Friday, December 21, 2007

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

When people hear my last name for the first time, many ask if my family is like the Portokalos family from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Lamentably, they are not, but I've discovered that I still love my family about as much as is possible. And we are crazy and loud and familiar and welcoming and warm and fantastic in our own way.

This evening we were all in the kitchen for a rare family dinner, everyone shouting at each other and warming up individual leftovers or pre-prepared dinners which normal families don't allow at "family dinners." Mom had just gotten home so of course there was the Christmas mail haul to work through, everyone fighting to see Christmas cards they hadn't opened or reread ones they had after someone else mentioned how cute the card was. As if they had missed something the first time around.

Far from the norm when we are all at school, dinner conversation revolved around charitable donations and tax deductions which escalated into an unprecedented form of hilarity when Kelly and Laura decided to mimic every hand motion that Mom performed while talking. Apparently explaining the intricacies of taxes and charitable giving requires a lot of hand motions. The entire family was in stitches, Dad most of all, which is rare during dinner table antics.

After dinner the girls had sisterly bonding time with the ab workout from Satan. Mary breezed through it, barely taxing her six-pack while the rest of us grunted and Lamaze-d our way through most of the motions. I'm going to be sore tomorrow, but it was a treat to spend even that time together since the past couple weeks have been "go your own way" to the extreme. My way has involved a lot of couch time and desserts. Laura's way has involved a lot of making me feel guilty for not studying. And a lot of couch time and desserts.

Total side note before I sign off: I just finished reading The Things We Do For Love and it was refreshing and encouraging to read a book that had nothing to do with spies or cops or agents or murder and still thoroughly enjoy it. It was the type of uplifting book that restores my faith in power of love and the wonder of life that I have been looking for since my New Year's resolution to read books outside my comfort zone. It took me 11 and a half months to find that book (with lots of other treasures read in the mean time), but I think I can call it a successfully met resolution. And I still have a little over a week to think of a new one for next year.

Merry Christmas, and extreme peace as you celebrate the birth of Jesus. Catch you on the far side of the cruise!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Grace of the day

Just a quick note about how easily a simple thing can put you in a great mood for the rest of the night:
Okay so today was pretty much horrible. I stayed up too late so I was exhausted. Plus I'm really failing at getting rid of this cold, which I hope is a cold and not the flu because I was stupid and didn't get my flu shot. I had all sorts of body aches and exhaustion and stuffy nose and head congestion, and for the first time in memory I had clogged ears. It was like being on an airplane and underwater and the same time, and it hurt like the dickens. Okay, you can see it was an awful day. The only saving grace was that I had very little to do since I'm on vacation and that 12-hour Sudafed really does clear those ears up.
Then I get to Mass for the Immaculate Conception (which is normally one of my favorite feast days, but I've been really slacking on the whole spiritual thing lately), and who do I see in the row in front of me? My host family for Week 4 of Totus Tuus. It took me a few minutes to realize why they looked familiar and most of Mass to remember all of their names. And then I remembered that this was the family I traumatized with my first heresy (all Totus Tuus teachers have at least one per summer), so I wasn't sure they'd want to see me even if they did remember me. But at the sign of peace, sure enough, the mom turned to me and mouthed "Michelle?" and I smiled and nodded.
After Mass I went to talk to them, and it was so sweet that they remembered me. They were one of my favorite families of the whole summer, despite that being the most stressful week for our team. We talked for a while and the mom referenced conversations that we had a year and a half ago and I was so impressed and honored that she had remembered. The kids weren't as social, but the oldest girl was the one who had recognized me in the first place. And when I asked them which team had stayed with them this summer, they totally blanked on names, so I felt even more special that they had remembered me from over a year ago.
Not only did it leave me on a high for the rest of the night, but it also took me back to Totus Tuus and reminded me how amazing it was and how touched I was by the generosity of all the families. I always wondered when we hosted teams if they remembered their host families after they left. And then when I taught, I wondered if the kids and families would remember me after I left. Now I know. The program has such an impact on everyone involved and it continues to touch me 18 months later. Yay for my wonderful host family for giving me the grace of the day. And truly the grace of the week.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

From blessings to Sin City

Long lost Michelle just checking in. I'm sure had I thought of it at the time, I could have blogged for hours on my crazy Thanksgiving. In fact, I could blog for hours on just about any time spent with my family. Typically the progress of emotions throughout the day (in any big family get-together) starts with stress at having to get ready and hoping that nobody comments behind my back about any weight I've gained. Sad, but true. Somehow I managed to get to my last week in Indy without gaining a single pound, but I'm not sure that lasted through Thanksgiving. Anyway, I then move to gratefulness and love because I adore my family and am so thankful for all of the joy they bring me. And then, when I'm at the peak of awe and wonder and my many familial blessings, I usually end on sadness and a sense of anticipation because I want so badly to share my family with my future husband, preferably before most of them die or leave Indiana. But mostly, I just love being with my family and all the new babies that grace our presence, and the never-ending sweet-tooth that results in cake and pie and cookies, and my Uncle Dave's sense of humor, and being a spoiled princess (new this year, and much appreciated). Also new this year was a humiliating rendition of the Soulja Boy dance performed by yours truly and my two soon-to-be-dead sisters who forced me into dancing in front of the entire clan. I guess it wasn't so bad.
But I'm not going to blog for hours on my crazy Thanksgiving. Nor do I really want to look back at my time in Indy and try to figure out highs and lows. And I definitely don't have it in me to process the Omaha shooting and make sense of the brevity and fragility of life. So I will tell you all of my extreme disgust at the amount of money people throw away. I just spent 3 days in Las Vegas and my perspective this time was slightly different from that of a naive 11-year-old (me last time I was in Vegas). For starters, minimum bets at the Blackjack tables are $10. That's right my friend, for a mere ten bucks, you too can have three seconds of enjoyment. Actually, I "helped" a friend play for the first time and it was amusing as we played two hands and ended up with her original ten dollars. We also got corrected on table ettiquette three times in two hands by the patient dealer, and I decided that was enough. People seriously sit there and risk hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes, yet play for hours. That doesn't include the money spent on drinks (which they only offer once you have a bet on the table and which may result in substantially more money lost on betting), and remember that we are talking about the lowest-bet tables. Now factor in the millions who play high stakes, pay more for a single show than I spent on food and transportation in my entire three days, put up hundreds of dollars to stay in these opulent hotel/casinos, and don't bat an eye when three shots at a bar end up costing $36. Yikes. Maybe I can splurge on a new pair of shoes after all. I've decided that Vegas is not the place to go if you are on a tight budget. I did blow one dollar on the five-card-draw machine, and I did enjoy some of the free sights, but overall I did not enjoy myself. If I go back, I'm saving up so that I can enjoy myself, still on budget of course, but not sitting in my hotel room watching TV and splitting a Ghiradelli sundae that we had a coupon for. Still, I think I'd rather go to Greece or New Zealand or Vancouver or on a MEXICAN RIVIERA CRUISE. Start counting the days people! I have to stop typing now because my thumb is wrapped tightly in a bandaid and is starting to throb as I type. Stupid club-thumb.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big Night

