Saturday, July 09, 2005

Temporary URL change...

For the next 5 months I'll be reporting from South Africa. Check it out:

Sunday, July 03, 2005


Compassion means to build a bridge to others without knowing whether they want to be reached.
-Henri Nouwen

It's amazing to me that humans ever get to know one another. Starting any relationship, any conversation, is a risk. The person sitting next to us could insult us; she could be an ax murderer; he could be your competition for a promotion; she could have a contagious illness; he might be an auditor for the IRS on his way to ruin your best friend's life; or he or she could become your best friend.

I'm sure many of us have been assaulted with that trite statement, "There are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet." I don't know about that. I see huge leaps. Every person we encounter is a leap waiting to be taken. Do we go for it, extend our hand and greet the person? Or do we simply avoid eye contact and keep walking down the street?

Every greeting, every introduction, every new person we meet is an exercise in courage and compassion. We smile and give our best, a tiny part of us, to this stranger. They can accept or reject us, love us or hurt us, maybe both even. How is it, then, that we reach out? I hope for you that it is openly, courageously, lovingly, and, most of all, with grace.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I got nothing

I miss ASP. I went to visit a friend who is on staff this summer and that's the conclusion I reached. It was the most exhausting and interesting job of my life, and I miss it desperately. I miss being sweaty and dirty and exhausted. I miss watching volunteers learn and interact with families. I miss getting to know families and talking with them about their homes and their lives. I even miss long, tense, and sometimes punchy staff meetings. Suffice it to say that being away from staff only gives me a greater desire to go back.

I really enjoy driving alone. I'm not sure why that is, since I'm an extrovert and normally try to be around people all the time. Yet I get great satisfaction about steering my car down the road with no one else in the vehicle. I ponder things like these:
- Why are there all these pro-life and pro-choice billboards on the interstates in the midwest? Do people actually make decisions about reproductive rights while they're driving across the country? I have to say that I think perhaps this use of outdoor advertising isn't the best move.
- I wish the U.S. had better public transportation. I'd really like to be able to hop on a train like people in Europe can. Trains are such neat, economically, and environmentally friendly ways of getting around, and here's we are with Amtrak going bankrupt.
- Bubbles should always be utilized to combat construction-traffic-boredom. Besides, nothing makes the other drivers think you've lost your marbles like blowing bubbles in traffic.
- I love Flying J. I can't even explain to you how much I love Flying J.
- Indiana has "No Stopping or Standing" signs along their interstates about every 3 miles. The key word here is INDIANA. No offense to the state of Indiana, but if you pull over and leave your car on the side of the Interstate, where are you going to go? Are you going to just take off walking through the nearest soybean field? The only reason for stopping or standing by the side of the interstate, as far as I can tell, is because your car has broken down, and then you don't have a choice anyway!

There you have it... thoughts of a solitary interstate driver.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

You are all sheep!

Editor's Note: For the life of me, I cannot remember where the above quote comes from. I really have no recollection whatsoever. I simply remember that I thought it was hilarious and it seemed to fit this situation.

I went to the Annual Conference for my area of the United Methodist Church last week. In short, 3000 people gathered in a tiny little village and trying to stuff themselves into an airplane hangar with ancient wooden seats. The worship services were really good, of course, but the meetings were incredibly disheartening. People said some incredibly closed-minded things that made me lose some of my hope for mankind and particularly the church. There were things said that were so ignorant that they made me sick to my stomach. I don't understand how people can be so prejudiced and belong to an organization that is based on spreading God's love and understanding! How can "evangelists" ever hope to reach people if they insist on being so judgmental and self-centered that they fail to acknowledge that the people they're rejecting and insulting are "Beloved, child of God, and beautiful to behold." I still don't understand. I felt like the onle person in that enormous auditorium who was appalled by the hurtful things being said. As Mary says in Saved!, "So everything that doesn't fit into some stupid idea of what you think God wants you just try to hide or fix or get rid of? It's all too much to live up to. No one fits in one hundred percent of the time, not even you. [...] Why would God make us all so different if he wanted us to be the same?"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

"Where you are is where I belong"

I went to see Dave Matthews Band in concert in St. Louis last week. The music was great, but the people in the crowd were terrible. I went with six friends, but we were surrounded by a hord of idiot high school and college students who were smoking and shoving people and screaming and singing so loudly that we could scarcely hear the band. I really wish they'd come to hear the music instead of coming to scope members of the opposite sex in small clothes. But, nevertheless, the performance was AMAZING and I really enjoyed getting to go out west for a bit.

I'm really enjoying just getting to hang out at home with my parents. I know it sounds weird, but my parents are really cool people and I actually enjoy spending time with them. A few nights ago, for instance, we sat around and played that wonderful elementary school girl game: "Electronic Dream Phone" after dinner. They were really fun to play with, and we gave dad endless ribbing when HE actually won the game. Imagine, if you can, two twenty year olds and two people in their mid-fifties playing a game designed for ten-year-old girls. It was hilarious.

I'm starting to get really nervous, about my upcoming interviews. I have to meet with the people in my church for an interview and get them to approve me if I ever want to have a chance of becoming a minister. That means my fate is entirely in the hands of a few people at my church. If they decide I'm unacceptable, things get really hairy and I may never be able to serve. With me getting nervous the interview will probably go something like this:
"What is it you feel called to do?"
"Serve and...stuff..."
"Could you explain that?"
"Um... *long pause* no."
"Oh. Well then, how did you come to this realization."
"Right. Why did you choose the Methodist church."
"I like it."
"Because I do."
"Well, I think we've got enough. Ready for a rejec, I mean, vote?"

Well, I'm off to go prepare for Annual Conference and contemplate how to fit all of the essentials of my life into one duffle bag. Happy and merry.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

What color are their hands now?

I survived the last of finals and work, packed everything I owned and finally got home again. (Insert huge sigh of relief here) I even managed to get my best grades ever this semester. Now I'm in a bit of a holding pattern until I leave for the big "study abroad adventure". So far during this waiting period I've visited Cedar Point, Baltimore, and Colonial Williamsburg. I've also gotten to see several friends from school and home, though I have big plans to see many more before I take off again.

I should probably disclose, probably should have disclosed a while ago, that I broke my resolution. I said I wasn't going to get involved with a guy for 2 years. I made it 9 months. While the timing wasn't what I'd planned, a guy got into my heart. He's amazing and, I'll admit it, I'm smitten. So, for all of you who didn't already know, now you do.

For everyone out there who aspires to be juvenile delinquents, I have a recommendation for you: packing peanuts. Think of someone you really hate, then take tons of styrofoam packing peanuts and scatter them throughout the person's lawn. This happened to my family this week, and it was a huge pain. These non-biodegradeable objects must be picked up before the lawn can be mowed and are INCREDIBLY irritating. And if I ever find out who did this to my family, I'm going to put limburgher in their exhaust manifold. Oh, SHNAP.

I have no terribly exciting stories to tell, I've been mostly spending time with my family, reading, and relaxing over break so far. Should anything terribly exciting come up, I'll blog about it immediately. And by immediately, I mean sometime between now and the time I leave for South Africa.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

T-Shirts and Transitions

I put on my Sociology T-Shirt this morning, only to discover that it had the words "Question Your World" on the back. I was pleased... I hadn't even noticed that there WERE words on the back when I bought it, much less an amazing, stimulating message. So then I got to thinking what a T-Shirt for Interdisciplinary Studies (which doesn't actually exist) would have on the back. I came up with these suggestions:
"I don't understand it either"
"Translation: Indecision Studies"
"Who Says You Can't Have It All?"
"Categorize THAT!"
"Future Owner of a Van Down By the River"
"Knowledge Without Limits"
"Think Outside the Curriculum"
"Wait, I have to get a job after this?"

