December 31, 2009

2009 in photos

In years past, I've done my pictures by month. Some months have been picture-light and some picture-heavy, so these are just a random sampling. They are arranged (mostly, to my best knowledge) chronologically.

24th birthday

Ran my first 5k.

Ate a big 3lb chocolate bar with friends. And pretended to be Jesus.

Nat got married!

Lived with goofballs.

Got my master's.

Ran my first 10k in my hometown. I showed you, high school gym teachers.

Slow-danced with Jake.

Went to Irish Fest (again).

Baked a lot. Actually, the fall pictures are pretty light and mostly of food.

Went to New Haven for Halloween and dressed up like Lisa.

Had Christmas.

I'd have included pictures of my students, but that's against so many policies I don't even want to test it. They are super fun and make it easy it get up in the morning, however.

2009, good riddance. 2010, bring it on.

December 17, 2009

4 year old land

Me: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best movie ever and 1 being the worst, where would you put The Princess and The Frog?
Annabelle: In my pocket!

Me: What's your favorite type of meat?
Dana: Marshmallows!

December 15, 2009

beer and sex dishes

It is December and that means finals. There are endless facebook updates on the status of one's semester, including pages written, pages to go, tests down, etc. Kari had her last day of classes today and has been writing papers upstairs. And for the first time in six years, I haven't a thing to do with it. I guess you could even say 18 years.

It's a little weird. Somewhat relieving, but at the same time, I miss it.

Well, let me clarify. I don't miss the stress of schoolwork. I do miss having something to do on Sunday afternoons. Do you know how much time I wasted on the internet this weekend? A LOT. At least before I knew I had something else I should be doing.

I miss academic rigor. I miss having a thoughtful debate with someone on a regular basis, even if that someone is speaking through the pages of a book. I miss coming up with original arguments and thinking about it enough to argue persuasively one way or the other. And as nice as it has been, I even miss reading with a pencil in my hand.

My brain needed the break. I needed time to extract myself from academia and now, I realize that I just want to spend my days in a classroom. I suppose that's why I'm aiming to teach middle and high school as opposed to the PreK kids I have now (which I love). They're really great and fun, but maybe I need to be challenged right along with my students. Sorry, but I'm not challenged over the difference between a peach and an apple. Critically analyzing material with a group of people is something I really enjoy, oddly enough.

I also miss writing about film. I suppose I have to figure how to include that stimuli in my future careers. I just need to find time and motivation besides my longing, I suppose.

Today in PreK world: We read Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs yesterday. Today I wrote a mad libs about my kids which included food raining from the sky. They liked it, especially when it ends up snowing turkey ears. Tomorrow we're drawing pictures of our stories.

When I asked a girl to name a type of liquid or drink, she said, "Beer."
I rephrased, "What's your favorite thing to drink?"
She thought a second, then said, "Beer."
"Something else," I asked.


I also started assisting in a ESL class at the learning center down the street from the Y. Tuesdays I assist in an intermediate class and Wednesdays I'll be leading a conversation class. More on that later, but today in the intermediate class we talked about food. To the question "How many vegetarian dishes are there on the menu?," one student answered, "sex dishes" (six dishes). Not the usual answer I'd get from my PreK kids, but after the beer this morning .... maybe not.

December 9, 2009

my children

A bit from my 4 year old co-workers:

David*: I watched a movie and a boy got a BB gun for Christmas!
Me: Did he shoot his eye out?
David stares at me for 10 seconds, then: How did you KNOW that?!?

Eliza*: Did you know that George Washington was a friendly ghost?
Me: Oh, really?
Eliza: A friendly ghost who teaches kids how to color!

Jason*: How do I look today? (strikes a pose)
Me: Good.
Jason: Cool?
Sara*: Handsome.
(Jason wiggles about)

*Instead of calling them random child, I'm starting to use psuedonyms. I only work with so many kids and sometimes the same kid says funny stuff repeatedly.

December 6, 2009

bulletpoints on my life

Brief notes:
  • It is December. How did that happen?
  • Someone called me their fearless leader in an email recently. I suppose it's true.
  • Although my day-to-day activities and demeanor was good to fun, 2009 as a whole was stupid. I officially declare it to be 2010 and to leave this decade, and in particular this year, behind.
  • Sometimes I worry I get in over my head in commitments. Not that I'm feeling particularly stressed at the moment, but I list my activities and wonder if I'm doing too much. Or if I'm not giving my all to what I'm doing. But I feel like I am giving my best and that it's not too much, so who knows.
  • Natalie might visit next weekend!
  • My interview with Prestigious Teaching Program went very well. Suprisingly well. Shockingly well. Unexpectedly well. An unprecedented little to no awkwardness. A good sign or is it throwing me off my game?
  • Most of my kids made minimal to large gains in their targeted literacy skills this month. Whoo hoo! Some tested lower than what they did at the beginning of the year. Not sure what's up there. Was the first test particularly good? Is this one particularly bad? I think one of them has come to associate doing anything with me as not fun and always complains about playing games with me. Fine, kid. Don't learn how to read then.
  • Just kidding. I've got to figure out how to reach him.

November 26, 2009

who i am and what i need

I enjoy these. Especially this one:

…who I am, and what I need, these are things I have to find out myself.
—Chinua Achebe, writer

Also, yesterday I hula-hooped for longer than I had in probably 15 years. It was fun.

November 15, 2009

my cloud of thoughts

From time to time, I space out and look at the Facebook page of people from high school. Mostly people I know peripherally but those who have gotten married, had babies and/or bought houses.

I'm still really wary and a little judgmental of them, especially of their mass photo postings (but that's another issue with oversharing all together). I don't know; it's just such a foreign idea to me. But then at the same time, there are people much closer to me making the same decisions and yet I'm ok with that. Maybe it's because I know them well enough to approve of their choices. Or to know that even if it's not something I want now, it's something good for them.

I suppose it's no surprise that I fall into another Facebook baby photo-ing the day I make my first student loan payment. I had to dig through the pile of crap in my corner and move my Yale diploma to reach my shoebox of loan statements.

Seriously, my Yale diploma is literally sitting in the corner gathering dust.

In other worlds, I'm organizing a 5k run for the spring. I suppose I wouldn't be able to do that without my YDS experiences, so maybe that diploma isn't just gathering dust. Tomorrow I'm scheduling my interview with a well-known teaching program, a program I wouldn't be interested in and probably not a good candidate for without YDS and its influence.

I guess my point is that I would not have guessed this is where I'd be five years ago.

I still feel like I'm in a point of transition, but a very slooooooow transition, one fraught with stresses of making ends meet and making sure my kids are prepared for kindergarten. It's a carefully constructed transition. It's precise. It's stagnant yet always moving. Slow enough that I'm beginning to feel comfortable in the changing, yet antsy for rapid change. At the same time, it's already November and I don't know if my kids know anything more than they did at the beginning of the year.

Does any of this make sense?

Here's what I'm trying to say: From the briefest glimpse at lives long lost and removed from my own, it looks like people have their "stuff" together, whatever that "stuff" may be. And I still feel adrift at sea, trying to find my bearings while feeling the need to justify an experience that fundamentally changed me yet has produced little outside materialization of that.

