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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Life of Luxury

I got my hair cut yesterday. As I was getting my hair washed, I decided that if I ever had copious amounts of money at my disposal, the first thing I would do is hire somebody to wash my hair every morning. It is one of my absolute favorite feelings in the world.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's a Hard-Knock Life

It's not easy being left-handed in a right-handed world.

Right-handed people don't understand this. They seem to think the difficulties are limited to having to buy a special pair of scissors and having to "reverse" all directions given to you by an athletic coach. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Righties don't spend 16 years going home from school each day with ink smudges on the side of their hand. They don't consciously think about what seat they "ought" to sit in every time they join people for a meal. Musicians don't have to learn to strum difficult rhythms with their weak hand because they are too cheap to pay extra money for a special guitar. Their first few words of every line in a notebook are not thrown askew by their inability to put their wrist down over the binder rings. Their electronic signature does not get messed up because the short chord on the pen (which is inevitably connected to the right side of the signature box) restricts them from being able to hold the pen properly. They are comfortable using computers with a number keypad and mouse located on the right side which they can then operate with their dominate hand.

And my new discovery....ice cream scoops. While righties are using their opposable thumb to press a clean button which then releases their ice cream into their bowl, lefties are left* trying to awkwardly pull a dirty lever towards them with their weaker index finger. (The lever is dirty because when you use your right hand to scoop the ice cream out of the box, the lever sticks up in the air, but when you use your left hand, it drags in the ice cream and becomes a sticky, melty mess).

Now, that being said, I would not trade my handedness for anything. I love being a lefty. And there ARE advantages, especially in sports like tennis (my left-handed slice serve can be nasty!). I just don't think that righties have a clue as to how much the world is designed for them.

So, now that I officially feel bad for myself, I think I will go drown my sorrows in a big bowl of ice cream.


If I can scoop it out of the box, that is.






*no pun intended




.

Monday, February 25, 2008

On Broken Toes and Blogging

I broke one of my toes this weekend. I think. I didn't get an x-ray or anything, so I can't say that with full confidence (although my mom is convinced that I need to go get a boot to wear....yeah right.....) but it is swollen to about twice the size of my other toes, is black and blue all over and hurts like hell. So....that qualifies as broken in my book.

Being the reflective person that I am, this situation causes me to think about the biblical images of the body of Christ. My toe makes me think of the people in the body who typically go unnoticed because their role may seem small or insignificant, but when aggravated, they are able to inflict a significant amount of pain and annoyance and how it doesn't seem right that a stupid little "toe" should have that kind of power.


Hmmm.....people who don't understand my sarcastic humor might not realize that the previous paragraph is a joke to me. But that's okay; that's what blogging is all about, right? Putting your thoughts out in front of the world without any non-verbal or para-verbal communication so that they can be misinterpreted and used to judge you. That's why I love it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On Rotten Eggs and Ski Trips

I have not been grocery shopping in almost 7 weeks. Needless to say, the cupboards are beginning to look a little bare. I have not had time to get to the store once again this week, so I have been finishing up the last of what I have and will restock the cupboards sometime next week (I hope!). Needless to say, this results in some random meal combinations (i.e. broccoli and cheese soup, teriyaki rice, green beans and orange juice).

I had looked through what food I had left and figured out that I had enough to get me through Fri at which point I am leaving town for the weekend. The meal I "planned" for tonight included a fried egg. It was my last egg, so not only did it allow me to "clean up" one more food item, it also provided me with some protein since I ran out of meat about two and half weeks ago.

So, with more excitement than was necessary (because I LOVE fried eggs!) I grabbed my egg out of the fridge and tossed the carton in the trash. After heating my skillet to the desired temperature, I cracked open my one last egg and instantly noticed the egg white was not so white afterall, but had more of a greenish tinge to it.

My mind started racing. Could my egg be rotten? I just ate an egg out of the same carton two days ago and it was perfectly fine.

I whiffed the air. Nothing. Certainly if it was rotten, it would smell, right?

The egg began to cook and nothing looked right. I would know. I fry a lot of eggs.

Then, all of a sudden, BAM! The smell hit me like a wall. It was rotten, alright. And now it was being fried, which only seemed to make it smell exponentially worse. How my rotten egg managed to have a delayed stench-release mechanism, I have no idea, but it did. When it finally hit, it hit hard and fast.

My first thought was, "Don't puke, that'll only make things worse."

My second thought was, "I have company coming in 24 hours and this nauseating stench is saturating my home."

I disposed of the pestiferous culprit as quickly as I could and attempted to Febreeze the rotten egg smell out of the air which, in all honesty, only seemed to make things worse as it sent me into a violent sneezing fit.

