December 26, 2010

this is a christmas card

Welcome to my Christmas Card and consequently, well look at that, my blog! I realize I am late, that Christmas has past, but I'm me. I wouldn't want to confuse anyone by being on time for something.

to those nearest & dearest to my heart, etc. & so on & so forth:

left to right: me, Santa, Cristy
I hope you all are enjoying the magic of the holiday season as much as I am. I look forward to this season all year; the season where cooking with pumpkin is once again acceptable, when people put horribly tacky lights and things on their homes, when I can listen to Mariah Carey's Christmas Album and watch Jim Henson's Christmas Toy without shame, when I can unabashedly stay home and make crafts on a Saturday night - because it's all in the name of Christmas! And no one can argue with Christmas!

I thought I'd catch you up on the past year ever so briefly, as Christmas letters are wont to do.
Here are the highlights:

I traveled to weddings, bachelorette parties, birthday celebrations, and graduations. I was a maid of honor. I threw a killer Halloween party with my three sweet roomies. My purse was stolen. I decided I believe in Unicorns. I was loved extravagantly and beyond what I deserve. I found, lost, laughed, criedhealed a little some places, healed a lot other places, and learned more than I know what to do with. I perfected a karaoke duet, finally had tea at the Brown Palace, started wearing red lipstick, and my hair got real long. I saw 7 incredible concerts (don't know how 2011 is going to top that), sang a lot of karaoke, baked a lot of funfetti, and had a lot of fun with a lot of really wonderful people. I think I understand the meaning of Christmas, too.

I worked as an office assistant for a Hedge Fund, a sales associate at J.Crew, a sitter of sorts, and even did a short stint with the Leukemia & Lymphoma society working on their Light the Night Walk. All the while writing innumerable cover letters, updating my resume daily, and applying for any and all jobs here in Denver. The search continues! Despite the fact that life is not perfect, that I still don't have a job and I am still in transition and I still have a ton to figure out, I feel thankful to reach the end of 2010 and tell you that I am happy. I am free-er than I have ever been, I have a great life, and I'm happy. That is great.

One gift of transition is that I have found that I love to write. I have taken the liberty to link you above to some posts from the past year if you are interested in hearing more about any of the aforementioned topics of great importance. I read it recently from another jobless blogger: "I blog because I love writing and, since there hasn't been an occupational opportunity, this is what I do." She goes on, and so will I: I write because I love it, and this is how I can keep doing it. I offer no deep analysis of the human condition and my posts are not about politics or anything of any importance at all (sometimes). "They're just me."

I don't mean to be presumptuous, but I want to offer you a special Christmas/New Years surprise. There are not many things I brag about, really, but if there is one thing that I am confident about in my life (other than my talent for doing voices) it is my ability to make a great mix CD. Seriously, and I don't say this lightly, but it is something I feel I really excel at. As such, if you become a follower of this blog (by going to the right side and clicking "follow") I will burn you your very own mix CD. I don't care who you are, or if I know you, or even if I like you. Follow the blog, send me an email with your address, and you will get a CD in the mail. Like magic. Available until supplies last. Or until I get tired of burning CD's.

I'll be here all year, folks. finding, losing, laughing, crying and writing about all of it.

wishing you all a 2011 filled with funfetti cupcakes, karaoke to your heart's content, red lipstick,
and every so often (if you're lucky) a piƱa colada in the shower.


December 19, 2010

Emmanuel, Barnabas?

I grew up with the Amy Grant & Mariah Carey Christmas CD's as staples for the month of December. I remember that on the day after Thanksgiving, Mom would drive Thomas and I to Kansas City to see Nana, etc, and it was on that day each year that we broke out the Christmas tunes. I would sing "All I Want for Christmas is yoooooou baaaaaaaby" until my throat hurt. I really like music in general, and I really like that Christmas music is only for a special period of time once a year. Nothing makes me crave something quite like telling me I can only have it for a month of the year does.

Just as a funny aside, when I was a wee one, I loved the Amy Grant version of "Emmanuel, God With Us," but I genuinely thought for most of my childhood that the words were "Emmanuel, Barnabas." (Before you judge me, sing it. It sounds right.) I can just hear me, 9ish years old, singing my little heart out. And I can just hear Thomas, 3 years my junior and know-it-all-y as can be, "ARE YOU SAYING BARNABAS? Mom, listen! Megan thinks its Barnabas!!!" Then I probably hit him and we both more than likely cried, but I'm just guessing here.

Not much has changed about much, including the fact that I often am mistaken about the meaning of things. (And Thom is usually there to correct me, but that's another story for another time.) Now, I can't say I've ever really been searching for the "meaning of Christmas," at least not the way they do in Lifetime Original Movies or Hallmark specials, but nevertheless, I think I finally get it. I think this is a big deal. Really big, actually. Bigger than I have words to describe, in fact, which is the kind of thing that I find at once both frustrating and delightful.

In church last Sunday we talked about Emmanuel. Just like I once thought Amy Grant was singing about a guy with a funny name, I don't think I really understood Emmanuel until last Sunday. The concept that God is here, with us, is hard. Lots of bad things happen. God is there? It is hard for me to believe that in the past two years of loss and suck that God was here. I hear so many people cry out in their pain, where is God? Why hasn't God shown up? Our pastor pointed out that more often than not, those three words are uttered as a question in desperation. Far less often are we sure of it.

Christmas doesn't just bring the answer to those, our most personal pleading - it is the answer. Baby Jesus is Good News. He shall be called Emmanuel, which means "God with us." The babe didn't erase our pain or guarantee us a life free from sadness, loss, rejection, hurt, loneliness, addiction, anger, or resentment which I think sometimes is what I expect "God is here" to look like. But alas, Christmas doesn't signify that we won't have to deal with that stuff. And really, how much more powerful - personal - is a God who does not remove our pain but steps right into it with us. I don't know. Some days this makes more sense to me than others, but right now, I feel it in my very bones. Emmanuel is not a question. It is a promise that's been kept.

There are times, not often mind you, when I get a feeling that I like so much that I wish I could bottle it up and give it away. I don't mean to imply that I have a monopoly on warm fuzzies or that you are not capable of getting it yourself. Probably even more, I'd like to save it for myself for the days when my bones feel less sure of things. I want to take it off like a jacket and give it to the people I know who feel sure of nothing right now other than that life is hard, because I was there and it was awful.

It is possible that being there was the only way I could get to this place, though. It is possible that I had to be there in order to really, finally, fully feel the peace I felt last Sunday when I heard that God is here.
It's not a question, it's an answer.

December 10, 2010

vacation angst [why I'm thrilled I'm not 15 anymore]

My family is going on vacation for Christmas, and as a result, a certain tale has resurfaced and I have been taking a lot of heat as a result. I figured it best to address it here, publicly, and then perhaps said story will lose its luster and everyone can move on with their lives. And stop making fun of me. Doubtful, but worth a shot.

