Monthly Archives: August, 2005

On the Brain

Friday Five:
1. List five people and a song that reminds you of them or that you think best describes them (list the person’s name, the song title, and the song’s artist). Greg while we dated: “Iris,” Goo Goo Dolls.
Current Greg: “Girls & Boys”, Good Charlotte.
God (sort of a person, right?): “Stars,” Switchfoot.
My crazy family: “Anything But Ordinary,” Avril Lavigne.
Adrienne (from my old floor): “Adrienne,” The Calling.
I realize that last one’s a cop-out, but I don’t usually associate people with songs.
2. What would your life’s soundtrack be? My current theme song would be “Meant to Live,” by Switchfoot. I don’t know if I could make a whole soundtrack.
3. Which would you prefer: to live somewhere that is hot or to live somewhere that is cold year-round? Why? I can’t really answer this. Okinawa was hot, but I’ve never lived anywhere constantly cold, so I’m biased to go with something I’ve already experienced.
4. Suppose you had twins, a boy and a girl. What names would you give and why? I like Alyssa best for a girl. I don’t usually think about boy’s names, but probably something traditional and Biblical: John, David, Andrew, Thomas, Matthew, Luke.
5. What’s a quote/lyric that describes you right now? “When I look at the stars, I see someone else.” “Stars,” Switchfoot again. I really like what I’ve heard, and they have a new CD coming out in a few weeks, so I’ve got them on the brain.

I didn’t do much this week. Maybe I should have stayed at work longer. It’s not like I did anything productive with my time. I finally finished If on a winter’s night a traveler, by Italo Calvino. It was assigned for my lit class last semester, but I never finished it. My professor said it was really good, though, and the discussion made it sound interesting, so I wanted to finish it. It’s such a complicated postmodern book. It’s about reading and writing, but… it’s just so convoluted. From the first sentence, you can tell it’s not going to be a normal novel.

You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the tv is always on in the next room. Tell the other right away, “No I don’t want to watch tv!” Raise your voice — they won’t hear you otherwise — “I’m reading! I don’t want to be disturbed!” Maybe they haven’t heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: “I’m beginning to read Italo Calvino’s new novel!” Or if you prefer, don’t say anything; just hope they’ll leave you alone.

Once I really started getting into it, understanding the book’s point, it was absolutely amazing. I never saw the ending coming, but it was very fulfilling.

I did a little more shopping. I went to the BX with my mom last night, then to Sears Essentials in search of pillowcases. Sears bought K-Mart, so it was a little like being in Target again, only it’s not as colorful. I finally bought a file crate. I’ve had files for a while, but I have them in this metal thing that just sits on my floor. The crate is bigger, but now I can take my files to school with me next week.

I went out with Megan, Stephanie, and Angela tonight to see The Brothers Grimm. Something about the trailer and commercials just didn’t strike my fancy, but I’m glad I went. I love fantasy. The special effects were great, and the story had enough plot and characterization for me. It got a bit hard to keep things straight. Since it is about the Grimms, and they wrote a bunch of fairy tales, there were a ton of fairy tale references. But it’s like “Hush”, from Buffy: Fairy tales are old-fashioned urban legends; they all start in truth.

It was nice to be out again. Megan, Steph and I went to Kohl’s and JC Penney while we waited for Angela, and we all ate in the food court after the movie. I’m not ready to slave over my schoolwork again, but I miss all the people. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to live alone, not even when I can afford it and I’m not married. It’s so lonely. I don’t know what to do with myself. With floormates, at least I know I could hang out if I wanted to. I don’t feel like such a hermit. I used to crave being alone, but now I like being around people. People are good.

Overheated

It’s Saturday, but I like tradition and routine, hence The Friday Five: Shall We Band Together?
1. What if any instrument do you play? Piano and flute. I haven’t played flute since freshman year of high school, and I stopped playing piano senior year, but I used to be good.
2. If you could choose to play an instrument what would it be? Guitar. It’s versatile, like the piano. I’m not willing to ruin my fingers to do it, though.
3. If you were in a band, what would your band�s name be? Something odd that manages to sound cool, like Relient K or Old Navy. I know, Old Navy’s a store, but could you imagine shopping somewhere called Old Air Force?
4. What type of music would your band play? I wouldn’t mind sounding like Relient K, actually. All I’ve heard is “Be My Escape,” but it’s a good song.
5. Would you continue to be good for years to come, or would you and your band end up in Branson playing for bus loads of elderly? Neither? There’s no shame in just growing apart. No organized break-ups, though. (Justin Timberlake, I’m glaring at you.)

