Sunday, June 21, 2009

the view

The view out my window right now is absolutely perfect. I will not take a picture of it because that would just ruin it, but I can describe it to you. I'm looking into my neighbors' backyard, which from here looks slightly overgrown with different kinds of vines and flowers. There is one plant in particular that is climbing up the corner post of the stairs. I can see these cream and burgungy stairs climbing up the back of the apartment building and they're covered in pots full of flowers of all colors--red, yellow, pink. There's a neat little trellis coming off of the second floor porch with more plants hanging off of it, and I can see a tiny peek of a bike wheel. Hanging from this stiarcase are two windchimes which are sitting silently at the moment, waiting for a whisp of wind to set them singing. My favorite part of this whole scene, however, is one small, old-fashioned thermometer. It is round and made of what used to be a silver metal, but is now a bit rusted, and it is hanging dutifully on a hanging post with a curlique end. The sun is setting now on the scene outside my window, and I welcome it. Tomorrow is a new day with fresh sunshine for more gazing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

conflicted--what else is new?

I'm still having that argument with myself about whether or not my reliance on technology has escalated to unhealthy proportions. I feel like I've been having this argument with myself a lot lately. Here's how it goes...

Compared to my family and most of the rest of American society, my dependence on technology is quite minimal. My cousin sends/receives 12,000 text messages per month, my immediate family watches more TV than I could ever imagine sitting still for, and I am far from being dependent on Facebook for survival. I laugh at advertisements geared toward the "technological generation", then laugh at myself because the laughter in my head makes me sound like an old lady (which I may very well be...more on that later). I try to use my car as little as possible, I haven't logged into my AOL Instant Messenger account in years, and I do not have, nor do I EVER want, an iPod.

On the other hand, I am on the computer more than I would like to be, mostly because of my summer boredom. I just bought a rather fancy phone with a QWERTY keyboard because it increases the speed of data-entry, and I use my PDA for all of my appointments, contacts, and some of my tasks. I would like to sell my crocheted things online, I sit here blogging, and email has become my primary mode of communication with my boyfriend since he's in Canada (with a bunch of malfunctioning technology).

So, what do I do? I think maybe it's about time for a technology fast. I'm writing specifically about electronic devices used for communication or entertainment. Could I go a day without my computer? A week without my cell phone? A month without watching movies?

Truly, at this point in my life I find this a tad unrealistic. First of all, I have gone almost two weeks without my cell phone, computer, PDA, and any sort of music player. That was over Spring Break when we were in Iowa, happily surrounded by nature and close community, with no need to communicate with the "outside world" (not to mention eight joyous years of Girl Scout Camp). I gave up Facebook for Lent two years ago and it was so freeing! I actually didn't want to go back. So I know that I can do these things within certain contexts. Let us note the specifics:

*Nature seems to be a key component. When I'm surrounded by the beauty of Creation it's all I can think about because I see, hear, smell, taste, and touch it everywhere I go.
*Community has also been an important factor in my successful detachments from technology. The people immediately around me have the same effect as Creation (um, because they're part of it?) and they draw me away from myself, from boredom, and from pride. The forming of close community is an art form that requires untold balance and patience that can only come from God. Why ignore that sort of challenge for loosely-bound, non-commital "community"?
*Food. Never underestimate the power of a good meal. A good meal, even and especially one prepared and eaten in silence, provides more satisfaction than any amount of time spent responding to endless emails. This category is included in the much larger category of Work.
*Last but most definitely not least, communion with God is critical for without Him we are nothing and can do nothing. We have no power. God is IT.

So what does this mean for you and I? How do we respond to the fact that our dependence on "social networking sites" (I think that phrase is funny because it sounds hoity-toity) is actually diminishing our ability to respond emotionally to stimuli--essentially, that we are losing our humanity? I want to be human! It seems like this means that I will have to find myself a place nestled in nature with a patiently persistent community where I can make and eat good food and worship God with my life and work. Hmmm...I have some ideas on how city life makes this nearly impossible, but they will have to wait until next time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

crochet joy

Thanks to my (fairly) new job at Campus Center, I have the joy and privilege of crocheting as much as I could possibly want. We're talking hours and hours of crocheting per day. My fingers, wrists, and upper back are unbelievably sore and it's GREAT!

Currently, I'm finishing a rug that will take some more yarn so it's on hold for a bit. Also, I'm working on an afghan for my mother who asks me "When are you going to make something for me?" every time she sees me working on a project--also may take a while since most of it is done in single crochet. And, as if that's not enough, I started what is called a "Metropolitan Wrap", the pattern for which I found in my new pattern book, The Big Book of Crochet! It's done in afghan stitch and I'm not very good at it yet and it really hurts my hands, so that one will also be a long time a-comin'. I've decided that I need to do a couple little projects to give me a feeling of accomplishment--like the hat I made for Luke before he left (five hours) or some socks or fingerless gloves or a dish towel or something.

