Saturday, December 31, 2005

and now, the end is near....

it's official: 2005 is just about 14 hours from being over. can i be honest? i'm relieved....

this year has seen its share of heartaches, not just for me and for my immediate friends, but for the entire world community. tsunami. hurricanes. terrorist attacks. mass devastation. political upheaval. war. the end of eras - both relational and otherwise. many would say that these are signs of the end times. some may be right.

but really, every day is one step closer to 'the end': the longer you live, the closer you get. but even with that understanding, every new year's eve holds inside of itself the totality of all that has come and gone in the previous 364 days - along with the possibility that, come tomorrow, things can be different for us. we get the chance to start over, to reinvent ourselves, to pass through another 365 days and maybe make it without too many tears or too much tragedy.

i'm not going to make any proclamations about what i will accomplish this year. i know myself well enough to know that doing such a thing often sets me up to fail. i will only say this: for the new year, i have hope. there dwells in my heart the trembling possibility that when i reach this day in 2006, my life will not look like it does right now. heck, perhaps even i will not look like i do right now. and today i will bow my head in prayer for all the people in this world who are beginning their 2006 still very much in the throes of a devastating reality. my hope for them is that they would draw from God's strength and love for them - to rise above their circumstances and be at peace.

tonight i will spend my new year's with my best friend - counting my blessings (which, really, are so many). we plan on catching a movie and probably dinner (not necessarily in that order), but first we have a bit of shopping to do and tooling around town.

i'm choosing to dwell in today. in thankfulness. in possibility.

happy new year's, everyone. may your 2006 bring you joy.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

joy is born this day

Jesus, on this day that we celebrate Your birth, I pray You would reign in us -- in our thoughts, our hearts, our circumstances, our world. be close to those who have lost their way, to those who are sick or hungry or hurting. have mercy on our nation for all that takes place here every minute of every day -- in all the ways that we dishonor You.

help us to understand the miracle of Your love for us. a love so great that it caused You to humble Yourself and take the form of the least of us that we might become great in You. may the silence of that moment, the peace and wonder of that child, quiet our hearts this day.

may the peace of His love comfort you. may you know His presence. may you glimpse His glory. may joy be born in you this day.

merry CHRISTmas.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

okay, okay, so it's been forever. sorry about that. i've been in a haze, i think. let's see. what's new?

1. i got new glasses. they're fabu. i can actually see better now:).

wait, i thought there was going to be a list, but then i realized that absolutely nothing of interest has happened in my life over the last several weeks. i'm just gearing up for a weekend of holiday baking. and speaking of baking, i just finished my cake decorating class (pics may be forthcoming). it was actually really fun. i may need to take the second level (there are three total in the wilton series). i've gotten a lot of compliments on the three creations i've brought in to work, so who knows? i could make some moula off of this interest at some point....:)

christmas is just around the corner. a bare tree stands in my living room. pretty par for the course these days.

'tis the season to be something or other. i'm not sure what. but one thing i do know: Jesus has to be the reason, or there's really no reason at all....

Saturday, November 19, 2005

haunted

last sunday, i was brunching with salimah and a friend of hers at the one world when suddenly she looked over my head and said, 'oh my gosh!' i asked her what was going on, and she said, 'mackenzie astin is right behind you.' i turned to see him, but the sun was shining so brightly, i couldn't make his face out, even though he was probably 2 feet from me, at the most. he then turned and walked out of the restaurant, and as he went through the door, i managed to catch the side of his face and realized that, in fact, it was him.

a few minutes later, he was back in, standing by the counter waiting for the order he had apparently placed. i was feeling distracted by our disengaged waiter and was more than a bit annoyed that i kept having to ask him for things that he should have been giving us as a matter of course. i had just asked him for some straws when a hand appeared around my shoulder and gave them to me. i realized in that moment that mackenzie astin had just handed me straws, but it struck me as so odd that i didn't really react - just said thanks and then went on about the conversation i was having with salimah and her friend.

suddenly i found myself being preoccupied with wanting to talk to him. okay, so a bit of background is in order: i faithfully watched 'the facts of life' as a young girl and was still a fan when he appeared for, i believe, three seasons between 1985 and 1988, along with a very young george clooney. i was an oddly sensitive child, and from the first time i saw him on tv, i always thought that there was something different about him...like he was very sensitive, too - or maybe lonely or sad - although i wasn't sure. and then, in the late 90s when he reappeared into my landscape in 'dream for an insomniac,' i remember being struck by that same feeling.

okay, so i'm sitting there feeling like i should talk to him, so i decided to say something particularly cheesy, in the hopes that he would find it somehow amusing and/or that it would make his day that someone remembered back to his early career. so i leaned over and told him that i appreciated him in the facts of life, to which he smiled, introduced himself, and then struck up a several minute conversation (including a really beautiful anecdote about 'dream for an insomniac,' which i also brought up). at the end of the brief exchange, he told us that he had to go and bring some stuff to his stepmother who was waiting outside, said he'd be back to town in the spring and that he might see me again, and then he was off.

okay, now why am i writing all this down? in truth, the fact that i met him doesn't really impact me because he's a celebrity (although for about a day afterward, i was feeling that 'wasn't that cool?' vibe) but instead because of that un-nameable thing that i sensed about him almost 20 years ago. it's still there. something about him seems alone and perhaps a bit sad - lost - i don't know. but i feel like he needs a friend, someone to lift him up in a way. this may seem weird, but i nearly invited him over for dinner before he walked out. i thought better of it, but now i wish i hadn't.

salimah saw him again tonight, smoking alone in the dark. she said hello, but he didn't hear her, and when she passed that way again, he was gone.

i hope i see him again. who knows if he'd remember my name, but i feel like there's something i have to say to him. maybe it's something he needs to hear.

Saturday, November 12, 2005



seattle’s best

i watched the lovers lean in
to tell their delicious secrets–
the capped man beside them
oblivious and lost
in a metaphysical how-to manual.
the girls beside me pored over
the latest rags and celebrity gossip,
convinced they would never become
“so gross” as those overpriced and
underloved starlets
they secretly worship.
and earlier, the light on the bottles
of green and hibiscus teas
made me think of the tropics
and how i’d rather be there
basking in the late-day sun
than sitting here,
steeped in suburban ennui,
trying to capture a photo
of the dark-haired, disco-chic barista
who danced seductively to the jackson 5
and stevie wonder
while he frothed the milk
for my espresso dream.
he was hair gel and romance,
the memory of my early 20s–
of foolishness and unfettered desire,
dead-end jobs and high-end cocktails,
of yearning echoing
through a marble hotel lobby
the night i got drunk on my birthday
and sang a love song to a bartender
who would later remember me
as “the best ‘my funny valentine’ i ever heard.”
-sarah hedges 12 november 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

somewhere behind the gray

as i sit at my desk and write this entry, the sky is filled with clouds. seriously, i look up and it is gray, gray, gray - so dank and depressing....but then there is this one small corner, behind which i can see that there's sun. the blue is peeking out, as if to remind me see? i'm still here. even if you can't see me, i haven't gone anywhere....

i'm reading this book right now, and i have to say: it's knocking my socks off. God is really using the words on these pages to speak to someplace deep inside of me, and i have to admit - it's hard to keep my eyes from welling up as i read each chapter. see, i've realized some things over the last couple of weeks, one of which is that i am on a quest to really find a part of myself that went missing about 26 years ago. that's a long time for something to be gone - so much so that no one would blame me if i just let it go and didn't stop to look back.

but it's not a matter of what i could do; it's a matter of what i WILL do. for the last five years, i've been looking for something, but i wasn't sure what exactly. now i have a vision for this un-nameable thing, a picture in my mind - if you will - so that when i see it, i will know it without question.

it must be this way. i am on a bullet train towards understanding, and even though there are times that get depressing and on days like today, it's looking like rain, i fully believe with my whole heart that the sun is gonna shine again....

Friday, November 04, 2005

summer's lease hath all too short a date....

okay, so it's officially fall. how do i know this? the preponderence of burning leaf smells and the fact that daylight savings time is kicking my butt.

i'm seriously tired this week. i'm not sure if it's because i got a flu shot on monday, or because of the time change, or because i'm just tuckered out from lots of thinking and feeling and being. sometimes life can just wear a girl out....

news flash: some dude from the hopkins annual fund just called me, and frankly, he was such a nice kid, i couldn't NOT give him money. we chatted for nearly half an hour about his first year at jhu, how he feels about the culture of the school, the urban legends on campus, etc. it brought me back to the days when i still felt like so many things were possible for me. not that i don't now, but 30 is a lot different than 18....

anyway, i've got the whole night to myself, so i'm going to eat some sushi and noodle salad from trader joe's, curl up with a book and some cooking shows, and ready myself for what i hope is a relaxing weekend. tomorrow i'm meeting up with an old friend, his wife, and their baby - who is, incidentally, so freaking cute, i could just die. i'll try to post pics if i'm able....

