Tuesday, December 28, 2010

She'll be comin' 'round the mountain.. again.. and again..

Every three months or so I complete and restart a cycle of asking the Lord questions. Every time around I'm a little older and a little wiser, but the questions remain the same: Who am I? What am I doing here? Why do I matter?
Every time I go through this, the Lord is faithful to show me that I am His, that I am serving His purpose and that He loves me.
I think it's important to keep asking these questions, even though I battle feeling like I should know the answers after all this time. But, I think the Lord wants me/us to ask Him often. He wants to show us that he cares deeply about us specifically and especially.
I don't have much to add beyond this thought. I felt like it was worth sharing. The end.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Why I never wear lipstick:

Because when I was 3 I ATE MY MOM'S LIPSTICK and then spit it out in the toilet. And it tasted TERRIBLE. Why would I ever put that near my mouth again?! It was an awful experience and actually during the same covert operation I ended up cutting off my pony tail at the rubber band along with any bangs I had hanging in my face.
Do you ever have thoughts like "why is God keeping me alive?", in a genuinely curious way. Just wondering what plan He has going on in his head for your life and why he spared you from the many close calls you've experienced in your life? Here are a few of mine:
Germany. 1989. I am 1 year old. We lived in a square 4 story house that had spiral staircases running up all over the place. I crawled away from my mom and ended up hanging by a foot (which was wedged between the rungs of the banister) over a set of steep marble spiral stairs dropping 25 feet into the basement of the house. Talk about a close call...
Germany. 1990ish. My brother Eddie (3) and I (2) were sitting on the floor playing with scissors. He was doing the whole open shut open shut game with me while explaining how truly dangerous scissors were when all of the sudden, open SHUT! as I stuck my chubby little index finger in the middle of all the action. Finger= almost gone. BUT after some swift maneuvering on the autobon by my mother straight to the hospital, my finger remains intact to this day and looking a little cooler and wiser with a scar.
Florida. 14 years old? With the family at our yearly cousins beach club extravaganza and I'm painting my nails with all my aunts and girl cousins. As I go to set the nail polish remover down the bottle hits the table hard and some remover splashes out of the bottle and into my left eye. 2 hours of eye-water-flushing later and my eyesight recovered. It was only a few years later making soap alone in a bike shed that I splashed lye-based liquid (has been known to eat through flesh in seconds) out of a container and into both my eyes (mostly my right) and thanks to more endless eye-flushing and a string of "oh Jesus please not my eyesight" ejaculations AND perhaps it helped that I wore contacts that took most of the heat (they were almost completely melted/disintegrated), I survived. Anyway, I've always said that the Lord must have some special purpose for my eyes because the enemy is always trying to sabotage them. (I just love the word sabotage, like, sooo much. I want to say it all the time. "Sabotage, sabotage, sabotage," say it with me!)
And then there was 2003. Louisiana. Hurricane Katrina. Sitting in my uncle's living room and thinking "oh my, this might be how I die" as I watched trees snapping in half outside the window and an especially ambitious tree went careening through the house and came to rest on the sleeping bag I had just crawled out of an hour before. (At the time I was more concerned about the fact that my cell phone was by my sleeping bag and I might not be able to text my crush back for a while)(didn't think about the fact that cell phone service was impossible anyways).
There's also the morning I woke up and tried to step out of bed only to collapse on the floor and feel pain shooting through my right leg. I pulled myself down the stairs (sound dramatic? it was.) and was brought to the hospital that night to have surgery on my right hip where a staff infection had been festering and (completely unbeknownst to me) close to crippling me. Sweet memorial scar: check.
So, what I know so far is... God has a plan for my life involving my eyesight, legs, index finger, and the ability to hang from great distances by my foot while avoiding falling objects. Sound like a great movie, anyone?

I'm not too concerned about it as long as He knows I'm not going to be wearing lipstick for any of it...

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Ode to a Stinkbug

I am a lowly stinkbug. And this is my tale.
I go where the wind takes me, which happened to be- one fateful evening- the attic room of Lindsey and Amelie.
On that cold, dark night, the wind howled and the clouds gathered so that I could scarcely flap my wings. I was at the mercy of the night sky and all alone in the world. Suddenly, I hit a house and quickly clutched my little stinkbug body to the brick, crawling further into a crevice in the wall.
The crevice went deeper and deeper and I followed it, glad to be farther from the night air, until I was creeping through the wall and into the attic room of the house. Warmth washed over my little legs and feet and my eyes drank in the light from a lamp. I surveyed my surroundings: two beds, two couches, some dressers, a shining lamp. My little beating heart began to warm inside my shivering exoskeleton. "Is this heaven?" I thought.
I shimmied up the side of the window by diving onto a curtain and hid myself in the folds of the fabric. And there I hung for many hours, defrosting my stinkbug brain and little stinkbug toes.
What came next was all a blur. There was a scream, hustling and bustling... more lights, more screaming... Lindsey and Amelie had seen something on the window, something right next to me! I was instantly on the alert! What had they seen that scared them so? Why were they screaming at the window in one second and at each other the next. Tossing a Kleenex back and forth like they were fighting over who should hold it. Yelling at each other and then without explanation rolling on their beds laughing. It was all so confusing.
Finally, some sort of strategy emerged out of their baffling interaction and the two tormented girls crept closer to the window, alternately whimpering and giggling. They crept so close to me that I began to realize how close I was to the danger they were going crazy over. My little feet that had been frozen in fear now clicked into survival mode. Whatever was waiting for me on that curtain-that thing that had Lindsey and Amelie so upset- I would be ready to stand my ground from it.
I skittered further into a fold the curtain (thinking a surprise attack was the best option, obviously). When you're a stinkbug, there isn't much you can do physically besides, well, stink. So, you don't have to be like actually giving the old one-two, you can be hiding at a distance. But, for some reason, as soon as I moved, a new wave of hysteria came over the humans and they could scarcely breath they were so undone by either my daring courage or my fearless protective in'stink'ts, maybe they were undone by both, who knows? All I do know for sure is that their little minds were taken over by this sudden confusion and without even looking at what they were doing, one of them (Lindsey) reached out with a Tupperware dish and knocked ME into it as the other (Amelie) slid the lid on top, trapping me inside this plastic prison.
Amid screams and such (were there tears? It was hard to tell from inside my circular jail cell), I was whisked down the stairs to the lower level of the house. All the while I was squealing and crying out, trying to get their attention. "You have the wrong offender!", "I am only a lowly stinkbug escaping the cold and damp", "the true danger is still on that curtain surely!" But to no avail.
Before I could even make out where they were taking me, the wrongful victim, I was suddenly being held only a foot above a giant swirling lake, a vortex of whitewater sloshing and being sucked down and away out of sight. My life flashed before my eyes (hatching, feeding, mating, curtains, betrayal) as Lindsey dropped the entire Tupperware into the water. The top came off and I fell out and was swept away, down, down, down... into darkness.
And it is from darkness that this story is written. A message written to you as a ghost. A forever haunting ghost. My destiny is to torment Lindsey and Amelie for all eternity, leaving a stink or an old leg here and there. And late at night as they sleep I whisper my final words to them on this earth "Not I! Not IIII!".
Even now as my little ghostly stinkbug body is jumping from computer key to computer key, typing this "anonymous" post on Amelie's computer, I am reliving those last moments with a shudder and reaffirmed in my resolve.
So, let this be a warning to all those who hunt Stinkbugs in this life: If ever ye be unkind to a Stinkbug, think on this tale of woes of Amelie and Lindsey, the accursed Stinkbug Murderers, and be ye kind to all stinky things, lest ye be haunted by "The Stink." Ahem (that's me).

The End.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Quicktakes

>I just ordered a mini blues harmonica on amazon. I'm swapping piano lessons for harmonica lessons with a friend:

> Go here for a sweet demo of what I will be capable of in a few months... I hope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqpamKil3VY
>
>Photo of what we tried to do at yoga class last Friday: What won't be pictured here? A photo of me trying to do this in class last Friday.
>
>Photo of yoga pose my two goofy friends Jim and Ford attempted after dinner a couple weeks ago. I tried to find a picture of THEM doing it, but all evidence was sabotaged so your hilarious mental images will have to suffice: P.S. In their defense, it's harder than it looks
>
>Today I mowed the lawn. I hate mowing the lawn at our new house because we live on a busy street and many peoples drive by at all hours and think I'm just the funniest thing they've seen all day and they're happy to let me know it. So, I always wear the most frumpy unattractive thing I own, turn my ipod to hardcore and give myself a dark and angry demeanor so that people will just let me do my thing as quick as possible. Luckily, it works (but I end up looking like a freak hobo woman with deep emotional issues).
It's a price I'm willing to pay.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

YOGA- Your Onesy's Got an Aura

Yoga- (noun), "yo-guh"
The act of making a fool of oneself in order to humbly be reborn into the real world.

