do this. Until I get so sick of it that I schedule an entire afternoon to tackle these things that have effectively piled up when all I had to do was spend half a second to fix it in the first place. I don't think I can say that I'm lazy. That's not it. I'm not lazy. I'm something else entirely. Why is it that I can't overlook a misplaced apostrophe in a text message (even if it means re-typing it entirely) but I can't reach over and hang up a towel?

And another thing, I can not function if the cushions on the couch are askew but if my cat dragged out all of my gift-wrapping ribbon and has strewn it all over the house, I could actually leave it there for hours without even thinking to pick it up. And only then it's because I think that if someone comes over, they'll judge me for having crap strewn about. It has nothing to do with the fact that there is an actual mess on the floor. But those couch cushions: We're not trash, here. Fix those. What's wrong with you?

In other homemakey news, today I incorporated an office-type situation into my living room using items that I mostly already in other corners of my house. Put that in Real Simple and smoke it! I took the small folding table that previously held my birthday cake and covered it in the fabric that I have hanging over the windows in the living room. Add one dining room chair, one lamp (because Arryn gave me great ones for my birthday--my favorite one is going to need some work but you'll love it when it's finished) and a lap top and voila! Instant office. I'm so happy with myself today.

The cookies are out of the oven. There are two on a plate next to me right now. They're too hot to tell how they'll ultimately but I predict a little on the crumbly side. That is to be expected, all of my brown sugar was clumpy and, when heated, let off tiny sugar bombs inside the cookies. It actually looks really cool.

Have a great night.

Call It Off

I lied in that last post.
It was a minor, insignificant slip up and it won't happen again.
Let me come back to you.
I love you.

Love, Me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hi everyone.
I'm writing to tell you that I'm moving. Sort of. It will be just as easy for you to get to me though.
My bloggyblog is moving to libbymparker.wordpress.com.
You can still subscribe to me and know when I write stuff.
You can still even leave comments.

It's better for everyone this way.
I love you.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I'm Pretty

If there's one thing that the world knows about women, it's that they want to feel attractive. I'm no exception. I always liked to believe that I was something different. I was a girl who didn't need to feel pretty because I was a girl who had other great qualities. I'm smart and literary and sometimes witty and that makes up for the lack luster looks. Right? No, not really.

According to a lot of articles that I've been reading lately, women multi-task in ways they don't even know about. It's nearly impossible for a woman to zero in and concentrate on one single thing. I never thought this was weird--I still don't. I think it's weird that a man could possibly think about only one thing at any given moment. Usually these these articles are about sex, about how difficult it is for a woman to reach orgasm while men can pretty much get there regardless of any interference. For women, though, apparently it takes a subtle balance of self-confidence, a clean house, full (but not too full) tummy, temperature and don't forget the determination and patience. If any of these aspects becomes disrupted, the whole balance gets thrown off and I guess you just hope to God that determination weighs more than the rest.

Feeling attractive works pretty much the same for me. There are way too many factors to keep track of but sometimes they all swing together in a way that causes me to walk out the door and down the street with long, deliberate strides. I don't want to just feel pretty, I want to feel like a good woman. It starts with a shower and is almost guaranteed if I go to the trouble of shaving my legs. It creeps through my check book, into my kitchen and surveys the amount of dishes in the sink and the whole-grains and leafy greens in the refrigerator, it goes into my bedroom and through my journals. It rifles through the Rolodex of recent dreams and friends who need correspondence and then goes into my iPod. If everything seems to be in check, I'll just feel good about myself.

This morning I woke up and threw all of my laundry into the washing machine. Arryn then calls me and asks if I want to go shopping with her and the kids. Of course I do. It's Labor Day and I don't have a thing to do. So I search through my closet. I've got jeans that are two sizes too big and jeans that are one size too small. But any too small is too small and out of the question. So I pull on some gigantic jeans. All the tops that are left in my closet are those tops that I never, ever wear--otherwise they'd be in the laundry right now. But I'm thinking, "I'm going to look cute today," so I hike up my jeans and try on about 5 different shirts. Frustrated, I opt for make up. Purple eye shadow, eye liner, foundation, eew. Let's work on hair... I didn't get a shower today so there's sort of an abundance of oil happening at the roots and crunchy dryness happening in the ends. I'm officially a repulsive human being. So I do what you do when you feel disgusting, I texted my friends and told them about it. And they said, "Hey--I've been there dude. I don't know how to fix it, though."

I did. I put on a belt. I washed my face. I pulled my hair back into a pony tail, tore off all the layers of tops and put on an old dorm t-shirt and a hoodie. I put on my flip-flops and stuffed my self worth into my pockets knowing good and well that feeling pretty is only a minuscule part of being an attractive woman.

As I was buckling Genesis into her car seat after a day of talking and walking around Hobby Lobby and Target she kissed me and thanked me for being her best bud. She told me that she thought I had such pretty collarbones (except she didn't know what they're called, she said "I like your those things, they're so pretty" and pointed at my chest. Needless to say I was confused.) . Nothing in the world could make me feel more beautiful. I've always wanted to be the kind of girl who had nice collarbones.

Monday, August 31, 2009

He said, she wished she'd said

Soo... let's set the scene a little bit. At around 2:00 pm, everyone stops working up front and either goes home or heads to the back to bake or do dishes or other useful things. It's my job to, then, stand behind the counter for the next two hours by myself. Therefore, if someone orders something it's my job to make it and take it to them and also to continue working at the counter.

I'm working this position today when a slightly post-middle-aged man comes in and orders a sandwich. I ring him up, take his money and go wash my hands and put on those God-awful plastic gloves from Lunch Lady Land. Halfway through making his sandwich he's back at the counter summoning me.

Guy: Miss? Miss? MISS. (I don't like being called "Miss" or "Ma'am" I'd much rather be referred to as, "'Scuse me.")
Me: [I turn around] I'm sorry, yes?
Guy: Do you have a local phone book?
Me: I'm sorry, I can't really hear you. [I walk closer]
Guy: Do you speak English? I said, "DO YOU HAVE A LOCAL PHONE-uh BOOOOOK-uh?"
Me: IIII'm sorry? I took your order, didn't I? We had a pretty decent conversation, didn't we? Do I HAVE an accent or dress like the native of some other country? You weren't a total a-hole 12 seconds ago! Sure, I'll get you one, but do you mind if I wait until I'm done making your sandwich so that I don't have to change my gloves?
Guy: *sigh* This really can't wait.
Me: Really? This can't wait for 90 whole seconds? Of course, I'll get that for you. [So I toss my lunch lady gloves into the garbage and grab a phone book from the back. I hand it to him and he takes it and goes back to his table.]
Three minutes later when I bring him his food, he's sitting there with the phone book open. He pulls out his cell phone and says, "What's the area code here?"
Me: So... Seeing the phone book couldn't wait for me to finish your food but making the phone call could? Really? It's 620, Sir. Have a great day.

I know this post doesn't demonstrate it well but it's important that you know that my attitude about/ during work has dramatically improved over the past week. I think it's that now that I'm working forty hours I know that my rent will be paid and I can overlook a lot knowing that I've got a roof over my head for the next thirty days. Also, I officially and legally have my very own space and that alone is absolutely liberating. This post just suits to be one of those must-get-it-out-of-my-system kind of things. Some people are, simply put, personal manifestations of nails on a chalkboard (or my personal aural nemesis--Styrofoam vs. Styrofoam).