I know pictures lie and life is endlessly complicated for everyone. And yet, it just looks so simple and wrapped up neatly with a bow in ways that my messy and in-need-of-explanation life cannot. And those closest to me making those same decisions also have explanation-worthy lives because I've heard and lived through the explanations. So it's ok.

Does any of this make sense?

November 14, 2009

feeling good

They played this last night at the one year anniversary of Dance Party.

Weekends are now when I get to wear clothes with holes in them. I also wear sweaters to work. I also have my first loan payment due in a few days. My, aren't we growing up fast.

November 8, 2009

my weekend in pictures and me yelling at a woman on the street

Some of the events of the weekend:

Saturday night I went to sleep at 9:30, woke up when the neighbors went to the bar, woke up when they came back from the bar, considered yelling at them and/or calling in a noise complaint, lay in bed angry and pissed off but doing nothing until they went inside and I eventually fell asleep. In other news, I turned 90.

5k! I kept up with the pace of the race I ran on October, which is good. It was a small race, which means that I came in last. I am a-ok with this because it wasn't like I was super slow... I was just the slowest of the runners. I'm comfortable enough with myself and my running that it doesn't matter to me.

Pumpkin pie! Homemade crust and filler. Yum.

I had leftover pumpkin mash from the pie, thus ... Pumpkin bread!

Homemade pumpkin pie and bread means ... Pumpkin seeds!

An angry and hesitant shared picture of tortilla soup!

Kari and I were walking back from the bus and a woman came riding up on her bike beside us, talking about how crappy men are and how unlucky in love she is. We mumbled in agreement, etc, and thought we left her behind us. Then she rode up again and started talking about how men are wusses and pansies and girls when they don't do their "job" (whatever that is). I told her I didn't appreciate her comparing weak men to women, saying that it put women in a hierarchy under men. Well, I said it less academically. Eventually we ended up shouting and she called us lesbians, and then somehow I ended up yelling across the SA gas area, "'Man up' is not an acceptable term!" At that point, I became the yelling lady and the circle was complete. The student became the teacher.

Honestly, I started talking back to her because I've had enough with people not living their beliefs. I believe in gender equality, even - especially - in language. How we speak and the words and idioms we use reveals our inner biases and beliefs. Inclusive language in church is another fine example of this exact thing. All in all, I just didn't want to think later, "Why didn't I say anything?" Casual sexism is sexism is sexism.

The End! Now off to take a pumpkin mush bath with my pumpkin shampoo...

November 3, 2009

the happy couple

In the morning when I choose to get dressed, sometimes I consider dressing nicer so I can go straight from one job to the other. The unfortunate side effect is that sometimes I go to work at the restaurant with bits of child drool and marker on my clothes. Otherwise it's worked out ok.

I've been fast-tracked for an in-person interview with Teach For America. More to come closer to December, but it's exciting news.

The happy couple and the happy couple.

October 26, 2009

people are hungry

I'm tired of people spending ridiculous amounts of money on non-essentials. I'm looking at you, 100k wedding and $700 shoes.

There are people who cannot afford food or shelter. Where are our priorities?

The things we could fix and the people we could feed if we stopped being so self-centered. I'm guilty of it too.

We've got to get past it, though. People are hungry.


More on my life later.

October 13, 2009


I did adult things today. I got to work at 8, worked all day, went to the library over lunch and finished a book I was reading, worked till 5 and then worked out until 6, bought apples, peppers, peanuts, and an acorn squash from the farmer's market, and then took the bus home.

I'm slowly beginning to adjust to life outside of school, especially an "adult" existence past the three summer months I'm used to. All of my 9-5 jobs before have been summer long, so we'll see how it goes past 90 days. I was reading up on some leadership trainings and one of them talked about a 100 day performance review. I mean, the media focuses on a president's first 100 days in office, so why shouldn't we also? I know some jobs have 90 day performance reviews, but mine really doesn't. We're just starting to evaluate the kids and figure out who/what we need to target, so it's still somewhat of a transitional time. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't see where we're weakest and try and make that a stronger area.

Anyway. I feel old, but in an ok way. A way with which I'm comfortable.

Also - two posts in one day! How bizarre.

jake's honey

The sun is rising over the trees out my tiny, tiny window. It'd be pretty if I could see it better... well, I suppose it is pretty.

I ran the Historic Riverfront 5k this weekend, took two minutes off my 5k split time from the Bellin and 1 minute off my pace. I suppose my Bellin time isn't totally accurate of what I could do at the beginning of the summer because I was running a 10k and saved some of my energy for the second half - but it's still not bad. Go me!

For breakfast I'm eating oatmeal with honey from Jake's farm plus a cup of Alterra Sumatra coffee. Yum.

It's IDGI testing this week on my preschoolers. There seems to be no middle ground in the kid's results. They're either already on target/way past target or testing so low I can't even administer the test and count those scores. We assess kids with things like rhyming (pointing to pictures that rhyme), letter naming, picture naming, alliteration (pointing to pictures that start with the same letter) and letter sounds. At least now I know who to work with, what to do, etc. There's another testing period in the winter, so we'll see how it goes.

No pies as of lately, but I'm making one for MSD weekend. That's Mother, Sister, Daughter weekend for those of you out of the know. I've missed it two years running, but I'm back! Woo!

October 6, 2009

apples and overshare

I love fall. It's probably one of my top 4 favorite seasons. I love crisp air, apples, pumpkins, pies of each variety, scarves, and the not hot, not cold weather.

What I don't love is pictures of random people from my past on Facebook, nuzzled against each other with a bushel of apples. Seriously? Maybe I'm just getting to the point where I don't feel like oversharing online (says the woman writing a blog), but that picture was just ridiculous. I considered posting it here with the faces marked out, but I restrained myself.

Instead, I'll post pictures of the apple pie I made from scratch a few weeks ago:

Notice I didn't feel compelled to cuddle with anything while making these pies, nor to take pictures of it and post it up in a disgusting manner.

Obviously the only thing I love here is cooking and pie, not exhibitionism.

September 25, 2009

dirt everywhere

Rachel says I write too infrequently. Here's another post to appease her.

I went to a MRC training in St. Paul today, not too far from Andrew's place. It was easier to stay overnight there and bike the two miles from his place as opposed to get up early and bus for an hour. I didn't think to check the weather forecast, but when I left the training at 3:45, everything was wet and still a little misty. I thought about taking the bus home, but I thought I'd give it a shot. I hadn't biked to work the two days before and missed Dance Party yesterday, so I felt kinda shitty and lethargic since I hadn't gotten physical activity.

I got so wet and so dirty on the 9 mile bike ride home, but it was really really really really fun. I sped past blocks and blocks of cars on Snelling waiting to get on 94, flew down the giant hill on Marshall and sped over the Mississippi into Minneapolis, and stopped on the Greenway bridge to snap this picture:

And these of my dirty legs:

It was a good rainy Friday afternoon.

Also, I love American Routes. It makes working at 8 am Sundays totally worth it. That is all.

September 23, 2009

bigger mustache

I'm scheming again.

