I Used to Own a Street

I'm still sick. The kind of sick that makes it hard to sleep and causes body aches and coughing fits. So this post may not be much of anything. But since I have been a bad blogger lately, at least on consistency (I have no idea about content... you're still here, so it must not be so bad), I thought I would treat you to a rare weekend post (And a kind of sappy one at that. What can I say? I'm sick. Sorry...).

I'm house-sitting for my parents for the next week (I've actually been here since Tuesday) and it's kind of strange. I mean, I come to my parent's house all the time. We do Sunday dinners and family get-togethers here all the time. But staying here overnight has been odd. Partly because I'm sick. Partly because I'm alone here, which never even really happened when I actually lived here. Partly because so much has changed--my bedroom is now a craft room and home to some very noisy birds. Partly because everything is the same and I still feel like a kid and it's safe and it's home, but at the same time it's not, because I have to get up every morning and go to work and make my own meals and all of my stuff lives somewhere else now...

I was reading a book in the yard yesterday. I had this crazy idea that sunshine might make me feel better or kill these germs that are currently feasting on my lungs like rabid dogs, but I'm not sure it helped anything other than the shy freckles on my forehead that are no longer shy. Anyway, not the point. I was sitting in the yard, reading. And I hear the neighborhood kids playing down in the street.

Now, before worry-warts out there object to children playing in the street, you should know that my town is very sprawly and has a pretty low population (compared to... well, the rest of the country). Most of the homes in this neighborhood sit on lots that are one acre or more and the lots have only been cleared enough to fit a house and a small lawn. The neighbors know each other and the cars drive slowly. So the street is a pretty safe place to play.

In any event, these kids are playing on the street. I can't really see them, because there are so many trees on my parents' property, but I can hear their giggles and their make-believe games and their bicycle wheels. And I remember playing on those very streets as a child. Playing those very games. Cops and Robbers. War. Hide and Seek. Capture the Flag. Running Through the Woods and Hopping on Bikes When We Got to the Street, Only to Jump Off Again and Go Running Through the Woods on the Other Side. You know, the games all kids grown up playing. At least in this town.

Brother and I used to own those streets. We shared them with the neighborhood kids, sure. But we OWNED them. We knew these woods like the backs of our hands. We had forts and tree houses (handmade and entirely unsafe) and teepees and hide-outs. Every summer, we would ride our bikes up and down the road, playing games and living adventures of our own making. We each had characters we would play, plots we would run through, rules we followed. We were saving the world or the damsel in distress. Or we were blowing each other up. It was very serious business.

We had patterns. We had routines. Water fights and bike rides in the summer, sledding and snowball fights in the winter, leaf catching in fall, and river building in break-up (we don't really have spring here; we have break-up during which all the snow and ice melt, the world turns to slush, and tiny rivers of water run down the street. And enterprising children in galoshes dig and scrape and mold the slush to make the rivers run any which way they want). Sometimes, a kid would move away or move in, but we expanded and contracted to suit the season and made sure the new guys learned the rules.

These were the streets where I broke two fingers on my left hand when I was 12--I was trying to use the handle breaks on my bike and didn't do it in time, so I rammed my outstretched fingers into the shoulder blade of one of the other kids and buckle-fractured them. Where I fell once when I was little and scraped up my knee. Grandpa carried me back to the house, kissed it, and put a bandaid on it--I still think of him when I see the scar. These were the streets we walked after dinner, the whole family together for a little while in the evening light. Where Brother once ripped the skin off both knees, elbows, and the knuckles of both hands and got up to keep playing. These were the streets where battles were won and lost, friendships began and ended. And began again the next day.

These are the streets where I grew up, but they are not my streets anymore. Many families have moved away. The ones who stayed have all sent their kids out into the world to make their own homes. As I listened to these kids laugh and squeal and use their imaginations to make their own adventures, I realized that the neighborhood is in new hands. These streets belong to someone else. Part of me wanted to run down there and tell them. To tell them about our adventures and our games and how we used to own these streets. To tell them they're playing on sacred ground. The ground of my childhood. To teach them all the things that these streets have taught me.

But I know that they'll find out on their own. They'll build their own forts (ours are long gone, although maybe they'll find the remnants someday and wonder about us, those who went before). They will invent their own games, with their own complex rules and strategies. They will develop their own patters and memories. They will learn their own lessons about life and friendship and the world. I hope they enjoy it. I hope these streets are good to them. I hope that one day, they'll come back to visit their parents and remember. Remember how, for a little while, they used to own these streets.


Vomiting Stories Aren't Funny... Probably

I am sick today. And since my boss and my coworkers are out of the office this week, I can’t take a sick day. I mean, I guess I could, if my limbs were falling off or something. But I’m not that sick. Just sick enough to make me want to sit half-upright in bed and watch TV all day instead of sit at my desk and invent work for myself. 

But no one wants to read my complaints about my sore throat or my headache or the fuzzy Idon’twannbehereoranywhereatall feeling I have. Instead, I thought I’d tell about a time when I was even sicker. What? Yes, I’m going to tell you about my amazing adventure to the ER my freshman year of college. This will be a short post (heh… right…), because my head feels like it might need to be detached from my neck and I have to go find an instrument to accomplish that before the hardware store closes. 

So, here’s my story. I’ll set the scene: Freshman year. Undisclosed private university that happened to have a major metropolitan hospital on each of the four corners of campus. Late winter, during a record breaking string of rainy days (not helpful when recovering from illness). A roommate who was Smelly (not at all material to the story, but added to the grievances). My mother lived in a different state (in my home state. Where I wasn’t.).  

I went to bed fine on Thursday night. My throat felt a little scratchy, but it was very late and I had spent the evening watching movies with friends, which inevitably resulted in laughing and yelling and general horsing around. I thought nothing of it. Until I woke up on Friday and thought I had died. I don’t quite know how the biology of that works, but I did. I felt like I’d been hit by a train. I oozed out of bed and into something resembling clothing and went to class. And was sent back to my dorm room by at least one professor—“You look like death and none of the rest of us wants to die. Go home. Feel better. Bye.”

I called my mother, homesick and sad. It was the first time I had been sick alone and I missed her. Plus, I had never done the hospital thing by myself and I was pretty sure where this was headed (the campus health center was closed and would be until the following week). I had a headache and an earache so bad I thought my face would fly off from the pressure. By Friday night, my parents told me to go to the ER. I called the campus public safety for a ride, less for my safety and more because I knew I couldn’t walk the two and a half blocks to the ER by myself (and who wants to call an ambulance for a head cold?). There was all of this murmuring about how they couldn’t transport me if I was really sick, because of all the liability crap, but I actually put my foot down and stood up for myself, the one and only time so far in my life, I think. 

I got to the ER about 10:00 pm and was triaged. They asked me the pain level thing that LauraMiri hates. I told them “six” because I have migraines and this pain was high, but nowhere near that badness. I sat in the ER, without a book (Elise, what were you THINKING?), trying to watch TV and pass the time. Do you know how fun it is to watch a marathon of James Bond movies in a hard plastic hospital waiting room chair while you have an earache and a headache? Zero fun, sir. That is how much. Many people got to be treated before me. Even some who came after me and were not bleeding as far as I could see. I grew up in and around hospitals, so I know that the system may not seem fair, but is actually a good system. But that night, I didn’t care if it was “good.” I just wanted the pain to stop.