Today, I love everything. Even that guy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Perspective, perspective, perspective

Rarely will my boss ever say anything that strums a positive chord with me. Generally if she's speaking to me, I picture myself rolling my eyes (and pray to God I don't actually roll them) and try to stave off tears of frustration. But the other day during a particularly hairy lunch, she said, "Just remember, no matter what, there's always someone out there who's got it worse off than you." I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to sucker-punch her for pulling out the pep-talk but then she came back with, "and when you think about it--there's some poor schmuck out there who's got it worse off than any of us."
At first I was oddly touched by the use of the word "us", which indicated that she was also feeling overwhelmed and understaffed. It's a rare occasion when I feel like she knows what it feels like to be one of us. Measly, peasant employees.

Later, as I was slicing meats and cheeses for the next day's lunch, my mind wandered to that guy. That guy who's got it worse than all of us. I'm sure everyone would choose someone else to be That Guy based on his or her own standard of horribleness but in my world, there's a quadriplegic in Papua New Guinea. He has a gluten allergy and his hut is in danger of foreclosure. This morning, when his girlfriend was making his oatmeal, she turned and tripped and splattered all of the hot cereal all over his face and hands. She, then, started in with "it's not you it's me" and "let's just be friends". Now he's a burn victim without a girlfriend or health insurance.

"My mother always told me that, even when things seem bad, there's someone else who's having a worse day. Like being stung by a bee, or getting a splinter, or being chained to a wall in someone's sex dungeon." --Kenneth Purcell

Sunday, August 23, 2009

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Mavricky.

Before we moved to South Dakota, I bought a microwave. I felt like I'd been living off things that other roommates had for too long and it was high time that I contribute to our living situation. I saw a need, I went to Target, and I filled that need. And, I know it sounds a little ridiculous because it's a dumb kitchen appliance but I felt a strange little attachment to it. Anyone who knows me know that it's not out of the ordinary for me to feel camaraderie with inanimate objects.

Well, I abandoned SoDak long before my roommate did, so I just left the microwave with her and she'd get it back to me. It was cool and that's how it all happened.

Well here's what happened next. We met in a Chipotle parking lot and Mr. JD stuck this guy in my trunk and we were all on our happy way. Until a few days later when I was in a pretty serious car accident. The day after the accident, Alyssa took me to the junk yard to get the stuff out of the trunk. I wedged it open and saw boxes exploded and papers spilled but my dear and loving microwave was perfectly unharmed. We hoisted it out and bid adieu to Clarence the Cadillac. "It was nice knowing you, Bub."

That was all a few months ago. Since then, the microwave has been in a garage--kept safe for storage awaiting this weekend when I would plug him in and we would again be joined in kinship and frozen dinner gladness. The timer works. The light works. The door works. The heating thingamijob does not work. And he is deadish. And I am too broke to purchase another one and a little too disinterested to try and fix it.

So I, being a modern day woman and a go-getter of sorts, tell myself that it's not a problem--I'll just cook on the stove top. That's what I prefer anyhow! Except that I just went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of single-person microwavable food. Again, I'm too broke to just go purchase more food. So here's to creativity!

I have that microwave Chinese food that is delicious and comes in little take out boxes. That company makes the most delicious potstickers that you're just supposed to microwave into instant gladness. Well, I needed some potstickers in me. So I pulled out my one skillet and dumped a bunch of these frozen dumplings into it and thought, "Hhhhow is this going to work?" I put a little water in, covered it (with a lit that was much too small, but you work with what you've got) and then cooked it until all the water was evaporated and those little guys got brown and crispy. And you know what? They were much more freakin' delicious than they ever could have been in the microwave. When you nuke them, they don't get brown and crunchy. While I was cleaning up my mess I realized that there are stove top directions on the side of the box.

After doing some research (I Googled "how the hell am I supposed to cook without a microwave?") it turns out that there's a whole movement of sans-microwave living. It's the new green thing and you know how I like to be on top of environmental trends like that, I have recycled aluminum foil in my cupboard and Scott's brand natural toilet paper under the sink. I still don't know how I feel about that whole movement but I'm going to be completely honest with you, I like the package design and that's why I buy it. I'm that shallow. Once I decide my position on the Green Movement I'll let you know.*

So here I am with my stove and my oven and my vegetable steaming basket. I'll let you know how all of that goes for me. Hey, maybe I won't get cancer! Who knows?


*Sub-point: My friend, Ryan, was in a park in Colorado a few weeks ago and saw signs that read, "Do the Green thing! Clean up after your dogs!" We all thought that was a little ridiculous on account of the fact that leaving excrement in the woods is probably the "Greenest" thing a person could possibly do.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I am always where I need to be and I always thought I would end up with you eventually.

I'm right where I need to be. In bed (a real bed) with my computer (after a long day without any Facebook access) and a big hunk of Coconut Cream Pie. God--can life feel any more gracious than it does right now? Probably, but right now feels (physically) pretty damn good.

Emotionally, I'm a tad unsettled. I just signed a year-long lease and wrote a check for over seven hundred dollars. I'm not sure I've ever had that much money in the bank before (you know, as a result of good, old fashioned honest-day's work anyway) and now that I do I'm giving it over to this guy. This really nice guy who pays the majority of the utilities and takes very good care of his tenants. And on top of that, I'm telling him that I'll write him a dozen similar (though not so spendy) checks in the coming months.

Anyone who knows most things about me knows that I'm not really a commitment-phobe, I crave and beg for it, actually. Too often I've been on the heavy end of a lop-sided relationship, knowing good and well that I gave way more than what was expected/ wanted of me. There's something about committing to this place, though, that makes me feel a little in over my head. Before this, there had always been a clear plan about what the next step would be but right now I'm pretty sure I don't know where we're going after this. Which is fine, I have until Aug. 31, 2010 to figure that out.

There's one thing I know for sure, for the next six months I will be saying "I'm never moving again!!" That will be a lie, of course. But God, I really hate moving. Especially after coming off an incredibly tiring week at work (but, hey! I put in 39 hours and 54 minutes). But it's coming together swell. I know exactly where I want to hang my Monster Art. I will show you pictures as soon as I can. I want you to see what it says in the back of my freezer. I want to invite you over for a Woodchuck. You can tell me how to arrange my living room.

I need to put you to bed, though. I'm 3/4 of the way through The Lovely Bones and I've never been so hooked to a novel like I am to this one. The suspense is killing me--figuratively, of course. Obviously.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Change I Want to See

Everyone came home from Nebraska. Safe and sound. I was a little surprised, if we're being totally honest. I think an itty bitty part of me expected them to get into an accident. Restitution for me being so thrilled to have alone time. I got restitution enough, after only a few hours I was bored out of my mind and missed the babies. I missed the babies every day. But I got used to it and now I'm primed and ready to have an apartment all to myself (on Friday).

I did a few fun things though. I drove to Lindsborg (little Sweden) and wandered around taking in Lingonberries wherever I could. Vegan baked goods--not good. I tried to give them a real honest shot. I tried to give them a more than honest shot. But alas. Gross. I watched the meteor shower. I walked in the rain to the movie theatre and watched Funny People. I had such a low-key week.