We've all done things that we regret. 
Things that, if we could go back, we might do differently. 
Things that, in retrospect, are embarrassing. 

That thing for me is the Disney trip. Ten years ago.

First of all, in my defense, I was fifteen. Let's be fair. Characteristically and by very definition, fifteen-year-old girls are on the brink of hysteria at all times. I can't help it if this cycle of teen angst was set in motion just in time for the plane to leave Wichita, KS on the fateful first morning of Spring Break 2000, can I? No. I cannot. Hormones are to blame.

So it is the morning of our departure, and per usual I am jolted awake by my parents' voice on the intercom. I learned early on that with this intercom system, all I had to do each morning was SOUND awake. I didn't actually have to BE awake, but as long as I could muster one or two alert sentences, I was good to sleep for another 15 minutes or so. And what's more, in the morning, I am not smart. Nothing productive happens in my brain until about 34 minutes after the initial alarm goes off. This particular morning was no exception. On either count. 

As the story goes, when everyone else was hopping in the car for the airport, I was still slumbering soundly in my bed. I was discovered, in bed, unprepared for departure - the fury and panic in my mother's eyes will be forever burned in my memory. After attempting unsuccessfully to feel satisfied with my atypically unkempt appearance, I was ready. Tearfully utilizing my best theatrics, I headed out the door to a car full of sleepy, probably angry family members.

I vividly recall being pissed the entire week. Honestly, I have no explanation for it. I spent a lot of the time avoiding rides that scared me (which was, as it were, most of them) and being generally ridiculous. My niece who was 5 at the time commented that she remembered me being upset about a hair-braid situation somewhere along the line. Thanks for throwing me under the bus, there, Em. I'm pretty sure (and I only tell this because if I don't someone else will) that I insisted on getting the aforementioned braids and then pitched a fit because I didn't like them. My sweet little niece is now 16, and mark my words, when she has her inevitable meltdown on our upcoming vacation, I'm going to listen and nod my head sympathetically. I will tell her I understand, been there, felt that. 

And then, when she least expects it, at the ripe old age of 25, I WILL BRING IT BACK. 
I'm kidding, relax, I am a very nice aunt actually. I will probably be the only one who stands up for her. I will probably laugh a little bit... until they start talking about me again. I can hear my hypothetical children now: "Mommy, is Nena right? Were you crazy?"

Here are some personal rules I came up with to ensure that our trip will not be a repeat disaster:

1. No braids. I don't care how cute they looked on that girl in Teen Vogue that one time.
2. No skipping rides/activities for fear's sake. Even if it terrifies me and I am basically catatonic for an hour following, at least no one will mock me for skipping things that they've deemed "fun." 
3. No oversleeping. I'm setting 5 alarms and telling all 3 roommates to make sure I'm awake.
a. And not just that I sound awake, but actually am awake. 
b. Maybe shower the night before, just in case of mishaps.
4. Laugh at above story, which will inevitably be brought up at least twice daily on upcoming trip.
a. Cry in the shower if you have to. Don't let them see you break down.
b. Obtain a solid number of embarrassing tales about everyone just in case.
5. Wine. (This is the key option that was missing when I was 15!)

It may also help that I am sort of a grownup now. But in case it doesn't, and upon entering vacation mode I revert to my true inner teenager, I will have those rules in my back pocket. 

Puerto Vallarta, here we come!

November 29, 2010

birth-days are the best-days

It is no secret (I don't have many of those, if you haven't noticed) that I love birthdays. Love them. So much. I love my birthday. I love other people's birthdays. I love children's birthdays and geriatric birthdays. (I feel a little like Dr. Suess and I don't hate it.) I do not discriminate where birthdays are concerned.

There are several reasons for this, which are (but are not limited to):

1. I unabashedly love being the center of attention 1 day a year. If I ever tell you different, I'm lying. Or I'm being held hostage and I'm trying to let you know in an obvious way that my life is in danger and to please send help. One of the two.
2. I really love parties
3. Invitations, generally speaking, is my love language
4. Simple genetics (my mother is the birthday queen)
5. I get to send/receive greeting cards, and I really love greeting cards
6. Everyone gets one and no one is left out of the fun
7. When you're late with a card or gift (which I always am) it's acceptable because that only extends the fun of the birthday rather than being a bad thing (which it typically is). At least that's how I spin it.

There are more reasons, I'm sure of it, but 7 seemed like a good, holy number to end on. Anyway, this weekend I heard about a birthday celebration where celebrators sat around that evening and told the birthday haver why they all appreciated her. They poured encouragement out on her, prayed over her, loved on her and praised Jesus in all of it. I loved that. It made me realize today that THAT is the big reason I like birthdays so much. Because on that one day, we all get to be thankful for just you (unless you share a birthday, in which case fear not, there's enough to go around). The rest of us get to reflect, that day, on how much you mean to us and the reasons we love you and why we are so fortunate to know you.

It's not that on this particular day however-many years ago you were born as a tiny babe into the world so much as it is a good reminder, one day a year, that you (whoever you may be) are a gift. Maybe you are an attention giver, and getting attention gives you pit stains. Or maybe you are an attention fiend and birthdays are where you'll really shine. Whether you're a friend or a wife or a boyfriend or a sister or a dad. Whatever you are, on this one day per year (or one week per year, as I prefer to celebrate birthdays) we will celebrate you.

I think what I like most is that we all get a day. And to you birthday naysayers far and wide, fine. Naysay all you like. Don't have cool parties with hula hoop contests (I had that in 5th grade, not to brag) or bring funfetti cupcakes to school or let me sing to you in a restaurant, that's fine. But you cannot stop us from celebrating the gift that is you.

One day week a year.

November 23, 2010

lost in transition

For those of us in this great stage of life that I love to hate to call "transition," the holidays are annoying as all get out. Because really, there is just NOTHING more frustrating than having the "OH HI I haven't seen you in a year what are you doing what's new tell me everything!" conversation over and over again when there is really nothing cool to say at all. 

I don't mean to sound bitter, I really don't. I'm actually getting quite good at the "What's new?" "Nothing!" conversation. I have lots of great one-liners dripping in just the right amount of self-deprecation and humor. It's a science, really. And while, sure, I had to have a tutor for high school physics, I am something of a savant when it comes to THIS kind of science. (The banter kind.)

I used to think about making stuff up, just for kicks. I think maybe once I kind of did but then I got confused by my own story and ended up sort of just hoping people would forget what I'd said. I think it worked. Tomorrow I will embark on another journey through the luscious landscape (ha) of Western Kansas. Thing is, I am a 30/30 extrovert on the Myers-Briggs - and as such, I very rarely require alone time. But about once a year I dabble in introversion, if you will, and I CRAVE a road trip by myself. I need 8 hours to serenade myself with bad country songs and entire musicals. Heeeeavenly. So tomorrow, home for Turkey I go. And oddly, I do not have nervousness about said trip or said transition. And here is (I think) why.