That about sums it up.

Now, for real, yoga is the most intense, wonderful, beautiful, peaceful, challenging, organic thing I've ever encountered. But, I am not Rodney Yee. I am not Cindy Crawford. I am Amelie Miltenberger, babysitter extraordinare, and I have an imperfect body and less balance than your average Tibetan monk. Thus, yoga does something a little different for me than what it does for my yogi: it humbles me.

Every Friday morning my best friend Lindsey and I roll out of bed around 9:30, pull on something colorful and flexible, throw our hair up into messy buns and show up to our little yoga class downtown for our weekly dose of community organized exercise. Our instructor is a young woman around our age, who could probably do something cooler than Jackie Chan. 'Nuff said. We have girl crushes on her. We try to practice Sanskrit to each other during the week so that when Friday rolls around we have't forgotten everything we learned the week before. Luckily, lots of the poses are called things like "sage" and "cobra," words that are quintessentially known as yoga words. Other phrases like "uttinasina" and "shavasina" take more practice. <(OK, I def just threw those last two in there to brag about my sanskrit skillz, so don't beat yourself up about it).

So maybe we know what the words mean (sometimes), but that doesn't make them effortless. On the contrary, I find that one of the most beneficial things I get out of yoga is just knowing I tried something that a few months ago I would have just pointed and laughed at. Mmm, OK, I still have to stifle grins and cough over my own laughter sometimes in class. When we do things that remind me of my 6-year-old ballet class ("crab crawl" anyone?) how can I resist? It's utterly ridiculous but miraculously healing.

That said and all goofy poses aside, yoga can be a very controversial topic. It's deeply embedded in the Hindu religion and as such I do think there's a certain air of caution that needs to be taken with the class. Lindsey's a great accountability partner and she has caught me in the middle of a few close calls. Sometimes my hippie ways sway my tolerance levels to accept things that I should not receive or at least should question. If it weren't for a good community around me, I daresay I'd be living in a yurt in Nepal with a pet newt named Raj. Having said that, it MIGHT be a total exaggeration..

'Alls' I'm saying is for me yoga is more about a way to have fun and be challenged than a way for me to spiritualize my earth suit. And I like it. So Sanskrit that!


P.S. Just gotta say how funny it is that every single time I went to type "yoga" it came out as "yoda" and I had to go back and change it.

... although I have no doubt that at times yoda can be a very controversial topic too...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Mmhm


You KNOW I made some of this tonight for dinner.




Nothing like good ole southern comfort food make me wanna run home to the bayou...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

rerouting... haha..ha

just read through my last post and realized it's preachy. that's not why i started this blog and im sorry that happened! sometimes when we are full of our own awe-inspiring thoughts we think that other people should be too. that rarely works. (never works in my experience). i like my goofy posts about getting fired, breaking a glass measuring cup on my head, licking car hair... that's what this blog is about.

onward and upward!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Posted Incomplete Thought Is Better Than No Post At All

I thought I would share an excerpt from a favorite book of mine called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It's spoken like a thought from Jesus to you. Every day there is a different short paragraph that never ceases to cut me to the marrow. Today's devotion was no different, and I thought some one might want to share in that...
"Trust Me and refuse to worry, for I am your Strength and Song. You are feeling wobbly this morning, looking at difficult times looming ahead, measuring them against your own strength. However, they are not today's tasks -- or even tomorrow's. So leave them in the future and come home to the present, where you will find Me waiting for you. Since I am your Strength, I can empower you to handle each task as it comes. Because I am your Song, I can give you Joy as you work alongside Me."
One of the main themes the Lord brings to my mind has always been to only let myself think about today. "Tomorrow" and "this week" and *gasp* "next month" are deadly words in my walk, and I am constantly having to hear this message of "letting tomorrow worry about itself." There's nothing else to DO really. I can remember countless times laying on my bed, flipping through my notebook pouring over budgets and projected income lists and bills and crying over the "mass" (to me they were massive) amounts of cash I needed and having to fling all my worries and cares on the Lord because I had no earthly way of making the money needed to cover everything. Time after time the Lord proved faithful to my moving here. I've never gone without food, shelter, clothing or transportation. I've always had just enough, sometimes down to the dollar, and I thank God I know better than to chalk it up to good luck or coincidence.
There was the time a bike appeared in a friends back yard for me to ride to work down the road and not have to walk so far. Or the time a work check came in I had forgotten about just in the nick of time to complete my rent dues. My journal is full of these instances, most of them are stories I don't tell- things between God and myself- times where He's taken care of me that no one could know but me. And yet, it still happens that I find myself looking into that mysterious and shaky future of mine and just barely start to say "what if...-" and then SNAP! I shut those thoughts down and bring myself back to the day I'm standing in. It doesn't seem like much, 24 hours, but it's enough to keep each one of us busy. And I think you'll find at the end of the day you lived that day more fully than you would've if you'd been somewhere else in your head.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A New Era


It's been almost three years since I wheeled my measly belongings across the threshold of Virginia, and now almost a year and a half since I moved to Harrisonburg. To say it's been a long road would be like calling the Appalachian Trail a bunny slope. It's been a real long road. But, today, on this beautiful Saturday morning, after a cup of coffee and a stroll through the downtown farmer's market, I sat in my living room and wrote about how far I've traveled from the outlook I once held and how much I have come to love and even treasure this place and these people.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gidgit.

I left my heart in Madison, VA with this little corgi-terrier mix.

Well, I've put it off long enough

It's that time. That time where I confess something as unsavory as it is unexpected: I have read, and dare I say it, enjoyed the Twilight Saga! OK, "enjoyed" is a strong word. Sometimes it was lame, downright boring and even occasionally disturbing; but, all in all, the word that kept coming up in my mind: Contemplative. I even found myself engrossed in the story, at times.
Now, I'm not going to go shout about it from the rooftops by any means, but somewhere in my mind I know I can never bash the books again like I used to -before I had actually read them. Because some part of me has a little respect for Stephanie Meyer for coming up with such a series at exactly the right time to sweep the nation during the height of vampire fever. Almost every tween in America with or without an imagination has invested anywhere from 40-99% of their thought life to her story since it's release, I gotta respect THAT. Even if it was a bit ridiculous, I will brave the scoffs and the jeers, the pity and the looks (all from those who HAVEN'T read the series, mind you) and say that I will think back on Twilight as a well-rounded tween-level tale. And it made me laugh out loud on several occasions. There's nothing unsavory about that.

My Idea of a Good Time

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Earlier this week we made sushi!


Click on the title of this post to go to my house mates blog for a video of the fiasco (prepared to be bored by my "cooking show")-(you've been warned!)- (seriously though, it's boring) but mostly follow the link to read Lindsey's blog. It's new, and pretty awesome.

Awaiting our meal coups in the Chick-fil-a parking lot

Camping gear= $50 deposit
Gas= $40
Smiling about being outside on the hottest/wettest day of the year w/ no hope of a shower in sight= priceless!

A Once in a Lifetime Experience (I hope)