Aaaand I'm tired. I'm trying to decide if I really fucked up my knee or if I just am experiencing pain from standing for 9 hours today. After I got home, I sat on the couch and read to Genesis and when supper was ready I popped up to run to the kitchen with her but found my knee in such immense pain that I couldn't hold myself up anymore and crashed to the ground. I sat on the ground for a while moving my leg back and forth to get it going again and I was fine. Well, I haven't really been "fine" in a while. When I'm not at work I walk with a limp. I don't know where it came from and I can't really tell what it is exactly that hurts but it does.

So, then I called all of the places where I put in my resume--all of the places that remembered me and seemed excited about me, and they all said, "The position has been filled." Subsequently I told my boss that I wasn't going to be leaving and that I'd be happy to take over Alisha's hours when she leaves at the end of the week. The truth is that I'm not totally happy to take over Alisha's hours at all and I don't really want to keep working here. But if everything goes as planned (and, let's be honest, it rarely does), this is a temporary gig. I'm not anxious to start planning Phase Two (or what phase are we on? 136?) anytime soon but I am aware that this won't be forever. I'm also aware that I'm now considering myself a writer--that's what I want to do. Until I can make money doing that, I'll have to make money doing something else and this is a decent something else. Especially since more than ten percent of the current population doesn't have a fall back plan.

But more than anything else I decided that if I won't be changing my job, then I absolutely need to be changing my attitude. On Saturday I was in such a goofy mood. I got in to work and everyone was tired and weary and complainy. But I had been in such a weird little mood and I didn't feel like being irritated along with them. I had three cups of coffee and Weezer stuck in my head. I was throwing ice into glasses and wiping down tables and taking orders and doing the robot for my co-workers while singing, "You'll never do (slap the counter) the things you want (slap the counter) if you don't move (slap the counter) and get a job. Waste my days! Drown away! It's just the thouuught of yoouuu in love with someone else." And you know what happened? We all started doing the robot and laughing and no one else was being tortured by coming in to work. I started thinking, "What if I was that person that people looked forward to working with? What if I didn't feed the discontentment the way that everyone else did? What if I was the girl who did the robot when we were slow?" And that's my new mission. Might as well grow where you're planted, I suppose.

Friday, August 14, 2009

I would like to hold your hand as we're shifting through this twisted abandon. I would like to think that you'd know your way.

The other day at work, Alisha (someone you all would dig, very much) was training me (to do a job that I already know how to do. It irritated the both of us, but you do what the boss wants, do you not?) and just showing me the ways that she does stuff. Like, how she opens five-gallon buckets of pickles and how she goes about slicing meat--that sort of thing. She opened up a green pepper and, before discarding it, she holds up the bulb from the middle that is covered and patterned so specifically with seeds and she said, "Ah! I love this. I wish everyone had to do this, you know? Share all their weird idiosyncrasies with one another." It was a simple passing comment and I quickly turned that green pepper into perfectly sliced little rings and people ate them on their sandwiches.

But comments beget thoughts and thoughts beget blogs and this one is a list of my weirdnesses (It's a word. My spell check says it's a word.)

I've been writing 2006 on all of my checks ever since I opened this account. It could be that I'm dyslexic. It could be that I quite possibly haven't written a check since 2006. It's not really an idiosyncrasy--it's just something about me that's bugging me.

I have a tendency to speak in lists and bullet points. If we're speaking, you will most likely hear me say something in the format of, "And, you see, the reason I'll never drink a Sonic cream slush is twofold: A. I can't get down with the conflicting textures and B. I had a long swig of what I thought was an iced tea but turned out to be a four-hour old cream slush and it didn't end well." I do this for two reasons: 1. In high school I thought it was funny and by the time I realized it wasn't, it was a habit too ingrained to be removed. 2. I want you to know that both points hold equal weight when it comes to my reasoning.

I say I love the Beatles but I don't think I really do all that much. I like them, but I like it a lot more when someone covers the Beatles than when I really hear their original songs. I say I don't like Coldplay but when they show up in places I'm usually more soothed than I was before they came to play.

One of my most favorite... things? I hate to say the word "thing" but I can't pinpoint what it is, exactly. I'll start over. You know what I love to do? Cucumbers. Split them long-ways down the center and then drag a spoon through the guts to pull the seeds out. God it's a good feeling. The chopping is nice, too but it's the seeding that I savor.

Here's a good one you don't know. On long drives, specifically if I'm the one driving, my little brain will almost inevitably drift to sex. Everything about it. Every time. It usually doesn't stop, either, until I reach my destination or a gas-station where I buy a bag of Fun-Yuns and get distracted. If you and I have ever been in the car together for longer than an hour or so, I can almost guarantee that I stopped listening to anything you were saying or playing on your ipod and started thinking about effing--maybe even with you. Lucky you. (Eyebrows up, closed-mouth smirk, heavy nod)

I don't sing in the shower but that is where I practice my skat. I want to know how to skat so bad. It's just--it seems easy but it's not.

I love having the morning all to myself. I love waking up by myself and taking a shower with the door open and making my coffee in my underpants. I love preparing for my day before going out and giving it a go. But I hate spending my nights alone. Once the sun starts going down, I flip through my contacts list trying to find someone to call. I usually don't call, though, because I want to train myself to be okay at night by myself but so far (and I'm a few weeks from being twenty-six, by now) it hasn't really worked. I like to sleep with others. I like a warm body in bed next to me but I can't handle touching. I like the mornings to myself but I don't want to sleep in bed alone--you just can't have your cake and eat it, too. That's just the way it is, I suppose.

Don't be mad at me for not ever telling some of you this, but I love cigarettes. When I was in college, I got in the habit of smoking one cigarette per semester during finals week. Finals was always subliminally very insane, like a week-long full moon. I tried to take nothing personally during that week. I tried to extend vast amounts of patience and grace but I always needed one cigarette. That has spilled over into my non-scholastic life and I smoke once every six months. One at a time. I smoke when I miss my dad and I need to feel him in some physical way. So I sit on a porch and smoke from this pack of Basic Lights that I've had for about 3 years. I hold it in my lungs and let it settle into my hair and my clothes and collect in my throat and it smells just like him. I keep it at twice a year for a few reasons that I could list in bullet point fashion, but I'll spare you. For starters I don't want another addiction--I have enough and I couldn't really afford to be a smoker. For finishers, I need my dad. I need to be able to bring him to me when I'm at my lowest and I'm afraid that if I lit up anymore frequently than that, then I would lose the punch and the comfort. It happens so infrequently that I'm very bad at ashing. I can never flick it in a way to get the ashes to fall off nicely.

Well, that will do for now.
I told myself that I wasn't going to--but I am going to get some Chinese food. Egg rolls and almond chicken.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We would be warm below the storm in our little hideaway beneath the waves. Resting our head on the sea bed in an octopus's garden near a cave.

I am anxious to write a blog two times in as many days, but I'm going to do it anyway because I'm here and you're not. I sometimes feel sad when there is only zero or one comment waiting to be read but I also know that I don't know anyone who writes anything more than once every couple of weeks anyway so I know they're just not around. But, let's get real for just a second, I feel a little lonely and I think that's the only time I ever blog. But comments. No comments. It doesn't matter--I'm going to write something else anyway.