My last two weeks have been completely shrouded in unreality and I just realized at 4:00 today that the school year is totally over tomorrow. I had been so focused on papers and finals and stuff that I totally missed the coming of the end of school. Even the arrival of finals week didn't snap me out of my reverie. Tomorrow, way before I'm ready, all of my friends who haven't already bid me adeiu will be departing, not to be seen again for 8 months. It's bizarre coming to grips with that sort of separation. In three months nearly all of them will be back, but I won't be here with them. Then I'll return in January for a sort of strange half-life before leaving permanently for seminary.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dashing Toward Sleep

I can't wait to go to sleep tonight. There's just something about the idea of collapsing under my covers and sleeping for a significant amount of time that has me on the verge of drooling. I've been writing papers like mad for the last three days, which has left me with only 10 hours of sleep in the last 72 hours. It's not my favorite condition, but it does give me terrifically random thoughts to impart to you.

-Some words should always be mispronounced for the sheer hilarity it produces. Take, for example, the word analysis. This word is pronounced "aNALysis" in the general public. I propose that we instead enunciate it, "ANalYsis." (I wish I could use the pronunciation symbols, but my powers are limited). Other words to try: emPHASis, fumBLE (pronouced fumBLIE) and, DISturBANCE.

-Instead of the automated bucking broncos at fairs and country-style bars and such, I think we should have huge automated buckign squirrels. If you've ever watched a squirrel run, you'll get what I mean. They do this crazy back-arching thing that would make it really hard to hang on.

-I've always said that of all the animals in the animal kingdom, I want to be a sloth. However, if I were a sloth, I couldn't write this blog b/c I'd only have two or three fingers and no opposable thumbs. And then you wouldn't have this to read. Come to think of it, maybe it would be a good idea to be a sloth...

-Maybe storms aren't so bad after all...

-Africa is very large and very, VERY far away.

-Two of my friends' moms DO go to college.

-Bureaucracy is a torture device invented by someone with OCD, enhanced by computer nerds, then forced on the rest of humanity.

-I'm less likely to fall asleep in class when I'm running on 3 or 12 hours of sleep than I am when I've gotten 7 hours of sleep. Somewhere between 3 and 12 is my problem.

-A thousand monkeys with a thousand typewriters would still have to learn to type and not to eat the typerwiter ribbon.

-10 more days of this insanity and I can go HOME!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Cheeseball? ME?!

I don't really have time today to write a long, coherent post. And besides, writing is not all that appealing to me when I'm in the middle of a 4-paper rush. So, dashing:

-There are only 3 more days of classes left, and I couldn't be more pumped. I'm buried in the writing process for 4 papers, but in 3 days they'll be done, and only four finals will stand between me and break. YAY!

-That said, I'm a bit sad to be departing from school for 8 months. It will be so strange to come back having missed a semester. I'm sad that I won't see my friends from FARC and Wesley and school in general again until December or January. It'll be surreal walking back into my life here after being gone for 8 months. We shall see how that goes.

-I am going to South Africa. I'm going to South Africa. It doesn't quite seem tangible yet, but it gets more real every time I say it, so I just walk around repeating it to myself. I discovered at a meeting the other day that I'm the only student from my 26,000-student school that will be in the country of South Africa when I'm there. On the other hand, I'll be living and traveling with other international students in my program and I actually met someone who used the same program to study in South Africa, so I'm going to get some guidance from her. It'll be nice not to be completely in the dark.

-I need a job that doesn't require me to blacken things on 300 sheets of paper with a Sharpie, I can't afford to lose the brain cells. I think someone just floated past the desk... this can't be good!

-A quick note on the amazing people in my life: The Wombat (who has a name that will not be uttered here) arranged to surprise me with two of my friends from home coming to visit this weekend. One flew out for the weekend, the other drove five hours each way to visit overnight during her finals week. I'm blown away by how cool and kind all three of them are. I'm blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!

-I finally understand why my high school physics teacher called graduation the g-word and tried to avoid it. I realized that a lot of people from school who've had large effects on my life here are graduating now/soon. People who have been examples for me like Mel and Sara are graduating. Friends and confidantes like Chaz and Caleb are taking off. Then the folks that I thought would be around until I graduate are getting out of here early, like Andy and Jenny. It's terribly sad to know that I'll come back to a campus that's missing a bunch of the really cool people who made me love it so much! Then, the most frightening prospect of all, I'm going to graduate and go to graduate school far away, leaving a bunch of people that I care about behind here or going in opposite directions to pursue their futures. For all of you who are graduating, congratulations. But you'd better keep in touch or I might have to find you and superglue phones in your hands so I can reach you!

-I'm not a cheeseball. I have merely decided that boys might not be ALL bad. And maybe one in particular is very not bad. More details on that in another post

-A couple of people have requested song selections and/or soundtracks for me, and I'm in a slight conundrum as to which songs are the most important to include on my list. Any suggestions?

Well, back to killin brain cells. Oooh, green sorority girls flying past the desk...

Monday, April 18, 2005


So, it's been nearly 3 weeks now and I've decided to post the answers to the movie quotes quiz. (And I just can't handle any more sociology papers at this moment and this is a way to procrastinate since SOME of you haven't updated your blog recently so I don't have any good reading material.)

Without further ado, the answers:

1) Someone Like You
2) Joe vs. the Volcano
3) VeggieTales: Rack, Shack, and Benny
4) Sabrina (the old one with Audrey Hepburn)
5) Saved!
6) Robin Hood: Men in Tights
7) The Princess Bride
8) 1776
9) First Wives' Club
10) The Princess Diaries
11) Aladdin
12) The Philadelphia Story
13) Pride and Prejudice (the A&E Miniseries)
14) Thoroughly Modern Millie (the movie)
15) Love Actually
16) Those Magnificent Men in the Flying Machines
17) The Great Race
18) The Trouble with Angels
19) That Touch of Mink
20) The Mask of Zorro
21) Keeping the Faith
22) The Great Muppet Caper
23) Adam's Rib
24) A League of Their Own
25) Chocolat
26) My Fair Lady
27) Toy Story
28) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
29) The Music Man
30) The Importance of Being Earnest (2002)
31) Hook
32) Half-Baked
33) Robin Williams: Live on Broadway
34) The Rescuers Down Under
35) Breakfast at Tiffany's
Bonus (and I owe Vegas and Rachel dinner for this one): The Chipmunk Adventure

No, Bear, you don't pass with a 3/35, even with the curve. I would recommend any/all of these movies, with the possible exception of Half-Baked. But, heck, if you're tired, watch that one too.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled homework.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Odes, Proposals, and the KKK

Ode to the Dorms
I just realized that I'm in my last month of ever living in the dorms. While I'm excited to be finally escaping this strange form of pseudo-cohabitation with terrible food, I have to admit my love for that silly brick-and-cement-block place that has been my home for 3 years: the FARC. The FARC, not to be confused with the Columbian revolutionary forces, is the Fine Arts dorm on campus. While I'm not really an artist or a musician (at least not anymore) this place has served as my home for the better part of three years, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I can't imagine another place on campus that's, to quote Cheers "somewhere where everybody knows you're name". FARC is a unique place where everything goes, except being normal. If you're strange, quirky, creative, or otherwise cool, you belong in FARC. FARC is the kind of place where building four 20-year olds (I'm rounding up for you, KJ!) building a cardboard castle is considered very cool. It's the only res hall I can think of where the doors really ARE open with the open door policy, and people have no anxiety about walking straight into your room and simply beginning a conversation. Sure, the close atmosphere can cause terrible ingrown gossip, but it's also a support network like none other. Where else does the guy who sings Klingon folk songs live across the hall from a brilliant artist and two doors down from an aspiring screenwriter and an almost normal-seeming journalist? I have years of amazing memories of FARC, but the best are: streakers, 10:00 club, writers club, learning to crochet, pies in the face, dunk tanks, cardboard castles, euchre nights, gallon challenge, movie nights, and endless conversations with the coolest people I know. Thanks to all the people who have made FARC home for the last 3 years.

