Saturday, December 25, 2004

where are you, Christmas?

i awoke this morning feeling refreshed, even after pitifully few hours of sleep; we'll see how long this awake-ness lasts. last night was a melange of joy and frustration. michael and i drove down to monty county, visited with some friends of ours and their six-month-old baby - or really, i should say, the friends' parents, because i got cornered into this question-and-answer session about homeschooling for an hour and a half before we just conveniently 'had' to go. oh well.

then, we went to michael's parents' house where the whole crew had gathered and children were just getting wound up for the evening. we wolfed down a quickie dinner so that michael and i could jet back out the door and get him to his first church service of the evening (he was playing with a brass quintet). since i had a few hours, i got to see my dear naomi who has been making her home of late on the western side of the country. we had some overly sweet coffee and then hung out with the last minute drugstore shoppers and ramshackle christmas eve crew as i wandered the aisles looking for q-tips at cvs. needless to say, it was slim pickins up in there and i was counting my blessings that i do not work in retail - this time of year or any other. we parted ways and i headed back to the halls' place, only to visit for another half hour before we had to leave for church again. i was looking forward to the service, at least, although i did note at the outset that the program looked a bit long. no matter i thought to myself. the first service only took an hour. yeah, well news flash, folks. apparently, pastor man got a bit maudlin and long-winded sometime between 9 and 11, because he droned on and on and on in such that we didn't get out of there until 12:45!!!

suffice it to say that i didn't make it to my warm little apartment until an hour later, only to discover (upon immediately received phone call) that michael's hubcaps had been stolen sometime during the course of the evening. great.

now, it would be tempting to look at all of the above and think yeah, that's pretty much a less than ideal way to spend Christmas eve (except the dear friends part). isn't it supposed to be about cookie-baking and carol-singing and making of merry? there's some christmas song whose lyrics read as follows:

where are you, Christmas?
why can't i find you?
why have you gone away?
where is the laughter
you used to bring me?
why can't i hear music play?

my world is changing;
i'm rearranging.
does that mean Christmas changes too?

where are you, Christmas?
do you remember
the one you used to know?
i'm not the same one;
see what the time's done.
is that why you have let me go?


sure, i suppose that if, to you, christmas were only this flitting emotion that could come and go with the sounds of paper ripping and the twinkling of tinsel and bells and the 'ho-ho-ho' of santa at the mall, then yeah, it would suck more than anything to feel 'christmas' slipping through your fingers if you had to spend it alone today, or if you didn't have money for presents, or if things just weren't going all right.

but here's the truth: Christmas has nothing to do with any of that, really. it's about a love so amazing, so divine, coming down to earth in the form of something so humble, so unrecognizable that it nearly slipped before us, unnoticed...and yet it rocked the world with such force that people still can't seem to stop talking about, arguing about it, fighting for it, dying for it, living for it. and that something - that baby - was and is the light of the world, come to save us from darkness...come to save us from ourselves.

so i won't be asking any questions of Christmas today, because i know where He is..today and every day. He will not let us go. He is here with us. Emmanuel. the Risen Lord. the Christ. and today, again, i worship Him. He has not changed. i have. i have, because of Him.

merry Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2004

ruins

nothing remarkable happened today - nothing bad, nothing good - but in my heart i will not chalk this up as a 'good day.' because what is remarkable is the sadness i feel...and the way it has been washing over me of late has been, at times, too much.

i'll admit it: i ate a piece of cake today. the good news is that i don't feel it's becoming a pattern of behavior, but at the same time, there are days when i cannot deal to think about my food intake and making sure i eat enough and the right kinds of foods and blahblahblah. i simply don't feel like i can think through all of that right now.

in fact, as i type this, my words seem painfully inadequate to express what i really feel. here, though, is what gives me hope:

the LORD will surely comfort zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; He will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
- isaiah 51:3



Wednesday, December 08, 2004

slow and steady wins the race

today was an abnormally slow day at work. i'm in between big projects and i managed to wipe out my boss's stash of small diversions, so i was left to kind of fend for myself with this textbook that needs a once-over. frankly, i wasn't in the mood for any type of once-overing behavior. and to boot, two of my favorite coworkers were out today:( so life was just boring all around.

but the good news is that even though i've been having kind of a rough time with some emotional crap that has surfaced and although i haven't been keeping as strictly to my food regimen as before, i'm still managing to lose some weight, albeit slowly. what's strange (for me anyway) is that i'm feeling like i want to be exercising. i can't say that i've ever really had the urge to do that - or at least not as strongly as i'm feeling it now. in fact, michael and i have been talking about looking into procuring a treadmill for me. woohoo!!

so who knows. there may be hope for me yet, even if i did eat half a chocolate chip cookie earlier....

and it was good, too:)

Sunday, November 28, 2004

home to me

before i go to pick up the illustrious salimah so we can shop and watch movies and do girl things and take tomorrow off from work (yay vacation!), i must drop a note out into the void (for those of you who care to read my thoughts)....

last night, michael's sister came over to sup with us. i made chicken cacciatore and fresh spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil. we had crusty, whole-grain bread and some pinot noir. conversation was delightful and flowed easily and mary ann was all too happy to brag on how wonderful her little brother was as a child. believe me, i've seen the pictures; he was cute even then. it's probably good we didn't meet in nursery school; i'm sure my three-year old self wouldn't have been able to resist his blonde hair and big blue eyes (i was all about the boys back then) and i don't know that he would have taken too well to me insisting that he kiss me goodbye or lie next to me every afternoon during nap time (yes indeed, i was quite the romancer).

admittedly, my romancing tactics are quite different these days; now it's much more about cooking fun meals and such. don't be fooled, people. the way to a man's heart may not be directly through his stomach, but it's certainly a pit stop along the way;).

in all seriousness, i had a really great time this thanksgiving break just being with michael - eating, talking, watching movies. i cannot explain the comfort of being with him. there is no pretense, no hiding, no putting on of fronts. it is just time with him. just time to be me. just time to be us.

michael, i love you. you are home to me.



Tuesday, November 23, 2004

prelude to thanks

so it's tuesday evening and i've been sick to my stomach for the last 4 days (since saturday). i worked from home today and after putting in a good day's worth of effort, i decided to take a 'short' nap. THREE hours later, here i sit, still muddled by bad dreams, feeling all strange as the post-pseudocoma anxiety swirls around me.

i just want to feel better so that i can get on with my upcoming five-day weekend (to include much time with michael and then Christmas shopping and making of merry with salimah). i'm going to 'mind-over-matter' it this time and hope for the best.

besides, i want to enjoy the thanksgiving dinner i've got planned. here's the menu as it now stands:

stuffed turkey cutlets (with shrooms, cranberries, sage, and walnuts), rolled and glazed with cranberry something-or-other
squash casserole with onions
roasted sweet potatoes with cinnamon
green beans kicked up some notches
fresh cranberry sauce

dessert: two-layer pumpkin cream pie

i'm splurging on the dessert side of things and going mostly yummy veggie and protein for the rest.

now, as excited as i am about making all of that, i'm really thrilled to spend time with some of the people i love this holiday. there is truly no greater gift than that of close relationships in which you can really be yourself. God has blessed me with some wonderful people in my life...and i don't say that to be trite. my relationships are worth a lot to me, because they have involved a lot of time and tears and talking through things. the resulting quality of relating, though, far outshines any 'work' involved. i spent so many years feeling so alone, and to be an adult and feel like i've finally got some people who put as much into my life as i put into theirs - well, that's something worthy of some thanksgiving!

here's hoping that your holiday is spent with people who really know you...and may there be delicious treats waiting at every turn!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

decision 2004

there were a lot of reasons that i voted the way i did: abortion, gay marriage/civil unions, the war, terrorism, taxes, health care, etc. but at the end of the day, there are other things to consider besides issues. while i am not one to be overly swayed by emotions, i cannot discount the feeling i have about someone in my 'gut.'

some of you may have read this guy's story of a personal experience with the president. it did nothing to sway my vote in the least, but served instead to confirm what i already felt in my heart.

yesterday, i wrote the president an e-mail. i'd only ever done that one other time - when war broke out. i know he may never read what i wrote, but i wanted to go on record that, win or lose, he was the one choice for me in this election.

so, despite the bitter divisions that exist in this country today, i cannot suppress my own gladness at the outcome of this election, and it is my hope that mudslinging and name-calling can be put to rest (although this, i realize, is a bit of a reach - especially in my family). i feel very strongly that it's my responsibility not to insult people in office, and if kerry had won today, i would respect him as president.

but 'tis not the case this time, so it is with great joy that i raise my glass to our current and continuing president. dubya, i'm glad it's you again. the decision is final this time, and oh what a relief it is!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

the die is cast

so today, with trembling hand (i hadn't yet eaten anything and it was nearly noon), i cast my vote for what is arguably the most important presidential election of my young life.

now, the time comes to sit and wait....