I'm also thinking that I'll try knitting again. I learned years ago, but I was never any good at it, and I feel like if you're going to be a crocheter, you have to be a knitter just so you can respond to the question "Oh, what are you knitting?" with "Actually, it's crochet, but I do also knit" so that you don't feel like an idiot. Knitting is just too popular. I don't know why more people don't crochet--only one hook! Hello?! And it's much easier to make doilies with crochet, which is why they sell doily thread and call it "crochet thread". So there. ;-)

(No offense to knitters. I know quite a few rather accomplished knitters, and some who also know how to crochet, which I appreciate greatly. There are also many things that are better knit, like socks and scarves.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


One would think that with all of my introspection and sensitivity and general desire to improve myself as a human being, I would have learned how to trust by now. Perhaps that is a foolish notion, but I have been learning to trust for a long time, repeating the same struggles and coming to the same conclusions again and again. Each time, I fail to trust--I fail to trust God most of all, and myself, my closest friends, my boyfriend, parents, and roommates. I've spoken to many people about this, and I simply do not buy the argument that my trust must have once been violated and it has scarred me for life. I can believe that this is true for some people some of the time, but I find our society's emphasis on Freudian analysis of all aspects of individual life quite tiresome. I've certainly had quite a few experiences of violated trust that have left an impact on me, but I also believe in the power of the Ressurection, and in the power of God to lift his children out of a state of perpetual distrust into a healthier, more trusting state.

That all being said, this came up because I had to take Luke to the airport this morning and say good-bye to him for nearly three months. There is a possibility that I may be able to see him once in June and/or July, but neither is gauranteed and both would cost a fair amount of money which I'm not sure I possess. Anyway, we woke up this morning in my room, despite my roommate's disconcertingly immature assumption that no "boys" should ever sleep over, ever, as if we're still on a middle school youth group trip and the boys and girls have to sleep in seperate rooms. So, to avoid the wrath of my roomies, Luke snuck out the back door and rang the doorbell in front and acted like he'd just arrived. He packed while I ran to pick up some juice (his first words in the morning are almost always "juice" or "I have to pee"), and then we were off.

The drive was quiet. I had already cried once this past weekend, a couple different times last night and this morning (only one of which Luke actually knew about), and we both knew what was coming. He kept his hand on my leg the whole time I was driving, which is one of my favorite things, and we rode in silence. We parked and unloaded the car in record time--my least favorite part of airports is how that stupid loop works, how you can't be there for more than thirty seconds before some TSA person comes over and shoos you away--and I burst into tears. The moment had come, and I cried with as much control as I could muster. Luke thanked me for being a good woman and for taking care of him, and I thanked him for being wonderful and made him promise to call me. His shirt was wet by the time we stopped hugging and kissing. Unfortunately, I had to get to work so I couldn't stay longer, but that was probably a good thing in the long run.

I need to trust for the next few months. I need to trust God to take care of both of us, to watch over us and protect our relationship through this long-distance phase, and to lift our spirits and allow this time to create an even stronger bond between us. I need to trust Luke to be faithful, to call, to take care of himself, and to come back to me refreshed. I need to trust myself to be faithful, to be the woman I know that I am and to take care of myself, and not to freak out (as is somehow ingrained in my nature). It will be okay, whatever that means, and I need to take some deep breaths and remember that life continues. Though life runs its course and we are mere blades of grass bending and flattening in the wind, God is sovereign over all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Of late, I have been experiencing some difficulty in the way I approach my blog. I went through a period of time in which it was nearly impossible for me to write anything, which does happen on occasion. Later I wondered if I should even continue writing posts because I felt like what I was writing was entirely silly and useless, or worse, whiney and pathetic. However, I've decided that given that my best girlfriends are away for the summer and Luke will be travelling until August, it makes sense to write the occasional post so that my long-distance friends can keep up with me on some level (although certain people who know who they are still need to give me their address so that we can be penpals). That being said, here are some highlights from the past few weeks...

* I got a job working at Magnuson Campus Center Desk. North Parkers will appreciate this, but for those of you who are wondering what a "Magnuson" is, it just means that I am essentially the switchboard operator for the university. I also answer the Security "hot line" and take care of the Campus Center in general. I am actually really enjoying my job because I get to work with really wonderful people (my boss is great, everyone on staff is great, and the security heads are great) and although it seems simple, there is enough to remember that I feel sufficiently challenged. And I get to read and crochet for HOURS.

* I am officially moved out of my parents' house, which is strange and wonderful. It feels really weird to visit them because we both acknowledge that that is indeed what I am doing when I go to their house, but at the same time, I love my apartment and I would much rather live here in the city with my friends than out in the 'burbs with no friends. I love my family very much, but living with them is simply not the same as being around the people who know my present self the best and are intimately acquainted with the goings-on of my life.

* I've decided to become an actual woman and learn how to do things for myself that I've not yet learned. This mainly includes frightening forays into the as of yet unexplored world of cooking. Thus far, I've learned how to cook meat so that it doesn't dry out and how to flavor it properly, and how to make a fantastic alfredo sauce from scratch. Other "womanly" learning that I'm doing includes sewing (which I can do, but don't really on a regular basis), re-learning to knit, repairing my bike by myself, and growing things. I really want to grow herbs to cook with so that I can feed two birds with one loaf.

* I'm planning on reading a lot this summer, but of course I know I won't get through everything that I would like to. That being said, I will certainly make a valiant effort to read as much as possible.

* Luke and I have been dating now for two months and things are going well. As is always the case when two very independent, intelligent, talented people attempt to synch their lives to the same rhythm, we've had our share of issues in the past two months--both externally and internally. None of these issues are insurmountable, however, and I am quite sure that we'll make it through them with God's help and with the aid of our stubborn wills.

* I haven't been to All Saints' on a Sunday in over a month and it's really depressing. I'm glad to be getting back this coming Sunday.

That's all. I'll try to remember to keep everyone posted on the goings-on of my life. In the meantime, I send all my love to my dearest friends. Peace be with you!