I had a cup of coffee about an hour ago. It's currently 11:05 pm. There was a time when I would be very intentional about my caffeine intake--times, amounts, types. There was also a time when I gave a damn about what I was like in the mornings. These days I've been known to go more than one day without a shower. And for that I sincerely apologize to my co-workers. But not enough to get into the shower. It's not as if I'm not up. I've usually been up for close to three hours before I go to work (on Thursday The Wizard of Oz played one and a half times before I left). It's the water pressure. It's the water pressure that makes me crazy and makes showering such an impossible chore that I would rather apply and re-apply deodorant than go to the trouble of taking off my clothes and running around under the fall of water that can, at best, be described as an insignificant dribble.

It's significantly later than when I started writing (I got distracted) but I'm sitting here at my laptop on the new sofa after everyone else has gone to bed and I'm in my zone. And someone knocks on the door. So, what do I do? I turn off the light in the living room. Is there a more obvious way to pretend to have not heard a knock at the door? I submit that there is not. And that I am a coward. My initial thought was that whoever was at the door had designs on murdering me. It wasn't until a few minutes later that I thought about the idea that that was one quite polite murderer--to leave after I "pretended" to be out. Damnit. It was probably Ryan. It sounded like a Ryan knock. Stupid me.

A few months ago I saw this guy on Oprah. Oh--wait--let's back up and I'll open this the way that everyone opens a story like this: "Now I don't normally watch Oprah... but I was flipping through the channels and..." I'm going to be honest with you, though, a few months ago I did watch Oprah with some regularity and with some excitement. Daytime television is the drug of choice for the underployed.

Okay, so a few months ago I saw this guy on Oprah. I didn't learn much about it because I was, I don't know, probably talking to Alyssa about being pregnant (What did we talk about before she got pregnant? Oh yeah, wedding planning. What did we talk about before that? God only knows. We probably paid attention to Oprah.) We saw this guy and I thought, "He's cute. Oh look. He has a baby. Oh look, his baby is dressed fabulously. He listens to Wilco. Cool dad." And today I somehow, magically happened upon his blog and I haven't stopped reading it except to write my own (insignificant in comparison) post and to read other strangers' blogs.

His name is Matt and he was friends with Liz back in '96. And he fell in love with Liz. And then he started dating Liz. And he dated Liz for 8 years and he loved her that whole time. And they got married. And he still loved her that whole time. And Liz got pregnant. And he loved her even more. And Liz had a baby and they both loved her. Her name is Maddie. And when Maddie was 27 hours old, a blood clot killed her mom. And Matt loves her still. And he still talks about her daily. I know because I've read his blog all day. And he's a single dad with a gorgeous girl and impeccable taste. In clothes. In music. In facial hair. In literature. Under different circumstances we would be friends. It's a pretty serious example of one-day-at-a-time living. It's a pretty serious example of taking advantage of friends and resources available to us. It's a pretty serious example of the sort of impossible shit that happens every day. And while it makes me scared--nay, terrified to love anything too hard again, it makes me want to be capable of such a broken heart.

I'm reading about how he has to plan road trips that coincide with his anniversary as means of distraction because he can't handle being in the house or by himself. I'm reading about how he's prompted to think of her by things that they didn't even have in common. I'm reading about how he has breakdowns and how leaves his daughter with her doting relatives and goes to bars with his friends. I want to be friends with Matt. I get the impression that so do most of the women in America, though, according to the comments on his blog. He's just got one of those qualities that I require in my most serious of friendships. Resilience and complexity that errs on the side of whimsical with an awareness of that ache that we've all got. I need these people around me. I need people who know that it all pretty much has an overwhelming sucky vibe but at least there is still ice cream and knock-knock jokes. And You. And you know I couldn't wake up tomorrow if you weren't in my corner--knowing that I was in yours, too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

What about taking this empty cup and filling it up with a little bit more of innocence.

After I got home from work yesterday, I took all of my clothes downstairs and put them in the washing machine. It's about 18 hours later and I just now remembered. Welcome the icky musty smell of old wet laundry.

I've been going to church very regularly. This is weird for me and, if we're getting down to bare-bones honesty, I think that most of my reason for going is so that I get a semblance of some alone time. I love Genesis and Amos and even Adam and Arryn. Of course I love them all so bad and I'm very grateful to have their couch to crash on--but I'm a woman who is used to having extensive amounts of time to herself. I relish the drive from here to church and then to be able to just sit there by myself for an hour. The only part I really hate is the 28 seconds of "meet and greet" time where people I don't know and will never know look at me with these glazed over smiles, reach out their hand to me and then make eye-contact with another person while they're still holding my hand. But that's 28 seconds out of a full hour and a half and I can concede to that.

But here's the best part. If I go to the early service, which starts at 8:00, then I get home right after Adam and Arryn and the kids have left for their church (which is, like, four hours long and very painful to sit through if you ask me) and I'm all alone until around 1:30. Sweet, sweet silence. Here's how I spend my time:
First things first. I reheat the coffee and pull up my Mr. A-Z Pandora station and dance with myself while listening to Van Morrison and Lili Allen streaming through the sound on the television. Nothing ups this girl's mood like "Brown Eyed Girl". And then I come check out who all has updated their blogs in the past week or so and the answer is usually, "No one. Not even Jon Brown." And after I email and facebook and do this business for a while then I find a book without pictures and veg out in my not-leaving-the-house-pants while drinking more coffee.

Usually when I express a need for some alone-ness, I'm greeted with a condescending reality check along the lines of "well this is what living with kids is like--it's constant, all the time and you have to give them all of you all the time." And that's true. But, I feel the need to remind them that they were the ones who got pregnant on purpose and had babies on purpose. I didn't ask for kids. I know it sounds horrendous. Most of the time when I say that I don't want children of my own, I'm greeted with gasps and looks like I'm a monster. As though the fact that I have a uterus--through no choice of my own mind you, admonishes me to use it and love doing it. I'm not eating babies, people. I'm just not going to have one. If a man doesn't want to have babies, it's not a big deal and more than acceptable. If a woman doesn't want to, everyone within earshot is suddenly the victim of a social crime.

I have all the respect in the word for people who choose to parent and who love their children the way that Adam and Arryn do. And I have all the love in my whole being for these kids. I didn't even know I was capable of love like this. I'm constantly surprised by my own selflessness on their behalf. I'm never angry when they wake me up at 6:00 am. I'm happy to open bananas for Genesis and I have no qualms with changing the most repulsive diapers or figuring out how to clean an itty-bitty uncircumcised penis. But I can't do it like Arryn can. Arryn seems to never tire of it. She's never cranky or loses her temper with them. She's always got her wits about her and responds in the best possible manner. She always knows the very root of a temper tantrum and gets to the quick of it without bothering with all the superficial screaming.

I sometimes wonder what kind of a mother I would turn out to be if it happened. I'm getting the tiniest taste of it right now and I think I'd be pretty good at basically keeping the kid alive. Which is half the battle but then you have to consider that this kid also has a psyche. I guess I'd just have to do my best to stay away from emotional terrorism and hope that the kid doesn't grow up and skin cats. That's the best we can hope for, I suppose. And that is why I'll be the cool aunt who gives the best birthday presents and takes you to get your first tattoo when you come to visit for the summer in exciting cities with artistic characters and writer-types.

