About a week or two ago, I found a ring in the ladies' restroom in one of the buildings on campus. I was running late for a class, like always, so I stuck it in my jacket pocket and told myself I'd take it to the lost and found later. You can probably guess what happened next. I forgot about it. The weather got warmer, I started wearing a different jacket, life went on. Then this morning I'm standing in line buying coffee before class, purposely taking my time, listening to the bells echoing across Red Square and not giving a good god damn. Let's be serious here- I hate that professor and as long as she doesn't say anything about my timing, I'm going to keep being late. And I'm struck but a flier taped to the wall next to the coffee kiosk: "Lost Engagement Ring. Please return to..." And there's a picture. I bet you can guess this one, too. It was the same ring I'd found weeks ago. Obviously this story has a happy ending! I called the girl immediately, apologized about being a forgetful bum, and we arranged a time to meet up and hand off the ring. She bought me a Starbucks gift card, which I really don't think I deserve. Although in one way, you could say her gift of coffee might make me more alert the next time something like this happens, and I can react a bit sooner. So, congratulations to Suzanne! She lost her engagement ring four days after he proposed, and instead of being upset, Mr. Right told her, "I thought about buying you two. Guess I should have trusted my instincts!" But rather than a wallet-busting tragedy, she gets to tell the story of her engagement as a funny tale of her own absent-mindedness that all worked out well in the end.
Never one to ignore an annoyance, I continue chewing on my hangnail until I can rip it off with my teeth. The annoyance turns into a dull pain, enhanced by the slow bleeding. I suck my thumb for a bit, hoping it will stop, but I need to keep typing this paper and that's impossible to do with my thumb in my mouth. I give it up as a lost cause and get back to work, hoping merely that it doesn't bleed onto the keyboard, and that the keyboard isn't harboring any infectious bacterias. The computer lab is still stifling hot, even at nearly ten. The taste of blood is in my mouth, my shoeless feet can't get used to the scratchy industrial carpeting, and the high-powered fan is just making my eyes dry and tired. I need to get this done. I need a band-aid.
In an unexpected twist, I've found myself contemplating religion again.
I was raised in a Christian household. We went to church every Sunday, complete with yelling and crashing and banging, jumping on the bed moments before we needed to leave, outfit changes and hasty breakfasts and everything that comes along with corralling overactive three children into nice clothes and out to the minivan in time for an 8 am service. Church was fun, back then. There were snacks when we got there, and books with so many songs that it was impossible to sing them all. There was summer camp, there were plays, there were stories told with cutout figures that pressed onto a felt desert backdrop.
It was ideal for a young child - a caring, giving community that worked together to raise their children with common ideals and support their growth into adulthood. When I was ten, an elderly woman in the church became my mentor and we occasionally had brunch together, mostly talking about the things I learned in school and the petty grievances I had with my brothers. I don't remember her name, but I'm glad she gave her time to me. Most of the adults in my life then gave selflessly, perhaps not knowing I would barely remember them later, but at least knowing it was a one-sided effort.
Then I grew older, into my teens. And I noticed the discrepancies between what we learned in church and what we did outside of it. The strangest part was that I found myself getting along better with the people who didn't believe in religion. These people were kinder, more open, more excited to enjoy their lives. The people I went to church with were catty and cruel.
I realize now, years later than it should have taken, that this behavior had more to do with the specific church, the specific town, and the culture it encouraged.
There are incredible people in my life now, both those who have a religion and those who don't, and I've found that judging a person by their beliefs is unacceptable. This goes two ways - I can no more assume that a person will behave as kind and honest as their religion says they should than I can expect them to behave like a hypocrite.
Now that I've let go of my anger and disappointment, I can turn to the important issue: What I believe. It's a long and personal search, one that will likely never have a true answer. I'm picking up the pieces of a religion I threw away long ago, dusting it off, examining the broken and unusable bits, and trying to discover if there's enough left to make something whole. No one can say if what I make for myself will match anyone else's, but I want to get the message out there: I'm reexamining. I'm not confrontational anymore. I want to hear what others have to say.
Spent a nice, relaxing weekend with my parents and one of the brothers out in Port Townsend this weekend. They rented a condo, I took a ferry over, and we all kayaked and ate seafood and browsed the neat artisan shops until we collapsed from exhaustion. At which point the condo turned into a war zone as everyone tried to find a place to sleep safe from everyone else's snoring. I was a sure loser in this battle, since I'm the only one of us who doesn't snore - instead they all wanted to share the room with me. Last night at 1 am my dad snuck in and collapsed on the other bed - driving me out into the living room almost immediately. Brent complained I was taking his couch, but since he was still up anyway, I told him to stuff it, curled up, and passed out. A few highlights of the trip include:
There's only one surefire way to start the weekend right, and this is it! Super Mario's Taco Truck. It's not Tacos Arabes, but it's damn close. My first trip to Deception Pass, and the weather was beautiful! I didn't climb down to the beaches, though - I had to hurry to the ferry before it left without me.