After allowing my olfactory nerve some time to recover and coming to terms with the fact that I didn't have anything else that I could make for dinner, I came to the realization that I have never come face-to-face with a real, live rotten egg before. Sure, I have smelled them in the hallways at school after the stupid high school boys have set off their stinkbombs, but never have I cracked open an egg with such anticipatory excitement only to find such an unpleasant surprise waiting for me inside. It was an experience I do not care to relive anytime soon.



In other news, I am going skiing in Duluth this weekend and I am pretty darned excited. My second trip to Welch Village did not start off as well as I had hoped as I was still a very "nervous" skier, but by the end of the night, I was cruising down the hills and even braved a few small "jumps."

In preparation for the trip, I needed to get a new pair of mittens. At the beginning of the season, I found an AWESOME pair of mittens for a rather cheap price at Target and absolutely fell in love with them. I wore them the first time I went skiing and experienced no "cold hand discomfort" whatsoever. Unfortunately, I seem to have "misplaced" my right-handed mitten about a month ago and therefore am in need of a replacement pair.

Much to my chagrin, Target is no longer carrying said mittens. So I began the hunt for a comparable pair. Last week I checked out a store with high hopes only to discover that their warm mittens cost $30+ dollars, a price I was not willing to pay for an item that is so easily misplaced.

Having tried one store and come out empty-handed, I gave up (see my post from Dec 6 for my opinion on shopping). But I still needed mittens. So today, I stopped at another store on my way to work to continue my quest.

Now, giving me a time limit for shopping is NOT a good idea, as I can be extremely indecisive if I can not find exactly what I am looking for. And I knew exactly what I was looking for....I wanted a pair exactly like the ones I had. Fat chance. All I could find were low-priced gloves that fit me well and were just slightly thinner than my grandma's pajamas, or over-priced monster gloves that weighed slightly more than a suit of armor and prevented me from being able to bend my fingers any further than ten degrees.

The "best" part about it was that the ski trip is tomorrow. So the whole "maybe I could just wait until I go shopping again in two months and hopefully by then I won't need it anymore" mentality that I usually choose wasn't going to cut it.

As I wandered around the store in a disgusted frenzy with the clock inside my head ticking ever so annoyingly, I happened across one more rack of gloves hidden in the far corner that had more of a selection than Men's XL (which is all the other racks offered me). I ended up finding a passable pair that allowed me to bend my fingers slightly further (I think I should at least be able to grab my ski poles) and will also allow me to lift my hands up above my waist for more than 10 seconds with experiencing extreme muscle fatigue. So I bought them.

I am excited about the ski trip. I am not so excited about my new gloves. But they will do. And they were on sale.



In other news, last weekend at camp a camper fainted in her cabin early in the morning and in an attempt to get to her quickly, I put on my boots without any socks. After two trips up the hill, I had managed to give my self two significant flesh wounds, one on each foot. They are still extremely tender and I am not so sure they are going to be healed up by Sat. Hopefully I will get a pair of ski boots with some nice, soft padding....



Also, I love friends who send me emails that say things like, "p.p.s. Really, please be SAFE this weekend in Duluth - guard your femur, and your wrist, and your carnal treasure."

Thursday, February 14, 2008

VD



Won't you be my Valentine?
And we'll both be safe 'til St. Patrick's Day.
-Lyrics by John Mayer



https://exchange.its.bethel.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.theonion.com/content/video/online_dating_helping_pathetic




Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Reflections on a Nuclear Meltdown

Alright, it wasn't a nuclear meltdown, but it was a meltdown, nonetheless, the likes of which I have not had in years. And it had similarities to a nuclear meltdown. For example, it started internally, involved some issues of high pressure, spewed its effects onto the lives of innocent bystanders and probably could have been prevented had multiple warning signs not been ignored over the course of the last few months.

But, as in most major catastrophes, some lessons have been learned:

1) I can't do it all.
2) Sometimes, instead of actually coping, I just try to ignore things. I can do this successfully for fairly long periods of time. But those things will come back and kick you in your teeth when you are least expecting it.
3) In moments of "crisis," there is nothing quite as soothing as my mother's voice.
4) Things that seem intrinsically good can still destroy you if you let them.
5)Sometimes, you have to let other people love you. You'll find out that they can be quite good at it.
6) Although I am generally against making decisions in moments of heightened emotions, there are times when that emotion may be necessary to help you make decisions that feel too hard to make on "normal" days.
7) Sometimes, when you are in the middle of something, everyone else can see what should be done except for you. Listen to them.

