Thursday, December 8, 2011

Categories


Pre-teen sensation, Jackie Evancho, blows my mind. If you don’t know who she is, follow this link and prepare to be stunned. If you do know who she is, follow the link anyway. Every time she opens her mouth, you’ll do a double take.




WTF, right? Crazy.

I don’t really see myself buying any of her music… I mainly just want to watch the second before she starts singing and the second after, over and over again. That big, round sound coming from her tiny frame confuses my eyes. It also makes me laugh. Is that horrible, that it makes me laugh? She’s beautiful and precious, and her little arms are so fluid when she waves them up and down, but I cannot get over the combination of mature-lady-opera-voice and blue-eyed-doll-baby.

I can’t help but notice how it smacks of potential to be an SNL skit. Kind of like this skit with Kristen Wiig, where you expect one thing (attraction) and get another (repulsion). 


Which brings me to the point: I have started to categorize my life in two ways; Situations That Would Make a Killer SNL Skit and Life Experiences That Would Make a Funny Sitcom. What you need to understand is that, whatever the category, I have basically stopped living life in reality and started living it in Technicolor. I have ten different TV shows I watch throughout the week, each functioning like a course in Social Studies or Home Economics. I sit down with a pen and notebook and take notes from my favorite characters on how to live.

No, I don’t.

But I do think that, in these trying times of adulthood, I have learned some valuable things from my prime-time friends.

·         New Girl has taught me that communicating is easier if you sing what you’re trying to say. Steven and I have had lots of conversations built on melody when they might have been built on frustration. La la laaaa.

·         Up All Night has shown me that being married can take two weird people and make them even weirder.
o   1 Weird + 1 Weird= Too weird (And I know what kind of “to” I used, okay.)

·         Modern Family has reminded me that, after you’ve given up trying to change the people in  your life, you will finally see what is so wonderful about them exactly as they are… If there is anything wonderful, and let’s be honest, sometimes there are no wonderful things. Make them up.

·         The Office has taught me the beauty of a versatile phrase. In my mouth. That’s what she said.

·         And Harry Potter has taught me the most... about being a friend and a hero and a dancer. Not a TV-show, you say? Take a hike! Harry Potter  is everything. *Ugly sobbing*

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Harm City



Driving on the beltway today, I was thinking about how the cars weaving in and out of each other looked like a dance. If that dance were a death wish, combined with rage and idiocy.

Drivers here are terrible.

Initially, I let myself think, McKenna, you are just a precious girl from nowhere Kansas. You don’t understand what it’s like to drive in a city, where people’s lives are so important and busy.
I even let myself think, people here drive so fast because they care so much about being punctual, and that is beautiful.

But the bulls**t stops here, I lie no more.

I wasn’t caught so off guard by the drivers here because they are great city drivers. It is, in fact, because they are awful. I’m not weird because I grew up with the bumpkin delusions that red lights and speed limits matter, THEY’RE weird because they think they don’t. They don’t understand blinkers or pedestrian crosswalks; yellow lights or white lines. They get in their cars and all that is humane leaves them until they are nothing but crazed speed racers cutting me off.

Which is why, when a woman slowed to let me MERGE ONTO THE HIGHWAY the other day, I nearly cried. I found myself over-responding to her kindness because it had been so darn long since I experienced road-way courtesy. I was waving, blowing kisses, and throwing roses at her car.

When you’re used to operating in one extreme, any semblance of normalcy can really light your fire.

Beware the mid-atlantic byways, and for godssake, midwest people, kiss the ground you drive on.

And then get the hell out fo the way, someone from Baltimore might be passing through.

Lilo and Twitch



Today marks the third day of my spastic eye twitch. It is not awesome. Every few seconds, the lower lid of my right eye quivers. I can see it and I can feel it but I cannot stop it.

If it doesn’t end soon, I know I will end up punching myself in the face. Desperate times…

I read an article about the possible causes of eye-twitching and, while I can weed out a couple of them, most of them were right on. See list:
  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Eye strain
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Dry eyes
  • Nutritional imbalances
  • Allergies
So, I’ve narrowed the list down to three: tiredness, eye strain, and nutritional imbalances. Through the process of elimination and smartness, I can probably get rid of tiredness because, let’s be honest, I’m always tired. My life is just so awesome and crazy! I’m always partying and dancing until midnight and stuff. Nice try, tiredness… But, deciding between eye strain and nutritional imbalances is a little more difficult.

You see, I’ve just started another diet. My body is in shock, not used to being denied such nutritionally balanced foods like bags of chips, packages of Oreos, and spoonfuls of Nutella. All signs clearly point to nutritional imbalance being the cause of my twitch. Nutritionally, my body is balancing precariously on a diet.

However, just for a laugh, let’s consider eye strain, and how I sit a foot away from a computer screen staring for eight hours, every day. And also how I drive home in the dark, and usually don’t have my glasses on me. And also, how my eyeballs suck and can’t read things far away and give me headaches.
Turns out, according to Jesus and the top scientists of our time, the eyes weren’t made to function under such circumstances. They were created to look at hills and flowers and loved ones’ faces. They were created to hunt and gather and NOT always be copying and pasting into excel spreadsheets.

It’s probably true that my eye is twitching from eye strain, but as I cannot do anything about needing a job and having to work, it looks like the only thing I can do to limit the twitch is recommence my previous diet.

*Interestingly enough, my eye never once twitched while I wrote this.

*No eyeballs were harmed in the making of this post. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

You want to be stranded on an island with me.


Oh my gosh, do you even remember who I am!? Is anyone even reading this anymore!? Blergh!

