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Saturday, June 16, 2012

MC Hamma

Spring came slowly this year; more slowly than any I can remember. Hard to believe, what with the unseasonal warm weather.  The amount of activity that ensued once it did arrive, however, seems to have made up for it.  A 15 member... 16 member family will do that for you. The older sis is expecting a baby, 'Baby Bean', and the younger sis found a dog; the ugliest, saddest, longest dog with the smallest head that you have ever been moved to pity - left on the porch of church in a rain storm. He was bound for our family. Kate came home from France a few weeks ago in full Parisian style; a scarf on her neck and a tsk on her tongue. Our big house suddenly got real small.  She has these great floral pants that are tight around the waist and ankle, but hang low at the hip. They've had mom do doo-ing 'MC Hammer' for the past three weeks.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A House of Cards

‘Tell me who admires and loves you, and I will tell you who you are.’ Charles Augustine Sainte-Beuve 1804-1869.

While waiting on Denver... I thought living in the big city all on my own, at the gregarious age of 24, would be a party. But while I've tried a few new things (mainly golfing, and riding a unicycle dressed as Wonder Woman) there is much I'm left to do alone; going to the grocery store, work, the gas station, the tire repair guy, the insurance company, the Colorado parking ticket office, the temp agency, the post office… the Colorado parking ticket office (apparently I can graduate from college but I can't read a parking meter) ... It’s like some annoying irony is laughing at my futile attempt at independence.

Oh yeah, I wanted to move here, because I wanted to leave home.  But I do like it here.  And I demand the mountains feel like home.  Actually, it’s forcing myself to bend in to the shape of my aspirations that has gotten me out of sorts lately, and not my new-found arid home.  I don't want what I wanted anymore. In fact, it’s not about what I want anymore.

Mom was recently diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, and the family has been talking over itself in a maelstrom of opinions on treatment.  I used to be sure that some heartaches are too great for even God to stand... that He wouldn't be able to help Himself but step in to save the day.  The injustice of the world is something I've not experienced before and I'm left looking for reasons - as to why the best of us is made to suffer. She has always been the best of us.

Some famous person said that there is no higher purpose in life, no greater joy, than to love and be loved.  Yeah, well there's no greater heartache in life either, than to love and be loved.  Especially when love is broken, and everything you have may not be enough to mend it. What's a breaking heart to do?

Who doesn't have their own dreams about the world; and their own plans for it?  I want to see Panama, and the Great Wall of China – I want to write for the Economist, advise the President on war, and learn to ride a camel.  I want to be a famous poet, a marathon runner, and a missionary astronaut.  I want to buy a sailing ship and circumnavigate Polynesia.  I want a telescope, and a Shelby.  I want to read the Koran and learn Spanish, grow a lemon tree and raise a duck.  I want to write my books.

I accept that a few of my dreams have been a bit bruised lately.  But I can lose these things and be left standing.  I suppose it’s a desperate individualism that tells me, like so many others, that no sacrifice is too great for 'the dream'.  I've seen people work for it, scramble for it, sacrifice for it... money and time, relationships, conversations, - opportunities to engage other individuals at a completely vulnerable level; opportunities to serve, laugh at themselves and love more selflessly.  I'm guilty.  There hasn't been much time for others while having this kind of fun.

When suddenly life isn't all fun and games, the permanent qualities of life begin replacing pseudo-loves; and I'm only 24.  Disingenuous ideas are falling like a house of cards; and this time, I am not rebuilding it.  I'm outgrowing what I wanted.  Suddenly, bits of my life I've valued like gold are fading to shades of grey -  I've been lamenting losses for too long, which never reciprocated my partiality: fraudulent dreams, counterfeit  emotions, and a selfish malcontent.

Ok, you love the world. You are having a great time, and only hear about others who go through trials. You love the world, because it loves you. It loves you because you can laugh.  Who loves you because you can cry?  Be honest....the world at large will never reciprocate tears...  it's a selfish, social-centric whore... like the superfluous blond at the bar who lives in a deliberate ignorance, because she thinks herself more attractive this way.

That has never been reality.  (Thank the Lord).  Engage me when I talk to you about life.  Try to convince me that life is what we make believe it to be, and I will help you feign happiness while your heart is breaking.  Reason with me when I am confused about love, suffering, heartache and death.  I dare you to tell me to smile when I feel like crying.  Tell me to laugh when my heart isn't beating.  Tell me the world really cares if I am thriving or fading.  I have seen the world laugh with me, chat with me, and gamble with me; but it does not anguish with me.  Look me in the face and tell me I am wrong...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

REALLY?! Now I dropped my cell phone down a 10 story elevator shaft...

Monday, October 17, 2011

An I-pod Dirge

Yea two weeks old, and in your prime,
You were what made our day worth living,
Showing how best to waste our time,
I know now concrete's unforgiving.

