Sunday, July 19, 2009

forward and back

I never thought I'd say this, but I miss this mess on my desk. Sure, this picture brings up memories of times I'd rather forget, including among other things many many hours of paper-writing and agonizing over my sins. However, the multitude of drinking apparati also remind me of cold days greeted by a hot mug of tea or a hearty glass of water. It also reminds me of slightly simpler days: days before rent, before actually caring what my roommates think about my dish-doing abilities/desires (or lack thereof), before making more phone calls per day than I ever thought possible...sigh. However, the days of homework and drudgery are soon returning and I cannot wait. I know, I listed that as one of the memories I'd prefer to forget, but that's because if I forget it, I will approach this new semester with more confidence instead of being bogged down by my memories of being bogged down. Fall semester of my senior year, here I come!!

what I want most

What I want most in this moment is an eighty-seven degree day complete with a post-sunset thunderstorm that lasts for at least three hours. It's what I have been looking forward to for quite some time now, and it would just make my life. That being said, I have many other reasons by which my life is being made just now, so I'm grateful.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

shingles update

Well, Mr. Luke is making a slow yet steady recovery from his bout with shingles. I believe it's been about 8-10 days since the onslaught, and the standard time of illness is generally around 12-16 days (numbers depend on their source). So, considering he was just recently quite ill and slogging around all day and slightly drowsy from the miniscule amount of vicadin he could be given for the pain, he's doing quite well. The last I heard, yesterday, was that he was able to go to work for a few days (praise the LORD!), though he um...vomited...on a few occasions in those days. He thinks that's probably his stomach's reaction to the vicadin. It looks like things are getting better for our dear Luke-y-poo. (I do not call him that. Our funny nineteen-year-old friend calls him that.)

Anyway, all prayers--past, present, and future--are much appreciated.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I think that's an awesome word. The first time I saw the noun "housewife" adapted to refer to a skill that one might possess, I was reading Wendell Berry, and I was thrilled. It seems that the word "housewife" has collected many a negative connotation in its day, and I am here to correct these slightly misplaced ideas. Pardon my arrogance in even attempting this post, as I claim to be an expert in nearly nothing, and especially not in the precise history of feminism.

Once upon a time, most people were farmers with farmer wives and farm children and farmer neighbors and farm towns. Men did the hard outside work because women did the equally delicate and equally respected work of caring for the household and raising the children (to which they also, incidentally, gave birth). Men and women were required by their environment to possess certain skills and a certain level of creativity and ingenuity. All sorts of real, in-your-face problems would appear, day after day, and you had only your family and friends to help you. No "experts", no "consultants", just everyday intelligent folks.

Times were good, but some people thought that they could be better. The era of industrialization appeared on the horizon, and with it came inventions such as tractors, delivery trucks, and milking machines. Some farmers began to buy into these seemingly helpful devices and their farms grew larger and larger, and the increase in production decreased the cost which increased demand. Enter the evil villains like the Chicago meat-packing factories (please see The Jungle by Upton Sinclair for further information). These factories that appeared called for men to come to work for them, since only a few farmers were needed to actually farm and the rest of the farmers needed new work. It was at this time that the man's job began to support his household by earning money for buying things.

Slowly, as industrialization took more and more farms and more and more ex-farmers were going to work in the factories, the women became restless. Their men were at work all day doing some job that the women did not see them doing and so could not understand. Instead of coming home from farming, a job that women can and must take part in, he came home from a "work" outside the household and community, creating distance between man and his wife. She began to feel at once unimportant (or at least less so) and curious. What does he do all day? What does his work produce?

Enter the beginnings of feminism. Feminism did not begin as a man-hating, bra-burning, free-sex movement designed to allow women to be as masculine as they wanted/needed to be of use in the world. It began as an effort on woman's part to experience this new world, to be appreciate again, to "contribute" to the family by earning money instead of by taking care of the household and family as they always had done. Of course, once "contribution" became the goal, it followed that men and women should be payed the same amount so that each could "contribute" equal financial parts to the household.

Well, we all know where this leads. Now, women are encouraged to be as masculine as possible, presumably so as to be worthy of earning as much as men, of being hired for the same jobs as men, and being hired for the same reasons as men. The housewife is a thing of the past. If a woman today is a housewife, it is assumed that she has little to no self-respect or business skill, is completely subservient to her husband, or has no ambition to make a "contribution" to the world. Having more than the average 2.5 children is thought of as insane, and spending more than ten minutes on dinner because you care about your family's health is snobbery and a waste of time.