Then this couple came in. They were obviously drunk. And his forehead was cut open and his knuckles were bruised. Bar fight. Great. There’s blood, so I’m waiting again. Their friends, another couple, came in a few moments later to “help” but they were both drunk , too. Somehow, the guy with the head wound ended up asleep on the floor and his girlfriend tried to make out with one of the female triage nurses. And then another patient. While the other couple disappeared. This was a small diversion for me, but ultimate just annoying. 

At 5:00 am, I was finally led back to a room. And left for another half hour. The doctor was nice when she finally showed up, so when she asked about my pain level, I only said “eight” instead of the swear words I wanted to use to preface and follow the number. She did all the doctor things one does and determined that I had laryngitis, sinusitis, an ear infection, and strep throat. And those were the only obvious culprits. I was a veritable petri dish. She gave me some antibiotics and sent me home. 

After wrangling the campus public safety to come get me and bring me home (Did I mention that this was a program the offered freely? A ride to/from anywhere within ten blocks of campus during the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am no questions asked. To ensure the safety of drunk partygoers. But somehow, taking me to the ER less than three blocks from campus was a burden…), I took my meds and fell into a deep sleep. For an hour. And then I woke up and vomited. In my trash can. Then I realized I would have to clean it up myself. Because I am an adult and adults take care of themselves. Or some other “I go to college in a different state from my parents” nonsense. 

After cleaning it up in the dorm showers (because what ELSE was I supposed to do?), I crawled back into bed and slept. For another hour. At which point I promptly woke up and vomited again. This went on ad nauseam (heh…) on the hour, every hour. After a while, I stopped vomiting, because there was nothing left, but that didn’t stop my body from TRYING. At some point, pressure started building in my non-infected ear and I realized: These antibiotics are not helping if I’m getting a new infection while one them. So, about 6:00 pm, I packed up to make another trek to the hospital. This time to demand better drugs. 

In case you’re wondering, Roommate (who was not yet a roommate at this point, but had just become Best Friend) was out of town for this illness extravaganza. So I begged another “friend” to come with me, because the last trip had been so lonely and overwhelming (I put friend in quotes because she complained the whole time we were at the ER and for weeks afterward about the inconvenience of my illness to her. I ended up having to cut her out of my life completely by the end of sophomore year, because she was so toxic to me. But that is another story for another time.). This “friend” didn’t want to drive her car over, because it would be a hassle, so I spent another half-hour convincing campus safety to break the time rule and drive me over. They finally did.

So I returned to the ER, this time with a grumpy friend. It was only a little over twelve hours since I left it. The nurse who triaged me the night before was back on duty and recognized me. She took pity on me and my vomiting, so I only had to wait about an hour this time. They put me in a different room and realized that I was dangerously dehydrated. The pain and the stress were making me a little delirious, so I told them my level was “a ten or eleven”. 

Pretty soon, I had an IV of saline, antibiotics, and Dilaudid. That stuff is amazing. So amazing, that I apparently demanded the nurse give some to my friend (she told me later). The nurse explained to me that the Dilaudid would not make the pain go away; it would just make me not care about the pain anymore. I thought that was a weird statement, but I wasn’t going to refuse anything. She was right. When she came to ask me my pain level later, I had to search inside my brain to locate the pain. Once I did, it was bad. But if I stopped looking for it, I stopped hurting. I said, “It’s still a ten, but I don’t care.” She nodded sagely and I giggled.

Needless to say, being admitted to the ER twice in one day had my parents incredibly worried. My father had a suitcase packed, ready to buy an emergency plane ticket, but the nurse called them for me (I was in Dilaudidland where phones did not exist. It’s a happy place. You should go there sometime. I mean, drugs are bad. Don’t do drugs.). She told them I was fine and that they didn’t need to come. She may have handed the phone to me, but I don’t remember much. I do remember my “friend” being a jerk and the nurse getting upset with me for forgetting to tell her that certain drugs give me dry-mouth (like this should go in with all the allergy information and how dare I LIE to them or something). I was sent me home around midnight. I had seen that ER from one midnight to the next, with only a short break for vomiting in the middle.

I was sick for three more weeks. The second antibiotic had some side-effects that needed their own drugs to fix (If you know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry that you’ve experienced this too. If you don’t, don’t worry.) so that took a while. Both of my eardrums had burst, so it took me about two weeks to hear clearly again. Plus, I was achy and beyond exhausted all the time. All of which made classes and homework A LOT of fun. At one point, the health center thought I had Mono, but no. And they only needed to stick me with a needle four times in each arm and three in the wrist before painfully suctioning the blood out of the back of my hand to tell me this. Eventually, I healed and was able to visit my sister for spring break early in March. But that entire Winter Quarter was brutal.

So, that is the story of how I was admitted to the ER twice on my nineteenth birthday. Oh, wait. I didn’t tell you that Saturday was also my birthday? How silly of me. Yes. I started and ended my nineteenth birthday (the first one away from home, no less) in the emergency room. And not for anything cool or college-like either. It is, by far, my worst birthday on record. Knock on wood.

Now I don’t feel so bad about being sick today. But I do think I might go home and nap anyways.


I Have A Superpower And It's NOT Eating Me Alive

So, the rage has faded into a mostly manageable “frustratiance” (In case you’re wondering, that’s frustration and annoyance all in one word. Because sometimes? English doesn’t have enough words to convey emotions. This is usually when I swear and/or utter a stream of incomprehensible vowels.) I still cannot talk about it (and by “can’t” I mostly mean “won’t” but also a little bit of “can’t”). But I need to express something or I will go crazy. So instead of a bout of rage writing or a series of increasingly ridiculously captioned pictures of my sister’s cat, I’m going to talk about Conflict Resolution.


No, stay with me. This is not going to be like those awful staff meetings where you’re gathered in a large conference room with a strangely weary andatthesametime over-enthusiastic group trainer from corporate who gives you index cards with situations on them and asks you to role play. No, Nothing like that. You don’t even have to participate. Because I’m not going to ask you to brainstorm ideas on how to resolve conflict or to tell me “a time when…” story. Nope. You’re just going to sit there and listen to my fool proof method of Conflict Resolution. It’s actually very simple. Are you ready?

I’m a Superhero.

My superpower, you ask? Conflict Avoidance.

No, I don’t mean that I dodge and weave and use my super-awesome interpersonal skills so that I never encounter conflict. No, my life is actually pretty conflict filled. I mean I AVOID conflict.

It’s pretty simple, actually. I just pretend it’s not happening. I make a conscious effort not to think about it. I hide from the people who are mad at me. I wait until they step out for lunch to put something on their desk for them. I go home and gorge myself on food and TV so that I don’t have to think about it. And above all, I sleep. If I’m sleeping, you can’t be conflicting with me. If I’m sleeping, I can’t be doing another innocuous thing that will eventually piss you off so much you have to yell at me and make me cry.

I’m telling you, I’m a Superhero. Except for the whole being heroic part. And also the whole cape & tights wearing part. But still, it’s got to be a superpower, my ability to avoid conflict. Because I’m amazing at it. I can avoid the conflict in my life like nobody’s business.

But the kryptonite to my super-awesome superpower? Those moments when I’ve shut off my bedside lamp and put down the book, but before I’ve actually fallen asleep. The time when I let my mind range out and find whatever is going to be the most relaxing topic in order to find sleep. Those moments are my kryptonite.

Because those moments are when all of the conflict comes rushing back into my thoughts. When all the avoiding cannot be avoided anymore. And the arguments and stress and desperate need to GET OUT OF THIS SITUATION take over and I begin to have imaginary conversations (read: fights) with the conflicty people in my life until I am so wound up that sleeping is the very last thing I will ever do ever again.

