Saturday, July 31, 2010

Right Place, Wrong Time

Something I’ve been learning is that sometimes what we want isn’t actually what’s best for us, or at least not right then. Of course, we always assume that we know what’s best for ourselves—but so often we’re wrong. At least, I know I am. Pretty sure it’s called being human.

We want what we want and we want it now. Modern culture especially has encouraged a demanding, impatient approach to life. The Age of the Microwave has only encouraged our unhealthy penchant for exasperation. We’ve developed a habit of foregoing quality in exchange for speed.

It may not necessarily be that what we want is wrong, but maybe it’s just the timing that’s wrong. We have to have faith that when it is meant to be, it will be. I need to just stop getting in the way of my own happiness and learn to appreciate where I am at this moment… and trust that the future will be better.

Therefore, I end tonight with Aslan’s words from The Magician’s Nephew: "Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good! But I will give him the only gift he is still able to receive… Sleep. Sleep and be separated for some few hours from all the torments you have devised for yourself."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Satisfying Contentment

There’s a fine line between satisfaction and passiveness. You’re always told to be content with what you have—be grateful because there’s always someone worse off than you. While I’m not saying that you shouldn’t be grateful, I don’t think you should just settle for what you’ve got.

This is America. It’s the 21st century. You can literally reach for the stars and get ahold of them if you want. You’ve got to at least try! It always surprises me what can be accomplished by simply working hard. Brains, ability, and talent are all great, but they do nothing if you just sit there.

So maybe everybody can’t be a super spy or win the Superbowl… but you definitely won’t succeed if you don’t even try. Sometimes, the fear of failure nearly paralyzes me. Self-confidence is certainly not one of my personal strengths. That doesn’t mean that I quit trying.

Last week was one of the most intense I’ve experienced in at least a year, mostly because I am discontent with where I am in life. I refuse to be satisfied with mediocrity. I may not accomplish everything I try, but any action is better than none. I'm happy to know that I didn't miss an opportunity.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Being a member of the Millennial Generation, I have no problem with new technology. My daily life overflows with gadgets: cell phone, iPod, multiple computers, all the cords and converters and controllers. Even my air conditioner has a remote control! I blog, tweet, facebook, google, email, and update constantly.

What I’m really still waiting for is a teleportation device, or at least a car that drives itself. I know they’re coming, but until they get here, I’ll survive somehow. Unless, of course, one of my current devices succeeds in killing me. Oh, it’s very possible.

These past couple days have been filled with technological events which could barely be termed “difficulties.” “Catastrophes,” might be more appropriate. Suffice to say, I had to buy a new personal computer, was sorely tempted to throw my work computer out the window, and sure hope that my cell phone’s next upgrade is soon—and by soon, I mean tomorrow.

Technology can be a beautiful thing. Its advancement provides increased ease and capability to our lives. It can also be so impossible to manipulate that one may consider joining an Amish community in order to preserve any sanity that may remain after such an encounter. I’ve always wanted a buggy…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Good, Better, Best

Today has been one of those days that history tells us should just be spent in bed. I’m honestly having a very hard time coming up with anything positive to write. Someone once said “good, better, best—don’t stop going till you’re good gets better and your better gets best.” So I got going, but straight from the get-go, things kept getting worse.

Maybe that’s how today was supposed to be. Ever think that we’re sometimes supposed to epically fail? I sure hope that today was one of those instances. If it was, I definitely succeeded. Failure probably builds character, or something stupid like that.

Usually, we all seem to think that we know how life is supposed to be. We assume the veracity of the typical Disney formula of a few obstacles leading to happily ever after. Don’t worry: everything always works out in the end. What if what was a good outcome, could have been better?

Someone else once said something about everything being okay at the end and if it’s not all okay, then it’s not the end. I don’t know about you, but I want more than just “okay.” I want the absolute best possible. Who knows what that looks like, but I plan to continue looking anyway.

At the very least, I'm going to look for whoever keeps saying things like "good, better, best" so that I can tell them just how stupid I think they are.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All There

Sometimes, I’m not all here. Of course, I can’t physically be anywhere else other than here. Mentally, however, I tend to be all over the place. I often find myself writing an email, singing along with a song, and deciding what to have for dinner simultaneously.