You know the Hollywood hot spot restaurants that have a three-week wait list for reservations and are always jam-packed with stars? The kind of restaurants that don't serve normal food, replacing staples like Caesar salad with "shaved brussel sprout salad with goat cheese, roasted almonds..." and so on. And instead of chocolate cake or apple pie for dessert, they have lavender honey ice cream and zinfandel sorbet. Well, I went to a restaurant like that tonight (without the jam-packed, reservation-required, Hollywood attendance parts). It was at H2O Sushi in Broad Ripple, IN of all places, and it was a phenomenal dining experience. The waiters recognized my aunt as a regular customer (of course, she was there on Tuesday, so they didn't exactly need to have amazing memories) and were very professional. They even made brussel sprout salad sound appetizing. Of course, we passed, because we were there for sushi. We did have etamame, steamed and salted on the outside of the pods, which I never would have guessed would prove successful but it was. Delicious! Then my choice of rolls was called "Big Night" which seemed appropriate. It was portabello, scallions, avocado and maybe something else, rolled inside out and wrapped in seared salmon (or maybe tuna, doesn't matter, my palate isn't that discriminating) and more avocado. Wonderful dipped in the wasabi and soy (low sodium soy at that!) Dessert was by far the highlight of the evening and while I didn't try the lavender honey ice cream or the zinfandel sorbet, I did try two other exotic ice cream concoctions: salty peanut and some sort of native bark (flavored with the syrup from this local hickory tree). And the to-die-for cookies. Walnut pecan maple coconut oatmeal cookies the size of my head. Soft and crispy at the same time, just out of the oven and served with espresso whipped cream. It was absolute heaven. And the whole time I was at the restaurant, I felt just like the movie stars must feel at the latest craze restaurants with funny names and famous chefs and the bizarro menus that I always thought left people wanting regular bread and chicken. The cost ended up being Hollywood-worthy, but fortunately I brought along an aunt with a good job and no kids to support (besides me for the last four weeks) who was more than happy to treat if it meant sharing the joy of her favorite restaurant. And since I'm bragging, I also wanted to comment that I was daring enough to try sashimi for the first time--not bad, just not something I would pay for--as well as trying a roll covered in roe. I couldn't taste it as there was so much else going on in the roll and it was just as well because the thought grossed me out but I wanted to say I'd tried.
That's all to report for now. I could go into a labored account of work and the types of jobs in industry that intrigue me versus those that disgust and disappoint, but I'll spare you. I suppose any job has its ups and downs. Mine just leaves me wondering if there will ever be a time in my life when a) I look forward to work, and b) I will have enough to do that I'm not bored half the day. That job is out there somewhere. Along with everything else about my adult life that I can't wait to start but that appears to be in deep hiding. I mean, is there a hiding spot big enough for my dream job, my dream husband, my house with a front porch and a back yard and a fireplace, a soccer team to coach, a horse and an adorable dog, and the several countries that I'm waiting to visit? Wow, I digress.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

From the desk of...

I'm taking the final three minutes of my lunch break to check in. First thought which prompted me to blog: Annie Lennox's "Into the West" on my launchcast player reminded me of how powerful music is. That song specifically dredges up such intense emotions related to the drama of LOTR. Then, I watched Bones Couples Counseling which are little extras on the website that haven't made it into shows. More brilliant chemistry between David and Emily showing how these characters can have a fun, adorable, witty relationship without being a couple. Go check out the vids for insights on why Brennan fears snakes, which clowns bother Booth the most, Booth's take on the 5-second rule, and more goodies.
Such wonderful mental deviations from the world of diabetes and drug information, don't you think? I have to take advantage since I have the pending doom of my presentation in an hour and a half. I'll let you know how it goes. I brought an extra dark chocolate bar to give me courage. Alright, three minutes is over. More to come later when I think of a topic that can keep my typing for more than a few sentences.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Not to make excuses

While still shamefully brushing off any comments regarding the Broncos' game today, I just wanted to point out that we were without many key playmakers: John Lynch, Javon Walker, Rod Smith, Tom Nalen, Ebenezer Ekuban, Jay Cutler (for most of the game), Stephen Alexander, and Ben Hamilton. Injuries shouldn't be an excuse for losing, and they certainly don't justify a 44-7 manhandling by the Lions (?!?!?!), but we may just have to face that we do our best to get through this season without our best players. We've also had games where we've sat other key players--Champ Bailey and Travis Henry--due to injury. It's gonna be a long season Denver fans.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The lasso of truth

So I didn't write after my root canals. Yes, that was plural because the endodontist did a root canal on the wrong tooth to begin with. Fortunately, that tooth was in trouble as well so it ended up being a fortuitous mistake. I have discovered in listening to others' responses to my ordeal that I am inherently trusting of people. I have no doubt that my tooth was in need of some serious pulp removal, yet everyone responds with, "So he says." Note to the skeptics: he said the tooth looked awful before he realized it was the wrong tooth. In other news...

Isn’t it funny how forgetful our bodies are? When I am in pain, I frequently have a hard time remembering how it feels to not be in pain. Same thing with nausea or exhaustion. Especially exhaustion. When that whole-body heaviness hits in mid-afternoon and I fight to keep my eyes open, I forget so easily what it feels like to have energy to run down a football field or kill Kelly at Wii tennis. Fortunately, my body forgets the bad as well. I can’t force myself to relive the pain of a broken leg even if I tried. My mind just can’t make my body remember what it went through. If only our mental memories of pain were as transient. I can still remember insults I received (and made) 10 years ago. If the tradeoff for that is being able to remember the times of laughter and joy from 10 years ago as well, I’ll gladly find the effort to filter out the painful memories.

Onto less morbid thoughts.
Bones is amazing. I love laughing out loud and making people wonder what is so hysterical. I'll tell you. Wonder Woman being scared of snakes and recognizing that it's irrational (like me and spiders), but still not being able to help herself. Wonder Woman again spinning around in the lab and using her Amazon metal bracelets, or whatever they're supposed to be, as shields. Zach as the back end of a Hodgins says, so many jokes, so little time. And it was so adorable to have Brennan arguing that they weren't Clark Kent and Wonder Woman and that they weren't on a date, and then to have Brennan apologize to Booth that he had to kill someone. They're so cute when they aren't together, and I love that the writers don't feel the need to put them together.