I think I would like to have a secondary teaching license. The question now is how to go about obtaining one. Some potential options include Teach for America, St. Paul or Milwaukee Teaching Fellows, a MA in Education/licensing from Hamline or the U, pushing down a current teacher in a high school parking lot and stealing theirs, etc. The "earn while you teach" programs of TFA or SPTF/MTF are pretty competitive, but it'd get me in a classroom the quickest and on my way to having a full teaching license.

It wasn't too long ago that I was regularly sending out resumes so it seems a bit weird to be applying for programs just a month into my current one. I'm enjoying what I'm doing; it's just that PreK isn't my ideal age group. The kids are incredibly fun, but I would really love to work with high school or middle school age.

However, Bill Cosby was right - kids DO say the darndest things:
  • "My mom's boyfriend is Michael Jackson."
  • "What do YOU know about Star Wars? I want to be Luke Skywalker!" "I want to be Darth Vaber!" "YOU'RE MY DAD! I'm going to chop your head off!"
  • "You look like my dad except he has a bigger mustache."

September 15, 2009

things i like:

Things I like:

-the Greenway around 4:45 or 5:00. I bike home facing west, the setting sun in my face while people whiz past in either direction.

-sweet corn from the farmer's market. Recipes in local magazines on organic food.

-reading books about apple orchards, knowing we're going to take the kids to one in a few weeks. Trying to reinforce the vocab of apples, apple orchard, applesauce, picking an apple so they can use it when we go.

-frequent flier miles. I'm going to New Haven in October with mine.

-homemade sun dried tomatoes. Took 7+ hours in the oven, but they're delicious.

-60 cent gelato.

August 29, 2009

things of note:

1. The kids at my work LOVE Michael Jackson.
2. I had a dream last night that I was wearing clerical garb, but in my dream I also made sure to note that I was "just a deacon."
3. I look like a Target employee in my red MRC polo.
4. We went to the Humane Society to look at cats today. I still want one.

August 26, 2009

more than orange juice

My mind is elsewhere these days, specifically in Connecticut. It's orientation time and I've been pretending to avoid mentions of it on Facebook because I wish I was there. I abstain from looking at pictures and seeing schedules, then horde it all at once like binging. My good friend Rachel has taken up Josh's room (the one with the direct sunlight - damn them both) and my dresser and joins the rest of my dear friends in continuing on with their lives and education without me. Not my choice or theirs, but what has happened regardless.

I don't feel like a "grass is greener" person, because I'm always really grateful for what I have and what I'm doing at that moment, but part of me always longs for the places I am not with no regard to my present location. It's happened before. It'll happen again.

When I first moved out to YDS, I had this mindset that I already had a set of great friends in Minnesota and thus, I didn't need anymore. I never expected to find the people and connections I did, which makes them all the more treasured. I wrote this during my orientation two years ago this week:
Orientation starts tomorrow, and it should be fun. When I say "fun," I mean long and possibly boring. Amy won't be there, so I have no one to make snarky and sarcastic comments to. I want to have friends so I have people to hang out with here, but it's a pain in the ass getting to know people and do the whole "I'm Lindsay, MAR in Feminist Studies, originally from Wisconsin but I went to school in Minnesota, I want to get my PhD and teach about culture, religion and feminism" 50 times in a row. It's just tiring, especially when I know that I have great friends and a great boyfriend at home. I kind of felt the same way about camp. That WAS different, because I had Andrew, Amy, Drew, KG, Anna, ect to hang out with after work - I didn't need to become best friends with everyone there because I already had best friends. Here, it's not like I can head over to chillax with Amy and Drew... it would be lonely hanging out by myself. I'm sure everyone I meet will be nice - the ones I have so far are - but it's a lot of effort.

Well, well, well, how the turn tables. Little did I know that I would live on snarky and sarcastic comments for two years.

My point is that we have expectations and often, reality is entirely different. Not that our expectations aren't met, but that we expect an orange and we end up with a palm tree. Oranges are delicious, but palm trees give shade and coconuts and wood and palm leaves. So much more than just orange juice.

I'm remembering my expectations when I went into YDS, not looking to find lifelong friends but instead people to occupy weekend nights. I'm remembering because it's my first week at my job (formally) and I'm meeting people left and right, people I'm trying not to prejudge and put into a "work" box. Let's leave open the possibility that while it's always been pretty good, my life can benefit from a few more friendly faces, if not good friends.

Life is short, I am young and a field of flowers can always find room for one more.

August 23, 2009

fresh veggies galore

Awhile back I won a $20 gift certificate to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market. Here's what I got for my $20:

8 ears of corn
1 watermelon
3 limes
4 portabello mushroom caps
1 container of blueberries
6 garlic bunches
1 container of mushrooms (fits two tupperware containers in my fridge)
2 eggplants
4 pears
9 peppers - 3 red, 2 green, 1 orange, 3 banana
2 kiwis
4 pluots
2 peaches
14 tomatoes

I don't even know how to begin eating all of this food. I've never cooked eggplant before. What the heck is a pluot? (plum + apricot = pluot, fyi) I'm giving some away to friends, but even then, I have an abundance of veggies. I also picked up some delicious cheese, a loaf of rye bread and some fresh flowers for Kari. I spent just around $20 at the market (including a frosted bun for breakfast) and came home with two boxes and a bag of food. I don't even know where to put half of it... I'm thinking just sticking a whole box in the fridge might be best.

Any recipe ideas?

August 7, 2009

MPLS edition

My internet is out, it's raining and I'm at the coffee shop down the block from my house. Mom is coming for the weekend and she's bringing her bike. It looks like it's supposed to rain all day. Good for plants, bad for outdoor activities.

Here are some articles about my neighborhood:

Things to do by my house (Visitors welcome, hint hint)

A really fantastic writeup of Lake/Marshall.

And apparently the city is taking away my favorite bike lane. Sad.

I had a dream that I was at an airport with Drew and Amy. Drew was watching our bags while Amy and I got coffee. I dreamed Sarah Haskins was staring at me. I was wearing a black and white strapless dress and someone asked me if I was in Good Night and Good Luck (because it's in black and white?). We kept getting cup after cup of coffee because Amy was flirting with the coffee guy for free stuff.

The coffee shop just played a recording of a Schubert piece I played in high school orchestra. I've always loved that piece because the viola part is fantastic. I can't remember the name right now, but I think it was in F minor. I used to have it on my computer, but it seems to have been lost in The Computer/Coffee Meet-up of 2009.

August 1, 2009

saturday randomness

I've upped my mileage for my runs. I generally ride my bike to Lake Calhoun and then run around it, which is just over 3 miles. I've started ditching the bike and running there and back. That adds just under a mile each way, so my total distance is now close to 5 miles. Not bad. I do need some new running songs, though. If anyone has any suggestions for songs they like, let me know. I'm getting a little tired of my old collection. I usually just put it on random, so that helps prevent stagnation.

In other recent news, I've also gone and found myself some full-time work. As a part of an Americorps program, I'll be working as a literacy specialist in an early childcare center at the Midtown YWCA. I don't have to transfer buses, I'll have free membership to the Y, and I get to help kids learn how to read. All in all, pretty good. It's interesting that the area is called Midtown because it's directly east on Lake Street, not between Uptown (where I live) and downtown, which is directly north. If you take the bus west, you get to my house. If you take the light rail north, you get to downtown. It's a weird triangulation, honestly. But pretty direct if I want to visit Drew and Amy after work, since they live close to the LTR stop by the Metrodome.