Because I may be in transition, and I may hate it, buuuuuut I also get to see the mountains every day. I have an immaculate collection of fun, brilliant, big-hearted people who I call friends. I bake delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on demand. I think my family is the coolest. I laugh, a LOT. I wear red lipstick when I feel like it. And because I read somewhere that those who look to him are radiant, their faces never covered in shame.

Transition isn't glamorous, that is one thing I know for certain. But in transition, I am learning about freedom. And though it may not make for riveting conversation over cranberry sauce*, if I have to be in transition to get that, then fine. I'm not even mad about it.

And per the advice of a wise girl I know, I will do my freedom dance. 
Radiantly and without shame.

Take THAT, transition.

* I've never liked cranberry sauce anyway.

November 16, 2010

don't you dare "we" me

I kind of hate the collective "we."

It starts simply enough; you're telling a story, writing a blog, giving a testimony or teaching a lesson... and then you cross the "we" line. One minute you're telling a story about yourself, and the next you're offering general commentary on the human experience. "When I was a little girl, Susie told me on the playground that unicorns weren't real. I never talked to Susie again because I was so upset. I think we have this tendency, all of us, as people, to believe in unicorns and hate any and all naysayers." and suddenly, I'm being lectured on the nonexistence of unicorns. I don't even care about unicorns.* Nor did I have any childhood friends named Susie. What just happened?! How did I get inside this story?

Here's what I think happens. You're talking, and you're fine, but then suddenly there's this moment of panic: "what if no one knows what I'm talking about? what if they don't realize that I'm making an attempt to relate to each of them individually with my personal anecdote? quick... how can I let them know??" And then you've done it. You've crossed into "we" territory. No no, I can't let people decide for themselves if they identify with my story. I must put them in there with me myself.

When people we me (yep, its a verb now), I usually have one of two reactions. Either a) I'm angry and outraged because for goodness' sake, you've just lumped me with you in the crazy without my permission! Everyone here now assumes I am crazy too (because everyone is always thinking about me) and I must prepare my defense. Now I'm not even listening to you because I'm too busy arguing with you in my head.

Or b) I'm just mad because you're right and I don't want to hear it. (9/10 times this is probably the case.)

I am just as guilty. I bet if we went back in time on the old blog, we could find one trillion examples of the collective "we." I we you all the time, and I'm sorry about it. It's just that I want you all to be here with me in crazytown. Nevermind that you didn't agree to come here - I have brought you here against your will. I don't want to be alone, goodness no, I feel too conspicuous! So I've brought you in with me.

Now it's not just me, it's we. 
I hope that's alright with you.
Personally, I feel great about it.

* False. I love unicorns.

November 8, 2010

I couldn't find it, so it found me

Forgetting is the worst.

There is a subtle difference (I think) between forgetting something and just letting go of it. Letting go might be a choice, or you might do it because of stubbornness, or laziness, or indifference, or even bitterness. And some of those things might be a part of the process of forgetting, but it's still different. It's worse.

Because when you forget, that's it. No one chooses to forget, it just kind of happens. You can't summon what you forgot back, and no matter how much you look there's a chance you don't find it. That it stays lost, forgotten, for a long time. There is also a difference between brain forgetting and heart forgetting. And I would argue that the heart kind is the worst of the worst. Because I can learn all I want. I can read, memorize, recite, listen, tell, and be told. But I cannot will myself to feel. I cannot think myself into emotions. I can't decide one day to trust or love or be comforted. I just can't.

Once I lost my favorite necklace. I got it at YoungLife camp - and I tell you what, I loved that necklace. It was sentimental and exactly perfect and I loved it. And then I lost it. I just forgot where I put it one day. I looked and searched and wracked my brain and retraced my steps and simply could not find it. I forgot what it looked like, after a while. I forgot how it was shaped and how long it hung on my neck but I knew it was gone and I hated that.

I think for a while I forgot how to believe that there was power in prayer, that there was comfort in that power, that there was relief in that comfort. And no matter what I did, or how hard I looked, or even how many prayers I said, I couldn't make myself remember what that felt like. I just knew it was gone and I hated that.

And I bet you know exactly how I felt the day I found my necklace. The day I looked in the bottom of a bag and saw it lying there, unworn, unchanged. It was relief and joy and delight and the assurance that, finally, a search was over.

This was like that. But like... 342,908,654 times better than that.

I didn't feel it, then I did.
I wasn't sure, and then I was.
I couldn't find it, so it found me.
I don't know why and I don't know how, but I remember.

I think that's neat.

October 29, 2010

on curing colds, popularity, and menageries

I have no legitimate purpose for this blog post. I simply have a lot of thoughts in my brain (probably inspired by my cold medicine cocktail) and feel the need to put them out into the universe. So here you are.

+ I think I somehow cured the common cold. Yes, researchers, sit down and shut up because I HAVE DONE IT! Yesterday I thought I might die... it felt as though Allison had roundhouse kicked me in the throat repeatedly. Felt like I was swallowing a cheese grater. It was terrible. I took a nap, and then over the span of the evening took Aleve (which I am convinced is made with unicorn tears, fairy dust and magic), sucked on a Cold Eeze (still just as gross as when my mom first made me eat one many moons ago), and then before bed downed some cough syrup (chased with orange juice because it still makes me gag). And this morning? I feel AWESOME. Still a little bit cold-ish, but my throat feels 98% better and I want to die much less than I did yesterday.

Boom. Cured. You're welcome.

+ I love Halloween. I love dressing up, and I love any excuse to wear black lipstick, red lipstick, fake eyelashes, too much makeup in general, witch tights, cowboy boots, and fringe... all of which I get to do this weekend. Tomorrow my costume is still in the works... but I am fairly thrilled about it. Today for work Halloween I resurrected the Wicked Witch costume (green face and all - although this morn I didn't have my hat on yet and our exec director looked and me and said - "let me guess - dead?" Wah wah.) Also the costumes overshadowed that this was my last day at LLS so I was able to very well compartmentalize that I have sadness about that. Ideal. Halloween is so useful.

Additionally, my sweet, long-time fantasies of popularity come almost completely true around Halloweentime. Let me tell you a tale. Three years ago, my roommates and I decided that we should have a Halloween party. Our house is great for parties, and we thought it was just a super idea. Somehow - and I do mean I literally do not know how this happened - it was pretty much the only party in all of the Denver area or something because it was RIDICULOUS how many people came. People none of us knew showed up. It was delightful. And now, 3 years later, this party has a reputation. People expect it and look forward to it for months. We have a responsibility, now, to the young fun people of Denver. And we dare not disappoint.

+ Lastly, a list: the top 5 reasons I love living in my house with the people who live in my house: (many require photographic documentation for full effect.)