I find I have to live vicariously through squints and shields because of my pathetic lack of a life. It's either that or through the sappy Nicholas Sparks characters, or the murder mystery cops from the book of the week. And just in case you were wondering, I love ice cream. And I love being in a city that doesn't care about Husker football, and I'm sorry to all you Husker fans out there, but the Colts are worth backing and worthy of the water cooler conversations. One more thing I love: my crazy family who spoils me rotten and tells stories about my grandparents communicating from the other side and who raise baby horses and make amazing food and remember funny stories about my crazy great-grandpa Hamm who poored black coffee on his corn flakes (said in the "crazy Uncle Erwin who fell asleep in the macaroni and cheese" voice). They're awesome and I hope and I pray that my future husband loves them to death and has a family half as fun to share with me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The best of both worlds

It is really really pathetic how much Hannah Montana makes me laugh. I mean, the acting is about par for a 14-year old. Oh wait, they are 14-year olds. Still, it's pretty hysterical sometimes. Like when Rico fell in the cheese. I think I enjoy it because it doesn't require me to be responsible or mature or stressed out or an adult.
In other news, I have confirmed my suspicion that I am not meant for a cubicle, and I'd prefer that most of my day didn't involve a computer screen although I do recognize that tired eyes may be a part of any career I choose. I think if I end up in industry, I would like to find a position in the field (read: no cubicle) in pharmacovigilance. It sounds incredibly boring I know, but it is more clinical and problem-solving-oriented than I thought industry could be.
That's all because it's time for dinner. I know it's not much but maybe I'll have time to write a little more after my root canal tomorrow. YUCK! Although post-procedure has got to be better than I feel now.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cut it in half next time

I hate my teeth, I hate being in pain, and I hate Vicodin ES. After taking one this afternoon and spending most of the rest of the day feeling sick (punctuated by about an hour of intense shakes, sweating, dizziness, and feeling like my lunch was coming back up), I have decided to tough it out with ibuprofen.
On the plus side, I made good cookies for my coworkers who really were great people, second only to those gems at KS. One final game at Morrison Stadium tonight before hitting the road tomorrow. Indy, here I come!!!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Indiana, my Indiana

I don't really have anything to say, but it's been so long since I've written that I figured I should come up with something. Lately the majority of my thoughts have been occupied by Indiana. I am so looking forward to:
  • being done with this rotation (that fortuitously coincides with starting my next one so I think it is slightly related to Indiana)
  • getting to see family that have been long absent from my life. Growing up in Colorado isn't an experience I'd trade for anything, but it sure would have been nice to see a little more of the relatives. I'm hoping to make up for 23 years of once/twice yearly visits with 5 weeks of non-stop Michelle time.
  • Steak'n'Shake. I can have it anytime I want. Ditto with White Castle, although I'm hoping not to want sliders too often.
  • COLTS!!! I have tickets to see the reigning Super Bowl champs take on the Chiefs (and who wouldn't love to root against the Chiefs?). I just don't know where those tickets will be yet. Section 302 all the way at the top of the dome behind the endline...vs. Club seats 20 rows back from the 45-yard line. We're still working out the details. Nevertheless, you can understand why it will be one of the many highlights of my trip.
  • Martinsville Candy Kitchen. This should perhaps be at the top of the list. With any luck at all, I will able to hand-pull candy canes in the store that my great-grandfather opened. How cool is that?!? (said in the voice of the guy on While You Were Out whose wife built him a Korean garden in his back yard) I am thrilled to be able to visit the place responsible for my unrelenting sweet tooth and take lots and lots of pictures in the process.
  • Thanksgiving. Last Thanksgiving was wonderful as it was the first true Thanksgiving spent in Indiana. Lots of great food, but more importantly, finally a celebration of the holiday giving thanks with the people I'm most thankful for. After years of soccer tournaments, subpar skiing, filet mignon in lieu of turkey, I'm excited to again have the chance to do it right.
  • Soccer. Seeing Mary's games has been one of this year's highlights and I'll hopefully get to take in a few final games at the MVC tourney in Evansville. I'm banking on a strong showing from Creighton to allow the family to see some good soccer and to allow Mary to finish on a good note.

Gosh, I guess I had enough to say after all. It's disappointing that Omaha still feels so little like home, but when I have Indiana to look forward to, I don't seem to mind so much.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The stuff dreams are made of

Last night I had a dream that James Marsden, dressed as the prince from Enchanted and his princess came to my mansion (in dreams, I have a mansion, okay?). I wanted something from them but I don't remember what, so he told me to come down from my bedroom balcony. I lowered myself in this human-sized basket to the ground and he and his princess went up to my room. Then they started pilfering through my stuff, deciding what to steal. So I climb the balcony pillar and stand outside my room deciding how best to outwit them into giving my stuff back. Then James Marsden hears me and says, "but soft, what light through yonder window breaks?" I don't think he knew it was me, but this is what he said. I think this line was a result of the five minutes of Hannah Montana that I watched yesterday in which they had to memorize lines from Romeo and Juliet. So I (looking very much like Anne Hathaway at this point, not sure why) say something soothing and get the princess to step away from the window without getting suspicious. I don't remember what I said, but it worked, and then I woke up. Very bizarre. Better than my dream from the night before where we were all characters in Harry Potter and giant cardboard cutouts of the Malificent from Sleeping Beauty were chasing us around department stores and my wand wouldn't work. And you wonder why I never feel rested when I wake up in the morning.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Spare the jersey, spoil the tourney (apparently mine was good luck)

I hate that I'm so passionate about soccer that one game can put me in a bad mood for the whole day. Stupid goalkeeper swap, stupid coaching, stupid stupid referee-ing, stupid communication breakdown, stupid subbing. Poor Hope, poor Leslie (also stupid, but I don't want to be too hard on her), poor Boxy, poor Lil ('cause this was her year, her team, her Cup), poor fans that woke up at 4am to watch every game, poor women's league that isn't getting the good press they need. Did I mention that I hate that I was in a bad mood all day? I mean, I think it's important to be passionate about things, even important to be extremely passionate about some things. It keeps people from being boring. But I wish that I could be passionate about history or art or music or something that wouldn't depress me so much when a debacle such as this morning occurs.
As if soccer wasn't enough to ruin my day, I got a lot of questions wrong today. The attendings are going to stop asking. One wasn't my fault because I was misinformed by a preceptor. One was only sort of my fault because technically the attending didn't ask the full question before telling me I was wrong. Still, big blow to the self-esteem.
The glaring bright spot of the day was that someone had a birthday in the billing department and I got free cake and icecream. Good cake too, not some crappy store-bought day-old yuckiness. Homemade chocolate with whipped cream frosting and butterfinger crumbles. I don't like butterfinger, but I sure liked this cake.
That's all for now because I have to study for a little while. But just know that I am still worked up enough to hit a punching bag for several minutes. It comes and goes. Gone during the cake and icecream, back because I'm writing about it and reliving the anguish. Hopefully gone tonight so I can sleep. Hasta!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pickle juice in the eye