Friday, October 29, 2004

the rest of the story.... (a.k.a. 'how i almost punched a triage nurse in the face')

first, let me say - to those of you who have been praying and have called or written to wish me well - thank you SO much!!

okay, so here's the deal. basically, early tuesday morning (5:45 a.m.), i was in my bed, fast asleep, when suddenly i was awakened by what felt like a bad leg cramp. as i rolled over to throw myself out of bed (in an attempt to walk it off), i felt something pop in the back of my knee and the pain nearly crippled me.

i spent the next several minutes writhing and moaning in pain, praying to God to help me, and wondering if i should call an ambulance (yes, the pain was that bad). eventually, i hobbled over to the bathroom and got immediately in the shower (hoping that the hot water would calm the muscle spasms - it didn't). when that proved futile, i limped back into my room and left michael a message on his voice mail, telling him i was scared and needed help. then i called salimah and whined pitifully into the phone while my leg continued to spasm and twitch. agony, i tell you.

anyway, long story short, i went to an urgent care facility where i was told that it could be a blood clot (even though it seemed doubtful to me, but whatever) and that i needed to go to the ER for a venous doppler (ultrasound) test.

michael and i went over to the hospital and arrived at around 10 a.m.. we sat in the waiting room for over FOUR HOURS (i will spare you the details of my aggravation and near fight with the triage nurse), and then i was taken back into a room where i waited for another hour or more. eventually, a rather groggy-looking doctor came in, examined me, and then sent me upstairs to get my ultrasound.

after much more sitting around and being wheeled through the hospital on a stretcher (made me dizzy), i had a very pleasant - although painful - experience with the ultrasound tech (who was required, unfortunately, to press her ultrasound device rather harshly into my thigh in various places). the test was normal, though, so it was worth the discomfort...and as an added bonus, i got to see my veins do their job (technology is way cool!). the doppler was like a weather map inside my body - flowing dots of color....the storm of life raging through my veins.

by this point, i had already taken a muscle relaxant and was starting to feel rather 'loopy.' i had to wait in the hall for another 40 minutes before some people came to take me back to the ER, but once i was there again, they made relatively quick work of getting me out of there.

michael and i went by my office to pick up some work (just in case) and then out for dinner. at this point, it was after 6:30 and neither of us had eaten since 7:15 that morning. we had a delicious mexican dinner at the little place up the street from me (what a find!), although i will admit that i barely remember any of it. by the time we left there, my eyes were practically rolling back in my head.

we went back to my house and i brushed my teeth and crawled into bed. michael rubbed my leg for awhile and sat with me before tucking me in and leaving me to enjoy my stupor. at some point after that, salimah called me, but i have no real memory of the phone call. apparently, i answered most of my questions with a 'hmmmm?' or 'hhoooooo?'

so, four days later, i'm still rather sore and still cooped up in my house, but i'm starting to get better, and i'm excited to be getting back into the swing of things. i'm not entirely sure what this whole experience was all about, but in the midst of it, i've gotten to spend some nice time with the boy. i must say, though...i kind of wish i didn't have to hurt so much in the process....

but hey, that's life. a bit of pain, a dose of happiness, and maybe a dash of oprah thrown in for good measure.:)

Thursday, October 28, 2004

newsflash

i spent all of tuesday at the hospital in the ER. my leg hurts too much now to sit here and tell you all about it, but suffice it to say that i sustained an injury and have been on muscle relaxants and bed rest ever since.

so if anyone in the area feels like coming over and cheering me up, give me a shout out;).

Monday, October 25, 2004

if i wrote you a letter, it would say this:

today was less than stellar. i wound up having to stay at work for a total of 11.5 hours so that i could finish up a project before tomorrow morning. technically i didn't have to stay, but the thought of having to extend the editing of this reprint for another day was making me want to cry. i was the last to leave the office at 7 and the darkness enveloped me as i left the building.

you can't imagine how alone i felt in that moment, walking to my car in the darkened parking lot. even the dashboard lights didn't seem as bright tonight. the night was insistent, unyielding.

and was it an accident that while i drove down the highway towards my empty apartment, all the songs spoke of waiting and longing and wanting something other than what is now? i don't think so. i said this to you already, but it is the feeling of not belonging that is truly maddening. the realization that, in the midst of many, you're the only one there....and in the company of new friends, you still feel that you don't quite fit.

but the memory of your arms around me - with only the light from the kitchen casting shadows on the wall - warms me, even in my sadness. the truth is, i don't want to be anywhere else but with you.

with you, i know where i belong.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

the fairy tale myth

yesterday and this morning, i watched two movies based on the tale of cinderella: 'ella enchanted' and 'a cinderella story.' first, let me say that, yes, i subjected myself to hilary duff for 95 long minutes. and was it worth it? notsomuch.

but here's the thing: it's important to recognize that, throughout the history of film, we have had portrayals of these magic-moments-type romances thrown upon the big screen to entice our hearts and our minds toward believing that it's really supposed to happen that way. and even in our so-called 'reality' fixated society, we're still neck deep in fantasy. look at the way we live our lives: there are more and more methods of escape available to us, and we, as a culture, buy into each and every one of them. Internet chat rooms, pornography, 'virtual reality' games, drug-filled raves...the list goes on and on. and sure, some people might say that all of that crap is focused more on 'the young.' well, yeah, why not pollute the minds of children so that they're all good and fantasy-addicted before they're even 18? but also, have you seen how many adults buy into all that stuff as well?

okay, well i digress....

anyway, the point is that the fairy tale, to me, is largely empty. these people don't KNOW each other. they meet, stars collide, hearts swoon, and bam, in 95 minutes, they're in love and everything's perfect. news flash, kids: the real world doesn't work that way. if my life were a movie, it would largely be about resolving conflicts, having hard conversations, struggling to be patient, feeling frustrated, and battling confusion at every turn. but oh yes, there would be moments of sweetness woven throughout. moments of real joy and laughter and understanding and lots of hugs and sighs of relief.

and to me, that kind of story is one that catches my eye, because it's not so prescripted that i can see the ending before we even begin. my story is a lot more suspenseful - at times, terrifying - and the dialogue, while interesting, is far from any movie script.

so i'll take the anti-fairy tale, please. sure, it's fun to divert one's attention for awhile, but real life must always reign supreme. what's the use in drowning the cares of the world for the sake of a few moments of 'bliss,' when true life will be there to smack you in the face once you wake up from your happy coma? i prefer to remain in the muck so that i can really enjoy the sun when the skies do clear. it's much more authentic that way. no movie sets for me.

one question still remains unanswered, however: will this princess get her guy in the end and live happily ever after?

i guess you'll have to keep watching the story unfold to find out....

Thursday, October 21, 2004

fits and starts

every time i have purposed in my mind to write in this blog, something has stymied that wanting. i am, more than ever, noncommittal to the notion of putting my thoughts down on paper....er, screen. it's nothing personal, dear blog readers (all precious few of you). it's just that i've been out living my life, learning to open up my heart a bit more, and taking a lot of decongestants:). (okay, so the decongestants didn't really have anything to do with it, but it's still true, nevertheless.)

things have been going pretty well with me, save this pesky virus/cold/thing that still lingers a bit and makes me very tired some days. but relationships at work are building, michael and i are growing ever closer, and i am gearing up for the holidays and lots of cooking and spending time with friends and family.

fall rocks. it holds within its hand the promise that at some point, after the hardness of winter, new life will spring up new and green and altogether forward-thinking. but in the meantime, it's all about nesting and snuggling and being shielded from the cold. oh, and did i mention soup?:) yes, we like soup and sandwiches on crusty bread (yay, panera!) and leaves crunching and turtlenecks and cocoa and pumpkins.

winter, hold yourself back. i want to enjoy this changing time - fits and all:)

Thursday, October 07, 2004

nothing like the sun

the truth is that, in the human hearts of this world, there are just some places that are dark. they always have been, and perhaps they always will be. and no amount of counseling, anti-depressants, and self-help books will ever change that. the only thing...and i stress, the only thing that will go into those places and make them as day is the Holy Spirit. it is as if God, who is light, is a magnet to the darkness, in that one cannot help but be lit if He comes your way and gets under your skin.

all of this occurred to me today on a deeper level when someone who is normally rather happy began cursing almost out of nowhere in reaction to something i said (cursing not at me, but about the situation). a seed of bitterness rising up out of her heart's soil and blooming - in that instant - into a flower of anger.

i'm shocked that i was surprised by it, but it amazed me. and yet i know, having said that, there are still places in my own heart that could produce a garden. and i cannot weed that crap out myself. nothing but the light will do.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

don't cry for me, dear blog readers....

the truth is i never left you. the other truth is that i'm not evita, so i'm going to cut that out.

okay, so let me sum up the events of the last week. here they are, in whatever order i type them:

1. i had a rental car from thursday the 23rd until this thursday because of ONE LITTLE THING WRONG in my car that the dealership was having trouble fixing. and the real kicker? it's mostly fixed, but not 100%.