TGIF? oh yes, thank God indeed....

Monday, October 24, 2005

newbie

okay, this is gonna be a SUPER quick post: basically, i got my new computer today!! all is well with it, except that i nearly herniated myself trying to get all three boxes up the stairs (one for the cpu, one for the monitor, one for the speakers - seemed like excessive packaging, if you ask me!). unfortunately, the wireless keyboard and mouse i ordered didn't arrive with the system (on backorder), but i thought i'd be all good, because i have a spare mouse and keyboard to use.

um, yeah, except for one minor problem: my cpu has no ps2 jack. oy. so i had to go out in the cold, spitting rain to staples (not a highlight of my day, i'll tell you) to pick up a new keyboard (the adaptors were only 4 bucks cheaper than a whole new keyboard - highway robbery!) to tide me over. thank God my mouse works; it was already usb.

anyhoo, it's all set up; all the software came pre-installed (thank you, Jesus!) and so far everything works great. it's a fast little guy - 2.8ghz with 1 gig of ram. i should've gotten a better graphics card, but i think i can manage for now;).

pics will be forthcoming, and i'm fairly certain he needs a name. yes, it's a boy. for sure. and i think he might be greek, but i'm not 100% on that detail yet....

:)

Saturday, October 22, 2005

waylayed

i've been feeling sick the last two days. some type of virus-y thing, i suspect. but i'm better now (i think).

i stayed home yesterday to be able to work in the comfort of my pajamas, but i wound up sleeping quite a bit in the afternoon, so today i'm making up for it by doing lots of work, work, work!!

in other news, i ordered myself a new computer. my laptop is over, i've realized, and while it still works just fine, i need something that isn't cracked (!), has a bigger monitor (hence, i'm getting a desktop this time around, but with a flat panel), and that has more updated features so that i can begin to expand my writing/editing life. i had a nerve-wracking -- nay, hellacious -- time with dell trying to get this thing ordered (and correctly so), and if it weren't for the fact that they have good computers and their macked out system was less than i would have paid elsewhere, i wouldn't have bothered.

at this point, i'm just trying to lay low about it all and hope that it arrives this week.

so, it's a rainy saturday, i've got much to do, and i'm hoping to actually get it done so that i can have some time this weekend to just relax. i have another chance today to be different than i was the day before. let's see how it goes....

Saturday, October 15, 2005

debris

so many thoughts are swimming around in my head, it's making me dizzy. i just wish i could have one day where i didn't feel like my mind was a spiraling cloud of debris.

my apartment needs dusting and vacuuming. i have laundry to do. i'm meeting a friend for lunch. i need to read a book for my book club. i have freelance work that's been waiting on me for a couple of weeks. why can't i accomplish the things i want to accomplish?

okay, so clearly i'm a bit depressed. apparently all the recent activity in my life has been holding at bay the inevitable downswing of my mood. it's not horrid or anything. just more like ennui.

but let me tell you: ennui don't get the floors cleaned.

and for the record, spending the last two mornings crying on my way to work doesn't particularly help things either.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

vacation, all i ever wanted. vacation, had to get away

okay, so i tried to post yesterday about my weekend in new england, but my computer wigged out halfway through and i had to perform an emergency shut-down.

suffice it to say that my weekend with salimah and cat was fantastic: much relaxation, yummy food, FUN purchases, tooling around small towns, and being in one of my favorite cities ever. boston has such a great energy about it, and i've always LOVED that accent!

quick recap: salimah and i left just before 5 a.m. on friday morning, was on the new jersey turnpike by 6:10ish, and in boston by 1 (we deliberately took an extra long stop along the way to allow miss catchka to have time to get herself in order before we barged in on her life for three days). it was a completely lovely, uneventful trip, made even better by the fact that i had made a two-volume, kick butt (if i do say so myself) 'please come to boston' mix to commemorate the place i am in my life right now and where i want to be.

friday afternoon, admist some balmy drizzle, we made our way to concord and hung out at louisa may alcott's stomping grounds. there was such a whimsical vibe in that transcendentalist home [and i later discovered that i had been there more than 25 years ago. can't say whether it's changed; i have no memory of that visit:)], and honestly it made me want to go and write something.

after a lovely dinner of chicken saltimbocca (compliments of cat), we headed off to dreamland rather early (having been up since 4). saturday morning, we got a slow start and drove to winchester to the griffin museum of photography for an exhibit on photojournalism, and then to porter square for sushi and shopping at this very asian-centric 'mall.' while there, i scored a fun japanese bowl and small chinese pastry (later consumed at starbucks).

after a quick detour to pier one on the way to the car, we ambled to davis square and, after pumpkin lattes, cocoa, and a mini-photo shoot, we spent the rest of the day window shopping at used book and CD stores. we dined at red bones bbq restaurant and then drove to arlington heights for ice cream and a quick tour through the neighborhood where my aunt, uncle, and cousin lived - and where i spent two summer trips as a 12- and 13-year-old.

by this time, the temperature had dropped quite a bit, and it was finally starting to feel like fall in new england to me (yay!). once home, we hung out before bed and then made plans to rise a bit earlier on sunday morning, because we were meeting one of my dear childhood friends, her husband, and baby for brunch at renee's cafe in davis square (i had a bbq chicken, apple, and cheddar omelette - delish!). we had a lovely time and were thoroughly entertained by little jack who, at just 16 months of age, already has the look of a charmer and the budding personality to match.

after brunch, we bid them a quick farewell and headed off to rockport, a seaside town with lovely shops and little seafood joints tucked together along crooked streets. even for a chilly, windy sunday, the town was hopping with visitors, and we dashed from shop to shop, trying to avoid being in the cold air for long stretches. the sea was gray and the ocean sprayed gloriously against those craggy new england rocks. it simply did my heart good to look at it. also, the seagulls were HUGE, and the chowdah (eaten at ellen's harborside restaurant) was rather satisfying and tasty. after lunch, we got cocoa and walked down the main dock for some photos and gazing at the sea before retreating back to the warmth of the shops.

while in rockport, i scored a few little goodies, including a lovely silver claddagh ring from the village silversmith (i've been wanting one for more than half my life; it seemed high time to get one for myself). after several hours of shopping and bearing the cold, we traveled back inland and hit up one final shop (with homemade pottery that i had been eyeing every time we drove by) before going home for a meal of homemade chicken enchiladas.

monday morning came early and we were in the car by 6. we made it home in about eight hours again (this time because our bladders seemed continually full and we had to stop no fewer than five times), with no traffic or problems along the way.

it was a satisfying time away from home, and although it came and went too quickly, i am so grateful for having had that respite. the past two days, i've been at home doing chores and hanging out with salimah. last night, we took in a late screening of 'just like heaven,' featuring the lovely mark ruffalo and then today had a sushi lunch, some shopping at whole foods for me, and then time at the one world cafe so that she could write a poem for class and i could catch up on some celebrity rags.

tomorrow i venture back to the real world. it's a bittersweet thing - stepping into your actual life again after some time away - but it must be done. besides, i've only got to endure two days and then the weekend comes again.

but for now, the memory of the sea and the air and the feeling of somewhere else will comfort me....

Sunday, October 02, 2005

metaphor

these days, when i come back at night to an empty apartment, i practice walking around in the dark, if only to prove to myself that i know the way from one room to the next. i sense the walls, the couch, the lamp, the CD rack. i feel when i am closed in and when i'm surrounded by nothing. clearly, this is me throwing myself a bone: it's the one area in which i get to choose whether there is light for my path.

if only i had control of the light switch for the rest of my life....

this afternoon, i went with salimah and a friend from her poetry group to the play the last five years (playing at the everyman theatre). it was a musical and for some reason, salimah had it in her head that it was largely a comedy, despite the fact that the plot involved a breakup. i went expecting to be amused, or at the very least not depressed.

um, yeah. musical or no, this show was decidedly uncomedic in nature. in fact, there were points at which i had to fight back tears -- the song lyrics were that eerily similar to my own existence over the last month or so.

it was hard not to feel the room spinning out of control while i sat there in the dark, wondering why i had agreed to go. oh, don't get me wrong: it was a well-done production. and even despite the subject matter, i enjoyed it...but it was presenting quite the challenge to avoid the line of thought that this was, in essence, some cruel joke i had played on myself.

and i'm not going to even go into the reading material that seemed to present itself EVERYWHERE at the barnes and noble this evening. yeah, okay, so i'm sure you can figure out what its primary focus was....

anyhoo, the point is this: i'm confused. i feel uncertain. i'm at some points sad (like right now, for instance). i'm not avoiding, but i also sense that i'm sort of sliding along the surface of what, i know, is a deeper well of hurt. i do dip in my toes every so often, but not all at once, because i'm trying to be kind to myself as much as possible.

i don't know what my future holds. i don't know what happens next. i DO feel like i'm walking around in the dark much of the time, except that one message (books and plays aside) keeps showing up in my heart more than any other: trust God.

and so i must, even though i'm scared and weary and feeling very vulnerable and at times raw with emotion. i must trust that these steps i'm taking will cover more ground than even i can anticipate. and that when my path is lit with understanding, i'll see so clearly how my heart has changed. and i'll be better for it. more able to love God. more open to loving others. less hurt. less afraid.

i can't see ahead of me, God. but i know You're there. help me to know You're here now, too. help me to lay fear aside, to be willing to answer when You call, to know that You are for me, that you are building and not tearing down, that You are healing what was broken, that You are lighting what was dark.

all in due time, i suppose. i must be patient, learn to wait. but meanwhile? i keep practicing....