Megan and Stephanie are back from Myrtle Beach, so they had a late birthday party last Saturday. I like being around people, so I made it a personal mission to take opportunities to go out. (On a mostly unrelated note, it’s also my mission to pray for anyone who asks, so feel free to do so. Email it if you’d like.) Most of their parties involve Taboo, which we didn’t do this time, though Megan tried to get it started. I am an excellent Taboo player. So we just sat around and talked and ate. The food was good, as usual. Their new-ish dog is really big and slobbery, but they managed to keep him out of the way. There weren’t a lot of people there, but I enjoyed it. And Stephanie had my second favorite kind of cake.

I didn’t plan on watching the Teen Choice Awards on Tuesday, but I did anyway. When Gwen Stefani was walking in singing the censored version of “Hollaback Girl,” I saw a girl with long pretty red hair and thought, “Is that Ellie?” I stared at that part of the screen until I saw her again, and Jimmy — from Degrassi! That was so random. It also made me miss Degrassi a lot. I couldn’t snag the tv last week, and our digital cable’s out right now, so I’ve missed the last two episodes. Boo, Comcast, keeping me from soap operatic Canadian teenagers! And they’re the Jay and Silent Bob episodes, too. Is a chance to watch my half-hour north-of-the-border drama really so much to ask for?

Adding to this summer’s car trouble, my engine overheated on my way home from work on Wednesday. I had noticed the temperature needle a bit far to the right, but I figured it was just being finicky. After a while, I thought I saw smoke. I admit it wasn’t the best idea to just drive on the slow side and hope I made it home, but I was tired from work (somehow, sorting files got really tiring). So, I made it through the exit off 95, down Rt. 5, and I was almost home. I came to a stop in the line of cars waiting for the light, and my car just went kaput. The engine stopped and all the lights came on: temperature, oil, check engine, and battery. I had my music up, so I almost didn’t hear it, but I felt it. I tried about three times to start it, but I had to give up and hit my emergency flashers so the other cars would go around. I called my dad at home (I’m so glad he gets off work so early!), and he told me he’d try to call my mom. She takes the Metro home from work, and it just happened that she was driving home right when my car died. My dad never got her on her phone, but when she pulled onto the exit, she recognized the decals in my back window and stopped to help. I went to find her flashers (she didn’t know where they were!) while she tried to start my car. She got it running enough to get home really quickly, and I drove her car. It was weird figuring out where everything was (she drives an SUV) and running so smoothly. I think I drove kind of slowly, but I was still shaken from my car’s dying. I didn’t realize until I got home that we’d actually been driving with each other’s licenses, but the chances of a police car pulling either of us over in that five minutes (I was that close to home!) were basically zero.

So after my dad fiddled around and my grandfather weighed in (it’s my grandma’s old car), I found out what the problem was. I’d put coolant in it last week and thought the gauge was just being difficult. When my dad opened the hood, the coolant tank’s cap was off and up by my wipers, and it was empty. He tried to fill the tank twice, but it kept draining out, but not onto the driveway, so he was really confused. Apparently, when you fill the coolant tank thingie, it flows down into the radiator first. The radiator was empty, so there wasn’t enough coolant to keep the engine from overheating. He kept filling it until it stopped draining, and then I was good to go. I’m glad it was such an easy problem to fix; otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get to work yesterday.

Work is over now. I wanted a little more time to relax before school starts, and I have to gather some things, so I gave notice last Friday and left yesterday. Everyone was really nice and wished me well. I don’t think the other temps will do too well. I sort a lot faster than they do, and the one who came first seems constantly irritated with the work. She’s 32, which makes me wonder why she’s temping. And if it bothers her that much, she could leave and find another assignment — or a career. But I’m glad I had the chance to make some money. I still need teaching experience, but money is always good.