But I say NO (I'm sure you didn't see that coming, ha-HA!). For you women who are in business of your own choosing and enjoy it, I applaud you. I applaud you further if you remain feminine in the process. Men and women are different. By fighting this basic truth, we unwittingly yet forcefully acknowledge its verity. Use your femininity to your advantage, and don't worry so much about how much you make. Fairness is an illusion, anyhow.

For the women who are housewives of their own choosing and enjoy it, I embrace you. In this day and age, being a businesswoman is likely just as good as being a housewife, but I think it's especially important to encourage housewives since they are a dying breed. Ideally, your being a housewife suggests that at the very least, you feel that your work is appreciated by your husband and your friends, and perhaps at the most, your husband's work is familiar to you and it does not necessarily "contribute" financially to the household as much as it contributes to the value and sanctity of your work together.

All that is to say, I plan on being a strong, mighty housewife (Lord willing) with many children (screw birth control...pun intended) and more skills than the Catskills mountains. That doesn't mean I won't work at all--housewives can work a little bit, as they always did on the farms of the old days--but that I will also be quite adept at cooking, cleaning, mending, sewing, fixing, teaching, and rubbing the old man's shoulders when he comes in at the end of the day. I will not be subservient, nor will I be bossed around or unappreciated. As declared by Athena of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "It's true, de man is de head of de house...But, de woman is de neck, and she can turn de head a-ny way she wants!"

I bought a skirt really cheap at a thrift store today, but it's too big. I'm taking it in on my overnight shift.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


My dearest Cindy,

I know you will find your way to this post eventually, and I just wanted to say that I love you and miss you and I hope you're having a good time and not stressing out too much about your wedding which is in twenty-three days!! I am so looking forward to seeing you, even if it's just for a moment to give you a hug and a kiss and a "congratulations".

Take care of yourself and your in-laws in Hawaii. I'll see you in August, my dear.



Lately, I've been having a few small conversations with my boss, Mark. He's a good guy and I'm glad to be working for him. Since he's a baritone and I'm a mezzo, we have lots to talk about in terms of repertoire and gigs and whatnot, and we have similar taste in books (though for different reasons, I think). Anyway, he's been on the sidelines of my apartment-hunting excitement and all of the fun that goes with it--phone calls to gas companies who are as unhelpful as possible, phone calls to the electric and internet companies, phone calls/letters to roommates, errands, get the idea. Periodically I will take a moment to whine to Mark just a little bit about my newfound adult responsibilities, and the conversation usually goes a little something like this:

Me: "Ugh. I'm so tired of making phone calls and running errands! When these errands are finished, I will finally get to rest."

Mark: "The errands never end. Just when you finish one set of errands, another appears. If you just resign yourself to the fact that you will be doing errands for the rest of your life, it will become easier to do them. *pause* I'm sorry, I hope I'm not discouraging you. I'm just trying to be realistic."

Me: *sigh* "Well, you are being quite realistic. I'd like to think that this particular batch of errands is especially annoying, but I understand what you're saying..."

Another conversation went like this:

Me: "Oh, my gosh! Why does adulthood have to be so stinkin' hard? I mean, it's worth it and all, and I know the responsibilities I now have are a sign that I'm coming into my own, but really? Am I going to be making phone calls for the REST of my LIFE?"

Mark: "Yes, often when we reach adulthood, we curse its little annoyances and demands. We want to say 'Why me? Can't someone else make these phone calls?'. But really, that just translates into 'Can't I just be a child and have someone else make all of my decisions for me so that I can run around and play?'. So really, you're better off--this way, you get to make your own decisions."

Me: "Yeah, yeah. I know. Without the 'fun' of all of this work, life would be boring and meaningless...yada yada yada..." *I stalk away to pout for a little while longer*

Needless to say, Mark has been especially helpful to me in my forays into adult responsibilities. Without him, I may be prone to wallowing in self-pity and enduring the sting of false expectations proven wrong. He has saved me from myself. ;-)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

letting go

I am so uptight, it's crazy. I know this about myself, but I still have moments where I freak out about my tiny imperfections. Everyone has crap to deal with--why am I such a Puritan?!?!

