Sunday, April 30, 2006

i know

i know what you're thinking: she's blogging twice in one day. when was the last time this happened? 2003?

yeah, well, perhaps i'm reconnecting with my blog self lately. then again, any people who might have once read me have probably long since gone. oh well....

now then, i had quite a mundane day, but it was enjoyable nevertheless. did that extra shopping i needed to do at wegman's, hung out at salimah's pad for a few hours, took a nap while there (she was working), read more of my book, enjoyed lots of fresh air while tooling around town, and am thinking about doing some cooking before bed. i have some leftover fish to eat for lunch tomorrow but not much else. perhaps i'll make up a big salad and/or some cooked veggies or rice. ah yes. and i promised myself i would section up some more oranges and grapefruit.

a week ago, i let go of some anger that i'd been holding onto for many months. and while i am at peace with God that it was the right decision for me, some sadness crept into the hole it left. it's been hard to deal with that for the past few days. and some other disappointments this week have made it a bit harder to swallow.

but, the good news is that i have hope. hope to carry on in the midst of the unknown. hope that it will turn out okay. that it already has.

i'm still not sure of a lot these days. but the one thing i know is all i really need to know.

"therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. and hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."
-romans 5:1-5
sadly, i didn't get much organizing done yesterday. after i blogged, i realized that instead, i needed to be cooking (hadn't eaten anything yet and knew i needed to make some food to have for later). so, i quickly defrosted some flounder fillets, baked them with breadcrumbs in the oven, and made some seared zucchini with onions and herbs to go with. also threw together a yummy salad with a citrus dressing (orange/grapefruit).

after lunching, i went and picked up salimah and we jaunted off to the library to get the next installment of books on CD (i'm telling you - it's great to listen while at work!). then, we went to church, which was quite refreshing....a good sermon on broken relationships. then a quick trip to trader joe's, an even quicker dinner, and some reading before schleep.

today i'm hoping to go to wegman's for some produce and then do some more reading. i just started a memoir called eat, pray, love. has anyone else read this? i'd be intereted to know your thoughts....

Saturday, April 29, 2006

hit the stacks

for some reason, i'm stressin' out over this bag of books and CDs that i need to return to the public library. they're not overdue or anything, but i just don't like the feel of them hanging around longer than they need to. it's clear to me that i'm not reading several of the things i chose; i suppose i'd have done it by now.

there is definitely this thing in me that craves the change of scene. now, in many ways, i like consistency and am not someone who simply walks out on relationships or commitments or projects (without putting a great deal of prayer and thought into it first), BUT i've also got a bit of the instinct that says we should be moving forward here. perhaps that just makes me normal. not sure yet. i DO know that i have never felt like the kind of person who could just stay in one place for 30 years. even if that means moving to a new house or switching jobs - even if within the same town - that little bit of change helps keep me interested.

this is probably the reason that i consider going back to grad school at least once every 3 or 4 months. now, truthfully, i'm not convinced in my heart that it's what i should be doing in this season of my life, but i think it's good to always be thinking it through, exploring the options, evaluating what i could or should be doing 'next.' it wouldn't surprise me if i wind up there someday. the thing that remains to be seen is what field i'd even want to pursue -- education, law, social work, culinary arts. we shall see....

in other news, i've got far too many papers that need sorting, and i promised myself earlier in the week that i'd tackle them today. later, i'll be hangin' with salimah, going to church, and who knows what other adventures we'll find? it's promising to be a lovely day around these parts, so i'm hoping there's some fresh air involved in the day somehow.

in the mean time, i'm off to purge the clutter and get organized!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

it's time for a list: 30 things in no particular order and for no apparent reason

1. i ate too much salad at lunch and i feel a little weird still.
2. sometimes i wonder if my top eyelids will sag when i get old.
3. i have too many magazines waiting to be read.
4. i'm craving a book on CD like nobody's business.
5. i finished two projects today and helped a coworker with one of hers.
6. kellie pickler got voted off american idol last night. (i can't express how this pleases me.)
7. my dentist (not her staff) returned a phone message from me so that i could reschedule my appointment. i'm so impressed with her.
8. for the last three days, i never seem to have time to put my socks on before i leave the house. hence, they wind up in my purse and i stick them on immediately upon entering the office.
9. i realize that #8 makes me very weird.
10. i don't really care.
11. if a man wrote me a good poem, i'd probably want to marry him.
12. i don't really like cottage cheese.
13. i love binder clips.
14. i wish i could afford some new athletic shoes.
15. i find sudoku puzzles swell.
16. i've realized that fancy coffee beverages often make me ill.
17. i miss my cat.
18. i never did learn how to roller skate.
19. i can, however, wiggle my ears.
20. i wish i could cook for a living.
21. real simple is my favorite magazine.
22. sometimes i break out in hives for no apparent reason. but usually just a few hives. and often just for 5 to 10 minutes.
23. i love jack black.
24. as a child, i used to cry whenever i heard the song 'puff, the magic dragon.'
25. i took piano lessons from the ages of 6 to 12.
26. once, my piano teacher threw up during my lesson. i don't think it had anything to do with my playing.
27. i love fun post-its.
28. some music only sounds good through headphones.
29. i have become particularly fond of this one particular lip balm from bath and body works. i may buy stock.
30. suddenly i feel the need to make some pancakes. ain't gonna happen.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