My list of things in response to "You know what the worst thing in the world is?"
  • Gawker's Block. Seriously people, as someone who has been in an accident, I can attest to the fact that it's not nice to stare. It's even less nice to block a lane of traffic while you slow your car to a crawl in order to accomplish said staring. Go home and watch it on the news. Or just go home, so the rest of us can as well.
  • Not being able to jump in and reveal your intelligence while another person has to sit there in the hot seat and look stupid. There's legitimacy to making somebody work through something they don' t know, but it's a whole different story when all those good bites of knowledge have to sit there on the edge of my tongue while my fellow student remains mute and humiliated. I want to impress my preceptor and come to my colleague's rescue at the same time and I'm silenced with a "when I want your opinion, I'll ask for it" speech.
  • The season premiere of Bones not being aired for another week. Okay, on the list, this should fall at most at the very bottom, if it makes the list at all. But I'm not being rational. I'm being addicted, and this is what addicted people do--put waaaayyy too much stock in the object of their addiction. I just wanna watch a new episode. One that doesn't take 25 minutes to load.
  • Stubbed toes. Seriously. Every time I stub my toe, it reinforces my belief that it really is the worst thing in the world. Maybe second to a severely violated funny bone. There's nothing funny about banging your funny bone.
  • Wanting the rest of your life to start right now and having to wade through several months of "not yet." You know, wanting the rest of your life to start right now isn't reserved for people who are engaged or in a serious relationship and know that they have found the right person to whom they can pledge their eternal love. It's also for people who are sick and tired of school and need to have a real life. One that involves having pets and a house with a real bookcase and time to read all the books on that bookcase and a yard and money to travel and the opportunity to go to Catholic Biblical School and dozens of recipes to perfect and Sunday mornings to drink coffee while doing the crossword and Sunday afternoons to play pick-up football or soccer and the reason this sentence doesn't have any commas is because it's all a jumbled mess in my head of this life I want.
  • My headaches that don't appear to be affected by modern medications and don't appear to be triggered by typical stressors and don't appear to be categorically fit for any headache type. They suck.
  • Rain pouring down while I'm trying to drive. I love the rain. Really, it's like one of my favorite things in the world. The sound, the smell, the feel, the sight; everything is great about it unless I happen to be in my car. Then, and only then (and maybe during a picnic), it's the worst thing in the world.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Just to kill time until the internet works

I'm trying not to get upset about the fact that the Bones episode that I'm watching keeps freezing and I keep having to reload it. So far it hasn't angered me too much, but that's probably because I'm in the best mood I've been in for a long time. Think about all the stuff I have to be happy about, just so far today: USWNT won this morning and Abby Wambach scored two goals (I think that most of her stellar play was due to me wearing my Wambach jersey). Granted, one was a PK which says less about her as the most dangerous forward in the world and more about Lori Chalupny's hustle, but still fun to watch. More on Abby in a minute. Then, I drank a yummy grande half-caf, non-fat, sugar-free hazelnut latte courtesy of my wonderful dad and picked up some equally yummy Panera bagels on my way to work. Then I only had to work a little less than half a day before I got a glowing evaluation from the usually stern and gruff preceptor. He thinks I'd make a great professor. We'll see, but I'm not ruling it out because as I like to say, I could switch careers every 5 years and still be in the realm of pharmacy. Oh, and did I mention that I got an 'A'? Congratulations to me. (I have an audio imprint of that phrase, but I can't place it right now.) Then I had a couple of lovely, if brief, phone conversations on my drive home and here I sit with the whole afternoon ahead of me and nothing but Bones and a nap on the agenda. Not to mention my plans for a full-on Brian Larkin weekend since I'm in between rotations. That would all be enough to put anybody in a good mood. Add in some other mitigating factors from the week (Mary played a whole half on Tuesday, got to come home for lunch yesterday, got to have dinner with Jerry who happens to be visiting from Poland, Fr. Gillick gave a great talk at SVdP Young Adult Group, my roommates bought fruit pizza, the weather has been gorgeous) and I bet I could ride this high for quite some time. At least until Monday at 10am when rotation #4 starts.
Real quick justification for Abby Wambach being the most dangerous forward. Not only has she scored something like 80 goals in less than 100 games, but a large percentage of those goals have been with her head. When you are 5'11" and as accurate and powerful with your head as Abby is, not many teams can stop you. If they do choose to double-team you, or triple-team you as teams frequently do with Abby, she has an all-star backup core of forwards to take over the goal scoring. And that's why I think she is the most dangerous. She is virtually unstoppable (not even a numb toe and 11 stitches to close a 2-inch head gash could stop her), but if you manage to contain her, you are still going to lose. Lil and Hea-O (just learned Heather O'Reilly's nickname, pronounced Hey-Oh) and Tarpley and Carli Lloyd and Natasha Kai and company are going to take over in style. I love soccer. (Said in my "I love cake" voice) I love it because it is above all a team sport, and while one player can make or break a game, it takes 11 players to win championships. Abby Wambach may be the most important player on the field, especially statistically, but without Lori Chalupny's hustle or Lil's perfect serve, she doesn't have either goal today. With them, she dominates and puts me in a great mood.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I believe that serotonin and norepinephrine stimulate euphoria

You know in Ocean's Eleven when Linus gets stuck with the unsavory task of following Benedict around to document every detail of his schedule? And when he sits and watches the staircase for when Tess comes down from the museum and he says, "This is just the best part of my day." You wanna know when that line pops into my head every single day? The minute my head hits the pillow. Every night, I think "this is just the best part of my day." Then I lay there for another hour with random thoughts running through my head and then I spend all night dreaming up the most bizarre alternate realities for myself so sleep is never as restful as I'd like. But every night, that single instant when the light is out and I get to lie down and take a deep relaxing breath, every night that feels just as good as it possibly can. I keep thinking that means my day is incredibly boring if sleep is the best part, but most of the time that's okay with me. I can pretend it means that I find that moment so relaxing because I can rest easy knowing it was a good, productive, fulfilling day. Some days that's more of a stretch than others.
On a side note, I wasted an entire weekend watching highlight clips and whole episodes of Bones. I also read several episode recaps, so all told I think I spent about 8 hours on a show I'd never seen before Friday. Notice I didn't say "wasted 8 hours" because at least 5 of those hours were well spent. I enjoy the show and the sarcasm and the witty dialogue and the obvious romantic tension between Bones and Booth (obvious probably for everyone but Bones whose favorite line seems to be "I don't know what that means," referring to the culture reference of the moment which has floated way over her head). Some of the forensic science intrigues me (mostly it disturbs me, but I hope that means I'm a sympathetic human), but mostly I enjoy it for the characters. Well, and David Boreanaz is a lot more believable as a Catholic (yay), intuitive knight in shining FBI standard-issue body armor than a cradle-robbing creature of the night boyfriend. (shameless Buffy reference)
On another side note, the weather today was totally nap-worthy. And I'm excited about the WNT World Cup game tomorrow morning although the closer I get to it, the less and less appetizing 4am sounds. Maybe I'll TiVo the first half and watch the second half live. I don't even know how to work the TiVo but I bet I can find out. It has to be better soccer than the men's game I watched yesterday. I can blame some of the atrocity on the ref, but mostly Brazil just dominated a weaker team. Let's hope that North Korea doesn't prove to be as unsolvable. That's all for today. I was just killing time between work and Mass and this seemed like a more enjoyable means to an end than re-working my patient's Vanco kinetics based on today's random level.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Would you rather...