Monday, August 3, 2009

But first, a cheerful comic:

I've been biting my fingernails more than I can ever remember doing it before. Today I have two bleeding cuticles and it hurts to hit the space bar. This makes me feel really disappointed and guilty. Why am I regressing? I hadn't bitten my nails in over a year and they were gorgeous and now I can't stop. I can not stop and I can't remember what ordered the cease and desist in the first place. They really were gorgeous. I don't remember what it was that motivated me to stop, but I remember that I replaced the biting with incessant filing and then once they were even, I just let them grow like crazy. It's time to go back to keeping a file in my back pocket. Now I'm just looking at my ugly, stumpy fingers thinking to myself, "what the hell did you do that for?!" I've relapsed a couple of times over the past year but this has been going on for weeks. I can't help feeling like it wasn't an accident. I think that as much as I've grown to love myself over the past few years, there's still a little bit of me that wants to sabotage all the good and make my cuticles bleed. I think it's the same bit that zooms in on pimples and tooth-gaps and slouching in pictures of myself that other people seem to really like. Why we must insist on keeping ourselves in the worst light imaginable, I'll never know.

I'll tell you what I do like, however. My haircut. I've been talking about getting it cut for weeks but knew I wouldn't really do it. Then, last weekend, I was hanging out with Alyssa and we were bored. I said, "we could get haircuts" in a yeah-right sort of way. Next thing I know, she's scheduled us 1:30's at Regency. We were the only people in the place and we had a great time. I told the girl that I had no idea how I wanted it cut, just long in the front and short in the back and lots and lots of short layers. And together we came up with this--the most grown-up haircut I think I've ever had. And I still have yet to get a photograph. I love it. I don't even mind that it's still two different colors.

I have started to hate my job--kind of a lot. I noticed that everyone there hates it and talk about how they should quit but they've all been there for almost two years. So I thought that I should fix things before I'm in the same position as them. And I started applying for jobs that I think I would be good at and that I would like. I applied at the hospital for an Admissions Clerk. That's my kind of jam. I called them today just to make sure that they got my stuff and the HR lady was so excited to talk to me. She said that they're not accustomed to getting resumes for non-certified positions and that they're very interested in me and she knew my name as soon as I introduced myself. I think that looks promising.

I don't know if this post shows it or not--but things are looking good from my perspective. I'm excited for the future. I sign my lease in a little under 3 weeks. If the hospital job pays enough (and it should) and, of course, if I get it--I will even be able to exist sans-roommate. I like the idea of having a guest room for my visitors. It'll give my little brother a place to crash when he's here on leave and it will give me an office where I can hopefully write. I can't wait to have a writing space. But, if the universe decides to land me with a roommate--it will be alright. I'll not worry about it, it could be a great situation. That's still weeks away.

Sugar and spice and everything nice,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"...and the world still turns when you're not around."

My soon-to-be landlord called today to see if I still want the apartment. He said that there are a lot of people who are interested in the apartment but he really wants me to take it if I'm still interested. That's really cool.

Reeling from the anticipation that this phone call elicited--of course I headed to the nearest thrift store looking for something for my kitchen. I wasn't particular, I don't have anything for my kitchen except for a set of dishes and one pot. I was in the mood for anything. Three dollars and seventy-five cents bought me an ikea french press and two mismatched coffee mugs. I'm determined to not have any coffee mugs that match one another and no mugs featuring business logos of any type. Unless it is awesome. Today I bought what I know will be my most favorite and frequently used coffee mug. I will keep it with me for the rest of my life. I can't show you a picture right now but I'd be happy to tell you about it. It's clear with a giant, bold, black "E". I can't place the font, but it is not Times New Roman. It is magnificent. When there's orange juice in this cup, it doesn't even look like an "E" anymore, it reverses the focal point and you're looking at the orange and not the black. God, I love it. In the store, my eye fell across this cup and I said, outloud, "Mmm yes." It's funny how people have no interest in the things you're looking at until you're interested and then suddenly it's like this is the only thing worth buying in the whole place. Today that actually was the case, though.

I can't wait to put together my house and show you. It's what I've been working for for the past seven years of my life. My. Own. Place. God, I can taste it!

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The "Don'ts" of Today

Don't oversleep.
Don't forget to take a shower.
Don't walk out the door without your apron--again.
"Don't you dare run over me, gigantic Dodge Ram."
Don't yell at your boss.
Don't be even mildly sarcastic.
Don't not help out.
Don't go to the bathroom.
Don't yell at your boss.
Don't get upset--you're new.
Don't drink the Pepsi, have a glass of water first.
Don't eat a ruben, have smoked turkey and mustard.
Don't sit here too long, you get paid by the hour.
Don't stare.
Don't check your text message.
Don't stare.
Don't ask him where he's from.
Do offer fudge samples.
Don't give them too much, it's just a sample.
Don't answer that phone call.
Don't be passive aggressive.
Don't be upset with her, she's trying to be helpful. She's making it worse--but she's trying.
Don't linger.
Don't try to get hit by the truck.
Don't forget to go to the grocery store.
Don't buy the cupcakes.
Don't buy the cupcakes.
Don't buy the cupcakes.
Okay, you can buy one beer if you promise to share it.
Don't forget to share.
Don't overcook the tortellini.
Don't flirt with him.
Well, don't do it again.
Don't answer that phone call.
Don't go to sleep. It's too early.
Don't stay up too late, you have to work in the morning.
Don't blog. You have nothing to say.
Don't say anything incriminating.

Help! I need some positivity. I am in need of a day of power.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Look around your world, Pretty Baby, is it everything you hoped it would be?

According to my horoscope (that is found at the top of my home page--it's not something I actively seek), today would be a day full of greater challenge than the day before. It also said to not spend a lot of time criticizing or complaining because that doesn't impress people. If you ask me, that's just good old fashioned generic advice and not really the work of a fortune teller--but I digress.

In the spirit of cheesy horoscopes and the horrendous bout of existential dread I struggled with earlier today and the fact that it's easier to get over a bad day by not re-hashing it--I give to you a list of ten things for which I am most thankful tonight.