Time and again, my fairy blogmother (I just made that up) has said to me:
McKenna, darlin’, dontcha want the people ter read yer blog? Why then, ya must keep posting on a regular basis.”
 Yeah, she’s an Irish pirate.

To which I say:
Fairy blogmother, don’t be ridiculous. Of course I want to keep my readership. What an unnecessary question.”

So here I am, begging you to stay, dear reader. Pleading with you to keep coming back, keep checking for updates. Because even if I’m not writing blogs with my computer, I’m writing them with my heart. And as we well know, what we do with the heart is what really counts.

I diet, save money, and do laundry with my heart all of the time.

Also, if you keep reading, I’ll tell you really cool things about my life. Like how everything is being held together with paperclips and twisty-ties. I’m not joking.

Earlier this week, I walked into our office building like a professional, grown a** woman. I looked good, with my heels on and my black fake-leather saddlebag swinging from my shoulder. The bag that I bought at Target on sale. The bag that I turned over in my hands in the purse aisle thinking this is cheaply made but, gosh if it isn’t cute! I bought it.

Fast forward: So there I was, standing at the door, doing the awkward you-go-first-ok-I’ll-go-first shuffle with a higher up from the office when my bag dropped off of my shoulder and landed on the floor. HU (Higher Up) said “Oh, man”- looking embarrassed and sympathetic- while I picked up my purse like it was totally normal for it to drop off of my shoulder and said
Well, I guess I can tape it. 
I don’t think that will work.  
No… That’s what I get for filling it too full.

But the truth is, I didn’t fill it too full. I filled it only a little full because I knew it was cheap. I never danced with my bag, swung it around, beat anyone, or used it for a pillow. I put my wallet in it, and we KNOW that weighs nothing… So where there used to be a cute brass button holding my bag together, now there is a paperclip, bent and wrapped around the strap, holding things together. It looks real nice, Clark, real nice.



Also, a screw fell out of my glasses. And then my lens fell out. I have resourcefully corrected this problem with a twisty-tie. The answer to your question is: Yes, I am awesome.

So this Thanksgiving, when you’re searching your brain, thinking of things to be grateful for, be thankful for the things that break, because without them you wouldn’t know that they can be fixed. Almost.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Be kind, please rewind.

While I was cleaning yesterday, I turned on Much Ado About Nothing (VHS style.) When my aunt left to be a teacher in Cairo several years ago, she entrusted me with a collection of her movies- this being one of them- and they are the sole reason I have a VHS player. These movies have gone with me everywhere, first to college and now to Maryland. I carry them like a child carries a blanket, I watch them and feel at home, and when they are over I am homesick.

Yesterday, I thought about the time I watched Romeo and Juliet in the park with my good friend Jason. We didn't stay for the end, leaving early for Winstead's butterscotch shakes and steak fries, but I can remember exactly where we sat and how the stage looked.


I think about the book my friend Caitlin gave me for my birthday last year, a collection of Shakespeare's work which is falling out of its binding and displayed on our piano.




I remember my trip with Steven to the Globe theatre, standing as groundlings for Henry IV in the London rain. It was magical.



And then, back to my aunt and her VHS copy of Sense and Sensibility, with Kate Winslet reciting Sonnet 116, Love is not Love.



...Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny;
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into. Hey nonny, nonny.





Friday, October 28, 2011

Give pause, if you will.

I was walking to the bathroom at work today and saw a notice posted on the door that said:
Is it a cold or the flu?
It went on to list the differences between a cold or the flu, but I did not continue reading, which means I don't know the differences, which means I'm screwed. The next time I cough, I'll spiral into a panic; What is this illness I have!?!

Anyway, that's not the point. The point is, no one cares if you have a cold, but if you have the flu, you've got some legit s**t going on. Which got me to thinking about articles and definite articles and which ones people would use if they were talking about my life.  

This is what you'll find if you Google "articles".
Por ejemplo:
Did Steven and I just buy a TV or did we buy the (best frikking) TV?
If you picked the, you are correct! (And if you want me to quit mentioning the new TV, fine.)

Por ejemplo 2:
Did I marry a Steven or the Steven?
Tricky, I know, but I married the Steven.

And finally:
Am I living a life or am I living the life?
And this answer is the trickiest of all because it is both. Sometimes I am living a life and sometimes I am living the life. The articles change based on my perspective. Well, that's not entirely true. I wish I had a womanly enough perspective to say that I am in charge of my articles, living the life, but usually the situations I'm in determine my phraseology. I also have a tendency to give all of my definite articles to the future, thinking that eventually I will have the job and not just a job. And so on.

This is no way to think and no way to live a full life.

I should also say that I could use a little more humility in my day-to-day; more thoughts like I am only one person in the entire world, a person among many. I need to consider how I am situating myself as an a around the most definite article of all, God.

So that's that. I hope none of you get a flu this season.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This one goes out to all you crazy cats and kittens...

Does my title sound vintage, like something you'd hear over the radio in the 50s?  Good.
And does the fact that I used the word "crazy" in the title of my last post hint that maybe life has been just a little crazy lately? Because it has.

Oh I know, I know. You thought all I'd been doing was laying around watching movies on our great TV, which is so far from the truth, my friends. The weeks since my last post have been a little more like this:

Apple picking!




Renaissancing!





And also, we have done other things. 

Steven's schedule is increasingly more busy, which helps me to keep my 9:00 to 5:00 in perspective, when I start missing my do-nothing-days. Not only are his days long, but I remember when I used to be a student (sigh) that studying was always in the back of my head. He's doing really well to balance me and school; he listens to my stories and helps keep our little space clean. He also mentioned that maybe the fall here is a little more colorful than in Kansas and I nearly cried! 