5. My roommates:
i. Alli Pie: because she will push me through a crowd shouting "ITS AN EMERGENCY" when I need her to, does not really punch me in the throat, and is supportive of my pumpkin habit.
ii. Jammy: because she creeps around stealthily, texts me from downstairs, and looks in my throat when I'm convinced I have contracted the Bubonic Plague.
iii. Key-air-uh: because she makes glass menagerie signs when I want her to, sings rap lyrics gospel style with me in our house, and gets as excited about going to Target at night as I do.

4. The Old Man Chairs... None of our chairs cost more than $10. All of them are exquisite. Latest addition (not pictured) is a delightful blue striped rocking chair that is sort of broken.

old man chairs.

3. The Board. So useful. I love when people update it for us with cool new elements like "crush of the week" - thanks Vinnie!

 a couple of past boards...

2. The Glass Menagerie... our figurine collection. Still waiting for a second cat. I don't know why I think this is so funny, but I must say, it absolutely delights me.
glee & delight - figurines
1. The Halloween Party... duh. More on this as it develops...

October 26, 2010

"Oh great. I bet they're sexting from our phones!"

That is what Cristy said to me on Friday night when our purses were burgled.
Well, OK, on Friday night when I was dancing my little heart out and someone stole my bag from a bar. But seriously. Same diff right? We have still been done a horrific injustice, have we not?!

The whole thing is WILDLY irritating. Of course, I've been playing the "if only" game: "If only the stupid Tavern hadn't played Lady Gaga and kept me riveted on the dance floor for so long so I had gone to check my purse before last call" At fault: The Tav. "If only I had not worn my cute new boots which convinced me I should probs go dancing in them" At fault: Boots. "If only I had not packed every single thing I own that night and just taken the basics" At fault: irrational purse hoarding. "If only purse thief had decided to go to Cowboy Lounge that night!" At fault: sucky purse thief. See? So many things at fault that are not me.

I just did not realize the degree to which I am dependent on the things in that bag. And why on this particular evening I decided to pack a small travel suitcase to take to the bars is beyond me, but as a result, I have no stuff. Like, I go to grab my purse and every time I have this thought of "what will even go in it?" I'm like an 8 year old who has a purse and REALLY wants to carry it so she looks like a grown up but doesn't have anything to put in it really. So like the aforementioned 8 year old, I have to put random stuff in there to make it look legit to passersby. But if you looked closely, you'd see it was full of Barbies, a Unicorn figurine, an array of Scratch'n'Sniff stickers, assorted accessories from the Pretty Pretty Princess game, and a Hello Kitty wallet with my mom's old grocery store discount cards in it and the photo ID that my aunt made me out of cardboard (that, FYI, was a thing I actually had). Also maybe some fruit snacks. Who can say really.

I am realizing reluctantly that it is possible, although SUPER annoying and stupid, to replace stuff. I've been without a phone for a few days. (People keep asking me, "well, isn't it kind of nice? Sort of liberating?" Ummm, sure. Yeah. The bright side, you found it! Congratulations! Taking a break from your phone is one thing. I'm for it. BUT THIS IS NOT THAT. But really, your optimism is inspiring.) I have no camera. WHAT IF SOMETHING MOMENTOUS HAPPENS? I won't be able to capture it, that's what. I have no student ID to use for discounts at the movies anymore, which I couldn't go to anyway, since I have nothing to pay with. I wake up in the night and weep silently over the loss of my favorite J.Crew bag and Hobo wallet, and how they will probably spend the remainder of their days in a dumpster somewhere. I had to replace the 5ish Chapsticks that live in my purse, but really, that's no big deal because I have 17 more in my bedroom somewhere. I did have to stand in front of the Maybelline display in Target for a ridiculous amount of time in an attempt to remember the shade of lip gloss I loved so much, though.

But you know what? All of that I can deal with... but my FAVORITE pen was in there. I loved that pen. Enough to carry it with me everywhere. And now some thieving loser gets to enjoy MY Wild Rose Casino pen, and I hate him or her. You think I can just drive to Iowa again and replace it? Well, I can't. And also won't. There is just only so much one person can handle, and that crosses the line. Now it's personal.

The moral of the story here, kids, is that I never want all of my important items to be together in the same place ever again. Especially not a cute leather place with an accessible shoulder strap so that someone can conveniently carry it all away from me with ease and style.

If you need me, I'll just be here trying to rebuild my identity and fill a purse with legitimate grown up items.

October 11, 2010

why won't you wave at me?

To the drivers of Denver & other places I have lived and/or driven:

There are few things that make me more furious than those jerks on the road who KNOW that their lane is coming to an end and yet REFUSE to plan ahead and get over until their lane is 6 inches wide and they are about to crash directly into the side of my car. Fine, fine, you arrogant loser who clearly thinks your time is more important than mine, FINE. I will let you in. I won't even be rude about it. I'm calm, cool, collected, and far more mature than you. I might even smile at you, politely, inviting you to respond with matched courtesy. But do they? No. They don't. Not even a backwards glance as they cut in front of me.

It's just about as aggravating as lunch line cutters in the cafeteria. You think your time is more valuable than mine? You think you deserve warm, fresh lasagna and I don't? No, yeah, I see your point. Go right ahead. Let my noodles get crunchy. No big deal. It's the same story with driving. Yes of course, Toyota Tercel, I would love to let you in my lane. No, it's fine that you didn't plan ahead and are now holding up traffic. Sure, I'll be late to work, but at least you got up here faster than those jokers who merged lanes at the appropriate time - you really showed them. I was hoping to get through one more chorus of I Would Do Anything For Love before getting to the office anyway. Really, your arrogant merge habits are a blessing in disguise.

These are the kind, forgiving, very holy thoughts that fill my mind as that freaking Tercel cuts right in front of me day after day...

You're an especially terrible person. YOU ALWAYS WAVE! I'm pretty sure serial killers and bank robbers wave. A guy who just pulled off a jewel heist and is running from the law would probably wave if you let them merge in front of you. I don't care what kind of jackhole you are, you wave. Because it's courtesy. It's basic human kindness. It's THE RULE. It's the thank-you note of driving. It's a little ray of hope and sunshine in the gloomy darkness that is traffic. The wave has become so infrequent that it hurts me in my heart. Honestly, I think not waving is more painful for me than if you'd flipped me the bird. If I made a list of ways I would want you to respond as you squeezed in front of me in rush hour traffic, a middle finger would be listed just above doing nothing at all.

Next time some poor, crazy soul singing Meatloaf in a red Saturn Vue lets you in her lane (like you gave her much choice, just saying), just throw up the hand. Give a quick wave. You don't even have to wiggle your fingers. Just one swift arm movement up to the rear view mirror could change the course of my day and restore my faith in humanity.

It's in your hands now.