2. tuesday, during the storm from hell (sorry, but it pretty much was), i was driving said rental car out of my work parking lot and just as i was about to make a right turn across the light rail tracks (which, incidentally, run parallel to my building and the road leading away from my building), the force of the wind and rain caused the wires over the train to CATCH ON FIRE and sparks SHOT IN THE AIR. but it was hard to see this, really, since the rain was driving down so hard, it was really obstructing my vision. and then, to add to the obstruction, after the FLAMES SHOT IN THE AIR, the entire road was ENGULFED IN CHEMICAL-BURN-SMELLING SMOKE and i could not see beyond my windshield. so what did i do? prayed to Jesus and made a completely blind three-point turn and headed back to my job. like i said, i couldn't see at all, but i didn't know if that train was about to blow up or something, so my one chance at safety - i thought - was to go back to work. so i make it back to the building, look down at the floor of the car, and realize that my RENTAL CAR IS FLOODED. who knows if it was like this when i got in, or if driving around through the rushing waters on the roads made it flood. either way. me not happy.

incidentally, i did make it home safely - about an hour and a half later than i should have. no worries.

3. CNN was supposed to show up at my office on wednesday. they didn't come, however, because they got held up and/or took a wrong turn or some such nonsense. on the bright side, however, our office is looking mighty spiffy and i got a bookshelf in my cubicle:).

4. michael has pneumonia.

5. i now have a temperature and tightness in my chest and i'm feeling very achy. i wonder if the fact that i got rather wet on tuesday (see #2) is contributing to any of this.

6. oy.

7. please pray for me.

i'm off to bed early tonight. oh, and no disrespect to madonna or anything, but eva peron, she ain't.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

this morning, i woke at 7:30 feeling ready to start the day. i showered and then padded quietly down the hall to wake salimah, who had stayed over last night. she got up and ready, and after having what will henceforth be known as the 'styrofoam peanut debacle,' we grabbed a quick mcd's breakfast and went to pick up michael for a trip to weber's farm. none of us had ever been there before, so we decided to try it out (i'm on a farmer's market kick right now). i wasn't super impressed by the produce, much of which you could buy at the grocery store for about the same price, but the baked goods looked pretty good and i got a peach praline pie, some cheese rolls, a couple of red and yellow peppers, some apple butter bbq sauce, some bananas, and a baby pumpkin for my desk at work (compliments of salimah). michael and i then dropped salimah off at home and headed to trinacria, an italian store by lexington market in the city. i scored a large can of olive oil (10 bucks), three bottles of decent-looking wine (4 bucks each!), some grated romano cheese (i like it better than parmigiano), some spices and tomato paste in a tube (love it!), and 59-cent pasta, which is really excellent stuff.

i feel like i made out like a bandit today:). now, michael is on his way over and we're gonna hang out and eat pie for the evening. bet you're jealous - i know. don't worry, i'll save you a bite!:)

Thursday, September 23, 2004

okay, well the last post is not an indication of how i've really been feeling for the last 5 or so days. much of my angst was resolved by saturday afternoon, and although it left me with a serious stomach ache, my heart wasn't hurting and i didn't have that pit of frustration inside of me.

the days in between have been mostly fine, save a few moments of agitation and anxiety over a dental visit and some car woes. i'm in a loaner right now until probably saturday morning, and while i'm not happy about it, at least the people at the dealership believe that there's something actually wrong with the vehicle (after i went down there for 2 hours and would not leave until someone saw what i saw).

it is unfortunate but true that sometimes things only get done if you make them happen. oh well.

in other news, i'm still liking my job. getting up to go to work in the morning doesn't leave me feeling ill like it used to. what a relief that is!

and the whipped cream of this week is that michael and i have been having some good talks and really enjoying our time together lately. thank the Lord for the big - and small - things!

Friday, September 17, 2004

i knew i should have stayed in bed.

my morning began with me stumbling out of bed groggily towards the bathroom and soundly slamming my left arm into the corner of my dresser, removing a half-inch strip of skin in the process. i rubbed it briskly to try and stop the searing pain before stepping into what turned out to be too-hot water, which slightly scalded my still-groggy self.

and all of this was before 7 a.m.

the whole day at work, i felt stiff and sore and generally sad for no real reason, and this was followed by some personal conflict, the details of which i will not discuss here. and did i mention that i lost a part of my cell phone earpiece? grrrrr!!!

suffice it to say that the events of this day have left me feeling annoyed, frustrated, still sore, and generally grumpy. pardon my complaining, but sometimes a bit of a rant is in order.

okay, well, /rant.

and i'm out.

Monday, September 13, 2004

southland in the springtime

last monday (labor day), as i sat in tony roma's eating some rather delicious ribs, i had a truly genius idea: make a sweeping road trip tour of the south in order to seek out the best bbq in tennessee. frankly, ideas like this come to me all the time; this one, i voiced out loud. salimah, who was sitting across the table from me, finger deep in sauce heartily growled out her reply in between bites...something to the effect of 'oh YEAAHHH.'

you see, we are carnivores. straight to the core. i apologize to all you who feel that beef and pork and chicken are off limits. not me, man. i am altogether into meat. in fact, i feel ill if i don't eat it at least once a day. (i prefer twice, but who are we kidding? sometimes, this isn't possible.) the thought of driving a couple thousand miles to eat some ribs in memphis, sitting in a blues club, with elvis souvenirs stuck in my suitcase (well, you CANNOT go to memphis and not visit graceland, can you?!) seems perfectly logical to me.

so, memphis it is. and then, if we're feeling spunky, we'll swing east and go to savannah, taking a chance to meet our favorite southern cooking lady, see all the weeping willows and the grand, sweeping front porches, drink sweet tea, and see what 'midnight in the garden of good and evil' was REALLY all about.

in short, i'm psyched. grill them piggies up. come springtime, we goin' south!!

Saturday, September 11, 2004

perhaps i will look back at this time as that of pub cheese on crackers and evening bubble baths, of going to bed early and waking up alone, of driving through the misty hills on my way to work, nothing but the sound of the wind in my ears.

today as i scrubbed the sink and watched the soapy water swirl down the newly shiny drain, i realized how quickly things can be erased, how in an instant all that you once saw before you can be gone...how all the days and months of living can wash away with one swipe of anti-microbial cleanser.

please don't get me wrong. i was not feeling melancholy. my life these days is actually rather satisfying to me. i get up early, quickly get ready for work, have some oatmeal, spend 8 hours fine-tuning curriculum that will be used by children all over the world, come home, have a simple dinner, talk to friends, and then go to bed at a reasonable hour, only to begin it again the next day. there is structure. there are clothes in my closet from which to choose. my bank account is tenuous but managing. my parents and i talk at least once a week and try to see each other every month or two. my close friends are just as close as ever. i sleep pretty well, for the most part, and my world is without much in the way of drama.

things are fine. good, even. stable. it is as though some maids have come through and done their magic. it still feels like my life, in so many ways, but it's been given a fresh coat of paint and some scrubbing. and i'm freed up to focus on the beauty rather than the dirt in the corners. i can enjoy those small moments again, the way i did when i was a little kid and everything was full of promise. when bubble baths made my whole day and a shiny sink was more a masterpiece than a chore.

perhaps i will see this time through rose-colored glasses someday...when kids are rushing all around me and the roast is about to burn in the oven. then again, perhaps i see it now through those same glasses....or maybe i do see it with the lens of truth: every day, every moment is a gift. may God continue to make my heart truly grateful for all the days i have seen, for all the hurts and all the shame and all the loneliness that drove me into His arms. to be able to see my world shine again is a greater gift than i could have ever imagined.

thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

tiny bubbles....

i just had the most delicious bubble bath ever! i spent the last 3 hours at work not feeling well today (stomach issues) and i was praying to God that time would move along rather quickly so i could get out of there. the last three hours seemed like an eternity, especially since my stomach was precarious at best. but, by the time i got in the car, i felt that my mission to get home quickly would be accomplished....and so it was. i made it home in just under 15 minutes! i came quickly upstairs, checked my e-mail, scrubbed out the tub, and then filled it up with soapy, hot water and slipped in, feeling my tense muscles relax and my cares dissolve into the bubbles....

this is starting to feel like a calgon commercial....

anyway, suffice it to say that i feel REALLY relaxed right now. so much so that i fear it may be difficult to stay awake until bedtime. thankfully, i've got some work to keep me busy and i may just move my laptop in front of the tube so i can kill two birds with one food network show:).

Monday, September 06, 2004

s'lovely

despite the overcast skies and rather dreary feel to the day, salimah and i arose mid-morning, got ready, and drove out to westminster to pick up some delights from this quaint place. collectively, we scored cherry, peach, and blueberry pies, pumpkin butter, freshly baked rolls, dried dill dip mix, and fresh corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and peaches. i can't wait to have some fresh veggies with my dinner tonight:).

after that outing, we were both rather hungry, so we made a stop for some ribs (delish!) and then dropped my things home before going to retrieve her mom's wallet from the site of their dinner from last night.

saturday, michael and i had taken salimah her gifts and then out for an italian lunchtime meal. salimah and i then spent the rest of saturday vegging at my place, watching movies, and eating leftovers from lunch, as well as some slightly overbaked lemon bars.

then, sunday, we went to the mall where she got some new clothes and a briefcase, and we both procured various other sundries at the dollar store (don't get me started about how much we love this place)....we then went back to her place to set up all her new things and so that her mother and jim could come and take her out to dinner (see reference to wallet debacle above). i stayed at her place while they were out and got some much-needed work done. plus, it allowed us to spend another evening and day together hanging out, and left just enough time last night for a quick trip to RITAS:)....

so, in summation, salimah's birthday weekend was all about shopping and food and hanging out. just the way we wanted to spend it. tomorrow it's back into the swing of things, but i feel refreshed and renewed a bit to start all over again. besides, next weekend, there's a women's retreat, and that promises to be a lovely time as well.

s'wonderful, dontcha think?