“Living in the moment” is not one of my strengths. I am constantly planning, thinking one step ahead like a carpenter who builds stairs. This occasionally means that I can miss whatever is happening right before me. I’m all about carpe diem, but seem to forget that that day is today!

Part of me keeps waiting for my life to start: “as soon as I get a new job… as soon as I get married… etc.” I need to remember that my life has already started. It’s going on right now. I don’t want to miss today while I’m waiting for tomorrow.

Yes, it is of course very important to plan wisely for the future and its possibilities—I would never say otherwise. What I have been learning is the value of the here and now. Why wait around for tomorrow, since it’s something that isn’t ever going to come? Wherever you are, be all there… because you can never be anywhere else.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Ready or Not

Last year when I had knee surgery, the anesthesiologist didn’t give me any warning. One moment, I was sitting there talking to the nurse and the next thing I knew, I was waking up to a lot of pain. That seems to be the story of life in a nutshell: painful but necessary things happening without notice.

Remember when you had to take the SAT or ACT exam? You sat down with your No. 2 pencil and realized just how unprepared you were for the ordeal before you. There was a moment of absolute panic when you considered bolting, but then you took the test anyway. When it was all over, there was nothing more you could do—unless you retake it.

Mondays always come too soon for me and this one is no exception. This week is going to be intense, with several important things going on at once. I sincerely wish that I had had more time to mentally prepare (hopefully gain some composure and confidence), but it’s too late now that it’s already Monday.

We’re never asked whether or not we’re ready for whatever life throws at us. Sometimes, we’re surprised. Other times, we’re still not ready, even when we know it’s coming. Just have to take a deep breath, hunker down, and do whatever it is. When you have to do it, that’s when you’re ready to do it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Some days, you just need to take a trip from the mundane. I saw several things that I had never seen before today. First, I saw a mail truck at a gas station. I’d never seen that before. Somehow, I had always assumed that there was some magical federal fuel depot in the sky for them all. You know, like where babies come from.

Then I saw a dog in a shopping cart. My friend Naomi and I were in the Salvation Army store, digging for buried treasure. I looked over as another shopper passed me, only to see a small Yorkie staring bag at me. This woman had the poor dog sitting in the basket of her cart and it did not look happy. Can’t say that I blame it.

We also found a pair of Apple Bottom jeans in the store. That’s right: a genuine pair of Apple Bottom jeans with gold stitching. That dumb song has been stuck in my head ever since—just like it’s stuck in yours now.

The fourth and final awesome thing that I saw was a vanity license plate which said “TAKA·PIL” on the way home. It made me chuckle. Either its owner is a pharmaceutical salesman, or they were simply expressing the quintessential attitude of a hot summer day in Scranton. Saturdays are good Take A Chill Pill Days.

With all the craziness of life, it’s important to decompress periodically. I don’t know about you, but lately every aspect of my life seems determined to stress me out. Today, I am relaxing. A trip to the Salvation Army, Wal-Mart, making brownies with my friend Michelle, watching sweet action movies… It’s been a good sabbath day so far.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Loaves and Fishes

A bit of a modern miracle occurred at the vending machines this morning. I had ventured down, in search of a solution to a nasty mid-morning slump. Yes, it is indeed finally Friday, but it’s been a real country song kind of a week and the coming weekend looks even worse.

As I approached the machine, something dark dashed across my path. I had specifically avoided the staircase wherein lurketh the Centipede of Death on my quest for sustenance, only to be met by an R.O.U.S. at my destination. Understandably, this gave me cause to momentarily reconsider my dedication to this mission.

Proceeding with caution, I fingered my two quarters and pondered my snack options. Finally deciding on Famous Amos cookies, I inserted the coins into the machine and waited for the bag to drop. You can imagine my joyous surprise when a second bag of cookies also fell to the bottom. I opened the door to retrieve the bonus snack… only to discover a bag of Swedish Fish also lying there!

This morning, not only my body, but even my soul was nourished through the providential provision of loaves and fishes—Swedish fishes. Call it karma for all those times the evil machines thwarted my celebration of Dew Day, or maybe God just knew I would need a pick-me-up. Whatever, it completely made my day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Search for Significance

The universal theme of each human life is the search for significance. Everybody wants to be a somebody instead of a nobody—even if the only one who cares about them is their dog. Each personality may exhibit this desire differently, but be sure that it is always there.