Today was a good food day. Just cereal and a banana for breakfast, but then watch out Emeril! I made a turkey, tomato, and mozzerella omelet for lunch. (I made a real mess on the stove though) Then I made cheeseburgers on the grill and garlic and pine nut couscous for dinner. Yummmm! It gave me hope for the future and all those meals I'm gonna be cooking for my family. It's not that I can't cook, it's just that I typically don't like taking the time, and I also don't usually have ingredients to plan a real menu. But it reminded me of a conversation I had last weekend. I asked my dinner companions to choose three things that they would love to be really good at besides their job. I enjoy coming up with questions like this that I think reveal more about a person than "What's your favorite jelly belly flavor?" I think secretly I'm storing up good first and second date questions, but that's beside the point. My three things were cooking, conversing in a way that really allowed me to get to know another person (not just know about them), and self-discipline when it came to things like procrastination and over-indulgence.
See what I mean? You already know so much more about me from those three little things. I really want to be a good cook primarily for two reasons. First, I love food. It's really that simple. I take great pleasure in the nuances of taste (and smell, see my last blog), and there are so many wonderful flavors out there to be experienced. Second, I think that food is a great medium for spending quality time with someone. Jesus thought so too and if it's good enough for Him, it's good enough for me. Wanting to be a good conversationalist reveals that I'm not, but also that I think it is important to really know the people that you spend time with. I like being surrounded by friends, and if I'm good at using conversation to get to know people, then I will always be surrounded by friends. And anyone who knows me knows that I have the weakest will power in the world. I did win the Study Avoidance Tactics Award for a reason, and I also have serious issues resisting the lure of chocolate, ice cream, coffee, that last piece of pizza, etc.
Okay, I concede that not everyone will elaborate as much on their three desired expertises as I just did, but I still think that it's a good question. It shows a person's (perceived) deficiencies as well as their passions, and that's as good a place to start as any when you really want to know someone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A rose by any other name

As I prepared to write my next blog, this one on the powerful effect of various smells on my mood, I happened upon an article on Yahoo! Health that beat me to the punch. The article was 7 tips to get you out of a bad mood (I’m always looking for advice on this one) and number 6 begins: “Research has shown that smell has a definite impact on our bodies and minds. When you stimulate the olfactory nerves inside your nose, you activate the limbic system of your brain, which is associated with moods and memory.” Now, it’s common knowledge (or my knowledge) that smell is the sense most capable of evoking memory. But I decided today that it is also the sense most capable of changing my mood in an instant. Less than an instant. Before I even know what has happened, I’m either full of joy and peace and warmth or I’m fighting anger, despair and frustration. I have several examples of scents that bring me to a good mood and one particular conglomeration that evokes the bad.

Smells of joy:

  • The air during and right after the rain. If you are lucky, this smell even appears before the rain begins. I’ve found that this scent is not the same in every city and it seems to be especially lacking at my new house. There is a sort of dank, moldy smell after the rain here. But in Colorado, this smell (along with most things) is perfect.
  • The smell of baking. It typically doesn’t matter what is baking—crescent rolls, scones, brownies, cookies, pecan pie, any pie really, cake, bread…you get the idea. It just has a way of lifting my mood. It could be a Pavlovian effect; I do love eating the baked goods as much as I enjoy smelling them. But not eating doesn’t take away the power that the smell has over my mood.
  • Flowers. I love flowers. And I especially love the smell of roses. That sweet scent that has so many different nuances depending on the type of rose. Other flowers are pleasing to my olfaction (is that a word?), but none so much as the rose. I love to look at them too, double whammy! (This is a hint for any who would debate the wisdom of buying me flowers)
  • Horses. I know that this is starting to look like the same top five scents that I posted on my 10-second interview, which actually took a lot more of my time than ten seconds. But they are my top five for a reason. I don’t know what it is about horses that smells pleasing to me. I do know that I enjoy the scent of the grain feed (the corn/oat/barley type mixture), and I like the smell of hay, but I also think there is something about the horses themselves that smells like cowboys and long days in the sun and dusty trail rides and hard work and gorgeous sunsets. It’s no wonder that smell could immediately lift my spirits.

I can’t remember my fifth favorite scent right now, but it really isn’t necessary to grasp my point. Each one of these smells has an incredible ability to make me feel right at home. They are comfortable, familiar, all associated with many positive memories. And it may not improve my mood for very long (especially if I’m already in the dumps), but it does cause immediate joy.
On the other hand, and I won’t spend too much time on this because I don’t want to be in a bad mood just thinking about it, I’ve noticed that pretty much every smell at a hospital is enough to keep me depressed and angry for much of the day. I could be excited about getting to leave early, or fulfilled by a fruitful conversation with a patient, or comforted by a friend I wasn’t expecting to see that day, and it’s all wiped off the slate with one whiff of illness/bodily fluids/hospital food/industrial-grade cleaner/etc. It is different every day and so much exactly the same everyday that I feel my mood plummet when I step onto 5200 or 4100 (usually one of these is my first unit of the day and first after lunch). It’s sad, really, how much I let it affect me. But I decided today that it’s not completely my fault. The sense of smell is just that powerful. I shouldn’t be surprised to find that if it can raise my mood so instantaneously, it could also send it spiraling downward.
That’s all the energy and time I’m giving bad smells. Oh, my fifth happy smell was coffee. And it’s ironic that it’s the one I forgot given that I’m drinking some right now. It’s cold after 30 minutes of typing and has lost the invasive aroma. I’m gonna go nuke the last few sips and savor the smell (not quite as potent the second time around, but it will do).
Happy smelling!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Chaos Sequitur Esse