Saturday, September 04, 2004

dearest salimah joylynne,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

you, my friend, are only getting better with age....here's to another year of madcap fun and adventures, much laughter, and happiness beyond measure. i pray that all for you...and more.

love always,
sarah elizabeth

Sunday, August 29, 2004

i'm hot

i mean, really, i'm burning up. sweating, even. and my a/c is set to a crisp 70 degrees. but i am seriously so hot. and i'm not really running a temperature. and i'm not wearing heavy clothes. and i'm drinking lots of water. what is going on with me??

now, in other news, the soap at work is eating the skin off my hands. they are literally peeling. this means, of course, that i'm going to have to be a nerd and bring my own soap to my job so that i can manage the situation without too much of a problem. additionally, i will be swathing myself in lotion four to six times an hour to try and manage the fact that my skin is disappearing from my hands. it's traumatic, really.

and that, combined with the fact that i'm ridiculously hot, must tell you how i'm feeling just now.

things, needless to say, have felt better....

and YET i got to see my parents today. salimah and i drove to tyson's corner early this afternoon and met up with mom and dad at maggiano's and had a lovely lunch. we then went to williams-sonoma (sigh) and procured a few very-on-sale items and made our way back to charm city via 7-11 for some water (did i mention how hot i am and that being hot makes you really thirsty?).

i then spent the evening with michael:) and we watched the movie 'identity,' which, let me say it, FREAKED ME OUT.

so now i'm contemplating bed...or an ice bath...or both, and i'm hoping that me and my very warm and very lotioned self can make it through the day tomorrow without sweating or having any weird movie flashbacks (good film, but rather unnerving).

the good news is, however, that i will be having some quiche lorraine for lunch tomorrow (two words: buttery crust!) and salimah's birthday is next weekend (yay!). here's hoping you all make it through without a case of the mondays!!

and i'm out.

Monday, August 23, 2004

'looks like we made it....'

pardon me for not writing in here for awhile, but i did indeed make it through my first week of work!! the people at my office are just as nice as they can be, and all week long, different people came to check on me and make sure i was hanging in there. plus, there is a full, macked-out kitchen with two fridges and an ice maker!! basically, i'm in heaven:)

and my weekend was nice, although not long enough. i spent time with friends, ate some good food, and made a DELICIOUS blueberry pie. holy cow! and i got to be with michael, which is always a special part of any day....:)

so, it's monday and the work week has started over. it's looking very busy up ahead, and i'm praying to the Lord that i'll get some good rest this week. oh, and as an added bonus, i just learned that peapod is delivering in baltimore now, so i've got groceries on their way to my house this evening:).

and one more thing: my apologies to barry manilow....

Sunday, August 15, 2004

to begin again....

for the last week, i have been slowly picking away at my very long to-do list and, with the help of some trusted friends, i have made some real, measurable progress on my apartment & my life. here, in no particular order, are the items that i can now, with great relief, cross off the list:

1. rearrange/organize china cabinet (add a shelf)
2. rearrange/organize/clean out laundry room/pantry
3. rearrange/organize/clean out office closet
4. rearrange bookshelves
5. pare down book collection
6. rearrange bedroom
7. clean my bathroom
8. clear off and condition wood sideboard in kitchen
9. organize pots, pans, and baking dishes
10. rearrange living room furniture
11. dust and vacuum like crazy
12. order some clothes using online gift certificates
13. go clothes shopping to procure items for new job

and here is what i have left to do:

1. organize and vacuum my office
2. file papers (see #1)
3. clean kitchen sink
4. finish helping michael sort and organize his business papers

as soon as i finish this blog posting, i will be working towards accomplishing items 1 and 2. i want to get as much done today before i pass out this evening.

and tomorrow....

i start my new job:). i will get a full paycheck in two weeks (thank you, Jesus!) and my health insurance (100% paid) begins september 1. and hopefully, within a few weeks, i will have a second part-time job lined up (must. pay. off. debt.) and then i will be set to have a firm schedule, with many extraneous tasks off my somewhat cluttered mind.

i know that all this time, i have been going on about the business of my life, but much of my 'business' has been internal. now is the time for me to clear my plate, as it were, to dust and vacuum and sweep out the clutter that is continuing to hold me back. there is more ahead of me, more tasks to accomplish, more goals to set and realize. and i am moving one step at a time towards the life i should be living.

sometimes there are years of buildup in our hearts and minds and souls. but praise be to God that He gives us the tools and the strength and the FRIENDS to walk through those things and out into freedom. i feel like i've been given another chance....another opportunity to make things right.

i'm resting on your grace, dear Jesus. and i'm holding onto your word, which tells me that your mercies are new every morning. and so, i am here at the start of the next phase. another chance to step forward, to be stronger...

to begin again....

Friday, August 13, 2004

worship

i am enamored of single trees. not single socks or single donuts...not single most things. but single trees. for some reason, my breath always catches in my throat when i drive by a field and see one, lone tree, with nothing to distract it from its straining skyward.

the other afternoon, i was driving home in the bright sunshine that comes only after a torrential downpour. the mist was rising off the pavement, and everything was glistening and hazy. i was struck by how staggering the earth looked, how fresh, how clean. somehow, even the people i saw looked a little less smudged and tarnished, less dusty from their days.

that is the way that God likes us. cleaned off, undistracted and straining towards Him. it must be staggering to see it from His point of view...much more so, even than from mine....

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Friday, August 06, 2004

delicious


the view from my office window

the breeze is simply yummy today. quite cool, just how i like it. it's making me want to bake something. perhaps a cake is in order....yes, i think a lemon one with triple sec/vanilla frosting will do. and then perhaps some italian food (meatballs with pasta and homemade sauce) for dinner. i need to reconnect with my kitchen. i feel we've been out of synch.

in other news, i'm running a load of laundry and contemplating lunch (leftovers from last night, most likely). i should do a bit of shopping at some point this weekend. i need to pick up some fresh veggies and a few other dairy items.

i'll be meeting some friends for lunch tomorrow at la madeleine. such a throwback to my time in monty county. i am looking forward to tomato basil soup and some kind of puff pastry number.

now i'm off to throw my clothes in the dryer and plot out the rest of my afternoon....

did i mention that i love time off?!

Thursday, August 05, 2004

go figure

i've just finished a small plate of chicken with mushrooms in wine sauce over pasta (made by yours truly) and i've got a blueberry/peach/apricot crisp in the oven (about which i'm feeling rather psyched), but i must say: something ain't right. i was so hungry earlier that i felt this weird pain inside (and not just hunger - beyond that), but then just before eating, i felt really ill suddenly and not in the mood to ingest any food.

honestly, i don't think things have been quite right since that whole 'stomach flu debacle.'

but hey, i'm a trooper, and i'm supposing that a bit of vanilla ice cream and some baked fruit won't be hard to choke down....i know, it's rough, but someone's gotta do it. might as well be me....:)
organization

having just paid my exhorbitant insurance bill, i am now sitting at my desk trying to decide what part of my apartment will get my attention today.  i have about 10 days off before i start my new job(!!!), so i'm trying to use the time wisely.

i just have this need to want to be more settled and arranged before things start getting too busy for me to see straight

hmm...i'm thinking that the closet in my office is whining for some serious attention....

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

road trip

i managed to take no actual pictures of richmond this past weekend, but here were a few shots from the car ride up and back. enjoy!


it's enough to be on your way....


there were three trees in a field....the father, the son, and the holy spirit:)



these clouds were magnificent. really. this picture does no justice to them.

i am sorry to say that i missed taking a picture of this humped animal that i prayed was a llama (instead of something deformed and likely shunned by its fellow pasture-dwellers). i also missed getting a shot of this cute little church that would be perfect for a fall wedding. oh, yes, and i completely and utterly forgot to take pics of my parents and their beautiful new house. oh well. next time:)....

Friday, July 30, 2004

the verdict

tonight, i spent some time watching the democratic national convention.  am i a democrat?  no.  will i be voting for john kerry in november?  not likely.  but is that the point?  not in the least. 

i watched the convention because i needed a jolt of reality.  a sobering moment, if you will, to look at the state of mind and heart of some citizens in this country.  to see the faces of rabid people swarming in a frenzy over the hope that some political candidate will be able to impact their lives - and hearts and families and the other things they hold dear - in a permanent, profound way.  (and please do not misunderstand me here; i am not under the impression that the republican convention will be any different.)

let me say this while i have a chance: i do not hold the belief that it is possible to be that consumed with politics and in a similar way consumed with the person and work of Jesus Christ.

and as a citizen of God's kingdom, it is my duty to concern myself first and foremost with the goings-on of His word, His spirit, His heart.  as the (sometimes sappy but in a gosh-don'tcha-love-his-songs kind of way) Christian artist ray boltz so appropriately penned, 'i pledge allegiance to the Lamb....'  you read that right.  not to the flag, not to my president or my country or any organization, group, or party. 

so will i be voting in the presidential election this fall?  yes, because i feel like it's my responsibility as a citizen of this country in which God has placed me.  but will the outcome of this election, will my political party affiliation, will my support or rejection of any social issue or economic agenda make or break my acknowledgement of truth at the end of the day?  no way.  not now.  not ever. 