On Wednesday morning (3am) I left with my house mates Lindsey and Victoria and 4 guy friends for Richmond to attend the Chick-fil-a opening there. It's a huge deal, apparently, and we wanted to go check it out. So, we got there at 5am and at 6 am they count everyone in the parking lot and close down the entrances, giving out raffle tickets and, through that, choosing 100 lucky winners (of the 265 that were present!). These 100 people have the opportunity to win free chick-fil-a for a whole year (52 free meal coupons, so once a week for a year) IF -and it's a big IF- they stay on the property for 24 hours. So, once your number is called, you have a few minutes to gather your camping stuff from your car and set up camp in one of the parking spaces on the property. It's CRAZY! But, we're young and it's an adventure, so we were excited when 5 of the 7 of us made it into the 100! We agreed to split up the coups (as we called them) between all of us evenly. Luckily, they allow "guests" of the 100 who may have driven with them or whatnot, so all of us were given space to camp and fed throughout the 24 hours. While we were there we recognized some other JMU students and quickly joined forces with their 5, creating an unstoppable mega-team of youngsters compared to the shocking amount of over-65 individuals and family units that attend these things from all over the country. (More on that later... *cringe*). Working together in ruthless tact and speed, we secured the three most convenient, strategic spots of the lot. I may or may not have scooted and whirled a disoriented grandmother or two out of the way... juuuuust kidding :O
After all the 100 are called and placed, the true diehard chick-fil-a fans begin the games. (Games: not really games, unless you call just sitting around for 24 hours games...). I haven't shared the worst part of this experience, the part that no one could have guess or controlled, the really sick part: the weather. Yes, the weather. Ahhh weather... how it delighted in torturing us. It's like it KNEW it had 24 hours to play with our little minds. A parking lot full of crazies with nowhere to go...
When we got to Richmond it was POURING hot drops of rain. So hot that wearing a raincoat was like an unbearable punishment, but so wet that you really didn't have a choice. It stopped raining just after we were finished setting up camp, of course. Then, the heat set in... The clouds hung like a thick horizontal wall, trapping the steamy humidity from the rain under itself, and us with it. The sun went to work, baking the clouds which in turn radiated the heat into the mist that was clinging to us. We were wet. We were hot. We were hungry for breakfast.
So we slept. It was the only thing TO do.
I woke up to the drip of my sweat from my eyebrow to my nose. (Sidenote: I don't have a unibrow, I was laying sideways not standing up, OK?). The heat overwhelmed me. Inside the tent was like my own personal rain forest hell. I unzipped the netting and stuck my head outside. The "breeze" filtered down my shirt and refreshed me for a nanosecond. Then it was back to misery. I tried to encourage myself with thoughts like "well, at least I probably slept for a solid part of the day". Wrong. It was 8:30am.
I could continue about the weather forever, it definitely was the major wet blanket (haha...ha...ehh) of the trip. BUT there are so many OTHER interesting things to discuss, like how the heck do all these senior citizens sleep in tents on concrete, and how do you justify bringing a newborn baby to endure the unfriendly climate? There are a million other little eccentricities of such an event that I can't even begin to share. Like how we actually had a great time. How, even though we were miserable, we were laughing the whole time. Maybe because we were doing it together, going through it together, and getting to know each other in a way that is different than the norm. Suffering together - and it brought us close and made us be creative and silly. I know I spent most of this post talking about how awful it was, but really, that was just to make you laugh. My true feelings about the 24 hrs are ones of smiles and good memories. All in all, I will never do it again, but I will never forget the good times had by all. Even the senior citizens.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

...So I'll have to say "I love you" in a song

Isn't that the truth? How many times have I stopped myself (and I cringe at the times I didn't) from almost sending a song in an email with a subject line like: "OK, this song explains how I'm feeling, listen carefully to verse three"? If only that worked. If only we didn't have to learn to communicate with our own words what we feel and think.
Moral: Even if your words don't rhyme or flow like a melody, they are more priceless than any R&B hit and whoever you're dialoging with will hopefully resound with what you're trying to say and treat your thoughts the way they deserve to be treated. Respect, yo.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Genuine Heatwave

Bangerang!
It's summertime hardcore in the Valley. Ninety-eight degrees consistently with little-to-no breeze and a spoonful o' humidity. I made the decision of a lifetime last week and craigslisted for an A/C window unit. I got two for $15 from a guy down the street and let me tell you... my room has become the hub for all activity in the house. It stays a cool 70-75 degrees (depending on if someone leaves the door open for a few minutes on the way out, always a sad affair). Getting around the house, though, has become a chore. We finally couldn't take the drab hot-hot-heat anymore and had a water balloon fight outside. It was more like a water balloon failure because Jodi and I just stood ten paces away from each other and took turns splashing one another with cool H2O. Victoria took a video of us and our horrible aim, missing each other from waaaay too close up and laughing hysterically. Later as we watched the vid, we were all aghast at our "video voices." You know what I'm talking about. I don't think I've met a person who just loves the way their voice sounds on camera. It's always nasally and everything you say just sounds stupid. Anyway, we decided to find out once and for all if we really sound the way we hear ourselves on camera, or in our heads. Jodi took turns filming each of us as we pretended to be having a conversation- trying to use our real voices. We hope we're wrong, but we think the voice we hear of ourselves in our heads is not our real voice. That our real voice is in fact a few octaves higher and annoyinger. So, I'd like to take this sentence to apologize to everyone who has to endure my especially annoying voice in real life. I am truly sorry. I only wish you could hear the smooth, collected tone I tune into when I'm talking. I think I'll have to live in ignorance on this subject. If I think about to too much and take it too much to heart, I'll never speak again! So, that's the last you'll hear me talk about it. It's in the past, never to be dug up except on the rare occasion that I hear/see myself in a recording. ... which is fairly often now that my good friend purchased a video camera. Bother. Check our her blog, I think she may have put up the balloon fight vid... but check out her blog anyway, it's about to get crazy when she moves to Boston next month!!! Just click on the title of this post.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

On the 1st day of summer my true love gave to meeeee

Summertime always starts with a bang and this year is no different. From New Orleans to Gulf Shores to the Tappahannock and back to Harrisonburg, I feel like I've been a part of history on many levels...
First being home and partaking in my two younger twin brothers' graduation was a great moment in family history, as they are the last to leave home and strike out on their own respective paths.
Secondly to vacation at Gulf Shores for quite possibly the last time during my or anyone else alive's lifetime. Oil washed up our last day there. I took a picture on my cell phone, but the real imprint was on my heart as I stood on our last day beside the Gulf of Mexico like I've done so often my whole life; saying goodbye to the ocean. This goodbye was different.
I've been taking a lot of these "mental snapshots" lately because these last few months have been very special and singular in my life and every so often I've come to a spot I know I'll never see from that certain vantage point again. Living with these roommates, hanging around the house with my brothers, spending time with friends that may disappear as I once did so long ago, or not so long ago; all these little situations that I sense are one-of-a-kind or last-of-their-kind. I cross my fingers and *snap* a picture, hoping one day those visions will come forth when called like some old computer file that was accidentally misfiled and then rediscovered years down the road. My memory has never been good. In fact, I am jokingly known as Dory in more than one circle... but, maybe, just maybe, these images will stick with me. I have to hope for the best, for the sake of moving forward otherwise I might never venture outside my door from fear of doing something worth remembering.
The third history-making experience was visiting the Tappahannock my first weekend back in Harrisonburg with two housemates and our good friend Matt who is from there. It made history because it was the first time ever recorded that time actually halted for an entire weekend. And even if it didn't altogether stop, it definitely slowed down to the point where no one cared to keep track of it anymore. Tappahannock, or as many now refer to it, "God's Country" (another history point?) is located in south eastern Virginia. On a typical day you will see an amazing sunrise followed by blistering heat and the occasional rainstorm. I missed the sunrise (*ahem* alarm malfunctions...), just danced around being burnt to a crisp, and successfully out-boated the rainstorms throughout Saturday and Sunday. So, all that was left was an incredibly enjoyable sleep, pleasant sun/surf frolicking, and sickeningly fast and wild boat rides! Again I say, God's Country was amazing. We stepped into another world where people are just downright nice all the time, and all you have to worry about is the plunge off the rope swing possibly taking your drawers off. 'Nuff said.

Being back in the 'Burg has lately become a series of check-marks off of a to-do list which is why I've gotten back into blogging so as not to become too consumed with the day-to-day blah blah blahhs. Perhaps this will also help me better remember my mental pictures in the years to come.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Family Cont'd

Seesterz.
Last weekend Maryann and Elizabeth came to see my "home away from home away from home" (First home would be Covington, Louisiana; second home would be Arlington, Virginia; third home is definitely Harrisonburg).

After today, I just have to make it through Tuesday and on Wednesday a day of much driving and flying and thennnnnn... HOME! *does a jig*

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I've decided I HAVE to add an aside and tell a quick little anecdote. A day in the life of Amelie, if you will... (This came about because I was reading posts from the begining of the year laughing my head off and wondering how my blog went from funny to recently being somewhat boring and I realized I started posting so much about going RAW and blah blah blah and you can only say so much about that before you're suddenly talking to a roomful of snoozing people). So, having said that, here is my "Lesson Learned" numero uno installment in what I hope to be a very benefitial series where people can read my horror stories and laugh but at the same time never have to go through what I have for the sake of science, nay for the sake of mankind. You're welcome.

This morning I juiced 4 carrots and 2 bunches of parsley. My eyes have been irritated and this is the only thing that I can do to help them. I was late to babysitting, so I poured the cocotion into a glass and ran out the door. On the road, I took a sip. I've had carrot-parsley juice once before so I knew what to expect. But... this was not what I expected. I mean, yea I'd only had it once before, but wasn't it a little tastier... not so... garnishy...? And then all the pieces came together in my head, that day at the grocery store, looking at all the different parsleys (who knew parsley had so much versatility?), seeing the huge price difference from one parsley to the next, choosing the cheaper parsley, taking it home, juicing it, you get the idea. Basically, sitting at a red light on a rainy morning in which I had woken up to my babysittee's mother's call ("weren't you coming this morning at 8am?"), I realized I had bought not parsley parsley, but garnish parsley. Parsley you find on plates a restaurants that you dare some one to eat. Parsley that is bushy and chokey. Parsley that is the son of a motherless dog. Garnish. And let me tell you... Garnish parsley and parsley parsley are so very different, I see that now. And I can't believe I didn't catch that at the grocery store. From this day forward I vow never to just buy the cheaper thing for cheapness sake. I will find 1 other good reason to get it cheaper or else I'll get the more expensive one. And that way I will ensure never to be so rudely awakened at 8:45 am not by a peeved mother looking for her babysitter but by a glass of carrot-bush juice strangling me with it's chalky chokiness.