Some immature thing inside of me recoiled when he said that. How disloyal! How east coast of him! 

But now that I've grown up a little bit, I can see that it's true. The fall here is amazing. The billions of trees that, when green, were cramping my style and blocking my sunsets, are now like a sunset all their own. Beautiful, beautiful colors that are especially hard to beat when the sun hits them just right in the morning. It's like driving around in the October page of a seasons calendar... or in one of those tacky pictures in dentist's office that says something like:

Embrace change. 

Well, dentist. I'm trying. Last weekend at church they served a hunk of bread with apple butter for communion. Change. Embrace.

I made a homemade pot pie for dinner. Embrace.

The Chiefs won! Change. Afraid to embrace. 

So you see, I'm taking life in stride. And the biggest change of all will be the end of my temp job this week and the start of my new job in November. I'm excited and a little nervous. All in all, it means I'm one month closer to seeing our family for the Holidays, when I'll be embracing like crazy and begging the days to go slowly.

There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time. -Napoleon Bonaparte

A year ago, Halloween. We were ourselves.






Sunday, October 9, 2011

Weekend, you krazy.

On Friday, Steven and I drove to PA via the non-toll roads, because we are BA. Also, having a GPS pays (literally). 

Anyway, we crossed the Susquehanna river in the dark hours of the night to spend the weekend with a friend. Because it was late and we had been at work/school all day, we needed to stop somewhere to eat. We found a Five Guys about a half an hour before closing time and multiplied the number of diners by two. So there were four people eating in the Five Guys. Math.

There were also two workers... Two, long-haired, pale faced young men, who lacking any real girth, could have shared an apron. They were kind, and avoided sweeping under our feet as they cleaned, which made us feel less like jerks for sneaking in at the last minute. They were also playing some freaking creepy music over the speakers. I kid you not, it was eerie Halloween music with screams. 



What are you thinking, nice teenage boys? You live in a town that grows mushrooms (and it smells like BUTT), in this beautiful, historically rich state, and you are freaking. me. out. And seriously, as Steven and I stuffed our faces with fries, we wondered if we were going to die. Death by burgers in a Five Guys (in a town that smelled as if it had been shoved up the butt of a mushroom) was an unacceptable way to go. 

We finished our burgers and left, so we're fine, and here I am to tell you about the rest of our weekend.

We bought a TV! It makes us act like these guys:


Our new TV is so smart and big and shiny and big! We spent many hours, several at the Best Buy store in Delaware (no tax), looking at TVs, trying to decide which one was just right for us and we finally decided on a ______ __________. I omit telling you exactly what we bought because maybe you'll have strong opinions about the brand or type, and until you come over and watch a movie with us, you are not allowed to think one negative thought about our set.

So come over and watch a movie already! I'll even let you hold the remote; the plastic is so smooth.

And today, Sunday, we hung out with our friends. We went out to eat and played volleyball and went out for frozen yogurt and held hands and sang songs. All in all, we just had the best darn weekend a body could hope to have. Why does it have to end? Because even though I don't think Columbus deserves a holiday, it sure would be nice to have the day off.

So happy day off for all of you who have it, and to the rest of us: Columbus was a jerk anyway. 




Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Affair to Remember

Tomorrow may be my birthday, but tonight was the party! Steven made plans to take a break from studying so that we could go out to eat. I traded my sweat pants for jeans, put on a little birthday lipstick, and took off my glasses, because seeing well wasn't as important as being seen NOT looking like a librarian. 

When we walked into the restaurant, I expected that we would be seated at a table for two. Without my glasses, I couldn't distinguish the table full of people waiting to surprise me. I need new glasses. I do not need new friends. 

It just so happens that I have great friends- people who took time from their busy lives, at the very end of their weekend when everyone is normally winding down and preparing for work- to eat with me and sing to me and make me feel like a freaking POT OF GOLD. Or something else equally awesome. I'm still riding the high and will, for a long time, hold tonight as a very meaningful memory.

Doesn't get much more top-notch than this.
My cake! 
Me (doing that happy eye squint) and my stellar spouse.
Thank you to everyone who was able to make it and to those who wanted to make it but couldn't; I missed you! I also have a lot of friends and family who have been thinking of me and loving on me even though they are far away, and to them, "I miss you and I love you." 

But really, what I'm trying to say is: 



Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's Going on Around Here?

My first week as a temp is over, and now it's the weekend. Thank the Lord, and Saturday, you never looked so good, girl!*

Mmm mmm mmm. 

Despite my plans to sleep in today, I still woke up before 7:00am. But because it was beautiful and fall-like outside, I didn't care. I grabbed a blanket, opened the windows, and relished the morning. I shoved a bunch of candy corn in my mouth and hooked up to an apple cider IV. I sprayed the apartment with Pumpkin Spice air scent, plugged in the apple cinnamon wall scent, and watched Young Frankenstein. Then I watched Clue.

It was great. 

And when thoughts of having to go to work on Monday tried to cramp my style, I resisted. Job? What job? What filing, data entry, paper-printing, paper-clipping things could I possibly have to do ever again... 

Weekends are a beautiful thing. One forgets to appreciate weekends when one is jobless. I'm going to have to be careful not to get carried away by this combination of total free time and the autumn breeze, because I cannot afford to crash and burn from returning-to-work depression in my cubicle on Monday. Nothing is private, when you are in a cubicle; just because you can't be seen, you can still be heard. And smelled. 