'now the years have come and the years have gone, but the cause of Jesus still goes on.  and now our time has come to count the cost, to reject this world, and embrace the cross.  and one by one let us live our lives for the One who died to give us life.  till the trumpet sounds on the final day, let us proudly stand and boldly say, 'i pledge allegiance to the Lamb, with all my strength, with all i am.  i will seek to honor His command.  i pledge allegiance to the Lamb.'

to the Lamb of God who bore my pain, who took my place, who wore my shame, i will seek to honor His commands. I pledge allegiance to the Lamb.'
(lyrics by ray boltz)

note: for some interesting perspectives on this and other issues, please visit christian counter culture dot org.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

and now, for a brief announcement from our sponsors....

i am in serious, frosty LOVE, people.  i mean, really.  i couldn't love this stuff anymore if i tried.  tonight,  i got my second 'gelati' from rita's.  their gelati is not like a traditional gelato, although i will say that their frozen custard is dense and buttery.  and they take this custard (either chocolate or vanilla) and layer it with the most delicious fruit ice and the combination is simply heaven. 

you know it's bad when you start planning road trips through locations so that you can go to a rita's on your way.  did i mention i'll be hitting the one in waldorf, md on my way down and back to and from richmond this weekend? 

i believe the words you're looking for are 'hells yeah!'  (please pardon my language)

oh, and as a brief p.s., i'm feeling 100% better, thanks for asking:)

Monday, July 26, 2004

down for the count

i woke up this morning with a churning inside me that can only mean one thing: a stomach virus. 

this is no good....

 

Monday, July 19, 2004

silence
 
'when someone you love dies, and you're not expecting it, you don't lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time - the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers.  gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone.  just when the day comes - when there's a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she's gone, forever - there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.' - john irving (from 'a prayer for owen meany')
 
this was the day of the funeral last year.  i spent my day today unpacking the boxes of a man who makes my heart swell.  last year, i buried the heart of my childhood.  this year, i uncover and prepare the heart of myself as a woman, a place that is home. 
 
and i'm ready for all of that.  and i ache for all of that.
 
but still, sitting alone in my house tonight, i'm a little girl all over again and the warm, salty rivers still flow down my cheeks.
 
 

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

one year

the sun was shining that morning when the phone rang. i heard my mother's voice on the other end telling me, 'we lost her.' she was crying, driving in her car alone from virginia to pennsylvania. i knew immediately that i would drive those roads that day as well, starting out from somewhere along the way. so i gathered a bag of my things and set out for my mountains. as i drove the winding highway through farmlands and fields, the sun blinding my eyes, i cried out all the tears that had been waiting to come - all my emotions intermingled and flowing.

it had only been just a week before that i had driven these same roads, on the way to see my grandmother lying in a hospital bed. she had never been the weak one, the sick one, the one in need. she was always head nurse, caretaker, strong one. and seeing her that day, helpless, thin, weak, i had lost it completely. i left the room and began sobbing in the hall, my defenses completely down and fear washing over me. 'dear God,' i prayed, 'please help her.'

i did manage to spend some time visiting with her that day. i had planned to come back the next afternoon to visit again, but as i left the hospital room that night, i just knew in my heart that was the last time i would see her alive. by that time, they had put her on a forced-air machine to help her breathe, and the only thing that was bright in that whole place was her shining blue eyes as she faintly waved goodbye. later that night, she went on a ventilator, and she never woke up again. 9 days later, she was gone.

driving the road back to pennsylvania on that sunshine-filled day, all i could think about were those eyes, her laugh, her smile, her hands - that i'd never be able to sit and talk with her again the way i had when i was a little girl. and my heart hurt, because so much was gone from me. so much had been gone for such a long time. my grandfather, the farm where they lived, the place where i could always go to escape - to be myself for awhile. i felt the last vestige of my childhood die in that moment.

and then, relief swelled in my heart - coupled with a guilt for its presence. her health had been failing for the last few years, and i worried all the time how much longer she had. there is a peace in death, because at least you know what lies ahead of you. there would be no suffering, no ventilators, no hospital beds. nothing. just the years of memories and the clothes and pictures and things in her drawers.

when i arrived in pennsylvania that afternoon, my mom looked very small and tired. the connectedness with one's own humanity that comes along with death is staggering. suddenly, jobs and money and commitments don't matter. all that counts is here and now and the hurt inside. we spent an important evening together talking, crying, laughing, and just being together.

as i looked for pictures that evening to place in a collage for the funeral, i found things that amazed and touched me - a box of love letters from my grandfather during world war II, a list of birthday cards she had intended to write (including some for the more 'forgotten' members of the family), a few she had written but had not yet mailed. her heart for others on a page, tucked inside a hallmark envelope.

my grandmother left behind a legacy the likes of which i cannot contain in this small piece of writing. her heart for others, her generosity, her calm spirit, her determination, her steadfastness, her honor - these were all qualities that i have not seen contained in quite that same way in anyone else i have ever met.

it has been one year since i lost her. one year since the light left those blue eyes for good. she had a profound impact on the person i am today, and her death left a scar that will never fade. i am not the same. i never will be.
 

Monday, July 12, 2004

moving on

yesterday i spent roughly 9 hours putting michael's life into boxes so that he can leave the city proper and move a mere 3 miles from my current abode. i'm so excited that he'll be closer to me - and to his non-work life. and he'll have his own place, which is even better. God has really been in the midst of this whole scene. it's been a pretty quick maneuver, however, since the decision to take this apartment just happened within the last 5 days, and already he's moving next weekend. thankfully, we made a huge dent yesterday and i feel pretty good about the prospects of getting him done by next saturday night.

in other news, i had some very paradigm-shifting thoughts earlier about a former relationship - about which i realize i needed to experience healing in my heart. a lot has happened since i woke up this morning.

and if i'm not mistaken, i just took another step forward.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Sunday, July 04, 2004

'mad, sir?'
'ah yes, mad indeed. but observe how they do light up the sky....'


well, my birthday has come and gone and i must say, it was a success. between my party last weekend to my clothes shopping adventure on july 1 (complete with license renewal) and delicious dinner with michael and salimah at roy's restaurant (hawaiian fusion cuisine) - not to mention my macked-out presents, including new rice cooker, digital camera, and a host of books and other goodies - i felt cherished and celebrated by the people that matter to me the most.

and yesterday, michael and i journeyed to catonsville to the han ah reum korean supermarket and picked up a nice collection of delectable treats (which i plan to devour later today, complemented by some sticky rice in my new cooker) and then came back to my place and made three kinds of won tons: crabmeat and cheese, spinach and green onion, and pork, onion and carrot. the dipping sauces were varied (homemade sweet and sour, a vinegary soy with toasted sesame seeds, and a creamy peanut and sherry were my favorites) and we talked and laughed and enjoyed our little feast on these lovely dipping plates and platter that i had received as a birthday gift from friends.

and now it is 1:35 on sunday afternoon and i have just returned from what can only be described as a mini 'adventure.' michael and i decided to visit this church that i had passed by one morning on my way elsewhere. first let me say that while i am in no way opposed to the concept of being one of only 6 white people in a church setting (i felt very welcomed and comfortable in this decidedly urban, 'black' church), i actually prefer more ethnic/racial diversity than a church filled with all of any one race. that is to say, i don't feel particularly comfortable in a church of all white people, or all black people, or all asian people, etc. i believe that, just as the kingdom of God is all about every tribe, tongue, and nation, the church should, in my estimation be a reflection of that. in addition to that, of course, i also want to be able to connect with people on a personal level and i want a pastor that i feel comfortable talking to - someone who could really support and advise and lead me in this walk.

anyway, this place was nice, very comfortable, and not big but not small either. they had a gospel choir that was pretty good, but it was hard to hear the singing, because the band was REALLY loud. in fact, pretty much everything was REALLY loud. we had to leave early because when the sermon did finally start (after an hour and 15 minutes of other activities), it was making my ears throb. michael was in pain, too, so we snuck out the back door. just as we got outside, however, it was immediately apparent that we were parked in by another car. so then michael had to summon one of the ushers who - thank God - knew whose car it was and was able to move it. by this point, it was raining rather steadily and i just felt it was time to go.

i have to say that, while i won't be going back there, i appreciate what that body of believers is doing. and i can see the place they have in this community. they seem like a thriving bunch, and i'm encouraged by that. i'm just pretty sure that, at this point in my life, my place is not among them. so i will continue the search for where i'm supposed to be.

oh, and even though i'm not much for trekking out to find fireworks shows, last night, we heard some decidedly explosion-type noises and went out on my balcony to find a fireworks show happening somewhere north of me. so we stood in the darkness and watched the sky bursting with colors and light. and i was glad to be with michael, glad for it to be summer, thankful for where i live and where i am and for this country i call home.

so happy independence day, everyone. may God bless america and all who reside herein. now onto the next adventure....