But that’s okay. Because with my conflict level at chartreuse (who even knows the levels anymore, right?), I am not getting much sleep. Because I am not only avoiding conflict, but I am now also avoiding those moments before sleep. I’m a great avoider, you see. It’s my superpower, remember? Geez! Stay with me.

I overschedule. I read. I start movies at 10:00 pm. I play on my iPhone. I stay up late with Sister talking about Lord knows what. I write short stories. Anything to keep my mind off of the conflict. And anything to make me so desperately tired that I fall asleep instantly before I even remember to turn off the lamp. And it works. Bedtimes have stretched from 10:30 pm to past midnight, even on to 1:00 am, but that’s okay. Because I have a SUPERPOWER!

By the way, this superpower has absolutely no negative side-effects. It does not result in weight gain, paranoia, exhaustion, ulcers, mood swings, desperation, or inability to function in social settings. Whoever told you that was lying. It’s propaganda. Stick your fingers in your ears and hum loudly (Which, incidentally, in one of my avoidance strategies. Socially awkward, sure. But effective…)

So, who needs those corporate seminars? In less time and without role playing, I have given you a fool-proof method of Conflict Resolution. Okay, so this method may not bring about resolution, per se. And you’re going to have to find and get bitten by the same radioactive spider that gave me my superpower. But if you can do that (and it’s not that hard, really…), you too can become a Conflict Avoider.

Now, here comes the discussion portion of our workshop. Wait, didn’t I say this wasn’t a workshop? That’s right. So, you don’t have to participate. Plus, we all know that my way is best. It’s a superpower, after all, so no can argue with it. But if you want to, I guess you can tell me in the comments about your method of Conflict Resolution. For all those people who can’t find that spider… Just in case.


I Am Angry; Here's a Cat

I am so full of SPITE and MAD and SPIT and RAGE right now about things that I do not blog about, so instead of writing a whole post of ANGRY, I thought I would leave you with these photos of Satan's Cat.

She is not only evil incarnate, but also a rather theatrical kind of evil: do not fall for the innocent pictures of a soft cuddly kitten. She is death to any he who crosses her. You have been warned.

She is clinging on for dear life. She WILL sit on you, physics be DAMNED!

She's only pretending to sleep. Don't be fooled by the scrunched eyes. She's actually plotting evil.
She even has the EVIL EYEBROWS. Or an M on her forehead.
It probably stands for "minion" as in Minion of Satan!

I was facing the other way, minding my business. I glanced to my right and STATUE KITTY.
She pretended not to see me taking the picture.

She only looks cuddly... She's actually flexing her claws to eviscerate me. Again.

Satan's Cat worships fire. Which is a surprise to no one.

Satan's Cat does not have shame. She is only pretending to lull you into complacency.

She is not amused by my "mouse" jokes.

This is the Bucket of Satan's Cat. Do not put ANYTHING in the Bucket of Satan's Cat. Note the eyes...

I can't figure out how she's being evil in this one. Unless this much cuteness is evil. Which, with this cat, might be.

Not only is she being a BUTTHEAD by blocking the TV, but she's also trying to kill me with her lasers. 
Too bad her lasers are like Buzz Lightyear's laser. 

But Satan's Cat is trying to be helpful. But only if helpful means "a pain in the ass."

Satan's Cat is always watching. ALWAYS!

See what happens when people ruin my week? I end up looking like a crazy cat lady-- AND I DON'T EVEN OWN A CAT!

Please come back tomorrow. I'm not promising it will be better. I'm just begging to keep my readership.


And You All Thought I Was Crazy Before...

One of my favorite bloggers is Temerity-Jane. I love her stuff! If you don’t read her, go now. I’ll wait.  TJ’s blog is one of the main reasons I started this blog—I’d been tossing the idea around for a while and a post of hers just pushed me over the edge. So if you like my blog (which I still can’t believe real people read me, let alone that they might like me, but that’s neither here nor there), you have TJ to thank.

Anyway, TJ posted today about sleep paralysis. Now, I’d heard of this before in a vague kind of way (my father is a mental health professional, so I know quite a few things about human psychology in a vague sort of way). But when she explained her experiences, I realized I have a similar (and by “similar” I mean “exact opposite”) problem.

For those of you too lazy to click through to her post (no judgment, I’ve had my fair share of lazy days… yesterday, in fact, when I didn’t post), I’ll give a brief synopsis. Although, really, click through. Because it’s a crazy experience. And she’s hilarious. Bonus: she has a really cute baby. Alright, still too lazy? I’ll forgive you, just this once.

So, sleep paralysis is where your mind wakes up, but your body is still asleep and locked in that self-protection mode of paralysis (so you don’t try to run away from bad guys in your sleep and end up eating drywall in reality…). So you just lay there in bed, unable to move or speak, but hearing everything in the room and panicking, because OH MY GOD I MIGHT BE DYING AND I CANNOT TELL ANYONE. So… Really scary stuff. And sometimes, it comes with hallucinations, like the one TJ had about a mouse. No, I will not recap that story. It’s TJ’s story to tell and she’s mighty good at it so stop being so lazy and click through already. Geez!

When I went to comment on her post to tell her about my “similar” problem, I realized that my response was so long and detailed that it could be a post all on its own. And now looking at my intro, I’m realizing I don’t even need that story to get a substantial sized post going. But then again, this hasn’t been all that interesting so far, because, c’mon. I’m recapping a more brilliant blogger. Just go read her stuff and cut out the middle man, right? Except that I actually DO have a story to tell. But still go read her stuff. Because yes.

[I would apologize for being all ADHD Blogger in this post, but I’m pretty sure this format is no different from most of my other posts, so… I guess I’m going to call this erratic parenthetical blurting my “voice” and be done with it…]

Anyway, I have this sleep issue that started when I was about 10 or 11, I think (I don’t know. Mom, you read the blog… Comment below and correct me, okay?) Anyway, my problem is “exactly opposite” in that, instead of brain awake/body asleep, I do body awake/brain asleep. Or at least brain half-asleep. This situation usually occurs when I have a high fever or I’m incredibly sleep deprived, but it can happen at random, as well. I’ve rarely woken up for the day like this (although I have at least once), so it usually happens in the middle of the night.

You see, I wake up, but it’s different than actually waking up. I can move. I can talk. I can get out of bed and move around the house. And I am aware of the world around me. Sounds like how most people wake up every day, right? Except it isn’t. Because I’m also still dreaming.

I can see the kitchen, but I can also see things that aren’t there, usually shadowy ghost-like scary things that hover on the fringes of my vision. I can hear my father talking, but his words come out so fast it’s like his mouth is a rapid-fire machine-gun, registering louder than normal. Or his words are a garbled hoarse whisper of nonsense. I can move, but my movements are slow and take a lot of effort, because my body is so heavy and also floaty at the same time. The world around me feels like it’s set on fast forward. When I was little, my dad tried to rub my back to calm me down, but instead of the slow soothing circles he was actually making on my back, it felt like he was trying to build up enough friction to start a fire (needless to say, this didn’t calm me down much and he didn’t try that again). 

As if all of this wasn’t enough, I hallucinate voices, too. It’s almost always a woman screaming “Yes!” all triumphantly over and over again. And a man yelling “No!” in response. And the sound of a roulette ball simultaneously spinning and ticking into the spaces. It’s probably something I heard on a movie once and for some reason, my mind dredges it up during these moments. During these periods of time, I know logically that I’m just experiencing a half dream and that these things aren’t real, but I still usually panic. Maybe the panic feeling is also part of the hallucination… I’m not sure.