'now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.'
(hebrews 11:1)

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

life being beautiful

i'm sitting here in a relatively dark room - except for one small bulb lit in my medusa-esque floor lamp. i can smell the chicken legs that i schmeared with apple butter bbq sauce before throwing them in a hot oven. also sizzling in there is some corn and broccoli mixed together with a bit of canola spray. nothing too exciting, but it's still dinner. i'm trying to simplify my life just now....

i had a really nonproductive day at work; i couldn't seem to focus. that happens sometimes, often without warning, and when it does, it's brutal. but no matter; tomorrow is another day!

after work, i went to the cockeysville library, got a baltimore county library card, and checked out some nice selections, including several books and comedy routines on CD (for the road trip!), some cookbooks, and a health/fitness-related new arrival. oh wait - the pièce de resistance: a DVD of julia child's 'the french chef' from her series on pbs. i'm very excited to check this out:).

okay, but all of the above is just news. what i REALLY want to say is that i've been pondering those types of people who have that picturesque kind of life. i know they're out there, that they really DO exist. what's even more interesting - and both heartening and disappointing all at once - is that they often have sub-lives filled with all kinds of stuff that you'd never know (i mean, who doesn't, really?). but part of the game plan of having a picturesque life is that nothing - no matter how horrid or heartwrenching - can ruin the image of it all. it must be an awful lot of work.

then again, i may also have fallen into abject cynicism about all of that....

because really, at the end of the day, i'd love to have a life that fit into a 30-minute sitcom. i'd love for all my dramas to work themselves out in 24 minutes (commercials, people!), for the relationships to heal after a helpful 'talk,' and for everyone to be their witty, charming selves. and you might be thinking: would it be interesting enough? sure, why not?! as long as the script writers were good enough, of course....

i'd also love for my relationships to be more constant, my family life to have been more secure, my problems a bit more whitewashed. i'd love to sit around a fire with my parents, the love of my life, and perhaps a non-shedding pet and talk about how grand things are, how much we all adore one another, and whether or not that family vacation should be to new england or the beach.

it never really works out that way, though, does it? well, except for that picturesque ilk (not that i would know)....

what life is is mucky, pain-filled, silly, funny, maddening, unpredictable, boring, mundane, interesting, scary, and way - WAY - outside the box. and even though it might be 'simpler' in many ways to wrap things up before next week's episode, there's a part of me that's glad there's more to find out every day, every hour, every minute. that there's dinner in the oven and the bathroom to clean. phone calls that even the writers couldn't have planned. tears that rush in when no one's looking. a quick nap in front of the tv. a hug from my dad. dreams to map out. diets to start and restart and restart again.

it's messy. it's ugly. and it's beautiful.

all day.

every day.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

full

i have had such an eventful weekend, it's hard to know where to begin. well, perhaps at the beginning....

friday evening, i had a very productive, life-affirming conversation that is another step in the process of wading through emotional muck. i slept soundly that night, the kind of rest that can only come when a person is truly spent, poured out, with no words left unspoken.

saturday morning, salimah and i went to a women's prayer breakfast with some graduate christian fellowship people from hopkins. really nice bunch of women, good food and conversation, and true communion with God's spirit.

afterwards, we wandered back to my place so that salimah could do a load of laundry. then we headed off to a chile roasting party at a coworker/friend's house. we originally planned on staying for a couple of hours - max, but the food and drink and company were so great, we were there for roughly SIX hours. i had my first shot of straight tequila ever, and i must say, it was rather good! it was definitely one of the best parties i've been to, and it gave me a chance to further bond with some people from work that i already really liked.

that night, we slept the sleep of the dead (lots of food and drinks will do that to you!), and then got up moderately early this morning so that i could take my car to the wholesale club to have the oil changed and the tires rotated and balanced. we ate an embarrassing breakfast of personal pan pizzas (!!), because they were basically the only palatable offerings at the little 'food court' area. i comforted myself with the fact that i drank a 100% fruit juice-containing juice box. oh well....

did a bit of minor shopping there, and then headed off to williams-sonoma to pick up two items that i've been needing for awhile. then we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around a used book/CD store, different places in hampden (including minas, where i bought a miniature piece of artwork for 6 bucks), and finally record and tape traders, where i scored the new dar williams CD in anticipation of her concert next friday.

after a quick bite to eat at ruby tuesday's (not my favorite eatery, but we were both super hungry), i dropped salimah off at her apartment and headed home to chill out for the rest of the evening. i'm seriously not in the mood to go back to work tomorrow, but one must do what one must do....

i've gotta gear up. next weekend is slated to be even busier. life is good. i am well. now onto the next adventure....

Thursday, September 22, 2005

everybody needs a little time away....

so the newest item on my list of 'things to do' is to finish planning my brief vacation to BAHSTON in early october with salimah. we are going to visit the illustrious cat, miss bacon herself. i cannot wait to be in new england in the fall. something just feels so right about that. somehow i feel like i'll be able to breathe for awhile.... and i am certain there will be much frolicking in the foliage and eating chowdah and being our fabulous 30-something selves. i nearly jumped out of my chair at work today with excitement at the thought of it all.

and even despite skyrocketing gas prices, i'm also just looking forward to the road trip with my dear salimah. i'm already planning a 'please come to boston' mix (or two or three) in honor of the voyage.

time out of dodge will be so good. it's not an escape, per se, but more a way to remind myself who i am these days. or better yet, who i've been this whole time....

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

truth be told

my stomach hurts. i'm not sure if it's stress-related or something i ate, but whatever's going on ain't good. i hope i can make it through today at work without getting ill....

all that floods my mind this morning, though, (despite the above) is that God loves me more than i could ever know. and He's been faithful to me - always - more than i could ever know. and gracious. and longsuffering. and patient. and merciful. and i could go on....

so i'll put on my clothes and go to work and ask to rest in the only thing i know, which is the grace that covers me when i am most uncoverable. and that's enough for today.

actually, that's enough for forever.

Monday, September 19, 2005

song of solomon 8:6b-7

i thought i was coming home last night, but i wound up staying too late at salimah's to feel like i could drive home safely. it wasn't intentional - really - but i'm glad i decided to sleep there.

my rest last night was fitful, and my dreams were bizarre, but important. at one point, i was trying to save a little boy from an overcontrolling father-type figure who would come in and ruin his whole life. at one point, i realized that the little boy was actually a grown man, but then he was a little boy again. i fiercely loved him and stalked the man who tried to hurt him, posing as a nurse in a hospital to try and intercept the man's attempt at stealing the boy's precious records and experiences (it seemed as though the boy's memories, his very soul, were in this manila folder). when i woke up, i knew immediately what this dream was about, although the longer i've been awake, the less i can access it....that's always the way.

it seems that over all things, there is a hazy covering (even now, at 6:45, it's still not fully light). and in the midst of my 'blah' and feeling like i have to go get ready for work, it just hit me:

love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
it burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.

you know, it's true. in waking and in sleep, in anger and in sadness and in joy, it's always there.

and even when we disappoint, it never fails.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

BIG night

last night, after a lovely afternoon of chatting and then a quick dinner at the one world café, salimah, a friend of mine from h.s., and i went to see baltimore's improv group give a show down in federal hill. the event raised about 700 bucks for hurricane katrina relief (quite good, considering it wasn't a big crowd, and the tix weren't that expensive either). it was a fun time and made me remember how much i love spontaneous comedic efforts.

during my freshman year at hopkins - before i got so stressed i could barely see straight - i tried out for the then-group malignant humor (which would later morph into the buttered niblets). needless to say, i didn't make it in, but that's probably a good thing, considering i had a major crisis about a month later (deaths in family) and had to leave school the next semester.

but i digress....

as i was saying, it's a really fun way to spend an evening, and the cool thing about a show like that is that it's different every time you go. they give classes a few times a year, and honestly, i've thought seriously about going the next time they're offered.

oh, and a complete sidebar unrelated to the above: i'm moving back home tonight. it's been over two weeks, and while it's a little weird, i feel ready to be back amidst my things. yesterday morning, i went grocery shopping at whole foods and the new trader joe's not 5 minutes from my apartment (YES!) and got stocked up on healthy goodies for the next couple of weeks. and there are fresh flowers in my living room and bedroom, and i plan on doing a bit of cleaning and laundry to freshen things up for the week ahead.

one day, one step at a time....