Whether you’re the CEO of the company who seeks applause from large crowds, or the corporate accountant who finds warmth with her family at home, everyone needs to feel important. The need for affirmation is common to all people. If not love, at least attention is needed.

I’m not necessarily speaking of the hubris of a Napoleon, although psychology would quickly point out that instance of confirmation deprivation. Maybe you don’t want to change the world, but you just want someone know that you’re in it. Mere existence seems insignificant unless a life’s impact is noticed.

Most people out there are barely living: we go to work, we go home… and that’s pretty much it. Some days, I feel as though a well-trained monkey could replace me at work. I want to know that my life is making a difference. I know I can’t change the world, but like an asteroid that will mostly burn up in the atmosphere, I have to try to make an impact.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh, the Places I’ll Go!

One of my lifelong dreams has been to travel. All my life, I’ve been reading books and hearing stories of exotic locales and longing to see them for myself. I’ve been making a list. It’s quite a long list, and so far I’ve only been able to cross off two places. It's sad that “so much of what I see reminds me of what I’ve read; shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

I know that I probably won’t make it to all the spots, but I’d love to try. My plan is to marry a very wealthy, older gentleman who will have nothing better to do than to sail around the world on his yacht with me. At the very least, I intend to take myself to London—hopefully next year!

There are so many places I’d love to go and things I’d love to see. They call to me, whispering tales of adventure, romance, and danger. They have stories to tell me about the people who have left their signature there, some for thousands of years. The monuments and marks left by humanity tell our story: through the care and creativity of their original construction, as well as by their modern preservation and endurance.

So far, most of the world has been experienced through others’ eyes for me. I want to go and see for myself. Life has always been the same struggle for survival and meaning. People haven’t changed since they designed and built the pyramids somehow. Someday, I will get out there and live the world for myself.

Places to Go, Things to See

Sydney Opera House—Sydney, Australia
Christ the Redeemer Statue—Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Angkor Wat—Cambodia
Niagara Falls—Ontario, Canada
The Great Wall of China—Badaling, China
The Forbidden City—Beijing, China
The Moai—Easter Island
The Great Pyramid and Sphinx—Giza, Egypt
Valley of the Kings—Luxor, Egypt
The Tower of London—London, England
Stonehenge—Salisbury, England
Lascaux Caves—Montignac, France
Palace of Versailles—Versailles, France
Neuschwanstein Castle—Bavaria, Germany
The Acropolis—Athens, Greece
The Taj Mahal—Agra, India
The Wailing Wall—Jerusalem, Israel
The Colosseum—Rome, Italy
The Sistine Chapel—Vatican City, Italy
Kiyomizu Temple—Kyoto, Japan
Grand Torii Gate—Miyajima, Japan
Chichén Itzá—Yucatan, Mexico
Monte Carlo—Monaco
Wellington—New Zealand
Machu Picchu—Peru
Red Square and the Kremlin—Moscow, Russia
The Potala Palace—Himalayas, Tibet
The Hagia Sophia—Istanbul, Turkey
The Grand Canyon—Arizona, USA
Pearl Harbor, O'ahu—Hawai’i, USA
The Statue of Liberty—New York, USA
Mount Rushmore—South Dakota, USA
Victoria Falls—Livingstone, Zambia

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Because It's There

One of my favorite questions has always been “why?” You can ask my parents, I was one of the most inquisitive and annoying children ever. I just love knowing why things happen and how they work. Of course, my parents, in typical parental fashion, often fell back on the standard answer of “because.”

Understandably, “because” was an infuriating answer to my beloved “why?” Even now, I hate it when a response boils down to a simple statement of ignorance and/or apathy. Please, give me an answer of substance and reality—if you don’t know, just say so.

Today I was reminded of that classic scene in which Spock asks Kirk why he is climbing a mountain. Kirk replies, “because it’s there!” Like Spock, I do not consider that cavalier response a sufficient reason. Life’s questions should not be dismissed so easily.

