Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was called morally reprehensible today. I thought I was the only one who used those terms. Anyway, it's not been a good day.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Writing assignment

Okay, okay. I know when an assignment is given you don't have to do it this second. But I had this stuck in my head once I heard the assignment and I figured that if I got it out, I might have time to do a second one, but do a story which is more difficult for me than this introspective crap I'm about to post.

The Assignment:
Let’s start our writing off with some sap, shall we?
In this writing assignment, it’s all about beginnings. There’s a moment in any relationship where the excitement of a romance truly starts. It might be the first sight, the first kiss, the first shared meal…or something far less cliché. Your first assignment is to write a story centered around that moment.

What Was His Name?

Two years older than I was, muscular and definitely forbidden fruit, his name was Nick. Truthfully, I don’t know if I had ever noticed him in a romantic way before that moment. He was, as I said, completely off-limits. One should never date a friend’s ex-boyfriend, not if you want the friendship to survive anyway. But as we sat on the park swings that evening, stars shining, wrapped in our own little bubble, I didn’t care. It didn’t matter that she lived just down the block and could walk out any moment and see us sitting here. It didn’t matter that I’d have to go to school with her everyday for the next year and a half. It didn’t matter that I’d probably have to be the one to tell her. All that mattered was that his deep brown eyes were telling me the same thing his words were: He wanted me. When you fit the stereotype of “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed,” - scratch that – how about “Sweet Sixteen and never even been asked on a date” it’s fairly difficult to turn down the offer of a gorgeous, steady boyfriend, no matter who it’s going to hurt. So I didn’t turn him down. I felt the warmth, the electricity, all the way to my toes: He wanted me. Eventually the relationship went to the graveyard of fondly remembered first loves, but that moment, the zing of electricity was one I’d never forget.

I don’t remember the first words he said to me. They could have been complete gibberish and it wouldn’t have matter because I wouldn’t have noticed. His name was Clint. The first time his bright blue eyes, always twinkling with laughter, met mine, I was hooked. Going to my miserable and boring job was suddenly the highlight of my day because at least, maybe, if I was lucky, I’d be working with Clint. He came by my station often, to talk and to flirt. He made me feel beautiful, interesting and wanted at a time when I was broken and defeated from a horribly bad break-up. Eventually it came out that he had a girlfriend and my opinion of him dropped substantially as I was never one to knowing flirt with someone who was taken. If only my brain could have managed to convince my knees not to go weak every time I saw him go by.

It was the same boring job, some months later on an incredibly busy day. Cart after cart of groceries were backed up at my register and I was working as quickly as I could. Strangely, in the middle of my long line-up of middle aged women with overflowing carts, was a guy my age holding a single carton of milk. His name was Tyler. “You don’t remember me, do you?” he asked when I’d eventually managed work my line down to him. No, I didn’t remember but then that summer when I was 13 and paying much more attention to his friend Matt came back to me. “Would you like to go for coffee sometime, just to catch-up?” Without thinking a single romantic or date related thing about it, I gave him my phone number. A few days later and somewhere around hour three of sitting together in a nearly empty Pizza Hut discussing our mutual love of all things Star Trek, it hit me that this might actually be a date in his mind. Looking into his confident green eyes, I hoped it was. Some months later we decided it was better for us to be friends than to be together but at least we’d always have Pizza Hut.

While I was pretending to study one evening in the college library, a friend who was severely annoyed with me bugging her while she tried to actually study, introduced me to him. His name was Emmanuel. Infectious laughter emanated from his brown eyes as we joked about being pawned off because we were both bored. Attraction was nearly instantaneous. We read the same authors, studied the same subjects and spoke with an easy rhythm of people who had known each other their whole lives. He was crazy about me from the first moment, an attraction, that although flattering was intimidating to me in its strength and eventually we drifted into just being friends and then into nothing at all.