Decent Proposal
First, before you get the wrong idea, I have NOT been proposed to, nor did I propose to anyone, nor does this have anything whatsoever to do with sex. I would merely like to recommend that anyone who ever plans on proposing to anyone should check out my genius cousin's recommendations. ( For real, yo. Very smart girl, my cousin.

Is that the KKK?
One of my school's great traditions is Tap Day, when the six secret honor societies announce their newest members to the campus community. Now, I'll admit that I don't adhere to very many school traditions. I went to Tiger Walk when I was a freshman and I've been to a few football games. I plan to go to Senior Send-off and graduation, but other than that I'm a slacker. However, I did take part in Tap Day on Friday. I got tapped by Mortar Board, but that's not the interesting part. The fascinating part of this is the responses I got from my friends. One of the rules of a "secret" society is that new members aren't allowed to tell anyone other than their parents about their membership until they're revealed on Tap Day. This puts several of us in a conundrum, wanting our friends to be there without being able to tell them to come. So, I tried to ask people about the event to get their takes beforehand. The amusing thing was that the response was often "No, I don't know anyone who'd ever get tapped!" or "What the heck is Tap Day?". My personal favorite was, from the people I talked to about it afterward but who didn't go, "Yeah, I walked by the Quad, but it looked like some sort of weird KKK meeting or cult ritual or something." To which I had to respond that I was one of the weirdos in the robes and hoods. The responses were classic, really. Though, before I forget, I want to say thanks to the folks who guessed/figured it out and showed up: Chris, KJ, Stef, Rachee, Vegas, Katie, Kris, Mike, Andy, Bina, and Chrissy.

Quote of the Week
This quote is entirely unrelated to the above post, but I really like the song ("No Life Without Wife") and movie (Bride and Prejudice), so I'm throwing it in for the fun of it:
"I want a man who gives some back,
Who talks to me and not my rack.
I want a man who likes to cook,
Who'll talk to me and share my books.
I who's light and free
Who'll hold my hand walk the world with me."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Current Events

Yeah, it's been two weeks since my last post, which makes me feel a little like a tool. And, again, I could list all of my excuses for not writing, but who wants to hear that?

In case you missed the celebrations and tours, KJ, Chris, Kevin and I completed our castle. We built a 4x8x6 ft. castle out of PVC pipe and cardboard. Then we put paper on the walls and painted it in fun and exciting ways. It was an incredibly fun process and it makes me really happy to think about having a castle. I know, I'm a kindergartener, but you wouldn't want it any other way. Or I like to think you wouldn't.

It's official, I'm GOING TO SOUTH AFRICA! Three months from today, I'll be in Cape Town to study and do my capstone, and I'm SO excited. I should be terrified (the study abroad information session told me so) but I'm just not feeling the apprehension yet. Of course, I'm sure I'll be terrified when the time comes, but for the moment, I'm more excited than I can even explain. I'm off to get books on RSA tonight, so watch out for me to start spewing facts about South Africa at every opportunity.

I always feel like I'm counting down to something, but I can't help it, I'm almost always excitedly looking forward to something. Anyway, the current countdowns are for the end of the school year (4 weeks!) and South Africa (2.5 months!) Not to mention that between now and my departure for RSA, I've got two trips to Cedar Point, a family vacation to the east coast, Ohio UM Annual Conference, and my Emmaus Walk. I'm incredibly psyched.

Chasing the skirt?
It has come to my attention recently (brought up in several conversations in different contexts)that most of my friends in college can count on one hand the number of times they've seen me in skirts. There are several reason for this:
1) Skirts aren't very comfortable, particularly in the winter. Pantyhose SUCK, so I nearly always refuse to wear skirts in the winter. I occasionally wear skirts in the summer, but they're still more effort than pants.
2) I want to be able to take off running, climbing, or frolicking at a moment's notice. This is not to say that I run often, but I can't stand the idea of having my actions limited by clothing. I think this stems from elementary school when I didn't want to wear skirts because I wouldn't be able to play freely during recess. Somehow that mindset has stuck with me WAY past the years of recess, but there you have it.
3) If clothes are really a form of self-expression (usually for me expressing laziness), skirts simply do not express who I am. I'm not girly enough to wear a skirt to express myself. It doesn't fit my personality.
4) If guys don't have to wear skirts, why do I have to?
So, I wear skirts only when the occasion calls for it specifically. I have resolved, however, to wear a skirt once in a while just to show that I do, in fact, have legs. After all, when my closest friends start to doubt the presence of my appendages, something is wrong. So, by special request, skirts.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Not Boring

I don't want to write anything serious today. After all, I could write about how amazing my spring break trip to ASP was, but I can't capture the awesomeness in writing. I could write about how great it was to see people from home over break, but that only really matters to me. I could write about how much it sucks being sick (I have a cold) or I love the amazing people who brought me hot chocolate, green tea, NyQuil, and flowers when I was feeling yucky. But I'm not going to. I'm not going to do anything serious at all. Instead, I'm going to respond to something in one of my friend's blogs. You see, one of my friends made a movie-quote quiz. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many of the movies he likes and I didn't pay all that much attention, so I did really poorly. (3 out of 35, YIKES!) So, in retaliation, I'm making my own movie quote quiz. And I won't fail it, which will make me happy. Here it is. Good luck!

1) "Time wounds all heals."
2) "Long ago, the gentle tangles of his hair filled the emptiness of my hands."
3) "I'm a bumblebee. Um, a bendiboo. I'm Benny."
4) "And there was a man of no particular title who took care of a small pool in the garden for a goldfish named George."
5) "I am FILLED with Christ's love. You're just jealous of my success in the Lord."
6) "I'll pay for this! I mean, YOU'LL pay for this!"
7) "Except maybe an MLT where the mutton is nice and lean."
8) "Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see what I see?"
9) "My, my, the bulimia has certainly paid off."
10) "Someone sat on me again."
11) "Exits are here, here, here, here, everywhere."
12) "I'm going crazy. I'm standing here solidly on my own two hands and going crazy."
13) "I fear he's at very great risk of falling as much in love with you as ever."
14) "My, what lovely elbows you have, Miss Flannery!"
15) "Excuse me, does Natalie live here?"
16) "The trouble with these international affairs is they attract foreigners."
17) "Push the button, Max!"
18) "Band uniforms are non-sectarian!"
19) "You don't know the girls from Upper Sandusky."
20) "Three days? How many sins could you have committed in three days? Come back when you have more time, please!"
21) "May those who love us, love us. And those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts. And if He cannot turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we may know them by their limping."
22) "What color are their hands now?"
23) "Lawyers should never marry lawyers. This is called in-breeding; from this comes idiot children...and other lawyers."
24) "It's the second time he's dropped his Bible since she's been in there!"
25) "I think we can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do - by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude. I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create and who we include."
26) "The question is not whether I've treated you rudely but whether you've ever heard me treat anyone else better."
27) "You have saved our lives, we are eternally grateful."
28) "I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."
29) "You watch your phraseology!"
30) "I can hardly eat muffins in an agitated manner. The butter would probably get on my cuffs."
31) "Lost, lost, lost... I've lost my marbles!"
32) "You have smoked yourself retarded."
33) "Is it me, or are cats drag queens? I think it's the way they go 'Who loves kitty, who loves kitty?'"
34) "Gee, that's awful. Locking up a little kid. Kids should be free. Free to run around the house on saturday mornings, free to have cookies and milk, and get those little white mustaches. Nobody's going to steal a kid's freedom while I'm around! Nobody! You hear me?"
35) "I always thought it was a ridiculous name for a prison. Sing Sing, I mean. Sounds more like it should be an opera house or something."