They know you not! Who call you 'toy';
Much more with music, clocks,...and the best Stupid Ninja game ever.
You were all that is electronic joy,
My lone Companion here in Denver.

But now you're gone, - sweet silver gadget,
Who sang to me on car rides home,
Your shiny screen woth filled with magic;
Now I am just so alone.

Ours was a friendship far too brief,
I know we had a few close calls;
But how great, how awesome, was my grief,
When I, in slow-mo, watch-ed you fall.

By trumpets low, your eulogy,
the words beset by pensive thoughts,
I cannot find your warranty,
Amidst the extras that I bought.

By shattered pieces, from my blunder
I wear my sorrow like a hat,
When first I saw you rent asunder,
Oh, that there was an app for that.

Hearken to my lonely dirge!
(The only word that rhymes is merge);
Hearest though, the addict's song,
Asha-med not to sing along...
For electronic heaven sent the notes
The lyrics you may someday quote,
With sorrow such as mine,
The iPod dirge divine.

Ye device, such joy didth grant,
Ye technological gem;
The silent game notifications chant
The consumer's requiem.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Big Girl Job

I got a real job... though I know most of you faithful readers are already aware, because you also happen to be family, ... or the odd stalker. I think the only person more excited than me about this development is Dad. I guess he is glad I'm being independent as well. Who knew?

The company that hired me is quite international, which is exciting. They work with insurance lines for major corporations, fleets and industries worldwide. Super cool maritime stuff as well. I make the coffee, fold the mail, answer phones and somehow manage to rip my nylons every day... and I totally have a key card. Not that the power has gone to my head or anything.

I was actually relieved that I received the news of my hire right the same day that I was flying out to go on vacation to Michigan for 2 weeks, because I had decided to move home. Three part-time jobs made that decision for me. In the end, I was thrilled to not be moving again, and I felt a good 87 years younger as the stress of the past few months began to vaporize. Walking into the airport later that nite, I was surprised there was no red carpet.

You know... there is always that someone who wants to ruin a perfectly good thing, (that good thing being the afore mentioned). Nothing about traveling irritates me more, than the guards at airport security checkpoints. They all hate their job and who blames them? But on this particular day, they had to raise Cain. As I was floating through the checkpoint, shoeless, half -stripped and not caring, dreaming about that sailboat I've always wanted that seems slightly more tangible now, a hefty, sour -looking security guard belts out 'Who owns the hot pink comupter case?!'.

Well of course it was mine. Back to reality, I strolled up to the guard with measured patience and calmly claimed the incriminating item.

'Never stuff ... the rest of your items a bin ...with your computer!' This phrase he s.h.o.u.t.e.d.

I looked at that silly man, then looked at said bin and saw the pink computer case, on top of which sat my computer, on top of which lo my hot pink sunglasses.

'Sir. That is not the proper definition of 'to stuff' something. This would more accurately be considered a 'stack'.'

He was unphased. 'You are messing up the screening process!'

It was at this point that I was inclined to sigh, and to inform him that I have a real job now, and therefore he cannot talk to me thus.

That encounter ended less than desireably. Moving on.

I was under the impression that by now I should be fairly decent at traveling. Not so my friends. Actually, I am only partially to blame for this latest train wreck. I maintain that my travel plans were sabotaged by my aircarrier. So yes, I was flying standby... but in my defense there were 30 open seats. I waited 2.5 hours at my gate, as early standbys are more likely to get a seat. Usually. I found out that standbys-as-families have priority, as do flirtations young men that wink at the gate checker, Apparently. After a 1 hour delay due to maintenance, they began boarding. As standbys were finally called up to receive their assigned seats, those traveling with children were first in line. And the children came crawling out of the woodwork. Some even jumped down from the ceiling and materialized from thin air. Honestly, if both you and your spouse have red hair, do you really need 6 kids? Needless to say I did not get a seat at 11:30pm.

By 9am the following morning I found myself wandering, haggered and lonely, up and down the halls of Chicago's Midway Airport. How the H*** did I end up in Chicago you may ask? Well, it is my favorite city and all, right up there next to Detroit, Baghdad, Pyongyang and Hiroshima during WWII. So there's that. And the fact that all flights to GR were sold out until Friday might have had seomthing to do with it. One bus ride and one car ride filled with intellectually stimulating conversation later, I found myself at home. I fell asleep for 12 hours.

Thanks goodness I will not have to fly standby again because I have a real job now.

Vacation was great, and two weeks later I found myself at my new 'desk space'... postcards and other misc wall art and bamboo in hand. Moving In Day! It's a new holiday on my personal calendar.


I recently sent an e-mail to Dad about the Plan.