Lesson learned.


I think I'm going to use the word "auspicious" in this post

On this most auspicious night as I recline on my floral couch, preparing for bed, listning to music, texting my last words to friends, I suddenly come into an air. A state, if you will. It's a sweet sweet spirit of all things family. And as it settles on me I feel totally at peace and at rest. And I know I am blessed. I am so blessed I can hardly sit, I'm floating. That's the kind of air I'm talking about.
Family. Why do people brag about their families as if they were able to pick and choose through a catalog for their great aunt Vidalia who sat next to Pocahontas at a book club? We have no more to do with where we are born into than a drop of rain chooses which puddle to splash into. No, we can't decide who our families are, but someOne did for us. It was all so masterfully thought out from before the age of time where each little being should be born and raised and into what family they should find themselves.
That is why I feel so blessed. To be so intentionally placed, to be chosen for a specific time and place in this world is to have a purpose all in itself that we cannot know but must trust. And family is the epicenter of it all. Where it all begins, happens and ends. Our lives and the changing times swirl around us like a wisp of a dream but our families are the real anchor that ties us to a specific harbor in a specific land. And try as we might to cut the cord, we only hurt ourselves. For when that cord is cut or even loosened, we start to sink ourselves, and we find that what we thought was keeping us bound from a life of adventure on the high seas was actually keeping us from getting swept away with the yellow sea foam, blown and tossed by the wind, or worse: drowned by the rushing and ever-changing currents of the deep deep ocean.
What most people never learn about their "family anchors" is that, like real boat anchors, they serve more purpose than just keeping you in one spot. Anchors are only reeled out every once in a while, when the wind gets rough and the waves get big. Mostly, they are just a part of the identity of the ship, not like they are a vital part of the everyday life of the ship, but, if a storm hits, you better believe they quickly become an integral part of the wellbeing of the ship. And if you knew what you were about, you wouldn't just willingly hop into a boat without a reliable anchor, especially in these crazy times of earthquakes and volcanos... no no, a good anchor is much prefered.
Can you tell I'm going home in a few days? :]

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Stickybuns at the Farmer's Market & Other Ironies

I bought my first RAW cookbook as I sucked down a sugary Starbucks drink at B&N. "Here's to my health!" I thought with a grin. Honestly, I have poured myself into learning as much as I can about living raw. It's the most fascinating thing I've come across -ever! Fascinating in the sense that it feels so right. Why wouldn't it be the best thing for our bodies to be fueled by living nutrients. If we are living organisms, doesn't it make sense that we should eat live food? And why is it OK to fill our bodies with dead things like sugar and white flour, baked this and charred that. If we want to be ALIVE then we must partake in foods that are ALIVE. It's so simple. But it is by far the biggest challenge we face in America. Forget starvation, clean water, shelter, money. America is being wasted away by the food industry.

The "food" industry. Now, why doesn't that sounds strange? Because it is normal for an industry to make food. But, we often overlook that it is only for profit. And how is food that was made for profit going to be the best there is for you? Why do plants grow produce? One purpose and one purpose only: fuel. There's no money involved in a plant's agenda. When money is involved everything it touches is instantly tainted. Maybe not completely marred, but DEFINITELY tainted. In "foods" case, it's despicable. The products we buy at the grocery store were made for one thing: to turn a profit. At the end of the day, that's what corporations have as their absolute bottom line: how can we make more money. Granted, there are a few out there who are less greedy than others, I have met billionaires with hearts of gold. But, the "corporation" doesn't have a heart, even though it's legally a "person." A corporation is legally obligated to put profit before any other factor. This applies especially with short-term profit that often has a long-term consequence. (If you can't tell I just watched "The Corporation" documentary and I highly recommend it. Go get it at your local library or rent it, it's worth the trip! Anyways, enough on that tangent. Basically, I'm enraptured by raw foods and how simple yet impossible it all is to just do what we were made to do.

And that applies to all areas of life that fascinate me: Why is it so dang hard to just do what we were made to do?! Be male or be female, be loved and love, create life and care for it, to pass peacefully into eternity. Why is there so much entangling each of these things, making it sometimes impossible to distinguish between just living and truly living. And what is living and what is blah blah blah...

Keep It Simple Stupid. Just do what we were created to do. The simpler the better. Alas, therein lies the uber-rub: the infinite complexity of simplicity.

Sigh... Even though we've come full circle, I don't feel disheartened. I am lead by the Spirit and it's natural. I am drawn to what is natural. And simplicity is natural for me. But, that's not the case for everyone. I spend my spare moments helping/coercing my fellow housemates to Goodwill half their wardrobe and toss the other half. Not to mention the Mount Everests of "stuff" that for some is painfully difficult to part with. To them I simply say: "Poo Poo" like Madeline would. The end.

No but seriously, go through your room and get rid of half of what's in it. You won't regret it. I do it 8 times a year and I have only regretted getting rid of something twice in my life. PRACTICE parting with "stuff." It can only be good for you in the long run. You can't argue that, my friend. You just can't argue with nature. And nature keeps it simple... stupid :]

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cont.: Notes from Raw Foods Seminar

Important names:
Jenna Norwood- 30 days raw documentary maker. cool chick. owned raw food restaurant in dc? now travels around giving talks about raw food
David Wolfe- raw food guru, runs a clinic in san diego that jenna norwood attended called 'optimum health institute'

Cool websites:
jennanorwood.com- updates on her new documentary that is in pre-production, video demonstrations of raw recipes, articles, etc...
davidwolfe.com-check out the guru
juicefeasting.com- resource for raw and a 92-day juice fast
crazysexycancer.com- story of chris carr, girl who kicked cancer by eating raw
goneraw.com- resource for raw recipes.
rawmodel.com- a model who is raw.. and so hotttt.
veganbodybuilder.com- for those interested in if people who eat raw can still do rando stuff like bodybuilding...
runningraw.com- ultra-marathoner Tim VanOrden (who also made the documentary "Protein Myth") and is raw
meetup.com- a way to get connected with local co-ops in your area

Documentaries to watch:
Supercharge Me! 30 Days Raw
The Corporation
Protein Myth - on youtube

Comments to remember:
"Pay now or pay later" refering to question about cost of raw food in relation to cost of long-term health problems
"You cannot solve your problems with the same mind that created them" -Einstein
"Eating out with friends becomes less about the food and more about the company" refering to question of socializing with a raw lifestyle
One guy got up and gave a little testimony about his life with raw foods. He said the best way to start that lifestyle is by first and foremost getting rid of all cravings (he did that via the 'questionable' detox method called the "master cleanser fast") and then the next thing to do is investigate "superfoods" that quench cravings in a raw way... hm.

Raising a glass to the end of the school year, not that it has an effect on me personally

... but I feel a general happiness for all my friends struggling to trudge to class just a few more times. A light is in fact at the end of the tunnel for several of them, and our house is drowning under folds of purple and gold caps, gowns and tassles everywhere.

Tonight my question is what should the focus of this post be? I have a million little fragments of rabbit trails I would love to chase down on a keyboard, but to me posts are only fun to read if they are on specific topic. So, I really should pick just one.

A couple days ago I attended a documentary showing of "Supercharge Me! 30 Days Raw" by Jenna Norwood, who was at the showing to discuss and answer questions. I went by myself, found a seat next to another lone viewer and tried to strike up friendly conversation. She wasn't having it, so I ended up pretty bored just sittin' around for 20 minutes waiting for the thing to start. Jenna was obvious to pick out of the people wandering around the theater. She had a glow that I've noticed coming from several other raw and/or organic people in the area. One woman who works at Kate's Natural Foods in town- I swear looks younger and healthier every time I go in there. Something about natural foods has caught my fancy in that way, in the way that I see people who treat their bodies to live food are treated well by their bodies. If that makes sense. Anyway, she had "the glow" and we introduced ourselves to each other and she commented on what a beautiful name Amelie is and how it's one of her favorite movies. If I had a quarter for every time some one said that to me I would have an endless supply of chicklet gum... yup. That's what I'd do with all those quarters. No doubt in my mind.

