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Monday, November 30, 2009

the droids are coming to get me!

Technology freaks me out. I'm addicted to it just like any other member of my generation. But it's getting too smart for its own good.

I just received an email from my mum in which she mentioned a dinner she is hosting this week. Off to the side, my email carrier asked me if I wanted to add this dinner to my calendar. My email should not be so interested in my social life...

atypical and loving it

Since leaving home nearly seven years ago for university, I think I have spent one Thanksgiving in Detroit with my immediate family. Even before that, I don't remember our Thanksgivings following the typical celebrations of years before through the end of my time in high school. 2009 was no exception to this. This was the first instance in seeming eons that I lived within a reasonable distance from home. And I didn't get there.

Instead, I started working a couple of part time retail jobs through the holiday season. The crazy-go-nuts-busy season for the retail industry. So..my parents came to me this year. They drove to Columbus from Detroit on the morning of Thanksgiving. We had homemade mashed potatoes, Stovetop stuffing, sandwiches made with packaged turkey, and canned cranberry relish. It was fantastic! To top it off, we went to 7-11 that evening for slurpees. The meal was bought and prepared within the space of an hour, leaving us more time to watch the Lions lose in their customary fashion and to enjoy being together before the retail crazy of the following days.



This was one of the best Thanksgivings in memory, trumped perhaps only by my childhood day in Florida at Cape Canaveral eating 7-11 hot dogs. The running strand though is time with my family, once a rare occurrence, now a blessed commodity. And 7-11.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

why I always have a tissue on hand

In the 1993 film Sleepless in Seattle, there's a scene where Rita Wilson sits at a table with Victor Garber and Tom Hanks. She recounts the closing moments of the film An Affair to Remember. This part has always been particularly amusing to me as she begins weeping as she explains how the story pans out. Her voice gets squeaky and incomprehensible. This sort of reaction is something I never fully understood, so I found it humorous. Until recently that is.

I'm turning into one of those women who cries over Hallmark commercials. No joke. Lately, all it takes is a bit of news on the radio to set me off and I start crying. Sometimes it's just a delicate drop. But then, then there are my Rita Wilson moments when I full-on get emotionally involved in something for no good reason at all. Tears. Big. Fatty. Gushing-down-my-cheeks sort of tears.

What am I reacting to? The other day I began weeping over the new standards for mammograms as issued by an independent agency last week. Pushing the base age for mammograms to fifty was apparently a travesty in my life, because I all out wept while listening to the NPR report. Then there are songs like this, which make me weep no matter how many times I listen to them.

Sundays tend to be brutal for me. If I am somehow able to catch Music and the Spoken Word, the chance that I'll make it through the day without tears disintegrates into a pile of nothingness. Today I made it through my dad, the Tall Guy, being asked to speak in church on the spur of the moment. He offered his humble testimony of his knowledge of the life of Jesus Christ. I only made it through that without tears because, well, I didn't look at him through the whole thing. I just couldn't do it. Follow this up with several amazing lessons, stimulating conversation, a couple cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, and this, and I've been crying off and on most of the day. What the heck?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

poor

Over the past few months I have entered a totally destitute state with my finances. My meager savings is dwindling. Student loans are begging to be repaid. I am impoverished to be sure. There have only been a few moments during these months where I have felt truly anxious about what will happen to me in the immediate future due to my torrential lack of funding. Aside from these few moments, I have had little reason to worry.

I was pondering over this phenomenon this afternoon as I enjoyed a few hours with my mum in Detroit. I'm broke, totally broke. I'm celebrating joyously over two part-time jobs making peanuts that will keep me good and occupied through the holiday season. Money will still be tight. I'm pretty sure there are people living on the streets better off financially than me.

The thing is, I don't have to live on the streets. I don't have to worry. Yes, there are bills that I need to take care of, and they will be tended to. But I have an incredible support system of friends and family who will never let me end up in a state of total destitution. Ever.

