Thursday, May 27, 2010

from the horse's mouth, sort of

a little over a month ago, i was invited to be a part of a team that would travel to haiti to do a bit of volunteer work. to my sadness and frustration, i was not able to use my vacation days for this purpose. i don't want to talk about it, but i will say that if you know/hear of any great jobs, let me know.

though i wasn't able to travel to haiti, members of my family were. one of these was alisha, my cousin-in-law. upon returning, she wrote an email to all of those of us back here who were supporting the trip in thoughts and prayer, if not in physical presence. she added a story at the end of her email that i particularly appreciated, so here it is:

One afternoon our translator Enel took Aisha and me into town, and as we walked around we came upon a medium sized church vibrating with sound. As we approached, we saw that even though it was mid-day, the courtyard was filled with people. We made our way to the back of the church and saw that it too was full of people standing shoulder to shoulder, worshiping God and praying. But it was not only after the earthquake that Haiti hosted lovers of God. I'm told that during the month of December, the young people of the orphanage spent hours every night, on their own initiative, worshipping Christ and thanking him for his sacrifice. God allowed this earthquake, but not because Haiti lacks his lovers, anymore than Job's troubles were caused by his lack of love for God.

that's all. i just thought it was worth sharing. i made alisha's name above a link to her blog, so if you'd like to read more or contact her, have at it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

that was just a dream some of us had

i'm sorry if the title of this post is misleading. it maybe made something inside you jump at thoughts of an interesting dream, a telling hope, or an inspirational story. this is none of that. it's actually just an update about me. i haven't written one in a while, and, assuming that not everyone who reads this works in my office (though i'm very grateful to those who do), i thought that maybe someone might care about what's going on in my life, i know i do.

what does that have to do with the title? well, first, i have already used at least one variation of "update" and "things" and any other more appropriate title, in the titles of past updates. therefore, i was forced to come up with something a bit more creative. second, i'm going to california tomorrow morning, and, as that is the case, i started thinking about different songs that i like that talk about california. mostly, i just inserted "california" for "carolina" in "i'm going to carolina in my mind," but when i realized my mistake, i turned to joni mitchell. of course. i love her, if you didn't know that. her blue album, i would say, is one of my favorite albums ever. she has a song called "california" and in it, she sings:

sitting in a park in paris, france,
reading the news, and it sure looks bad.
they wont give peace a chance,
that was just a dream some of us had.
**disclaimer - that might not be a perfect quote because it came out of my head, and not off of

now you see - i stole a line for my title.

okay, on to the real things. i'm going to use a bulleted list, because that's fun.
  • i'm going to california tomorrow. actually, my flight leaves in less than 8 hours. it was a last minute sort of thing. my lovely aunt lori and uncle steve own a vineyard in northern california, and are commissioning my father and me to play some music there during a wine festival this saturday. my dad is staying all week and, i think, will be playing more music next saturday at my cousin's graduation party (yay for sara!!). i would have loved to stay, too, but couldn't take that much time off of work, and have a wedding in d.c. to attend on the following sunday. nevertheless, i am pretty ecstatic to be spending the weekend in wine country with my delightful family, even though i have to come back on monday.
  • as of june 1st, all of my tenants will be out of my house. steven is already gone. he bought a house about 2 blocks up the street from me (yay steven!!) and katie and suzanne will be spending the summer in costa rica (yay katie and suzanne!!). june and july will bring sub-letters, dancers in town for the american dance festival. august will bring the return of katie and suzanne, and the permanent replacement for steven. she came to visit this week and, though it was a short visit, it was a lot of fun and i'm convinced that there will be many more good times to be had, come august.
  • my foot is broken. i, perhaps, should have started with this one, since it's been the case for a while now. my foot had been hurting since, well i'm not really sure when. i'd like to say the late fall/early winter. i finally went to the doctor about a month ago, and they told me it was broken. that would explain all of the pain every time in engaged stilettos or the warrior pose. i have to wear a dumb boot now, and it's really becoming such a nuisance that i fear i may have forgotten about every other nuisance in my life. they all pale in comparison to this nuisance. ahg. i have given up the gym, even though i'm sure there's lots i could do, simply because i'm angry about being limited by a tiny, fractured bone in my foot. i can't wait tables, which has made me kind of poor - another nuisance, that really just adds to the annoyance of the primary nuisance.
  • i'm thinking i will audition for american idol this summer. the cities/dates haven't been announced yet, but i would like to say that i tried.
  • my job - bleh. i still feel generally un-valued (not even really undervalued, just un-valued) by the owners of the company, and then, sort of by default, by my direct management. it could be worse. i've taken on a very different sort of role (in addition to my other roles) in the textbook-publishing process that is proving to be fun. i get to work with art more - kind of managing the rendering, editing, organizing, naming, sending to freelancers. i'm not really sure whether it's actually fun, or i just think it is because it's different. only time will tell.
  • alisha and i are making big plans for overseas travel. a long-termish (probably no more than a year, but who knows) combination of volunteer work and run-of-the-mill backpacking. why? i think that "why not?" is a more appropriate question. more to come on that.
  • i've joined well, i actually joined in a couple of months ago. nothing has really come of it, and i'm pretty skeptical. i mostly did it out of romantic boredom (not sure if that can be a legitimate phrase, but let's run with it). it's kind of fun - getting emails and "winks" and then looking at profiles and deciding why it is, exactly, that there's no way. i've been on a couple of dates, and that's been good because the whole dating world still feels like another planet to me. mars, perhaps? i have more to say on the matter, but not here because that's weird. ask, if you'd like. it may or may not be weirder.
  • steven bought a ukulele, so that's fun.
  • i have every intention of taking a photoshop class this summer. we'll see.
  • i absolutely love glee.
  • i started posting twitpics of big rubberband ball that i have at my desk. i think they are great fun. they entertain me every time i post them and i know that other people look at them because there's a view counter on the twitpic site, but no one ever says anything about them. that makes it funnier because it creates or a sort of mystery for me about what people are making of my rubberband ball twitpics. if you haven't seen any of them, go here.