Not every opportunity should be taken. Each “truth” must be examined to determine its veracity. Perhaps everything can’t be explained, but that does not mean we should stop asking. I would hate to live in a world without people who challenge the status quo by asking “why?” Then, everyone would still think the world was flat.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Too Many Shoes

I love shoes. It’s just that simple. My love affair with footwear has been longstanding and will continue through eternity. That’s right, you can be sure that my shoes will match my halo in Heaven—it just wouldn’t be Heaven otherwise. I’m thinking a pair of gladiator sandals might be appropriate, but kitten heels could also go great with streets of gold.

The other day I discovered a problem, though. Like all great relationships, my shoes and I do occasionally have problems, but we work through them—usually with a few blisters on my part. This time, however, it turns out that I simply have too many shoes. I never thought I would say that.

Allow me to clarify: it’s more that I don’t have enough space for all my shoes, than I have too many. You can never have too many shoes. If I had more money, I would have more shoes. I realize that some of you (especially males) may not understand, but the relationship between a woman and her shoes is sacred.

My shoes are always there for me, waiting to help me complete an outfit. They love giving me the confidence to stand tall and face the world with the knowledge that not only am I fully supported, but I also look great. In recognition of all the hard work they do for me, I set out to find a new home for my beloved shoes.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Giveth and Taketh Away

My life continues to be shaken of late. It’s been a blessing… and a curse. It can be incredibly hard to grasp the full significance of an event as it occurs. At the end of each day, all I can do is reiterate that the Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

So much of this crazy world is simply beyond my human comprehension. I’m not always very comfortable accepting that fact. The Lord moves in mysterious ways and I’m just along for the ride. I don’t know what’s around the next corner, which scares me.

It seems as though yet another part of my personal life may have been taken away. I really don’t want to even think about that possibility, but it’s very real. Meanwhile, a new opportunity has arisen in my professional career. It would be an exciting challenge, if I can get it. I can’t see the whole picture of my life, so I have no idea which events will prove to be important.

The secret seems to lie in the ability to get out of bed every morning and go out to meet a new day, completely unaware of what it may hold. Life’s pretty crazy, so you can never know what’s going to happen next. Regardless of what is given or taken, I must continue in trust and blessing. See you tomorrow morning, world!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Where My Freaks

Nothing moves me like music—literally. All it takes is a good beat to get me on my feet. I haven’t actually taken dance lessons, but I would love to some day. Rhythm never fails to bring a natural reaction of motion from me. Even if it’s only my head or a finger, if there’s music, I just have to move. Yes, I know that may make me a freak. Feel free to join me. You know you want to!

Music has always been the most basic form of release for me. Motion seems the most logical interaction with a singer who isn’t present in the room. Some might argue that singing along is the simplest way to connect with the music, but I often find my voice detracting from the experience, rather than enhancing it.

When an artist releases an album, they are presenting an entity which they consider to be perfect. The order of lyrics was carefully chosen to express exact sentiments. The combination of the notes is the product of collaboration of talent including the composer, the musicians, and the producer. The vocal arrangement has been recorded and rerecorded and mixed to convey emotion appropriate to the project as a whole and the line itself… after all that work, what could I audibly add ?

Hearing that classic “where my freaks?” makes me not only want to answer “woohoo!” but to throw my hands up in the air. I can’t help my response. I may not actually give in to the urge if I’m, say, talking to the president at that moment. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to release all that pent up movement as soon as I get home. You're invited to join in.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Old School

People are always talking about the good old days. I know that they weren’t really any better, but sometimes they seem like it. Personally, I’ve always been a big fan of the simple tale of adventure: the epic battle of good versus evil that also inevitably involves a girl.

Who said stories have to be ridiculously contrived to be enjoyable? So many recent films have become ludicrous vehicles for the bloated egos of superstars and/or excessive special effects budgets. Most are simply launch pads for lucrative franchises of sequels and merchandise. Give me a black-and-white that actually has a point!

Call me strange, but I prefer my entertainment to be more old school. All I want is a decent plotline, witty dialogue, actors with real talent instead of just looks, and a good soundtrack. People may think I’m weird for loving Casablanca, but it kicks Avatar’s butt any day without even breaking a sweat.