So here is my dilemma:
Two very distinct ideas of how to handle the challenge of spiritual growth were presented to me last summer during the flood that was Totus Tuus. First, Agere Sequitur Esse. Action follows being. The theory behind this clever Latin phrase is that if your soul is being where it needs to be, your body will do what it needs to do. If your heart is truly resting in Christ and your will is truly existing alongside His, then your actions cannot help but bring you closer to God. I have met people that embody this concept, whose entire being is so consumed with perfect love that they cannot act against God. Now, this isn't to say I have met people without sin, but I know that when they are truly being their true self, their actions naturally follow. I follow this theory up with a more crude statement of my own: you cannot act your way into holiness. I have tried to do this many times when I felt my faith slipping or my prayer life dwindled to a mere hint of what it once was. I thought if I forced myself to finish the rosary, I might begin to mean the prayers that I was reciting. It doesn't work, at least not in the long run. You have to be before you can do.
However, I contradict this whole sequence with the second idea that stands out from a year ago. Once I finished with my chemistry courses, I never thought I'd need to remember entropy again, but alas, the second law of thermodynamics comes back to haunt me. All things tend toward disorder. Without the exertion of energy, everything moves slowly toward chaos. Some things move very rapidly to chaos, but everything will get there eventually. I demonstrated entropy to a class of third graders by throwing up an entire stack of paper with the Angelus prayer printed on it. It took a lot more energy to clean it up than it took to throw it. This concept of entropy can be applied to my faith life. It will tend toward chaos (and with a stretch, toward evil) if effort is not taken to prevent this downward slide. You must constantly be expending energy to grow in your spiritual life.
You see how easily these two concepts come to be at war. On the one hand, you must get your soul in the right place, simply be like Mary listening at the feet of Jesus, before your actions can ever hope to show God's love to others. On the other hand, you must constantly be working to keep the devil at bay, slaving away like Martha to gain the upper hand in the fight to be Christ-like. I've always been a little more of a Martha myself. I find I'm most like Mary when I pay attention to the details. God is in the details and when I take time to notice them, my heart leaps closer to Him. The five minutes, if that, when the sunrise is just perfect, offering consolation when my body has to function that early in the morning. I don't need to do anything to feel close to God in that moment; I just am. The way the rain sounds against the sky light late at night, the way that my day ends with just enough time to make it to evening Mass, the way a massive storm and multiple tornados catch me stuck with friends rather than at home alone, the way a stranger says good morning; all of these typically find me thinking of God's hand in the little things, comforted that He would touch my day in such a little way. It is when I get carried away with the big picture of how stagnant I've seemed lately that I fall into trouble. It is then that I think my being is so far from God that no amount of doing could possible bring me back. So I try to see the details, especially the ones that matter. For example, the detail of one little vowel could mean the difference between "Viva La Papa" and "Viva El Papa." (for those who need a little help with that one, it's 'Long live the potato' vs. 'Long live the pope')

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rightly-named Romance

I was listening to Under the Tuscan Sun book on tape yesterday, and Frances Mayes read a line that struck me. She was talking about different stages in life and how whenever she tries to go back to something or somewhere that she loved in the past and walk again in her own footsteps, it's never quite the same, never quite as lovable. "Though I'm susceptible to the pull to the known, I'm just slightly more susceptible to surprise." The reason it struck me so much was that I find exactly the opposite in myself and I'm not sure how much I like that about me. Don't get me wrong; I love that I still feel home at home. I dread the day when all of the things that I love about home aren't enough to offer me guaranteed peace and a sense of homecomimng. It's always amazed me that after an 8-hour drive alone through some of the most monotonous terrain, 5 minutes at home makes me feel like I've been there for days, comfortably settled in to the wonderfully familiar. This desire to be surrounded by what I know has affected so many decisions throughout my life--my college choice, my summer jobs (most notably my summer jobs), my pharmacy rotations, my school vacation plans, etc.
People who know me even the slightest bit well know my deep affinity for Orthodoxy. One of my favorite parts is Chesterton's story about the sailor who sails from England in exploration and plants the British flag on a new island in the South Seas only to discover that he is not actually in the South Seas, but in fact back in England. Chesterton does not deny that he would look like a fool, but he argues adamantly that he would not have felt like one. "What could be more delightful than to have in the same few minutes all the fascinating terrors of going abroad combine with all the humane security of coming home again?" He describes this mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar as romance. I worry that I am far too attached to the familiar to ever grasp that romance. Not necessarily in the traditional sense of romance, although as my previous blogs will attest, I'm not opposed to rapidly discovering my future husband. But I fear that romance in the sense of adventure mixed with the comforts of the familiar will be just out of reach until I am ready to loosen my grip slightly on that which I know and love. There are amazing things out there in the world and I am so determined not to lose the wonderful things that I already have that I may have missed out on my own great adventure.
That's a morbid thought. And I'm not too worried about it because I know I have a lot of living to do, a lot of my story still in which to be the leading lady as Laura would say. I just need to suck it up and take the plunge. I'm convinced that fear is the most paralyzing emotion, more than anger, hatred, apathy, depression. It's a good thing that I have the most wonderful friends and family in the whole world to help me move beyond that and into my great adventure.
On a side note for Michael and Coco, in the movies when people exchange something rapidly and at the same time, not letting go of their bargaining chip until they've got a good hold on their new acquisition, it doesn't always involve cake. Except maybe in weird British movies.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hey nonny nonny

To one thing constant example of men's capriciousness as lovingly told by Shakespeare through Benedick (and through the silver screen by Kenneth Brannaugh):

I do wonder that one man, seeing how much other men are fools when they dedicate themselves to love, will, after he hath laugh’d at such shallow follies in others, become he subject of his own scorn by falling in love. And such a man is Claudio. I have known then there was no music with him but the drum and the fife of war; and now he’d rather hear the tabour and the pipe of peace. I have known when he would have walk’d ten mile a-foot to see good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake, drawing the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is he turn’d poet: his words are a very fanciful banquet, just so many strange dishes. Could I be so transform’d and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not. I will not be sworn, but though love may transform me into an oyster, I'll take my oath on it, that till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all favours be in one woman, one woman shall not earn my favour. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none of her; virtuous, or I'll never speak for her; fair, or I'll never look on her; noble, or come not near me; of good conversation, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what colour it please God. Ha! The Prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour.

And later:
This can be no trick: their conference was serious. They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady that her affections have conquer’d her. Love me! Why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censur’d: they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry. I must not seem proud: happy are they who hear their faults and then mend them. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot deny it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I may perchance have some witty jests toss’d at me, because I have rail’d so long against marriage: but doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall witty quips frighten a man from following his fancy? No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Scattered Farewell

So much going on in my head now. We're going to do a few bullet points until it calms down.
  • Healing is a strange process. Letting go of something that has held you captive, dominated every waking thought, should be painful. But I find that most times it isn't. Since I have very little recent healing to draw from, I take my examples from No Reservations and Harry Potter. A strange dichotomy I know. But in No Reservations, grief and fear control both Zoe and Kate without them realizing exactly how much pain they are in. And yet letting go of that brings so much joy. It was a gem of a movie and a gem of a story--a glimpse of the little things I dream of. And Harry had to let go of all the rage, mostly the rage at Snape, which evaporated with a few key memories and resulted instead with honoring him as one of the bravest men he had ever met. Again, a change which resulted in much less pain that it should have.
  • I really hate nothing more than feeling like I don't belong compounded with the feeling that others are really sure I don't belong and look down upon me. I make more of it than I need to because of my unhealthy bottom-dwelling self-confidence, but I'm up on the floors doing these tedious chart audits and drawing unwelcome glances from most of the nurses and more of the same from my "boss" when I report on my progress. I don't understand why you would precept someone if you have no intention of monitoring their growth, mentoring them, answering their questions, making time to ensure that they are learning. There is a reason that some people don't teach. And those who shouldn't teach shouldn't try to do so in any capacity.
  • I'm wondering at my lack of nostalgia and sadness at closing the book on the house. It was the largest part of my life for three years, not a paltry chunk of time. And yet, the memories there will last whether or not I live within the walls. I was sadder to say goodbye to the original six than I was saying goodbye to the bricks and wood. Never will I find such a unique, challenging, blessing-filled group of people to grace my home. And yet, I'm not really sad per se. Certainly none of the tears present last night belonged to me. I walked out without a backward glance. Is it a sign of hope for something brighter in the future or simply a sign that I never allowed myself to attach to something I knew to be temporary? I'm sadder at my lack of emotion than I am to be moving on.
  • Another protestant wedding has me more grateful for the rich tradition and doctrine and truth of the Catholic Church. I try not to let my pride and love turn to condescension but I walk a fine line. Still more ideas for my own wedding which seems further away than ever. I'm trying to pray for trust. When my fourteen-year-old sister has more of her wedding planned out than I do, it seems to sap the hope for my own perfect day, perfect marriage, perfect vocation. I don't know why it should, why other people planning for their own marriage should make me fear the reality of my own. Again, I pray for trust.