I think that much of this could be explained by the fact that I am the first-born child of my parents'. First-born children are often perfectionists, very hard on themselves, and likely hard on others though they may also try to do everything for others whom they view to be incompetent. Anyone that knows me is reading this and thinking, "Yeah...prettymuch." I have always been a spectacular student, very morally sensitive, sensitive in general, and given to taking over excessive amounts of responsibility, especially when I feel that if I don't do something, it will not get done. I always end up doing too much, whether it be involvement in school activities (emotionally or temperally), work, or accepting extra responsibilities. Then, when I fail to measure up to my own ridiculous expectations (which I inevitably do), it's the end of the world.

Another reason may be that my dad grew up in an insanely conservative household. The funny thing about that is that many of his family members were/are rather "immoral" by conservative standards, but I guess that's why those people are generally ignored by the rest of the family. My aunt had a baby girl when she was seventeen and then she married another guy, one of my uncles has been married three times and divorced twice, and another of my uncles had a shotgun wedding because his girlfriend got pregnant with my cousin. My grandparents don't get along half the time. I think the only "normal" person in my dad's family is my dad, though he screwed it up by marrying my mom, who had a "history" and was even more poor than my father (my grandmother tried to break them up for sixteen years until she finally realized that they were going to stay married). And everyone acts like everything is okay!! I think my dad's family would be much healthier if they just acknowledged that they're screwed up.

Anyway, that being said, I need to chill out. I've been advised by my loving boyfriend to "just smoke some pot or something"--really, just to get out there and make some unsafe choices. This does not necessarily mean that I need to do stupid things like smoke pot and get arrested, just that I should go outside myself and meet some different sorts of people and pop the stupid bubble that I live in. I think that's exactly what I need, and I've been waiting for someone to tell me that for a long time. People usually just tell me that it'll be okay, but that just perpetuates my perfectionism and obsession.

That being said, freedom is on the way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

sleep, shingles, and supers

Due to scheduling negligence, I have been required to work, on a fairly regular basis, at 7:00am the day after a 3-11 shift or the day after the day after an overnight. You would think that at this point, I would be fairly good at such turnarounds, but NO. I think that I've ignored my alarm approximately 74.2% of the time on such days. This morning, I woke up exactly four minutes before my shift was supposed to start, so I called the desk. It turns out that the RD was working, which made me feel even worse because he actually has a real job--it's not like when you're late for a shift and you make another DA wait for you. We can just wait because we have nothing better to do. Anywho, I'm exhausted. My body is very angry with me for not having a regular weekly rhythm and for not sleeping a solid 7.5 hours per night.

Luke, who is in North Dakota and is supposed to be working for his dad, has shingles. You know, the horribly painful, adult version of chicken pox shingles. It started as an ear infection that travelled to his lymph nodes and then to a painful rash on his face, which made me really worried about him. He has trouble with his kidneys so the doctors could only give him a child's dose of antibiotics, which is how he became susceptible to shingles. He's on vicadin for the pain which makes him groggy, but otherwise doing okay. Well, he is supposed to be working, but I think maybe it's good for him to get a rest after his business these past few months.

So, we ended up getting the apartment that I spoke of in my last post. It's a bit small, and it's in a slightly scary neighborhood, but it will be home. We're in the same building as our friends, which is nice, and their apartment is only slightly different than ours. One of their "bedrooms" is actually a really small den with no closet, and they have no front closet, but they have one cabinet's worth of extra space in the kitchen and a somewhat larger living room. We actually have closets in all of our bedrooms, though our living room is a little tiny. I like ours better, though, because we're on the third floor so my bedroom feels like it's in a treehouse, and our wood floors are much darker. It makes it a bit warmer in the place, and much nicer than the carpeted mess we had on Carmen. So, I'm moving in two weeks! My super is also super-nice, though I didn't know what he was called, so when I called Luke I referred to Kevin as the "groundskeeper". I think I'll just keep calling him that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

not another fourth (3rd) of july rant

If you would like to see my general opinion on military-driven "holidays", please refer to Matt's post or to Josef Piper's book In Tune With the World: A Theory of Festivity. I rarely have the energy for such a thing as a fiery rant, so I tip my hat to those who do and move on to less exciting issues that are much more enjoyable to write about.

It's a slow week here at the desk. I'm sitting Campus Center, generally my favorite for weekdays, but due to the "holiday" tomorrow everyone else has the day off. Jerry Murphy and I have a chance at becoming good friends today as we schluff around doing our various duties. Only two worries are dancing around in my mind at the moment, so I guess you could call it a great day: my bike seat won't stay up and my roomate(s) is(are) being ridiculous.