I am so grateful for the friends and family in my life who are taking care of me. Dinners, a few dollars, a roof over my head, smiles, hugs, letters, books, Coke, conversation. I have been able to find all of these things in abundance. My needs have been met through the willing hands and hearts of others. I might be poor, but I have absolutely everything.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

but who's counting?

My brother, The Stud, has been gone a year...today! That means effective today I get to say I can see him in LESS than a year! If I were really obsessive I could begin counting down the days today. "Only 365 to go," I could say.

But I won't.

The Stud is an amazing missionary! Like, uh-mazing. He is giving his heart freely to the Italian people, serving them, teaching them, and most importantly, loving them. In his email this morning, The Stud lamented over how little time he has left. While I may be excited that my best friend will be home in less than a year, I'm not going to count down so i can better support him as he works his heart out.

But just for the record, only 365 to go...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

a day in the life of a preppy, book-buying, west virginia visiting, hillbilly wannabe



On the way here


we stopped here


and while crossing this

I was reminded of how creepy Mothman Prophecies is.

But because we went here


I got to go here


and find this



which is full of pages like this


and because I found this



after going here


I said


fin

Monday, November 09, 2009

seasonal serenade

"Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season's last crops."
Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis


"O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being.
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing."
Percy Shelley


"In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfies
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall!"
Robert Louis Stevenson


"Once more the liberal year laughs out
O'er richer stores than gems or gold:
Once more with the harvest song and shout
Is nature's boldest triumph told."
John Greenleaf Whittier


"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made. The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."
Eric Sloane


"Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would about the earth seeking the successive autumns."
George Eliot

Saturday, November 07, 2009

intro to world cultures 102: religion and music

When I moved into my ward here in Columbus one thing was made abundantly clear to me: I was a misfit in a sea of medical and dental students. I would be asked if I painted or something of the like, as that obviously had to be what I meant when I said I came here to study Arts Policy and Administration.

It was then that I decided to become a cultural liaison for these poor, overworked, scientific leaders of the future.

With that in mind, three of my new friends joined me last night at Trinity Lutheran Seminary on the southeast side of Columbus. One these friends had never heard of a seminary outside of an LDS context (early morning religious study for high school aged members). Attending a school where people were taught to be clergy was an experience in and of itself.

The Seminary Choir and Chamber Orchestra lured us there with Haydn's Mass in D Minor. It has been ages since I've attended a concert of such a classical repertoire and I was more than anxious for it. What I did not realize was that there was also a worship service bookending the Mass. Stand up, sit down, call and answering. It was all there. We even got to sing several hymns of praise with the choir and orchestra, making this wayward musician feel like she was a part of grand ensemble for a change.

The Mass was absolutely beautiful. The soprano handled the melismas exquisitely and the bass painfully reminded me that my lifelong ambition of sharing his vocal timbre will never come to fruition. The acoustics were sublime, resonating the well-honed abilities of the amateur musicians through the intimate space.

For my friends, it was the first time they had been to a Lutheran worship service of any kind. I was extremely proud of the way they participated in the impromptu service with great respect and reverence. Not everyone can do that when being exposed to a new kind of worship.

The whole event reminded me of how fortunate I was in my upbringing. Due to the nature of my family and my childhood in Detroit, it was never really an option to not know of multiple faiths and to worship with them on occasion. Though we may not all believe the same things, we show one another love and respect by worshiping together, learning of what one another holds dear. As much as I enjoyed Haydn's music last night, I think I enjoyed the overall experience even more.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

driving conundrum

Smart car. Turning left. Right blinker on. Don't think the driver got the "Smart" memo.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

just call me rudolph

You know Dasher, Prancer, Donder, etc. Allow me to introduce you to the newest reindeer, Engquist. I think I must be a relative of Rudolph because we share a red, shiny nose. Rudolph can fly. I, on the other hand, lay in bed, watch movies, and dream of what it feels like to breathe normally.

Things are looking up though. I've made it over an hour without blowing my nose. I'm sitting up. There's no movie anywhere around me! Brilliant!

Now I need to get healthy enough that I can find a job. I might look like a reindeer, but Christmas isn't until next month and I'm still broke.