Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I live in an unfinished basement.

Really. I'm confessing it to you. It's worth it though, to live in this basement, because it's really warm even though it's freezing outside.

(I'm lying. It's cold as Voldemort's heart down here.)

The truth is, I live in a cold basement because my parent's are good to me during my transition into graduated/married/adult life. I also live in a cold basement because I graduated a year early just so I could impress people right before I unimpressed them by saying that I have (and have and have) no idea what I want to do.

"I want to write. I want people to read what I write." Is it so pathetic that I haven't written a blogpost since October? One of my favorite professors at K-State said that writers write. "If you're not writing, you're not a writer." Whoa, no wonder she was my favorite.

"I want to speak Spanish." And not just so I can sneak a listen in on people's conversations but so I can... well, I don't know. I just want to finish something I start, and once upon a semester I started learning Spanish.

Well, the list goes on.

I expect no one will read this. Or maybe the eight people who follow me will read this post. But Steven says that's not the point. He says that I should write because it's good for me to do it and that I'll get better and better. (Isn't that what you said, Steven?)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Goods: We're Engaged!

When Steven left June 10th, 2008 for the Peace Corps, we had known each other for about eight months, five of those we spent as a couple. From the beginning, we knew that the chances of him leaving were good, meaning he'd be away from the U.S. and electricity for two years. Knowing that made us cautious, nervous to sign up for such a spaced-out commitment, especially with having had so little time together. Then we went on a missions trip in March to Arkansas which hugely impacted our life as a couple and because of it, we decided to embrace who we were together, expecting to make it through the distance.

He came home once, the summer of 2009, for a month-long visit. While he was home, we spent every day together catching up and reaffirming that we still wanted only to be with each other. When he left to go back to his village, we were certain we could make it one more year to the end of his service. We talked constantly over a terrible connection, imagining what we would do once we were together and where we would go and when. For my graduation gift, Steven bought me a plane ticket to west Africa.

On August 12th, 2010 I walked out of the Ouagadougou airport and saw him in person for the first time in over a year. Hugging him, knowing that we wouldn't have to say goodbye like that ever again was so freeing. And we spent the next three unrealistically wonderful weeks together in his village and traveling through Europe. It. Was. Awesome. I would go back to Burkina Faso tomorrow. His friends and neighbors blessed me with how proud they were of Steven and how much they valued his time there. They loved him so well for all of us who couldn't be there when he needed friends and family. Seeing how much he meant to them and how hard it would be for him to leave ALMOST made me want to let him stay... But I didn't. I brought him home with me along with five hundred pictures and a suitcase of souvenirs.

Early in October, under the pretense of putting together a birthday surprise for me, Steven printed hundreds of those pictures from our trip and pieced together a photo album of our memories and negotiated for days for the perfect moment to present me my surprise. I wish I could say that I was patient while I waited for my gift... I even begged him a time or two. But he made me wait for the perfect sunset over Lake Shawnee on a beautiful October day before he slipped my leather-bound album from his bag. Along with the pictures, he wrote letters and notes describing not only why he loved our trip but why he loves me and why he will always love me. At the end of the album, he told me that even though he doesn't know where we're going, he wants to go with me. He promised to love me and to adventure with me. And on the very last page, next to the last picture, he placed a sticky note over the words "Will You Marry Me?" When I looked up at him, rambling on like a crazy person and happier than I've ever been, he had my ring in his hands.

Do I even have to tell you that I said yes?

I did.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I think this is wonderful

A friend of mine linked this to his facebook. After having watched it for a few times, I'd like to pass it on too. It's sweet and true; enjoy!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


I have a Matryoshka doll key cover. It's so awesome; it covers my house key with its adorable, rubber body, giving my key chain a smidge of character. Unfortunately, it covers too much of my house key which makes it impossible to unlock the front door unless I remove the key completely. This isn't a problem until nighttime, when I'm standing on my porch with a swarm of light-loving bugs clunking into my face, the door, the walls etc. while I try to work the key from the holder and into the door.

Tonight, a cicada tonked and buzzed into my cranium several times. And while I was standing there screaming and cowering, reaching a hand towards the key stuck in the door, my friend Caitlin was standing on the driveway laughing at me. She waited for me to deal with the situation, which I did, and that was that. But as I'm sitting here, rethinking whether or not the matryoshka doll has got to go, I have to admit: it was pretty cool to see a cicada in action, rather than its pale remainder stuck to the side of a tree.

The point of all this, you ask?

I don't know.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What would Jillian Michaels say about eating marshmallows?

Seriously, I want to know; Not for personal reasons, of course. I am not, at this very moment, eating Toasted Coconut Marshmallows, one after the other.

No. That would be sick.

Anyway, we're in the twenties now in the Burkina Faso/Steven countdown; 29 days to be exact. It almost makes me insane to look back to the year 2008, when we were just beginning and there were over 700 days to the end of his Peace Corps service. At this point in the journey, it's fun to count days. I'll tell you what would not be fun to count: number of calling cards used, number of dropped calls, the number of times I've said "What? I can't understand you" because of shite-like phone service. Ah yes, it has been an experience abundant with numbers.

I'm pretty thankful for all of it. I'm certainly good at giving pat answers for why I SHOULD be thankful for his time in Africa whilst I hold things down in Kansas. But overall, I'm glad it's almost over. As Willy Wonka would say, "We've got so little to do and so much... scratch that, so little time and so much to do..." What I'm trying to say, is that it's probably time we had a fluid conversation, a high five, a night out.

Whoa. It's going to be something.