And the special-bonus-if-you-get-this-right-I'll-take-you-out-for-dinner (no cheating!):
A: I'll have two chicken enchiladas with extra sauce, a tostada grande, a quesadilla with a side of guacamole, and two cherries with...
B: They're closed.
C: Oh, fellas!
B: The instructions say to drop the doll under the little sombrero.
C: Wow! What do you know? One down, and eleven to go.
A: And one quesadilla...

So, leave me comments and tell me how you did! (Ask me for the answers when you're done)

Friday, March 18, 2005


I survived. This week there hasn't been a single day that I got to bed before 2 a.m., and I've had to get up early for class or work every day. I had 2 major projects, plus tons of last minute paperwork for ASP and study abroad. It just about drove me out of my mind. On the bright side, though, a couple of friends saved my butt in spectacular ways (thanks Chris, Ashley, and KJ!) and tonight has been a blast. And tomorrow I get to leave all of this terrible stress behind and drive off into the sunset (actually, toward the sunrise, as we're going east, but whatever) to get away from everything for a week. I can't wait. So, I won't be posting for at least a week, but when I'm sure I'll have lots to say when I get back. Until then, I leave you with this.

I know the second she enters the room. I don't have to look behind me to know that she has beautiful, shiny, flawlessly styled hair. I don't have to look toward the door to know that she's slender and curvy, with painted-on pants and a strategically placed tank-top. That's how they always look. And suddenly I'm invisible to the guys who were my closest friends two minutes ago. It doesn't matter that I was in the middle of a comment. It doesn't matter that we were laughing together moments ago. Now I'm not even here. She'll come over and flirt, she'll touch their shoulder just so, or give them that look, or climb all over them overtly. It doesn't really matter what she does because she'll ooze femininity and flaunt her sex appeal until all of them are practically drooling. She wants every male's attention and, of course, she gets it.
I didn't need her presence to remind me that I'm only temporary entertainment until the better women arrive. She didn't have to show off her beauty for me to know that I'm the chubby, plain, awkward type of female that would rather be talking football and trucks than reading Cosmo. I already knew that my looks couldn't compare. Wit and humor just don't garner attention like a tight butt.
It doesn't matter that I dream of having a guy look at me as though he can't tear his eyes away. It makes no difference that I long to just once walk into a room and watch the male heads turn. It's silly. I just don't want to disappear in the eyes of my male friends the second a perfectly-coiffed, feminine girl steps into the room.

Not a complaint, just something to think about.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

I don't know

*Disclaimer: I don't want answers to my questions, I just want to send them into the void and get them out of my head.*

I feel like I'm sitting at a table in a restaurant trying to figure out what to order. The menu is limitless. I don't know if I have an appetite, or what kind of food I want to eat, or what I even think would be healthy or give me food poisoning. Beyond that, I don't know whether the waitress would even serve me.

On employment: I want to get more education, but I don't know where or what in. I know that I want to go into some sort of ministry, but I don't know what kind. I would like to work for the Methodist Church, but I don't know in what capacity. I can't figure out what God is calling me to do, and I can't really see the road ahead. I'm going to go to seminary because some sort of ministry is in my future and that's the way to start, but I don't know any more details than that.

On myself: I don't know how other people see me. I see my insecurities, weaknesses, and flaws. I have some vague idea of what I'm capable of, but that's about it. Other people's perspectives are a mystery.

On relationships: I don't know if I want to be in a relationship. I crave the comfort and affection, but I don't know what or who I want. And I don't know that if I found the right person that they'd want me back. I don't know what falling head-over-heels in love feels like. I have no idea what the right way to go on this one is, so I'm staying stationary.

On the state of the world: I have several classes that cause me to question the world around me. They point out inequalities and dangers and the way humans are hurting each other, and I'm in a conundrum. Is there more I can do to help? Should I stand up and fight the problems, or would I just do more harm than good? Where can I start? Is it even worth fixing if things only seem to get worse and worse?

So, I just keep sitting at my table. I'm going to keep on heading toward some form of ministry and hope that gets cleared up in time. I'll leave people to view me from whatever perspective they want. I'm keeping my several amazing guy friends and staying single. And as for the world, I'll keep on working in the ways I can and hoping that things can be really changed someday. And I keep waiting.

I'm waiting for Godot.

Friday, March 11, 2005


Do you ever run into a friend at random that you haven't seen in ages and immediately remember exactly why you liked them so much? I got to catch up with a friend of mine yesterday when I ran into her on campus unexpectedly. We talked about theology, authors, our lives, and our futures. I had a magnificent time, and it was just a 30 minute cup of coffee! I love rebuilding friendships.

The stress and excitement are building as I approach spring break. The stress of midterms and upcoming projects is weighing on me, but at the same time I'm SO excited for break. I'm going to Jonesville again to volunteer with ASP, which has me psyched. I'm going to get to visit my families from this summer, too, which will be a blast. Then it's back home for a day (just one!) to see my parents and possibly other relatives before driving like mad back to school. I'm excited to get to make the trek. After all, it's combining a bunch of my favorite things in one week: ASP, Wesley, my family and friends from home, and the return of junk food to my life!

So, I've given in and actually gotten onto the Facebook. I said I wasn't going to, but I had to give in. I have discovered that I like it. I mean, I get to see what my friends are up to, even those who are at other schools that I don't get to see very often. I'm catching up with summer staff and people from high school, as well as having another way to contact the folks at school when I'm away.

In just a week, I'll be building for real: ASP here I come!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Utter Bewilderment

I'm going to try the KJ's tactic of "dashing". Here goes:

- I got stuck in a "what if" discussion yesterday with a friend of mine. I love and hate what if discussions. I love that they leave all possibilities open. I love wondering how my life would different if I had grown up somewhere else or gone to a different college. But I hate the what ifs of the future. I hate looking at a major decision and knowing that there are millions of options for how things could end up. I hate knowing that these little choices affect my whole future. It's just too much pressure to put on a single decision!

- I hate the radio ads on the pop stations here. I know, it's what I get for listening to pop, but I don't feel like it's a good plan to listen to hard rock music at the desk. But the ads on this station are terrible. First, there are the gross adult bookstore and strip joint ads. I don't want to hear or even think about that stuff, and it's on the radio where anyone can hear it. Then there are the terrible car commercials that have this annoying male voice saying over and over again, "Yeah, well..." That's all this voice says, while a really nasal female voice talks quickly and irritatingly. It's terrible. (Sorry, I hate the ads, I just needed to get that out there.)

- How did March get here so fast? Spring break is only 17 days away and we've nearly reached midterms. This semester is FLYING!

- Is non-sexual, friendly cuddling an option? I was just having this discussion with some people last night. Can two friends just decide to cuddle a bit because cuddling is comfy and fun? Or is that taboo and only going to cause problems? I mean, sometimes I just want to cop a cuddle. It's not like I want a relationship, it's not a sexual thing, I just want to be held a bit. Any opinions out there?

- I keep having weird, recurring dreams about amusement parks. Seriously, I've had these dreams three times in the last week. What's my function?

- Hey. You. Update your blog. Really. I get bored at the desk and I need something sensational to read!

Monday, February 28, 2005

Excuse me, God, may I ask a few questions?

So, I have an enormous dream: someday, when I die, I want to ask God questions. They're things I wonder about when I'm sitting around with nothing to do, things that I struggle with, things that I'm just plain confused about. Some are slightly irreverent, some are silly, a lot are things that I have beliefs about, and many are really important things to me. There's no particular order, they're merely numbered so I can tell just how much of a curious character I am. Maybe you can contemplate them with me.