Last night, I caught The Fellowship of the Ring on TNT. I’d forgotten how long those movies are. I dozed off at least twice while watching it. I haven’t dozed off in months… not since reading for class. They are lovely movies, though, so I stuck it out and then went straight to bed. I caught the middle of Frequency this afternoon. It seemed really good. I wish I’d seen the end, though; I left to go to Target with my mom and the rugrats. It was weird at first seeing Jesus and Truman’s friend, but once I stopped thinking of them that way, I was fine. I’ll have to see the rest of that sometime. I love time-travel stories, even though it’s such a complicated concept.

I think I’ll watch Chamber of Secrets tonight. The sheer HP-ness of the season makes me want to relive the beginning. I’ve already mentally added the first three books to my “to read” list (which exists in a Post-It on my computer desktop). Is it just me, or does it seem like the Trio ages a ton between movies?

Back to Rambling

This week, I kept notes to aid in my blogging. Usually I just sit around and try to remember what I meant to post about, and that’s (part of) why I sound so rambly all the time. Wednesday’s entry was the most focused I’ve been in possibly months. Unfortunately, it also inspired Greg to repeat the hurtful and spiteful things he’s said about me before. He always kept it to his LJ, though. That’s his space, and he can say what he wants there. But in my space, I will do what’s necessary to guard my privacy and the dignity of my blog. (If you’d like to read those last few comments or that entry, it’s been archived.)

As there is no Friday Five this week, on to what I reminded myself via virtual Post-It (scroll down for the free version) to mention.

Did you know that gif (the image file format) is pronounced “jif”, like the peanut butter brand? I was stunned. I’ve been saying (well, mostly thinking in my mind) it with a hard “g” for years! Also, png is not “pee en gee”, but “ping”. Seriously, after “Hermione”, I didn’t think I could take anymore accidental-habitual mispronunciations. I’ve been calling Viktor by his first name since I realized I have no idea how to say “Krum”. Is it like a small piece of bread, or something that sounds more ethnic? On a barely related note, this week’s Wednesday Smallville rerun was the one with Mxyzptlk (so copy-pasted that one — but I can say it right!), played by Trent Ford, who dropped his British accent for Eastern European. I’ve seen that episode before, but I only recognized Trent this week.

Driving home Monday evening in that killer storm was not fun. I’ve never needed to use my wipers at full speed before. It was so weird to be plodding along in rush hour traffic at 30mph in rain like circus animals. I’d left my umbrella in my car, but it didn’t really start raining until I got into Bowie. Thank you, raindrops, for not falling until I got to my car.

I’ve been cleaning and scanning my computer every Monday for months. I call it Computer Cleaning Day: daily virus protection update, hard drive scan, clear cookies, clear cache, Spybot, and Ad-Aware. This week, for the first time ever, both my spyware scans came up completely negative. I was so proud.

On Tuesday, my dad made chocolate-chip muffins. They are so good. I don’t even eat normal muffins, and I wouldn’t eat those for breakfast, so they’re just a really yummy spongy dessert. He brought me one in my room, which was very nice. My response? “Muffins, yay! You get, like, awesome points or something.” Note to self: Come up with better ways to comment parents and say less awkwardly. Avoid becoming first member of insane family to actually go insane.

Wednesday was Darcy’s last day at Long Fence. She talked me into going to Wendy’s for lunch. (I try to avoid going out for lunch to save the money I’ve managed to earn.) She tried to avoid my auto-shoulder belt thingies, but just got tangled in the process. I may have cracked my front right headlight trying to get back to work. Difficult turn, bad timing. I didn’t notice the crack until I got home and went to check my oil. I almost never see the front of my car, so had my oil warning not beeped for ten minutes straight on the way home, I might not have noticed the light at all. My mom poked it, testing to see if it was just a crack or totally broken. It caved in and she cut her finger really badly, making me feel absolutely horrible. I confessed to the Wendy’s turn, though I don’t remember hearing a collision. She doesn’t think it happened then because there was water inside the glass, presumably rain from Monday’s storm. But when I poked the clear packing tape that’s temporary covering the break, there was definitely moisture in there, so I probably did it. There’s the second stupid damage I’ve done to my car, though way less devastating than the first. Poor Mindy; she’s been through a lot.