"so here is what we are gonna do, dad. [Compnay] is in the habit of paging associates when they are not at their desks, and the pages go off probably every 20 minutes or so. i will send you my desk number so you can call me. then, i won't answer so you will be routed to the receptionist. she will give you the option to leave a voicemail or have me paged, at which point you say, 'can you please page her, my good woman?'. then, my name gets announced over the entire office and everyone will know me. we keep this up for a few weeks to make sure the CEO hears it as well."


Actually, I think I realize now that I am more excited about having the means to have my own life, than having a job itself. I'm looking forward to being able to concentrate on everything else I enjoy about life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Go Ahead and Cry About It

So I have been a sorry mess the past few months. I am generally a very composed person (I can say that, this is my blog. ((I am also as unaffected by my emotions as Spock and have the patience of a saint)). I know, you would like to say these things about yourself too. But when hitting your elbow, or losing your toe ring, or hearing Miley Cyrus on the radio causes you to burst into uncontrollable tears, it’s time to recognize that there is perhaps something else bothering you. Ignore it all you want, but let’s be honest. Everyone needs a good cry from time to time.

Why do we cry? I heard a wise woman say once, ‘Scars don’t still hurt’. I didn’t get it either at first, but her explanation was sensational. If you’ve ever had an experience that hurt you, and you say, ‘O it scarred me’, but deep down it still bothers you, then you haven’t healed yet. Have you ever had an experience that has bugged you for longer than your friends and family believe it should? For example, that break-up from a year ago? 6 months and 600 boxes of tissues later, everyone is telling you ‘cry me a river and get over it.’ You should have moved on long ago.... So to put on a good show, you stop talking about it, try to pick up your old hobbies… but in reality you are still hung up on it. Little things remind you of it, and to your surprise, sometimes you still want to cry about it. Or perhaps that painful experience was an argument you had with your dad? Or that guilt over your addiction? Or that company that won’t hire you? Or a betrayal of trust in the church? Or that guy or gal that won’t add you on facebook no matter how much you find ways to look at their pictures? It's a feeling of pain, betrayal, sorrow, loss, loneliness, failure, fear, anger, abandonment, guilt, gloom, grief, resentment, remorse, regret, rejection, dejection, despondency, depression, desolation, humiliation, hunger, depravity, tragedy, worry, wretchedness, weakness or woe.

Well everyone has that one thing, or maybe two things, that have caused them some long term pain, whether it be your long lost love, your long lost cat, or that experience in college when your arms were too full of books to hold up your oversized sweatpants properly and you somehow managed to lose them while trying to sit down at the front of the bus.

I’m just kidding. The sweatpants experience didn’t affect me long term. But it did scar me. My point exactly. Scars don’t still bother me. They heal, and in time I remember the discomfort as a memory better left somewhere in my recent past.

But some experiences affect us a little more. And while the vast majority of the general population, and the better part of our logic, is telling us to muscle up, sometimes the heart still hurts.

And don’t tell me for one second it’s a girl thing. The most frustrating experience I can remember growing up, BY FAR, was when, after some horrendous experience resulted in tears of distress during my tender teen years, my mother would ask, ‘Do you have your period?’

I cannot explain the exasperation this question invokes in a young girl… or, in a young twenty something. Yes, Mother still asks this when I cry … which is like…never.

The reality is that we are only human. And when circumstances are unfair, or when obstacle after obstacle makes it difficult to chase our dreams, let alone walk without tripping, it affects us. And that’s ok.

Have a good cry.

I suppose everything I want at the moment is not happening for me. Yes. Everything. I want a job because I want an apartment because I want my own life without a dependency on my parents but no one will hire me. I want to travel the world and an income that will make that happen but again, no one will hire me. I want to get paid for my awesome blog posts and be a well-liked author, but I don’t know how to get published. I want to run a marathon but apparently I want to pass out when I try to train.

So you see, situations beyond our control can be downright frustrating. Enraging at times. And if these experiences hurt the heart, and refuse to heal in the time-frame given by friends and family, then just go ahead and cry about it. I won’t stop you. Nothing is gonna change the way things are sometimes, not even you. So why pretend to be Spock? Even he cried when his mother died.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just a day

Today was one for the books. I usually embellish my dull, and often quite ordinary experiences, with a bit of literary flair purely for audience entertainment. Today needs no such help.

I decided to begin the day at 11am, and, after a quick breakfast, headed to the gym for my very first individual training session with a personal trainer... So excited to be in shape.

Two days ago he did a fit test on me. While I registered pretty healthy on the charts, I noticed I had lost a little weight since March. Slightly concerning when you don't weigh much to begin with. I had noticed lately I haven't been feeling 100%, but everyone has off days/months. When asked what my goals for the sessions would be, weight gain was therefore a priority, preceded only, and of course, by the all important 'get sexy'... Noted.