Nowadays you never hear of a movie coming out unless it’s all CGI and 3D. Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and Audrey Hepburn did not need special effects to move an audience. I’m not saying that I don’t appreciate thought-provoking or visually awesome cinematography. I do, however, miss when movies were all about telling a story.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Go for It!

Sometimes in life, you’ve just got to go for it. I don’t even know what it is, but I’m going for it. When faced with a decision, even doing nothing is doing something and I’d rather do something than nothing. I’ve concluded that any action is better than passive inactivity.

Of course, each situation requires a different something. The something you may need to do is be patient, waiting for the opportune moment. Even if you don’t think you can do it, you’ve still got to! There’s a lot to be said for going out with your boots on. They only call it impossible because nobody has ever done it before.

I’ve got to catch a break eventually, right? So, I’ll just keep going for it till something breaks. I don’t know if God really does help those who help themselves, but I do know that nothing can happen if you just keep sitting there. You’ll eventually have to get up and get going if you ever want to make any progress.

I’m going for it! Life is one crazy adventure, so who knows where I’ll end up, but I’m on my way and I’m thrilled to death. All I needed was a good kick to get me out the door. I’m off and running now, but I know I’ll need more encouragement along the way. At the very least, please let me know if you like my new running shoes.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's Complicated

Apparently, a longing for childhood simplicity is destined to be a recurring theme in my life. Just this evening, my professional life somehow managed to become even more complicated than it was already. I miss not having to worry about jobs and finances and all such necessary evils.

An intense therapy session of musicals and chocolate helped abate the initial panic, but I still don’t have a solution. Why does life have to be so complicated? I’m sure that it’s always been this screwed up, but at least before I was blissfully unaware of it.

Simplicity is only a dim memory. These days, it’s just easier to answer “it’s complicated,” when asked about my job, my family, and my relationships. Explaining takes too long and frankly, I don’t want to get into all that. So, I won’t.

Life and all its complication are exhausting. I’m already tired. I long for the rest that only comes through a conclusion. Unbelievably, my brother James expressed my current mood quite exquisitely. I generally detest the use of poetry, but in this case, I must make an exception:

Through Fields of Memory
Sitting in stillness
Slowly living a little less
My body sore, my strength long gone
One looking would perceive but sleeping bones

But he would be mistook; my soul is elsewhere.
I've gone to my youth, back to warmth and energy
Racing the winds, laughing with the world
The grass my racetrack, a cheerful bird my starting gun
Trees and ferns and rocks and clover my home once more

Far away from the important doctors and the quiet family
I run through fields of memory

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


It has always been my theory that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat those in the service sector: cashiers, waiters, janitors, nurses, babysitters, etc. I once saw the director of an international organization yell at a teenage housekeeper until she cried. Needless to say, I immediately lost all regard for him.

Last night, I was incredibly tempted to deny service to a disrespectful library patron. I will admit that I do not like him on a personal level. Possibly because of his irresponsibility with thousands of dollars worth of books, or maybe because of that time he yelled at me last year, or perhaps it’s just because I get creeped out by the way he always turns off the lights.

My job boils down to helping people. I like helping people. I enjoy smiling and saying “have a nice day!” All I ask in return is a little respect. I was polite to that certain patron last night, because I am a professional. I take pride in my work. I realize that I represent not only myself, but also my organization and their reputation.

If you need help, I am more than willing to be of assistance, but I will not do all your work for you. I reserve the right to become impatient with you if it’s ten minutes after we should have closed. Please, do not criticize me personally for following our general policies… unless you want to make this personal, in which case, I can’t wait to tell you exactly what I think of you.

Just because someone is here to assist you, does not mean that they are in any way lower than you. Be respectful because if anything, they have power over you. They can ruin your life in ways you probably never even imagined. Always be polite to the IT guy, too. Whatever’s wrong with your computer is probably more your fault than his.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Sometimes, I forget how young I am. I feel almost middle-aged some days. Like Jacob Black, I’ve come to think that age is just a number, baby. I’m sure everyone has those moments of child-like wonder, just like we all have those times when we don’t recognize the ancient face in the mirror.

I’m usually pretty good at guessing how old someone is by their looks. Wrinkles, hair, etc. are generally good indicators (not counting celebrities). A person’s true age, however, their “soul age,” if you would, can really be seen in their eyes. Some people seem almost born with an old soul, while others never grow up.