Saturday, September 17, 2005

arise
(isaiah 60)

this morning, i awoke at the same time as i do every day - 6:15. in truth, my body was hoping to get up even earlier, but i was in staunch refusal mode. but, when the alarm (errantly set for a saturday morning) went off, i knew my time of resting was over for good.

so, i got up and showered and now i'm sitting here, clean as a whistle, feeling like writing my thoughts out into the world.

i've been thinking a lot about how people drift in and out of your life - sometimes as if by accident, sometimes with such a strong sense of purpose behind their actions, you cannot conceive of their presence (or absence, as the case may be) NOT being dictated by a very specific plan. my life has been marked by a lot of loss, and for years, i wondered to the point of distraction why this has always been the case.

but then i realized something: if you are someone who feels things intensely, you will always notice the everyday losses more than others might. and upon examination, you will have added up your losses and taken account and realized just how much there IS to lose. others, who have no interest in pondering such notions, are able to go through living, take things as they come, and maybe it just doesn't go that deep for them. and that's okay, because we're not all meant to be such intense creatures.

and to be honest, that level of intensity doesn't always help one to have perspective on life, the world, relationships. and i've recognized in myself - in recent years - that i'm slowly coming back to the middle, as it were. i'm trying to learn to hold things more loosely (but not as though they weren't important). it's just best not to stake your life on any person, on any relationship, on any hope or dream or notion of a dream.

and as the losses come, they still affect me - to be sure - but somehow i can look back on them and see that they weren't a personal affront, not some great 'cosmic joke' being played on me, or my 'punishment' for not doing things as i ought. instead, they're actually the primary vehicle in my life that God has used to build me up, to help me endure. the colossal disappointments can either beat you down or make you stronger (as the old adage submits). and i'm at a place in my life where i have no intention of lying down and just accepting my 'fate.' i'm far more interested in living, growing, changing, engaging, and giving of myself - EVEN if that means getting hurt along the way.

it's worth it to get up in the morning, to see another day come to fruition...another day, with all its hurts and uncertainties, fears and triumphs. it makes me smile now, because i know that God is building something...

me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

boomerang

one thing i have noticed is that if you are able to wait on God long enough, things will start coming around again. now, admittedly, they may not look the way they did the first time, but when they arrive back on the scene, you will recognize them immediately for what they are.

tuesday morning when i arrived at work, i was hit with nothing short of a thunderbolt filled with insight, perspective, and understanding, all doused with a reminder that God's love for me is so much bigger than i ever remember. (yes, i am quite guilty of looking at my reflection, 'memorizing' what i see, and then immediately forgetting as soon as my eyes drift out of focus.) all of the small things that i'd been thinking about and feeling over the last 10 days of my life suddenly coalesced into this perfectly clear whole, and i could barely breathe at the intensity of it all.

and what's best about it is that even though this present reality isn't necessarily what i would have originally hoped for, as soon as i 'got it,' my heart knew it was right. in my experience, that is SO the way God works. His plans truly are better and far above mine.

so, wow. now what? well, here are a few things i know:

1. i want to pursue writing (and freelance editing) more than i ever have, and i am well on my way to doing this. it is my hope that eventually i will break free of 'the man' and be able to work for myself.
2. a spark was ignited inside me over the last week and i woke up and realized that i've been wasting time moving forward with being as healthy as i can possibly be. all the reasons are too much (and too personal) to explain here, but i feel ready to pursue change in a way that i don't think i've ever felt before.
3. i want to start seriously looking for a church again. for the first time in SEVERAL years, i actually miss the community of a local body. i wasn't ready for a long time to go back to that, but now i feel myself getting there. and it wasn't as a result of pressure or guilt, both of which would have motivated me in the past (no thanks!!).
4. i am tired of being a homebody and have started a social events calendar for myself, including fun outings, projects, short-term goals, and the like. without warning, i am becoming one of those women who won't be answering her phone, but not just because she doesn't feel like talking. i'll be too busy for all that chatter...much too busy living, that is.

i'm throwing myself out there, people. and only God knows what i'll look like when i loop back this way again. i'm sure the essence of me will be unmistakably there, but i can tell you now that it won't be the same old, same old. yes, indeed, i feel a change coming....

'cut the deck, better place your bet, 'cause the game ain't over yet....' (gene simmons, bruce kulick)

Monday, September 12, 2005

if i wrote you
words and music by dar williams

i never thought you were the letter writing type
so now i see the words you chose, the way you write
so i started to write back about the trees in the snow
and i saw a bird, couldn’t say what it was, but i thought you’d know
you always surprised me.

and if i wrote you
if i wrote you
you would know me
and you would not write me again

and when the spring came and flooded all the streams
it’s like how you got the night you told me all your dreams
and when the barn roof sagged after an icy bout
it’s like how you got when you knew the truth was the only way out
but not the only way

and if i wrote you
if i wrote you
you would know me
and you would not write me again

we drew our arms around the bastard sons
we never would drink to the chosen ones
well you know the way i left was not the way i planned
but i thought the world needed love and a steady hand
so i’m steady now

and i’m so happy
i had to tell you
and i love you
and you will not write me again
you will not write me again
you will not write me again

Sunday, September 11, 2005

'on and on the rain will fall
like tears from a star, like tears from a star
on and on the rain will say
how fragile we are, how fragile we are.'

this afternoon, i found out that one of my former colleagues (from a job where i worked for 2 years in college) jumped off a bridge and killed herself two months ago, leaving her husband and very young child behind. i always knew she was a fragile soul, but i never would have expected such a thing. i guess you never know what people will do when pushed to the edge of themselves.

when salimah told me (she heard it from a mutual friend), i felt like someone knocked the wind out of me. God, i wondered, what drove her there? i know that she was a Christian. maybe the torments of this world had plagued her one day too many. i just pray that the breath left her lungs before she even reached the bottom of her descent.

God, reach us in our darkness. shine your mercy on this world. even when we know you, it is so easy to go blind with confusion and fear.

only You can save us from ourselves.
rough places plain

you know, it's funny. i realized yesterday that i actually don't know what to think about much anymore. everything looks different to me right now, and i seem to have been given the task of redefining my surroundings. except one problem exists: i've been unsure what lexicon to use.

when the bottom drops out of your world, you have a few options. you can let yourself fall into the abyss; you can cling like hell to what you know and doggedly refuse to change; or you can cling for a time to what comforts you (enough to get through the stomach upset and heart palpitations phase) and then you can choose to do things differently the next time around.

it hit me just now as i was in the shower, the beads of steam forming on the glass of the door that held me in: i've been given a chance to make a second impression on my life, and i can either take it or i can disappear inside myself forever. it's clear to me that i have been making some decisions over the last 5 years that have rendered me stagnant (yes, even despite gargantuan change and upheaval), and if things had continued on their path, i might never have moved to the left or to the right.

the plans of God may be straight when looking at them in retrospect, but along the journey, you feel palpably the hills and low places, clear thoroughfares and brambled pathways on which you tread. the way is so often unknown to us and that is why faith is required to make the trip. i need more of it. i need it every minute of every day.

i see now what it means to live a life that is out of focus and meandering. i see how fear can masquerade as stability. i see that love doesn't settle, doesn't change, doesn't fail. i don't know the way, Lord, but i know now - i see now - that i'll get there.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

ooh, disenfranchised....

last weekend, salimah and i made up a bjork-esque song in which, over airy instrumentals, we would just sing (over and over) the phrase, 'ooh, disenfranchised.' frankly, it was genius. i know some of you are wondering, but trust me -- it was.

which brings me to a memory: for a number of years as a child (probably between the ages of 10 and 14 or so), i was completely fascinated by the phrase 'disenfranchised proletariat.' i'm not sure why, really. perhaps it was simply the sounds of the words or the fact that they were multi-syllabic. either way, i've clearly clung to this word for a number of years now, and given the recent events in my life, it seems even more appropriate to offer them in a creative medium such as song.

and yes, i was being sarcastic just then. not to worry; my sadness hasn't dwarfed my ever-present grip on reality.

i'm telling you the truth, though: there is nothing quite like some people who take themselves WAY too seriously trying to make some avant-garde music about nothing in particular. if others are making cash off of something truly asinine, why couldn't i?

it's better than slummin' in the suburbs, ain't it?
the end of the honeymoon

for the last week, despite my serious state of angst, i've still been able to sleep relatively well (not for long periods of time, mind you, but well). apparently that time has come to an end. the last two nights, i have been plagued with wakefulness. this morning - a SATURDAY, no less - i was awake by 5 a.m.. i tried courageously to go back to sleep, but to no avail.

and it's not like 5 a.m. is the time of day for calling friends and making a stir in an apartment where another person and furry creature are trying to sleep. so it was just me, alone with my nightmarish thoughts, the now-all-too-familiar burning in my stomach, and an anxious heart. i tried to pray, but it didn't do any good. all i could muster was a feeble God....

i know He heard me. it would just be so great if i were met with something other than silence.