I'm going to have to work on my cubicle etiquette. 

Rules of the Cube: 

1. No farting. It wafts. 
2. No talking to yourself. Other people think you're talking to them. 

And that's it, that's all I know so far. But I know a lot about how to sort through file cabinets without getting paper cuts. Also, I know how to pick crabs, Maryland style, because my work hosted a crab feast. It was really messy, and a little dangerous and sad, but I'm pretty good at it.

Awkward but true. 

Happy Autumn, everyone. And remember, you can pick your nose and you can pick your friends, but you cannot pick your friend's crab because they will become defensive and hit you with their mallet. 

*Yeah, I was talking to Saturday. And yeah, she's a lady, as if there were any question. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I don't want to put too much thought into this post. I'm tired... I just turned down popcorn, for crap's sake. But I still want you all to know what happened to me today, on this, my first day back at work in the suchandsuch year of our Lord. 

1. I arrived forty minutes early because I was afraid of the traffic on the beltway. I'm still afraid. The east coast is just trying to fool me.

2. I mentioned Kansas only three times, and it was not obnoxious. It was cool, like, "So, Kansas... How about that?"

3. I said "Yeah, OK," like ten thousand times, but only understood a tiny amount of what was tossed at me. 

4. I ate a can of tuna in my car on my lunch break. And read the last book of the Twilight series. I'm not sure which of those things is worse. 

5. I had some free time, so I donated blood. 

I WHAT!?!?

Yeah, today was a day to donate, so I climbed onto an American Red Cross bus, I kid you not, and donated blood on a weird bussy bed with the ceiling a foot from my face. The bus was old too, which seems safe and sanitary. 

This is not what my bus looked like, but it is a bus.

6. I got texts from some of the nicest friends in the world, wishing me a great first day. 

7. My husband was even happier than I was to know that people were nice to me. 

8. I'm in a cubicle. I don't hate it. 

9. There was no traffic on my way home from work! I'm still not buying it. 

10. Eventually, I'll get paid. 

So, there you go. I'll try and keep you posted as the week progresses and things develop. It's weird to go into a place, knowing it might be temporary. 

Goodnight!

Friday, September 23, 2011

To Almost Be and To Not

This is how badly I need to do dishes: I just ate cereal out of a mug with a 1/2 Tbsp.

Shameful behavior.

And this is how badly I just need to publish a blog post already: I have a draft written for every day since my last post and nothing to show for it. Let me tell you what you've been missing.


9/16 I wrote about how much I love dancing like Steve Martin.

He's so glorious.


9/17 I talked about how Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  is, despite common opinion, not that great of a movie. Now you know.

9/18 I confessed that looking for a job is about as fun as the most un-fun thing ever. 
It's so easy, in the process of finding a job, to feel unsure and inadequate. I know those are the opposite of the things I should be feeling, when I'm trying to market myself. I need confidence, I need to assert that I know exactly who I am and what skills I possess that make me the perfect match for their needs. But oh, it's hard. It makes me feel needy, like a girl who isn't sure where a relationship with a guy she likes is going, afraid that it isn't going anywhere.

9/21 I listened to Randy Newman's "I Think it's Going to Rain Today" and wrote about how much I miss Manhattan, KS.
I want to tell you about the great things and the great people. And maybe, if I tell you, you will be entertained. But also, maybe you will remember those most precious people in your own lives. The ones who put a cold washcloth on your forehead after your 21st birthday, when you thought you had the Scarlet Fever, but really you just had Tequila. Or the friend who bought a cinnamon roll to share before Spanish class, or the time you cut class with your kindred spirit to sit in the grass and talk without words. 
I even had picture after picture ready to upload. It made me cry, writing that post.

So the question remains, why didn't I ever get around to posting anything? And I think the answer is a combination of things like: No matter how inspired I am by Steve Martin's dancing, it's darn hard to write a whole post about it. Long live the King of Tut. But also, sometimes thinking the thoughts and writing the draft is all that I need to do to know that a story has ended and I need to let it.

Now I'm in the middle of this new story called How I'm Trying to Live Big on the East Coast. It's about how I start a job on Monday with a printing company and how I'm going on coffee dates with new friends. It's also about how I got my derriere out of bed and washed those damn spoons. Because I will NEVER eat cereal with a Tablespoon again. And I will no longer wallow in the belief that what has happened already is better than what is happening right now.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hope is the Thing

Scientifically speaking, there is a twenty degree difference between "just OK" and "complete bliss". I am in complete and utter bliss right now, and I don't care who knows it. A cloudy day with enough chill to give me goosebumps, enough reason to wear pants and pour a cup of coffee. And then pour a cup of tea. If I'd had somewhere to go, I would have worn a scarf.

...I don't know what to make of this post. I don't want to sound like a writer with fluffy things to say about feelings and seasons. Today, I want to write something with pointy elbows and dirt under the finger nails, something altogether human.

Sometimes I look back, remembering myself in middle school and high school, and what I see more than anything is the way my younger self was constantly looking forward. I was a part of a youth group that urged us to desperately and wholly seek God. How many times did I squeeze my eyes shut and ball my hands together, begging God to divulge details about my future? It was consuming, and there are many good things that came from it. To be a part of a community that so strongly pursued Christ is irreplaceable. But also, it has left me wanting. Now that the majority of the hormones and naivety of my youth are fading, the outward expressions of my faith have changed to become much more reflective. The things that fueled me before, the dancing and crying and talking, are being replaced.