The program started and I had to admit my expectations after the begining credits shrank to 25% of what they had been. It was starting to feel like a home video. "Oh rats" I thought to myself. "How long is this thing going to drag." But, it DID pick up. It DID redeem itself. It was fascinating. Basically, Jenna Norwood (from Washington, DC, woot woot) wanted to lose some weight and heard about a detox clinic in San Diego that was based on the "raw food diet" of, well, completely raw vegitation. Nothing cooked at all, raw raw raw. So, she set out to document her journey through this "cutting edge" (was filmed in 2005) diet (which if you think about it is actually thousands of years old) and how she became a full fledged believer in the raw lifestyle. It quickly shifted from a shallow desire to look good in a leotard to a spiritually awakening, mentally invigorating, physically empowering experience that she tours around the country advocating for to this day. It's powerful stuff, this raw food. I have to admit I'm totally into it. I mean, I've piddled around with the Maker's Diet and this and that detox and bleh bloh blah, but THIS! This is like.... a whole other level. Am I ready for this? I want to be, but I dunno... I looked up the Optimum Health Clinic in San Diego that Jenna attended for three weeks of her 4 week challenge and found the cost to be minimally tallied at 3,000 bones. I would give my left eyebrow to ship off to San Diego for three weeks, but I don't have 3,000 bones, not in my body and certainly not in my pocket. Oh well, maybe one day.

Jenna did say you don't need to go to a clinic to get started. But, is there really any other way? A gradual "ease" into the "RAW" lifestyle just doesn't even fit into the same sentance together. Like trying to ease yourself out of a bandaid. Better to just rip it off, right? Saaaame thing.

Needless to say I walked away from the seminar with so many thoughts and ideas running through my head and they are still running through my head tonight: should I go raw what will people think what would my family say but it's not what anyone thinks! but it's too expensive but would I rather 'pay now or pay later' (famous "raw" saying, refering to the fact that you can either pay more for raw food now, or pay later in doctor bills and prescription pills and yes I thought about that for a second so that I could rhyme that). Also I just wonder about what life is like without things like pastries and coffee and bread and jelly and meat! Is a life without those things worth living? That is the question that always swings me back to where I am. I refuse. I REFUSE to be one of those miserable people who is unhappy because they don't enjoy food anymore. But, according to Jenna, your taste buds adapt after a detox and you start craving the things you're eating.

There is much more research to do. I've already checked out all the websites Jenna gave me and done some minor calculations. Subconsciously, I haven't gone to the grocery store all week, because I think maybe I can just stop buying things like noodles and pasta sauce. The truth is, I already bake my own bread, buy grass-fed chicken eggs, non-pasturized milk, butter, spinich, kettle corn (:]) and herbs all from local farms. Problem is none of those things are considered "raw". Not really. Because they come from animals. On the internet there are various arguments both ways about needing dairy in your diet. One guy (rawmodel.com) suggests that you can't really be sustained your whole life without dairy. Another, David Wolfe, of countless bestseller books and top-rated websites, an allround "raw guru" insists it's unnecessary and his life and times reflects that as well. Who's right? Bah, if only I had a million dollars to invest in finding out for myself.

I do know that since my pantry has run itself almost completely out and I've only bought fruit since the seminar, I was doin' the raw thang for most of the day, then scavenged a piece of bread... and I felt it. I felt that my stomach was telling me something. Telling me the bread was no good. And it was homemade banana bread with wheat flour. It was almost healthy. By the worlds standards it would receive the gold star of eat-without-conscience. But, after going only one day basically "raw" already my stomach had found itself enough voice to muster a weak protest as I gulped the morsel down. That is the strange thing about our guts. And I have researched this. And experimented. And I can tell you the gut is almost as communicative as the brain and heart, in fact.. ( I LOVE telling people this) doctors (ask any of them) will tell you that in the scientific world the gut is refered to as the "second brain." Why? Because, when you were an embryo, and a mass of ganglion was forming inside your little bod, it separated into two parts, my friend. One half of this mass travels upwards to your head and weeks later has evolved into your brain. What happened to the other half is just crazy. Just insane. The other bunch of ganglionic nerve endings travels down to your gut. There it grows embeded in the walls of your stomach and the surrounding area. Thus, your gut has a major capacity to communicate feelings, thoughts, etc... The only problem is, esp. here in good ole America is that we eat so poorly, our baseline for how we feel in our guts is much worse that it would naturally be if we ate better. Jenna also spoke of this. She said once she had cleared all the bad toxins and grossness out of her body, she had a clear pathway for communication with her gut. If she ate a piece of cheese, her stomach had a nice clean phone line to dial in and tell her how cheese made it feel. Normally, at least for me, the cheese is just piled on top of a long list of unhealthy or allergic things that I have never given it the chance to sort through, added to the numbing baseline. I wonder what kind of things my tum would say if I gave it half a listen. I hope I'm making sense because I have been typing for entirely too long and I still have way too much to say.

Another time. To be continued.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Failure to detox

You heard it hear first, I failed miserably with my detox. Well, I suppose it wasn't a total failure, but I learned just how valuable food is in my life. How utterly irreplaceable. How delightful and joyous. How... essential.
I concocted a potion of cranwatergingercinnamonnutmegorangeandlemon last night and this morning woke up at 6 and started my hourly swap of a cup of water, cup of potion, etc... to have gone on until 10pm only I didn't make it to 10pm. So close, but no, I made it until 8pm and then flipped out and went crazy on my belly. I was suddenly dizzy, a pounding headache, tierd, moody, I couldn't take it, I guess I wasn't ready for the full effect. So, when I got home I downed applesauce, noodles and cinnamon bread and am now slurping the last drop of warmed milk out of my mug. To hell with the detox!
No, but really I think it's an important part of the human diet to fast once a week and I do want to get better at it. So, next Thursday I try again. This time I may make it to 9pm.

Sidenote: I have officially been blessed leaps and bounds by sticking to (for the most part, and better than anything I have ever tried to stick to) my goals I wrote up over a month ago. I can't wait to share how meaningful the last 47 days have been in getting me where I am now. As this exact moment however, I think I might barf, so I'm off to bed. Brb.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Feelin' Groovy

Has this been a title of a previous post? I feel like I have too much finger-muscle-memory for typing "feelin' groovy"... not sure how I feel about that.

Moving along... I'm doing a real interesting deto- OK, I have to stop there to make a note. Something I notice and actually really love about human interaction is how we pick up on other peoples isms. Since I've lived in my new house with eight girls, I have picked up numerous phrases from them and from our outside friends. Mostly they are fake words we use to describle people/situations. Everyone does it. One such word/phrase our house has been infiltrated by is using "real" instead of "really." Like, "it was real awkward" or "that's gotta hurt real bad." Try it, it's fun- and once you do you can never go back to saying really when describing an adjective. It becomes superfluous. Silly even. Alright then, back to what I was saying. I am doing a real interesting detox tomorrow. It's like a cranberry spice drink. I'm gonna let ya know how it goes. Should be real cool. Hope I don't die.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Word of the day: Methamphetamine

Well it's time to kick it into high gear. IT'S APRIL 1ST!!! That means, no excuses, no fallbacks. It's just me and my birthday goals... doin' it big. Reading, working out, eating right, praying and things are happening. "S'good" as Jim Carrey says all the time in his twitter. There might be a fast/detox coming up in my future... We'll see.

I have definitely been reading a lot more, and am loving that. I am amazed at the world and how interesting every little thing is! Life is full of things I know nothing about and that is a relief. "The world is such a wonderful place. Ladeeda ladadeeda" (Band of Horses).

I just finished 'Beautiful Boy: A fathers journey through his son's addiction' by David Sheff. Ahhmazing. After reading that I went to the library and looked up everything they had on methamphetamine. All I can say is: how can I help? People on meth are unlike any other addicted group. It's fascinating and harrowing and I felt like there should be something I can do, even if it's just learning more about it. David Sheff is an unbelievable communicator and incorporated so much information into the story that I feel like I earned a PhD on drugs/drug addicts by the time I turned the last page, which only took me a few days to get to. More on meth to come... :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Once, I...

Once, I accidentally exploded a glass casserole dish on my stove.