1. Food that lives and sustains. I've been starting my days with Greek yogurt, honey and strawberries with 1/2 a cup of organic granola and wheat germ. Would you believe that I usually don't require a lunch break until around 2:00 pm. I'm working on drinking only water--it will come in time and my tummy will be thankful.
2. John Mayer's cover of Free Fallin'. Put this on and I'll let you dance with me from behind while I finish the dishes.
3. Generosity. Sometimes it can be overwhelming but there's something graceful about the humility of receiving. And besides, if there was no one willing to receive we wouldn't have givers. "Everyone is vital to the flow."
4. Flirting with the old men who come into the Deli. If I can wiggle a wink out of one of them, I go home happy. I think that flirting is God's gift to crummy days and achy backs.
5. Jamie and JD. Maybe it sounds like shout outs and maybe it is because this duo is literally half of the people that I know that actually read this. You have it and I want it and I am not completely certain of what it is but I think I'll know it when it climbs my stairs and knocks on my door. And I will practice the exuberant patience that has been demonstrated to me by you for years followed by the sincerest gratitude.
6. Shaving cream. No aerosol foamy, scented puff balls for me. Nope, not since Skintimate started making shaving cream made with oil from olives and jojoba. This product has revolutionized my relationship with my legs.
7. The fact that my last botched dye job is growing out to the point that I can chop off all of the black and start anew with virgin locks.
8. Thrift stores that carry everything that I need for my home for under $2.00. Not only is it inexpensive, it's all worn in and has it's story and is going to come in and be a part of my story. So far, my most favorite item is a mail sorter from the 60's that I picked up in Lindsborg for all of seventy-five cents. I can't wait 'till you can see where I live. You'll want to rent out my second bedroom. And I will kindly oblige. Come, we'll merge journeys.
9. While I am proud of my snippets of independence, I treasure the interdependence between myself and my closest friends. They have something I need and I have something that they require and there is freedom in holding nothing hostage. They could get it from anywhere and I could give it to anyone. But we chose one another and we keep choosing.
10. Amos. He's a lump of a human, merely 10 months old but filled with absolute wonder and awe and a laugh that you can get to by squeezing his thigh. And he is in love with me, too.

Row, row, row your boat
gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a dream.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Let's talk about Truth, Baby. Let's talk about you and me.

Okay, the other night Arryn and Angie and I were sitting around talking about the houses we grew up in. Angie was talking about how she is pretty sure that her house in Newton was haunted. She told us all sorts of stories: when she was younger, early in the morning she'd hear some voices in the living room and, thinking that it was her parents, she would walk down the stairs to go visit them. Every time she got to the second to the last step, they would stop talking. She'd go into the living room and not see anyone. She'd, then go to her parents room and they would be sleeping. So, she'd go back to bed. Arryn and I chocked that up to good, old-fashioned children's imagination. One night, her family went outside to get in the car and once they were all loaded up, the light in her mother's bedroom went on. They got a neighbor and searched the house and found no one. Another time, the pull-chain for the light in the bathroom started swinging ferociously, which prompted Angie's mom to launch into the living room with her pants around her ankles. All of these incidences seem explainable--but creepy nonetheless and got me to start wondering. After everyone went to bed, I had to pee. I went to the bathroom and in the middle of washing my hands, the light started to flicker. I ran--ran back to my cozy couch and thought happy thoughts. In the morning, Arryn mentioned that the light has been pretty flickery lately. Good to know.

Anyway, the next day at work I walked into a conversation about Charlie. Charlie is apparently the grandfather of the previous owner of the deli. He died a decade ago and used to bake--I guess. Apparently Charlie shows up from time to time. Kim, my boss, asks us to treat him with respect. She also told us a few stories that employees have had. Some just fleeting--a woman will call your name with a sense of urgency. In another instance, a girl had a difficult time opening the door to the General's Quarters. The GQ is a small section that is often reserved for parties. A girl was going into the GQ to get it set up for a party, she didn't believe Kim about Charlie. She said that it was dumb to believe in ghosts. But this night, she had to push and push and push to get the door open and as she was setting up the tables, apparently she kept hearing a woman ask, "Who are you? What are you doing here?" The woman was mad. The girl ran out and wouldn't go back in.

So, as I said, I walked into this conversation that was taking place between Kim and a high school girl named Amy. Amy said that she has a theory that if you don't believe in ghosts, then they don't exist. Now, I don't know if ghosts exist and I really don't care that much but I do know that statement is the most gigantic load of tripe I have ever heard out loud. I mean--how could something exist but only for those who think it's true?

Kim told her about the GQ incident and Amy sort of laughed at her. Kim asked, "how do you know it's not true? Well, what do you believe?" Amy said, "Well, I believe in God and in the Bible..." Innocently, I asked her, "In the Bible, does it say that ghosts don't exist?" I mean, I haven't read the whole thing but from what I've seen I don't think that I've crossed anything that mentioned it. I really was just wondering. She's got, like, a 4.8 gpa and does very little other than study and go to Youth Group so if one of the two of us would know about this stuff, it would naturally be her.

So I told her, albeit very quickly, where I'm coming from. I told her that I'm a Christian (though would appreciate a different term, since this one has been ruined) and that I (regretfully) just spent five years at a Christian (extended summer-camp) University. I said that if there's one thing I learned--one thing that I took away from that experience that made me into a whole and entire person it was learning that I won't know everything. But more importantly, that there's a difference between what the Bible says and what people have been telling us this whole time. Sometimes people tell us what the Bible says but sometimes Sunday School teachers are just telling us what their Sunday School teachers told them and we listen to it and think that it's what God says. But really, honestly, it's what Great Aunt Gertrude said and we never think to ask where this information came from. Secondly--we think that checking Gertrude's references is the worst thing we could ever possibly do. Questioners are either shunned or welcomed by their own kind--who are also shunned.

"Doubt is not a pleasant position, but certainty is absurd." --Voltaire

I have to be honest with you, I have never felt as secure and whole and even beautiful as I did the day I realized--and was okay with the fact that not only is it impossible for me to have the answers to some questions but that I shouldn't. Moses wasn't allowed to even look at God. What on Earth makes some of us believe that we could possibly be privy his every thought or reason or idea about stuff--even trivial stuff. You know? Maybe he did make ghosts. Maybe they're not real. Who cares? And it's not just ghosts and aliens and vampires--I really couldn't care less about this stuff, it's just what prompted me thinking about the subject. Other subjects though, "What's Heaven like?" "What happens after you die?" "What is sin?" "Does God actually give a shit about where I go to college/ who or if I marry/ if I move to another country/ if I name all of my children after the secondary characters in Harry Potter/ if I sleep with a gentleman to whom I have made no vows?"

On the other hand, very few things offend me more than ignorance. So how do you marry those two ideas? Why keep looking for answers when you know you'll never find them? I don't know. The only thing I can think of is so that you and I can continue to be the types of people that you and I can stand being around. I want to have important ideas. I want to believe things and I want to know exactly what it is that lead me to that belief. Just understand that there's a line between fact and belief.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Misc. Mental Inventory + Musical Interludes

"I'm a new soul I came to this strange world hoping I could learn a bit 'bout how to give and take..."

I had this conversation with my brother:
A: So, I wanted to make an egg sandwich to take to work because eggs are cheap and I'm out of lunch meat. But you can't take a fried egg in your lunch. So I boiled one and chopped it up and to make it all stick together, I added some mayo. It was really good!
Me: No kidding?
A: I don't think I've ever heard of anything like that before, have you?
Me: Noooo--nope. What do you think you're gonna call that? Egg salad, maybe?
A: Nah.
Me: Yeah. You totally invented that.

The fact of the matter is and I don't know what the latter is, oh no way. You see I always wanted to kiss you but I always wanted to run from you. Because I always wanted to miss you. And I, always wanted to come for you...

It's been brought to my attention that Gavin DeGraw has a new album. So, when Chariot came out in 2003 I bought it on a whim and didn't expect much. I bought it on the same day that I bought my very first Jason Mraz cd--which was also a whim. I never, ever buy more than one cd at a time because I like to give it my full attention. You know--take it out to dinner, maybe a movie, always a midnight stroll. Light a fire and pull it out... I'm just saying, things get intimate. I don't want to clutter up the romance with a competing cd. But I did this time and Gavin and I got very serious very quickly. I didn't go anywhere near Jason for about a week or two. I thought Chariot was one of the most brilliantly written albums I'd heard in a long time.