I do not think I know more than I knew then. I know things differently. I am learning and unlearning and relearning. And still, I am looking forward. I have an interview tomorrow and it makes me wonder about what I'm meant to do on a grander scale. How will I live this life? When will it ignite? I keep expecting an explosion, but maybe it is more like a steady flame, sometimes dimmer and brighter.

In the truest sense of the word, Amen.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tying up Split Ends

Today I got a haircut and I feel fine. Goodbye inches, hello smooth shiny hair!

The best thing about going to the salon is that, if all goes well, you leave with your hair looking better than ever. The worst thing is that I know my hair wont look that way again until the next time I leave the salon. No amount of blow drying, round brushing, begging, and sweating ever turns out for me like it does for them. Is that why they all wear black? Because they are some freak, magical sort of hair ninjas? Well, bravo.

I also got a phone call from Kelly (the temp agency) saying that I have an interview Friday morning. This is good, people, very good indeed. TWO big things in one day is almost more than one girl can handle. I'm liable to start running around like the Jim Carrey in The Grinch when he finds out he's been nominated as the holiday cheer meister:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=THuP_MKj2y0&feature=related

It's poor quality, but you get the idea.

And tonight, we go to see the Oriole's play. Baseball. It's supposed to be a beautiful stadium with delicious BBQ around the corner. As far as I'm concerned, tonight we're ALL winners!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are you my mother?

I exercised today, which is french for: I showered.

Le sigh.

At the risk of being graphic, allow me to paint a picture for you. I removed my pajamas at 2:00pm, showered, and put my pajamas back on. Whatever, I don't care. Then I began the exhausting task of brushing my hair, which is when I was interrupted by the doorbell. Who could it be? I wondered, shamed to be caught in my jim-jams (British for pajamas) well after lunch time.

I considered ignoring the door. I considered putting on a bra. I answered the door.

Is Taquisha here? The lost child asked.
What? No. *smile* No Taquisha here. Sorry... I answered.
...OK.

At which point I expected the little girl standing on our cock-eyed doormat to leave. No Taquisha, no dice. End of transaction. But she leaned there for a moment longer, suspended between her left foot which was leaving and her two eyes which were staring at me.

Could she see right through me? Did she know I had eaten both a cinnamon raisin bagel AND an ice cream sandwich for breakfast? I saw her brain, framed in puff-ball pigtails, perceive the situation and she pitied me. The damp, shaggy woman, with no Taquisha to call her own.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It has been 20 days since my last confession.

The beginning is always the hardest and, for all my trying, I haven't been able to begin a blog post... And so, I haven't been able to finish one. Every day I tick through a list of things that haven't changed or haven't changed enough to be exciting news for readers. I am also lazy and easily distracted.

My basil plant is dying -my sage and oregano plants are dead- and I have no idea why. I bought them, watered them, re-potted them and observed while they flourished for a week or two. Then, all my little plants lined up in a row in front of our sliding glass door started to brown and drop. I am the saddest about the basil, which I was using to make a kick-ass cinnamon tea. But also, when I watered the basil plant, the skin of my fingers would brush against the leaves and I'd have the scent of basil on me. It made me forget that I'd been in an apartment for endless hours; maybe I had just been in a forest?

Gah, I need to get a life.

We have been here for two months now, which is enough time passed to need to empty the vacuum cleaner and re-organize the fridge. It is also enough time to go through two boxes of popcorn. But it is not enough time passed to put away the GPS, have a girlfriend, or a desirable job. Two months is also not enough time so that when I walk by the halloween aisle at TARGET, I am not homesick for my parents' porch.

I've been feeling like a child here. My birthday is coming up and I'll be twenty-three*, which is nothing to anyone over forty, but honestly it's even more nothing to me. I know so little about functioning as a sure-footed adult in this world. Let's be honest, I don't know how to fill out a W-4 form; I'm pretty sure my days of being exempt are long gone.

Pray for me, friends. Think of me and only laugh a little when you picture me throwing pity parties in my pajamas. At noon.

*shameless birthday plug

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eating with Morton's Fork*

So much has happened and un-happened since my last post, namely:

Happened: Job offer.
Un-happened: Job.

Confused? I was too.

On Wednesday, I was resigned to become a nanny. I wrote about it, I made peace with it, and on Thursday I took a CPR class so that on Friday, when I interviewed with the family, I would be the best candidate I could be. And then on Monday, if they wanted me, I would start. Things were falling into place, and fast.

During my CPR class, I recieved a voicemail from a friend about another job possiblity. I stood in the hallway of the hospital getting excited. This is it! I thought. God didn't want me to do the nannying thing and so, at the last second, he's giving me something else. I called my friend back, got some details and finished my CPR class. (FYI, I rocked it. I could save your life.)

Then I walked out to my car, called the potential employer, and sat in the parking lot of the hospital for AN HOUR chatting, hearing a little about the company, and getting an offer for the job! No interview, no meeting, no resume, no waiting, more money than nannying, a REAL job.

I was sure God was getting all up in my business and making things right.
And now, a week later and still jobless(x2), I know that to be true.

I canceled the nanny interview. I felt bad about that. Then, I went and met with HR and would-be boss, and the whole time all I could think was: this is not for me. Can you imagine how crazy that made me feel? I wanted a job, I needed a job, and there it was, a job... What was my problem?!? Without going into detail, there were several factors that made me stop short of accepting the position. I spent several hours thinking it through and talking with Steven before I declined the job offer.

I was pleaded with and enticed, to reconsider... So, I did. And spent the whole of last week working out the details of my employment, scheduled to start Monday, the 22nd.