It was my masters level Greek class, the most feared and hated subject in the whole school that had just started its first day. He sat two seats down from me, his name was Phillip. During a break, the man sitting between us left the room and Phillip and I fell into conversation. We both liked coffee and sci-fi. We were both intimidated by the class even though the professor seemed very approachable. I looked into his blue eyes and felt…nothing. Sure, he was cute but there was no hint of any spark, no sudden pulse quickening, and no beginnings of attraction. He was in several of my classes and for the next few months we had study groups together and quite often found ourselves out with the same group of people. We were never intentionally together but found ourselves falling into a comfortable friendship nonetheless. He was sweet and calming, someone easy to talk to, but in that brother kind of way. One day, after a particularly disastrous study group that ended up with just the two of us being left by ourselves, he asked if I wanted to go grab Chinese. There was nothing unusual about it except that on this occasion it happened to be just the two of us. The food was good but nothing else about lunch was exceptional, nothing out of the ordinary. Then, as he was driving me back to my place, his sunglasses slide down his nose and his bright, beautiful, expressive blue eyes stared into mine. At that moment I could not have put my finger on what had changed, except now instead of holding easy conversation, my heart was pounding, my head felt light and his proximity to me in the car was palpable. Feeling slightly tipsy, I said goodbye, got out of the car and decided to say nothing at all to anyone about my new found attraction to my friend.

Fate though, has a way of working things out. A nosy friend, a shy conversation about attractions and a quick two years later found me walking down the aisle to meet him at the front of the church. There would be no other names to add to the list and no more first moments of attraction but I found myself more than ok with that. The first moment of attraction was always what pulled me into a relationship. The thrill of new love was what appealed to me and when the thrill died in me, the relationship often did as well. But with Phillip, it was different. The thrill of attraction was still there and still so sweet as new relationship usually are but the difference this time was that I think I loved him before I ever found that moment. Slowly, throughout our months as friends I found myself admiring his character, his compassion for people and his gentle way of dealing with things. I had already found out where we liked the same things and, more importantly, where we wanted the same things out of life. Long before the thrill of romantic attraction set in, I had already discovered that he was the kind of man who would support me in my dreams and goals, who would be a good Father to my children and would take commitment seriously in the same way I did. So when the thrill of the new relationship started to fade away as it always does, it didn’t matter to me. With a solid relationship comes new thrills and they come with the security of familiarity and the safety of the comfortable. It may not be Fourth of July fireworks anymore but it’s a slow burning fireplace instead. I traded the thrill of new discovery for the steady burning embers of ever growing love. The other names I will always remember fondly as each taught me something about life and about myself but I leave the list behind with no regrets or remorse. Because in the end, it was only one name that I was looking for, and that name was Phillip.

Life's too short...

1. Life is too short to knit with yarn you don't like. So I threw out the rest of my fun fur. I hate working with it, so I'm not going to make myself anymore.
2. Life is too short to read books that you are not enjoying. So I'm putting down the hobbit. I know I enjoyed it last time but I'm bored now. I'll leave my bookmark in and then if I ever change my mind and want to finish it, I'll know where I was.
3. Life is too short to not indulge every aspect of your personality now and again. I admit it. I like wearing office wear. I like to look pulled together first thing in the morning. I used to not care but honestly, I kind of find getting ready in the morning fun now. Dang it, I even like my glasses. They give me a new look, I feel punkrockish stylish. I think they are fun. Even if I could afford contacts right now, I probably wouldn't wear them much. I like rockin my new look. I have a shallow side and I'm enjoying it right now.
4. Life is too short to worry about things that are out of your control. To that end, I've stopped watching the news. I can't change the economic situation and I'm not going to let it stress me out. So long as I'm employed, my personal economy is doing ok.
5. Life is too short to spend your time not being yourself. I don't know what happened to me. I used to be louder, more outspoken and quite frankly, more fun. I miss that. I went to Grad school and became much more serious. I miss kicking back. I miss having an active social life. I miss Drama and I miss Dance. I miss the freedom they gave me. I'm going to get some of that back.
6. Life's too short to spend time being angry. Long story with this one, and I'm not sure how to change it but decided that I have too. No details at this time.
7. Life is too short to stay estranged from people. Sometimes estrangement just happens. Nobody is upset, no falling out occured but there is distance anyway. It's never too late to change that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lots of little goal updates

Goal 92: Read 52 books and journal about them.