So when his self-titled album came out the summer before last, I was, needles to say, thrilled to see what beautiful songs he had to sing to me. Turns out--the whole damn album was pure money-crap and he but What's Her Name from Laguna Beach in the video for the one song that got air-play. I was pissed. Therefore--today I feel a little more hesitant to jump back into such a hopeful relationship with one that I'd known so wildly. Oh Gavin--don't you sell out on me again. Ball's in your court--if you want to hook up with me again, you're going to need to be the one to call me. And following me on Twitter doesn't count.

Maybe I would have been something you'd be good at. Maybe you would have been something I'd be good at. But now we'll never know, I'll start to wonder if this was the thing to do.

You know how there's always that one person at work who smells terrible? Maybe you don't, maybe it's just me. Anyway, I'm fairly certain that people who work in food service should, in all circumstances, smell nice. And if not nice, then at least neutral. The last thing that a person wants a whiff of before going to town on a Turkey Ruben is an unprotected armpit or a dirty t-shirt that has obviously been sitting next to a damp towel for a week and a half. But imagine, just imagine, working along-side a person who is currently suffering from both--both of these situations. Like dishing up broccoli soup isn't bad enough, I have to do it while standing next to an unkempt walking locker room. This person is my superior. She's younger than me. She's a girl. And she smells. And on top of that:

Smelly Girl: So I sort of think that Jason Mraz is kind of a total rip-off of Jack Johnson only not as good.

Have you ever found yourself doing that thing where you're not really changing your facial expression but you're suddenly very aware of the fact that you haven't blinked in about 19 seconds? She continues, "and plus I've seen him live, like, twice and every time he is so totally stoned." This girl went to KU for two semesters. Granted, while that's not a long amount of time--I've spent probably a total of 8 days in Lawrence, Kansas and have yet grown very accustomed to stoned people serenading you all over the place and I find it--at the very least--charming. And I've never heard any of them skat. Jason. Now, Jason skats. He makes a trip to Subway (the sandwich shop, not the public transportation system--although he could probably do it for that, too) sound like sweetest sex the world has ever known. Jack Johnson doesn't skat. And Jack Johnson is, like, 5'4". Jack Johnson wants to change the world with his ukulele. Jason wants to wear a straw fedora and see my tattoo and, frankly, I'm down with that. I'll even buy lunch.

Don't get me wrong--Jack's great. I have... the majority of his albums. He's inspiring and sweet and syrupy but these two gentlemen have nothing to do with one another. And you know what--even if they did sound similar, which they absolutely do not, what gives? People sound similar all the time. It's called a shared market. Wash your laundry. Wash your hair. And have correct opinions.*

Anyway. Sorry I end up talking about Jason Mraz all the time. If it's not him, it's Anne Lamott. It really is. Sorry. It's just that they're both pretty influential when it comes to values that I hold most deeply (also, I would buy either of them a sandwich if the situation arose). Music and books. Yep. I'm the kind of girl who has imaginary friends.

I'm starving. I'll go to bed.

*Yes. I know it's ironic to say "have correct opinions". You see, it's funny.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Jinx?

One night a week my brother goes out with his male companions. They drink beer in moderation, talk about themselves in moderation and speak on spiritual matters in plenty. The wives of these fellows, there are two--one of which being my sister in law, meet on the same nights. They drink iced tea and talk about their husbands.

Last night, I stayed home with the kids while Adam and Arryn went out to do what people their age love to do. The babies were in bed when Arryn and her friend arrived back at the house. I had just begun a rousing game of Sims 3 (I have an addiction) and didn't want to disturb them. But they sat in the dining room and I overheard bits of their conversation.
A: If he values you and wants to do everything for your marriage, then getting rid of the Internet shouldn't be a problem.
F: But he needs it for his work...
A: If he needs the Internet he can go to the library or come over here. ...
F: That's over simplifying it. It's not about the Internet. The having it or not having it. I don't know...

I start to feel really sad for Friend. They've been married for--at the very least--5 years. They've been trying to have a baby since day one and it hasn't happened. She blames herself, of course. He's had this pretty serious addiction since long before she ever happened and yet, of course, she blames herself. She thinks she should be enough for him. She thinks that after being married for so long he doesn't want her anymore. She's picking up blame everywhere that she possibly can. She doesn't understand how this isn't her fault. All the while, no one else can understand how possibly could be. Oh we are a broken people.

I start to feel bad for eavesdropping on such a delicate conversation and go back to building and modifying the most bad ass house that I could possibly create on the Sims. Overhearing this conversation prompted me to place my sim's computer in the kitchen and not in an office. Public viewing only--what if she marries a boy sim with a panache for pornography? And then I overhear Arryn say something that stops me cold and I'm struck with fear:

"Adam and I have never been so good--we're just so happy."

And not only am I fearful at the news, but also ashamed of myself for feeling that way. Why would I be afraid that saying it out loud would actually jinx it? But it's true, now I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Genesis is going to get cancer. Adam's going to hurt himself during a furniture delivery and wind up a paraplegic. Amos is going to get left out in the car while Arryn goes into the bank for a split second which turns into a four-hour-long hostage stand-off and gets killed and subsequently Amos roasts to death. This is what goes through my mind. Everything's great. When's the shit going to hit the fan? I've never believed that I'd really get the whole measure of happiness and I'm afraid that I know what no one else knows: that sooner or later it's all going to be fubar (fucked up beyond repair: attributed to Anne Lamott). What a dismal way to live.

She said that she was listening to the radio and You're Still the One came on and she actually started to cry because she felt like it was amazing how after being married to my brother for eight years, she still felt lucky and in love and happy and protective of him. It's oozing with cheese but it's true of her and I feel lucky to even know someone who gets to have her whole package. Everyone says it's impossible. They all say, "Yeah, it's all rainbows and unicorns right now but sooner or later..." Why does the sooner or later have to come though? Why do we have to count on it all getting ruined?

We were talking the other day and she asked if I wanted someone. It's funny because that's one of those things that I've tried very hard to not say out loud because I guess I believe in the power of the jinx. She pointed out that the fact that I'm afraid of jinxing it means that I probably do, in fact, want someone to share my life with. "Great. Damnit. Thanks a lot. Now I'm either going to be alone forever or with someone I can't stand." "Lucky for you," she tells me, "you get to choose."

SWF currently seeking: M, 24-32 with unconditional kindness, humble self-awareness and fearlessness when it comes to The Jinx.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, I live in McPherson now. I'm not completely certain how I feel about it yet. I probably won't feel awesome until the apartment opens upstairs and I'll get a place to live that is not my brother and sister-in-law's hide-a-bed in the living room. We've got a collection of things growing in the garage that will be used to fill my place once it becomes available. I really, truly, can't wait to have a place of my own. I don't even have to paint it at this point. I just want a place to sleep where there aren't three-year-olds jumping on my bed demanding that I wake up because she wants to watch PBS. Not that I don't love it--but sometimes it's nice to sleep past 6:45. Sometimes it's nice to lounge around your house without a bra on for a few hours before getting ready for the day. I am being made more and more aware of just how much you can hear from the people upstairs which leads me to believe that I'm going to have to invest in some rugs for sound prevention.

