Tuesday, August 29, 2006

away

I'm going away...just for a while, to travel and vacation and have meetings and look for a house, etc etc etc. (see post below for more info)

I don't think I'll really have internet until September 18. Until then, be good, and amuse yourself in my archives (with four years to browse, that should keep you busy....).

ta!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

various things

well, I'm coming to the end of my stay in Yakima--just one more day here and then I'm off to all kinds of places. I'm going to Chicago on Tuesday, to Boston on Friday, back to Chicago 10 days after that, then on to Southern CA a few days after that, then to DC for World Communion Sunday. And that's just one month. Dang. I'm excited to make these trips--to go places I've never been, to drink tea while sailing in Boston Harbor, to visit Cape Cod, to see friends and family, to get to know my cousin Max, to preach in a new place, to maybe visit the Smithsonians again or the National Zoo (pandas!), to meet new people, to look for somewhere to live and probably even buy my first house (well, condo...), and do all kinds of things I don't even know about yet! It's such an adventure. I love adventure. Too bad this particular one involves so many trips to heightened-security airports! Luckily, however, it doesn't involve any trips to no-security airports that allow explosives ("mining souvenirs") into baggage...

While I've been home, I've noticed some things. First: I seem to always be found sitting in my mom's spot at the dining room table. I don't know what that's all about. Yes, I'm a girl. Yes, I'm my mother's daughter. Yes, it's the closest one to the kitchen and I'm the one who cooked and may need to get up and grab something. But what's the deal with the boys on one side and me on the other? I'm not my mom, I don't like sitting in her spot. It's creepy. But it keeps happening, and it's definitely the most natural place for the cook, but still. hmm.
Second: driving is bizarre. I haven't done much of it, mostly preferring to get my bro to shuttle me around--you know, quality time. But when I have driven around, it's been strange. There aren't many cars around here--it's a small town with basically no traffic. Everyone drives pretty slowly--at least in town (I haven't driven on the freeway). People use their turn signals, they wait for pedestrians, etc. I find myself paranoidly (is that a word?) looking for speed limit signs because I feel like I'm speeding, even when I'm going 30 or 35.
Third: sometimes things are very complicated, and it's nice to have nice people who speak english to explain them. Like buying a house, buying a car, deciding whether to get refried beans at the mexican restaurant, etc. Well, okay, for that last one he wasn't a native english speaker, and he ended up giving me two different answers, but that just confirmed that I shouldn't eat them, so it all worked out in the end.
Fourth: it's really cool to be able to look up all kinds of things on the internet--at any given moment--and even buy stuff and have it actually appear at your house without you having to pay a bribe to the post office or something.
Fifth: I can do all kinds of things here by myself--shopping, choosing my own vegetables, etc--and no one thinks it's the slightest bit weird. Also, I can get everything I need in one stop so shopping doesn't take very long. However, I have found myself basically unable to plan ahead and find myself going to the grocery store every day.
Sixth: I still miss Naadia and Marsa. I know they must be lonely at Dawson Hall, with no one there. I know Dawson Hall probably looks totally different now that they've done/are doing all that electrical work--no more exploding light bulbs! But, as much as I enjoy doing my own shopping, I really liked having Naadia and Marsa ask me every day if I wanted anything, letting them get things for me, letting them run out and grab some fruit or juice or tomatoes or whatever. I miss speaking Arabic with them. I miss hearing about Naadia's grandson. I miss talking with them about their families, or about their days in Dawson Hall, or about "Miss Carole," or about what vegetables are in season and how best to cook them. They're wonderful women and I hope they are well.

That's all for today--my arms are beginning to hurt from lying on the floor and typing. So....ttfn.

Monday, August 21, 2006

happy birthday to you....

Happy Birthday, Mom. Today you would be 48. To celebrate we are having enchiladas and refried beans, all homemade. umm, no vegetables, though. ;-) That's right--your gift this year is that you taught me how to cook. Also, I got you another present: I got a job and am working on buying a house. :-) Don't worry, no corporeal applause necessary.

It's your first birthday "since you've been gone." We've had quite a year, I suppose. Busy. Sad. But exciting things are happening now. There won't be any singing tonight, I'm sure, but there will be plenty of food--it seems I inherited your inability to judge quantity along with your culinary prowess.

Dad says I can have your KitchenAid mixer and the juicer--cool! It's like me getting presents for your birthday. I hope you don't mind.

Well, I have to go check those pinto beans and make sure they are soaking okay. I forgot to do it last night, but I don't want to get all pressure-cooker today so I'm cheating a little, just like you taught me. (boil 10 minutes, soak the rest of the day.) I hope you know that we love you and miss you, and that we're celebrating your birthday from here.

p.s. are you old yet? ;-)

the first of the "one year" posts

Today marked the one year "anniversary" of the last time I saw my mother alive. One year ago (a lot earlier in the morning than this!), Jason and I waved goodbye to my parents at the Yakima airport. We flew to Seattle, then on to Chicago for the YAV orientation which ended with us getting on a plane to Cairo.

I don't think I knew (though maybe some part of me did) that it would be the last time I saw my mom.