Last Friday, I declined a second time on the advice of my family. I walked away from the only job offer I had and, right after I felt really crappy about it, I felt relief.

Now, some twenty-valuable-lessons-about-business-conduct later, I'm back to the beginning of the job search.

*palm to face*

Being an adult just really takes the cake sometimes.

I wish I could go back to being a child grocer in my parent's basement, with the mini plastic groceries and wind-along conveyer belt. That job had the best benefits.


*Psssst, Don't know what Morton's Fork is? Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton's_fork

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's how you play the game.

Finding employment is like playing hopscotch.


If you know anything about the game, you know that first a course has to be drawn, in the dirt or on the street with a piece of chalk. It can be played alone or with a group of people. Find a rock or a hackeysack and toss it into the first square, then avoid it, jumping from square to square up the court and back down, where you pick up what you've dropped and toss it again: Next square. Repeat. Keep balanced, keep cool.

This is what it's like to find a job. I've tossed my resume out there, waited patiently, avoided "bothering" people, and jumped around. I've done this, all the while asking myself what more I could do. Some people wait months, before they find work, and sometimes their patience has paid off and they find exactly what they were hoping for. And then, sometimes they just find something that will do.

I've talked with some people from our church, done a little networking, and have taken in all kinds of advice. And tomorrow, I'll go to an interview. To be a nanny.

...

Did your heart fall a little? Or are you thinking, "No, no, that's perfect. A steady income, a chance to be around kids, and plenty of free time while the little one naps to study Spanish and write."

I myself am torn. I admit, I'm happy that someone has responded to me after so many resumes cast out with no. response. Is that the etiquette of todays job market? Is the internet a black hole? I also feel a little embarrassed. What do I have to show for an expensive education? Why do I feel such a need to be impressive with _______ job and _________ income?

Who knows what will come of tomorrow. Maybe nothing. Maybe something.

I've looked at a temp agency and spread the word: This is what my skills are, this is what I'd like. So I think that while I wait for something different, I can work too. We can have an income, I can keep my eyes and ears open.


I can be a darn good hopscotcher, with my rock in one square and my foot in another.












Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No excuses

I've neglected you, I know. Instead of writing posts, I've been writing cover letters. Instead of telling our stories, I've been watching movies. Rather than sit at my computer all day long, I've been getting out of the apartment.

Err, what? Come again? "You've found things to do?" you say?

Ah yes, yes I have. And not only that, I've found people to do things with! No more Hans Solonely. Steven and I have found a church and so we have found a community.

Tonight we played our second game of backyard volleyball with a group from church. Everyone is a lot of fun and pretty darn good at volleying back and forth, so we have a good time. They've nicknamed me and Steven the Kansas City shuffle, which I lahve.

Tomorrow night, we're going into the city for a free concert in Mt. Vernon Park. We were invited by a new friend from church we met at Link group on Tuesday night. Link groups meet together on Tuesdays to eat dinner, read and discuss the bible, eat dessert, hang out. We had a great time trying out our first group and are really thankful to God, who created the internet, which led us to the Horizon website, and now so close to having friends. Divine intervention, or something.

The job hunt is tiring. I haven't heard back from anything except a freelance position we found on craigslist. It might be something worth trying out, in whatever free time I'll have once I get a REAL job, but it's not anything I think I'd be able to make a full-time gig.

Meh.

This last weekend we went to Delaware with my mom's friend, now our friend, to tube/float down the Brandywine river. It was beautiful and relaxing (because we just have no time to relax...) and we also got a lot of suggestions for some things we might want to do in our free time. Also, Delaware has no sales tax, so we have great dreams of a shopping spree dancing in our heads. We are also reminded of Christine O'Donnell, a Delaware politician, who ran an ad clarifying her non-witch status in 2010. It is hilarious:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGGAgljengs

Haha. The SNL spoof is even better:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex_WbDgSIlA

So awesome!

We've also had dinner with Steven's cousin, Skip (twice removed, or something), and his family. They treated us to pizza, endless beverages, and a sampling of east coast hospitality.

All in all we've been steadily filling our schedule and getting more comfortable with our surroundings. This weekend we go to New Jersey for a Peace Corps party and, I hope, a run-in with Snooki.

Until who knows when, thanks for reading. Really. Thank you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hammer Time

I've taken on an impressive exercise and diet regimen as of, oh, today. And even I, in my perpetual summer, know that it's a Monday, which means that tomorrow is a Tuesday... which means (statistically) my good intentioned diet could very well meet its end by tomorrow night.

The road to weight loss is littered with boobie traps. And I'm here to expose a few of them now so that, when Wednesday rolls around, I'm not sitting on the floor of our kitchen shaking my fist at the world while the cookie crumbs fly off my fingers.

Boobie Trap: I didn't go to bed one night and wake up thirteen pounds heavier. On the flip side, I'm not going to go to bed and wake up the next morning looking like Jennifer Beals. I wish it were that easy. But this stuff takes time, and not just the five minutes it takes to walk from the workout room to my apartment to see that all my sweating didn't yield instant abs.

Boooooo.

Boobie Trap: As exhausted as I may be after an hour of clicking through pictures of my hottest facebook friends, or as motivated as I may feel after a slideshow of Jennifer Lopez (I'm sorry, how old is she?), I haven't actually done anything. In fact, I was probably eating the whole time I was surfing.

The force of these things combined is bound to make any self-respecting woman feel like poo poo. And I say, "No more." So, rather than food deprivation which is a sure killer of any diet, I'm trying distraction. I'm trying to get active, mentally or physically, when I crave to dribble a handful of milk chocolate chips down my gullet. Which is why I'm here, blogging to the universe.