I've never been one to question whether or not I'm doing the right thing. I had nightly panic-attacks when I was trying to decide where to go to college and for a semester after I got there. Ever since, I've ridden a philosophy of "Well, this is how it is so we might as well make it look nice." Nothing ever feels right but nothing ever feels wrong either. Sometimes some things feel considerably less right than other things. I'm currently in a battle between "did I totally ruin this?" and "what's done is done." I suppose it just makes sense to get over and move on but sometimes, most especially at night, I have a few feelings that seem too close to regrets to be anything else. But I know that feelings are not reality and I have done the very best with what I had at my disposal and in twenty years I won't regret having done what I've done. I am certain of that.

I had an interview at Mainstreet Deli which is two blocks from where I am living. It's a really adorable place. Lots of sandwiches, soup, salads--that type of stuff. But they also make all their own baked goods, pies, cookies, bread, etc. Kim isn't hiring for any full-time positions but she has a few different part time ones and said that I was "an employer's dream." She needs someone to do waitressing and someone to come in at 4:00 am to do baking. That's my type of job. Until I get my masters and until the economy jumps back up (which they say will happen but my brother seems to dispute pretty heavily) these are the sort of jobs that I'll be taking. Lucky for me, I'm good at these sorts of jobs and I really enjoy them. Sadly, though, they pay just barely over minimum wage. But I'm single. I just pay for little old me. I get by. I'll be fine. And I'll bring home pastries.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

God, this latte is phenomenal.

I was thinking about how irritated I was with all this starting over I've been doing. A year ago I was gearing up to "start over" in South Dakota. Thankfully that puttered out--I hated that whole damn place. I pretended that I didn't but faking it 'till you make it doesn't always work out. Then I came back to Olathe for do-over. That never really got off the ground. It wasn't even a false-start. I just stayed in the same place and hoped to get going. Now this new opportunity [read: an eviction notice of sorts] has presented itself and I'm going to start up a nice little life of my own in an apartment just above where my niece and nephew live.

Only maybe it's not always start-overs. Maybe these are just continuations of my life that give me opportunity and room to grow more and see more. "Do-over" gives the impression that I'm going to get it right this time, finally. But I'm not. I'm not going to get it all right from here on. I'm just doing it. Luckily for me, I find it only mildly irritating to realize that my life started a long time ago--I just never really got on board until now.

Lately I need constant stimulation. Quite honestly, left to myself and ten minutes, I could melt into a pretty pathetic puddle of existential dread. So to keep that from happening, I read. I walk a lot. I go to stores and wander around and don't buy anything. Last night I took myself out on a date. I went to the trouble of putting on fresh mascara and I even shaved my legs. Then we (me and my legs) went to the movies. I watched Night at the Museum and I will be honest--we had a great time. We went to Panda Express and ate a considerable amount of Chow Mein and potstickers and followed up with a fortune cookie that read: Your love life will be happy and harmonious (which I like to follow up with "in bed"--which is such good news, really).

Then I got to hang out with Jamie and JD and all I could think was, "Oh God. I'm so glad you're back." Granted--they will only be here for a little bit longer before transferring to South Korea, and I'll be here for an even shorter amount of time before transferring to McPherson. But I feel really good to know that my friends are no longer stuck in South Dakota for no reason other than stupid, effing contracts. Psh. Stupid effing contracts.

And I'm getting ready to work a 18 hour weekend at Noodles and Company. In preparation, I'm at the Latteland across the parking lot enjoying a Double Vanilla Tea Latte and thinking about how great the paycheck will be right before my move. How comforting. I have less than a week at this job that I've been with for a little over two months before I voluntarily join the jobless again. I'll take the comfort where I can get it. In the mean time, I'm going to think about how much fun Jamie's wedding is going to be and how excited I really am to go alone. I mean, just because you show up alone doesn't mean you're going home alone, now does it? I submit that it does not. ;-) I kid. I kid. Ish.

Love, Libby.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stream of Consciousness Blog: Jealousy--> Forth Place --> My makeup techniques--> My greatest fear

I remember the first time that I recognized myself as a jealous person. It was only a few summers ago. I drank a lot of vodka and cranberry juice out of Styrofoam cups that summer. I was 21 years old. Twenty-one before I knew that I had the capacity for jealousy. I've always been a late bloomer--in every conceivable way.

When I think about it, it could have actually been the first time I've ever, legitimately, been jealous. It could be. I've always been the sort of girl who never thought she'd get the best and, thus, never got my hopes up. I learned to settle for forth place very early on. A lot of times and in many rewarding ways--this is a perfectly acceptable outlook on life. But occasionally, a balance needs to be struck.

I always tell about how since I was little, I was always attracted to the browns and mustards and mossy greens that no one else wanted. In class once, in the second grade, our teacher let us choose a piece of construction paper to create a folder for documents. Everyone else chose vibrant fuscias and teals, bright yellows or clean whites. I dug to the bottom of the pile and pulled out this long piece of sun-faded and spotted green that much resembled the bottom of a neglected swimming pool come autumn. This was mine. I identified with the little dude. He was forgotten and unwanted at the bottom of the pile. He had liver spots and a fairly indistinguishable color. My teacher, Mrs. Lavelle, tried to convince me to take a bright purple, and I considered it, but then guilt kicked in and I stuck to my guns and chose the unlovable. Jealousy may be a recent development but good old fashioned guilt has been my long-time companion along with the personification of numerous inanimate objects.

The thing is that I knew that piece of construction paper had feelings and intuition and eyes. It knew that I considered it and it knew that if I put it back in the stack, it was because I refused to make use of it even though it was completely functional. It would have known that I chose the purple because it was new and didn't have a fabricated name that would likely only be found on the pages of a J. Peterman catalog. I didn't want to hurt it--so to the scorn of my peers, I proudly chose him and decorated him with Crayolas. I was not jealous of everyone else's more beautiful colors. I just did the best I could to make mine a little easier to look at.

And that's how I've been dealing with myself, pretty much ever since. Just try to make it a little easier to look at.

I've never tried to be gorgeous. I've sometimes made conscious leaps toward "pretty" but the harder I try, the worse it gets so I just leave well enough alone and stick to tinted moisturizer and mascara. Which does seem to work for me. See, this is one of those times where it's not always necessary to go for the gold. Jeans, tank tops, mascara and a pony-tail. It leaves much more open for interpretation. Which is all a woman is looking for anyway, to be considered, not summed up after one quick glance.

The other day, Alyssa and I were at lunch and the hostess came over to our table to offer us coupons. When she left, all I could think was that she likely got her makeup tips from time spent in the theatre. She made a valiant attempt, but boy did she crash and burn. And herein lies my greatest fear: crashing and burning.

The fear of the crash isn't that bad. Crashes are quick. They happen in a split second, then you quickly turn off the radio (which is what you always do when you get in an accident), get out of the car and survey the damage. Really, it's the burning that bugs me. The aftermath, the cleaning up of debris and wreckage. I could fail all the time if it wasn't for that blasted immediate reminder of and the subsequent cleaning that ensues.

But very recently I've made a brilliant revelation: fuck that, I'm dealing in.