Despite what you may think, these two worries are actually very closely related. You see, I have been spending 90% of my free time hunting down the "perfect" apartment, which at this point means the "apartment-that-doesn't-cost-too-much-and-is-relatively-clean-and-safe". Perhaps an indicator of my naivete, my disillusionment with the real estate industry has been compounded by the fact that it is so blasted difficult to find an apartment in the city of Chicago. Yes, an apartment, in Chicago.

Yeah, yeah, so there are a lot of factors. We're looking for a three-bedroom in our price range, preferably with heat included, preferably with enough room to hold at least some of my mildly-excessive furniture collection, and preferably with a closet in each room. Not really too much to ask, if you ask me.

Well, last week I found the place. It was perfect. Truly. It had everything we were specifically looking for and an additional front sunroom, enclosed back porch, dishwasher, front yard, and faux fireplace flanked by the ever-popular built-in bookshelves. It was an entertainer's paradise. Seeing as my roommates and I share many friends but also have our own friends, and all of us like to have people over on a fairly regular basis (though not all the time), I decided to pounce on it. I called the landlord and he emailed a rental application to me. I called/texted the one roommate who's sort of in town (the other is in Vermont and only snail-mail accessible) and told her the good news, expecting her to respond shortly.

Two days later and I hadn't heard from her. I had filled out my form and was trying valiantly to reach her. We made an appointment with the landlord, but forty-five minutes before we reached him, he called to say he had just rented out the place. Drat!

Needless to say, I was quite upset seeing as I had thought that we were through with the whole hunting process. I frantically scoured the listings on CraigsList and biked around the neighborhood surrounding North Park for hours on end. This is where the bike seat comes in.

So, all of this biking has been wonderful for my legs--combined with my flamenco class, I should be all toned-up by the end of the summer--but also not-so-wonderful. My knees hurt because my bike seat keeps sliding down. The day that I apartment-hunted forever, I finally fixed the bungee-cord rack to my seat post, and took the opportunity to attempt to raise it once more.

Well, I found the most recent "perfect" apartment yesterday and I biked over there. By the time I arrived for my showing, the seat was down again. And I can't get ahold of my roommate...again.

Perhaps they're mystically connected, and if I fix the bike seat, all of my apartment troubles will come to an end.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

hello, world

Allow me a moment to recap my life over the past few weeks...

A) If I worked any more, I think I would collapse into a puddle. True, I do sit at a desk and do whatever I want when I'm at work (reading, crocheting, spinning [yarn, not the chair], etc.), but the very fact that I am confined to one small space for eight hours at a time restricts how much time I have to do errands the rest of the day. I don't know how anyone expects to be married, work forty hours a week, have children, and expect to take care of their household cheerfully and without destroying their family. I'm adding workaholism to my list of things destroying marriage that do not directly pertain to homosexuality. Working strange hours (or too many) is simply not good for the body's natural rhythm.

B) Flamenco. I was a little nervous at first, but dancing flamenco is actually really fun. My class is tiny and everyone else has taken flamenco before at some point, but I'm still catching on really well. It's very sexy--I think I'll try to get Luke to take it with me in the fall. ;-)

C) Although it's third on the list, going to church is likely my favorite thing right now. I don't know what I would do without church and without the God who established it.

D) I've definitely been procrastinating a lot. I have a constant argument with myself--either I am somehow afraid of doing something, so I wait, or I'm not worried about getting it done, so I waith. Sometimes, I'm worried but I try to not worry and therefore keep myself from doing it so that I will learn not to worry, but then it doesn't get done. Other times, I'm not worried and try to make myself worry but it still doesn't get done because I go back to the cycle of worry/try not to/will learn not to. It's ridiculous. I know that this is my reaction to the hyper-controlled robot-fest that was my life, but there has to be a happy medium somewhere.

E) Shortly, I will be returning to therapy. I had a counselor for a while in high school and she was GREAT. Then I had a counselor last fall and she was INSANE. I'm hoping this new lady is more on the GREAT side of the scale, as I would like to avoid weird stories about people having sex in the woods outside small villages in Poland. Not entirely relevant...

F) Luke is still gone, but tomorrow he'll be in North Dakota instead of Canada, so we can actually talk! I've spoken to him for a whole forty-five minutes this month, so I am very much looking forward to talking for a good long time tomorrow. It's still lame not having him here, but he'll be back soon enough.

Yeah, that took longer than I thought it would.