(I have this feeling that given my last two posts, someone is going to send me to anger management or the psych ward or something. But these are legitimate upsets, people! I know somebody is as enraged as I am! Right!? I'm just trying to bring it into the light so we can all find some healing. You're welcome.)

October 8, 2010

Dear Microsoft Word

It has come to my attention that I have some very strong feelings about Microsoft Word. Computers in general, maybe... but mostly, WORD. Many of these sentiments are similar to what one might feel for a human person who has wronged them repeatedly. It's gotten personal. I have drafted a letter in an effort to therapeutically unload and express some of my word processing baggage. As a trained counselor, I feel that this catharsis is necessary. This is very emotional for me, so I ask that you be sensitive to my vulnerability. Thank you.

Dear Microsoft Word,

Hi. I feel a little awkward bringing this up... so publicly... but you've left me with little choice. This is what it has come to. Where do I even begin? We've been doing this dance for years, you and I, ever since you first betrayed me by losing half of my Good Life paper senior year of high school. Do you have any idea how hard I worked - how much heart and soul I put into that paper - only to have it ripped right from my hands the minute I turned my back for a moment? It took a while to regain my trust - I'm sure you remember the rocky years we had - but I always came back, even though the wound of that night still remains. I never left you. I never turned my back on you. And look where it's gotten me.

In college, and then seminary, you were never perfect, sure... but then, I never expected you to be. I didn't ask for perfection - I'm certainly not perfect myself. For a brief few years, I was happy. I let my guard down, and I let you in. I took a risk in vulnerability. How wrong I was. It wasn't long before I became wary again; I started feeling paranoid, living in fear of the heartbreak and document loss that lay ahead. It was hard to be content, hard to focus on anything at all with you constantly testing my patience, moving my margins, when I needed you at top performance. Is this fun for you? Is that it? I just... I just don't understand. I suppose I never will.

Lately it feels we are on the brink of destruction - I am this close to ending this thing once and for all. All I want to do is create documents that are well-formatted and attractive. Why won't you let me? Are you afraid of what will happen if my documents are pretty? Are you jealous, is that it? Is it because I said that thing about loving handwritten sentiments most? Is it because I use blogger to do most of my writing and not you? Well, why would I use you?!? Nothing I could ever say or do affects your choices - you have made up your mind and no amount of backspacing or CTRL+Z can change that. You are inconsistent, unpredictable, and impulsive. I think that's what bothers me most - the inconsistency. When I click "Tab," I want to know what to expect. Are you going to move an inch or all the way to the other side of the page?! I can never tell!! From one line to the next, I cannot predict your behavior. I feel on edge all the time. Flinching with each error message. Cowering every time I see the little paper clip guy come into the bottom right corner. I fear that our relationship has become abusive.

I tried being supportive, I did. I went to the Help menu, I tried to correct auto-formatting. I even spoke sweetly to you, stroked your ego, promised you my undying devotion, to reassure you. But nothing worked. Nothing. I continued to flounder, always afraid of your next move. I know I've been reactive, I've called you things that would make a sailor blush, but still you misbehave. I'm out of options. This isn't me! I don't even know who I am anymore. You have ruined my resume one too many times. Why must you sabotage my efforts to find a job? Are you afraid if I succeed I won't need you anymore? One too many times, you have refused my attempts at formatting when all I'm trying to do is make pretty signs for a charity event. A charity event, Word. What kind of monster do you have to be to get in the way of something like that? Your constant need to restrict my creativity makes me sick. You are controlling and manipulative. Let me choose how I want the wording centered! Let me decide how I want my lists indented! You don't always know best which font I should use. You can't fence me in. I will not be your doormat any longer. You can't continue to treat me like my opinions don't matter. Like I'm not a person with feelings. I'm done letting you walk all over me. This is an ultimatum.

I hope you will consider the things I have said, and I hope this is not the end for us, I truly do. I'm sure you have made and will make some people very happy. But I know I am not the first woman you have disappointed, and I'm certain I will not be the last. And I care about you too much to let you keep making the same mistakes. Maybe this will be a wake up call for you. More than anything, I feel sorry for you. I really do.

You leave me no choice but to wait for another word processor - one that will meet my needs, one that will treat me with the respect that I deserve. I wish you the best, I truly do. Get help. Until you do... well, I guess this is goodbye.

Sincerely yours,

September 25, 2010

the loveliness of sows

Much as I enjoy using words myself, I am more often than not blown away at the ways in which other people put thoughts together. To me, the putting together of words into sentences that I couldn't have thought up in a million years borders on magical. I think it is why I have always loved to read; because other people's thoughts, their joys and their pains, look much like my own. That I can feel something, acutely, and another person can describe it perfectly, eloquently, better than I ever could have - is just so freaking awesome. Even if (situationally speaking) our lives look strikingly different, on paper, we connect, intersect, relate to one another. While in real life reading another person can be not only scary but horrifically difficult, reading another person allows you more insight into their thoughts, their feelings, who they are. And as I get older, I find that more and more, I get to be in relationships with people who are honest enough, comfortable enough, to let me into those places (the "me too" places, if you will) that reading becomes less of a necessity to feel connected.

But I don't love it less. Because I firmly believe that words make art, and although art is not perhaps necessary to our basic survival, we don't thrive quite as much without it. At least I don't.

All that to say, I really, really, really love poetry.
And I really, really, really love this poem, Saint Francis and the Sow, by Galway Kinnell.

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow 
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead 
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and flops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them,
the long, perfect loveliness of the sow.

So. For those of you I have not lost into a fit of giggles because now the word "teat" is now forever immortalized on my blog, do you not love that? When I read that line - "though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness," I had to stop and catch my breath. And as I kept reading, I imagined St. Francis stooping to the earth to remind a sow that it was lovely. St. Francis. A Saint for goodness' sake. And a sow. The very picture of filth. The very last thing I think of as lovely. Are you starting to see what I'm seeing?

I've given a lot of thought recently about forgetting who you are. I wrote a few months ago: "I wonder how often we become something we're not simply because we've forgotten who we are." And to take it one step further now, I wonder if we haven't forgotten who we are simply because we've forgotten who God is.

I want, sort of desperately, to be retaught my loveliness. And I want to reteach others their loveliness too.  Would that every interaction we had with one another - every touch, every word - pointed to just that: loveliness. That we could flower, and in so doing could be fully alive. That we could remember. And in so remembering, would remember too that our loveliness, our worth, comes from the God that created us that way. In his image.


September 19, 2010

the kind of day where doubt is difficult

you do your work the best that you can
you put one foot in front of the other
life comes in waves and makes it's demands
you hold on as well as you're able

you've been here for a long, long time...