So our training this afternoon started at 1pm with some simple free weights, the horrible plank in various variations, and lunges. Nothing I can't handle. Well... at least my head thought it. After all, you are dealing with someone who trained for a marathon (don't ask me if I ran it), teaches swim lessons (that counts as a swim work-out), and benches Buicks in her spare time.

After about 40 minutes of this workout, which I cannot even classify as moderate to intense since it was a pre-test for setting up a work-out schedule, I began to feel a bit winded. Second set of the lunges and I started to feel a bit flushed. Then, feeling a bit nauseous, I decided to have a seat. My trainer friend laughed! ... I guess I don't blame him. He started telling me I need to plan on eating more electrolytes before working out, at which point my center of gravity disappeared, vision tunneled, and I was out light a broken light-bulb.

I regained consciousness in slow-motion confusion with many concerned and almost frantic faces leaning over me. To my horror, I realized what had happened. I guess... I gave up on life for a minute and passed out cold in the middle of the very busy, and very public fitness center that I call work. Someone is in my face asking my name. Someone is on the phone pointing at me. Someone is taking my pulse. Someone is propping my feet up. Trainer friend is still laughing (still not blaming him).... Someone is holding a clipboard, and the rest, as far as I can tell, are the 'Oh no! Squad'. But...if you have never passed out before... I will tell you that its like a 'reset' button. My body, for some odd reason, just didn't want to take it anymore. Its been a sport though, so I suppose I don't blame it either. Those 30 or 40 seconds of unconscious bliss were just enough to make me feel top notch again.... well maybe not top notch... In any case, I feet fine at this point, albeit embarrassed.

My readers should understand that I like attention about as much as a three-toed sloth trying to nap. Under those rare and uncomfortable conditions when I am obliged to draw attention, ... public speaking for example...or the dreaded 'turn and greet your neighbor' at church... I prefer to be well -polished and standing upright.

In my mortification I consider trying to pass back out. Realizing that would not help the situation, I assure them I am fine and tell them to carry on with their other work. As everyone loves a good 'emergency', they wouldn't have it. Feeling uncomfortably stuck in the middle of this episode, I just look up at the ceiling, wishing I had laser vision like Cyclops from X-Men to blow the ceiling off so everyone would have a bigger emergency on their hands. A very kindly man, who tells me he was an EMT, says, 'Just relax... THE PARAMEDICS ARE ON THEIR WAY.'

'Oh. Good. Lord.'

They show up with 6 personnel decked out in firefighting uniforms, as if this is the most excitement they would be getting all year, and, to top it off, they have a gurney with them.

'That is so unnecessary.' I tell them quite honestly. By now we are about 9 people kneeling and sitting on the gym floor, with lots of medical equipment, my spilled water bottle, and an entertained audience. The paramedics begin asking the usual questions. What is your medical history? Has this ever happened before? 'No. No. No....'

The head EMT asks: 'So what is wrong with you today?'

'Apparently I have an attention deficit disorder.'

'Your eyes are quite dilated.'

'Why thank you.'

'Are you taking any illegal drugs?'

Now, I may be a user at times, but not of drugs. For example, I recently hit on my car mechanic with a measure of success. Not only did he suggest to me that he could get me a radiator for whole-sale and install it for free, but he could also get me Rockies tickets. Score.

But of course I replied with more candor than that. I said, 'Sir, look. Clearly I have issues. But drugs are not one of them.'

They still stuck me with a few needles and slapped some patches and monitors on me. I checked out fine. Of course. They threatened to bring me to the hospital via ambulance, but as I was on my feet once again, I convinced them I could drive myself.

While I intended not to mention it to Mother, as she would only worry, I ended up needing insurance information for the urgent care unit. And of course, being part of a large, Dutch, previously CRC family from West Michigan, news spreads like wild fire. The reactions were typical. Big sister brushed it off like the melodramatic event that it was, asked if I was at the doctor, and then did me a favor and hung up so I could carry on with my day. Little sister 1 tried to call but missed me, and then carried on with her day, or with her boyfriend... one can never be sure. Little sister 2, having recently been given a phone, and even more recently discovered text messaging, wrote to see how I was. Not intending to explain my medical history to a sibling just approaching the tender teen years, I told her 'doing better'. To which she replied how she had a cold, but was also doing better. So sweet. My father told me to stop giving him grey hair and prayed for me over the phone. My own dear Mother accused me of mental illness.

I did however call my best friend out here just because I thought it was a cool story. The text probably read, 'Hey cool story. I passed out today.' (I was that calm about it.) I have always wondered how it feels to pass out... not good actually... Check that one off the life experiences list. But it is a cure for boredom... for others as well as yourself... as it will keep people talking and/or at least distracted from normal life for awhile as they try to bring your consciousness back to this side of the echelon.

Btw, the medical reports came back fine. Just a bit underweight, and the doc said fix it. 'Yeah, I'm working on it.'