Friday, September 09, 2005

i heart dar williams
(or 'how i learned to stop worrying and love the Lord')

this whole week, i've been listening (on my ipod) to songs from three different dar williams albums, and for whatever the reason, her music is actually meeting me where my heart is right now. it's comforting in an odd sort of way -- perhaps because much of it is laced with a kind of sadness.

so after allowing myself to be saturated with her poetry for several hours, i informed salimah that we were, indeed, going to have to see her in concert. so i went to dar's web site, found out she's playing in philly at the end of september, and we decided at that moment to go. i found us two tickets online, paid for them, and now i just wait to receive them by mail. that was a decision that felt right, somehow.

so it's hard to keep moving ahead when you feel like everything is working against you. it's hard to pick up the pieces and place them at God's feet and ask Him to heal what must be healed...to leave broken that which should not be mended. and while i want to depend on Him more and more in my life (life goal #1, to be exact), i also know that He's given me legs and feet for a reason. i've got to stand up for what is true -- and in this case, that's the fact that He loves me more than i could imagine, more than anyone else ever will. and i'm scared to stand up and acknowledge that, because it means feeling the sting of those who don't love me like they should, who choose not to love me, who care more about their supposed 'freedom' than about what really matters.

but the bad decisions of others doesn't make the truth any less true....

i'll push myself up through the dirt and shake my petals free.
i'm resolved to being born and so resigned to bravery.

so, with as much bravery as i can muster, i'm making decisions that will protect my own heart. there's no need to hemorrhage just for the sake of being literary. and while bravery may not come so naturally to me, somehow after making a few good decisions on your own behalf, the world seems a little less 'unfair' and it becomes plausible that if i wait and want and work long enough, things might somehow turn out in my favor after all....

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

hell hath no fury

i know that some people are confused as to what's going on in my life. to those who have written or called, thanks for your concern. i mean it.

i really don't want to get into details right now, because suffice it to say that things are painful at best and agonizing at worst. i have a few select people with whom i'm processing directly and in the mean time, this blog space is (as it has been so many times in the past) my place to vent my feelings out into the void.

so, dear void, you'll be happy to know that i'm not lying lazy in my grief. i'm standing up and taking some steps forward. i'm being proactive and i'm protecting my integrity. i am a child of God - precious in His sight - and i do not believe for one INSTANT that the Father of Lights would have one of His children behaving like a doormat just because she's hurting.

there's a mountain in front of me, and in Jesus' name, i'm commanding it to move. this is no time for moaning; the only way through hell is to keep going.

it's a good thing my bags are already packed.
i pray
as soon as my thoughts become conscious, before the feeling of dread creeps in.
as i drift off to sleep at night, that God would protect my mind and heart from places i don't need to go.
while i sit at my desk at work, sobbing silently.
as i drive up and down too-familiar roads, seeing the things and places i used to look at with happier eyes than these.
that God's will would be done.
that all the falsehood would be blinded by the truth.
that my heart wouldn't hurt anymore.
for healing.
for resolution.
for you.

Monday, September 05, 2005

so basically

i'm alone in my apartment again (although truth be told, i'm not sure how much longer i'll be here) and the emptiness crowds in like too many people occupying an elevator built for one. i'm not sure that the weight of this can make it from my heart to my head. perhaps that's why this elevator is stuck midway, like a lump in my throat.

i'm not sure what to do next, Lord. i never thought i'd be sitting here this night, looking out my window, feeling all the things i feel. i never in a million years thought i'd be here. it doesn't feel right to me. it doesn't feel like You. it doesn't feel like anything You've done or are doing. and yet here i am.

if ever there were a need for grace pouring over me, covering me, drowning me, it's now. smother me until i can't breathe anything but You, God. You're all i have.

You, and this broken heart.
He said, she said

jc: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. but if it dies, it produces many seeds. the man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

sh: i'm banking on this, Lord.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

i'll be honest: i don't have the taste for 'good news' just now. i don't want to hear of joyous occasions, of babies and parties and the making of merry. it doesn't help. if anything, it proclaims my wound further open as the salt pours in, with a chaser of lemon juice for that extra sting.

and what is worse: today is my best friend's birthday, and i am unable to even muster up a smile and the feelings that one should be feeling on such an occasion...and all of that just makes me feel guilty.

so while i am here and while this moment is now, salimah, happy birthday, my dear. you are my unflagging support and my safe harbor when the storms of life are raging. i don't know where i'd be now if God hadn't put you in my life. and i pray that this next year of YOUR life is the best ever. i'm SO proud of you for all you've done and all that you're doing, and i will always be honored to call you friend.

memo to the world: until i feel like i can face my life again, i'll likely be holed up in salimah's apartment, scratching the ears of a furry friend named baby girl, and watching 'nsync videos while salimah tries to force feed me bagels and skim milk.

i'm not hungry for any good thing, really, but sometimes bagels are better than the truth.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

the color of grief
is the crimson red of my pillowcase, now consistently dampened
is the peach-orange haze of an end-of-summer morning
is the deep purple blue of the smoothie i used to swallow my pill of heartache
is the smoky darkness shadowing me while i walk back to the apartment from my car
is the light blinking green on my cable modem
is the blue glow of my monitor in the dark
is the sage green quiet as the air conditioner hums through the wall
is what my eyes see
is what my heart knows without you
is now.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

straight up crazy

i'm not sure precisely what drove me to do this, but i just called my estranged former bff from college and left him a message at work.

what prompted this, you may ask? oh, well, i've been having wackadoo dreams and there's something on my mind, and speaking of my mind, i think i may have lost it....

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

i wish i were here... this pic was taken on my birthday weekend, sitting on the deck of the skipjack martha lewis off the shore of havre de grace, maryland. more pics will follow...promise. i'm still in the process of getting them organized and what-not.

suffice it to say that the weather that day was absolutely perfect for a boat ride. a little warm - yes - but with clear, blue skies, brilliant sunlight, calm waters, and cherished friends. i could seriously get used to more leisure in my life. not that i'm complaining, mind you. but if i'm being honest, i'd rather be sailing away to somewhere peaceful than sitting here at my desk working past 9 p.m. on a tuesday night.

i'm just saying....

Saturday, July 30, 2005

this is me

i'm not sure if it's safe to say this or not, but i think i'm having a slight existential crisis. i can't explain it, really, but i feel like the emotions of my life are flashing before my heart and overwhelming me. and when i say life, i mean whole life.

this morning, as i was sorting through papers, i found some things that reminded me of the late 90s and frankly, the sadness was almost too much to bear. i don't know what's wrong with me; my life is fairly settled right now and i'm moving ahead, but it's as if regrets and memories of what could have been were sweeter than what is.

i have news for the world. hindsight is not always 20/20. sometimes, in looking back (even at our own misery) we don those all-too-familiar rose-colored glasses, grab a cocktail and some snacks, and sit back to enjoy a few moments or hours or years of blinded bliss.

that ain't my style.

and so what to do with all this stuff? well, for one thing, i threw a lot of things out today. letters i had written to God, to boys, to friends about boys. i don't want any of that trailing around behind me leaving its mark on my memories. those feelings have helped shape the person i've become, but they are not what define who i am today.

who am i?

well, for one thing, i'm 30 now. but i'll be honest: i'm still trying to figure all that out. let me take some deep breaths; i'll get back to you on that one....

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

new

1. i am typing from a new-to-me desk with a new-to-me computer (my laptop is cracked and needs to be retired).
2. i have a new roommate (and it's a boy!) ;)
3. i've finally set up the new ipod mini that salimah gave me for my birthday; it's silver and lovely:).
4. wednesday, when i return to work after a brief working-at-home hiatus, i will sit in a new cubicle in a new location.
5. i have newly discovered beth nielsen chapman and i'm liking what i hear so far....
6. michael got a new job and even though it's part-time, it includes benefits!!
7. God's mercies are still new every morning; for that, i am supremely thankful.

that last one was by far the most important....