A cat came to visit me the other day. I think it belonged to someone in this set of apartments since it was in the locked entryway and all the entryways are connected through the basement. It was adorable and kept looking at me and wanting to be pet... I want an animal, preferably a cat. Kari isn't quite so amiable to that, but I'll keep working on her. I think she just has to get to know a cat.

It's been a cold summer. I wonder if that means it'll be crazy fierce somewhere down the line. Either incredibly hot or incredibly cold. We'll see. Maybe it's making up for last winter, the winter I missed while I was in New Haven. I wouldn't mind that, personally.

July 29, 2009

unanswerable demonstrations of (dis)belief

Last year I took a class in Christianity and Culture. It looked like a promising class; we read Christ and Culture (Niebuhr) and Theologies of Culture (Tillich) in conversation with cultural artifacts like art, music and literature. Students gave presentations on the cultural artifact, fun at first but it slowly began to eat up the entire time we had for the class without really getting to the readings.

It seemed like our class couldn't get over conversations of whether a particular cultural artifact was "christian" or not. In the first few weeks we had conversations about there are multiple ways of determining if a song or piece of art is "christian" - could be based on the content, the artist's particular view, the audience, etc. Analysis is subjective, ever changing based on a wide variety of factors. What looks christian today could change by tomorrow.

I thought of this in reading this post from Theolog on Rowen Williams' book about Dostoevsky. It says:
"Part of Dostoevsky’s significance as a religious writer, Williams argues, is to show people wrestling with the implications of their belief—or unbelief. People do not live inside a system of thought. Dostoevsky knew how our beliefs are always being contradicted, or stripped away or developed through our actions, relationships and suffering. In Dostoevsky, there are no “unanswerable demonstrations” of religious faith. But also no unanswerable demonstrations of unbelief. The lesson, for Williams, is that “we have to go on speaking/writing about God, allowing the language of faith to encounter fresh trials every day, and also fresh distortions and refusals.”

All cultures are shaped by religion (or lack thereof) and engaging culture within the scope of religion doesn't end at tacking a "christian" or "non-christian" label on something. I think it has more to do with seeing footprints of a faith on art/music/literature or how those cultural artifacts influence everyday experiences of divine, even if that includes rejection of the divine.

Religion, at its core, is about humans making meaning of their existence. In my opinion, any song or story that asks the fundamental questions of what it means to be human in our world deals with religious subject matter. That doesn't mean it's religious, however. In fact, if we did away with labels of "religious" or "christian" art and artists altogether, we'd be more open to seeing expressions of belief or disbelief.

July 27, 2009

dear city of lakes pt. 2

Dear City of Minneapolis,

Thank you for sweeping up all the gravel you left on my street 10 days ago. Well, as much of the gravel as you could, anyway. It no longer sounds like rapids when a car drives down the street. Is there anyway you can come back and pick up the gravel left on the sidewalks? If not, I'm sure it'll just get kicked back into the street anyway.

Also, I know you can't control the weather, but please don't let it rain tonight or tomorrow. I have plans for outdoor movies - Hud and Heathers at Loring Park and Solera, respectively.



July 21, 2009

a brief apology

To The Person Who I Thought Hadn't Read The Last Report On The Miracles At Little No Horse But Actually Did Read It,

Sorry re: above. I just finished The Plague of Doves and I think you would like that also. This time I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that it really was you that read the book and not your woman. Although I think she would like it too.

Also, I think you would like this: Palin's Resignation - The Edited Version.



PS Those kabobs were delicious. Come visit.
PPS Man, we really had a fun time this weekend without that one girl from our family!

July 17, 2009

let go

“Each of us is always a child of God. In our brokenness, we are called to forgive so that we may be forgiven. The act of forgiving, of giving up the demand for vengeance, is an act of transcendence. To let go of the anger is to let go of some of the pain.” - Robin Theurkauf

dear city of lakes

Dear City of Minneapolis,

I know seal coating roads is an important step in keeping pavement in its best condition. However, did you have to cover the whole road in gravel as well?

Whenever a car drives by, it sounds like it's going down a highway. I can hear each passing car from the back of my apartment, the wheels pressing down on the gravel and making it sound like it's flying by at 65 miles an hour.

It's also really difficult to ride my bike on the gravel, which means I've been riding on the sidewalk and thus, breaking the law.

You made me do it.



July 14, 2009

lime and chili

I just decided never to put my relationship status on Facebook ever again. I spent 10 minutes looking through the profile of a girl from high school because she changed her relationship status from "married" to "it's complicated." I don't need some random person I knew years ago to search through everything I've put online because I randomly (or not randomly) changed a setting online. The people who need to know about my relationship status will know because we're good friends and talk on a regular basis while the people who don't need to will just have to rely on something besides Facebook. Besides, the internet is taking away the fun of high school reunions. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing anyway, so there's no need to go back and have awkward conversations trying to bring up flattering information without looking like a jerk.

I made corn tortillas yesterday. Here's some pictures:

Cookbook, masa flour, soon to be dough

Tortilla balls and my first flattened tortilla.

Cooking in the pan.

Finished product with sour cream, lime and chili pepper seasoned chicken, cheese and cilantro leaves. Delicious. Could have been a little more moist, but overall pretty decent for a first try. I picked up Rick Bayless's Mexican Everyday cookbook from the library and have been trying a bunch of those recipes. I made lime ice a few days back, tortillas yesterday, who knows what tomorrow? A lot of the ingredients are similar for dishes, so it was easy buying supplies. I think I'll try a jicama salad tomorrow. I really do love jicama, especially jicama sticks. Mmm. Martha Stewart has jicama sticks with a chili-lime dip, whereas I've just made them seasoned with chili power and lime.

Time to go read. I'm a good chuck into Louise Erdrich's The Plague of Doves, and I like it. I've always enjoyed the weaving and tension between Christianity and Native American religions and the colonial religious repercussions on reservations. I've previously read The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, but this is her latest book.

July 11, 2009

bikes and books

I'm going to fight someone.

Ok, maybe not someone, but my bike for sure. I wanted to adjust the brakes today, so I wrangled with my front brake for awhile before I realized that it was tight enough. It's a byproduct of the handle design that makes it seem looser than it really is. Booo.

Then I fiddled with the back one for awhile and now I can't seem to get it back to its original tightness. I took a break and checked some stuff online, so we'll give it another go here shortly. I'm frustrated, nonetheless.

No illusions; I am not a bike mechanic.