dearest roberta flack,

okay, why did i never know that your version of 'will you still love me tomorrow?' is lovely enough to reduce a 30-year-old woman to a pile of mush while she sits working in her cubicle? seriously.

for the last few months, it's as if some type of veil has been lifted from my ears. music sounds sweeter to me now than it has maybe ever. i've always loved nuance, but my affection for it has reached epic proportions these days.

okay, so perhaps i'm being hyperbolic. give me a moment....

*ahem*

that's better.

now, where was i? oh right. so, i'm loving the smooth, velvety tone that emanates from my headphones and pierces something inside of me. and earlier, john mayer's delicious rasp was soothing me through a particularly harrowing morning. and of course ray l's smoky desperation pulled something to the surface. i swear - sometimes my heart threatens to beat its way through my chest wall.

so this all got me to thinking: is it possible that i could go the rest of my life and never be able to share this with another person? okay, specifically, a man. and it's not just the music. it's the feel of staggeringly beautiful words on your tongue. it's the way God puts His hand on your shoulder when you're deep in prayer. it's the pause in the middle of the best conversation in which you're opening your heart to someone. it's the smell of coming home again. these are the things that light me up. will anyone besides the Lord Himself find those things inside of me and cherish them and not want to let them go?

i have hope for that. trembling hope, maybe, but hope nevertheless. and i thank God that in those lonely cubicle moments, i have music to fill the spaces. other people's pain and joy and confusion pounding my ears, my brain, my heart. reminding me of who i am. who i'm not. who He is. gloriously filled with wonder and questions and heart-breaking honesty. will you still love me tomorrow?

i'm not sure, roberta.

but from the bottom of my heart, thank you for asking.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

although i was waylayed on monday with a bit of a stomach bug, i seem to be back in the game. of course, i don't want to speak too soon, but i'm hopeful, since i managed to eat a fairly normal dinner without too much of a problem.

and speaking of dinner, i am ALL about the wine sauce lately. anyone who knows me knows that me likie cook with liquor, but for some reason, it seems like everything i've made in the last few weeks has had some form of wine sauce....now, granted, i haven't been cooking nearly as much, but STILL. so tonight was no different. i had some seared chicken cutlets, portabella mushrooms, and onions in a red wine sauce laced with balsamic vinegar and herbs. i ate that over some texmati brown rice with some green onions thrown in for good measure (trying to use them up) and a hearty sprinkling of raw orange pepper on top. delish! and, to boot, there was very little fat in what i cooked. just about 2 tsp of herbed olive oil on the chicken pieces and a tiny bit of brummel and brown (yogurt spread) on the rice. simplicity of flavor is key.

in other news, the wind is gusting outside my window, knocking things about and having what i can only assume is one heck of a partay. nights like this are always kind of exhilarating but a bit nerve-wracking, because there is the ever-present paranoia that some piece of loose debris will blow into my little car sitting out there all alone. let's just pray that doesn't happen....

newsflash: i can't deal with busybodies. okay, so maybe that wasn't a news flash, but it's just freaking true.

also, sleep rocks. here's hoping i get some tonight:).

Sunday, April 23, 2006

breathe on me....

i'm having one of those evenings where i am acutely aware of my need for some palpable care from another person. i'm not wholly sure what's wrong with me, but i feel physically unwell, emotionally tired, and just pretty much in need of a hug.

sure, it's been a long weekend - a long few weeks, in fact - and there's often an aftermath to such times. but there have also been a few world-shaking events of late that have passed through my life almost without disturbing the air around me. in their simplicity, they astonished me, but now, feeling what i feel, i have to wonder whether the boomerang effect has begun to rear its head....

so i'm sitting here at my desk, staring at a scar on the back of my right hand and wishing i weren't alone. feeling a little sad and lost in the woods and why-won't-anyone-come-and-save-me?

but the moment that my mind and heart go there, they are suddenly tugged by a love so high and wide and deep, it swallows all of me, my fears, my aching stomach, my heavy soul. and it, too, astonishes me in its simplicity. i am so grateful for that love. it changes and reshapes every moment. it makes streams in the desert. it breathes life into nothingness.

i don't know how, but everything will even out again. in the mean time, i want to close my eyes and inhale....

"breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew, that i may love what Thou dost love, and do what Thou wouldst do...."

Saturday, April 22, 2006

recap

the moving men were surly, the cable men hilarious, the rain drenching, the couch inviting, the shower invigorating, the phone call redemptive, the prayers silent, the sink dripping, and the food overly processed. in short, it's good to be back home.

all the furniture in salimah's apartment has been placed and readied for her return tomorrow. most of the boxes lie, still packed, awaiting more furniture that has yet to be ordered. it already feels like someone lives there, even though no meals have been eaten at the new table, and the shower remains pristine from a pre-move-in cleaning. every so often, the marc train proclaims its presence on the tracks below, and through the window, the familiar horns and dump trucks belch the symphony of this city that has somehow made its way into our blood.

in this place, salimah can live out her cat-like existence, wandering from room to room, gazing out the north- and east-facing windows at the steeples straining heavenward. there are places to tuck away and plenty of breathing room. it does my heart good to know that she will make herself a home there. indeed, she already is.

and in the midst of this odd day of waiting about and putting together random furniture, i experienced a reclaiming of emotional ground, a fresh start, and what felt like not just a new page but a new book altogether. you know, it's been said a million times, in a million churches, by a million people...but the peace of God really DOES surpass all human understanding. and today, during the deluge, in the quiet of a cavernous apartment, with the train chugging its way to some other place, that peace rained down on me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

every new beginning is just some other beginning's end....

today after work, i drove to my salon and got my hair cut. it was such a delicious experience. i always love getting my hair washed by someone else - the head massage is the best. anyway, it had been 3 months since i'd gotten anything done to it, and people at work were starting to harass me a bit - wondering why i'd stopped styling my hair nearly as frequently. i informed them that the style was, in fact, faded, in my opinion, so they were glad to know that i had scheduled an appointment for this afternoon. (truly, it blesses my heart to know that the people i work with care about such things in my life.)

anyhoo, my hair stylist is a laugh-riot. she's just kind of ADD and fun and random, and the best part is - she does some good hair. i've already sent two friends to her, and they loved the whole experience. it's amazing what 50 or 60 bucks can do for your life.

in other news, salimah's moving tomorrow and this week has been the time for making any final preparations. thank God we spent so much time packing over the last couple of months; it has made these final hours manageable. so, tonight, after a very light dinner at panera, we're back at my place just chillin. i'm glad for her that she gets to move to such a spacious apartment, which, by the by, has a sweet view of the parts of baltimore she seems to love best: the train and 1920s post-industrial architecture. turning to the next page, so to speak, is always a good thing.

utter non-sequitur: i just found out today that ray lamontagne is playing at wolf trap on august 1, and tix go on sale tomorrow. peops, i am so there. this man won my heart the first time i heard his voice. there's no WAY i'm not going....especially since it's his only U.S. date currently scheduled.

now then, i'm off to rip some CDs so i can return them to the library sometime tomorrow. i finally finished 'the namesake' the other day while at work and i nearly sobbed at my desk when it was over. for the last few tracks, as the narrator was finishing, i kept hoping that somehow i had forgotten that there was actually another CD. i just didn't want to leave the characters; they captured me so early on. for anyone who has yet to read it, please give it your utmost consideration. the prose is just lovely...in places heartwrenchingly lovely.

i realize this was a bit of a newsy post. something more pithy to come soon...i promise:).

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

assurance

something that began to occur to me today as i was toasting the bread for my breakfast is that my life is relatively 'normal.' i mean, sure, i have moments in which i feel out of place and different from the rest of the world (which, in some ways, seems fitting, given the fact that my identity lies in Christ first and foremost), but lately, i've felt more 'typical' in my everyday self than ever before. there are several reasons for this, i suppose, not the least of which is the fact that i'm not living in my day-to-day life holding on to someone else's secrets. that frees me in ways i can't explain. and unfortunately, i really can't explain.

and there's also the fact that i have a relative degree of openness with my coworkers - and not just immediate, but those in other departments. i feel fairly comfortable with the vast majority of the people in my company. that's....well....nice. i don't know how else to say it. it makes going to work pleasant enough, even if i'm not psyched to tackle a specific project on a given day (and come on, who among us can sustain constant interest in every project?).

