Saturday, September 25, 2010

happy first day of autumn

In the following paper, I will prove that it is, indeed, autumn.

First, the leaves are changing. Leaves do not usually change unless it is autumn. Or unless they're dying. Which is what they're doing during autumn, only first they turn pretty red, yellow, and orange colors. That is what they're doing now.

Secondly, some nights I have to wear my bed socks. My bed socks are orange and thick, and they sit by my bed because I often have trouble sleeping when my feet are cold. During the summertime, sometimes I saran wrap ice around my feet so I can sleep. But I can always tell it's becoming winter when my feet get cold on their own. Just kidding about that first part.

And speaking of bed, thirdly: I put my penguin flannel sheets on. You know it's getting cold at night if I pull out the flannel sheets - and the ones with penguins on them, no less! (They're drinking hot chocolate and ice fishing. It's adorable.)

Fourthly, I have the intense desire to watch movies like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women. If you've never listened to the Little Women soundtrack, you must. I'm pretty sure Thomas Newman took the music from falling leaves to create the first track.

I consider The Family Stone a precursor to the Christmas season, and I usually have my first viewing (I say "first" because I have many viewings in the last few months of the year) in October, and it's almost October. So, fifthly, it's almost time to watch The Family Stone, which means it's almost the Christmas season, and what comes right before the Christmas season? Autumn.

Sixth: Tea. Drinking tea makes me think of sitting in literature classes and wearing scarves. My favorite teas right now are Good Earth's, because of their fragrance, flavor, and inspirational quotes in each tea package. I recently had one that said, "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely. Rodin (1840-1917)" God speaks through tea.

And finally, on the seventh, God rested, because it's football season. The word "autumn" in Nflese roughly translates to "pig skin sailing through crisp blue skies." There is no greater feeling than sitting in one's pajamas in front of a football game on a Sunday afternoon. Wrong; there are several greater feelings. But this one is really good.

In conclusion, it's autumn. You may not feel it wherever you are, but the calendar says it is, and so do I.
Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns. - George Eliot
Saturday, September 18, 2010

do not tell me what I can and cannot do when I rock

Three days ago I sat at a traffic light in Lexington, blasting Lifehouse's "Everything" from my speakers, because a.) I love that song, and b.) my windows were down and I wanted to drown out the city sounds. Suddenly out of my peripheral ear I heard a guy's voice, and I looked up to see said guy leaning out of his truck window next to me. I thought it might be a repeat of the time I met my future husband, but it wasn't. This guy was shouting at me, "You have a flat tire."
"I have a flat tire?" I questioned, as if some strange man would lean out his window and shout at me, "Hey, that lady three cars down has a flat tire."
He answered affirmatively, and I thanked him without a good attitude, then drove over to a neighborhood street and called my dad.

Since the tire obviously wasn't completely flat (seeing as how I didn't even notice it was lacking air), Dad told me to take it to a gas station and fill it with air, then drive to a Wal-Mart or some other mechanical place and ask them to fix it. So I pulled up to a Shell gas station and saw a big sign that said, "Air, 75 cents." George Harrison was not kidding when he wrote "Taxman." It's air. It's all around us. We breathe it every day; sometimes more than once. I should've just placed my mouth over the nozzle on the tire and exhaled really hard. (You can tell I know very little about cars, and it's about to get a great deal more obvious.)

As I lifted the gun (because it had a trigger), I saw a sign warning, "Injury may occur. If overfilled, tire may explode." I stared at the sign with the weapon in my hand, my eyes wide, watching a slideshow in my mind of the possible ways I could be decapitated or permanently blinded by my exploding tire.

Did you know they make gauges to determine how much air needs to be in a tire? I didn't.

I kept one hand in front of my face, as if that would protect me from the rubbery shrapnel, and squeezed air into the tire, occasionally stepping back to measure its rotundness against the other healthy tires. "Eyeballing" is a very accurate method that will soon make it into all the indexes of university science textbooks.

Wal-Mart's tire service was closed, but the greasy people there told me to try Chevron.
"I don't know where that is," I replied.
"Across from KFC."
"We have a KFC?"