Now I must retreat to my bed. Two hours of crying, a long movie and a piece of pie later, I am exhausted, and somehow I am supposed to get up in the morning several hours before the time that I usually fall asleep and will then be expected to stay awake for an 8 hour meeting. Yeah. Right.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Skiing Beaver

I went to a "thing" for work today (nondescript, I know, but I don't know how to describe what it was) which could have potentially looked hokey on the surface, but it was actually a great program. I really, truly enjoyed it. It was about leadership, team-building, communication, etc. But not hokey. Really.

One of the things we spent some time talking about was animal types, both in the context of working with different animal types and also caring for different types as our patients. For those of you who are not familiar with "the animals," let me give you a snapshot of one.

I am a beaver.

No one who knows me would contest this. Sometimes I wonder if I am some sort of prototype beaver that was created to show other people what beavers look like.

Some characteristics:

Hard workers - I would rather work than play. I feel guilty when I play and successful/triumphant/productive when I work. So I choose to work. Constantly.
Builders, bit by bit - Best line of the day: "Beavers are productive yet they are not innovative. If a flood crashes through and destroys their work, they will go back and build the same damn dam every time."
Persistant - I can work at a task for nauseating lengths of time without feeling frustrated or bored. It WILL get done if I just keep at it for long enough.
Incremental Change - I am not the most spontaneous person in the world. I can deal with change if I know it's coming, but I have also been known to do things I don't want to do just because I hate changing my plans.
Attention to detail - Seriously. I am a detailed planner, I am an observer of details, and I have a ridiculously detailed memory which is one of my great virtues but can also be an unbearable vice. I usually feel like this is one of my most apparent beaver qualities . People seem to notice this about me.
Work from blueprint - Lists. Lots of lists. Where would I be without them? The thought terrifies me. The speaker said "I once knew a beaver who would make a list and then ADD things to her list as the day went on." At which point I thought, "You mean some people don't do that?" He then continued, "Sometimes she would even add things after she had done them. Now what on earth is the point of that?" I shouted out the obvious answer, "So that you can cross it off!" thinking in my head "DUH!" Then came the second best line of the day from Mr. Foster, "Ah, yes. So that you can cross it off. When a beaver crosses off that last item on their list at the end of the day, it can be nearly orgasmic."
Live in communities, role-oriented - It's just so much less stressful when you know what you are expected to say and do.


One enlightening thought came from talking about beaver's characteristics (the real animal, not the human beavers). The first characteristic that came out was "big teeth." Yes, but what do they use them for? To chew down trees. What happens when beavers don't chew down trees? Their teeth continue to grow until they grow right into their brain and kill them.

Now, this might be a frightening look into the way my mind works, but bear with me here. Quick background to this thought: I have had many lengthy conversations with family and close friends over the last week regarding whether or not I should take a break from (aka drop out of) seminary. (Quick disclaimer: This conversation I have been having has nothing to do with my desire to be there. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE it and think it is the best thing I have ever done. I have a stronger passion to do this than anything else I have done in my life. But there are things that make it difficult, some circumstantial and some personal, so I feel like there are some decisions to be made). Anyway, when the guy said that, I thought "Hmm. That's probably just one more reason why I should stay in seminary. If I quit, I honestly think my teeth might grow into my brain and kill me." You know. Metaphorically.

So that's the beaver. For those who are curious, the other animal types are the dolphin (social, communicative, collaborative, the "people people"), the owl (visionary, big picture, strategist, solo, wise), and the fox (constant motion, tactical, solo, clever, opportunistic). It's all based on the Myers-Briggs test which seems more well-known than the correlating animal types.



In other news, I went skiing for the second time tonight and it just might be my new favorite hobby. There is talk about my friends and I getting season passes next year and for as cheap and stingy as I can be at times, I am actually considering it because I LOVE it, both the skiing and the company. Although I decided tonight that it is hard to go skiing with dear friends that you don't get to see as often as you would like because there is so much to talk about and it is difficult to talk and ski at the same time. So we would end up standing at the top of the hill for long periods of time to finish conversations that we started on the lift.

Also, I went over a little jump and actually got some air. As in, "my skis were off the ground." It was thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. But it felt better once I landed and my heart caught up to me.

I am going to Duluth with a bunch of people from church in two weeks. So....stinkin....excited.....

Monday, February 4, 2008

Jehovah Rophe

I got to school significantly early today with the intention of getting some things done in the University library before heading over to the Seminary. I forgot the library would be closed for chapel and I was too lazy to walk back to Sem and return later, so I went to chapel instead.

It was amazing.

First of all, I miss worship at Bethel.