Life can add years faster than the calendar. Experience, accomplishment, responsibility, loss, and other stresses age a person. One of my friends said to me, “sometimes I look over and wonder how old you are. 24? 26?” It’s true that lately, I’ve been having more and more of those days when I feel closer to 40 than 20.

So far, I haven’t decided whether aging is good or not. Maturing is definitely good, but I don’t want to lose any more of the adolescent essence of simple fun. Maybe the best way to deal with all the complications of an adult life is to revert to a temporary childhood. Now, where did I put those crayons?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Crazy Dreams

Reevaluation is an important process, which everyone should periodically apply to their own lives. I am currently in the middle of reevaluating my decision-making paradigm. Time continues to pass and certain goals may have become unattainable, so what do I do with those dreams?

Life can be so perfidious! Usually by the time you get to high school, you know you’ll never be an astronaut, but some dreams still seem possible. You would think that these dreams wouldn’t end up being as crazy as wanting to be an astronaut when you grow up, but sometimes they do.

As you mature into adulthood, life becomes more about reality and less about dreams. You have to get a job so that you can pay the rent, pay off your loans, and buy groceries. You don’t have time to chase your dream of becoming an archaeologist. The point of intersection between dreams and reality is one of brutal mathematics.

Perhaps Don Quixote had it right by refusing to see the world as it is, but rather, as it should be. He lived an impossible dream and everyone thought he was a lunatic. But maybe, too much sanity is madness. I don't have any answers here, only questions. This is what I'm working through, slowly and painfully.

As I evaluate each ambition, hope, and dream, I must consider the value of each. A dream that inspires me to reach for the moon is worth much more than wanting to be a professional rodeo clown. Therefore, which do I keep trying to achieve, and which do I put out of their misery?

Maybe they are crazy, but I’m choosing to keep some dreams. More and more I may be euthanizing dreams, but I just can’t give up all of them. Dreams can give meaning and purpose to an otherwise empty and meandering life. Just because they aren’t practical, doesn’t mean they aren’t necessary.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Heat Wave

Ever have one of those weeks? You know, one of THOSE weeks. I’m just finishing one of them. Since I got back from vacation, pretty much every major aspect of my life has been subject to some form of catastrophe. On top of which, it’s been HOT!

One of the things I love about Scranton is its temperate climate. I do not enjoy warm weather. I think that the 70’s are the perfect summer temperature. The 80’s make me uncomfortable. When we hit the 90’s, I become miserable. 100 makes me wonder why God is punishing me.

We passed 100 several times this past week with a vicious heat wave. When combined with everything else going on, it was not a particularly pleasant few days. I have been incredibly grateful for my air-conditioned office! My apartment, however, has been so warm that I worried I might explode like a baked potato that wasn’t properly poked.

Thankfully, the heat wave seems to have subsided last night. It was still plenty hot today, but not so sweltering. Hopefully, I’ll soon find some relief from the other anxieties in my life. Until then, pass the ice cream!

Friday, July 9, 2010

In Process

Recently, this blog has taken some harsh criticism. It’s been called too “cynical,” too “trippy,” too “sarcastic,” and even too “creepy,” referring specifically to last night’s update. Well, I hope ya’ll at least like the new layout, because I finally think that I like this one enough to keep it.

All I can say in defense of my poor site is that it’s a work in progress. I myself have by no means “arrived,” and therefore, neither has my blog. Both the project in its entirety and each post on its own is a process beginning with an idea. Even the formation of a concrete idea can be a process!

It’s amazing how much of life is a process. It’s a constant series of doing and learning and trying and failing and picking yourself up and moving on to start it all over again. Every day, you’ve just got to keep getting out of bed and trying to do better than yesterday.

Your constructive criticism is welcome in this blogging process. I’m still very much figuring it out as I go. My point is, however, that I’m working on it. Progress is being made! All I’m doing is living my life and trying not only to survive life, but to find something in it to celebrate every day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Be Still

As I’m writing this, it is quiet. There is no talking, no music… nothing but the gentle whirring of the fan. The silence felt rather strange and alien initially, but now it’s almost comforting. My mind is beginning to clear, allowing my soul to breathe. Tonight, I am practicing stillness.