On my way down the street Dad called, and I told him I filled the tire with air and was on my way to Chevron.
"Did you use the gauge to see how much air you put in?" Dad asked.
Suddenly I remembered that long proby thing with numbers up and down it that I used to use in the car when I was bored and pretending to be a doctor. But I very slowly answered, "No." He could've told me that that was for checking air BEFORE I checked the air.

I found the Chevron (and the KFC), whose sign was almost unreadable behind the grime. I pulled up to the garage and stepped out of my car as a tattooed man with a cigarette hanging out of the side of his mouth and a gut that made his pants sag walked up to me. I should learn to at least pretend like I know what I'm doing in situations like this, but instead I said something like, "I don't know what I'm doing." I probably mentioned that my dad told me to come here, too, and anytime a girl mentions that her dad told her to do something, the potential to be hit on or treated like a child increases by a baker's dozen.

Cigarette Man (shortened to Cig) felt my tire, measured the tire pressure with a gauge (glad somebody told him), and said, "You got a leak, baby girl." Baby girl? Yeah, I definitely shouldn't have mentioned my dad. He took off my tire, chatting amiably in an equally grimy southern accent (I found out he hates Wisconsin and that he was in "the service," though which service I'm not really sure). Then he sprayed soapy water on the tire to find out where the leak was, and I was fascinated by the spewing bubbles coming from the hole. Finally he stuffed a large metal probe into the hole to make it bigger (seems counter-productive, doesn't it?), before twisting a long soggy cloth that looked like a pre-chewed Slim Jim around some plyers and shoving it into the hole. Problem solved.

Cig put my tire back on and told me, "I'll give this to you for ten instead of fifteen," he said.
"Oh, okay," I said, taken off'guard. "Thanks!" Yeah, definitely a good idea to mention my dad.

But when I went to pay for the tire, the lady at the front desk heard what I'd gotten done and said, "Ten dollars, sweetie." Really. Ten instead of fifteen, huh, Cig? I'm sure.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010

end rant

Turns out I didn't have to wait very long to be noticed, and after our eyes met in the parking lot of Kroger, the Man from Church (so much more romantic than "The Man from Snowy River") recognized the treasure I am and asked me out. But I knew that "Do you like coffee?" was his way of asking "Will you make me coffee every morning for the rest of our lives?" It's only a matter of time before we name our first child Laurence (for three reasons: 1.) It's my mother's maiden name, and I like her side of the family; 2.) Laurence comes from my favorite book, Little Women, which I'm in the process of reading for the 6th time; 3.) Joshua Laurence Chamberlain won the battle of Little Roundtop at Gettysburg, and he's my favorite character in The Killer Angels) and move into a cute townhouse with floral wallpaper. I may as well start sewing my aprons while I have all this free time!

Just kidding. About all of it. (Except why I want to name my son Laurence.) We don't even have a Kroger. But I'm thinking of adding some fictional elements to my blog posts from now on, to make them more interesting and entertaining. Also, the apple pie turned out fine and my family has consumed almost all of it.
Sunday, September 12, 2010


I enjoy being a girl, most of the time. Like when I can wear frilly dresses and headbands with fabric flowers on them, and sew and knit and bake and watch Gilmore Girls and swoon over how tall Dean is. And when I get to smell like plumeria body lotion and paint my fingernails and sing Ingrid Michaelson songs on my guitar. These things, and many more, I enjoy about being a girl.

But sometimes I don't enjoy being a girl. Like when it's 90 degrees outside and my shirt is soaked with sweat while all the guys romp around half naked. Or when we're camping, and it's raining outside the adirondack, and it's 3 o'clock in the morning, and I have to pee. But mostly, I don't enjoy being a girl when I have to sit there and just wait for some guy to notice me and, even more importantly, do something about it.

I was thinking about this today before church and, I confess, continued to think about it during worship (even though I was helping that a sin?). My brother had just been telling me about the guy at church that he thinks would be good for me, and all I could do was sit there and say, "Well isn't that nice?" Because whether I agree with him or not, there's nothing I can do about it. Guys may complain that it's nerve racking to ask a girl out, but, in our defense, it's also awfully difficult to sit there and wait. And sometimes we wait for a long time.

I love gender roles. But if man's role is "the pursuer" and woman's is "the pursued" but the man isn't pursing, then the woman can't fulfill her role, and she's left sitting in a church pew sighing because there's nothing she can do about it. Pretty helpless, huh. At least when a guy decides he likes a girl, he can ask her out. When a girl likes a guy....