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

in absentia

*tap, tap*

is this thing on??

okay, so admittedly, i've been missing in action lately. sorry 'bout that, people. the reason i am about to give you for my absence is stupid, but it's the only one i've got: i haven't gotten around to downloading pics off my camera from my 30th birthday and i've been waiting to do a birthday recap post. there, i said it. i feel like a dweebo. it's been almost 3 weeks since my birthday, and i haven't even managed to turn on the camera and plug it into my computer.

so you may be wondering why that is....

well, there are myriad reasons, but the most compelling one is that i've been packing michael's stuff and getting ready to move him into my second bedroom for the time being. the bottom line is that rent is too much for me, it was too much for him, he didn't want to re-up his lease in his pathetically bad apartment complex, and i'm on a month-to-month, which affords the flexibility of being able to give 30 days' notice and mosey on to the next adventure. he's wanting to take auditions as they come, and if he gets a job, he needs to be free to take it (and i need to be free to go with him). so that's that. my office is disappearing into my bedroom, and the second bathroom (that hardly gets any use, except when salimah's staying over) will be getting some air time on a permanent basis.

today after work we went shopping for shared groceries. it was definitely a strange feeling, but i'll be honest: i'm really looking forward to forking over less money on a monthly basis. maybe now i can actually work at paying down some of my debt and having enough money for car insurance every month!!

so that's primarily what's up with me. sure, there's more going on than that, but it'll have to wait for another time. i've gotta go make dinner - turkey sausage and peppers. but next time, there will be photos. and it won't take me another three weeks to touch base.

promise.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

because i must

okay, so i have yet to post about my walking project. about 2 or 3 weeks ago, michael and i decided to rise before the sun and go walking at least three days a week. the whole point of this is to beat the heat (and the bugs, and the crowds who gather at the track) and start the day off well.

the first week went great. i even got some special socks for running/walking, and they are stupendous! last week was no good; i didn't feel well for about 4 days straight, and it knocked the wind out of my waking-up-early sails.

but tomorrow, i begin again, and whether or not i get enough sleep (the answer is NOT), i'm getting up at 4:50. yeah, you read that right. why, you may ask? because i'm over the whole 'not moving around enough' thing. because i want to change my life. because i'm going to be 30 in 12 days.

because i must.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

p. diddy is a cab driver

okay, so no joke: on friday, while i was driving to work, i saw this DEAD ringer for sean "puffy/puff daddy/p. diddy" combs waiting to pick up a fare. wouldn't THAT be an interesting career move....

in other news, just under a month until i turn the big 3-0. i'm thankful that this year's day falls on a friday, because then i can have the entire 4th of july weekend as an extended celebration. and to further gild the lily, i'm taking off on both the 1st (my b-day) and the 5th so that i can have more of an actual vacation. and frankly, if i may be so bold, i feel that i deserve a little time off. it's been a rather hectic few months, and things are only going to get more and more busy as the summer progresses. i might as well get in some r&r while i've got the chance....

i'm going to watch the movie in good company -- just me. but first, i've got to make a bit of lunch (who knows what that will be?) and drink some water. the heat of the outside seemed rather pleasant until i was stuck in beating sunlight, and then the air conditioning and i got reacquainted rather quickly.

so now i'm cool, about to be fed, and feeling fine. and the afternoon is all about me, my cooking magazines (i'm in the process of paring them down and putting recipes into binders), and some yummy treats.

here's to starting the week with a bang!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

without a hitch

well, my ever-argumentative uncle showed himself faithful to his own tendencies, but he actually ignored me completely, not acknowledging my presence one time. i suppose i should be thankful, but if i'm being honest, i found that completely rude. oh well....

other than all that, the evening in pa turned out pretty well. after a rather early dinner of bbq chicken, some lovely potato salad with a vinagrette dressing, a green salad with lots of dried fruit, spanakopita (divine), and two kinds of cake, we all wandered out to the patio (my aunt and uncle have a lovely home with 20 acres of green surrounding them) and drank liqueur (limoncello for me) while wrapped up in blankets (it had gotten a bit chilly after a thunderous downpour in the afternoon) and laughed and talked.

the evening rounded out around 11, shortly after michael played his horn for awhile, much to the delight of my family, and then we headed off to our hotel for bed. this morning was brunch with just my aunt, uncle (not the boisterous one), cousin, and parents, and then we headed back home. the afternoon was just gorgeous - perfectly sunny, cool, and with lovely clouds that lent themselves to gazing and imagining dragons and baby elephants.

upon my return back to charm city, i picked up my partner in crime (that would be salimah) and we feasted on tony roma's for dinner and then had a brief (although mostly unsuccessful) shopping stint at the hecht's nearby.

tomorrow, i'll head off to a party in the afternoon with the gent, and then hopefully build up the courage to cancel my cable later on in the day.

tonight i look forward only to the sweet rest i'll have in the cool night air. i love three-day weekends. one day left, and i'm going to milk it for all it's worth....

Saturday, May 28, 2005

...continued

i know, my absence has been long. for that, i apologize. i don't have any particular reason to have been away so long except to say that i just haven't written.

and with that, we begin again....

so today, michael and i will go to pa for a bit of a family get-together. one of my baby cousins (no longer a baby; he's now in his early 20s) has just graduated from columbia university and this fete is to celebrate his freedom (even if temporary) from academia and his parents' freedom (even if temporary) from bankrolling his life. ah, those were the days....

i must say that i'm looking forward to seeing everyone, even if my last interaction with one of my uncles was less than favorable. over new year's he pretty much told me off rather forcefully in front of a table full of relatives - and for no real reason, other than the fact that he was drunk and angry and looking for a fight. fun times, i tell you....

many changes afoot these days, although admittedly not the ones i'd hoped. michael didn't get the job in nc, and as of july 15, he won't any longer have his current job, so i'm sure you can imagine that new adventures most certainly lie ahead. a dear friend told me yesterday, 'well, you know that when God closes a door, He always opens a window.'

'yes,' i said, 'but here's hoping it's a double-wide. it's time for both of us to climb through.'

come to think of it, a sliding-glass door would do me just fine....

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Word up

if everybody claims to know the problem
then how come ain't nobody solving?
why do the pains of this world keep coming through throbbin'
--check the tragedy--
we push positivity
but positivity, x-Jesus, is positively
a good attempt at chivalry.
hard work ethic and good discipline
won't score points, even though it's good dribblin'....

the foul rip Christ and they just won't stop
so be not deceived cause God is not mocked
for what they sow, they're sure gonna reap
so just lay back and wait for The Thief
that's coming in the night, cause he knows how to
creep from Eternity and catch 'em like blaaow!
let's see what's said when it's all said and done
when they have to come face to face with Playa' Hater #1.
(the cross movement, playa' hater #1)

Monday, April 11, 2005

moving on....

well, it's official. it's open window weather around these parts. i always have mixed emotions about this time of year, because i love the thought of being able to sleep in the cool night air, but it's also the time when allergies really kick in for me. i'm not sure if i can 'mind-over-matter' it this time around, but i'm sure gonna try....

in other news, i went walking yesterday morning on a track near my house. it was truly a lovely experience. then, this morning, in a surge of inspiration, i walked around outside for about a half mile, just to get the blood flowing. it feels good to be moving. staying still makes my bones ache.

and, well, if i'm being honest, my heart doesn't like to be in one place for a long time, either. it's not that i feel the need to run, but i think that a bit of wanderlust was knit into my DNA somewhere, because i like the idea of turning a new page, even if the main things in life stay as they are. i'm up for new sights, new sounds, new tastes. i like a change of scenery.

michael's taking an audition next month a few states away, and if he gets the job, i'm going with him....this whole idea feeds my body's drive to move ahead, make progress, avoid stagnation. and while it saddens me beyond words to think of what (or whom) i will leave behind, of having to start over with only one person beside me, i'm just aching for that page to turn.

and turn, it must.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

running list

things i simply heart right now, in no particular order:

1. whole wheat pastry flour
2. wallaby organic yogurt
3. edamame (a little salt, a lot of YUM)
4. a three-day weekend, when the third day is monday
5. being able to open my windows
6. italian lemon soda
7. my new eucalyptus body butter, compliments of cat:)
8. my FREE mary kay lotions and potions, compliments of salimah(note: normally, i'm not a mary kay fan, but how can you go wrong with FREE?)
9. quizno's subs. toasty yumminess.
10. my very cute and charming boyfriend (because he always deserves to be on the list!)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

intermingling

this weekend has been a melange of family and friends, of old and new, of joy and sorrow, of here and there.

friday, i left work early and michael and i went to a friend's wedding in frederick, maryland. the highlight of that evening, by far, was the irish dancers that her father had hired to surprise the couple. i swear - it was riverdance all up close and personal. and it was, by far, one of the coolest things i've ever seen.

yesterday, michael and i drove in the driving rain down to bethesda and hooked up with my parents, had dinner and lively conversation at p.f. chang's, and then went to a mozart concert at strathmore hall (in which michael was playing with the national philharmonic). we bid my parents a fond adieu and returned home. i was up entirely too late, and i found myself feeling a little tired of all the comings and goings. i decided to lay low and sleep in this morning.

after fitful dreams and not as much rest as i'd like, i awoke this morning around 8:30, puttered about for a few hours, and left to go pick up salimah for a girls' day out. we had lunch at the lovely glas-z cafe in mt. washington and then tooled around an overpriced (but charming) book shop next door. realizing that we would find nothing in our budgets, we headed back to pikesville and hit the B&N (where i scored a couple of cheap and needed books on budgeting and cancer prevention diets) and then the pier one (window shopping only there). we then picked up some much-needed sundries at the safeway and headed back to my abode. dinner was jerk pork cubes with lime, orange, and caramelized onions; refried beans; pineapple salsa; and a warmed tortilla to wrap it all up.

all in all, a busy and event-filled weekend. some nice food. some nice time with loved ones. nothing amiss, per se. if i'm being honest, though, i must admit that there has been a current of sadness woven through my days and nights of late. it's not that i'm depressed; it's more that some things are working their way to the surface of my heart and demanding to be heard. when pain knocks loud, i've learned that it's best to listen.

in the midst of the wedding on friday, there was a new beginning, but the years of sadness and waiting sat quietly in the wings, palpable if ineffective. there is no room for them anymore in the life of my friend; joy has made a home in her heart, and there are no other houseguests when that is the case. and yet the truth of the past still lingers. that is how it is with life. even when things are going really well, when there is nothing 'wrong' and you've got plenty to do and much to hope for, sometimes those sidelined, old, and outdated wounds remind you that they're still hanging around, just in case.

and one must tip one's hat to them from time to time. it is the reminder of the pain that makes joy and hope all that much sweeter.

and sitting here at home on this sunday night, with tears streaming down my face, i'm trying to tell myself just that.