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Vintage Grace

These days, I am obsessed with anything old school. My friendship with Sarah is old school to the core. Our friendship is a throwback to an era of “best friends” and “lifelong pals.” She is my road trip companion, my sounding board, the person who does not consider it her job to make me comfortable, but rather, to make me uncomfortable with mediocrity, bad choices, and deficits in my character. Sometimes we chafe each other with our idiosyncratic differences, but we also charm each other, bail each other out, and are each other’s safe place.

In this era of transient relationships, where being a “friend who sticks closer than a brother,” may be deemed old fashioned, I am so glad Sarah is cut from vintage cloth. Her sensibilities are grand in scale, Victorian in essence, antiquated, but relevant traditions that include a clear sense of right and wrong, common sense, and a true sense of sophistication infused with fun and light-heartedness.

For just over one year, I had the privilege of working with Sarah. She came on board at my company to help with a major editing project. I was on the verge of drowning because the task was so huge, so impossible to get arms around. Even though she was not hired to be an editor, I knew that I could trust her to work in tandem with me. After a few weeks, she was, for all intents and purposes, operating in the same capacity as me, fully and autonomously functioning...and saving my life once again. Even though the organization she slaved for never changed her classification to permanent, she was their second of two editors, and whether they will ever realize it or not, she has vigorously contributed to any credibility they may have in the public eye. This, too, is vintage. I am awed by her commitment, steeped in things instilled by her parents and grandparents, to never sell herself short by attaching her name to anything slipshod.

God strategically places Sarah in all areas of my life to shine His light there. He strategically places Sarah in the lives of many to serve as His voice of wisdom and compassion.

And now, on this, her 29th birthday, she is starting over--being equipped for her life's calling, facing the world with courage, and leaping over things that have tried to destroy her in a single bound.

I tip my hat to you, Lady. You are the essence of grace.

Love,

Salimah

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

and this is what i was....

'do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. and that is what some of you were. BUT you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.' (1 corinthians 6:10-11 - emphasis mine)

mercy, Lord...what mercy.

Friday, June 18, 2004

the 99 'most important' questions (courtesy of this guy's site

1. dark or light chocolate? dark
2. sunrise or sunset? sunset
3. black ink or blue ink? black
4. CDs or records? CDs
5. ballpoint or roller? roller, if it's a good one.
6. digital watches or traditional? traditional
7. fish or steak? BEEF, it's what's for dinner.
8. French or Italian? hmm....this is a toughie. italian.
9. bar soap or liquid? liquid for hands, bar for the shower.
10. vanilla or chocolate? vanilla with chocolate in it.
11. Muldar or Scully? i wasn't an x-files fan, but i'm going for scully.
12. black and white or color? for photos, b&w; for movies, color
13. Coca Cola or Ginger Ale? coke is it.
14. long or short fingernails? for men, short; for women, medium length
15. Mick or Keith? um...neither. they both skeev me out.
16. typewritten or handwritten? handwritten
17. lights on or off? on (i'm sure this question has deeper meaning, but i'm choosing the surface answer)
18. coffee or tea? tea
19. Rodan or Godzilla? eh?
20. cotton or silk underwear? cotton
21. black or white? both
22. glasses or contacts? glasses
23. morning or evening? morning
24. cats or dogs? cats
25. Bogart or Bacall? seriously, who cares about this?
26. dessert first or last? last
27. leather or wool? depends on the object. for a coat, wool, but there is nothing like the smell of good leather....:)
28. Doberman Pinscher or bulldog? yellow lab:)
29. rain or snow? rain
30. meat sauce or marinara? meat
31. John or Paul? paul
32. ice cream or sherbet? ice cream
33. Casablanca or The Third Man? i've never seen 'the third man' and 'casablanca' wasn't that great of a film.
34. peanuts or cashews? cashews
35. Boy George or Curious George? curious george
36. taste or smell? you can't have taste without smell
37. sooner or later? depends....some things are worth waiting for:)
38. trains or planes? trains
39. cut grass or woodsmoke? cut grass
40. lipstick or chapstick? chapstick
41. Frankenstein or Dracula? frankly, neither, but i guess dracula if i have to choose
42. khakis or jeans? hmm. it's a toss-up.
43. paperback or hardcover? hardcover
44. steam or sauna? isn't a sauna a steam room? i'm not feeling that. i prefer being in water.
45. video or TV? dvd all the way
46. subway or bus? subway
47. bath or shower? i like baths, but i still shower at the end of them
48. New York or LA? new york
49. e-mail or snail mail? snail mail
50. portraits or landscapes? landscapes
51. big mouth or big eyes? big eyes
52. books or movies? books
53. neat or comfortable? comfortable, which also involves some neatness
54. summer or winter? autumn
55. mountains or beach? mountains and ocean
56. silence or noise? silence
57. pants or skirts? pants
58. music or silence? music
59. you and I or me and you? you and i
60. long or short hair? long
61. perfume or perspiration? perfume, but only some kinds
62. comedy or horror? comedy
63. jam or butter? both:)
64. velvet or silk? silk
65. country or city? country
66. Persian carpets or hardwood floor? hardwood floor
67. cake or pie? pie
68. Monroe or Madonna? neither interests me.
69. wool or cashmere? cashmere
70. regular or premium? regular
71. boxers or briefs? boxer-briefs
72. garters or pantyhose? neither
73. car or motorcycle? car
74. bagels or toast? bagel
75. Hitchcock or Poirot? hmm....i like them both. i loved poirot as a child:)
76. red wine or white wine? red
77. beard or smooth? smooth
78. sail or swim? go swimming and then for a sail:)
79. modern or antique? if we're talking furniture, some of both. appliances, modern.
80. grass or sand? grass
81. movies or films? films
82. lemon or lime? lemon
83. bed or couch? bed
84. stockings or bare skin? bare skin
85. inside or outside? inside looking out
86. opera or rock 'n roll? jazz
87. sneakers or boots? sneakers
88. London or Paris? paris
89. flats or pumps? flats or chunky heels
90. pencil or pen? pen
91. crosswords or editorials? crosswords
92. cinnamon or spearmint gum? cinnamon
93. Old Star Trek or Star Trek, The Next Generation? ask michael:)
94. tent or hotel room? hotel!!
95. drip or espresso? espresso, but then make an event of it
96. rafting or boating? boating
97. elevator or stairs? elevator
98. convertible or sunroof? sunroof
99. love or lust? love

Monday, June 14, 2004

i'm fairly certain i do not have the words for this

if i could let you inside my brain, this would be so much easier, but i had a fantastic weekend. to the untrained eye, nothing 'earth-shattering' happened. i attended a conference in north carolina, ate some bbq, hung out with michael and my folks, and then came home. in my soul, however, things are different. i am different. my view of my life is...well....different.

i've known for awhile now that God has called me to minister to those who are struggling to know him but are held back by their hurts and fears. specifically, i feel led to reach out to those who are sexually broken. this would seem to include a lot of people - and it does - but i guess specifically, i have a heart for those who are struggling with homosexuality and/or the after-effects of sexual abuse. i know i haven't spoken very openly about a lot of my views thus far. perhaps times are going to be changing, because i do have things to say about these issues. and while my opinions are very strong, my beliefs are even stronger. and i do know one thing: God has all of this well in hand. not just my life, but the state of this country, and of all humanity. and there are those whose lives He has changed and rearranged - the once hardened hearts that have been broken by His cords of loving kindness. this includes people from every background, every experience, every nation, tribe, and tongue.

i'm so excited to see where in this puzzle i might fit. i'm looking into some opportunities to serve locally and am praying about where to go next. it's a daunting task, and much of the church doesn't want to deal with these specific issues head-on. but no matter, because i believe that God does, and in the end, He is the one whose opinion matters in all of this.

a lot of hatred has fueled a lot of hurt in this world, and there is a battle being waged even now. that hate may try its hardest to swallow all of humanity, but it is love that will triumph in the end. it is that love that drives me forward. love came here. love walked here. love lived and died and rose again.

love won out.

Monday, June 07, 2004

i have a weird scar on my hand

i'm not even sure why, but some little bump i had about 6 months ago never really healed, and it left behind it an even weirder bump. sometimes it fascinates me, and i wonder if, when i'm 80, it will still be there....

my grandmother's sister died last week, but i didn't get to go to the funeral, because i was completely exhausted by the new part-time job i'm doing. i had been up basically all night on thursday, and i realized something: i am FAR too old for this kind of behavior. gone are the days when i could stay up until the wee hours of the morning and then bounce back after one good night's rest. now, i feel groggy for a good three or four days on end. i'm recovering even still....

and in other news, i've joined a book club with salimah and some other friends. our first book looks to be a good one, and amazon should be bringing it my way any day now....

in other, OTHER news, i scored some fun stuffs at target yesterday for my upcoming birthday festivities, and i am looking forward to sleeping tonight.

and now, as randomly as i have come, i'm out....