The bullet points got longer than I thought, as my thoughts always tend to do. But that's why this is here. To allow me to get it said and let it go. And as I let it go, my thoughts turn to cheesecake awaiting me in the fridge and to tomorrow which brings more chart audits and other tasks void of learning. I'll have to make my own learning then. And on that ambitious note, I bid farewell.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My friends call me 'Chowder'

Despite a morning that promised to make today longer than any other horrendously long day in this neverending week, I found surprisingly numerous graces as the day progressed. It could be because I prayed this morning fervently that graces be made blatantly obvious since my pessimism promised that the challenges would certainly be so. And they were. Third day in a row for CRRT, two patients undergoing last-ditch efforts to save their life. I'm ashamed to admit that I contemplated how either patient's death would mean less work for me. What a horrible thought to have surface when I could have been thinking that my work could potentially allow this person to live. CRRT has lousy success rates and these patients are nearing the end anyway, but it saddens me to know where my thoughts were today. I wish (and I pray) that I might have an optimistic spirit, easily seeing the grace and wonder in my day rather than having to beg God to give me glimpses of it. Still, my prayers were answered (despite my negativity and shameful pondering). The sunrise was beautiful this morning after a night of uninterrupted sleep (a rarity this week). I got to take a snack break mid-morning which included Krispy Kreme. Not my ideal snack considering how health-conscious I'm pretending to be, but it tasted good. My lunch tasted wonderful after a morning of queasiness. It was cooler today than it has been which meant that I got to roll the windows down on the way home and listen to my brand new mix CD courtesy of a Harry Potter fan site (lame, I know, but still a grace for the day). I was motivated enough to go on a run which didn't feel like a grace during and immediately after, but does now that I'm showered and relaxed. And I get to have etamame for dinner tonight after remembering for the second Friday in a row to eat sans meat. And more grace in the anticipation of hanging out with Mary tomorrow. See, for as many lousy moments as I could choose to focus on, it was an okay Friday.

Moving on to a totally different subject which has burdened/amused me for a while: why is it that the working world seems to have no concept of work ethic or awareness of time? It's like people get hired and suddenly decide that it's okay to show up 6 minutes late every day or leave 7 minutes early because the time clock still rounds to the nearest quarter hour. It might not seem like 6 minutes should be a big deal, but what are they gonna do in that extra time that couldn't wait? Or why is it that everyone seems to think that a 30 minute lunch means that you get 5 minutes to get your food, thirty minutes to eat, five minutes to finish your crossword puzzle and 5 minutes to get back to work? Seriously, if I went by coworker time, I'd have a 45 minute lunch-break every day. This isn't news to me. Every job I've ever had involved some employee taking advantage of their supervisor's inattentiveness and/or apathy to stretch breaks, push tardiness, and slack off in general. I wouldn't have expected any differently of Colin and Ryan, the two high school wonder boys who threw tree parts at moving lawn mower blades. And probably I could let the Regis painters slide because I'm currently of the opinion that boys never grow up, so even if I was appalled at their laziness and miscreancy, nobody else was. Besides, all those boys made me look great. But I would expect a little maturity, respect and hard work from those people who are old enough to know better and whose life style requires a salaried position. I would fire all their butts. Or at least threaten pay cuts. That's why nobody would ever put me in a managerial position and why I'd never accept one.

Well, that's all for the ranting except my lasting wonder at what would possess someone to think that just because someone doesn't answer their phone at 11:30pm that they are clearly in danger (not asleep) and should be rescued by a well-meaning brother who incessantly rings the doorbell at 12:30am (yes, a.m.) causing the dogs to bark just as incessantly. Just call back in the morning, hello bonjour! I mean, I don't fault her for caring, but her methods hint at madness.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

They would of course dump the perfect model they were with

As I sit in my room plagued by thin walls, loud voices and an early Mass in the morning to look forward to, I am left to think about that which my mind always wanders to late at night after I've just finished watching a chick flick. Actually that which my mind always wanders to regardless, but I'm trying not to dwell. Then again, if you're a melancholic (and trust me, melancholics dwell), why fight it.
In "The Holiday," the old actor (whose name and character name I could look up rather quickly, but it doesn't matter for the moment) describes what the film world calls a "meet-cute." That moment when the guy and the girl encounter each other for the first time in a way that is memorable enough to spark a relationship but hopefully just mundane enough to make it seem actually possible. My favorite meet-cute in movies thus far I think has been the bar scene in Hitch, which could maybe be realistic enough to actually happen to somebody, but not to me. Anyway, the point of bringing up meet-cutes is that every time I watch a movie with one in it, I start to think about ones that might happen in my own life. And every time I think about it, I get depressed at how boring my life is and how few new people ever enter for more than a few minutes. The fact is I suck at meeting new people because I crave comfort. And any friends who would be just daring enough to force me to meet new people (and who I would actually trust to show me a good time in the process) are either in Colorado, Texas or Connecticut doing very little meeting new people of their own. It has occurred to me that a successful meet-cute, and in fact the entire point of one, succeeds because the people least expect it and so meeting this intriguing new person has just enough of a hint of the unknown to be exciting, but none of the expectation so as not to be disappointing.
Still, when you dwell as much as I do, the expectation creeps in there just the same. Only it's a very pessimistic expectation, and one that I am too much of a sissy to act on should the occasion arise anyway. I've just typed a whole lot of words to get the point across that I have very little hope for romance in the near future. I have very little hope for it in the far future as well, but I'm trying to live as much in the present as I can. As I watch my friends get engaged and married, I'm left with movie and book scenes running through my head. Wondering when someone might hold me for twenty minutes without any selfish thought; wondering when I might finally have couch time; wondering when someone could be anywhere in the world and chooses to be with me because life is better with me by his side; wondering when I could love someone so much that I ache for them; just wondering and wondering (when Eric's gonna be nicer). I had to put that in there. And now, with that line, the nostalgia (can you be nostalgic for the future?) is gone and I'm ready to try to sleep through the noise. I think they went outside anyway and at least the outer walls are thicker than the inner walls. Good night.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A word in edgewise