Ugh. Got to fix the bike quick, so I can grab a book and go read by the lake. I just finished book 25 of the year, which is good. I was lagging behind there for awhile, but I caught up by having only leisure reading and lots of time on the bus. Here are the books I've finished since getting back to MPLS:
  • Me and Mr. Darcy, Alexandra Potte
  • Speaking of Faith, Krista Tippett
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
  • The Hip Hop Wars, Tricia Rose
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Ernest Hemingway
  • Spanish Lessons, Derek Lambert
  • Strawberry Tattoo, Lauren Henderson
  • Potential, Ariel Schrag
I'm also doing a much better job of reading more books written by women, people of color and non-straight authors. There's 6 women, one out lesbian and one Black women author. Although I suppose Hemingway kind of stands in the face of all of that... I figure when I read something misogynistic, I might as well go all the way. Hah. I have a big stack of books borrowed that I need to read, but the library books get some priority since they've got a deadline. Yesterday I picked up a Mexican cookbook, one of Ellen's books, the graphic novel by Schrag, and John Hodgman's book. I forgot how great the downtown MPLS library's bookstore is. All of the books they discharge from circulation are sold at cheap prices - most expensive one I saw was $3 (a collection of sermons and lectures by Rowan Williams. I was going to buy it, but no cash and I'm living light these days).

Ok. I need sunlight so I'm giving the bike one more chance to be fixed nicely before I throw it off the back porch.

July 7, 2009

it's me

Job rejection emails are like the worst "it's not you, it's me" line, but you know it's not true. It has to be something with you, otherwise they would have hired you.

I had a slew of interviews last week, half of which turned out "it's not you, it's me" emails and half of which I have yet to hear from. It's just frustrating to get nice emails from people shooting you down for jobs you'd be great for. On the upside, I got a part time job at a cafe near Lake Harriet. It's really cute, a tad expensive and serves organic, local vegetarian food. They have a fairly small staff and everyone bikes. A match made in heaven? Well, let's try working for awhile before I decide if I'm smitten.

4th of July was fun. Fireworks were fun. Sat by the Guthrie on that big hill, which was perfect. Some friends of mine and I are starting a writing group so I have good motivation to write. It's hard to start writing again, but it gets easier every time.

That is all.

July 3, 2009

a night in the box - the way you make me feel

Saw them again last night at Acadia. As usual, a fantastic show. Probably one of my favorite things about being back in MPLS.

Also, I love the skyline. I've mentioned it before, but I can't help but look at the skyline whenever I go past a particularly great view. I'm like Mom, but with skylines instead of sunsets.

I haven't taken any pictures since I've been back, but hopefully this weekend with Jake and Will being in town, plus the 4th. I should bring my camera with me when I bike. Also, I love the Greenway.

I made banana bread a few days ago. It is delicious and if I don't share quickly, I will eat the whole loaf. Not that I'm against that necessarily, but I am for sharing.

June 29, 2009

do you collect butterflys?

I was out for my friend's birthday the other night and saw some old friends, met some new ones. I kept wanting to ask them what they did, where they worked, how they knew my friend. In a sense, I wanted to figure out who they were by what they did.

This isn't just me and by no means uncommon. It happens all the time. At YDS, you meet someone and go through all the details that supposedly define you - degree program, denomination, ordination track, where you're from, etc.

This is a culture that defines people by what they do first, and then who they are second. We put people in boxes by the hard facts and then move from there. At YDS, once we learn the various degree details about someone, we know how to interact with them. Ah, a Lutheran M.Div. A Ethics MAR. Ordination track. Non-ordination track. While these details are helpful, it's not the end-all-be-all.

It reminds me of this quote from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:
“Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: "What does his voice sound like?" "What games does he like best?" "Does he collect butterflies?". They ask: "How old is he?" "How many brothers does he have?" "How much does he weigh?" "How much money does his father make?" Only then do they think they know him.”
I've been feeling a bit like a ship without its bearings, wandering lost at sea, no port to aim towards. I'm guessing it comes from this period of transition and having less of these "hard" facts about myself. It's a little unnerving, but somewhat freeing at the same time. I don't think I could sustain this freewheeling for a long period of time though. Hopefully I won't have to.

June 27, 2009

i lack a fresh breeze

I am, at heart, an entertainer. Not in the top hat and cane sense, but in that I like organizing events and seeing people have a good time. I loved doing it for YDS, even on my most frustrating days.

I'm guessing that's why not having a backyard or porch is killing me. Or a big dinner table. As much as going out for dinner is fun, I like the idea of cooking for friends much better. I wish I had time, ingredients, the imagination and skills do amazing things with food. And the space to accommodate that magic.

Yesterday, I headed to St. Paul for an old friend's birthday, and marveled at her awesome porch. Made me miss the CHouse porch.

This is the view from my back steps right now:

Not quite the same. Next place I live is going to have some mad backyard awesomeness. Here are some more apartment pictures, since I realized I never posted them:

Also threw my bike in there for good measure. I love it. It takes me places. It also has a "I <3 unicorns" sticker on it. I'm thinking it'll take me to Pride this afternoon, while it's not too ridiculously hot out.

June 23, 2009

embrace change

Everytime I start missing New Haven, YDS, and Marquand, I have to remind myself of the fortune cookie I received my first week back in Minneapolis:

Embrace change; don't battle it.

There's something about embracing change that honors what once was while still anticipating what will be.

A few days later, I got this one:

Is this where you saw yourself five years ago?

Honestly, I didn't see myself anywhere five years ago. I was too busy thinking about the present to think about the future. I still have to remind myself to imagine five years from now. That'll be easier once I have some sort of permanent work, but the options are wide open now while I'm still looking.

Anyway. Time to battle the heat, test my repaired tire and try for a bike ride.

June 20, 2009

music and work and hopeful work

Big decisions today, people. I've got an important date with Jake and I want to look as much like a pretty, pretty princess as possible.

But seriously, we're going to Rock the Garden today and I'm trying to figure out what to wear that will be 1: cool looking, 2: cool feeling, 3: let me get tan without a sunburn, 4: has the ability to cover myself if I do get sunburn without being stifling. I kind of want to wear a dress, but that'd eventually get sweaty and sticky. Maybe a skirt with leggings, but that might be hot too. My life is soooo hard.

Good progress on the job front. I am a badass canvasser, apparently. I've done two days of collecting signatures asking one of the local US Reps to vote for the American Clean Energy and Security Act and have passed my quota every day. At first I thought it was a fluke because I found a famer's market and cleaned up there, but then I did really well again yesterday in front of a library. I finished early yesterday and went to where a fellow canvasser was, and realized why he hadn't made his quota and I had. I'd ask pretty much everyone that came across the library threshold, made clear up front what I was asking for, the level of time/commitment of signing the petition, and was generally friendly. The other canvasser, on the other hand, sat in front of the building and didn't approach everyone, opened with asking about the representative we're petitioning as opposed to the issue, and often had snide comments for people who gave weak excuses for not signing. It was the difference between approaching people and walking with them or sitting there as they walked by. I joined the campaign after it had began so I don't know how much training people had, but even just a bit would have made a big impact for this guy. And I'm not saying I've had tons of experience (because I haven't), but I know the difference between active work and passive work. Plus he thought that a good place to ask would be in front of a golf course. Yeah, right.

Besides that, I have two job interviews in the near future. One with a church looking for part time program coordinating, and another for an Americorps position with a school looking for someone to coordinate volunteers and programs/events for students (mostly immigrants or children of immigrants) 15-20 who are behind at least a year in school. I'm really excited about this last one because it touches on a lot of major interests of mine - education advancement, volunteer coordination, event planning - and because it seems like the program has had a lot of success and does good work for that community.

We'll see how it goes. First, what to wear.

June 17, 2009

"everything's ok. everything's like usual."