It's not the last time I talked to her, though it's close. We talked while I was in orientation, then briefly when I arrived in Cairo, and then not again until October. In October we talked a couple of times, and then she was gone.

It's strange to think that it's been a year since I saw her, since she gave me a hug, since we all cried as I walked through the gate. I hate to think that the last way she saw me was crying. Actually, I hate that there's a "last time" at all, regardless of what we all looked like or were doing.

I don't have anything particularly eloquent to say about this day. It's just the beginning of the one year anniversaries--there are plenty more coming. I miss my mom. I miss her when I cook in her kitchen. I miss her when I have a cooking question. I miss her when I see my brother's friend's parents in the grocery store. I miss her when I see our favorite sub shop has expanded into a chain and is even in the mall food court. I miss her when I want to share good news. And it's only been one year since my last glimpse of a living mom, a year since my last mom hug...what happens when I can't remember what that's like anymore? anyway...that's all I have to say for today.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

one book down

Well, I finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I have to say: it was heartbreaking. And I suppose it's genius--at least all the award people ever seem to have thought so. It's a little bit stream-of-consciousness, a lot memoir, a little bit novel, and a little bit dream. It's kind of bizarre, and takes some attention (it's not just some fluff book). But however well it's written, and however well the "plot" moves, and however interesting it is, it has one major flaw in my opinion:

the central thrust of the book is/comes from the death of both parents within 5 weeks of each other, both from cancer.

And the main character/author has a serious obsession with this (hello, someone didn't work through grief!)...and he constantly wonders what cancer looks like, what it felt like, why his mom was so light when she looked like she should be heavy, etc etc etc. And he has near-constant doom-imaginings RE his little brother, of whom he is the guardian. Whoa.

Now, I fully recognize that this is mostly memoir, and that this did happen, and that the author probably really is this way. And I also recognize that tragedy and the aftermath (also known as climax and that falling-away-after-climax literary word) make for good literature and movies and whatnot. And unfortunately, I recognize that real life is often crappy like this.

BUT: I wish I had known before I picked this book up. In some ways, it hits a little too close for comfort. Like the scene when he scatters his mothers ashes (which he recently found at the funeral home after several years) at the beach, and he can't decide if this is the right place or if he should take some somewhere else, and in the meantime the wind has blown some of the ashes back on him and his clothes...

Or his imaginings of what cancer looks like--is it like caviar? Like worms? Like rocks? Pebbles? something else entirely?

And now for what I consider a breakthrough: I did not cry once during the reading of this book. It was heartbreaking, yes...but in some way, it wasn't me. Or else in some way it was me and that made it easier. I don't know exactly, but in any case, i didn't find the book to be sad. Maybe that's weird. Sorry. But I think it's a good movement for me, especially in this place where my mom is everywhere and yet not here.

Having said all that, I think I'm going to read a totally different book next. something that CLEARLY has no cancer in it. Just saying.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

wednesday stars

*did you know that david hasselhoff is a judge on "america's got talent"? I mean really....who thought of that? have you seen the famous cd reviews on amazon? they even got a mention on his wikipedia entry. (that photo? eew.)

*do people really pay 50 cents to text message their votes in? 10 times? dang.

*I love root beer floats.

*I miss Jason. Calum said the other day that the paradox of human relationships is that you give a part of yourself in order to become more fully yourself...I think that's true and I'm feeling it right about now.

*Are there any books out there where no one has cancer? maybe even where no one dies? I would love to read them.

*I broke my bed the other day (all I did was sit down, but it was apparently the futon's time...) so now I am sleeping on a futon mattress, topped with memory foam, on the floor. It seems so much easier to do that than to unearth one of the extra beds downstairs and haul it up. though I guess I could get my brother to do that for me and i could just supervise. I'm going to think about it after I sleep this way again tonight.

*It's my mom's birthday in a few days. I don't know what we're going to do, but it might involve food. Who knows.

*I have a strong suspicion that I'm going to have to temporarily suspend my dream of owning a hybrid car. I don't have the cash for a super-expensive car and a house. And since pastors living in their expensive cars is generally frowned upon, I think I'll go with the house. Although, I don't have cash for a down payment either (hello, just finished being a missionary!), so I'm hoping that if my dad cosigns then it will all work out okay. any tips? let me know ASAP!!!

*ollie has a boyfriend. Rocky, the neighbors' cat, comes over every night and sits on the porch, mewing through the screen door. Ollie comes over and sits by the door, and they sit there together for a while, and then eventually one of them gets bored and leaves. It's quite funny.

*there were thunderstorms tonight. and then orange sky and orange light...very strange.

*after cooking and eating chinese food, my hands smell like garlic and ginger. that sounds good on food but not on my skin. I need to go make them smell like peppermint or something.

*I'm going to read more of the book that starts out with a mom with cancer....I hope it moves on from that soon because right now it's reading rather like the memoir I could probably write (had I been here during more of the last two years). I don't need to read about that.