I baked a mondo cake in this thick glass casserole dish and while I was taking it out of the oven, my housemate was finishing up her omelet on the stove. So, she moved her pan off the burner and I immediately plunked the dish down right in the newly free space, neither of us noticed the burner was left on. Two minutes later, I'm reading on the couch in the living room waiting for the cake to cool so I can icing it, and i hear the densest "crack!" I've ever heard! It was a solid "crack!" like a whip, but thicker... it was sweet. I knew right away it was the glass dish. I peeked into the kitchen and sure enough there were millions of pieces of thick brown glass EVERYWHERE. It was a nightmare to clean up, but looking back, it was the sweetest experience I've had with shattered cookware. Why, it even tops the time my mom inadvertently dropped a glass 6 cup Pyrex on my head and it broke in three pieces. It's never been proven conclusively if it had any affect on my brain/skull. Jury's still out... :/

Friday, March 19, 2010

Daaaay: Wow.

The math is going to ruin me. It's... 24 days till my birthday so that would mean today is day 26. IIIII hope that's correct.

As all things do, this blog has evolved and I would be doing the world a diservice if I didn't follow the natural flow of life. I'm still doing the challenge, (went home for 2 weeks, dawdled, got myself back into shape, and kept plugging along) but I'm bored of it being the focus of my blog. There are so many interesting things stemming off of the movement towards my goals that I can't hardly stand it!

So, without further ado, this segement is going to be about noodles. Just kidding. This segement is going to be about diapers. Gotchya again. This segement is actually really going to be about how I got fired from my job at the Elks Lodge. Sort of. ... ..... dramatic pause.... aaand que lights...

Arriving back in Harrisonburg after being in paradise (aka home, aka New Orleans) for two weeks was like going from the tanning bed to the tredmill. Still at the gym, but two totally different pieces of gym equipment. I am never going to use that analogy again. I promise. That was horrible. Anyway, it wasn't that I was annoyed to be back, I was glad to get back to taking care of my life, doctors apointments, babysitting, taxes, friends, all of it, but it was definitely an adjustment of pace. Also I finally was taking an antibiotic for my "sinusitis" (yes, it's actually called that...booooriiiing) and feeling kind of like I needed to take things one at a time. But, the day after I got back, I realized I was scheduled to work at the Elks from 3-7pm. I thought, I can't do that to myself. And asked the other two bartenders (one of which is my roomate) if they could cover for me. Jessie had a lab and Kaitlyn was already scheduled at her other job. So, I just decided to call Moe the bar manager and ask if he could do it. [Sidenote: Moe is not like other managers. He is allllwayyyyys at the bar, so if you ever need him to cover, he's like "yea, sure." It's been fantabulous. Ok... sidenote complete.] So lateeda no big deal I ring up Moe and tell him the sitch, "What do you think? Can you work for me?"
"Uhhh... siiiiiiiiiiighhhhh.... Actually... I've been putting this off, but..."
He fired me. Right there on the phone. Right then and there.
Well, that's not totally fair, I guess. He "let me go" and it was "mutual" on my part. But, it was unreal and I was pretty surprised. Out of noooowhere.
One might stop to think at this point in the blog.... This is just an example of Amelie's inability to grasp that she was not doing her job and really Moe was putting off something that probably needed to happen months ago.
And you would be wrong.
When I tell you that working at the Elks Lodge entailed NO skill in ANYTHING whatsofreakinever. I mean I mean it. You go, you sit, you facilitate alchoholism, you lock up. And of course you get to know the guys and swap stories and laugh and cry and just basically do what humans inately do: relate. S'that simple. Butttttt.... obviously that can't be the whole case because there I was on the phone with Moe: shocked, confused, hurt, happy, hysterical! I went through all these emotions distinctly. Oh my gosh, are you serious? First of all... whaaa? What are you saying? I don't understand... Ohh, I see.... Well... sniff sniff, I see... Well, hmm, that's too bad. Well, my sinuses have been acting up because of all the smoke in the place anyway, well I guess this was good, then. Hmhm, hehe, hee hee, ha ha.... bwahahahahahahahha!!! I can't believe this! This is hilarious! (after I got off the phone of course). Jessie, wait till you hear this... what? He just fired you too? Bahahahahahaha!!!!
I'm telling you people. The situation was completely UNREAL! So, there you have it. Both Jessie and I were "let go" due to inexplicable circumstances roughly laid in unrelated excuses.
But, from the blathering and it's-not-up-to-me-'s, it became somewhat apparant that neither Jessie or I were "aggressive" enough. There you have it. They got rid of us so they could pick up some hussies.
Well, if that's the case then it's a complement to be gotten rid of. I thought I had some good relationships, I thought I was getting to know the guys, satifying the human need for relating and caring, but I'm here to tell you that's not what they were looking for. And no one had the guts or grace to tell me that 9 months ago when I started working for them. Thanks. Thanks a lot. And then it all came out in one phone call, months of whining (I'm sure) for a more "aggressive" bartending female, months of talking about Amelie the "she's-too-quiet" bartender for them to finally grow a pair and eek out a pro-action. Actually, they never grew a pair, they forced "Moe the manager" to do it. Moe. The only Elk that ever really loved me. They made him do it. On the phone I knew he was upset about it and had been putting it off because it was the last thing he wanted to do. But, as I can only now assume, they complained and nagged like mean old housewives until he could take it no longer. Wimps. Part of me wanted to go in there during the fullest bar-time and call everyone out on their wimpyness. Cowards! But, after a couple of days to cool down, I realized this would do no good, and turned in my keys like a meek little lamb at the slaughter. Am I tooting my own horn here? Yes. I'm sorry about that...
Honestly, it's so good to be done with that job. My immune system took a huge fall from all the constant billows of smoke I choked down every day. Not to mention the emotional and psychological damage of watching so many older men waste their lives away one day at a time. I can only imagine the amount of damage done to my lungs and body. Thankfully, I read somewhere that a twenty-two year olds body can completely regenerate it's lungs in 6 months, even lungs with extensive smoke damage. So... fingers crossed. You can do that until your twenty-six and then something changes and you're stuck with what you got. So, that can be your fun fact of the day. Needless to say, I am on the job market again and stoked about it.

This rounds on me, boys!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Day 40

Whew, only ten days? Wow. Well, forty days till my birthday.

Things I've noticed:
I feel better in my tum. I feel good about the foods I'm putting in me, so I feel good inside way down deep in my gut. One of these days I'm going to do a segment on "the gut" because it is one of the most fascinating things in our bodies, no lie. I don't eat out as much. Although now that I'm home for a couple weeks I'm going to literally try and eat sushi as many days in a row as possible and yes one of these days I will also do a segment on sushi.
I feel a peace about where I am in life/am open to hearing what other people think of where I am in life without it affecting me negatively. That's still in progress, but my Jesus Calling book has been instrumental. I highly suggest everyone get one for themselves. Every day it's something I need to hear. How did I live without it before??
Since I've been here I went with my sis Maryann to her "Stone Creek Club and Spa" basically, a resort with a large exercise room. So luxurious! I did crossfit, woot woot. They had every gadget and gizmo in the book, but they all looked so complicated and all the men were so old and in shape, I weaked out and just used some weights and a yoga ball in the very back corner of the facility. Also I should note here that the only reason I wrote that sentence out was so I could say the phrase "they had every gadget and gizmo in the book." Uh huh. That's right.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Days 43, 42, 41

The days have been full of themselves lately with no time for a blogger's reflections. But, the busyness has subsided for the next two weeks at least because I am now home in Louisiana. However, getting here was anything BUT a reflective time.

I have to pause here before I lose momentum for the thought/conversation I am having here on the couch amidst my dad reading the news on the opposite couch, my mom standing on, my brother and sister dispersed around the room/kitchen, all of us talking about the effects of the last handful of earthquakes. I just read on twitter that the Chilean quake cause the days to be shorter (probably by miliseconds, but still), and my dad just said that the quake also shook the earth's crust and caused a "sloshing" of Lake Pontchartrain (the lake separating the north shore- Mandeville, from the south shore-New Orleans). Unreal! And all these quakes are happening on different fault lines... I'm jus sayin'... I mean, I'm sure everyone else is saying the same thing, and probably their blogs are way more informed and interesting. So, I'll stop there. I just had to say SOMEthing :]

Anyhoo. My flight was this morning at 10:30. So, last night I drove up after work (around 9pm) to Arlington to stay with my sister for the night, so she could drop me off at Dulles on her way to work the next morning (this morning). But, she was really not feeling well to start, which I think was a clue into how the next 24 hours was going to go... That night, I tossed and turned more than I ever have before. I seriously can't remember the last time I had such trouble sleeping! I never had a problem falling asleep in her bed before, in fact, that night just before settling in I commented on how much I looked forward to snuggling with her comforter. But, for some reason, my pajama pants were ridiculously uncomfortable. And then I was so hungry my stomach was eating itself. And then my pillow seemed to sink lower than my feet so that my sinuses became a wall of steel smashed against every fiber of my face. I was snotting, I was drooling, I was trying to fix my pants, I was trying to have a dream that kept getting interrupted, I was working myself into a huge tizzy. Betsy mumbled something in her sleep. I tried not to laugh out loud, but it was something about "and what sound does a cat make?" Finally, I decided my face/pants/pillow situation was out of control and I needed to move to a couch downstairs so I could prop my head up on an armrest and hopefully get it back to the natural pH level or whatever the heck is going on in your head on any given day when you're not suffering from a wall of sinuses up at bat in your face. Ahem. Anyway, around 5am I went shivering down to the couch, turned off a lamp and pulled a couple of pillows around me for warmth. Sleep came and went. My neck hurt a lot. But, I awoke at the allotted time this morning and felt surprisingly rested. Miracle? Yes.