And reading this over, I sound completely insane. Which I guess I am a little, in the moments when this is happening. Like I said, it’s usually fever induced, almost always in the middle of the night, and always when my brain is caught in that netherworld between asleep and awake. And it’s terrifying. My eyes always feel like they are so wide open that I will never shut them again. Over the years, I’ve learned to look for the signs early (especially if I’m sick), so I can stay calm and fix it. It seems that I can either try to “reset” my brain by sleeping again and re-waking up normally (but this is only possible if I’m not panicking) or I can shock my system enough to wake up all the way—taking a shower or drinking something extra cold is usually enough. But it leaves me feeling weird for the rest of the day.

So, I guess this falls somewhere between sleep paralysis and sleep walking? Maybe? I’m not sure. I’ve always wondered what it’s all about, but TJ’s post made me feel a little less crazy. But none of her commenters reported anything quite like my issue, so I thought I’d share it here. Because I’ll either freak you out (which is kind of fun) or I’ll find someone else like me. Any takers? Bueller?


Embarassment, Thy Name is Elise

Today, the Sarcasm Goddess is hosting a linky over at For the Love of Writing. The topic: Your Most Embarrassing Moment. I’m not sure that my life has really been anything more than a long list of embarrassing moments strung together under one name, but I’ll try to isolate just one. Let’s see, there was the time that I… No, I don’t want to admit to that just yet. Give it a few more years of therapy. What about when… Nope, that’s more “psychologically damaging” than embarrassing. Grades 6 through 8 would qualify, if three years counted as a moment. But I think I’ve finally got the one. 

Every year when I was younger, my church would get together with other churches in the area and host a week long church camp, at a nice campground with a lake and cabins and basic amenities (electricity, running water that was sometimes warm, food cooked in a kitchen, not a campfire). And no, before you ask, this is not a “One time at band camp…” kind of stories. It was embarrassing, but thankfully not that embarrassing. Maybe...

Anyway, the camp was actually two weeks long: one week for middle school and one for high school. Often, they would enlist a few high school students to be counselors at Middle School Camp, who got to stay both weeks. I volunteered one year and it was a lot of fun. Like being at camp, but getting to choose which activities I wanted to participate in and which ones to sleep through. 

“Missions Time” was the hour I usually dozed in the back of the auditorium on an old couch. I should state here that I have nothing against supporting foreign ministries or missionaries or the countries they came from/go to. But this particular missionary was really boring. And kind of condescending. You could tell that he hadn’t really worked with kids before. And I had heard him the whole week before. So I slept. I was sixteen; cut me a break, okay? My friend Corey, who was almost finished with college, and who I had a “secret” crush on, took up the other half of the couch during this hour. We would hunch down on either end of the couch with our feet towards the middle (they would sometimes even *gasp* overlap!) and we would doze. 

The first day, one of the older counselors came over and woke us up. I thought we were in huge trouble for being bad examples for the younger kids or for co-ed couch-overlapping at church camp. Instead, she laughed and brought us blankets. I really liked her! Corey, I, and the other counselors had quite a bit of fun during that week and he was really nice. I kept telling myself “You’re sixteen! He’s twenty-one!” as if our ages were the only thing keeping me from pursuing something. First of all, he had zero interest in me. Secondly, I am painfully shy and can’t even believe that I was comfortable around him enough to allow the feet-overlapping. Even though we continued to share that couch, by the end of the week it was pretty clear he had a thing for this other counselor, Amy. Which was kind of a downer, since she was my age and I had convinced myself that the age difference was the only reason he hadn't already proposed (it's a little bit ridiculous inside this head of mine). But I got over it. Really. I did. Stop looking at me like that!

None of this has been all that embarrassing (although someone did take a picture of us on the couch and I had really unfortunate bangs back then), I know. I mean, a crush on an older boy who liked someone else? Angsty, sure. Embarrassing? Only the little bit everyone has when viewing their adolescent selves. Plus, looking back, he wasn’t that great of a guy. I only liked him because he was a Christian and he paid attention to me. And even “liked” was a strong word. More like I was interested in getting more attention from him. Because I am an attention sponge. What? You had no idea? I know, I’ve kept this secret well, huh?

Anyways, back to the point: the embarrassing part doesn’t happen until the next year. As summer approached, I signed up to be a middle school camp counselor again. I didn’t even really think of Corey. I just remembered having fun. And I was probably thinking I could count it as volunteer work or something...

So I get to the campground for high school camp. I’m standing at the check-in desk with my Youth Pastor and Brother, when who should walk up but Corey. I get all blushy-flustered like I do around any man that is not related to me or been in my life since childhood. I say, "Hi" without looking him in the eye. He chats with my Youth Pastor and Brother, but he doesn’t know them that well, so that dies off rapidly. I stand there awkwardly until I summon the courage to speak aloud.

“So, Corey… How’d the school year go?” I ask tentatively, a question that makes me sound more like an interested parent-of-friend than actual friend. My Youth Pastor and Brother continue their side conversation, not totally paying attention to me or Corey.

“Oh, you know. It’s over… I graduated, so that’s good…” He says, kind of bored.

“Congratulations!” I say, all over-eager-ridiculous. “I’m going to be a counselor next week, just like last year. Are you?”

“Yep…” He says, probably trying to figure out a way around me to the registration table.

“Oh, that’s great! Then we can sleep together again!” 

Yep. That’s right. That’s exactly what came out of my mouth. As soon as the words escaped, I wanted to bite them back into my mouth and swallow them for all eternity. We can sleep together again? Brain, did you really just do that to me? Could you not take a half-second to process the potential ramifications of that phrasing and warn me before blurting it out in a Tourette’s-blurting kind of fashion?

Corey’s eyebrows flew up to his hairline. My Youth Pastor choked on his Pepsi. Brother stared at me with an expression that was half I’m-sorry-have-we-met-before-because-my-real-little-sister-would-never-say-anything-that-inappropriate-in-public and half oh-my-word-this-is-the-best-thing-that-ever-could-have-happened-I-need-popcorn-and-a-soda-so-I-can-watch-how-this-thing-plays-out-it’s-going-to-be-awesome. 

I spluttered and mumbled, “Oh, no. Ha! I didn’t mean- Well, you know- Like last year? On the couch? Actual sleeping? I didn’t mean to say- Ha?” Which was not only eloquent, but of course completely covered up all of the mortification of the moment and put everyone at ease. He nodded vaguely and we both made our get-aways pretty quickly after. I left Brother standing there, chuckling at my pain and devastation. 

To add a beautiful crown to that Awesome Demonstration of Elise’s Man-Catchin' Skills, I was told minutes later that they didn’t need another high school counselor for the next week, so I didn’t need to stay. I refuse to believe that the two incidents are at all connected. Also, Amy showed up that year with a boyfriend who was far cuter than Corey and Corey ended up needing to go home mysteriously right after high school camp week. So there’s that.

Please go visit the Sarcasm Goddess and link up your embarrassing moments. Because I don’t want to be alone in this. And telling your story might just aid the healing (mine didn’t, but you never know…)


My First Day in the City, or, Death By Public Transportation

I went away to college far enough away from home that I had to get on a plane. My father came with me and we spent a week filling my dorm room with all the necessary things and figuring out a new city. The last day of orientation was a Sunday. We went church-hunting that morning and found one we really liked, but we had gotten there by rental car. So my dad helped me map out a bus route for the next week when I was on my own. Then we hugged good-bye and he said some really sweet things that I can’t type here because I’m blogging from work and I’ve already cried enough this week. I love my Papa. Just FYI.