This morning, someone I care about got good news. There was some scary stuff laced in there as well, but the long and short of it is that this woman - who has been dealing with health/medical issues for a long time - might be looking at relief. Finally. There is hope where before there has been very little. And without going into all of it - the story, the whole chain of events, is just really unbelievable. It's so much an answered prayer for her, I can't even begin to tell you. When she was telling us this morning, she barely had words to describe how she was feeling.

I can't be sure, but if I were a betting woman, I'd say that's probably what hope looks like. Real, genuine, expectant, faithful hope. It was delightful. And insanely beautiful.

I left the hospital and as I got in my car to go about the rest of my day, I thought to myself,
"I'm going to have the kind of day where doubt is really difficult."

dear this kind of day, 
you are welcome to return anytime it suits you. 
in fact, maybe be a frequent visitor, if you like. 
I wouldn't hate it.
kindest & most sincere regards, 

hope has a way of turning it's face to you
just when you least expect it
you walk in a room, you look out a window
and something there leaves you breathless
you say to yourself:
"it's been a while since I felt this; but it feels like it might be hope"

[sara groves] (click to listen to the song. which, by the way, I love.)

September 9, 2010

why I [might maybe possibly kind of sort of a little bit] believe in unicorns.

Having a blog has its perks. Sure, I like to write, so that's a big one. And I've mentioned I like to be heard, so there's that too. 2 for 2. But then there is the story part. It's like I am writing a continuous novel about myself. I write my life, that is true - but I am fully in control of what about my life I write. It is a great great thing that I can be real, and authentic, and write truth - to the extent that I see fit on a given day. The truth is the truth, yes - but I can spin it how I like. I get to choose. In this life that I write, I am the author, creator, editor, and mastermind. I can write something completely untrue if I want (I don't do that, for the record). I can write something and delete it if I don't like what I see. I'm in charge. I have control. And for your information, yes, the weather is lovely in delusionland.

Anyway, in the life that I write, I try very hard not to write about the L-word. Love.

I don't mean love as in a "love your neighbor" or "I like my new Sketchers, but I LOVE my Prada backpack" kind of way. I mean love... like, LOVE LOVE. Romance love. The subject of every movie geared towards my demographic love. DOYOULIKEME check-yes-or-no love. It's not a subject I feel super comfortable positing my opinions on. On the one hand, to be a 25 year-old single girl writing about love feels stereotypical to me, and predictable is never something I want my writing to be described as. And on the other, I secretly fear becoming 'that' girl. You know her... the one who talks about nothing else. It is possible, however, that my refusal to accept this topic has caused me to err on the side of never acknowledging it, which is a kind of predictability in itself. (If it was offered, I would trade self-awareness for blissful ignorance in a heartbeat. Just saying.) So here we are.

Against my will, the "yucky love stuff" (My Best Friend's Wedding anyone?) has been stalking me lately. Believe me, I fought it... but in the past 5 months, I was invited to 8 weddings. 8 save the dates, 8 invitations, 8 RSVP cards (typically late, because, I'm me), 2 pretty great bridesmaid's dresses, 1 maid of honor speech, many bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, plane tickets, road trips, and blisters (from excessive dancing in heels) later, its September, and way more of my friends' last names have changed on Facebook than I am comfortable with. (Seriously. I hardly know who anyone is anymore. Very stressful.) It's unavoidable at this stage of life, I think... but still. I'm surrounded. And at some point, one must put on one's big girl pants and DEAL.

Which brings me to the topic at hand: Unicorns.

Yes. Unicorns. Those mythically wondrous sparkly horse-like creatures with horns growing triumphantly from their majestic brows. Sunlight beaming from every inch of their lithe, irridescent bodies. Unicorns. Unicorns are wonderful (don't argue, I won't listen) and magical and at the end of the day, we don't think they really exist. Which is why one day, when speaking of a friend's fiance, another friend and I dubbed this particular man a Unicorn. He was so wonderful that we weren't sure he was real. Another time the term came up when a friend was being pursued really well by a guy. Again, we thought, "is this real?!" Months have passed since we first coined this phrase, and one by one, Unicorns have continued to strut into the picture of my friends' lives. Fascinating.

I can no longer pretend that Unicorns (the man kind, anyway) do not exist. I can't. The evidence is there. Having been present at the aforementioned six trillion weddings in my lifetime, I can ignore their existence no longer. I'm going to resist the urge to go all Nicholas Sparks on you - I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did - but last weekend I stood with another wonderful [more-like-family-than-] friend as she got married. In the midst of all the wedded bliss I was privy to during the summer of oh-ten, I have been learning too that these things rarely look like we think they will. That the timing we have in our heads is never accurate. That there is the potential for a lot of heartbreak on the way there. And while I don't believe in "but even after all that they found each other and they lived happily ever after and nothing bad ever happened ever again because they were both beautiful and in LOVE" Disney fairytale crap-ola, I do believe in Unicorns. Which, if you know me, is a big deal for me to admit.

Since we (the females) first gazed longingly into the eyes of Jonathan Taylor Thomas in the shiny pages of Teen Beat and discovered what True Love really felt like at the tender age of 11, we have hoped (some of us more quietly than others) that Unicorns were real. I just want you to know, girls, that I'm starting to think it might be possible. You need no longer settle for horses that will kick you right in the teeth if you let yourself get close enough. (To be fair, I've always been a little a lot afraid of horses, so my opinion of them may be slightly hyperbolic. But it's all in the name of the metaphor. Hang in there.) Hold out for a Unicorn.

And boys - I'm not insulting you, so before you get your boxer briefs in a bunch, listen up. You, too, can (and probably will) be someone's Unicorn. Let me rephrase - you get to be someone's Unicorn. Yes. I've seen it happen too many times not to believe it's possible. We're waiting for you. I think I may already know some of you (Unicorns, that is), which is equally encouraging. Thank you for being so swell and Unicorny already. Thank you for being a Unicorn to me even though you aren't necessarily my Unicorn. Congratulations. You are the rarest of rare.

August 19, 2010

why we are pansies

I've noticed some patterns. I find patterns both comforting - in that there is consistency - and frustrating - in that we don't learn our lesson very easily. Psalmists were writing and confused about stuff that modern day songwriters are still writing and confused about. I'm pretty sure if you look closely, we're still making the same mistakes that Adam & Eve did. There are books written long ago that speak so true to the confusion of the present that it makes me feel like the authors somehow achieved time travel. (Seriously. I had that thought once. I underlined like a fool and drew impressively symmetrical stars in the margins and flipped back to the copyright date about 300 times to make sure I wasn't confused.) Things have changed, that is for sure, but there are some things that are just true about us.

A friend of mine told me that one of the reasons she believed that God was real, on a very basic level, was that she had never met a person who was fully content in this world. Jonah Werner says "that everything created cries out for something more." I think they're both right. Bottom line: we were created with these great, big, powerful desires. And here is where things get tricky. We consistently spend, spend, spend [money, energy, time, ourselves] on things that are not what they claim to be. (Isaiah 55: "why spend your money on what is not bread?") The pattern is that since the beginning, we have sort of been pansies. We freak out and create more manageable desires [idols, perhaps?] because the real stuff seems (and maybe even is) scary & unpredictable & like it might hurt us if we let it (and it might, actually).