Second, the message was powerful. (The following is a mixture of the speaker's words and my own thoughts). The speaker (Ross Manders....amazing.....) began by talking about the power of story and how we can become emotionally involved in stories about fictitious characters. We are drawn to stories because we ourselves are a part of a lived-out story. We experience the story of our lives as it interacts with the stories of the lives of those around us. One of the great fallacies of the post-modern era is the idea that there is no "greater" story. There is no meta-narrative that connects us to each other. You live out your story and that is great for you, I will live out mine in the way that best pleases me. One of the results of these isolated stories is cheap grace. As the idea of community is destroyed, we lose our ability to face each other (and, I would add face ourselves) in the way we are "forced" to when we allow our stories to interact under the umbrella of the meta-narrative that exists whether we acknowledge it or not. As an effect of that loss of community, we no longer experience each other in love, in sacrifice, in rage, and in hope.

This put some words to what I find myself yearning for. Where is the sense of community in the Church? Where are the people who are not afraid to face each other? Where are the people of the Body who will look into my eyes in love and maybe even in anger and tell me that I have been called to higher things than this, to stop returning to my own vomit, caked in so many layers of mud from the sty that I am not fully convinced my true self is even under there anymore? (I apologize for the mixed metaphors). Where is the community that draws out spiritual gifts for the edification of the Church? Where are the hands that are willing to pick up pieces of a broken spirit and offer them to the Healer when the isolated individual is not able to offer the pieces himself?

Point of clarification: This is not me trying to avoid personal responsibility in my story of redemption and sanctification. Rather, it is me realizing after 6 years of trying to "go it on my own" that we serve a relational God and, having been made in His image and likeness, are not created to be redeemed and sanctified in isolation.

So where is this community? Where is the Church? I have caught glimpses of it at camp. That's why I love being there. The camp staff faces each other, embraces each other, rebukes each other, exhorts each other, knows and is known. But it is a transient community, both in the practical sense of seasons when people are there and seasons when they are gone and in the more abstract sense of seasons of life when you are able to relocate for three months out of the year and seasons when you can't.

How, then, do you create that community where you are? How do you enter another's story when it does not appear they want you there? At least not as a main character? And how do you invite others into your story when they are not willing to "face" you?


Alright, I need to get to work on my paper. I just couldn't concentrate with all these thoughts in my head.


Jehovah Rophe, I plead for you to come. Bring wholeness to this child of yours and heal your Church.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Stardust and Super Bowls

I saw a movie this weekend. It was called Stardust. This is what I thought.

Cast

Prince Charming: Not the prettiest man I have ever seen in a leading role, but he IS charming and, if not gorgeous, is at least endearing. And he looks a little better after he gets rid of his parted-down-the-middle bowl-cut-wannabe hairdo.

The witches are.....witchy..... Making Michelle Pfeiffer look disgustingly ugly is not an easy task, but they managed to do it impressively well.

The star: I liked her character development over the course of the movie.

The captain: Funny, endearing and thought-provoking. I mean, really, to what extent will we go to protect our reputation? And how often do people "know" what we are protecting anyway? Something to think about.

Dead sons: Love them.

Goat-turned-man: SO funny. Seriously. Well done. Keep your eyes on him when other stuff is going on in the scene.

Favorites

Insult: "You look like the wrong end of a dog."

Character: The dead sons, in general, but particularly the one who got pushed over the ledge. Not because of anything he says but because his hair is awesome. So is his face.

Line: "I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing."

Moment: When the witch casts a spell and her boobs sag. (Every time she uses magic she gets older).

Surprise: The attack by the 97 year old guard at the wall.

Least Favorites

One witch uses a play-doh-ish voodoo doll to kill one of the sons. Ick.

The unicorn. Stupid. I mean....yes, you saved the girl from being tied to a tree, but then you took her directly to the one person who wanted to cut out her heart and eat it. This leads me to believe you may not be such a magical horse afterall.


Overall, it was a good watch. A little more magic-y than I expected, but I really didn't know much about the movie before we watched it. It's a feel-good love story with some good humor. I enjoyed it and would give it a moderate recommendation.




In other news, the Giants won the Super Bowl and I am thrilled. I was cheering for them because:
a) I am a Fanning.
b) I wanted the Colts to go to and win the Super Bowl, and if Peyton can't win it, at least he can be a little happy if his brother does.
c) I dislike Belichick. I don't care for his style.
d) I can't stand Moss.
e) They got the Packers out of the playoffs, so they are temporary heroes in my book.
f) I like to see underdogs win.
g) Plaxico? How awesome is that. With a name like that, you deserve to win things.
h) Should make for some good Peyton/Eli commercials.



Side note: My spell check doesn't know the word "Belichick." The option it gave me to replace it with was "chickenfeed." It also doesn't recognize "Plaxico" and suggested I use "toxicology" instead. As in "the study of something that is toxic."

Man, my computer is smart.