I started my classes, made some friends, and began to get the lay of the land. By the next Sunday, it had started to sink in that this new adventure was not a temporary stint away from home, but my new life. I got up that morning and got ready for church, already sad to be going alone. You see, church is a big thing in my life. Until I left for college, I had gone to the same church for almost 17 years. I knew everyone there. Half the people on stage in the worship band were related to me. The rest were so entrenched in my history that they were basically family anyways.

So, this drizzly Sunday morning, I headed out alone to face my first foray into public transportation. Being a public transportation virgin and geographic dunce, I had no idea which side of the road I should wait on for the bus, since there was a stop on either side. I also didn’t realize that there would be more than one bus line arriving at that stop at the same time.

So I got on the wrong bus. Not only was its route different from the one I needed, but it was heading in the opposite direction from the church. It took me about 15 minutes before I realized something wasn’t right. And it took me another 10 minutes to work up the courage to ask the bus driver.

He said, “Oh honey, this bus ain’t gonna get you there.”

And I said, “GAH!”

Luckily, he was a kind man, so he took pity on me and explained the system to me a little better. Then he pulled up to a stop and pointed across the road. “Run and catch that bus before it drives away! The driver should be able to help you after that.” I leapt out of the bus and darted across the street.

And almost got hit by a car.

Because “look both ways before crossing the road” was not in the forefront of my brain right then. The car squealed to a stop and the driver honked and flipped me off. I waved, tears in my eyes and my heart beating a mile a minute, and hopped on the other bus. All the occupants were staring at me like I was the dumbest person they had ever seen. And I thought, “I almost just DIED!”

The bus dropped me off downtown, about six blocks from where I started. So, a half hour wasted.  I wandered around, in full panic-mode. Then a homeless man told me I was beautiful. It made me smile a little. He promptly turned and continued his conversation with his hand. I decided his judgment was sound enough to keep the compliment.

Eventually, I found the right series of busses and got to church about five minutes before the service. Which was an amazing feat, considering how much time I wasted. I took my seat and looked at the 1000 other people there (it was a very large church in a refurbished warehouse, which was cool but overwhelming). The music started. I stood to worship. It was a remixed old hymn, one of my favorites. I knew no one on stage. There were no Seatons to be found.

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I had almost DIED several times that morning. I had been lost and worried I’d never get home again. I was alone. A homeless man was the first non-related person in my life to compliment my beauty and the implications of that were not lost on me. So I did what any self-respecting 18 year old away from home for the first time would do. I began to leak all kinds of attractive fluids all over the front of my face.

After the sermon, I had reached my limit. So I went out into the lobby to leave. And realized I was going to have to brave the busses to get back to campus. I sank into a chair and began to sob again. A young pastor saw me losing it and came up to me. He placed his hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m Pastor Jamie Seaton.* Are you okay?”

               *His last name wasn’t really Seaton, but then again, mine isn’t either. His last name was, however, the exact same as mine. So, you know, go with it.

The fact that I’d found a Seaton combined with the fact that he touched me sent me on a new round of sobbing. You see, we’re a family that hugs. We hug when we leave a room. We hug for no reason at all. We’re touchers. It’s just who we are. And when he put his hand on my shoulder, I realized it was the first time anyone had voluntarily (read: not accidentally bumped into me or stepped on my toes) touched me since I had hugged Papa good-bye a week ago.

I’m sure I was making a scene and the pastor seemed bewildered as to how to help me. Then a sweet woman named Alison walked up and said, “I’m new here, too. I’ve been in your shoes. I have a car. Would you like a ride home?” And I cried some more. Then I nodded. And I got in the car with a complete stranger. Apparently, all my childhood rules had flown out the window that morning.

No, the stranger-woman did not murder me. She took me to a downtown market, fed me lunch, and then dropped me off at my dorm. I was a little less hydrated than when I’d left it, but still pretty much whole. And with a new-found hatred of busses and a renewed appreciation for church families. Also, a new catch-phrase: “I almost just DIED!” And if you don't think I use any and every opportunity to say that phrase, you don't know me at all.


A Letter to My Future Husband, Who Is Late

Dear Future Husband,

We haven’t met yet. I’m not sure why, but we haven’t. Or if we have, I missed it, so we’ll need to do it again. And I don’t know where you are or why you’re not here exactly, but we need to talk. Because… I need you in my life. I don’t know if you can miss someone you’ve never met, but I know that you’re missing from my life. And that sucks. And it’s your fault. I know I’ve probably not put myself out there enough and I’m really shy when I meet men, which makes it hard to get anywhere in a relationship. But I’m still blaming you (get used to it; it’s going to happen a lot…).

The basic fact is this: I’m ready to be married. Sure, there are things I’ll need to learn along the way (things that I can probably only learn by doing, anyway), but I really think I’m ready. Which means it must be you who’s not ready. I’ve always prayed for the Lord to send me a man, not a boy. So you must be off somewhere, acting like a boy. Stop it. Seriously—shut off the Xbox, put some pants on, and get a job. And then come find me. Thanks.

You’ll be glad you did, because I’m a pretty awesome girl. I have my flaws (And if I get started listing them, I could talk for quite a while. But that’s not sexy or interesting, so I won’t go there. You’re supposed to love me regardless, remember?). But what girl isn’t flawed? I bet you’ve got quirks, too. And I’ll either love you for them or get used to them. So instead of focusing on flaws (like how late you are), I’m going to tell you how amazing I am and why it would be good for you to marry me. Because I’m self-less and giving like that. Or something.

Anyway, just some of the reasons you want to marry me:
  1. I love Jesus. I know you do, too. I think you’ll agree it’ll be a much easier marriage if we believe the same things. And I’ll do my best to live like Jesus, which means I’m not going to be mean to you or cheat on you or otherwise make your life more difficult. And I’ll help you raise our kids to love Jesus, which means we’re less likely to have to stage drug interventions for our 22-year-old son or take in our grandchildren when we’re only 37. No guarantees or anything, because sometimes crap happens. But I think that me loving Jesus will make your life better.
  2. I make awesome foccacia bread. One bite of this bread and I think you’ll agree that you need to spend the rest of your life with me so I can make it for you all the time. Plus, I’m a pretty good cook all around. I’ve stopped lighting food on fire and I’ve only once served raw chicken at a dinner party. And that was years ago. I make ridiculously amazing cookies (Okay, so it’s Sister-In-Law’s recipe and who can’t follow a recipe? But still…). And I know how to grill and I make my own soup sometimes. So, to sum up: you’ll be well fed. And what man doesn’t want that?
  3. It would be really nice to have a second income, so that if one of us needs to quit our job or one of us ends up getting fired by a crazy, misogynistic, grumpy, unreasonable, irrational megalomaniac (ahem… not that this is a realistic scenario… at all…), then the other one’s job can keep us afloat for a few months. Right now, we’re both alone, so if one of us loses our job, we’re screwed. Plus, we’re both spending money on rent and food and other things that would be cheaper if we were together. And I don’t require expensive gifts or spend much money on myself. This is not to say that I’m cheap (because I’m priceless and don’t you forget it!), but I am inexpensive. Which is not the same thing. I don’t think. Anyways, marrying me would save you money.
  4. That whole sex thing. I’d like to try it out. I’ve heard it’s fun. But since I’ve made a promise to wait until I’m married and I have no intention of breaking it (which you totally get, because you’re that kind of man), I kind of need you to show up and marry me. I think the benefits to you are self-explanatory on this one.
  5. I’m great with children. And I want a lot of them. Now, some men would find this daunting, but since you’re the kind of man who would shut off a video game, put pants on, and get a job for me, I know you’ll also be the kind of guy who wants a family and will be a great dad. And I’m willing to give you all the kids you want. Not only are kids hilarious and a joy to have in your life (most days), but they also have this knack for living longer than their parents, which means we’ll have someone to take care of us when we’re old. So if you marry me, you’ve got a built in retirement plan.
  6. I give great foot massages. And even though I can talk a lot (especially when I’m nervous or really excited about something), I’m totally cool with comfortable silence. Which means that I can be a pretty relaxing person to be with. I have pretty simple desires for my day, like staying home with a good book or cuddling on the couch with a movie. I won’t demand that we go out and do stuff with other people (but we can if you want), so if you have a stressful day at the office, you can just come home to me and I’ll take good care of you. This may include feeding you even when you’re not hungry, but, all in all, I think this is a good deal for you.
  7. My family rocks! We may get loud and chaotic sometimes, but we’re not dysfunctional or chock-full of drama, so we’re a fun bunch to hang out with. Which means that if your family lives far away, is small, or is actually dysfunctional, you’ll have a second family right away. You’ll have to learn to like the loudness and the chaos or become loud and chaotic with us, but really the blessing outweighs the responsibility.
  8. I can write with my toes. So if we’re ever caught in a hostage situation in which our hands are tied and writing a note will save us, I’ve totally got us covered. In my opinion, this is a skill that more men should be looking for in a wife. But most don’t. Which means you’ve found something rare and you should hold on to it.
All I demand in exchange for these amazing benefits (and the many more I didn’t list), is that you show up soon and love me forever. Really, that’s not too much to ask, is it? No, I didn’t think so. Remember: End video game, find pants, get job, show up, love me forever. I’ll be here, waiting, like I have been for more than two decades. Your move.