I never understood that saying, "trying to get a word in edgewise." I don't know who decided that you needed to add the "edgewise" to make people understand that you were trying to get a word in, but I'm not sure it was necessary.
As anyone who knows me will attest, I rarely let people get words in, edgewise or otherwise, especially on the phone. I realize that part of that is because I have phone-phobia (not like arachnophobia, totally different) and that if I keep talking, I'm in control. But I also think that I love to talk to people who think that what I say matters. The reason that I have to make this distinction (as opposed to just loving to talk) is my experience at "work" this last week. At King Soopers, I felt very connected with everyone right away. They asked about me and my background and school and hobbies and family, and conversation was a very comfortable part of the day. I knew that they would listen to whatever it was that I was saying and be interested. However, at Immanuel, it's been substantially more difficult to feel like I fit in and therefore more difficult to have conversation. So far, I've eaten lunch four days in a row with the same people and I think I've maybe spoken for a combined 5 minutes. That's about 2 1/2 hours of me not talking (it should be 2 hours, but I swear nobody in the working world has any sort of work ethic or integrity or awareness of time). The joy of conversation is completely lost on these people. They don't hardly talk with each other, who they've worked with every day for the past however many months or years. They just sit and eat the lunch and make an occasional comment about the weather or something else in the news and then back to silence. They certainly don't ask me anything about myself and after a few attempts, I've stopped asking about them. I never thought that I'd prefer silence to conversation, especially during a lunch break in an otherwise painfully boring day, but I do because their conversation is more painfully boring than the silence. Too late to make a long explanation short, but essentially I don't talk with these people because I don't feel like what I say matters.
Imagine the joy of being with someone day after day who enjoys hearing what you have to say. I once told my neighbor that I hate that I talk so much and that I know that God gave us two ears and one mouth and she said, "Michelle, if everybody listened twice as much as they talked, nobody would say anything. Somebody has to do the talking." And I think I'll do the talking. I just need to find people to talk to. Coco was a good ear tonight, just letting me have at it without interruption. And that, like pretty much everything else in my life, reminds me of how much I want to get married and love someone and be loved by someone so much that all these little things that matter to me will be fulfilled. But that's a blog for another time. Especially because Friends is on and if there's one thing I love to do more than talk, it's laugh.

Monday, July 2, 2007

My eyes

I've always wanted to record different reactions that I get about my eyes, so I've decided to record the good, the bad, the ugly, the flattering, and the bizarre.
Here is a good way to bring up my eyes if you are noticing them for the first time:
Me: Did you have any questions about the prescription?
You: No I don't. You have really cool eyes. How much is the copay?
Notice how you don't dwell on it, you don't repeat yourself, you don't stare awkwardly. Just continue the conversation please. If you can't imagine my eyes being legitimate and think they must be contacts, please follow this dialogue:
Me: Hi, I'd like to return these library books and see if I have any fines.
You: Okay. Hey, are those contacts?
Me: No, they're my real eyes.
You: Really, they're neat. Let's see here, it looks like you returned these within the grace period so you don't have any fines.
Me: Great, have a nice day.
Again, no dwelling. If I tell you my eyes are real and you don't believe me, keep it to yourself. Don't ask how they got like that (I stuck pins in my eyes when I was little); don't ask if I see like a normal person (well, I don't notice a difference when I take these eyes out and put in my "normal" eyes); don't ask if people ask me about them all the time (if you did, it probably means others have too). These are all questions that I have to answer over and over and over. I don't know how to answer them. And if people keep staring there's only so much awkward smiling you can do before they feel bad about asking. It's nicer for everyone if you just don't say anything or keep your comments to a nice simple "That's cool."

Reactions vary, but the ones I hate most are the ones where people say, "hey, you'd be great as Catwoman," or "I bet you see great in the dark," or "they should take your eyes and put them on a movie poster, just your eyes." I've had people run away. I've had people question if I was a mutant. I had one lady at Walgreens who wanted to pay me like a circus act for entertaining her. Fortunately, the lady behind her in line talked her into buying a paper heart for the American Heart Association instead. It was the most awkward dollar transaction that I've ever been a part of. One time I even had somebody propose. He said, "Seriously, those are your real eyes? Will you marry me?" I kid you not.

So, understandably, I get tired of answering for my eyes. Yes, I like them, I think they make me unique. I wouldn't trade them and I know there are people out there who think they are perfect and beautiful, but I wish people would stop asking about them. Or at least keep your comments brief and believe me when I say "No, they're my real eyes. I was born this way." If anybody would know, I would.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What it takes to be happy

After another incredibly long day at "work" (the word mocks me and my bank account), I've come to the conclusion that happiness is attainable provided you set the right standards. For example, a lady came in today to get a prescription flavored for her granddaughter after the first four doses proved intolerable. She was so happy to walk in with something that was supposedly "strawberry creme" (liars!) and walk out with something that smelled at least like raspberry sorbet. You should have heard her talk about how good it smelled. If that's all anybody wanted out of life was to smell something raspberry, I think we'd all be pretty happy.

Of course, there is more to life than olfactory pleasantries. I've decided that one of the things that might make me happy is to blog without telling anyone that I'm doing so. You see, throughout the day, I frequently pause and think "What would this moment of my life be like if it were in a movie? What would people think? Would they laugh as hard as I just did? Could you manufacture the exact sensation of peace that I feel right now? Could we draft a football interception to be as dramatic as the one that actually happened? Is my life really this boring?" All these questions pop up as I imagine my life on the silver screen. Since my acting ability is tank-worthy and my self-confidence would never allow an entire movie to show my skin in its latest phase of break-out wonder, I've decided to pen the moments of my life that beg to be recorded somehow. I realize that raspberry Augmentin is hardly the stuff of best-sellers, but then again, I had to start somewhere. I was trying not to start off too morbid and when you spend your days on your feet dealing with angry customers and wallowing in boredom, you have to look a little to find the fun. FlavoRx was the best I could come up with on short notice, so there you go.

Maybe someday I'll clue people in to my blog address, but for now I'm content to write for me. It allows me to write about something as mundane as flavored antibiotics without worrying what others will think of me. Ooh, another bonus might possibly be that if I allow myself to process my day (in writing) before I go to sleep, the horrendously weird dreams might dissipate. Last night I picked a fight over my last energy bar (which happened to be bright green, but that's hardly weird for one of my dreams). I'm not expecting big things from the blog, but then again like I discovered today, it rarely takes big things to bring on a moment of happiness.
I reserve the right to make this blog as worthless to read as I feel like, and also to write as infrequently as I deem necessary. Just thought I'd let you know since I finally decided to share my blog.