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

countdown

exactly one month from today, i will turn 29. i will warn you (a.k.a., the 5 people who actually read my blog) that it's likely all retrospectives and reminiscences from here....

Sunday, May 30, 2004

if you had told me then, i would not have believed you....

about once a week, in a random moment, i find myself reviewing the geography of my life over the last five years. like, for instance, how in may of '99, i was SO over this town. it seemed fortuitous, then, that salimah and i, after both feeling led to move to gaithersburg to become part of a church, packed up all our belongings and left baltimore (i thought, perhaps, for good). and then, by summer of that same year, how i had already started to feel the pit in the center of my stomach, fearing a bad decision had been made. but in my stubbornness, i refused to believe this and pushed forward with my dream of fitting in at this place and finding a husband there and settling down with our children for the rest of our lives.

and how i was some degree of unemployed for months on end. and how we had no food in the cabinets and how it was a LITERAL miracle that my bills got paid.

and how, even after two full years of trying to make things work - even after getting decent jobs and a better place to live - everything still felt wrong.

and so, after three years of what now to me feels like exile, we returned to charm city (whether or not for good, who knows). and my lungs opened up and let me breathe again.

it is no wonder to me that every time i drive back into monty county, i begin to feel a kind of sick washing over me. it is not that i regret leaving baltimore the first time. i think that, ultimately, it had to happen for a LOT of other things to be brought about in my life. and for that, i am immeasurably grateful. but still, if i am being honest, i will admit that there are a lot of experiences that i had down there that i would, if i could, take back and erase from my memory. and in my heart, i do not ever want to live there again.

but today, i will drive there with salimah to meet up with two of the small handful of pleasant memories that came out of that experience. and then later, i will return to the one home i really feel i have at this point. and i don't just mean my apartment. my life is here. my heart is here. even in uncertainty, i want to be here. at least for now....

Sunday, May 23, 2004

dirge

i could not extract myself from the hot shower just now. i mean, really, i tried, but it kept pulling me back into its comfort. it is the only place these days where i feel i can think clearly. everything occurs to me in that little 'room' of walls and glass. i pray. He speaks. i listen. i feel....

and so it was that, under that river of clean, i began to think about death and how its occurence is necessary for anything to truly live. i find it so beautiful and fitting that it is the decay of mulch and fertilizer that produces such radiant flowers, vegetables, and other growing things....the sacrifice now that yields the beauty then.

and, in a way, it is the dying of our child-selves that makes room for the emergence of who we are as grown people. but it isn't as though we become something wholly new. there are still shadows of our 'former' selves lingering around, waiting for an opportune moment to peek in and remind us of the place from which we came.

it occurs to me that not everyone experiences this death in the same way. some people have such a gradual progression into adulthood that the transition is seamless and without effect. others have age and experience thrust upon them and they are left to grieve and mourn the loss of innocence taken too soon. some people are living with one foot in either world at all times.

as for me, i don't know that i was ever really that young....i mean, i know i was, but i have felt the weight of anxiety and typically 'adult' concerns pressing into my heart since i was probably 4 or 5 years of age. and now, as an almost 30-year old, i live in a world that i'm desiring to see through those young eyes...to gain the perspective that was never mine to lose.

when i came to know Christ, there were parts of me that experienced immediate finality...a new life had been birthed inside my soul, and it was necessary for some ways and thoughts to die in order to make room for what had begun. God, i feel that i need a refresher course in dying. i want to see what you see. i want to live wholly and without regret. i want to be pushed deep into the earth, only to return renewed and more beautiful than before.

so bring on the mourners; it's funeral time....

Sunday, May 16, 2004

'she's got her ticket...i think she gonna use it...think she goin' to fly away....'

when i was a little girl, the world and all of my wishes stretched out in front of me like some kind of sears & roebuck catalog; anything, it seemed, was possible...available to me. as the years have progressed, very few of my childhood dreams have come to pass and, as a result, i wound up spending my early 20s rationalizing to avoid disappointment and talking about 'some day' with this vague hope that perhaps i would have a few of the things for which i hoped (maybe even by the time i was 30?).

well, i'll be 29 soon, and i've made a decision: this IS 'some day.' i'm tired to death of talking about how things will be when i have enough money or when i'm ready or when you're ready or whatever. i'm tired of maybe i will and won't it be nice when. i'm ready for it today. i'm ready for it now.

and just to be clear: i'm not talking about impatience. i'm talking about living; i'm talking about fishing or cutting bait. i know what it's like to remain ever in the realm of the theoretical. and i'm over that.

the verdict: either get on board with what is true and let's sink our teeth into this adventure, no turning back, or get me off this train. i'm not going down this track.

not now.

not anymore.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

all i want

is to relax and feel the cool sheets on my toes and hear the fan swirl and churn the air.

is for my stomach to stop hurting and work correctly, please!

is to know that you're thinking about me tonight.

is You.

Monday, May 10, 2004

'i could while away the hours....'

while all the permanent employees on my team are in the midst of company meetings to discuss their bonuses, i'm sitting here at my desk feeling annoyed and wishing i could bust up outta here right about now. i found some jobs for which i'm going to apply, and i will admit that the prospect of something bigger and better is exciting me to the point of distraction. we'll see what happens....

my stomach is churning from nothing but some goldfish crackers for the last 24 hours. why do i do this to myself? note to me: eat dinner tonight, please!

i procured a hand-me-down entertainment center from my friend karenina this weekend. it's shorter than the stand i had my tv on before, so it has created some intimacy in my living room. very nice and understated. fits my components well.

in other news, i'm wanting to sort through some of my stuff and get rid of it. i do that once every few years, and though i wasn't due for a session anytime soon, salimah has inspired me and now i must expel. delete. expunge. you get the point.

i'll tell you what i'd rather be doing right about now: anything. no, not anything. i'll have a comfy chair (with ottoman), a lovely beverage, a favorite person, and a quiet place to rest. yes, that'll do me just fine....

Saturday, May 08, 2004

let's recap, shall we?

so yesterday, i got to leave work early, since i had finished all my weekly hours by noon. after departing the office, i drove over to this little shack for some nachos (at the recommendation of karenina) and then headed home to feast and watch some t.v.. i also had a nap in the works, after i watched oprah interview the friends, of course....

about 2 minutes into my slumber (i had dozed off during oprah), i was awakened by the news breaking into the show. they announced that 5 or 6 people had just been shot at a nearby high school and that the shooters were on the loose. i immediately snapped to, only to find that they had headed towards where i lived. within moments, i heard low-flying helicopters and began to realize that the place the suspects had ditched their vehicle was about 1 minute from my apartment.

the phone rang. it was my coworker, who also lives in this area. a few minutes later, i learned on the news that they had apprehended a possible suspect at this clothing store. hmm....why do i know that sign? i thought to myself....a few seconds later it dawns on me: the store is LITERALLY RIGHT UP THE STREET. if i walked out the front door of my building, i could practically see it. needless to say, this did not make me feel very happy.

so, as of this morning, i believe they have some people in custody. frankly, i'm not 100% sure of the latest, because after awhile yesterday, i forced myself to shut off the t.v. and stop thinking about the fact that there was a killer potentially hiding out in my neighborhood.

more importantly, i hope those students are going to be okay....

Sunday, May 02, 2004

s'wonderful

i have had such a pleasant 24 hours! yesterday, i did manage to vacuum after all, and i got all but one load of my laundry done before shona arrived around 4:30. i made a marinated chicken parmigiana with sherried mushrooms and spinach for dinner and then we watched 'a beautiful mind' and later had pecan chocolate chip cookies (break and bake all the way!) and milk.

this morning, i arose without my alarm at 7:30, showered, and had some oatmeal while working in the quiet of my dining room. my new red curtains are the best, by the way. they make me very happy:).

after shona woke up and showered, we went to toys-r-us to buy some baby shower presents for a friend and then she took me to lunch, which was delish. while there, i also bought some 9-grain bread and 2 croissants. afterwards, we were off to buy fun girl stuff and i managed to get several foot-soothing and softening products. must ready the tootsies for summer shoes!

so now i'm back home and feeling accomplished and i think i'll have a bit of a nap, do some more editing, watch the food network and then later have some leftovers for dinner.

i'm so thankful to God to have such wonderful friends with whom i can spend such relaxing times. i'm almost feeling ready to go back to work tomorrow....

*ahem*

okay, sorry...let's not get ahead of ourselves here!