1) Is the right thing at the wrong time in fact the wrong thing?
2) Why do some people suffer?
3) Are "demons" external beings or internal issues?
4) Is homosexuality a choice or inherent? Is it wrong?
5) Would you just explain creation to me, from the beginning, so I can finally understand what REALLY happened with that whole creation/evolution thing?
6) Why do people get scared of things and people that are different?
7) How are we ever supposed to know if love is the "real thing"?
8) Really, how funny do we look doing the dumb stuff we do down here?
9) What's up with that whole gender/sex/sexuality thing?
10) If the Israelites were Your chosen people, why'd you make everyone else?
11) What color is the night sky?
12) Were the dinosaurs fun to watch?
13) What are your opinions on gender roles? Did Paul get it right forever, or just for his time period?
14) Do You ever get angry about how people portray You or what they say in Your name?
15) How can you stand to watch the suffering?
16) Was there really an epic battle between Angels and the forces of Satan like in Paradise Lost?
17) Why are we all different races when there's no real differences between us?
18) How do You decide who'll get which talents/appearances?
19) War. Please explain.
20) What's the most heartbreaking thing for You?
21) What makes You laugh?
22) Could you explain in simple terms how this whole Trinity thing works?
23) How do all these different religions fit together?
24) Do we all have mates out there somewhere that we're supposed to be matched up with, or are some of us meant to be single?
25) How do families end up together the way they do?
26) What are the facts in the free will vs. predestination mess?
27) Is evil a single exterior force, a lot of exterior forces, or an internal thing?
28) How do you feel about divisions, denominations, and schisms in Christianity?
29) How did you stand it when Christ was crucified? How did all that come about?
30) So, this whole end of the world thing. What can we expect?
31) Which of Your creations best reflects You?
32) What were Adam and Eve like?
33) Is the Bible inerrant and exactly what You said, or did the recorders and scribes make a few changes?
34) If You were to give a 5 minute speech to the people of the world right now, what would You say?
35) Is there any other life outside Earth?
36) Why did You create the world?

To be continued...sometime...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Add Sheet Issues...

I admit it, I have a bit of a guilt complex. This means that when I see the Add Sheet people (people who stand around campus and give out these sort of mini-newspapers full of coupons), I feel like I need to take the Add Sheets from them. I mean, these folks are standing out in the cold/hot/rainy/snowy weather for as long as it takes to give out all of their Add Sheets. I mean, I'm lucky if I even go outside to go to class in that weather, and these guys are out there ALL DAY. I can't help supporting them. And since I can't really turn away from them, I often end up with more Add Sheets than I can really use. For example, a few weeks ago I ended up with four, yes FOUR Add Sheets in one day. I have only used an A.S. coupon once in my college career. So what becomes of those Add Sheets? Well...

How to use your Add Sheets
People may say that I'm killing trees by associating with the whole Add Sheet thing, but I figure that they're being printed whether I take one or not, so I may as well take one. So, I often end up with lots of Add Sheets. I have, therefore, thought of many ways of putting these to good use:
1) Wrapping paper. You know how when you were broke in high school you used the comics to wrap Christmas presents? This is sort of like that. You just wrap the present in A.S. pages, and you've got free wrapping paper.
2) "It makes me want to throw things!" This is a phrase I use all the time, but I never seem to have any ammo to throw. Solution? Ball up A.S. pages and fling them at people when they annoy me. I should start keeping some under my desk and another stack in my book bag, just to throw at people and things that annoy me. Look out, Bear.
3) Hats and Boats. Remember in elementary school when you learned to fold newspaper into cool things? A.S. can be used for the same thing. Just tape a few A.S. together and you can do the oragamy thing to make a hat. Then you can wear the hat all over campus, cover up your bad hair days, and generally make people think you're nuts. (And let's face it, if you're my friend, you probably fall into the "slightly weird" category, anyway.) Or you can fold the A.S. into little boats, which you can float in all the fountains on campus. That'd be a fun game until the campus police came along to drag you off to...wherever the campus police put people who misbehave.
4) Wall paper. News flash for anyone not in college: residence hall paint is NOT PRETTY. Really, concrete blocks painted in dreadfully pale pastel shades aren't exactly aesthetically pleasing. Now you can use your A.S. to wallpaper your room. You can get your walls to be a pleasant shade of yellow with interesting designs (also known as letters) covering them. It could be the next big thing in room design.
5) Coffee filters. So, coffee is gross. But if you insist on drinking this expensive mud-like concoction, you might as well drop a little bit of the expense. You could use A.S. in your coffee maker as filters to make really weak coffee. Yeck.
6) Shoe dryers. Next time you step in a puddle (as I did last night... just call me grace) you can take off your shoes when you get home and shove some A.S. into them. The A.S. will absorb the water, leaving you with nice, happy, dry insoles.
7) Mood lighting. So, in addition to rather lousy paint jobs, dorm rooms also feature poor lighting. Neither that "special somoeone" nor your roommate's pet rat looks good with the fluorescent overhead lighting of a dorm room. Instead, now you can cover your light fixture with A.S., which will dim and soften this light, making you look jaundiced rather than deathly pale. Definitely an improvement.
8) Food Storage. As a college student, I practically live on pizza. The problem with this is that I can't eat a whole pizza in one sitting and I only have a mini-fridge for the pizza, which is clearly not big enough for a pizza box. Solution: wrap the pieces of pizza in A.S. using tape to make it secure. Voila, instant tupperware (though perhaps not so air-tight, but how long is that pizza really going to be in the fridge, anyway?).
9) That's cheap! And, of course, you could be all boring and traditional and actually use A.S. for the coupons and deal announcements, but that's not really any fun.
*If you have any suggestions for further uses for Add Sheets, fell free to comment at the bottom of the page, I'm always searching for more!*

The Dudes
I have two favorite Add-Sheet-hander-outers. One is the guy on the corner of Rollins and Hitt. He really sells the A.S., calling out funny one-liners and talking about the deals in this week's A.S. He cracks me up, so I can't help but take an A.S. from him. I swear, if he could get the gig, this guy could do stand-up. My other favorite is one of the guys who is usually on Speakers Circle on the A&S side. I like him particularly because I think he's really Dustin Hoffman hiding out and researching how people express emotion to work on his craft. I mean, the dude looks exactly like Dustin Hoffman, with perhaps a little more weight in the face. He's quiet, never making himself stand out, just handing the A.S. to passersby, looking thoughtful and a little sad. Every time I walk past I take an A.S., smile, and say thank you, just to encourage him. I mean, it takes a lot for anyone to go and hawk coupon books on a college campus in all weather, particularly a famous actor.

(Can you tell I'm working a peculiarly boring desk shift this morning and trying to stay awake?)

Sunday, February 20, 2005

...maybe it's just me, though

Vagina Monologues
The Vagina Monologues were banned in Uganda on Friday (the same day that I went to see them for the second time) as being contrary to the country's values. I was saddened. I mean, how awesome is this celebration of the female condition? This performance is poetic... it is alternately tragic and hilarious. It brings issues like relationship abuse, rape, and human rights to the forefront, but also discusses the terrors of duck lips and sexuality. I must say, I truly enjoy this work. The Vagina Monologues unite women, bring out our common experiences, and help us to come together to defend ourselves. I'm deeply saddened that the women of Uganda can't experience this work.

Geology ROCKS!
So, I start tutoring Geology tomorrow afternoon, an event I'm rather nervous about. I've never actually tutored anyone before, so the idea of beginning tomorrow with not just one, but FOUR students, is a bit intimidating. In addition to that, while I've taken many Geology classes, I'm tutoring a class that I haven't taken, which is being taught this semester by professors that I've never met. Eek. It would be nice if I had some vague idea where in the material they are... Wish me luck!