So now, I've got twenty-nine days to pack a bag for several, widely different destinations.

And... back to my marshmallows.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Two-sided waffle iron

This week is a week of new appliances. At this very moment, there is a dehumidifier in my basement room, removing the excessive moisture. And while I enjoyed pretending to be Harry Potter in my damp closet room, I could not be happier. Immediately upon entering my room, I reach down and pat the little machine who works so hard to make my world a drier place. On top of that, the Hall family has replaced our beloved waffle iron (God rest its soul) for a new one that, well, works. It's far fancier, making two waffles at the same time. It even has a customized waffle-batter scoop. Awesome.

Among other things, I watched The Road yesterday; the post-apocolyptic movie with Viggo Mortenson. Honestly, it was one of the saddest, heaviest films I've ever seen. And normally, that would be right up my... road? but this time I find little beyond the actors' excellent performance to recommend this movie to anyone. It's just too lightless. I do, however, highly recommend Disney's Hercules, which has been on my heart and mind for days now as a must re-watch. It's a classic.

I'll probably get back to my Honey Bunches of Oats with fresh raspberries now. I have a hefty to-do list for the day which mostly involves smaller to-do lists from days before. I'm really on top of things!

By the way, approaching the forty day countdown until Steven/Burkina/Trip of a lifetime. Wish you were all coming with me. Just kidding. But seriously, wish you were coming. But also, not.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Late night snack

I'm not asleep because I found a new song. I can only predict that I will be listening to it on repeat for the next several days. "Cha Cha Cha" by The Little Ones, and it is so good. It reminds me of a scene from a movie, any movie I might have seen with a happy couple on a tandem bike. I imagine they are in a park on a sunny day. The light is shooting through the branches of trees while they ride, making flashes that cut the world around them into scenes. Do you know what I mean? Anyway, it makes me feel like life is fast and lovely and sunny, of course.

Life. Have a listen:

Good night :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mumford and Sons: The Gentlemen of the Road

A few days ago, I went to a concert in KC, MO (rhyme) with a few uniquely and delightfully dear friends. The night started with a heavy rain that pushed me into Half-Price Books while I waited for them to meet me for dinner. Half-Price Books is the last place I needed to be and simultaneously the best place I could have been. Where else can I find my favorite DVDs, neatly pre-owned just WAITING to be swooped up into my loving arms? Needless to say, when I finally met up with my group, it was with a healthy stack of media.

We went to the West Port Flea Market for curly fries, burgers, and a lemon-tipped Boulevard Wheat. Yu-um. The rain moved on while we dined, allowing us to join the line of concert-goers just in time to see two complete rainbows hanging over Westport drive. I ask you, is there anything more perfect than a rain that comes and cleans and leaves you with rainbows? No, and let these details leading up to the concert confirm that there are such things as magical moments- the best kind of real-life magic.

The line built on slowly behind us for an hour until the doors opened to the sold out floor of The Record Bar. Tables had disappeared, chairs were nowhere to be seen. Immediately we stationed ourselves at the front of the stage, spread-legged and arms crossed to secure our spots for the show. It was totally worth it. Mumford and Sons is a true live band- energetic, passionate, engaging and effing talented. They treated us like the first audience to ever hear their songs- that kind of respect would win anyone over, and it certainly won us. Several times throughout their show I turned to my friends to exchange a look of awe. Gah, it was so good. I recommend trekking to England to hear them sometime, or popping over to the nearest location in which they next play. You will not be disappointed. I wager, in fact, that you will leave looking for more ways to incorporate their music into your every day.

Free of Charge

"Sometimes I don't believe in things..." I keep thinking that: Sometimes I don't believe in things.

Last night, I was sitting with the rest of Sunday night's servers in booth 11. We were trading stories of tables we'd waited on and the hell they'd put us through, most often without reward. We started sentences with "I hate it when" and found, much to our comfort, we have all been through it, and we all hated it "when..." I'll tell you, people are a different breed of beast in a restaurant; and maybe they're the same entitled jerks from parking lots and lines and baseball games who make going out in public a bit like entering a war zone. Or maybe their pain-in-the-assness is limited to food venues. Whatever the case, something must happen to them on the walk back to their table that makes them entirely unpleasant to serve.

If you've waited tables, I expect you know all about it. You've had the people who become mute when they need things, only able to gesture or hold their half-empty glasses up in the air. "Yes, I see you..." There are the people who talk at you while you're with another table. Like obnoxious children, they interrupt until you acknowledge them. And then, there are the most fun, the people who have discovered that whatever they tell you to do, you will do. These people are gruff and short and demanding, conveniently without the ability to say please or thank you or "when you get a second". Oh, they make us dance. Beyond these, there are more people, all of varying degrees of difficulty. Of course, not everyone who walks through the doors of a restaurant is looking to take a chunk out of a servers heart, chew on it and spit it out because it wasn't good enough. (Do I sound bitter?) There are the rare and beautiful ones who laugh with you and wait patiently and without irritation. And yes, tip well. We need those people, when the dinner shift is long. And it is long.

But throughout last night's talk, I heard my co workers say again and again that waiting tables has made them lose... "something" with people as a whole. And I'd have to agree, I used to think I was good at reading people, good at interacting with them. But the truth of it is, sometimes the people who ran me ragged left the most decent tips and sometimes the people who were the nicest left me nothing. I can say the absolute identical thing to one table that I say to another and have two polar opposite reactions. Awesome. Statistically, waiting tables takes years off of some people's life.

Anyway- all of this to say that sometimes I don't believe in decent tips or gracious people or even on occasion, decent people.