So much of life is filled with noise. Often times, I find myself purposefully creating more to keep myself focused or distracted, depending on the situation. Some sounds help you block out other background disruptions. Other sounds help you block out your own thoughts.

I am sorely tempted to turn on the TV or some music, interrupting the tranquility. I do not wish to be alone with my thoughts at the moment. Humanity seems to fear that silence will lead to nothingness. However, “there is a difference between doing nothing and being still.”

Perhaps a more peaceful environment will prove conducive to calming the spirit. I don't know about yours, but my soul could certainly use a rest. There’s no use hiding from the trouble—it’s here whether or not we acknowledge it. This stillness proves that all that noise only ever aggravates a mind, leaving it further troubled.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Perpetual Availability

I have a problem. Recently, it has become painfully obvious to me that I am too polite. We all know that I am all too ready to express my opinions on politics, religion, literature, and the like… but when it gets personal, I clam up. I’m scared to death to say something which might offend somebody.

One of the areas in which this weakness is most painfully obvious is my willingness to be perpetually available to people. I seem to constantly find myself at the disposal of others who do not consider me a priority. He never calls, she always cancels at the last minute… you know how it goes. While I may realize that they’re using me, I practically never actually say something to them.

Sure, I may get upset. I may even discuss my frustration with someone else. However, I’m usually too frightened to express my resentment to its source. I end up making excuses for that person: he doesn’t know what he’s doing, she’s just has a choleric/sanguine personality, etc.

Sometimes, I think that more people should be like me and politely let things go. The truth is that I’m not so much polite as I am scared. A few times when I have explained my grievance to a friend, I’ve ended up losing that friend. Now, I can never decide whether my injured feelings are worth risking a relationship, so I end up getting walked all over.

I know what I would tell someone else with this problem: GET OVER IT! It’s so much harder when I have to give that pep talk to myself. My polite, perpetual availability is emotionally exhausting, but I can’t stop. I still can’t say no when a “friend” asks for a favor. Does that make me a good person, or just a coward?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tour de What?

Well, sports fans, the World Cup isn’t even over yet, but another international tournament has already begun. That’s right, le Tour de France is underway. Complete with drug scandals and violent crashes, this month-long bicycle race attracts some of the world’s best athletes.

The most famous of the race’s stars is, of course, Lance Armstrong. He’s probably best known for beating cancer, winning the Tour about 500 million times (bet you didn't know his team jersey isn't actually yellow), starting the Live Strong campaign that spawned all those bracelets, and landing on the moon. No wait, that last one was Neil Armstrong—Lance will probably wait till he’s genuinely retired to tackle that one.

As I mentioned in my “Going Global” post, this is the sort of sporting event which, thanks to modern technology, can be enjoyed worldwide simultaneously. It’s nice to know that you’re not the only crazed fan screaming at the screen at that moment, but I think I have a better idea.

Here’s the plan: take the Tour on the road. Why do they have bike France every year? The Alps are gorgeous, but next year, the Himalayas! They could stick to French-speaking countries—I’m sure those impoverished former colonies would love it. As soon as Lance actually retires, the committee will have to do something to keep everyone watching, and a traveling circus works great for the Olympics.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Preserve the Baking

Needless to say, I’ve been spending a significant amount of time by the pool these past few days. James, my little brother, always loved to say that when I go tanning, God has to wear sunglasses because I don’t tan, I actually just reflect. Little brothers can be so encouraging.

Over the years, I have developed a rather painful, but effective technique: grilling. Part of the problem is that I lack the patience required to cultivate a good tan. Especially when it's so hot and there's an NCIS marathon on. Lately, I just don’t have hours and hours to spend outside during daylight hours, thanks to having a real job. So, I must make the best of each opportunity.

This usually leads to burning. However, a few days later the pink fades and my skin is exactly 0.0043% of a shade darker. This process must be repeated every two weeks at the most in order to preserve the baking. Otherwise, I’ll be pale as a ghost again. I blame my Scotch/Irish heritage for my being pigment-challenged.