I saw a guy walking across campus a few days ago carrying a tote bag. I know, you're thinking, "What else is new? C'mon, tell me something I don't know." But the interesting thing about the bag is that it said, in large orange letters screen printed on, 'bag'. I stopped and watched the guy walk past, mystified. Why would anyone need to buy a bag that says "bag" on it? I mean, do you pick up the bag and think, "Wait, what is this item? Oh, yes, of course, look at the bright orange lettering, it must be a bag. Good thing it was labeled, I almost called it a lightswitch." Are sacks that difficult to identify? Really? Then I thought, what if I labeled everything I own. My shirts would all say 'shirt', my dorm room would say 'room', my sandwich would say (in edible writing, of course) 'sandwich'. No, I'm afraid that is entirely too boring. Instead of marketing products that are self-identifying, I want to market products that try to fool you. Like socks that say 'beach ball' or bathtubs that say 'mudpie'. I could sell cars that had the word 'cheese' painted on their side or, best of all, white paper that had the word 'ink' covering the surface with black. Yes, that's a good idea. (Hey, it's just as good as bags that say 'bag'!)

I think I've been working at the desk too long. I have strange fantasies of doing crazy things at the desk. (No, not that, get your mind out of the gutter.) I mean, wouldn't it be great to lie on my back on the surface of the desk and practice Zen meditation? I would just sit there saying "Ommmmmm.....Oooooommmmmmmmmm....." and if any resident came by wanting service, I would just inform them that I was working toward levitation and to go away and leave me to it. Or that dream I have of sitting at the desk and ringing the bell at THEM as they walk by instead of having them ringing it at me. That'd teach them. Perhaps if I sat in the back room cackling madly and flicking the lights, they'd think the desk was haunted and leave me alone. Hmm...

Right...well...back to work.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Pan-Holiday Celebration

Today may have technically been Valentine's Day, but it was really a celebration of all holidays. I spent the day celebrating with KJ and the Wombat, and it was lovely.

First, I must announce a slight alteration to my Lent plan. I have decided that when I am GIVEN food as a gift, it doesn't count as junk food. I chose to give up junk food because I tend to use it to comfort me or distract me when I'm upset and I really should be turning to God, not gastronomy, for that. But I reasoned that when people give me food, I'm not using it as an escape, I'm just enjoying a gift someone has given me. Thus, while I'm not allowed to go eating junk food on my own or gorging myself on Ben and Jerry's, if someone decides to give me a cookie, or share a pizza with me to celebrate something, it really isn't going against the purpose for which I'm observing Lent. So, when KJ and the Wombat decided to give me pizza and pop to celebrate Valentine's Day, or when my friends gave me Valentine's candy not realizing my Lenten observation, I ate them in peace. This is how, I must say, KJ, Chris, and I ended up buying each other pizza, serving each other food and drink, and wishing each other happy (insert holiday here, e.g.: Ramadan, Christmas, Talk-like-a-pirate-day, etc.). It was wonderful.

Then I was given one of the most amazing holiday gifts ever. Even though it was a bit late (combining my birthday, Christmas, AND Valentine's Day), I have NO complaints. You see, one of my closest friends found the letters that my ASP families from the summer sent me, copied down the addresses, and contacted them to ask for the contact information of my volunteers. He then wrote all of the volunteers requesting pictures from the summer and put together a scrapbook for me. It is AMAZING. Wonderful and fantastic and amazing. Happy holidays indeed.

Thus, I'm all about celebrating holidays today. Even the one that I normally hate: Valentine's Day. I hope that yours was as good as mine, regardless of your relationship status.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Silly or Just Dumb

It is cold outside. It can't be denied. Yesterday it was snowing and today it was still really cold. So when I saw numerous people walking around without coats or wearing sandals I just had to say "THAT'S DUMB!" I'm not a stickler about cold weather clothing. I don't insist that everyone wear hats, gloves, and scarves. I personally have an issue with gloves because I always wind up with one lost and only one warm hand. But people who wear sandals in the snow make no sense at all. I mean, do they place no value whatsoever on their toes? If this were just one person, I probably wouldn't say anything, but I saw at least three people with bare toes walking to class today, and I saw one yesterday in the snow. Sandals in the snow. Mark me down as disapproving. Also, why don't people wear coats? A hoodie really isn't sufficient in this weather.

Sorry, had to rant about that. It's all good, though. It'll be warm soon.

Weather by Sybil


February is such a weird month. Half the time it's snowing and the other half it's pretending that spring is coming with sunshine and warm weather. It can't even figure out how long it wants to be, causing all sorts of calendar confusion every four years. On top of that, the month doesn't have any real holidays, it only has Valentine's Day, that awful, awkward holiday that is the bane of everybody's existence. I know, you're going to tell me that people who are in relationships like Valentine's Day, but I really think it's still awkward for them. The whole gift/card for Valentine's Day becomes a huge debate. Do you go with classic but generic? Do you try for something unique and risk getting it all wrong? Then there's the inevitable difficulty over the intensity of the relationship. Valentine's Day inevitably brings one of those relationship-defining talks, whether it's the first use of the l-word or the dating vs. relationship discussion, or the expected proposal (crazy, I know, but it happens). People in long-distance relationships all try to spend the holiday together, and people in long-term relationships often forget the day and get themselves in trouble. Then there's the awkwardness of people who decide to use Valentines to inform someone of their romantic interest, which often ends in discomfort. And one can never forget the awful awkwardness of being single for Valentine's day. I usually spend my single V-Days hiding out with my favorite men (Ben and Jerry). This year, however, because of Lent, I'll be hiding out with KJ, eating un-junk food, and watching Pride and Prejudice for six hours. If I'm not going to have a guy for V-Day, I can at least spend it gazing at Mr. Darcy's pensiveness. So, I guess I'm just glad that February is the shortest month so it'll be March, and spring, sooner.

Alright, I admit it, I have crabs on my socks. Because Rachel, my wonderful and amazing friend in Indiana, gave me awesome, creative socks for Christmas (last weekend). I now have crab socks, sheep socks, and star socks, not to mention ugly hair accessories. I also got to go visit the R-girl last weekend and it was a blast. Rachel makes me excessively happy. I just needed to toss that ode out there.

And while we're at it...
At Wesley last night we did one of my favorite activities which involves telling people how they have blessed your life and why you're thankful for them. I have to say, this activity always makes me want to run around and hug all the people who are important to me and tell them how much I love them and am glad to know them. Unfortunately, what with being at school and far away from some friends and having friends who are busy that I don't get to see all the time, I can't just run around to each person's house in the next hour, so here it is: I love you. Yes, you. Every single one of the people who would read this, my friends, are SO important to me. You hug me and smile at me when I'm down, you're people I can talk to and trust, and you make me feel like I matter, which is a pretty special feeling. So thank you. And next time I see you, remind me to hug you and tell you how wonderful you are, because it's true.

Hug ya later, kids.

Monday, January 31, 2005

And Every Woman You Meet is Lauren Whitetoes

I went to Iowa this past weekend. I had never been to Iowa before and, while it has gotten a terrible reputation for being boring, I wanted to go. I have to say, Iowa was much better than what people had led me to believe. I'll admit, a lot of it is farmland which isn't all that pretty in the winter, but Iowa City is a pretty cool place. Above all, I really liked the people I saw there. All of them, even the strangers, seemed really friendly. The main purpose of my visit, though, was to hang out with a girl that I worked with this summer who is now a really good friend. It was awesome to see her, to talk with her about life and faith and school and the future. She, like me, feels that Christianity is growing more conservative and we both fear that this will lead to less tolerance and more divisiveness within the church. Both of us feel like our lives are split in half between our Christian friends and our non-Christian friends. It's a scary prospect, but it's good to know that I'm not the only one who fears this. It was also really good to get to reminisce and rehash things from this summer with someone who was there. Yay!