At the airport, people were peaceful. I thought to myself, ahhh, this is what the airport should be like always. But, it was only the begining...

Long story short, I guess my sinuses decided they were too rattled to recover enough to be peaceful themselves during my two flights to NO. So, my face literally felt like it was going to explode from the pressure in my ears and nose. I was almost in tears as the first leg of my flight landed. The next flight, I bought "earplanes" which are said to eliminate pressure in ears. I plugged my ears up to start the last leg of my flight and crossed my fingers as the plane took off. So uncomfortable. So painful! But, I managed to fall asleep for most of it, waking up intermittently to close my mouth and wipe the drool off my cheek. I spent the last 15 minutes of the flight pinching my nose closed because I was legitimately worried it would explode. So, needless to say I was quite the sight. Ears plugged, coming in and out of consciousness, rocking back and forth while holding my nose closed, eyes tightly shut. I could have kissed the ground when we landed. Fortunately, the New Orleans International Airport pavement doesn't show under the thick layer of gum and garbage covering the street, so that wasn't an option.

It was that much more special when I walked up to my house and toddling up to me to say hello were my cousin's little children, wispy red hair, smiley jelly faces, "mamey, hi mamey" tiny Maggie says. Now that I'm here, I'm here. I feel good, I feel great. It's like nothing bad can happen now that I'm home. Not for the next two weeks.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Day 44

Between Lost, 24, Saturday Night Live, Modern Family, the Olympics, and youtube, it's no wonder how late I go to bed some nights. Hulu owes me one. Basically. I keep it in business.

But it was not any of these shows that kept me up. It was this video. Watch it. It's interesting.

http://www.videoweed.com/file/gcc6t94whs0m7

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 45

Small Town Syndrome: when a town is so small that the walls have ears, everyone knows everything about everyone else, no room for individual growth/movement due to lack of personal freedom from other "townies"

Harrisonburg Saturday night: All you can bowl at Valley Lanes.

There's good and bad to living in a small 'townie' town...

Good: You have fewer friends, but they are good friends. You appreciate what a big city has to offer and it makes it a huge treat to travel to Charlottesville and DC. You can walk/bike to the store, the bank, the library, you name it. You start to recognize people/people walking past are friendlier/waiters remember you from last week :]. Makes it fun to go to community art show, etc... and feel like you are a member of society. Most if not all business is relationally based ("Tell 'em Earl sentchya" style)

Bad: Small towns are so boring! Besides the bars and the bowling alley, you gotta be pretty creative when you go out. Everyone stalks everyone and it's impossible to do anything and not have people talking about it, esPECially go on a date. gasp.

I have successfully avoided falling into spending multiple weekends at the bowling alley and the bar. Tonight was my first bowling experience. Depending on the crowd, it's fun. But, you do get a feeling of losing yourself in a bowling alley. Losing part of you that is able to find "cool" things to do even in a small town. It's like you're admitting "yeah, I tried to think of a fun way to spend my Saturday night, but I ended up at the bowling alley anyway." But really, once you get over yourself, bowling is fun. I just don't like that it may actually be one of the only things to do in Harrisonburg. Linds and I have to make a consciously committed effort to go to the "other" side of town where all the college apartments are once every couple of months or so, just to remember that there are crazy fun things happening somewhere nearby. Even if it's only because they involve beer pong and cigs. And damned if I don't ask a guy out for no other reason than to get to know him. One date. Let them chatter about it for weeks after. I have an agenda that won't be derailed by small town syndrome. In some ways, small towns force you to find out who you really are when the drizzle hits the fan and people might actually judge you outright for your decisions and lifestyle. In a huge city, people are so lenient. Believe what you want, live how you want, everyone is accomodated for in a large city. In small time college towns, where people who went to preschool with you are in your college science lab class, you live in a glass house built by the people around you and they make most of your life decisions for you. Of course I'm talking about extremes here, I really don't personally feel victimized by this in a big way, but I do catch the scent of it regularly and see the effects of it on other people. It's a real problem. Now's a great time to mention that Harrisonburg, VA is the meth capitol of the US. Yeahup. Wonder why. CUZ PEOPLE CAN'T ESCAPE THIS PLACE! People walk around like they're trapped. Trapped in a fishbowl. Tell me that's not scary. The devil has a hold on a lot of souls here and small town syndrome is the main form of control. Going to extremes again, but sometimes I get that feeling from this city and it's a heavy feeling that takes a while to pass through. I mean, I fall into small town syndrome all the time myself. It's hard not to. But, it helps to visit friends in Arlington/Charlottesville and get a good shaking and to re-realize how much bigger life is than Harrisonburg.

Life is bigger than Harrisonburg. Bigger than DC. Bigger than Virginia. Bigger than me. Typing "bigger" so many times makes me notice how weird a word it is... and how close it is to "booger."

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 46

Tonight, sitting on my lovely couch, snuggled in a throw, listning to the crackle of my burning Jesus candle, admiring Alfie- my bedroom plant, mascot, life coach, friend-, I feel cozy. Comfy. Homey. My room is... homey. I never thought I would make it. My room has always been a jail cell type room. I don't have a lot of stuff (I have a condition known as tossitis [toss-it-is]) and I am OCD about things being pushed against walls to maximize space and traffic flow. So, my room is a blank green cell with a bed in the corner, a desk by the door and... Alfie. He was my first step in the right direction. Then came a real quilt with matching sheets (I used a sleeping bag for months) and a throw blanket. Things were looking up. But, I wasn't "there" yet. I would still walk into my room and feel... blank. Then Jodi moved into my room with me for a while and that's when the ball really started rolling. Suddenly, we had a theme, and my "book" shelf was filled with cute decorations... and then I bought a dresser... and ... next thing you know, there's a freakin' couch in my room! And I'm getting used to the smell/it's starting to die down. And thankfully my kitty-tongue syndrome from yesterday is gone. I thought I was never going to get all the cat hair out of my mouth. Praise the Lord.
So, yes, life is good. Earlier today I locked the keys in my car, but right now that doesn't matter, it's over. Earlier today, I had to change a poop diaper, but now it's just a distant memory.

Sidenote: I get free raw cow's milk now! I drive out into the country once a week and pick it up. There's a little donation box inside the fridge in the garage where I get it, and I stick a $5 in there, and I'm golden. Every one in my house things I'm a weirdo, but they will all come around. And I'll be the one laughing when everyone gets the flu but me because of the enzymes I now get daily.

Ever since I started this goal-thing I have been sucking at anything "mental" I try to do each day. Crossword puzzles become algorithms, sodoku is like a cruel joke of the gods... But, I am muddling through, surprisingly. It is hard, though, to work out every day. Esp today when I babysat all morning till lunch and then locked the keys in my car and then HAD to watch twilight and new moon all in a row with my housemates and here I am blogging now and I'm trying to think of ways I got exercise today and actually, I did. I did if you count chasing two kids with poopy diapers (they are surprisingly motivated scurriers) for 3 hours and then walking 10 blocks from where my keys got locked in the car all the way home... yes, I don't feel guilty when I submit that I did get at least 45 minutes of solid exercise.

Today I read out of 'Jesus Calling'... "I am leading you, step by step, through your life... Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy- even precaurious. That is how it should be... When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine... I will show you the next step forward... trust Me to open up the way before you as you go."

Can do.