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
2. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
3. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
4. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
5. Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
6. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
When I was a teenager I used to read a graphic novel series called Sandman. I loved it. I found the story lines interesting, I found the graphics amazing, in short it was the only comic I ever collected with any sort of enthusiasm. I don't know why it's taken me almost 10 years to discover that the author of those graphic novels is also an author of books. Better late then never, I suppose. I picked up a copy of his "Neverwhere" from the library and if I'm reading the reviews right, it was his first novel and was compared to a modern darker Alice in Wonderland. It's a fair comparison I think. In the first couple of chapters the main character, Richard comes across a girl covered in blood who has just fallen out of a doorway. He takes her home because she begs him not to take her to a hospital. It turns out that this girl is from "London Below" instead of "London above" and the interactions with her make him as though he didn't exist in his former life anymore. London Below is where the people who fall through the cracks live - the homeless that people don't see, the useless to society that people don't even notice anymore - and once you get there, there's no going back. Richard falls from his comfortable boring life working in the insurance industry to a world where people speak to rats, markets never take place in the same place twice and people you used to know look right through you and cannot remember who you are. He ends up following around Door, the girl he helped, and joins her in trying to figure out who killed her family. It's a tale full of beasts, sewer people, rats, a man coming back from the dead, something akin to vampires and an entire world that takes place right in front of, but not seen, by normal Londoners.
I really enjoyed the book. I didn't expect who the bad guy was until it was revealed (although maybe I should have) and the author weaved a world that was surreal but almost believable. I will defiantely be picking up one of his books again.

53. Reduce debt load by 25%
Up to 10% off my original debt so 1% down on my goal. 24% left. Sigh.

87. Get a library card
Got it.

I think that's all for now!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Goal Ninety-Two, again.

Read 50 Books and journal about them.

5. Blood Rites, Dresden Files book 6 by Jim Butcher

If you are not familiar with the Dresden Files books, it's a series about a Wizard living in Modern day Chicago. It's a nice mix of fantasy and reality, mixing every day events with magic, demons and various other things from the netherworld. That being said, I think I'm going to stop reading them. I love fantasy and I like the mix of it with modern times. It is squarely set in the "real" world but it borders on occultish and that doesn't bother me nearly as much as it should. The story line in this one was great, Dresden got to connect with his dead Mother (in a strange way) found out he had living family as well. It was a seperate story line from teh previous book but built back towards that story line nicely as there were a lot of loose ends. I'm slightly disappointed that I don't feel like I can read the next one but I think it's for the best. I may return to it after some time but for now, I have to say goodbye to Harry Dresden.

1. Twilight
2. New Moon
3. Eclipse
4. Breaking Dawn

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Six Word Memoir

I came across this awhile ago on postsecret and stubbled across it again today on a thread of Ravelry. If you could sum up your life in 6 words, what would it be? Obviously it will change as we all change and grow but it made me think. Where am I right now? What are the six words that could sum up what makes me tick at this moment? I came up with two different ones that are closely related, two sides of the same coin.

Don't care about your expectations anymore.


I don't want to disappoint myself.

I feel like I've been fighting with people's expectations my whole life. I spent most of my childhood hearing my Father ask me why I wasn't more like my older sister. Don't get me wrong, I love Aimee, but I'm not Aimee. Truthfully, Aimee and I are about as alike as night as day.
I think that I rebelled against that. Aimee was a good student, so determining that I could never live up to that, I didn't bother to do my homework. Aimee had nice, long thick hair and I've usually preferred mine shorter. Aimee wears calm sedate clothing and my clothing choices have been described as "spastic." Not that I harbour any resentment towards her, I just was not her and didn't want to be her so I lived my life the way I wanted to and tried my best to ignore disapproving stares. That's not to say that I was unaffected by them.
Later on in college, I found myself a little bit more and came into my own academically, which I found, much to my surprise, that I enjoyed. For the first time, I began to feel the weight of people's positive expectations. People trying to push me to my limits, telling me that they were going to be watching my career and questioning me as to different directions that I could go. They meant the best for me and helped me to grow but I still felt the weight of not knowing if I would ever succeed in living up to the expectations that people placed on me. The weight was different but I still felt the pressure of those expectations. I hated meeting with my advisor because he always made comments about expecting great things from me.

I felt the weight of all those expectations dearly. Of all the exectations that I would never live up to and all the expectations that I didn't know if I could live up to them.
So once again, I rebelled, I've hid from academics since I graduated. I ran from the pressure of other's unmet expectations and their subsequent disappointment in me.