The strange-yet-boring premonitions continue. Coming home yesterday, I had the strangest feeling that I’d need to honk at someone. The opportunity came almost immediately after I thought about it, but I just braked hard and went on about my driving. I’m not an angry person. I don’t think I’ve ever actually used my car horn. Ever. For all I know, it doesn’t work. That could be dangerous. Additional note to self: Test car horn, preferably inconspicuously.

I try to keep controversy out of my blog. I’m bad at forming my own opinions about things. My passions are few, but strong. Yesterday while blog-hopping, I found something shocking that I hope makes national news. A branch of Planned Parenthood in San Francisco briefly linked to a cartoon on its site called “A Superhero for Choice”. In the screenshots I saw, the hero drowns an abstinence educator in a garbage can full of “Astro Slide”, traps nonviolent pro-life protesters outside an abortion clinic in condoms before blowing them up, and decapitates another protester with the same condom gun. The message I get from that is, “You can choose what you want, but if it’s not the choice we want you to make, you can ‘just […] disappear.'” I don’t support abortion clinic violence at all — from either side, and especially not in a cartoon, a format largely associated with children. It’s hypocritical for them to condemn violent anti-abortion protesters, but to make a cartoon depicting violence against them, then try to quietly hide it by removing the link. Read more from Dawn Eden (also see the more recent entries), see a response cartoon at Faith Mouse, and read the U.S. Newswire story. (The last link is neither pro-choice nor pro-life, if you’d prefer something nonpartisan.)

Pride and Prophecy

Today’s blog topics, as evidenced in my attempt at a witty entry title, are both subjects I posted about recently. I have more to say. (Come to think of it, that title’s also vaguely Potter-esque. Hmm.)

Lately, my intuition — my feelings — has been strangely on point. All the things could be coincidences, but I’m not so sure they are anymore. Examples: On my way to work yesterday morning, I suddenly wondered what I’d do if something happened to my car while I was driving in to work, like if I got another flat tire or something got caught under the brake pedal (one of the stranger mock situations from driving school). Just then, a car to my left in the fast lane blew out a tire. Or this evening, when I got home from work (later than usual, due to evil traffic), I had this urge to put on my Fearless shirt from Wal-Mart. I got it because it reminds me of the Fearless series, which I have yet to finish reading. Anyway, my initial reasoning was that, since I knew I wouldn’t be going out, I could wear it despite the bleached spots from the washer. Imagine my surprise when, while watching the Jeopardy! Teen Tournament, this clue comes up:

Blood, Missing, and Tears are titles in this series by Francine Pascal about a girl named Gaia.

And no one got it. But I hyperventilated. So am I going crazy? I’m not quite sure yet.

The other coincidence was the church-related kind. I don’t know if I’ve said it before, but one of my biggest signs that going back to church was the right decision was the awesome homilies I’ve heard. So many times, the topic of the homily was something that I’d been thinking about or had been troubling me, either recently or just in general. That could just be because I always pay attention to the homily; maybe I’m hearing what I want to hear. Or it could be that his homily topics are just general enough that they address several different issues. I swear I was thinking about the Holy Spirit that day when the priest (whose name I don’t know, but not Fr. Bill) gave a homily on the trouble people can have understanding Him.

I don’t know how many of you saw Greg’s and my comments on my last entry. Suffice it to say that they weren’t nice. At IHOP, like always, I felt like Greg was being hostile to my faith. Indeed, it’s a big change for me be such a big “black Jesus freak” (anybody else watch The Comeback?), and I’d rather Greg be more understanding, but I’m looking at it differently. I always knew Greg had issues with organized religion. It’s hard to argue faith with him, not that I’m great at arguing period, let alone over such deep issues. I’m trying to take it in stride. I don’t like defending myself and my faith to him, but I think it’s really doing me good. It makes me want to learn more, so I have ammunition to fight his arguments. Whatever the motivation, I’m learning. It also keeps me from being complacent. If I have to fight for my beliefs, I value them more. If I didn’t care, I wouldn’t be so upset when I can’t figure out what to say. I’d just think, “Oh, well, it’s not like it means anything to me anyway,” and go about my business.