It's been a good couple of days. Flowers blooming, none of the forecast rain, two requests for interviews, I'm DJing Dance Party tomorrow and I found some work hopefully through the end of June.

I found this online, which makes me happy:
The Poetry of Journalism

Last week, Israel’s oldest newspaper, Haaretz, took a one-off chance, temporarily replacing its workaday reporters with 31 of the country’s leading poets and authors. The writers, as writers do, ran amok. They filed epic front-page news reports on daily life in the first person; ruminated about childhood in an interview with the country’s defense minister; and delivered the weather report as a sonnet. The market report, written by a celebrated children’s book author, read like a fairy tale: “Everything’s okay. Everything’s like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything’s okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place … Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9 percent to a level of 1,860 points …”
The world only spins forward.

June 14, 2009

puking in public

This was the basics of a conversation on the bus by two old Catholic ladies behind me:

-the only good charity to donate to is the Knights of Columbus
-all tv is junk, it's just immoral movies where women show their "bags" all over
-the digital converter box is a tool from the government to control us
-Obama is also ultimately responsible for the digital converter box which controls us
-the digital converter box is also a tool that the Antichrist is going to use to in world domination
-therefore, Obama is probably the Antichrist
-they didn't vote for him, but one of the ladies did like Sarah Palin. They thought she was smart and moral
-she's going to plan a big role in the next election, we just weren't ready for her now
-Walter Mondale is awful.

The End.

This weekend was the Bellin Run. I had planned on running as much as I could (about 4 miles, I thought), walking a bit, and then running the rest. Well, when I got to the 4 mile marker, I was feeling awesome so I just kept running. There was a little bit midway during an uphill incline through mile 5 when things felt rough, but I made it though. Things went great all the way up through the end. I think the last water stop did me in, because just as I rounded the corner of the last block to the finish line, my stomach staged a protest. I ended up yaking twice before the finish line and then once after. But what could I do? I was on the last block after running further than I had before in my life. I wasn't going to stop and walk through the finish line... I'll take the puke and call it a win. I'd do it exactly the same if I had to do it all over (minus the suspected foul water stop). Everyone else did really well too. Anne, Sarah and I all expect to walk part and we all ended up running the whole thing; Mom had a personal record; Pete and Ethan (via stroller) started out running, but got stuck behind stroller people so they walked most of it.

Also, Pete and Carla and the kids stuck around through Saturday so I got to play with Ethan, Grace and Ali lots. They're cute as hell, I swear. I don't think I'm going too far out on a limb here, but I'm definitely their favorite. Except for Grace, because her favorite is Katie. Doesn't even try to hide it.

Kari's gone to Bolivia now and man, do I love sleeping in her bed. It is way more comfortable than mine. Also, wearing her clothes is pretty awesome too. I have also subsisted solely on her tapioca pudding. Delicious.

June 11, 2009

adventures in cooking: curried couscous chicken salad

Since I've got nothing else to talk about (except how many jobs I've applied for), let's talk about food.

Kari and I made some delicious curried couscous with chicken salad the other night. A mix of lemon juice, apples, chickpeas, chicken and couscous made with curry atop spinach. It's a repeat recipe for sure.

I felt classy cooking for two, and then Kari left and I had frozen pizza. Oh, how quickly I declined in my culinary endeavors. On the upside, Amy taught me about the deliciousness of Frank's RedHot sauce on pizza, which I've now taken to eating on everything. It's cayenne sauce/buffalo sauce, but I love it. Mmm.

Today for lunch I went all fancy again. Quesadilla with chili powder, peppers, chicken, and garlic. I heated it on the stove as opposed to in the microwave, which was a little tricky because the tortilla was as big as the pan. I had to flip it onto a plate, then move it from the plate back into the pan. It was a lot more crispy than when it's cooked in the microwave, but a little burnt. I think in the future, I'll have to get smaller tortillas (since it was my biggest pan).

Kari's gone in Bolivia for two months so I need someone every day to make sure I haven't died. It's kind of a giant weird switch going from living with 7 other people to living by myself. A lot more quiet and a lot less fun. But Jake's at Olaf already and stopped by when he flew back last week, so we're going to hang out a lot. He's my extension of New Haven, right here in MPLS. Plus I see Drew and Amy a lot, so they're going to keep me sane.

Dance Party tonight! Woot. It's no lie... once you go your first time, you'll be constructing the perfect dance mix ever since. Love.

June 4, 2009


So here's the thing that recent graduates (especially from institutions as prestigious as the ones in my background) aren't supposed to say:

I have no idea what I want (to do).

Day-to-day, short term, long term, as a career, as a vocation, in my interactions with people, for lunch, etc.

I add the parentheses because honestly, I don't know what I want, either. I suppose once I figure out what I want, then I'll have some idea of what to do.

I have ideas of what I want to do. I want to work in a church, but I don't want to get bogged down in notions of religiosity and church politics. I want to work in a non-profit, but one that really accomplishes something. I want to work in a coffee shop and actually do something that makes a person's day better. I want to write, but don't know if I have enough "life experience" to be good. I don't want to work, but instead find a vocation. Now it's just taking these wants and making them into something good.

One thing that's different about this move from all of the others I've done (GB>MPLS, MPLS>NH, and now NH>MPLS) is that I've lost the ability to reinvent myself. Not to suggest that I've altered my personality in relation to the places I've lived, but I have a history here. I've been someone. I have friends who remember me as a gawky 18 year old, not the supposedly hip 24 year old I am now. Good at times, bad at at times.

The ability to change is harder when you're in a familiar place with familiar people. They've invested in the old you, not the altered/ing you. Not that people don't accept changes (since we all do it), but transformation is easier in places with little memory. There's less molding to break. Again, both good and bad.

So while it's been nice to come back and see favorite faces and places, we all look at each other and see the past. As much as old friends look at me and see the old me, I look back at them and see old versions of new lives. This allowing for room to change applies to me, as well.

I'm in no hurry for any answers, but I will be when it comes time to pay the rent again.

things you think to yourself after immersion in div school

The following thoughts occurred to me in situations completely unrelated to religion, Christianity, YDS or my life in Connecticut:

  • Upon hearing that a friend's eyes were hurting, I thought, "Ah, let's get some spit, some mud and we'll fix you up in no time."
  • I have a Chia person that recently started growing hair, but only around the outside rim of her head. My reaction? "It's a crown... a crown of thorny grass!"
More to follow.

May 31, 2009


"We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know; God wants us to realize [God's] presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved. That is true relationship between God and scientific knowledge, but it is also true of the wider human problems of death, suffering and guilt."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

"If holiness is happening, it is happening in the thick of reality, not replacing the world as we know, not banishing death, but defying its terror as the last word."
- Krista Tippett, Speaking of Faith

May 28, 2009

tasting touching hearing seeing breathing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

-ee cummings

May 18, 2009

orientation towards perfection

Some readers find a point of vulnerability in what they take to be religion’s flaccid, Polyanna-like, happy-days optimism. Religious people, says Delphinias, live their lives “in a state of blissfully blind oblivion.” They rely on holy texts that they are “to believe in without question.” (C.C.) “No evidence, no problem — just take it on faith.” (Michael) They don’t allow themselves to be bothered by anything. Religion, says Charles, “cannot deal with doubt and dissent,” and he adds this challenge: “What say you about that, Professor?”