Oh, look. A ferry. Brent and I were innocently sitting in the car, waiting for our parents to come back with some groceries, when this beast poked his head out of the car next to us.
I'm pretty sure he was a cow in disguise.
On the way back I made a quick pit stop at Fort Casey to wander around, take some pictures, and reminisce about my childhood. (My parents were big on taking trips to old military forts.)
I've been reading up on how-to grow your own vegetables, and potato harvesting sounds like the most fun so far. It started with this blog post. Near the end he's talking about his crop results, and then, bam! Constant vigilance! Oh Harry Potter, you show up in the oddest places!
But yeah, basically, I would love to try some of this stuff out. I'm not big on brussels sprouts or cabbage and such, but fresh cucumbers and tomatoes and potatoes would be so cool!
By golly, it's late! I have to be at work in six hours...
This is my other work! The little brunette in the front right is Erin, my driving instructor. Tonight we all got together for a mixer (read: paperwork signing party!) and before everyone took off, she corralled us onto the stairs for a group photo.
Hey, wow, so I've been really lax with this thing. I switched email addresses and blogger won't let me change the access email to this account, and guess what? It turns out something as simple as logging out and logging back in is too much work! Other things that are too hard for me: brushing my teeth in the morning before class*, filling out hiring documents that are sitting on my desktop, picking up my paycheck, and pouring wine into a glass before drinking it.
* That said, I start my first mug of tea at 8:30am and continue to refill it until 4. I can't say brushing my teeth would make a dent on my English Breakfast breath and plaque buildup.
Big events in the last few months include going to Mardi Gras 2009 (WHOO! BOOZIN'!) and getting hired with a tour bus company in Alaska. Tomorrow is my big Commercial Driver's License test, so wish me big heaps of luck that I don't back over any children or flip the coach mid-turn.
Also, I've lived in four different houses since December! First with the parents in Tacoma as I adjusted from tanktop-and-flowy-skirt to mufflers-and-chinchilla-fur-coats weather. Next on Lillian's couch while I house hunted in Bellingham. Third in a house on Franklin, for a whole two months! Beginning of March I moved into a different house on Franklin, which was annoying but also pretty easy to actually do. It took about two hours to transfer it all from one place to another, including a burrito and beer break.
While I was living in the first Franklin house, my roommate Kimmy got me involved in the Surfrider Foundation. Now, I've got the world's worst attention span when it comes to volunteering, but I did make it up to Mt. Baker for Banked Slalom! I manned the booth and hoarded free samples from the other vendors, and watched one of the prettiest sunrises I've seen yet. Here, pictures! **Warning, these pictures are RIDICULOUSLY huge if you click on them. I'm working on it**
Gorgeous, no? And less than five minutes later...
Notice how I'm pretending to do econ homework. No one bought it.
Nice suit, Kims! It's a hand-me-down for her mom. This girl wins on the hip scale. Retro, recycling, and unabashed enthusiasm! Rock on!
Look, I know I don't fit in the typical demographics for a mommy blog. 1) I am not a mom. 2) ... Okay, well I think #1 pretty much covers why they don't apply to me. That said, I can't get enough of them! I attribute this entirely to the quality of the moms' prose, because really, if you can make me nearly spit out my tea onto my precious MacBook, then you certainly deserve my attention.
"I thought Henry was napping, but now I hear him singing to himself. The singing is new. Once, when he was a few months old, he hummed "Ode to Joy" (I am NOT KIDDING) and we all gazed in wonderment at Henry, Child Prodigy, but then he clammed up, singing-wise. Right now he’s singing the ABC song, but he gets stuck after "d," so he just sings, "A, b, c, d, ...d, d, d....d, d, d, d, dddd...d..." I can’t figure out why he sounds so cheerful, as he’s had diarrhea and a fever all day. I would be less inclined to lie in bed crooning my favorite ditties, if I were simultaneously soiling myself with watery, burning poo."
"How to Annoy Me: Do something that annoys me, and then say, "I've been waiting to see that face all week long." I'll give you this face EVERY DAY, MOTHERFUCKER, as long as you continue to make noise when the baby is asleep."