Once again, I think of a C.S. Lewis quote (the one that I reference constantly as though Lewis' people are paying me royalties or something. What can I say? I love all things metaphorical.) "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink & sex & ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea." The mud is gross, but it's what I know. The slum is terrible, but it is predictable. I think that sometimes we are in the slum for so long that we, too, can't imagine how beautiful the sea could be. How beautiful freedom could be. How beautiful it would be to stop drinking, using, controlling, worrying, looking, eating, working, sneaking, hiding, lying, manipulating, shaming, being afraid, making mud pies, sitting in slums.

Henri Nouwen explains this beautifully when he writes about the old country v. the new country (the slum v. the sea, if you will, and you should): "You are very much at home, although not really at peace, in the old country. You know the ways of the old country... Even though you know you have not found there what your heart most desires, you remain quite attached to it. It has become part of your very bones.”

I think at some point or another we were hungry or bored or disappointed or hurt or confused or let down or empty or lonely - and [insert your mud pie(s) of choice] seemed like a good way to cope. And maybe it made us happy for 5 minutes, brought comfort for an hour, made us feel in control for a couple of years. For even a brief moment, what we chose as our substitution worked. But see, before we knew it, we were in chains of our own making. We became quite convinced that the mud pie was the best we could do. We stopped dreaming of the Sea because, quite simply, we forgot about it. Or maybe I remember, one day. I might even (in a weak moment) ask someone for directions. Maybe someone reminds me, even offers to take my hand and bring me along with them.

But I have been in the slum for so long.
My face is dirty & my shame is great.
I couldn't possibly be deserving of the sea.

I spent a lot of time thinking that if I could just work hard enough, I could break free from the old country, from the slum. But then I had this thought: What if I'm already free? What if I just stood up? What if instead of pleading for freedom, I accepted the freedom I already possess? What if I looked down and the chains that have bound me for so long had already been broken? What if I turned to see that the cell door was standing wide open? What if I’ve got it backwards – what if instead of having to do something to get free - because I am free, I can do something? It stands to reason that if I can understand that God is more powerful than I am, then Jesus is probably not waiting around for me to perform the magical combination of actions to unlock my chains. Again with the misunderstanding.

Regardless, the mud pie isn't enough anymore. It stopped working, because a lie is still a lie no matter how many times I exchange it for the truth. The slum is not the sea no matter how many times I am told that it is. There will be days when I still wake up there, probably. Sometimes we will sit there, sulking, broken, the chains will feel too heavy to move. There will be days I need so many reminders of the sea that it will make the people who love me feel crazy.

I am comforted by Nouwen’s words about baby steps:

"The new country is where you are called to go, and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable. For a while you experience real joy in the new country. But then you feel afraid and start longing again for all you left behind, so you go back. To your dismay, you discover the old country has lost its charm. Risk a few more steps into the new country, trusting that each time you enter it, you will feel more comfortable and be able to stay longer."

Don't be afraid.
Risk a few more steps.
We're not slaves anymore. We can stop trying to free ourselves. We've been set free.

We can go home.

August 10, 2010

looking in all the wrong places

I do not like being asked hard questions.

I had to answer one recently about where I have been trying to find hope. Good golly miss Molly. I look for hope everywhere. I think a main source of discouragement in past months is that I have been in what looks to be a major hope drought. And as well as my seminary degree and years of Sunday school have taught me how to answer questions like that one, I realized - rather abruptly - that Jesus was not a part of my honest answer.

It's hard to admit that. It's hard to admit that after years of calling myself Christian I can still get so far off base. It's hard to admit that I convince myself all the time that people/things that aren't Jesus are going to contain the hope I want. I look for hope in humans, a lot - in friends & family & counselors & pastors. I look in books and sermons and blogs and songs and recovery groups. I put all my eggs in their baskets, begging for a line, a word, a lyric, a hug, a breakthrough, a blog post, anything that will give me the hope I want. I want hope for recovery. I want hope for a future that is better than this. I want hope for help and support and better days and less tears. I want to have hope. But people cannot love or validate me into recovery. Books and sermons and blogs don't contain magic hope formulas. No matter how many times I listen to a beautiful song, it will not change my heart. Which is why time after time I strike out. Time and again I think - maybe - maybe this time... yes I think I've found -- nope. Fakeout. A-swing-and-a-miss. Hope is hard.

Shortly after I answered the hope question and had a tiny panic attack, I read this in 1 Thessalonians:
"[the] gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power."
Hot diggity. I forgot about power.

I felt so silly. I was too caught up in my attempted hope harvest that I didn't even notice it was missing. Power. In the gospel there is power. Not just words. It's not all talk. In Jesus there is power. God is powerful. I, on the other hand, am not. My powerlessness is easy for me to wrap my brain around, because it makes itself apparent in every minute of my little life. But a power that is great enough to be bigger than everything that overpowers me kind of makes my head spin. In the good way - but still, I'm dizzy. From the spinning.

As unbelievably lame as this is, I looked up the definition of hope. And actually, I'm glad I did.

a feeling of expectation or desire. 
a person or thing that may help or save someone. 
grounds for believing something good may happen. 
a feeling of trust.

I can't remember the last time I felt those things securely. I think sometimes we spend so much time looking for hope in places where hope doesn't live that we forget how to expect. How to desire. What it might be like to be truly helped or saved. What it might be like to actually believe something good may happen. How to trust. To find true, authentic rest not in words, but in power. I looked in words, and I looked hard - and although I caught a glimmer here and there, I always came up short.

because words are not power.
hope is not found in humans or in books or in songs.
hope is more than a word.

hope is found in power. 
power that is not mine...
... and it is not yours.

it is Jesus. Jesus is where hope lives. 
and I imagine that hope is as powerful as I think it is. and then some.  

July 28, 2010

and THIS is why I love Facebook.



this is a world filled with love & other things that have the sense not to waste time talking about everything under the sun & see how it glows with no help from us whatsoever? 