*good night.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

grown up things, 1

okay...first, I have to clarify. Apparently my last post was not clear about what exactly I said "yes" to. I have accepted a call to be an Associate Pastor. And when I've been through all the formalities and the presbytery and the congregational meeting have all decided they want me, then I'll let you know where. As if you aren't smart enough to figure it out. Anyway...

I've been home in Yakima for two days now (well, this is the second day). I've been doing all kinds of grown up things, mostly involving money. I've cancelled a credit card, checked on my student loan, changed some plane tickets, mailed in receipts for reimbursements, reviewed my credit report, and begun to make a "budget". Except that right now my "budget" is only a long list of things I will have to pay for--from student loan on down to toothpaste. You see, in the place where I am hopefully moving, there is very little rental property. And what rental property there is seems to be quite expensive. So it makes a lot more sense to think about buying a place to live--either condo or house. Plus I need to buy a car. So I'm looking at having my first grown-up job (with a paycheck--that's the definition of a grown-up job), plus buying my first home and my first car, pretty much all at the same time. I don't exactly know how that's going to work, but we'll see. I'm sure it will be very exciting. I feel excited! :-)

Yesterday Dad and Rachel and I went to Borders. I love Borders. And I had finished my book already, so I was desperate. Four new books, so I'm good for about a week or two. Just long enough to need something before I get on the plane again.

I have to come up with a dinner plan. Any thoughts?

That's all from the land of almost-grown-ups right now. Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

news you've all been waiting for.

i wasn't exactly sneaky in my last post, i noticed.
what can I say, i'm not sneaky, not a good secret keeper, not a good liar.

I said yes.
I'm moving in a couple months.

But there are formalities to be worked out...and, of course, that move is pending those formalities.

but I said yes--for all of you who have been waiting to see what I'll say---yes!

I'm very excited.

VERY!

So is my family--they're happy I will finally be a productive member of both society and the economy.

:-)

Friday, August 11, 2006

discernment

I'm in an exciting place...visiting my family in Seattle, getting ready to go back to Yakima and see my cat in just two more days! woohoo!

I had a great weekend in Chicago and the suburbs. I was approved to seek a call on Monday. And yesterday (Thursday), I received one. So now I am discerning if it is truly the church God is calling me to. I covet your prayers for me! I want to say what I think here, but I don't want to give away my answer to any APNC members who read my blog. (note to you people: I'll call you next week, don't worry!)

And if anyone has advice about how to go about accepting and negotiating a call, I am in need of that advice ASAP! Leave a comment or email me using the link at the top of the page. Thanks!

In other news, today I went to the Apple store and played with the new MacBook. I want one. It looks incredible. It feels great. I enjoyed myself with it for sure! When I take a job, it's on the top of the list.

and...that's all. I doubt I'll blog again until I decide for sure what to do...next week. Mainly because I can't stop myself from talking about it! :-)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

pampering and packing

I have had an incredible day!

I woke up this morning and went to a free one-hour massage, beautifully provided by a massage therapist who has recently joined CNC. When Jason and I returned, she gave us each a card for a free hour! It was so excellent--she really worked out some kinks in my neck and shoulders, plus generally made me feel good. Also, she is so interesting to talk to! We had a really good conversation about all kinds of different things. I have used a lot of exclamation points in this paragraph, but Gail is worth it. If you're in the Atlanta area, you need to go. She's fantastic.

When I got "home" I ate, read a little, and took a nap! woohoo! Then, this afternoon Martha and I went for pedicures. I've never had a pedicure before. I see why people do this. It was fantastic. They made even MY feet feel and look pretty! I'm so happy. I have pink toenails, soft feet, and got another leg/foot massage! It was great. If it wasn't so expensive, I could make it a habit. I mean, really--you soak in a whirlpool, someone massages your feet and pumice-stones the rough patches, and then paints your toenails some cute color! What is better than that? It's so luxurious. If only the place didn't smell like nail polish remover....

Tonight I've been packing my things. I'm leaving a suitcase full of stuff here (things I don't need to cart around the country because they're really just for when I finally move somewhere for good). I'm taking one big suitcase (which currently weighs 49 pounds) and one small roller-board carry-on, plus my computer, home. Tomorrow afternoon Jason and I will fly to Chicago and spend the weekend in Crystal Lake. We are really excited about this--meeting new people, scoping out a new place, and trying to get a feel for where God is calling us. And, of course, the people there are trying to get a sense of who God is calling to them! Sunday afternoon we'll head to Chicago on the Metra train, where we'll spend a couple of days (with my CPM meeting taking up a big chunk of Monday) hanging out in a great town. I think Jason is planning to go to the Art Institute--one of my fave places in the city! I don't know about him, but I'm planning to eat some Bacino's pizza, too. mmmm, stuffed spinach pizza. yum.

And so my Americanized life begins--with luxuries and mobility. It's nice to be home. Strange, but nice. I can't imagine many Egyptian women get pedicures or massages the day before they go to job interviews. I can't imagine I'll be doing much of that in my future either--but it was nice to have the experience. What a great day! :-)

I doubt I'll have internet the next few days--I suspect you won't see me again at least until mid-week, or maybe even next weekend. be good while I'm not watching! ta ta!