Greg’s perception of me is that I’ve adopted a “holier than thou” attitude. (At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if you called me a “goody two-shoes”. “Conceited” is a much less hackneyed phrase; why didn’t you use it in the first place?) At first, I immediately denied it. Then I thought more. I’m trying to figure out how to live as a Catholic, instead of just saying I “kind of” am. Going back to church (and to confession!) was a big step. Praying came next. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Also, as I mentioned, I’ve been doing the daily readings. Today’s reading and meditation were strangely appropriate.

God alone is great. No matter how perfect we are, the truth remains that we have all “sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). That’s why we all need to be careful not to consider ourselves better than someone else, and not to judge the sin or faults that someone else may commit. Everyone is precious to him, especially the stray sheep, which was so valued that the shepherd left ninety-nine others to recover it (Matthew 18:12). Divorce, addiction, poverty, homelessness, teen pregnancy � we need to look at these humbly, remembering that those who suffer these things are still beloved of God, sought after by him.

I think, in my attempt to live like I should, I’ve become too proud. I don’t intend to make Greg — or anyone else — feel bad for not being Catholic. We have free will; they can make their own choices. With Greg, I just remind him that I’m always eager to help him found out more about Catholicism if he’s interested. So, in my prayers for the last few days, I’ve asked for help quelling my pride. I ask for humility, calm, understanding, strength, and wisdom. I have almost more patience than I can stand, but that can help, too.

It’s almost my third blogiversary — and I’m thinking about moving into my LJ full-time. Thoughts? (And right after I wrote that, the Blogger user survey asked if I use any other blogging tools! The coincidences never end!)

If you can’t say anything nice….

Friday Five:
1. If you could invite five people to dinner from history, living or dead, who would they be? Jesus, Lewis Carroll, Ghandi, Lucille Ball, and my grandma (a few years ago so counts as history).
2. Why have you chosen these five individuals? Jesus because he’s the Son of God. I might be too much in shock to speak to Him, but it’d be so amazing to have him there, and this is fantasy, anyway. Lewis Carroll because Alice in Wonderland is my favorite book, and I don’t have a favorite author. Ghandi because we all strive to live for peace. At least I do. Lucy because she’s funny, and I can’t have a dinner full of just serious people. My grandma because I miss her.
3. What would you serve for dinner? Food I like, obviously. Probably pasta.
4. What would you like to ask them? I’d like to ask Lewis Carroll how he imagined such a vivid fantasy world.
5. Do you think everybody seated at the table would get along? Why or why not? I hope so. I don’t think Ghandi was Christian, but none of those people (to my knowledge) are anti-Christian, so Jesus should feel welcome.

On Monday, I met Darcy at work. She’d been on a mission trip in the Bahamas, but now she’s back. I was freaking out for a little while. See, I was worried that my boss wouldn’t need me anymore, or that OfficeTeam wouldn’t want me to stay…. I don’t remember exactly, but I was panicking. Eventually I calmed down. Ridgeway (my boss — that’s his first name) wouldn’t have told me I could stay on if he didn’t mean it, and he had to know Darcy would be coming back. Also, I got Quizno’s for lunch since I’d pleasantly missed the lunch I meant to treat myself to last Friday.

The rest of this week at work was uneventful. With three people, we got through more files than usual. Darcy likes to scan, so I left that to her and Matt. I don’t mind just sorting. Even though my makeshift workstation puts me rather in the way, I’d get lonely sorting in the meeting room. There’s more space there, but hours of silence would drive me up the wall. I ate lunch in the break room this week. Not as warm as being outside, but Darcy gets cold, too, so I chat with her a little. She’s nice, and (bonus!) a Harry Potter fan.

I didn’t go to work today. Courtney had an orthodontist appointment, and my dad took off to take her last week, so it was easiest for me to do it. I don’t mind ferrying the rugrats around. My parents still pay for my insurance, and it’s more important that they work than that I do. As I suspected, Courtney is not the best directions-giver. You can’t tell the driver to turn as you pass the entrance. She’s never driven, so she doesn’t really understand, but still. Don’t say you know how to get there if you don’t.