Saturday, May 01, 2004

dust in the wind....

i have not vacuumed in weeks and it is starting to get unbearable in here. i tried dusting my bedroom furniture earlier and it nearly sent me into a sneeze attack. i'm running laundry and editing and thinking about running my dirt devil all around this place, but if i'm being honest, i'm not in the mood.

the good news is that my friend shona is coming to visit me today and i'm wearing a red kerchief and the breeze is blowing and i'm thinking of days gone by and clothes lines and bike rides and strawberries and laughter and tall grass and afternoons like this....

i close my eyes
only for a moment, then the moment's gone.
all my dreams
pass before my eyes, a curiosity.
dust in the wind...
all they are is dust in the wind.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

home improvement

i am seeking out more of a sense of 'home' for myself. i feel that i've existed too long without much in the way of decoration in the places i've lived (other than art on the walls). so i am devising a plan to bring fun and ambiance into my apartment. as of tuesday evening, i now have RED curtains hanging in my dining room....i hung them up myself:). next, i may look into painting my bedroom (perhaps red and taupe?) and rearranging my furniture a bit. but at the very least, i hope to purchase curtains for that room (and maybe my office will get a shabby chic look) and create a reading area for myself so that i actually spend time in my bedroom doing activities other than sleeping:).

anyone have any fun ideas for decorating your place without spending the big bucks?? i'm taking suggestions....

Monday, April 26, 2004

the beginning of the end

well, in approximately 8 weeks, there will be resolution of my work woes: i will no longer be employed at my company. i found out today that, at the end of may, i can no longer work full-time hours. i will be cut back to 20 hours a week and then, at the end of june (should i decide to stay that long), i will be out of a job.

my boss took me into the conference room to deliver this news, and i can honestly say that it was much harder on her than on me. to be honest, i've been preparing myself for this for about 6 months now. frankly, i'm kind of over it.

besides which (and i told her as much), i know that if i'm not working there anymore, it's because the time is over for such things. and i'm placing my trust in God, because He's the only One who's kept me afloat all this time. and i really feel mostly calm about it....but i also don't feel calm. i'm fine and yet not fine.

Lord, please open a new door. a wider door. a door leading to better places than where this road is currently headed. i know you can do this.

if not You, then no one.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

what they don't know....

i'm performing clandestine blogging maneuvers while here at my job. speaking of which, people are getting hired left and right, but not me. honestly, between that and the fact that i don't qualify for a bonus (since i'm not permanent) even though i've been here nearly a year, i'm feeling rather poo about my work life just now.

last night i wrote the first poem i've penned in ages. who can predict when the mood will strike? apparently tuesday at midnight is a good time for my creative juices to get all floetic and what-not, so i had to forego sleep in favor of something more higher-roadish. my puffy eyes and dragging butt this morning would beg to differ....

i have just started a monsta of a course - first grade reading & writing. i may go blind before this is all over. but for now, a respite, a few words thrown out into the void.

hello, dear void. is anyone listening??

Saturday, April 17, 2004

exchange of goods

feeling bummed about my lack of music-playing abilities in my house, yesterday, i got a great deal on this. it doubles as a dvd player/stereo system (has a radio and a 5-disc changer) and the sound coming off of it is quite good for my needs. anyway, salimah, who has been wanting a dvd player, will get the one i had (only a year old) and can start adding to her dvd collection in her new place.

now i can rescue all my cds from their exile in travel sleeves and put them on display. let the listening begin!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

post resurrection musings

well, i was sick all weekend. it was seriously the dreariest easter i've had in awhile, but even in the midst of a lot of stomach pain and seriously wet weather, i experienced joy and was able to focus my mind and heart on worshipping God in all His majesty. 'the passion' was an overwhelming but completely worthwhile experience - both cinematic and spiritual - and i am grateful to God for the very large-scale reminder of His inestimable love.

i'm starting to feel better (finally!) and am just taking in the ability to eat again. now if the stomach cramps would just cease....

nevertheless, the Lord is so good to me. as always, there is a breakthrough of sun after the downpour.

and what the rain yields will be just lovely....

Friday, April 09, 2004

i have nothing else to say but this....

when i survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of Glory died,
my richest gain i count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

forbid it, Lord, that i should boast,
save in the death of Christ my God!
all the vain things that charm me most,
i sacrifice them to His blood.

see from His head, His hands, His feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down!
did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
spreads o’er His body on the tree;
then i am dead to all the globe,
and all the globe is dead to me.

were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.

--isaac watts

Thursday, April 08, 2004

maundy thursday

i decided, after much deliberation, to take tomorrow off from work. every other year, i have been home for good friday, but i had been vacillating this year due to our impending deadline. i felt conflicted about it, though, because good friday is quite possibly the most special day of the year to me personally. the only reason that we have easter sunday is because good friday happened first. He had to die so He could rise again....

tonight i will go and see 'the passion' with salimah and then i will begin my fast, which will end at sundown tomorrow. it seems only appropriate to experience a kind of physical emptiness. i want only to be filled by Him. my heart is ready....

"when the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table, and the apostles with Him. He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." then He took a cup, and after giving thanks He said, "take this and divide it among yourselves; for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." then He took a loaf of bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "this is my body, which is given for you. do this in remembrance of me." and He did the same with the cup after supper, saying, "this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."*

Jesus, YOU are the passover lamb who was slain for us; therefore, let us keep the feast. alleluia.

*luke 22:14-20

Monday, April 05, 2004

no, i haven't been under a rock. i've just had nothing to say. but here's a little snippet, while i'm thinking of it:

i do not like my job.

there...i said it. don't worry; this isn't about to turn into a whine-fest where i talk in great detail about all the things i don't like. and this, honestly, will not come as a shock to anyone who is remotely close to me at this point in my life. i just needed to say it out loud. type it out loud. again.

and no, nothing happened. i've just had some frustrating days, weeks, months, and it wears a girl down after awhile.

and now i'm sitting in my apartment that is ICE COLD ('what's cooler than bein' cool?') and realizing that i need to find something resembling dinner before 10 p.m. rolls around. i am not thrilled with all of this.

but i am okay.

more soon (hopefully)....

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

only you and you will get this

okay, so it's been awhile since i've blogged. sorry about that. i've been busy with a house guest - the illustrious amy l. perbeck - who has graced me with her presence since saturday and will be leaving me tomorrow:(....

all i did all weekend was cook and hang out with amy and the boy (not at the same time, actually). saturday night, i made creamy tamarind sauced salmon (yum!), roasted potatoes, and asparagus with lemon and butter. sunday, i marinated some steak in beer, lime, honey, and garlic (along with a bunch of spices) and then made fajitas and spanish rice. for dessert, i made cinnamon-raisin bread pudding with a whiskey-orange-butter sauce. all fabu.

other than that, i've been trying to unwind from the fiasco-like time we had at work last week. it's too much to detail here. suffice it to say that there was a coup and a subsequent reprimand and then further subsequent misery. oh well. c'est la vie, baby.

la vie, baby.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

putting out a feeler

i'm in the mood to bake something citrusy. any ideas??

Monday, March 15, 2004

tonight, for the first time ever, i conquered the cornish game hen. no, i didn't wrestle the little guy to the ground; i swathed him in butter and then roasted him (stuffed with a homemade buttery bread/herb/mushroom/cranberry stuffing); halfway through , i lacquered him with a balsamic-honey glaze. it was DELICIOUS. with it, we (michael and i) had a nice fresh salad with a cranberry-orange dressing. to drink, we had some belgian dark cherry beer. amazing. the whole meal was scrumptious, and i felt very satisfied by the fact that i managed to cook the birds perfectly - not dry, not underdone. the meat was tender, juicy....so good!!

in other news, i'm really nervous about going back to work tomrrow. we wound up having an impromptu meeting on friday to collectively 'confront' - in a way - my boss and her supervisor about the unrealistic, ridiculous demands they keep placing upon us. it was kinda scary and i really don't think it accomplished anything, but i'm more worried now about the potential fallout tomorrow. i'm SO paranoid around this woman; it's very problematic.

God, you're in control of this anyway; why don't i acknowledge that and just let it go??

i just SO wish i could stay home for another few days and hang out and just cook for michael. that would be so much more pleasant:)....ah yes, but the real world would still be waiting for me when the cupboards went bare.....

*sigh*

time for sleep....all will be new in the morning.

Monday, March 08, 2004

yeah, i'm okay

the end of last week was in no way fun for me. i felt like i was two IM conversations shy of a mini meltdown. and when things get to that point, there is very little - if anything - one can do to recover. i prayed. i read scripture. i prayed some more. nothing was changing for me.

friday night, salimah prayed for me. it helped some. and then i spent two days with friends. also helpful. but sure as the sun shines in the morning, last night i started freaking out again at the thought of having to go back to my job today. i just really felt like i couldn't hack it. but, you know, the bottom line is that we're in the middle of a deadline, i have no paid time off, and i need money, so that pretty much sealed my fate.

this morning, i got up 5 minutes before my alarm went off, went straight into a very hot shower, and all seemed okay with the world. and looking at my face in the mirror, i realized that this is my life for today. and today, i need to work it out. sure, it'd be ideal if i could just get an excellent, biblical perspective on my situation for every moment of every day, but the truth is this: i'm struggling to trust God, and some moments i'm trusting Him, and some moments, i'm just making it by with some rewards [read: goldfish crackers] and oases [read: bathroom breaks].

and some day (hopefully soon) it will be over and i'll move on to something else. and wherever i go will have its own challenges and stresses and moments of fun. but i can tell you this....

i won't be looking back.