Your Future Wife, Elise


Just One of the Many "Services" I Provide

A long long time ago, in a land far far away (Far away from your house, at least. And from sanity, probably.), I worked in an office where I answered phones and explained "products" to "clients." Yes, I'm being intentionally vague here. And you're going to have to live with it. Because I don't really want to be specific and it's my blog. But also because it's not material to the story.

What follows is the actual conversation between myself and a "client" (Why do quote marks make that seem dirty? Because it was not in any way dirty, but the quote marks on "client" kind of make it feel like I should be saying "John" or something... It's just me? Okay, moving on.). Names have been changed to protect... Well, to protect me, really, because there's a chance this could come back and bite me. But probably not. I hope. And I don't think "Geraldine" needs protecting...

Anyway, I got a strange call, hung up, wrote it all down as best I could remember, and e-mailed it to Sister. This happened a lot at this job--both the odd conversations with crazy people and the e-mailed transcriptions of my phone calls. It kept me from harming people (mostly) and it entertained Sister (sometimes). This e-mail, coincidentally, is one of the first times she encouraged me to start a blog. It's the little details like this that keep you coming back for more, isn't it? Just a small service I provide. Well, I dug in my e-mail archives to avoid coming up with a real topic provide you with another service: allowing you to laugh at my daily pain.

And now, without further ado, an excerpt from Phone Calls With Crazy People (coming soon to Broadway):

Telephone rings
ELISE: Hello, [Company Name], this is Elise.

GERALDINE: Hi, my name is Geraldine and I'm a great-grandmother and (high-pitched laughter) there's a deer outside eating a tree!

ELISE: (strained laughter) Alright... How can I help you, Geraldine?

GERALDINE: Well, I think that women are being represented unfairly when they... Well, I'm reading about this [product/benefit] in the Senior Register and I'm concerned, because it's for widows and I think all women who are widows should be eligible for this [product/benefit]. 

ELISE: Okay, Ma'am. That [product/benefit] is available for people over 65 and disabled veterans or the widow of a qualifying person. What is your concern?

GERALDINE: Well, just that all single mothers should have access to this [product/benefit], since I know a lot of them that are widows and are elderly.

ELISE: If they are over 65, they qualify.

GERALDINE: Yes, but I don't know if I qualify.

ELISE: Are you over 65?

GERALDINE: Well, I'll be 63 in a few months. 

ELISE: So... No?

GERALDINE: So I don't qualify? Even though I'm a widow?

ELISE: Was your husband over 65 when he died.

GERALDINE: Well, he's 4 years older than me, so that would make him 66, so yes.

ELISE: Then, yes, you would qualify.

GERALDINE: But, he'd have to be all-the-way dead?

ELISE: (long, awkward pause) Yes, ma'am... He would have to be dead.

GERALDINE: Like, in-the-ground dead?

ELISE: (uncomfortable silence) Yes, ma'am, your husband would have to be dead for you to be a widow. And to qualify for this [product].

GERALDINE: Well, he lives in Michigan.

ELISE: (long, awkward pause) Well, than I don't think you'd qualify.

GERALDINE: I divorced him 30 years ago and he's as good as dead to me.

ELISE: (long, awkward pause) Well, yes, ma'am, I understand. But I don't think that qualifies.

GERALDINE: But he's a disabled veteran.

ELISE: If he's disabled, then he would qualify.

GERALDINE: Oh, he's disabled, alright. He shot himself in the head once and didn't die. (maniacal laughter) Yeah, he's disabled.

ELISE: Okay... Well, if he's disabled, then he qualifies. 

GERALDINE: And if I were his widow, I'd qualify?

ELISE: Yes, ma'am. If you were married to him at the time of his death, you would qualify.

GERALDINE: But he would have to die?

ELISE: For you to be his widow, yes. He would have to die.

GERALDINE: Well, if it's meant to be, God'll see to it.

You're welcome.


Thirty-Three Years

Thirty-three years ago today, a man in a dashing grey tuxedo and a woman in a gorgeous white dress changed my life forever. Thirty-three years ago today, a dashing man in a grey tuxedo and a gorgeous woman in a white dress were wed.

Thirty-three years ago, my dashing father and my gorgeous mother set an example of love that has impacted me in a million ways, some of which I have yet to discover or put into practice. And thirty-three years later, they went to dinner to celebrate that love and longevity. There was also the gift of an iPad given by the dashing man to the gorgeous woman as a memento of the thirty-three years of love, but that's not really important to our story.

What is important is this: my parents are amazing people who love each other and their children with a God-given and God-driven love. And I am so grateful for the choices that they made all those years ago. They entered their marriage with forever in mind, in a time when people own cars for longer than they wear their wedding bands. They decided, from the beginning, that Christ would be the center of their marriage. They knew that if they both always looked to Him, the rest would fall into place.

They were never afraid to kiss in front of us kids, but they were careful to avoid disagreeing within our hearing. They made a concerted effort to provide a stable household with a united parental front. They said, "I love you" everyday. They even had a game (read: mild competition) they played to be the first one each day to say, "I love you one more than you could ever love me." This usually happened at a minute after midnight in order to win, but the true sentiment was still there.

They raised four children as working parents, making sure that we had a least one of them at every school function and sport event. Sometimes, they didn't see each other except for passing in hallways, but they managed to steal a little time each day to check in, to reconnect, and to figure out all the things that needed figuring out. They were never flashy or ostentatious about their marriage, but all of us kids knew that they cherished each other and that they made time for one another.And we were better for it.

In a countless ways, sometimes through discussion, sometimes through example, they taught me what a marriage is. They respected each other, as breadwinners and care-takers and housekeepers and errand-runners, because they shared a partnership. They cut through all of the romance novel/chick flick trash and rose above the sitcom squabble and night time television drama to teach me that life is not a fantasy, but it's not drudgery either. Marriage is work and it's messy, but it produces a depth of joy deeper than anything else in life.