i guess that's it. i want to go to sleep now. thanks for reading this. maybe i'll write from california (she said, knowing full well that she would not...).

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Jackson Pollock-brain

i learned something. i learned it last weekend. i think i may have already "known" it, but you know how it goes - some things you can't actually know until you're there. for instance, when i was in school, i "knew" that it would be hard to find a well-paying job with a humanities degree, but now i actually know it.

i learned last weekend that fears and assumptions, no matter how well-founded they might be, come up against a particular and unavoidable challenge when spoken out loud (or written). also, the longer the fdars and assumptions go unspoken, the more they are challenged when they are spoken. i think that's because the longer things live only in our heads, the more we distort them. they may have looked like a Dorothea Lange when they went in, but they come out looking like a Jackson Pollock.

that's why it's important that we not let things live only in our minds for too long. not that there's anything wrong with Jackson Pollock, it's just that clarity, at least for me, is an important something when it comes to how i view the world around me.

and if we're being candid, which we are, because i'm the only one here, i've realized even more, how important it is that i write here - it keeps things from living only in my head for too long. even if no one reads it, at least mostly-formed thoughts on paper are more easily judged than less-formed thoughts floating around in my head.

therefore, speak to people, write to people, or even speak or write to no one. it's all better than having a Jackson Pollock-brain.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

people from that box

i like to think that i'm pretty good at figuring people out. i pride myself, mostly secretly because no one really likes people who pride themselves, in my ability to identify peoples motives, goals, and general tendencies, fairly early in the game. this type of intuition is very convenient to have, but, as i've been learning more and more, it is never, regardless of my incredible abilities of interpretation, a good thing to put people in a box before you actually know them.

(i do realize that this is taking on a sort of "don't judge a book by its cover, " children's story sort of theme, but apparently i need to go back and read some of those again.)

when i do this, this sick sort of people-filing, i'm really just hurting myself.

for instance, a lot of people get thrown into the "we'll never understand each other and so there's nothing to be gained from a relationship there" box. i don't really do it consciously - it just happens. how the person gets in the box is irrelevant. what does matter is that they get there, and usually stay there for far too long. it's problematic because i am indifferent to, or even avoid the people in this box - irritated by the hopelessness of the space between us. it's embarrassing to admit because, as i mentioned above, judgement is passed swiftly, and usually based on very little information.

over and over again, people from that box surprise me.

and of course they do.


because no one belongs there.

[exasperated sigh.]

this is one of those self-bettering truths that i often wish weren't so. i wish that there were some people with whom a relationship would hold absolutely no potential growth for anyone. that'd make life easier. there would be no guilt or self-sabotage in avoiding them. however, that's not the case. everyone has something to offer - a perspective that is, though perhaps completely different and uninteresting, or even maddening, one that will challenge our own to be more fully claimed or altered - both good things.

plus, i heard on the radio that interacting with people who challenge you on a regular basis actually helps prevent dementia, so there you go.