The funny thing about tanning is that we do it at all. I’ve often wondered why we consider it such an important accomplishment. I think it’s because it’s something we can control about ourselves. Let’s face it—nobody ever really likes who they are. Changing how we look is an effort to make people like us. Maybe if more people liked us, we’d be able to like ourselves.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

I take celebrating my independence very seriously. It’s true that I have many concerns in my life, but tyranny is not one of them. July 4 is the one day all year on which I refuse to go to work. I wouldn’t mind working even on Christmas as much as it would pain me to be trapped on Independence Day. It’s very convenient that both are considered federal holidays; they can’t make me work.

So what are my plans for the day? I have no idea. I predict that they will eventually include sunshine, ice cream, and fireworks, but other than that, my schedule’s open. I have the freedom to do pretty much whatever I want and I intend to exercise it!

In my opinion, the Fourth of July should be celebrated in such a way as to make the founding fathers proud—and some of them really knew how to party. Just ask Ben Franklin what he was up to in Paris. Sam Adams was apparently a big fan of beer, none of that wimpy tea stuff for him.

Yup, those founding fathers weren’t saints. They also weren’t cowards, like so many of their proper neighbors who were too scared to even consider independence. Strict adherence to too many rules eventually weakens a person’s ability for free-thought. I say, take hold of your liberty! Cast off all preconceived assumptions and dance in your independence!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Smells Like Home

Recently, I've recognized a very interesting psychological phenomenon in my personal life: my grandparent's house feels like home. I've become convinced of this truth in the past few days. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Come to think of it, their house even smells like home to me.

While I was growing up, my family moved around a lot. A LOT. I only vaguely remember most of the places we lived. If I visited my father's house now, I'd probably hardly recognize it. My mother hasn't lived there in years. One of my brothers has been at college, and the other one is about to leave. My dad's new wife and her three daughters just moved in, so who knows what it's like now!

My grandparents' house, however, hasn't changed. Okay, maybe that pile on the kitchen counter keeps growing. But I always know where everything is and what to expect. Grandpa still watches the Yankees while building model airplanes. Grandma still swims and drinks tea while watching soccer. There's a tremendous sense of continuity and stability.

I make a point to visit my grandparents whenever possible. I love them both so dearly. I love my grandmother's cooking and my grandfather's storytelling. Even if Grandma won't stop worrying that I'll never get married, I love being with them. Every time I go over the river and through the woods, I know that I'm going home.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vacation, Baby!

I am on vacation. I AM ON VACATION!!!

Sorry, I haven't had a vacation since Christmas. So, I'm just a little bit excited, in case you couldn't tell. I've only been gone 24 hours and am already getting asked "who are you and what have you done with my Sarah?" What can I say? I love vacation!

I have this strange compulsion to call the office and check on things. Clearly, it's been too long since my last vacation. I've had to keep reminding myself that everyone will be alright without me for a few days (even though we all know that's not true).

It's been marvelous. Slept in this morning. Went swimming. Watched tv. Haven't had to cook. Going out later... I love it. Although, it's probably a good thing I don't live like this all the time--I'd become terribly fat! But for a few days, it's just heavenly.

If you need me, I'll be by the pool.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Crimes against Facebook

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly something can become cliché. Recently, I’ve started to notice just how cliché certain Facebook practices have become—and I didn’t think Facebook was even old enough to have clichés yet! Yet some trends have managed to reach criminal proportions.

I realize that I may be the only person who may be annoyed by unoriginality, but I’m okay with that (at least it’s an original annoyance). It just really annoys when I see people copying each other again and again. So here, is a brief list of Facebook habits that bug the crap out of me…

· Overuse of lyrics and quotes for status updates—I don’t care so much about what “they” said, it’s your status

· Profile pictures that are just a hand with a ring—could be anyone’s hand!

· Profile pictures of you as a baby/young child—we were all cute back then

· Profile pictures of inanimate objects—seriously? It’s called Facebook, not Flowerbook

· Constantly substituting “lol” and emoticons for punctuation—to which pronoun are you referring anyway?

· Farmville—and Fishville and Baker’s Corner and Mafia Wars and I don’t care what crop you just planted or blackjack you found.

Of course, I myself am not innocent of some social networking transgressions. I know that I probably do update my status too often. However, I try to make those statuses interesting. All I ask is that others afford me the same consideration and at least attempt to be original occasionally.