then there are other things....things that have been happening that are purely beyond my control. things that are kind of scary but that excite me and gratify me all at once. things that challenge my ever-anxious heart to trust that all will be well...or better, that all IS well.

i'm a grown-up now. a full-fledged one. i've put a lot of my childish ways and thoughts behind me. some still cling to me like unfortunate wads of chewing gum, but i've made such headway that it staggers me from time to time. i find myself giving life and relationship advice to people 5 years younger than me and 20 years older. it's all the same, really. friendship is friendship these days. i love learning from other people's experiences, especially those who've already been through the trenches of marriage and (unfortunately) divorce. people who still yearn the way i did when i was 16 but whose faces show the passing of years that i have yet to see. there is richness of life around me.

the truth is that i've been pretty shut down for the last couple of years. when i went through a severe depression a few years back, i needed to pull away, reevaluate, give my wounded heart some time to heal and regroup. and it did. but then, when i came "back" from that, as it were, i didn't fully re-enter my life. by then, i was consumed with the thoughts and feelings of another person, and his goals, his dreams, his needs overshadowed mine (not to blame him; it's just the truth). it was only in periods of brief desperation that i would express my frustrations over feeling lost and not knowing who i was anymore.

well, it seems that time has passed. i am seven months out of a horribly difficult fall and each day, i notice something else that fills me with gratefulness for the ability to see who i really am after all this time. i love the delicious pleasure of listening to old and new music without worrying whether i'll have to turn it off if someone gets into my car. i love singing because i really, really want to and hearing my voice rising alone above the music. i love realizing that i can cook just for me, and not have to worry about whether my choices will affect someone else's. i love being able to really set time aside for myself and tend to the quiet pursuits i overlooked for so long. it might sound selfish, but boy, do i need these things. it is my way of recapturing myself.

and deep at the heart of me, i really do want to share my life with someone still. and i hope that someday i will be able to do that again - but in a way that's better, more reflective of the person i've become and not the scared young woman screaming on the inside that i was for so many years. and i hope next time it sticks for a lifetime...but only if it's right. and i hope that i learn from the lessons i've been taught. to be me more freely, because i'm worth knowing and loving.

gosh, i'm just grateful for where i am. that seems cheesy to say, but it's just true. every time i really sit and think about all the things that i've learned to become, by God's gentle leading, it makes me well up. every night i lie in bed and thoughts swirl in my head of all the things i could do and become and see and feel, and it excites me to know that i've already started to do, become, see, and feel some of those things.

it's quite okay with me that i have no idea what i'm going to be doing next year, or in 5 years, or for the rest of my life. i'm here now. and i'm living now. and until i take my last breath, whether i'm alone or not, i know that it's good. that all will be well.

that, indeed, all IS well.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

i'm in a list-making mood....

okay, so here are 10 of my current favorite things, in no particular order:

1. skinny cow choc/pb ice cream sandwiches (yes, kiddies - low fat!)
2. taking a shower before bed
3. jack bauer
4. books on CD (currently 'the namesake' by jhumpa lahiri - gorgeous)
5. wegman's (they're killing me with the 2 containers of sweet strawberries for 3 freakin' bucks!)
6. high protein special K
7. my back scratcher
8. a 3-day weekend
9. 'jolene'
10. freedom

Sunday, April 09, 2006

snapshots of my week....

coffee shops during lunch breaks.
a coworker laughing until tears poured down her cheeks.
hours droning on in the near-silent buzz of fluorescent lighting.
brief moments of joy in the midst of ennui.
busting a groove in my cubicle while no one's looking.
boring tv.
washing the dishes almost every night after dinner.
socks on the floor of my bedroom.
pile of papers (need organization) spilling under their own weight.
last page of truly crap novel.
ray lamontagne.
oaxacan shrimp and polenta.
packing tape and dust bunnies.
grocery store grime and slim-a-bear ice cream sandwiches.
hard questions answered on the fly.
itchy eyes.
restless heart.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

confession

normally, i am opposed to all things artificially sweetened, but i just have to say: salimah introduced me to black cherry vanilla diet coke, and i'm officially smitten. now, this may be a short-term crush (who knows a) how long they'll sell it and b) whether my body can really tolerate the aspartame), but in the mean time, i'm thankful for a 0-calorie treat that meets my occasional need for a fizzy drink.

in other news, what are you doing inside reading my blog?! get out and enjoy the nice weather!!