July 22, 2010

what love looks like

quality time, ice cream for dinner, & cards from Texas
shared tears, copious hand-holding, "me toos," & gifts of going second
emails, rainbow brite pencil sets, a UPS notification, & affirmation
cool whip & graham crackers & silly tv shows
hugs, a clean car, admitting, protection, so much grace, & laughter
I'm sorry & that's hard & it's okay
hearing hard truths, recognizing lies, & personal days
I was wrong, I screwed up, & please forgive me
acceptance, permission, honesty, coffee, a replaced straightener, & sarcasm
hope, help, & reminding me who I am when I forget
checking in, offers of street justice, lullabies, mix cd's, & validation
"she's my best babysitter, but you're my best Meggie" & "I want to sit in yours lap"
weakness, strength, hearing & being heard
consistency, forgiveness, & the sharing of intense irrationality
distraction, focus, talking, not talking, & sitting
feeling safe, not afraid, secure, & sure

When we were little, we had a boy babysitter, Jason. I thought he was so great. I remember lying in bed one night and Jason poked his head in my door from the hallway. He saw me, awake, and nervously said, "oh, hey, just checking to make sure you were still breathing" and then made a swift exit. I remember thinking that that was really weird, because why would I not be breathing? Now, of course, I know that he was checking on me (however awkwardly). And even though I didn't know why the heck he would be concerned about my breathing, I know that I felt safe. His care just looked different than, say, Holly's. (Holly was our other babysitter. Who was also great. Until one day the police came when she was over and told her there was a report of someone being on our roof and I'm pretty sure traumatized her so badly I'm not sure she ever babysat again ever. But that's another story for another time.)

It's a silly example, but my point is, just like Jason's weird way of checking on me made me feel safe, love, too, takes different forms. The delivery is inconsequential so long as the message gets across. Sometimes it's hard to come out and say, "I'll keep you safe." But even as a little girl, on some level, I knew that's what Jason meant. It may make things tricky sometimes, but I think I like that love looks so many different ways. I think I like that graham crackers & cool whip can leave me just as assured that I am loved as "I love you" can. I know I like that there are people in my life who know when we need ice cream for dinner or that sometimes I just need to hear that I'm somebody's best Meggie. I like that Jesus makes himself known in street justice just as much as in safety. I like that there are so many ways to give and receive love.

I like that I'm given it. Abundantly. Even when I suck or I'm crazy or I'm broken down.

I am thankful for love that was delivered to me in so many different ways today
& for the miraculous absence of emptiness at the end of a day I felt sure would end emptily

July 14, 2010

when things stay awesome

There are some things that, no matter how old you get, are always awesome.

When you're a kid, quite often things happen that are absolutely pee-your-pants awesome (for those of you with incontinence issues in your childhood (or currently, for that matter), I do not mean any disrespect to you and your formerly wet pants. Please don't take my language personally). And you think, "won't it be sad when one day I don't get pee-your-pants excited about awesome things anymore?" And then you're an adult and something awesome happens - and much to your surprise and joy - YOU WET YOURSELF! No, I'm kidding, that would be gross. But your heart starts beating faster and you are still excited as though you are 6 years old and you just walked downstairs on Christmas morning and, thank goodness, Santa Claus came AGAIN even though you were a little brat for 360/365 days of the year. It is a wonderful feeling to realize that all of the childlike glee is not forever missing from your now grownup and boring life. Here are some of the things I have discovered recently that are this kind of wonderful.

getting a new bike.
This is basically the end-all-be-all experience of being a kid - when on that aforementioned Christmas morning you get your first bike. Mine was pink (at least the one I remember was) and it had streamers and a basket for carrying dandelions in. (I'm pretty sure none of that is true, but who's to say? In my imagination its true and that's what counts here.) A bike is a rite of passage. A true sign that you have arrived. Walk to the playground? No freakin way. I'll take my new bike. No big deal. I recently was gifted a new bike (new to me) and it is just as exciting. Riding your bike in Denver gives you instant street cred. Second best is driving a Subaru Outback. I can't stop riding my bike places. (Ok, mostly I can't stop talking about how I'm riding my bike places. Street cred is important to me.) Especially the park. Few things make me feel cooler than rolling up to an ultimate frisbee game on my new little bike. I. have. arrived. Both literally and figuratively.
queen anne's lace.
There is queen anne's lace growing on the side of my house. I love it so much.
Yes, I know its a weed. No, that does not make me love it less.
making a new friend.
Sometimes when I get a new friend, I have to resist the urge to immediately grab their hands and jump up and down, invite them over for a sleepover at my house, and ask them if they can come to my birthday party (which is 11 months away at the moment, but that's not important). It all happens so fast! This is another thing that really doesn't get less exciting. There is nothing greater than meeting a person and realizing that you really like them. Like them so much, in fact, that you're going to have to exhibit immense amounts of self control in order to maintain your cool and not freak them out within the first 6 minutes of meeting them. Eventually, if you're lucky, you'll get to have the FDTR - the friend 'defining the relationship' convo - and you'll discover that the jump-up-and-down feeling is mutual. Then (and only then) you may jump up and down. Holding hands if you prefer.
lemonade stands.
I do not get less excited about lemonade stands at 25 than I did when I was 7. Of course, I'm not having them these days, but I tell you what - I stop every time I see one, and I love it every time. There are 2 boys (Max & Jake) who have a lemonade stand about a block over from City Park every Sunday during Jazz in the Park. This is brilliant. They have lemonade, dog treats, and homemade baked goods that are legitimately delicious. We've been there a few times (we are regulars, they know us) and they ARE SO CUTE. Last week they told us that all of the proceeds were matched by their mom and put in their college fund. The other half they get to keep. Which is adorable in writing and even more adorable coming out of their little mouths as they try to sell us another brownie "to take to our friends." Great little businessmen.

I'm pretty sure I've mentions 6 trillion times how much I love invitations. I love being invited places. If it were a love language, it would surely be mine. And now, yes, we've moved to a less exciting e-vite, facebook-vite style, which is sort of boring. I only like them slightly less than pink sparkly princesses telling me that YOU - ME? - YES. ME. (deep breaths) - have been invited to whatshername's pink sparkly princess party. Glory be.
the opposite sex.
9 year old girls talk about boys. 13 year old girls don't talk about anything other than boys. 15 year old girls maybe date some boys, but mostly just talk about them. (This continues into your 20's.) Somehow, it is still just as exciting as that time in 5th grade when Bradford called to ask me if I liked Steven, hung up, called Steven, called me back (Bradford, not Steven), to ask me if I'd like to "go out" with Steven (be still my heart!). Which clearly means maybe sit together at lunch once (but probably not), talk on the phone sometimes (through Bradford, more than likely), and essentially never talk again (to each other - you talk about each other with everyone, of course, because duh, you're going out). I moved to Kansas in the middle of 5th grade. Steven and I couldn't break up, because that would require a conversation. (We're still together. Technically.)
juice boxes & popsicles.
This is really a pretty random comment which I am making only because in the past week these two magical treats have significantly raised my quality of life. Juice boxes are always a mood-booster. Never not a good choice. I don't buy them often (because I'm a grownup) but when I do, it brings me such joy and delight to reach into the fridge and grab one. And since it's approximately 1 billion degrees outside each day, popsicles are a must-have. Having that cold treat when it is 96 degrees (in my bedroom) keeps me from hurling myself into oncoming traffic.
This is what I have on my list for now. What's on yours?