What I say, and I say it to all those quoted in the previous paragraph, is what religion are you talking about? The religions I know are about nothing but doubt and dissent, and the struggles of faith, the dark night of the soul, feelings of unworthiness, serial backsliding, the abyss of despair. Whether it is the book of Job, the Confessions of St. Augustine, Calvin’s Institutes, Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding to The Chief of Sinners,” Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling” and a thousand other texts, the religious life is depicted as one of aspiration within the conviction of frailty. The heart of that life, as Eagleton reminds us, is not a set of propositions about the world (although there is some of that), but an orientation toward perfection by a being that is radically imperfect.

- Stanley Fish, God Talk pt 2

May 17, 2009

runaway train

The dismantling has begun. I've got six boxes of books and an empty, dusty bookshelf. My room is being taken apart, slowly at first and then it will turn hectic as family arrives and the deadline arrives.

As much as I'm excited to be living a block from the Bryant Lake Bowl, must it be at the expense of not living next to Josh? As much as I'm looking forward to seeing my family, their presence carries an unspoken ultimatum.

I've mentioned it before, but I'm cursed by finding good people everywhere I've lived. I find myself missing the place where I'm not, regardless of place or people. Right now I'm itching to get back to Minneapolis, but I know it means I'm leaving New Haven indefinitely. And I know once I go, things won't stay the same here. Jake's leaving, people are moving, the inherent impermanence of the school kicks in and they start all over again in the fall. And after next year, I'll barely know anyone here. The buildings will be the same, but the city will not.

Maybe I just need to stop listening to Ben Folds when I'm doing sad things like packing. It'd help if I didn't hear "And life barrels on like a runaway train/Where the passengers change/They don't change anything/You get off; someone else can get on."

I just gotta keep reminding myself that the train ends in Minneapolis.

May 16, 2009


The lion has been de-maned.

May 14, 2009

rear view mirrors

I've been thinking about what-ifs lately, about the different paths my life could have taken. Maybe because I'm in a period of transition or because I've seen tv shows and movies with alternative timelines (due to time travel), but the concept that my life could be fundamentally different is intriguing.

But too many what-ifs lead to not enough what's-nexts.

In a sense, we need rear view mirrors. Something that we can glance in and see where we've come from, but not by sacrificing where we're looking and where we're going.

Regardless of this, I'm going to Minneapolis, arriving May 29. Transitions, indeed.

May 5, 2009


Finished. Completed. Done. I am done. Slid that paper under the door this morning and I've been free and clear since... well, with the exception of the graduation meeting I went to where I'm on a committee to plan a bunch of events for the week leading up to graduation. Oops? Naah, it'll be fun.

View outside my window this morning. Nice and rainy (but green).

My stack of books, two layers deep and two layers wide.

May 2, 2009


I went to the farmer's market this morning and came home with an apple pie. Not only did I buy a pie, but Olivia and Amir both bought pies. So we now have three homemade pies in our house. Potentially dangerous and definitely delicious.

Apart from the pies, my day today has slowed considerably in relation to the past 10 or so. I'm not completely done with work, but yesterday was crazy busy and stressful. I'm a relatively laid-back person (ok, completely laid back), but I just about hit the ceiling yesterday. I can only think of one other time before this when I was as stressed as I was yesterday, and then it manifested itself when I burst into tears because I couldn't pass a truck on a 2 lane highway. My body feels physically exhausted from yesterday - the arches of my feet hurt, my legs are sore, I'm out of energy. It's completely out of character for me to be that stressed, and it's interesting my body responded by forcing me to take a break. I was going to anyway, but I'm definitely moving a little slower today. I also haven't gone for a run in a week or so, and I'm betting that hasn't helped my stress level either. Signs of stress around the house include frequent yells/screams, often in the style of the "kittens inspired by kittens" girl, and jumping up and down on our couches and chairs, sometimes everyone at the same time. Yeah, we're cool.

So what did I do yesterday/this week that stressed me so much? Well, I handed in three papers, for starters. One for GLBTQ Pastoral Care, one for Death in Music, Art and Liturgy and one for Film and Liturgy. I wrote my gaycare paper last week, so that was taken care of by Saturday. That one was on GLBTQ youth in rural/small town areas and building community. I wrote my Death paper at the beginning of the week, finishing Tuesday after going to Spring Fling and seeing the Decemberists play. I wrote that one about Imitation of Life (1959) and its depiction of a black ars moriendi (art of dying). Then I wrote my Film and Liturgy paper on The Secret Life of Bees (2008) and how it establishes the domestic as a sacred sphere, in particular, for black women. That one I wrote Thursday and finished on Friday, trying to get it done before the Community Dinner that night. In addition to finishing three papers, I also had a Community Dinner, Div School Idol and an after-party at our house. Friday morning I had to shop for the dinner, then later in the afternoon, pick up the grills and start the cooking, plus arrange the whole thing. Thankfully, I had many helpers and many hands for the task, so I was a little less crazy. I kept getting impatient with the charcoal, wanting it to light faster and be ready faster, but my friend helping me just reminded me that I had to wait for it to light up, it wasn't going to help if I kept spraying it with lighter fluid. Doesn't mean I didn't spray it around at first, cursing the flames.

So today I'm taking a break. I read a book that I picked up last week, The Unlikely Disciple. The author came to YDS and gave a talk/signed books, and it was really interesting. The author did a semester at Liberty University (Jerry Falwell's college) and wrote about his time there, presenting the students in very nuanced and interesting ways. For someone who studies religion and thinks that Christians are often viewed unfairly in simplistic or negative ways, I liked that he didn't take the easy way out and call everyone crazy or sheep-like. I'm now at 13 books for the year, which is technically behind schedule. I imagine the pace picking up once I'm done with schoolwork. Also, out of the last four books I finished (since mid April), 3 of them were for school and the last one is about a Christian college. I do this to myself, really.

Other than that, I might watch a movie? On my self-appointed days off, I almost don't know what to do with myself. This happened at the beginning of spring break, too. I feel like I should be doing work and I don't know how to not do work. I have one paper left to do, and I'm writing it on Jesus movies. It's 8-10 pages and I'm guessing I'll have it done quickly. I've written about Jesus movies so much that it's almost like second nature. It's on an aspect I haven't written about before, so it's still fair game academically. I remember when I was writing my honors project and one day I sat down and just wrote and wrote and wrote. I think I wrote the 40 page section on The Passion of the Christ in 2 1/2 weeks or something... One night I wrote 10 pages on the history of the Christ film like it was nothing. A little scary, but I like to think it means I'm knowledgable.

Kari moved into our apartment this weekend and Mom's in town helping, so I've been getting pictures. I wish I was there and not here driving myself insane. Soon, soon, soon.

Well, I'm going to go eat some pie and watch a movie. What a crazy idea, huh?

April 28, 2009

slow loris


So cute. This video caused all-house uproar yesterday when it was sent to someone during study time. It turned five adults into balls of "awwww! IT'S SO CUTE!" today.