Monday, March 28, 2005

the paschal lamb

my easter weekend was relaxing and pleasant. the rainy weather did not abate, lasting from thursday until this very moment (it is pouring as i type this). i was not feeling super well, so we skipped the trip to michael's parents' house and i made a curried lamb meatballs dish (with apples and onions), brown rice, and peas and michael and i watched some episodes of the 2nd season of 'la femme nikita' and snacked on a guava nectar/lime juice/coconut rum-soaked cake (an experimental creation that went well, save the third that stuck to the inside of my bundt pan!). all in all, a lovely rainy day spent with my sweetheart.

the highlight of yesterday (and every day lately) though, has been our prayer times. michael and i have committed to setting aside a time every evening to pray together, and it's been just awesome. honestly, i don't know why in the world we haven't been doing this before now. i mean, we did pray for each other - sure - but not TOGETHER. it has already made a significant impact on our relationship. the Spirit of God is a good heart-knitter:).

so now, on this late rainy monday afternoon, i'm off to hop on my exercise machine (yo-yo ma's baroque album is my soundtrack) and then i'll make something quick for dinner and settle in for some TV and magazine reading.

happy easter, everyone.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

so much for that....

well, i've come down with something. i'm not sure exactly where it's going (i pray nowhere), but let's just say that my throat feels the same way it did before i got REALLY sick right after new year's.

i am not exaggerating when i say that this CANNOT happen to me right now.

i mean, really.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

ecce whitman!

What do you think has become of the young and old men?
And what do you think has become of the women and children?

They are alive and well somewhere;
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death;
And if ever there was, it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas’d the moment life appear’d.

All goes onward and outward—nothing collapses;
And to die is different from what any one supposed, and luckier.
sometimes it is the most nonsensical thoughts that yield the greatest understanding. and so it is with faith in God. life is a whirling jumble of seeming contradictions. death, which many fear, is not really the end but a continuation. God, whom many deny, cannot be denied. life, that thing to which so many cling tightly, cannot be grasped. cannot be held. cannot be saved for any extra hour or minute or breath.

to read whitman, sometimes it makes you realize that he was talking crazy. and let's face it: his words were kinda crazy. yet in the midst of his mind's maelstrom, some real things poured out - things that connect to someone like me. things that make sense while making no sense at all.

death brings life. pain brings joy. weakness brings strength.

i'm not interested in getting bogged down in the contradictions anymore. i've come to some terms: not much is clear in the day to day. why am i at this place or that? why does this person like me, while that one doesn't? why am i asking all these damned questions?

so let me be one of those who can lay it down and walk ahead, God. let me feel the wind against my skin and know that it is your breath infusing life into this broken vessel. let me lie in the comfort of unanswered questions and sing loud and love hard until it's time to come home again. that's my prayer. that's all a soul could want.

The last scud of day holds back for me;
It flings my likeness after the rest, and true as any, on the shadow’d wilds;
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air—I shake my white locks at the runaway sun;
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeathe myself to the dirt, to grow from the grass I love;
If you want me again, look for me under your boot-soles.

You will hardly know who I am, or what I mean;
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

Failing to fetch me at first, keep encouraged;
Missing me one place, search another;
I stop somewhere, waiting for you.

* from "Leaves of Grass," Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

it really does

last night while on a very long phone call with my mother, i found out that my friend's son died of cancer. he was 10. it's been on its way for awhile, but there is that tension when someone is clinging on to life - the hope that things could turn the other way. it's an odd and stressful kind of limbo to be in.

and as i sat at work today, in the middle of this quicksand-esque project on which i'm currently working, i couldn't help but think how odd it is that as i while away the hours in my cubicle, this woman and her daughter and new husband and stepchildren are somewhere grieving, getting ready for a funeral. and other people are doing just the same thing - or their own version of living, whatever that means to them.

and while some sit in their own private hells, the rest of the world wanders slowly by, pushing papers around, getting the kids up from school, cooking dinner and doing laundry, and on and on. it amazes me that we all pick up the pieces of our lives and get on with the mundane.

there's a saying that my mother has been tossing around the last couple of years: it is what it is. and you know, that's just really true. someone has died. someone is getting married. someone is thinking about moving, or switching jobs, or losing weight. plans are made, promises are broken, tears are shed. and it is what it is.

and you know, i'm not in a personal hell. no one has died recently and while things aren't totally great with me just now, i'm moving forward. in other words, no one would look at my external life and think anything of it. and yet i'm not happy. not globally so, anyway.

i've certainly had my share of pain, of suffering, of all that stuff....and when i was in those places of despair and difficulty, the world looked fresh, promising, even as i grieved. there was a rawness to living that the rest of the world seemed to be missing out on. and i made promises to myself in those moments that i'd never go back to that everyday existence. but i did.

so now, every day, i get up, do my morning routine, head off to work, put in my 9 hours, come back home, do dinner, watch a little tv, talk to a few friends, and then it's off to bed. weekends might involve plans, but really, the months are passing like they're going out of style. and at this point, i have little to show for it. my relationships are what they are: good for the most part, relatively stable. i'm building job experience, blahblahblah. but every day, in the midst of my very exact existence, i wish for something more than what i have.

i don't want to be one of those people who's always looking for the door, always wanting to hold out a little longer, always 'better dealing' it. but i have to be honest: at this point, i know that there's more to this life than what i've got going on.

in the mean time, though, while i wait and waste and wish, life, as it does so well, goes on.

i mean, it really does....

Monday, February 28, 2005

off the hook

well, i bit the bullet. tonight, i purchased what can only be described as the cutest phone ever:). it's the red one, people....

even though it was totally snowing, michael and i braved the elements to procure me this little number. really, i needed it. my old phone had seen MUCH better days.

so now i have to download some cool ring tones and figure out all the nifty features of the built-in camera. but honestly, can i tell you - even with all the bells and whistles, i'm still most excited that it's red:).

yes, i know. i'm a dork.

call me!!

Monday, February 21, 2005

breakaway

i am all turned up and flipped around and i feel like my head is spinning. this weekend was very eye-opening in terms of some bits of hope that have been hibernating and waiting for emergence. talks with friends brought ideas and wonderings about the possibility of taking a step forward in some pretty life-changing ways with michael. talks with michael brought about tears (good ones) and prayers and realizations of my fearful heart and all the ways in which God still has yet to open me up.

but suddenly, even with all that being said, i feel myself opening to second (or third or fourth) chances, to first inklings, to a dream that i didn't want to admit i dreamed. and somehow i can stand for someone to look at me more fully in the face and say what my heart needs to hear.

i'm ready to take the risk, Lord.

i'm ready to break down. break through.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

if you can't take the heat....

hello, world. it's been awhile, i know. let me sum up:

valentine's day weekend was lovely. michael came over on sunday and i made him from-scratch spanakopita, a lemon-garlic pork tenderloin, and belgian chocolate cups filled with raspberry sauce, lemon mousse, and fresh raspberries. then, valentine's day proper, he met me here after work and we feasted on jerk marinated game hens (roasted to a crispy mahogany color), herbed texmati brown rice, and roasted brussels sprouts and onions. after dinner, we had some champagne with raspberries that had been soaking in raspberry liqueur and some chocolates from whole foods. tuesday evening, michael took me to the brass elephant for dinner. this was my least favorite meal of the three (i had some problems with my entree and the food wasn't as good as i had remembered it being the last time i was there), but the service was stellar and we had a cozy little table tucked away in an alcove just for us:).

in other words, it was a 3-day food fest, and the rest of the week was sure to be all downhill from there....

tuesday went off without a hitch, but then wednesday evening, after removing a skillet from a 400-degree oven, i grabbed it to pick it up by its handle - NO OVEN GLOVE ON - and wound up badly burning all four fingers and the palm of my right hand. and yes, i AM right-handed.

long story short, michael came over, much crying and wailing ensued, and i managed to eventually swab on some ointment and wrap my hand, only after temporarily numbing it with some solarcaine spray. i then took a percocet and went to bed. work on thursday was maddening, since i had little to no use of my right hand. try writing with only your thumb. it doesn't work so well.

the good news is that i'm feeling much better now. my hand is blistered/scarred, and i can't move it in all the ways i normally would, but it doesn't hurt so much and i'm hoping it'll heal quickly so that i can get on with my life.

besides, i've been on a baking kick of late, and i'm not really that desirous of steering clear of my kitchen.

a brief word to the wise, though: if you truly can't take the heat, keep your potholders handy!