The travel to and from Iowa was also fun, as I got to ride with Ashley. The two of us listened to the wonderful music that we had been addicted to in junior high. Talk about quality stuff. We had a great time laughing over our former love for 'N Sync and Celine Dion. It was incredibly fun.

In short, I wish to defend the reputation of the state of Iowa. It's a pretty cool place, after all, with exceptionally cool people like Shoeless Ho, Ashley, and KJ.

More later, for now I'm off to, you guessed it, church.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Convenience and Campus Confusion

I have some issues with convenience items. For instance: the peanut-butter-and-jelly-in-one-jar products. If you are so lazy that you can't take the time and effort to open two jars instead of just one, you don't deserve to eat a sandwich. The extra ten seconds required to open the second jar and spread the second topping really aren't going to make a difference to your life in the long run. And besides, the separate products taste SO much better than the combination. Also, have you ever noticed that when you're using those motion-sensing, self-flushing public toilets, they always seem to flush while you're sitting on the toilet, but never seem to want to flush when you're finished and ready to leave. You get a swirly, but when you really want your mess to disappear, it won't go away. And you feel guilty leaving it, but there really isn't another way to flush, so you do a funny little dance in the stall, waving your arms, stepping to either side of the space, just to try to make it flush. Not fun.

Rec Center
Our school rec. center has just been renovated, so now there are several new features. I know that we needed more space, and it will be a great thing to have more excercise machines, weight rooms, and workout studios, but some of the new features are a bit amusing. For instance, the new treadmills have DVD players in them. This presents, for me, a great opportunity. I'm tempted to take a movie over on a Friday night and just watch the movie while I walk. I mean, what a great workout I could get if I just took over one of my favorite 1.5 hour films or, better yet, my favorite Jane Austen 6-hour mini-series and walked while I watched. But then what happens if the person next to you is watching a bloody slasher film or, worse, a porn? You've already chosen your machine and then there's this creepy person next to you watching something that you wouldn't watch if you were being paid! What's the proper etiquette on that? Do you say something about their viewing choice offending you, or do you just switch machines? And what if there are no other open machines? Truly a difficult dilemma. The thing that has most of the students excited about the new rec center, though, is the additions (yet to be completed) of a "lazy river" and a juice bar. This is a roundabout waterway with a current, making it possible to grab an inner-tube and float around in circles for a little while. So, in theory, you could say you were going to the rec. center, giving the assumption that you're going to work out, then go float around the lazy river for a while, drink a juice, and come back, having only really exercised on the walks to and from. Talk about a fun "work out".

Now, on to the subject you've all been waiting for, my new classes. (Yes, I know you don't care, but I'm going to ramble anyway.) I'm taking two religious studies classes, which are similar in subject and are held in adjacent rooms on different days. I'm also taking a history class and a sociology class, both of which are cross-listed with women's and gender studies, and which take place in the same room on different days. This combination leads me to the unfortunate predicament of never knowing quite what class I'm in. I go to similar rooms for similar subjects every day and I'm already getting mixed up as to which class is which and what homework belongs to what professor. On top of that, I keep forgetting which day it is and, consequently, what time to go to these classes. Fortunately, the subject matter is so good that it's worth these minor confusions. Another of my classes, a sociology class, has the worst logistical setup that I've ever heard of. It's a writing intensive class with two lectures and a discussion every week, but the discussion contains all of the same people as the lecture and immediately follows the lecture except in a smaller room. This results in every person from the lecture merely getting up and walking upstairs and cramming into a smaller space in order to listen to the same professor continue with the same diatribe. It's a truly stupid idea. My last class is an honors class about the criminal justice system called "(In)Famous Trials". This one looks like a lot of fun, except for the intense amount of reading. The cool thing about this reading, though, is that it involves legal jargon and I get to use words like "thereto" and "hereby" with good reason. It's exciting. All in all, aside from the logistical confusions, it looks like it's going to be a good semester.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

"I am all astonishment!"

I'm beginning to feel as though I actually live at the MT desk. I haven't gone an entire 12 hour period in the last four days when I haven't been at the desk at some point. I'm heartily sick of being there. Of course, I write this as I sit at the desk, where I have been since before 7 a.m. Perhaps I should just move a cot into the back room and take up residence here so that it's more convenient. I'll ask my boss.

Jane Austen
The hours that I have been free from desk work have been mostly boring since very few people are in town yet and in order to do any more paperwork, I have to make appointments and go see administrators and stuff. So, I have filled my time reading, doing puzzles and watching movies of Jane Austen novels. While this is quite enjoyable, it has one unfortunate consequence: I have begun to speak like a character out of a Jane Austen novel. I've picked up words and phrases from the movies and, unless I think carefully about it, I run around saying things like, "I can't abide it!" or "I'm all astonishment!" I definitely need to get out more.

Does anyone else hate asking for recommendations letters? You have to track people down that you aren't usually that close to, then ask them to write nice things about you. It feels to me like the ultimate fishing for compliments. The conversations always seem awkward, something like this:

Me: Hi! Do you remember me? I was in your .... class. It was a great class, really changed my outlook and challenged me. I loved your lecture style!
Prof: I'm glad you enjoyed it.
(awkward pause...)
Me: So, um, how are you?
Prof: I'm doing well, albeit busy. I just finished my syllabus for this semester, then I need to prepare things on WebCT and meet with the other faculty in the department to prepare for the guest lecturers we're expecting this spring. What have you been up to?
Me: The usual. Preparing for classes this semester. I finished all of my gen. eds., so now I'm working on the upper-level classes in my major. Also, I'm putting together my application so I can study in South Africa next semester.
Prof: Oh, really?
(awkward pause...)
Me: Yes, I'm really hoping to be able to go. I want to study sociology and do a service-learning capstone.
Prof: That sounds exciting.
Me: Yes. (More awkward pausing...) I know you're really busy, but would you be willing to write a recommendation for my application?
(Professor gets pained look, knowing that he/she is incredibly busy and has neither the time nor the inclination, but meanwhile feels obligated as an academic professional to consent to such action. Meanwhile, student gets uncomfortable-looking semi-begging-mixed-with-tight-smile, trying to keep eye contact for the guilt-factor.)
Prof: Well, yes, I suppose I could do that.
Me: Oh, thank you so much! Here's the form (hands Prof. packet filled with difficult questions.) It's due in two weeks, so if you could do it as soon as possible, I'd appreciate it.
Prof: (with weary, tired, annoyed look) Yes, I'll do that.
Me: Thank you so much!!! (exit, stage left)
Prof: Aw, hell. Another one. Why did I take this job? (fade out)

Talk about discomfort! Why do academic institutions insist on having recommendations when they know it causes both student and teacher such irritation? I am most seriously displeased.

But for now, I'm off to wrap up my desk shift (ick) then off to talk to a professor about a recommendation letter (double ick!) and then I'm going back to bed (YAY!!!!).

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Broken Trees

Power has finally been restored to my hometown. Due to a huge ice storm last week, the town lost power for four days. This meant that some people had no heat, some had no water, and some people had enormous generators. I had never realized how many people in our tiny village actually own massive, noisy generators. It's really befuddling. The most bewildering thing about this, though, is how quiet and dark it can be, even with a lot of people around, when there's no power. I drove down Main St. (yes, like all good tiny towns, my hometown has a Main St.) at night, and it was bizarre to see no lights in people's windows, no lit-up signs for stores or businesses, and no street lamps. It was eerily quiet and still, as though everyone had retreated into the backs of their homes, leaving the whole place deserted. If you ever want to see what your home town would look like through the lens of a slasher movie, wait until the power goes out. It's bizarre.