Me-1, Chocolate Chips-0.

And also why I'm here: http://www.dance4yourlife.org/.

If you've got the time and the health, have a go at one of those routines. National Dance Day is coming up at the end of the month, but really, who needs a deadline! Get up and get dancey! Loseit.com is also a great (free) tool for keeping yourself accountable and becoming more aware of what you eat. You'd be surprised...

Good luck to me! And good luck to you, if you're trying to get serious about your health and your ha-cha-cha factor.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So We've Been Told

Artscape, America's largest free art festival (ho ho!) has been taking place in Baltimore this weekend. Steven and I went Friday and met up with a friend of his from the Peace Corps for a little music at the beautiful Corpus Christi church.

Is veddy veddy nice, no?


We went, intrigued by this description from a long list of events: Larksong, A Cappella Concert. Lovely melodies from the medieval era to the present, ring through the church as the Larksong voices weave and blend without musical accompaniment.

Which should have read: Larksong, A Cappella Concert. All songs from the medieval era, excepting a southern gospel and a Beatles song, which will be manipulated to sound exactly like what you've already been listening to for the last hour. All of this will ring through the church, ring into your brain, and blend into time until you can no longer remember from whence you came or where you are going. *muwahahahahaha*

The only relief was the nearly inaudible spats of witt in between pieces:

You may have noticed our clothing is a little different. *twittering laugh* It's the traditional dress of the Tudor era, however, most days we look just like all of you. *eye twinkle*

Thank you, Larksong, for your effortless entertainment.

http://www.larksongsings.com/

To be fair, they did sing very well, and they did their best to entertain us with the feathers in their caps and the occasional sweeping of their velvety arms. But they overestimated people's feelings for the medieval style by, like, a million. Larksong is best suited for the Renaissance festival, where I can listen to their melodious blends as I'm walking past them on my way to the jou$ting tournament.



All in all, our Artscape experience wobbled on the bizarre side. From Corpus Christi, we went to a cafe for some free Sangria and chips and salsa. The flatscreen over the bar was playing Kill Bill (1 and 2).

Then we planted ourselves on a crazy steep hillside for the main entertainment of the evening, American Idol winner (season three), Fantasia. We stuck around for most of the show -enjoying her barefoot and laid back style- but left before the finale because, frankly, we were musiced out.

Waiting for the subway to take us home, we talked with a couple of women, one who echoed something I have been thinking since we moved here:

"Ya'll need to find some black friends."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Positive Post

After days of unpacking and breaking down boxes, we're all settled in.

We are so happy with our apartment, which is even better than we expected from our first tour back in April. After the kitchen we had at Devon apartments, this one is chef's dream. OK, no, it isn't; but it is OUR dream, as we're dreaming on a budget. We also have THREE closets, four if you count the creepy one on our patio that doesn't lock and might have harbored a dead body at one time.

The bedroom is huge, the tub isn't from the 19th century (a negative on days when I'm playing at being especially Victorian), and best of all, WE HAVE A WASHER AND DRYER.

This is what we look like. (This is not what our washer looks like.)

And even if this isn't home, it's got the feel of home with the two of us, our Harry Potter books, and our pictures.

We are so thankful to have gotten here safely and without any hiccups in our giddy up. I was just sitting on the front steps of our building today thinking about how glad I am for what we have saved and what we have been given that's made it possible for us to live in a safe, quiet area. And not only that, but we've made some runs to the grocery store and have stocked our fridge and cabinets with food.

If I'm not mistaken, having food and a place to rest safely are some of the most basic human needs, and we are more than satisfied there.

As far as our other needs go, we visited a church on Sunday. It's called New Hope Community Church; a non-denominational satellite church here in Pikesville. They meet in an old stone chapel, named Old Stone Chapel, located on Stone Chapel Road. The most interesting piece of information, however, is not mentioned in any of those names, and it is the very old CEMETERY located on either side of the path leading to the front door.


I can't really explain the experience of walking past the graves on the way to the door. It was very sobering, and at the same time very moving to be walking on ground in which, nearly 100 years before, people were burying their loved ones. The small plot of land felt removed from time, and yet more real than anything else I had experienced so far in MD. Everyone dies, everything returns to dust, but it isn't the end.

Anyway, we're planning on visiting some other places on the Sundays to come.

Steven has started looking up job options for me, which is both exciting and scary. Prayers would be appreciated there. *sweaty palms*

We went to the library today and, though it was a little disappointing in its variety and odor, we came away with some good books which I expect will help to ease the home sickness a bit.

Cooking for two is an art I have yet to master, as evidenced by our growing stack of leftovers in the fridge.

Two of our neighbors, we've never seen. A man across the hall helped us get the piano up and down the stairs and into our apartment, but has since disappeared... (related?)... Our upstairs neighbor greeted us by saying "Oh, you'll hate it here. I wish you had asked me before moving in; I would have told you not to." She's a little crazy, a lot lonely, and a TON "cat lady." She's opened her apartment to us, should we need anything, and gifted us a few (ugly) plants.

All in all, there is more good in this than bad.

We miss you all and invite you to come visit as soon as you can.

Seriously, we're desperate for friends.



Can't you tell?

The Negative Post


I've adopted a new phrase since our move -one that has nothing to do with becoming a hip Baltimorean and everything to do with how moving has reduced me to a child- and it is:

"I hate this."

I know. So negative, so immature. But maybe you're shaking your head, thinking At least she isn't puffing out her bottom lip, raising her voice into a whine, and stamping her foot...