Friday, February 11, 2005

ocular jitters

my right eye has been twitching for three weeks now. but only while i'm at work. that might shed some light on my stress level of late. then again, maybe i'm slowly going blind. i once had a manager at a job inform me that eye twitching was probably nothing to worry about, but then, she said to me - calm as day - 'course, the last time MY eyes twitched, i had a stroke.

um, yeah. THANKS.

in other news, michael has been so sweet to me lately, it's making me cry at my desk. i seriously don't know what to do with myself and in the middle of the day, when you're shedding tears with a twitching eye, it makes you feel like some sort of overemotional freak. but i'm managing. i figure life could be a lot worse than having a man who loves you and cares about every element of your existence.

then again, i could do without the twitch.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

meet the fockers, lite

yesterday, michael and i drove down to his parents' house, my parents drove up from virginia, and the someday in-laws had their first gander at the 'other side.' i have to admit, i was kind of nervous about the whole scenario. i mean, my parents are great people - very entertaining and fun - but the same thing that makes them great can also be a little much sometimes. my mother, who is an extremely friendly and welcoming person, gets into 'storytelling mode' and the hits just keep on coming. she and i had made an agreement beforehand that there would be no telling of random family stories and no talking about her job (this, i knew, would be a longshot). but lo and behold, within five minutes of arriving, she was off with a bang....

*sigh*

michael's parents seemed to enjoy themselves, though, and his mom even talked quite extensively about some random family members (lots of names, very little context). somehow in my mind, that evened out the playing field a bit.

in the middle of all this story volleying, michael and i just kind of sat there, listening. i jumped into the conversation at a few isolated points - more as a way to remind myself that i was still present in the situation - but really, it was like a 4-hour talking marathon and after the first mile, i already knew there was no winning this race.

but that's okay; i figure they need to get all the niceties out of their system, and at least there was no arguing or talking of politics. all in all, it went rather well; the food was quite good, and michael and i are still speaking, so i count it a successful evening.

but as we drove home last night, i realized that it's strange to me that i'm at the stage in my life where the prospect of having in-laws doesn't seem so far-fetched. it's just another page in the story, i guess. so i wonder what will happen in the next chapter....

Monday, January 24, 2005

snow and snuggling

i had a positively peachy weekend. after i got to hang out with salimah on friday night, michael was gracious enough to take her home in the snow on saturday morning. then, after getting some videos for us to watch, he came back to my house and we hunkered down and watched the snow rush its way to the ground. the storm, in my opinion, didn't last nearly long enough.

i made us fajitas for dinner and we mixed up a batch of delicious, hearty 'cowboy cookies' - basically, a melange of some whole wheat pastry flour, oatmeal, chocolate chips, walnuts, and the basic butter/sugar/egg/vanilla combination. SO good and so filling! we watched spiderman 2 and part of total recall (who remembered that the acting in this movie truly sucked? i guess i should have known better with the one-two punch of arnie and sharon stone!) and around 12:30, we crumped out (we had already planned he would stay over since i have a guest room and there is no reason he needed to be risking his life getting home in the frozen tundra).

in between the food and the snowfall, we just spent time talking and enjoying each other's company while keeping warm under blankets and with mugs of hot cocoa pressed to our palms. i love being with michael; he soothes my soul....

it was hard to let him go sunday evening, but given the fact that we have somewhat separate lives to lead, parting was inevitable. as i closed the door after him, i couldn't help but wish that he didn't have to go home. or, rather, that he was already there...with me.

but yes, i know, some day he will be....

oh, and to add even more magic to the moment, when i went outside this morning to leave for work, not only had the man removed every bit of snow from my car, but he also shoveled a pathway from the door of my apartment to the door of my vehicle...just for me. have i mentioned that my boyfriend is the best?!

it was too bad, really, that i had to go to work today; it would have been another perfect day for napping and sinking under blankets with my favorite man. here's hoping that the next time snow hits charm city, we're socked in for good....

a girl can dream, can't she?:)

Thursday, January 20, 2005

rachael ray is making huevos rancheros in the next room and i'm sitting in my office trying to ignore the fact that i can hear the tv of the lady downstairs. what REALLY interests me right now, however, is the super delish meatloaf i have in the oven; i put a sweet, tomato-y glaze on it with a slight teriyaki nuance. the smells coming from my kitchen are quite heavenly just now. i have nothing much to eat alongside it, but i don't care so much. i may just be eating meat for dinner tonight:)

i'm hoping that an evening of junk TV and an early tuck-in will even things out. and then if the snow is held at bay, this weekend promises a somewhat 'meet the fockers' experience. stay tuned....

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

back in the land of the living....almost

i've been rather out of commission for awhile now. yes, i know...it's not my preference to leave this much time between blog postings. please forgive. the sickness had overwhelmed me.

i'm feeling much better, although not completely well yet. my voice is still going in and out, the cough is still a bit hacky, and my energy level is still rather low. but other than that, i'm holding my own. in fact, i can almost completely taste food again!

in other news, michael bought me a gazelle power plus machine this weekend and i've already got it set up in my office for when my lung capacity is fully back to normal. truth be told, i'm already using it a bit, but i'm keeping it to a few minutes at a time until i build my endurance back up. it's pretty fun to use and more of a workout than it seems it would be. i'm hoping to work my way up to using it 4 times a week. we'll see how that goes!

also, salimah and i went shopping yesterday at hecht's and exchanged a coffee maker she had gotten me for christmas and instead got me a new set of knives:). i can't tell you how long i've been needing decent knives, and this particular set comes with a free santoku knife - which i've also been wanting for quite awhile! i also got two fabulous handbags and matching wallets, along with some facial moisturizer and a new mousepad.

and now that i have detailed all my purchases for the rest of the world, i'm going to eat some coconut shrimp and rice for dinner and then watch my very favorite addiction for two whole hours. *sigh* mediocre talent and fried seafood - BRING IT ON!

:)


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

sandpaper

this is what it feels has been rubbed across my throat. i mean really. it's so scratchy and raw. i'm in agony. and the cough. barking, dry, constant. making the sandpaper feeling more pronounced.

oh, and to make matters worse, it's a virus:(. this means that i got no antibiotics of any kind, but i did get codeine, folks. that's right. sweet elixir of sleep, come to me and sing me your songs of happiness....

sorry, did i mention that i've already taken a dose?:)

i've made the difficult decision to stay home from work again tomorrow. i've been deliberating and torturing myself about it all evening, because i feel so bad to miss three days, and yet i'm so incredibly worn out and airheady, i don't feel like i have anything to offer from a work (or personal) standpoint anyway. but my discomfort and exhaustion have won out and i'm going to have to take my chances that all will work out.

i hope....
the winter of my discontent?

i must admit, this year has started off rather uneventfully for me. well, if by uneventful, i mean getting reamed out by my drunken uncle at the dinner table in front of my boyfriend and entire family (technically that was still in 2004, but it was new year's weekend, so i'm counting it), eating a scrumptious meal at roy's restaurant - part of which made me nearly weep (it was that good), a nasty and rather annoying throat/chest cold and upset stomach that have waylayed me for my first two days back to work in the new year (yeah, now THAT's a good way of looking impressive with the boss, sar!)....hmm. is that all? yeah, that'll do it for now.

oh yeah, and now i'm addicted to 24. michael had me watch the entire 3rd season with him on dvd over the break, and it hooked me in so fast; i'm going to have to get the first 2 seasons to round out the storyline fully, but suffice it to say that the 4th season can't come quickly enough to my netflix queue....why does he do these things to me?!

other than all of that, i'm feeling rather down in the dumps. being sick in the new year stinks. i'm heading off to the doctor this afternoon; i think i'd better start on some antibiotics before whatever's in my throat gets any worse. i feel the need to get back on the horse about everything in my life. the holidays are always an exciting time, but the aftermath of blah often makes it seem that they weren't quite worth all their hype. i badly need groceries and clean laundry and vacuumed carpets.

but all of that can wait; what i shall have now is a hot shower and some tea. and perhaps toast or something equally benign. i'm trying to learn not to get too ahead of myself these days. one step at a time. one wool socked foot in front of the other. down the hall. wash my troubles down the drain....