Her appointment was at 1:00, but that’s right everyone in the office takes their lunch break, so we were left standing in the hall with two other patients for a good fifteen minutes. Note to the people in that office: If you won’t be back before the appointment time, don’t make appointments until a time when you will be back. Some of your patients will be very early, and you know you’ll charge people who are late for their appointments, so you’re not allowed to be late either. While I was reading in the waiting room, waiting for Courtney, my phone rang. My reception was bad, so I went back outside to call my dad back, only getting him on the second try. I went back inside with this weird feeling that, having sat there for a good twenty minutes, she’d probably only finish as soon as I left. The other waiting patients looked at me when I came back in, and the orthodontist had indeed been looking for me. Just like orientation last June; I can’t be called until I’m not around to call. The hygienist (I assume) showed me how to work the key-thingie for her spacer-thingie (I never had braces), and then I deposited my OfficeTeam paychecks. Yay for finally having some money!

Boo for finally having a bill to pay! Seeing my school bill will never fail to lower my mood. It falls even more when I don’t yet have the money to pay for it all. I was on hold with Bank of America for about twenty minutes this afternoon, wondering why they hadn’t sent me anything about my loan disbursement. According to the woman I talked to, BOA called several times but didn’t get an answer. Have they never heard of voicemail? It comes on automatically, people. If I don’t respond to your message, it’s my fault. If you don’t leave one, then wonder why you haven’t heard from me, that’s just dumb. Ryan knows how to leave a voicemail. When I applied, I listed my mom’s employer as NIH, because it is. Her paystub and W-2, though, show the Department of Health and Human Services. Anyone can pick up a phone or send a letter and find that NIH is (obviously) a division of HHS. Did they do that? No. And because of these simple things, I might not have the money I need for school in time. Stupid lowest interest rate. They cared enough to get my mom’s driver’s license number, but they can’t leave a message? And I’m going to owe these people money for the next (roughly) 25 years? I can create things to worry about on my own, thanks.

I glossed over it last week, but I had dinner at IHOP with Greg last Friday. I didn’t want to go, for many reasons, but I gave in eventually. As I expected, he still finds my Catholicism personally offensive. I have no problem with his not being Catholic. My problem is that he has a problem with my being Catholic. I’m not proselytizing at all. If I disapprove of his actions or choices, it’s based in opinions I had even before I went back to Church. I hit my limit when he tried to steal my eggs while I prayed before eating. I can think of few things so completely disrespectful. The conversation continued to attacking me and the Church, including Greg’s favorite barb, the Crusades, and abortion. I imagine we’ve discussed that before, but he didn’t basically hate me then. We argued all the way to the parking lot, where I finally gave up and got into my car. He jumped into his and sped away much too fast — in the wrong direction. I calmly started my car and pulled away. When I got home, he’d left two messages related to not knowing the way back to campus. He shouldn’t have been arguing if he needed directions, and he knows I don’t answer my phone while I’m driving. The evening proved, once again, that we can no longer be in each other’s company without fighting. It’s sad, but I can’t say I didn’t expect it. I didn’t want it, but I’m not surprised.

I read a lot about Catholicism now. I missed out on years of catechism, so I have a lot to learn. I’ve been doing the USCCB readings every day, along with the Word Among Us meditation. I read a few Catholic blogs, and I got C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity with HBP, but have yet to read it. One blog linked to an entry on so-called Neocatholics. It’s so insulting. Is there something wrong with accepting that maybe a Church with 2000 years of history — and leaders with more wisdom than I have in my measly (almost) nineteen years — is right? Is there something wrong with doing what I’m told? I’m not blindly faithful. I’m just not incendiary. Once I understand what Catholicism is, then I can question it.

On a lighter note, I was feeling really lonely a few weeks ago, but work has cured that very nicely. I’m an introvert, but dorm life made me like being around people a lot more. I’m still perfectly happy spending hours in front of my computer, but I also like to be around friends. People are good. Thanks, you guys.

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