I came home from church and baked an apple pie. It looked perfect - till I dropped it on the floor. Then I sat in a slump in my frilly dress and painted fingernails next to the mass of apples and cinnamon and wanted to cry. Maybe I should become a feminist.
Sunday, September 5, 2010


"Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and...he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma...." - Genesis 8:20-21a

The sacrifice:

The pleasing aroma:

And this is just the beginning.
Saturday, September 4, 2010

starting out small

Recently I've been making a few trips on my bike to the post office (literally a few backyards away from my house). The man there is probably the sweetest man I've ever met. He deserves a blog post all his own, and maybe one day I'll write one about him. He also deserves some baked goods. Something with zucchini, maybe?

One day when I rode my bike to the post office, I decided to explore. I rode down a road surrounded by cornfields and farms (which describes most of Wisconsin and is directionally useless). But straight ahead of me the road went up, I'm pretty sure at a 90-degree angle. At least, it looked mountainous to me. So I turned around and came back.

But today I drove to the post office, in my pajamas and Asbury U sweatshirt (because it's Saturday, it's cold outside, and my packages were too big to fit on my bike), and decided to see what was beyond this mountain. I drove past a couple of kids in knitted hats playing football in their front yard (swelling my heart with unquenchable joy) and pushed the gas peddle down to keep my speedometer's needle from slowly falling, which it did anyway. And when I reached the top, I decided I was going to conquer that hill. On my bike.

I've already checked a few things off my bucket list, which I only add to when I realize there's something I want to do and have the ability to do it. I try to keep it to things I deem possible. And I only started it this summer, so I've actually only added and crossed off two things so far:

1.) Ride a tandem bike
2.) Stand outside Asbury's "awkward relational goodbyes" card door with a boy

And now,

3.) Ride my bike up Mocking Mountain

As I drove on, I planned my training regimen to conquer this mountain before winter. You may think that's plenty of time, but the sky is already turning wintry, and the wind is cold even when the sun is warm. The clouds are great, white, massive fellows with bulbous dark underbellies. And as I topped another hill in my car, I saw the street name, "Pleasant View," and then turned my eyes on one of the pleasantest views I've ever seen.

Hills of grass and corn, sunlit and shadowed by those autumnal clouds, and in the distance, windmills. Dozens of them. It was absolutely beautiful, and I felt inspired to write a poem or read a poem or at least watch Anne of Green Gables. My capacity for beauty is too small for the abundance of creation that God has to offer, and I feel the need to spill it over onto something so my seams don't break. Consider yourself spilled upon.

Training regimen begins TODAY. I'm coming for you, Mocking Mountain.

last night's sunset from the end of my street
Friday, September 3, 2010

"Would you like an adventure now,

 or would you like to have your tea first?" - Peter Pan

August always seems to take forever to end. It's probably because I'm always waiting for something in August. I'm never sad to see it go. This August was no exception.

With one difference: This time I was ending something without beginning something else. I've been fighting "being okay" with this for many months now. Hence all the posts on adventure, by trying to sooth my desire for stability and assurance with prospects of adventure. I realized my desire had not been assuaged* when I watched the series finale of Gilmore Girls today and cried. For one, Gilmore Girls has been over for over three years. Secondly, I didn't even cry the first time I watched the series finale. I can't help that I'm emotional, but even more so** I can't help that I hate goodbyes and endings. Who knows how many arks I could float with my tears the next time I watch The Return of the King. And, like Wendy, John, and Michael, I'm tempted to have my tea first. The truth is, I'm quaking in my boots at the same time I'm praying for adventure.

The woman whose 9-month-old little boy I watch gave me a zucchini today. I can't wait to hack it up and bake it in something. Muffins? Brownies? Bread? The possibilities are endless and my fingers are twitching with glee.

"Peter had seen many tragedies, but he had forgotten them all. He was less sorry than Wendy for Tiger Lily: it was two against one that angered him, and he meant to save her. An easy way would have been to wait until the pirates had gone, but he was never one to choose the easy way."

* Assuaged, along with ardent and sanguine, are some of my favorite words.
** WHY isn't "more so" one word but "nevertheless" is?

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