Oh, but I am.

You see, it's easy to be ridiculous in isolation. Tucked away in our gated* community, stashed away in our corner apartment, we are alone and I am at liberty to express just how completely done I am with...

...And this is where the list would be:

______
______
______

And it would be long.



Because the truth is, I miss Topeka's library. I miss midwestern drivers and the open space around the highways. I miss I-70, God bless it, and Wanamaker for how user friendly it actually is. I miss our family. I miss my friends. I miss being in a place where I once had friends. I miss the beef and the dairy, just because that's very Kansas of me. I miss Kroger brand.

Suddenly, I understand the fierce pride people have in their homestate. I know what it feels like to be walking down the aisle of a grocery store or to be standing in front of the DVDs at the Baltimore library reading the sign that says "$1.00 a day," thinking "Bulls**t. This would NOT happen in Topeka." I've even gone so far as to say to people, "Well, in Topeeekaaaa..."

Topeka is awesome! Topeka is better than all of Maryland!




Kansas, beloved Mother, today in an alien land,
Yours is the name I have idly traced with a bit of wood in the
sand,
The name, that, flung from a scornful lip, will make the hot
blood start;
The name that is graven, hard and deep, on the core of my
loyal heart.

-excerpt from The Call of Kansas, Esther M. Hill





*Not actually gated very often.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Meet the Katies


They are two of the finest ladies I know, and tonight is our night!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Debris of Dissociation

My family recently made the decision to no longer be members of the church we've attended for thirteen years.

It feels like a divorce. Or what I imagine a divorce might feel like, and that is "awful." And so weird.

In the early stages of the situation, I felt far removed and objective. I was able to listen to my mom and say things like "mm hmm, man, that is so ridiculous." Or "wow, that's hard," and I didn't really feel much beyond sadness for my parents. I was, after all, an every-other-week attender, going to my husband's church on the off sundays and so already had one foot out the door.

But also, nothing feels real until it is final.

Our last Sunday was hard. At every moment I was thinking, this is the last time __________ will ______________. or, I will never sit here, stand here, sing here with these people again. And that's when I really started to pay attention to what we were leaving:

People.

People, people, people.

People I love and have loved since elementary school. Friends who joked with me or cried for me or drank coffee with me, and none of them who knew that we would not be back. And then, some people who let me down, let my parents and my brothers down.

After the service ended, I went out into the commons and tried to act like I always have, except that I wanted to hug some people real close and say "I am going to miss you," "Thank you for coming to my high school musicals," "I really think you're special," and because I couldn't I had a pain in my throat.

I could go on now and say things that I should about how God is so faithful and triple omni-good, and that even though I'm disappointed I am looking forward to _____________________. But I'm so bad at goodbyes, I hold grudges, and I hurt for a long time. An elephant never forgets, you know?

All those things my mom was talking about have just caught up with me and I can't help thinking of ways I might make a scene.

If I go quietly, will they even know that I'm gone... Will they even care?

So this is my small moment to say that I'm sad about all of it and I know I will think of it for a long time. I will wonder about those people and how they've moved on... and how they step around the debris.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My pictures are worth so many words.

As a newlywed couple, recently unemployed and planning to move in the next month, we sure are two of the busiest coons you ever did see. *knee splap*
This is in part due to the fact that the majority of our friends are twenty-somethings looking to tie the knot (as it were), but also because we took the Spice Girls' lyrics to heart and are spicing up our life. (Don't deny it, Steven.)

Here's the thing, as a consequence of the aformentioned spicier life -and this is where it gets tricky for you as the reader- I have a LOT to say. We've done one fantastic, beautiful thing after another and it's worth talking about!... but it makes for long-winded stories. Luckily, my camera goes where we go and sees what we see, which means (mathemetically speaking, ahem): a LOT to say divided by pictures from my camera equals more show than tell. Let's get to it!


This is on the way to Colorado Springs for a wedding of one of Steven's best Peace Corps friends. This was our first road trip as a husband and wife, which means that we had a ton of snacks! We also got awesome gas mileage and enjoyed leaving the dark Kansas skies behind us.



Here we are doing Xtreme sports at Garden of the gods. Basically this means that we straddled some red rocks while talking like pro-wrestlers. "Xxxxxxtreeeeemmmeee Spppp(spit)ooorts!" If you are ever in Colorado, go here.


We also did something called 20 Mile High bike ride. If you are thinking that we biked twenty miles, up hill, you are giving us way too much credit. This is a special bike tour where a nice man in a rickety van drives you and your bike twenty miles up a mountain, drops you off, and lets you go! If you have ever ridden down a hill and loved it, go to the mountains and give it a try! We're talking 2.5 hours of nothing but the wind in your hair and the sun burning your calves!



But truly, we got to ride through old mining tunnels and linger at heart-stopping views to our hearts content.

And then, of course, we went to an amazing wedding.


Next! Dun da da DUN! We went to the Mumford and Sons concert with some good friends, the Yates's... ess. It was at City Market, on a hot "spring" evening, with ten thousand other people, and it was great! I feel I should mention, however, the absurd attitude of many towards tall people who attend concerts. Never have I seen so much anger directed at the back of another's... back because their height made it hard to see. Girls glaring at guys, guys glaring at girls! People accidently bumping in to their neighbor to send a little message saying, "I just want you to know that you're ruining my night. And it may not be your fault, but it is all. your. fault."


OK, it's late and I'm tired. I'll post more soon. Thanks for reading, for checking in every once in awhile even though it takes me ages to update! Happy summer days, everyone! Love, McK