But now, a little older, a little more experienced. For the fisrt time in my life the person I'm worried about letting down is me. It's a strange feeling but a nice one too. I shouldn't have to live under the shadow of other people's expectations but I should be allowed to forge my own path in the way I see fit. The expectations weren't all bad, but they also weren't mine. Now, for the first time in my life, I'm doing things because the person I don't want to disappoint is me. It's not about family, teacher or friends. It's not even about Phillip. It's about what I want and what I choose. Don't care about their expectations anymore, and the one I don't want is disappoint is me.

The feeling is both better and worse but at least now I know it's mine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gilmore Girls

Not very exciting but #4 is off my list. I picked up the third season of Gilmore girls for $15 which seemed too good to pass up. That puts me at owning all 7 seasons.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Best website ever. I'm now on chatper 5 of Dracula since Twilight apparently has me on a vampire kick.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Apperances can be deceiving

When I first moved down to Cleveland I did some church hopping to find the right place to settle into. Several were good churches that I just didn't feel comfortable in and others just held no appeal for me. However, there was one church that I really couldn't find much positive to say anything about when I left. I felt uncomfortable the entire time I was there. The worship was fairly contemporary and there was nothing about the atmosphere that should have put me off. But I did feel singled out without feeling welcome, I thought there theology was slightly off the deepend and quite frankly when they started to pray at the end of service, I made a mad dash for the door. I was extremely relieved that I'd gone alone and the church was in walking distance of my apartment. I never went back.
Being in community service has really opened my eyes to what goes in the community. I come into contact with various churches and organizations all the time. What surprises me is that often the churches that people think would be doing much aren't doing much at all. In contrast, this church that made me feel so uncomfortable is one of the most active, community oriented churches that I've found in Cleveland.
I may not be comfortable there but I can no longer deny the good they are trying to do in the community. I, officially, stand corrected and repent over the harsh judgement I placed on them. They are doing what they can to relieve the suffering that they see around them. That's more than I can say for many others and, if I'm honest, more than I can say about myself much of the time.
Appearances can be decieving and first impressions aren't always right.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goal Ninety-Two

Goal 92: Read 50 books and journal about them.

Hmm, maybe I shouldn't read any novels in series until the entire series is written. I seem to actually make it through the series then instead of losing interest and never returning to it. So here are my thoughts on the last three books in the twilight series. Tara, you may want to skip this one!

1. Twilight
2. New Moon
New Moon ws not nearly as good as twilight, just to get that out of the way. The story line seemed mostly like prologue, like it was story filler with the only purpose to take us to book 3. Truthfully, the filler needed to be written but honestly the last 150 pages of the book were the only one's I really enjoyed. I only kept reading because the prologue left us with a teaser and I was reading to get to that point. I do enjoy the whole werewolves lore but Twilight left me wanting more of the Bella and Edward story, not the Bella and Jacob story. I realize it was a necessary chapter in the story, Edward not being there and the emotional turmoil that Bella was left in. Ah well, not every book can be a page-turner,.

3. Eclipse
Eclipse was much better than New Moon probably because I became totally involved in the Edward-Bella story and I don't really care much for Jacob. Jacob, especially after this book, is not someone I would be friends with in real life so I found myself just wanting him to go away. I guess it's because I'm someone who believes in clear relationship boundaries which Bella was definately confused about and Jacob was determined to cross. The only bright spot in the entire love triangle was that Edward was trying to give Bella room to work out her own issues. Jacob did deserve to be hit with a two-by-four. I guess it just irritated me because putting myself into that emotional confusion isn't something I would let myself do. Either your with someone or you aren't. Sigh, I definately don't miss being a teenager. Overall though it was a very good story and completely made up for the disappointment of New Moon.

4. Breaking Dawn
I read this 750+ page book in two days. This was definately a good conclusion to the series. Edward got what he wanted, Bella got what she wanted (and more) and Jacob's story came to a satisfying (if not a little weird) conclusion as well. Relationship boundaries became well defined and story lines came together. This was probably not the direction that I would have taken the series if it was mine but I did enjoy the authors vision and how Bella really didn't give up anything (except maybe her soul) to be with Edward in the end. Jacob, who doesn't have to age, ended up with the child who will never age after she's grown. Eternally, they all get to be happy except the Volturi. Honestly, I would love to see a book where she expands on that story a little bit but I don't think it would sell well. It would be the Twilight version of the Silmarillion where only really hardcore fans make it through. I do wonder what she's going to do next and I almost feel a little sorry for her like I do for the JK Rowling. What are the chances that they will ever acheive this sort of success again?