Sometimes, I wonder if their marriage is the reason I'm still single. The very fact that they were so happy and so successful taught me to settle for nothing less than a partner who loves me more than he loves himself--and that I would have to love him in the same fashion for it to work at all. And the joy they find in each other makes me ache for a husband to pour myself into, a friend to share my life with, a partner to join hearts with to take on all of the challenges ahead and bear the burdens of whatever comes, because that's how they live.

When I was in high school, several of my friends' parents split. Fathers abandoned their children for selfish pursuits. Mothers used kids as leverage to gain funding or checked out so they didn't have to bear the pain. Families lay broken all around me and my friends were left in the devastated wake. And I would come home and look at my parents and feel safe. Truly blessed to know they would both be there when I woke up and again when I went to bed.

Today, I watch my grown friends--the friends whose fathers left, whose mothers shut down, whose own marriages are now suffering. I see their fear of being abandoned again. I see the dysfunctional ways they speak to each other. I feel their hearts aching in silence, because they can't even pinpoint the source of their pain. And I ache alongside them. For the havoc wreaked by people put in their lives to love them, to protect them, to lead them. And I visit my parents' house and I feel safe. Truly blessed to know they will be side-by-side at my wedding, will play together with my children, and (Lord willing) will be hand-in-hand when they're one hundred and ten.

So. Mom, Papa. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart and to the tips of my toes, thank you for loving me so much that you put me third--that you focused on Christ first and that your next priority was each other. Thank you for making sure the roots of our home were stable and healthy, so we could grow up in a whole and happy home. Thank you for the example you set and the lessons you taught. I am the person I am, because of the commitment you made thirty-three years ago today.

Happy Anniversary. Here's to at least thirty-three more.


Think of This More As a Bunch of Little Blog Posts

I'm have blogger-block. I think taking the long weekend off was not so much refreshing as it was detrimental to all of my newly formed bloggiding habits. So, to stretch my blogging muscles and try to get back into the groove, I give you a list.

Here are a few things that have been happening in the land of things that are not bagels:
  • My office building is under construction. I've whined about this on twitter, I'm sure. There's a lot of banging, scraping, thumping, drilling, and stomping, not to mention noxious fumes that make my head swim and no air conditioner. Today, they had to cut the power and phones from 12:30 pm until "a few hours" later. Which meant HALF DAY! I knew this construction had to benefit me somehow.
  • Speaking of work, I have now officially applied for another job. We will see what happens. Hopefully, I will be able to keep my current not-so-wonderful job until this other one (or something else entirely) pans out.
  • I just realized that I have some problems with the links to my earliest posts, because they were under a different domain name. I will fix this, I promise. I would have done it by now, but that kind of thing is daunting to me. Also, I'm lazy.
  • Tonight, I'm going to go play Shaving Cream Baseball with the hooligans. Have I told you all that I help out with the Youth Group at my church? I can't remember and I apparently can't be bothered to look. So: hooligans=church kids between the ages of 10 and 18. FYI. Every Wednesday night from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. So if I'm not on twitter, that may be where I am.
  • So, Shaving Cream Baseball. You're probably wondering what that is. Well, I will tell you. 
    1. Go outside. 
    2. Take a wiffle ball
    3. And take a can of shaving cream 
    4. (I'm linking so you know that I mean exactly what I say). 
    5. Fill the wiffle ball with the saving cream. 
    6. Yes, put the nozzle in one of the holes and hold down the button until shaving cream squirts out of all the other openings. 
    7. Now lob the wiffle ball at a young person who is holding a plastic bat
    8. Duck. 
    9. Get covered in flying shaving cream. 
    10. Repeat. 
    11. All other baseball rules and strategies apply.
  • After we play baseball with the kids, we will have a water balloon fight. Then we will send them home to their parents slimy, wet, and smelling like an old man. Why, how does your Youth Group work?
  • A childhood friend of mine got married on Monday (don't ask me why Monday or why July 4th, I have no idea). She is the last of my childhood group of friends to get married. Oh wait, no. There's still one unmarried girl in the group. Who is that? I can't remember... Wait, I've got it. It's me. 
  • In completely unrelated news, I'm afraid I'm going to end up bitter and alone. Without a cat, even. Because cats like to flay my face open.
  • Moving away from the unrelated news and back into the original subject, I am completely happy for my friend and her new husband. He also grew up with us (middle school on), but didn't tell her he was in love with her until three years ago. It was a sweet ceremony and I'm excited for both of them to start their life together (both are from pretty damaged homes with really awful divorces, so I'm glad they each found someone to make a family with).
  • Some more unrelated news again: there are no boys left from my childhood that will show up one day to confess their unrequited love for me. Just sayin'.
  • I caught up on my feed reader. Either I was away from it for a lot longer than I meant to be (possible) or you people were incredibly prolific over the holiday weekend. Which is strange, because I totally wasn't. 
  • I spent Sunday with the Godson. He's amazing. He chased Satan's Cat all around the house and she only scratched him once. Don't look at me that way. When a two year old is repeatedly told to stop chasing the cat and to leave her alone when she goes under the bed, or she might scratch him, it's a good life lesson for him to get scratched when he crawls under the bed and pins her in a corner. While I am saying, "No, don't do that. You'll get an owie!" and trying to pull him away from her.
  • Godson says some really cute things at this stage and I'm going to bore you with a few of them (because it's my blog, that's why!):
    • In response to, "I love you!" He purses his lips and says, "Too! Too!"
    • He calls the cat, alternately: Kika (kitty-cat) or Isameow (It's a meow).
    • In the same way most children mispronounce the word "truck," Godson struggles with the word "fox." And it's funny. So sue me.
    • "Moo-Cow" is the catch all name for quadrupeds--especially horses, cows, moose, and zebras.
    • The same goes for "Choo-Choo Train" for trains, large cargo trucks, RVs, and 4x4s.
    • He will come find you to tell you when he needs a new "viper" but if you ask him if he needs to be changed, he will always tell you, "No."
  • Today is a gorgeous day. Sometimes in the summer, I stare outside at the blue sky, the fluffy clouds, and the waving green leaves and I wish for a away to absorb it all and sear it into my mind's eye, because I know it will be gone in a few short months. And I feel like my body and my eyes are not large enough to take it all in. And then I hope that I can remember to enjoy it enough now to last for the long winter months, so that maybe by next year, I will have figured out how to capture it for good. 
  • Now that Sister's home, I'm back in my own room. And I'm back to blogging from my new purple couch. I'm not sure how it's possible to ache for an inanimate object, but I can't believe how much I missed this couch. And that's pretty silly, since it's been across the hall this whole time. But it's been covered in clean laundry I was too lazy to fold and put away.
  • That is all. 
  • For now.
  • Maybe.


Watch Your Feet, There Are Serpents Everywhere

[The following is an excerpt from a conversation between Sister and I, in the car home from Sister-In-Law's house tonight. I wish I could tell you this is an odd conversation (and I guess it is to most people), but it's pretty run-of-the-mill for us. I like to keep you guys informed about the reality of my life. This is why I love Sister and cannot live without her. She gets me. I hope you do, too, but I'm not holding my breath...]

Why I Missed Sister, in One Act

Sister: That was a small creature that just scurried across the road. I don't know what it was.

Me: I saw it. I'm going to guess "Three-Legged Serpent"

Sister: ...Alright...

Me: He has sixty-four toes. You figure out the distribution, I'm too tired.