My former roommate has moved out to study next semester in Greece (lucky her!) and I have been left with a dorm room all to myself (lucky me!!). Now I have to figure out how I'm ever going to make the room not seem too empty. I need to decorate the walls on the other half of the room, plus I have to decide if I want to use the spare bed as a couch or bungee-cord the two beds together and have a queen-size. Any suggestions on this front, whether quotes to hang on my walls or good places to get posters or votes for queen-bed vs. couch would be appreciated. (Do I sound like a campus survey yet?)

Anyway, I can't wait to see you school folk again. COME BACK AND RESCUE ME FROM EMPTY-DORM BOREDOM!!!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

2004: The Year in Review (Stolen)

"2004: The Year in Review"
I definitely stole this form, but as long as I give credit it's not academic dishonesty, right? Ack. Too much college. Anyway, this is my year in review, brought to you commercial free by Clark (see links)

1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Held a (temporary) full-time job. Got promoted (different job). Went to South America.

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year: Lose 10 pounds (nope) and be braver (yeah, kinda). This year: Lose 10 pounds (that'll probably be my resolution every year until I die) and have spiritual time daily (at least this is something that might be achieved).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Aunt Eunice. Betsy. It was awful.

5. What countries did you visit?
Peru. It was fan-freaking-tastic. Only 3 continents to go.

6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
A clue. I would definitely like to have a clue for once.

7. What date(s) from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Feb. 14: I hate Valentine's Day, but I have to admit it was pretty fun.
March-whichever-day-I-got-my-ASP-call: I walked around on a cloud all day.
June-August: I can't pick a day, every day on staff was amazing and I remember every one!
September 19: Insanity on a platter.
October 28: Six Flags with two of my favorite people ever.
December 18: Al finally makes an appearance at MY school!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing ASP summer staff. It was seriously hard core.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not staying in better touch with people.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing worth mentioning.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
With other people's money? Lumber and a septic-tank-cleaning.
With my money? Probably the pair of jeans I'm wearing.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hmmm... The nominees for this award are:
Ashley: for incredible courage and the exploration of Mexico.
KJ: for her performances as cheerful accomplice, playground buddy, and appendix chauffer.
Wombat: for slow deshellification, late-night studying, butt-saving, life support, and the stolen pants.
Bear: for hilarious incorrigible behavior and an endless supply of hot wings.
Prew Prew: Because no one else is quite like you. Or even remotely in your end of the spectrum, for that matter.
Clark: For facing *gasp* the real world and cracking me up while you did it.
Rachel: Perry and Lee counties will never be the same, and neither will we.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Mr. Darcy because he is unfortunately ABSENT. Brother Jed, who continues to make all Christians look bad. W (enough said).

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel and food, but it was worth it.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Being on ASP staff!!! Seeing my favorite people again after long absences. HP6: tH-BP!

16. What songs will always remind you of 2004?
Beware, it's a LOOOOONG list:

"Hey Ya" ~Outkast
"Both Sides Now" ~Joni Mitchell
"Ain't No Sunshine" ~Bill Withers
"Walk Down This Mountain" ~Bebo Norman
"Redneck Woman" ~ Gretchen Wilson
"Short Skirt/Long Jacket" ~Cake
"Stacy's Mom" ~Fountains of Wayne
"No Sex" ~Chris Rock
"Jump in the Line" ~Harry Belafonte
"Accidentally in Love" ~Counting Crows
"Sweetest Goodbye" ~Maroon 5
"Every Rose Has Its Thorn" ~Poison
"Friday I'm in Love" ~The Cure
"Dumb Girls" ~Lucy Woodward
"Emmanuel" ~Michael W. Smith
"Christmas Song" ~Dave Matthews Band
"Here With Me" ~Dido
"Safety Dance" ~Men Without Hats
"Constant Sorrow" ~Oh Brother, Where Art Thou Soundtrack
"College Kids" ~Relient K
"Down On the Corner" ~Creedence Clearwater Revival
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" ~Simon and Garfunkel
"Open Book" ~Cake
"The Luckiest" ~Dave Matthews
"Sell Out" ~Reel Big Fish

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
About the same, I guess. Maybe sadder because my break is shorter.
ii. richer or poorer?
Richer. (Having a real job helps this a great deal)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Really talked with people. Read more good books. Played sports.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasted less time, spent less money.

Skipping 20, 21 was missing...

22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Nope. Loved people like I always do, but didn't fall in.

23. How many one-night stands?
Sadly, none.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Umm... Didn't really watch enough TV to have one. Probably Saved by the Bell reruns.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Can't think of anyone.

26. What was the best book you read?
Ouch. Probably Grace by Mary Cartledgehayes.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Cake, Reel Big Fish, and Dave Matthews Band. I'm a little slow on the uptake.

28. What did you want and get?
An iPod and the ASP job.

29. What did you want and not get?
Clarity on decisions.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to the playground wearing a tiara and a boa, played in the sprinklers, and ate cake. I turned a very mature 20 years old.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I got nothing.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
The "I don't really care" jeans and T-shirt combination, with optional dirt and stink during ASP and additional sweatshirt for October-December

34. What kept you sane?
Too late for that. Seriously, though, probably the Wombat.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
It's a toss-up between Colin Firth and Hugh Jackman: I like tall, dark, older men with accents.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Poverty. We need to take care of the people we have. Welfare, with the current reforms, is doing more harm than good. We need to fix unemployment and provide real food, shelter, and health care for ALL American citizens.

37. Who did you miss?
I missed the Ohio people when I was in Missouri, the Missouri people in Ohio, family when I was at school, and ASP people when I was elsewhere. In short, I was always missing someone.

38. Who were the best new people you met?
ASP Staffers, people in Lee Co., VA, and the FARC freshies.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004.
"Dirty" is relative.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Two: yin and yang of my year.

"So walk down this mountain with your heart held high
Follow in the footsteps of your Maker
With this love that's gone before you and these people at your side,
If you offer up your broken cup you will taste the meaning of this life.

It's a common ground and I see we're all still standing.
Just look around and you'll find the very face of God
He's walking down into the distance
He's walking down to where the messes are." ~Bebo Norman, "Walk Down This Mountain"

"But now it's just another show
And you leave 'em laughing when you go
And if you care don't let them know
Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now
From give and take and still somewhow
It's love's illusions that I recall
I really don't know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud
To say I love you right out loud.
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds
I've looked at life that way.

Ah but now old friends they're acting strange
And they shake their heads and they tell me that I've changed
Well something's lost and something's gained in living every day

I've looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all." ~Joni Mitchell "Both Sides Now"

Monday, January 03, 2005


I am drowning in a sea of paperwork and, trust me, it isn't the shallow end. I've got paperwork for study abroad, but mostly it's ministry inquiry paperwork. I know that they don't let just anyone be ministers, but SHEESH. I've got to write letters about everything that's ever happened to me, get a psychological test, a background check, and a drug test, plus an interest inventory (think Jr. High career exploration junk) and two workbooks of theological and doctrinal questions. I'm sure it'll be worth it in the end, but it's starting to make me just a little bit nuts.

One thing I have found time to do this break is catch up on some of my reading. I'm having a blast giggling my way through Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. On the spiritual side, I'd recommend Travelling Mercies by Anne Lamott or Henri Nouwen's In His Own Words. Both of them will get you thinking and make you laugh. I'm always a fan of the Rita Mae and Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries, so I delved into Whiskers of Evil to catch up in the series. I'm hoping to get through some heavier sociological and psychological theory yet this break, Jane Green's most recent works, and a few other things.

Coming Attractions
I'm heading west this coming weekend and, to my great excitement, I'm going to be in St. Louis to catch RENT at the Fox Theater. I've seen it three times, but I love it too much not to go see it again. Plus I get to introduce another friend to this fabulous musical, so I'm really pumped about that.

In the meantime, I've got massive cleaning and organizing and paperworking to do. Eek!