I just finished my second paper, so I feel like I'm at the crest of my schoolwork, peaking over the edge, lingering at the top of the wave for a few split seconds before everything comes crashing down at once. Then I emerge in the surf, covered in globs of wet sand and stringy seaweed while the wave recedes.

I'm going to enjoy the lingering and head to bed before I get started on my next paper. One's due Saturday and one's due next Wednesday, 8-10 each.

Bacher out.

April 26, 2009

an earthy, sticky smell

It's currently 81 degrees and I'm sitting on my porch, enjoying the slightly cooler air as the sun sets behind the houses across the street. Weather-wise, this has been a really great weekend. Personally, this has been a really great weekend.

I've been going through "lasts" - last class period, last Spring Fling, last Friday Eucharist chapel service, soon to be last papers, last coffee hour, last YDS. It hasn't sunk in that these are my lasts, there's still some surrealistic notions in my mind, almost like I don't believe it. I know it, but I don't understand it. One month from today is graduation and I'm out of here shortly after. The unknown looms, but still theoretically. There could be endless summer evenings on this porch for all I know.

I'm really going to miss this place - the people, the love, the humor, the academic and personal challenges. I almost want to compare my time here to a mountaintop experience where things are awesome but you can't stay there; you have to descend for the green, flourishing valleys. But that's not the case - I feel really sustained here. Life isn't barren but beautiful like on a mountaintop, but really rich and amazing. I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet, but I know this - I leave changed. Parting is bittersweet, indeed.

At the same time, I'm itching to get back to Minneapolis. I miss Amy and Drew and Kari; seeing MOK kids for Nat's wedding was really great. Reminded me why I love them so much and shaded these past few weeks with a longing for their company. Besides the friendships, I'm ready to start working. I'm ready to jump in and get my hands dirty. In chapel Friday, Emilie Townes asked us if we could smell the wetness of clay, waiting to be molded and shaped. Without a doubt, yes.

There's an intrinsic sweetness to a cool breeze. It carries an earthy, sticky smell.

April 22, 2009

9 days

Me from now to the end of the semester - aka at the library.

April 20, 2009

April 19, 2009

End of Semester Numbers Game

Life's busy.

12 days, 8 hours, 40 minutes until I'm done with work for YDS.

4 papers to write, 3 events to plan, 2 books to read, 1 degree to complete.

1353 miles to drive at the end of May to get back to MPLS.

Many jobs to apply for.

I had a great weekend enjoying the nice weather and good company. It's about time to crack down and get my numbers list down to zero.

April 10, 2009

today you will be with me in paradise

This is a reflection I wrote for my Passion of Christ in Literature and Art class this semester:

Today you will be with me in paradise? Are you kidding? I don’t have time for paradise. I have things to do – I have reading; I have homework; I have plans to make and people to call. It just isn’t a good time for paradise right now. How about tomorrow? That looks better for me. Or even this weekend? “This weekend you will be with me in paradise.” So I’ll pencil in paradise for this weekend – say a late breakfast? I’ll be more prepared this weekend… I’ll be ready for Jesus in a few days.

In a world driven by instant gratification and the need for more hours each day, we are pushed and pulled between the now and the I’ll get to it next week and the ask someone else. But at this moment, we’re being told that today, we will be with Jesus in paradise. Today.

But what about tomorrow? I’m all ready for the endless tomorrows; today, I’m a little less certain. I’ve been making plans for after graduation – applying for jobs, finding places to live, imagining a future of summer bike rides, fall leaf raking, winter sledding, and spring gardening for seasons to come. I’ve thought so much about what the future holds that I’m not sure what today holds. Maybe today is that future I’ve been planning for. Maybe there won’t be endless tomorrows.

The man hanging next to Jesus didn’t have a tomorrow. He only had today. Condemned to die, the criminal asked Jesus to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Even dying on the cross, his mortal coil shuffling like hell, the man looks to the future and starts making plans. Jesus says no, seriously, trust me. Today. Today you will be with me in paradise. Not tomorrow. Not next week. No need to call ahead or spend time worrying about it. Now. We’ll be there today.

Woah. Hold up. Today? Like I said earlier, today doesn’t work for me. I have things to do. I thought we were going to meet this weekend. But Jesus is calling. Like fishers by the side of the lake, Jesus is calling and we’re going NOW. Ready or not, here Christ comes.

We have this amazing gift of life, a life filled with joys and struggles and good days and bad. But it’s ours and it’s not going to last forever, maybe not even to tomorrow. God gave us this gift and we’re wasting it. From dust we were formed and to dust we will return. We’re reminded of that at least one day a year, when we walk with the mark of our mortality for all to see, when God’s claim on us is made visible. The rest of the time? We’re untouchable. When we live with immortality in our blood, the truly important things get put aside for tomorrow or next week. That can wait. I’ll get to it later. I’ll call her next week. Oh, we can catch up another time. I have more time to volunteer next month. You know, next year I’ll really start to focus on social justice issues.

We only have so many days before Christ comes to us and says “It’s time. Today’s the day. Today you will be with me in paradise.” So start acting like it.

April 8, 2009

two out of three

I walked out of the house this morning and ran into my friend who lives down the street. As we walked to class together, we talked about how little time was left in the semester, how much work we had to do, and what I'm going to do after graduation.

In her experience, someone should have at least one of three things when moving to a new city: friends, a job, or a place to live. Well, I've got great friends and as of Saturday, I've got a place to live. Kari and I found (what looks like) a great place in Uptown, really close to lots of things to do. I'm looking forward to living there with Kari. She's emailed and called countless times to ask questions about rooms and rugs and plates and shower curtains... Needless to say, she's very excited.

Now I just have to get that job nailed down. I'm oh-so excited about the search process. Ok, a little less than excited, but I'm working on it. Two out of three 'ain't bad.

Next up: Nat's wedding.

April 4, 2009

walt whitman - song of the open road


AFOOT and light-hearted, I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Strong and content, I travel the open road.

The earth—that is sufficient;
I do not want the constellations any nearer;
I know they are very well where they are;
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

(Still here I carry my old delicious burdens;
I carry them, men and women—I carry them with me wherever I go;
I swear it is impossible for me to get rid of them;
I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return.)


Allons! to that which is endless, as it was beginningless,
To undergo much, tramps of days, rests of nights,
To merge all in the travel they tend to, and the days and nights they tend to,
Again to merge them in the start of superior journeys;
To see nothing anywhere but what you may reach it and pass it,
To conceive no time, however distant, but what you may reach it and pass it,
To look up or down no road but it stretches and waits for you—however long, but it stretches and waits for you;
To see no being, not God’s or any, but you also go thither,
To see no possession but you may possess it—enjoying all without labor or purchase—abstracting the feast, yet not abstracting one particle of it;
To take the best of the farmer’s farm and the rich man’s elegant villa, and the chaste blessings of the well-married couple, and the fruits of orchards and flowers of gardens,
To take to your use out of the compact cities as you pass through,
To carry buildings and streets with you afterward wherever you go,
To gather the minds of men out of their brains as you encounter them—to gather the love out of their hearts,
To take your lovers on the road with you, for all that you leave them behind you,
To know the universe itself as a road—as many roads—as roads for traveling souls.

-excerpts from Walt Whitman's Song of the Open Road, Leaves of Grass