Sister: Okay...

Me: ...

Sister: Six and six and fifty-two on the last one.

Me: Yep. Exactly.

Sister: The back left has the fifty-two. The front left and the back right each have six.

Me: So there's just a place holder on the front right?

Sister: You said "Three-Legged." I assumed that meant there used to be four and he lost one.

Me: Well that's a silly assumption. Serpents don't usually come with legs at all, so the default is not four.

Sister: Some believe the serpent had legs before the fall of man.

Me: Yes. But this one didn't. He has two in front and one in back. Like airplane tires, but backward. And he kinda scurries in front and hops in back.

Sister: ...Oh...

Me: He also has seven ears...

Sister: With fringes. But only on six of them.

Me: The seventh is in the middle of his forehead. The fringed ones go down his back like dinosaur spikes.

Sister: That's fine, they're merely decorative anyways.

Me: Of course.

Sister: It's on account of all the glitter.

Me: Well, only the males have glitter.

Sister: ...

Me: The females have full-on sequins.

Sister: Nah... I think the men need to be flashier than the females.

Me: Yeah... That's why they have a strobe light on their tongue.

Sister: Ah...

Me: Get it? C'mon. You gotta give me credit for the "flashy" thing.

Sister: Sure...

Me: ...

Sister: Hey, you'll be very proud of me. I went to Barnes & Noble today and didn't buy any books.

Me: You know I am not opposed to you buying books.

Sister: Yes, but my bank account is.


MC: This has been another installment of Conversations with Sister, a series of one act plays performed live every day. These plays are not for the faint of heart or the rational of mind, so you may feel queasy, dizzy, and/or disoriented when the curtain falls. There are medics on hand for just such emergencies. Please make your way to the back of the theater in an orderly fashion and please don't step on Ricardo, our roving Three-Legged Serpent. He's in league with the alligators, but has capitulated to a guarded truce. So please don't anger him.

[Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference in the title. No, Sister, you can't play.]


Music Speaks to the Soul (Noses Only Speak to the Brain)

It's 7:30 pm. I am seriously considering going to bed right now. I have had a pretty stressful and craptastic week. I think things will radically improve in my life in a few weeks, but for now, I'm living on the edge of two not so great realities with the Sword of Damocles hanging above my head. Does this make any sense to you? Probably not. But that's okay. These last few sentences have been more therapy for me than information for you.

What you need to know is this: I'm having a hard time lately, I'm pretty stressed, I'm not sleeping well, and I want to hide in a hole from everything obnoxious in my life. This leads to the urge to tuck into bed at 7:30 on a Friday night. And if it weren't for Satan's Cat and her unpredictable ways, I might attempt it. Instead, I'm going to blog for a little, both to relieve stress and to make the evening go faster. And I'm going to eat some Starbucks Java Chip Frappuccino Ice Cream. Have you eaten this stuff yet? Because seriously, amazing! Go try it now. Seriously. I'll wait. Actually, while you're off running to the grocery store, I'm going to pry the sleeping cat off my legs, run to the kitchen, and pull my pint-o-awesome out of the freezer. Be right back.

Okay. I'm back. And I've got the ice cream. Delicious! Next, to turn on the music and come up with a blog topic. Yep, I'm doing it again: 250 words in and I have yet to talk about anything remotely resembling an cohesive theme. My high school English teachers are clutching their heads in pain right now, I'm sure. I guess I should get on with it and starting saying something useful or entertaining before you all stop reading. But before I do, can I just tell you how difficult it is to type with a spoon in your hand? Riddi9culusly digficul;t...

Anyway, today's topic: noses and music. Wait, what? Just go with me for a second, okay? They say that nothing can bring back memories more quickly and more vividly than our sense of smell (I don't know who they are exactly, but I've heard this many places). You've probably all experienced it at one time or another. Catch a whiff of a scent and you're suddenly back in your grandmother's house as a small child, at a county fair, or in the embrace of your high school love. Sometimes, scents don't even evoke any images, just a sudden rush of emotions you can't quite identify. Anyway, they (whoever they are) say that our olfactory nerves are the greatest link to our memories.

If scents are the best link, then music is the second best. I have absolutely no scientific data to back up this idea, but I have a lot of anecdotal evidence. And since this is my blog and I needed something to write about today, you get to hear my anecdotal evidence.

The first piece of evidence I have is this: Sister knows all of the names of all of the countries of the world. Is she a genius? Maybe. I've never checked. But her IQ level has little to do with it. It's actually due to a cartoon show called Animaniacs (Do you guys remember them? They were awesome and hilarious.) She learned the countries of the world from this song here. Plus, Sister-In-Law remembers everything from her 4th Grade year, because her teacher taught everything with a guitar (she even remembers non-school stuff and she claims that it's all linked to the songs).

So, that's kind of evidence. But maybe more evidence of learning with music that music bringing back memories. But it goes to the point. Here's my second piece of proof: I cannot listen to *NSYNC's first album without immediately feeling insecure, inadequate, and faintly depressed. And it's not just because of their over-highlighted hair, their incredibly baggy pants, or their femininely high voices. It's because it was the very first CD I ever bought myself and I listened to it practically every day of 6th Grade. And 6th Grade was a bad time for me. In so many ways, I cannot count them (I'm probably not unique in my middle school experiences and don't claim to be, so can we all agree it was bad? Thanks.). Because I don't like to go back there or feel like that, I don't listen to that CD. Or Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca. Because no.

You need more? Okay. Today, I was listening to my Josh Kelley station on Pandora (I love him and if it weren't for Katherine Heigle, I would be having his babies right now). When Roommate was in town, Sister and I introduced her to Josh Kelley (His music, not him personally. Because I don't need any more competition, thankyouverymuch) and she loved him almost as much as I do. So when his song came on my iPhone, I was immediately in the car on the way to the glacier, the sun shining and Roommate in the seat next to me. Then Michael Bublé came on after him and I was again with Roommate, this time studying (okay, dancing really) in our tiny dorm at college at midnight. These two experiences right after one another almost killed me, by the way. Because Roommate is not here and will not be within at least 500 miles of me for about a year. Musical memories can do that to you.

Music is so powerful, it can make use recall memories that aren't even really ours. Yes, I just reread that and it doesn't make much sense to me either. I work better in examples: I'm listening to a Lifescapes album while I type this and I feel like I'm starring in a Jane Austen adaptation. I should be writing a letter to an unrequited love with quill and parchment instead of blogging to a readership that is likely composed entirely of robots. Music can change our moods instantaneously, even if we have no memories associated with the particular song. Because music speaks to our souls, not just our brains (take that, olfactory senses!). I know in my life, a good angry rock song at the end of a bad day can lift me out of my funk, but put on something mournful or balladish and I may finish the day in tears. Even actors listen to specific kinds of music to get emotionally ready for difficult scenes, because they know that music offers a window into the human experience.

So, I have a question for you, because I have to ask you a question at the end of posts like this to make you think I have put some kind of thought and planning into it and also to make me look really philosophical and crap. Here goes: How does music affect you? Do you find memories linked to music? Can a song change your mood? Is it the lyrics or the instruments that impact you? Tell me about your musical experiences, will you?

P.S. Hey look! It's 9:30 pm. I might be able to go to bed without feeling like a complete loser. And also, the cat may not eat the flesh off my bones at this hour. But she probably also won't let me sleep in tomorrow morning. Luckily, Sister gets home Monday morning, so only three more sleeps until I don't have to fear a feline death.

P.P.S Did your mother ever count days in "sleeps" when you were little? As you can see, mine did.