Day 47

Day 47- I got the couch! It's great! There's a story. There's alway a story. I bribed my next door neighbor (the one with a truck) to help me get this couch out in Grottoes, known to be "the Meth Capital of the US" by official people, nevermind specifics. Sketchtown. Armpit of VA. You get the drift. Anyway, roomate Linds came along and we were just hoppin' and boppin' to some Luda on Neil's iPod, rollin on to house number 702 (that's what I wrote down on my directions). I called "Wendy" the couch lady, as we pulled up just to make sure everything was straight. Suddenly a women emerges out of the house and we notice a "Salon" sign stapled to the porch rails. Hmm, a nail salon in the middle of a neighborhood... OK. Sure, why not. "Wendy?!" I yell from the road, as we make our way up the driveway she scurries to the edge of the porch to look at us. "I was just about to run some errands now, but did you all want manicures? I can do it real quick!"
"Uhh... um? I was supposed to pick up a couch today? You're Wendy, right?"
"Yes, I'm Wendy... umm"
"Ummm... couch?"
"Noo......"
"Weird, I just talked to you on the phone..."
"Ohhhhh, honey, there are THREE Wendys on this block."
"Oh, OK, I must have accidently wrote 702 instead of 709"
"Well... feel free to come back and get a manicure"
Neil: "Oh yea, I'll be back!"
So, we drove a few feet further and out comes Wendy #2 from the house. MUCH younger. A cougar, in fact. Took one look at Neil and that was it.
"Oh HIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!! Come on in!..."
And so the convo progressed, she was bouncily sharing about her divorce four years ago and how she's been alone ever since eyeing him, smiling.
Finally, she takes us to the couch and from the front view, I was impressed. She shampooed it and everything. But, as soon as we moved it away from the wall and I lifted one end with Neil on the other, I looked at the bottom-side of the couch -what was now inches away from my face- and literally got a mouthful of black fuzzy cat hair ON MY TONGUE. A mouthful. The back and sides of the couch were COVERED in cat hair. It was deeesgusting. It didn't help that she was a smoker-cougar, so the couch smelled like smoke. She failed to mention that in the ad... But, no matter. Thirty bucks? Totally worth it. I took it home and washed all the pillow covers, lint rolled the shizz out of the whole thing, and sprayed an ENTIRE bottle of extra strength febreze on the cushions, set them outside to air out last night and today. I just put everything back together tonight and I actually think I licked the cig smell (hmm, literally and figuratively)! And that cat hair is ancient history. But, you know even though it doesn't smell like a smoking cougar, it doesn't smell like me yet, ya know? It hasn't adapted to it's new home. So, it's smell (a fresh laundry meets air freshener meets shirt you smoked in that was left at the bottom of the laundry basket for a few weeks) is kind of still overpowering the whole room. I am confident it will turn from the dark side and surrender to my scent in due time. I want to be sensitive to the couches needs too. It was just ripped from it's home and put in a new surrounding. So, it's adjusting, I'll give it that time.
I prayed over it last night though, honestly, because I just got the feeling like that household was not a safe/holy place, if that makes sense... and I felt that lingering spirit from it's former home.
Long gone now though, thank ye Jesus :)

OK, blogspot.com sucks. I don't understand how to move pictures around! Dumb dumb dumb I am so frustrated I can't think! I hate these moment-ruiners! Whatevs. Here is my bookshelf that I don't have books for, so... here is my fan/luggage/glass bottle shelf:

And here is the actual Jesus candle I got at Food Lion. Which I also prayed over. (I don't have a camera these days, so I have to borrow a roomates and so when I do get around to asking I have to take pics of all the things I've been making mental notes to post pics of haha)

And... another view :) with the flash.
And... my body is aching from Crossfit. Does any one else out there do crossfit? It's amazing. It's right up my alley. I can do crossfit. But, I didn't stretch enough and that's a killer.
Had Financial Peace University class.... was about debt collectors and how to deal with them and how to legally get them off your back. It was so spiritual... so ... scary? I don't know if it's OK to say that, but I felt so sick inside for people who are attacked by these monsters every day, manipulating and illegally bothering/threatening people. It's sick. It's a sick thing and it's of the devil and that's the feeling I got. Chills. I hate that people are being attacked in that way.
Well, there's so much to blog about and not enough time. But, today was about the couch, and I'm OK with that. We will discuss other things another time. My fingers are about to fall off. Peace.



Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 48888888888888...

I'm hesitant to write because I feel nothing coming out naturally through typing... So, I'll just share this...
When geeks have twins:

Sometimes it's OK to look at the past day, feel crappy, but turn around and laugh at something like this and feel good again :] Am I right? Am I right??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 49

Woke up at eleven, felt like heaven
thank the Lord for
PM yoga the night before
I adore You more
this morning because
You saw through the blue and gave a warning
to me You said "hey don't have a pity party
your life is complete in me that's the story
morning glory" I felt loved for the sign
because today was a horrible reminder
that in a moment everything can change
your life your finances your food your rent and more
but take heart "your hard work will be rewarded
so please keep your eyes on Me
I'll see you through from blue to more blue"

If that didn't make sense... it's OK. It's my first rap ever and I didn't really read through it after I wrote it sooo... But yea, today was a good day all in all. Hard but that's life sometimes. I guess I could list all the crap, but I don't even want to. I want to keep my eyes on Jesus and I'm pretty sure if I do then everything will magically fall into place. Yay God!

I read a sweet Proverb this morning, "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity." It made me think of how when I'm at a store and the cashier doesn't scan all my items and I think "sweet dude, free stuff"... that's duplicity. Even though no one knows, and definitely no one cares, especially not the cashier. My sister once had this happen and went back in the store to pay for the missed item, it was $50. She said, "it's not worth sacrificing my integrity over." At that moment I didn't understand. As soon as I read that verse this morning, I thought back to that moment, and I did understand. And I think I'm going to remember that/this for as long as I live.

Later I went for a run and ouch running sucks people I don't enjoy it at ALL! You have to spit every 5 seconds, you have to be in public, you have to hurt all over, you have to... spit... n stuff. Anyways it's just one of those things I don't want to pursue, like snowboarding. I know, I know, that's not cool, but whatevs I'm just tryna be transparent whichyall...

For some reason my crossword/sudoku skills were off today. It's Tuesday, the second easiest day in the week for that stuff and I couldn't finish either one. No matter, I threw the paper away quickly to avoid people noticing. And by people I mean the Elks Lodge members I bartend for. They really don't care. Some day I'm going to have a whole separate blog about the Elks Lodge. It's a treasure chest of wealth and knowledge that needs to be passed on to the blogging world. One day...

I met some friends for drinks downtown at one of my fav places, Clemetine. Then we all played Mario Kart for entirely too long. And that's why I'm blogging for Day 49 so late. And that was my day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 50, Part 2

Welp, that's one day down. Today was the WEIRDEST day I have had in SO long.

The woman whose kids I babysit for on Monday mornings blew up at me for leaving a "can't babysit" message on her phone 5 hours before she needed me to babysit. Sorry, I live in a world of people who if they had to choose between their best friend and their cell phone for who to save from falling off a cliff, would save their phones, so I don't understand people who don't check their missed calls like every 5 seconds. That said, it was irresponsible and I felt like a dumb jerk.

Then, I had to chase down my car keys at a four seasons resort 30 minutes outside of the city so I could take my car at LEAST 30 minutes outside of the OTHER side of town to get the oil changed by a guy named Rick who laughed in my face for not having a registration sticker on my MINI -FREAKIN'- VAN that I drive every day. And I just sat there and smiled, crossword puzzle in hand. I could have punched him, I thought about it, weighed my options, but decided I wasn't that kind of person, at least not today. This is MY LIFE people, this is not a drill. What the hell are we living for. Talk about a reality check. All I can say is I am so glad God has a purpose for me here and that I am doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing, dodge caravan and all. (and that's a dodge caravan sport just so every one knows, I am proud of her, our little Sylvie).

Needless to say, it was a full day. whiney kids, offended mothers, chuckling auto shop men, and goal-oriented Amelie... just tryna fulfill my goals man! Get off my back! Just tryna fulfill my goals.

I also made plans today to pick up a used couch off of craiglist (it's not the devil, people, craigslist is our friend). I can and quite possibly will post a pic of it at the end of this post. And I've been meaning to post a pic of my Jesus candle, because it's the one and only candle in this world that I love the way many people love many candles. I don't understand buying candles, but I saw it in the Food Lion and I had $7 to spend on food, and I bought it, prayed over it, and say what you will it is holy. I lit it and did some yoga today, actually. Anyway, the couch is adorable. I'm going to ask a guy neighbor (nicely, and with cookies) if I can borrow his truck for Thursday afternoon. Yay, I can't wait!

The food goal of this 50 days is going to be tricky. I don't eat bad, but I do eat cheap. So, while I will avoid cookies and fast food and things of that nature, I do eat PB&J's and ramen noodles. Literally my diet consists of french press and egg/ham/cheese/jelly sandwiches for breakfast; PB&J for lunch, and ramen for dinner. Period. But, I will jot down some more specific guidelines tonight, thought. For no other reason than to use another piece of paper. P.S. one of my favorite things to do in life and something I get 100% pleasure from is writing things down on blank sheets of paper. Anything. Anything and everything. 'Nuff said. Moving on...