Thursday, December 6, 2012

A new era of things lost and found

In my downtime during this Christmas break, and last summer, and last Christmas break, I have discovered a Pinteresting person inside me. Yes. Yes, I am that girl. I make stuff. And I want to show you the stuff I make. Whoooo, look at me be all artsy and.... and.... yeah! Buttons! Sponge art! Paper mache!

Ahem.

To the point, there is another part of me that loses things--I lose safety pins, and scrapbook paper, and whole barrels of beads and buttons. But I also find things. I find new things to make, easier ways to make old things, and rediscover love of certain crafts--like salt dough!

I'm not going to devote hours to showing you how to do things, at least I'm not that crazy yet, but I am going to put up pictures of my creations. If you're a TRUE creative person (like myself) you won't need directions. You'll look at it and say, "Psh, I can make that with my eyes closed." And I'll say, "You go, girl!" (or guy) because that's what it's all about. Artists steal each other's ideas all the time. So feel free to take my ideas and personalize them.

Here is my first example: Christmas Tag Banner/Garland



For this project I used:
-Red, green & white cardstock
-Rubber stamps (Note: ALL of my stamps come from the "value" section of craft stores. None of them cost more than $1.50.) Different stamps: "V" monogram, "be happy", bird, snowflake, various letters.
-Red, green, white and silver ink pads
-Craft paper punches (heart puch, fleur-de-lis punch)
-Approx. 6 yards (3 yards doubled over) of "hemp" craft twine
-Small-scallop craft scissors

This is the first of many crafty posts, I hope. I'll put more up soon, since I just made a bunch of shabby-chic Christmas ornaments yesterday.

The creative spirit runs free again

Some of you might be wondering, where have I been for the last several months? I know, I know--only 15 people "follow" my blog, and who could say if they actually read it? Nevertheless, there might be someone out there begging the universe to tell me of my whereabouts.

It would be simplest to say, "I've been student teaching," but it would not be an honest answer nor would it be simple because, of course, such an occupation hides a multitude of other situations and events which are probably all worthy of my blog and should be justified by having me write of them. So, to begin.

I have been reading books, such as:
Children of the River
An Ocean Apart, a World Away
The Breadwinner
Shabanu
Stepping on the Cracks
The View from Saturday

I have been designing creative, artistic writing lessons, which often include drawing.
I have been slowly re-learning everything there is to know about grammar. Like prepositions, fragmented sentences, and compound subjects--just to name a few.
I have been making friends with 94 sixth-graders, and a handful of teachers who love middle schoolers just as much as I do--or at least almost as much as I do.

In addition to all of that I have been sleeping very little and doing a lot of walking, talking, classroom-managing, field tripping, and grading. It's been an exhausting, exasperating, exhilarating adventure.

And now it's time to adjourn from this phase of my life, and move on to a more peaceful time. For now. In addition to that, I would also like to move my blog in another direction. See the next entry to discover what I mean by that statement. :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

So long sweet summer

I wonder how many times in the last ten years of my life I have pondered over that line, those lyrics, and sung them in my head, and gotten lost in the song like it was the summer of 2002 all over again.

"So long sweet summer. I fell into you, now you're gracefully falling away."

I know it's not cool to listen to Dashboard Confessional anymore, but I liked them before they were cool, and I'll keep liking them for a while, probably. It's just such a perfect song, which, regardless of how your summer went, always seems to capture the majority of what I'm feeling.

I spent my summer as a stay at home wife. I made candles and washed dishes and decorated the walls. I read too many books to count. I went to the beach and felt totally at peace, and got a sunburn. I procrastinated and slept in and played video games like a boy. I worried about my husband and about money and about being sick and about money some more and about relationships. I thought deeply about student teaching, but did not worry, for some reason.

And two weeks from today (today still being Wednesday) I'll be starting student teaching. It's not in the city I wanted, not with the age group I wanted, but I am hoping it will be a good experience. I am hoping that I can spare the money to get enough "teacher" clothes to wear 5 days a week for three months. (I will miss you, blue jeans.) I am hoping that I remember all the important stuff and forget about prejudices against sixth graders. Maybe.

And I'm hoping that the next few weeks can give me what I need. I hope I get enough sleep and feel at peace when it's over, peace that it IS over, and peace that it will someday come again. I hope that I can go to the beach early in the morning, one more time. I hope that I can do all the crafty things on my list and finish one more book and have time to get all those "teacher" clothes I am dreading.

But most importantly, I hope I find some secret grain of wisdom in the next few months, with an age group I didn't ask for, in a city I didn't ask for, just side-effects of the adventure I asked for.




Monday, July 2, 2012

If the walls of this room could talk... would they lie?

A partial quote from a favorite song by Ryan Adams is being used this week, because Ryan Adams is the the voice in my head when no one else is around. Not because the voice of God is elusive or that I favor Ryan Adams' voice over the voices of people in my life, but because I've spent so many years listening to his music in solitude that it has become habitual.

I have been trying to find a decent way to say what must be said without causing alarm for anyone. But there's also a part of me that loves being dramatic, loves to cause alarm, only to crush the feeling of shock with something anticlimactic and dull. So here it is: Joey and I are spending the week apart, at least until Thursday. Because we're having a huge fight!

Not really. More accurately, moving to Waukegan has squandered what little money we had to begin with. That, in addition to Joey having less hours at both jobs this last week, and the continual need to put gas in the car because both job are now a half hour from home, have contributed to the need to not spend any money until Friday. Joey will be staying with a friend back on campus, and will be here at the apartment--without the car, all alone, listening to Ryan Adams.

The only thing that makes this tolerable is that before marriage Joey and I spent most of our relationship apart. And I really mean most of our time, and I really mean very far apart. We're talking 2200 miles while I was at school for nine months of the year (for two years), and 70 miles while I was at home. [So to all of you people who complain that your sweetheart lives thirty minutes away or that you only get to see each other on the weekends, please shut up. Unless they live in another country, or they don't believe in e-mail/phone/etc. communication, you have no space for complaints.]

It will not be entirely difficult to get back into the routine of talking on the phone. And this is not the first time we've been apart since we've been married. Last August I was on a leadership retreat and was gone for a few days. But this will be the first time I will have to sleep in our bed by myself--although it is a wonderously comfortable bed. The other night, while mostly asleep, I described it as being made of "clouds, marshmallows, and angel wings." And it's just a mattress on the floor. No box spring. No bed frame. (though I wish we had both, because all normal adults do.)


So now, I get to do what I've wanted to do all year, and that's be a housewife. I will continue unpacking, there are only a few boxes left. I will hang things on walls and wash dishes and bake cookies and... maybe I'll even sew something. And I will miss my dear husband, all day, every day, until he comes home.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In transition

I'm about to head out the door, for a second drive up to Waukegan with a car full of boxes. Having just barely made the rent an deposit, I became depressed and didn't pack as much as necessary this last week. So we did a lot of it today, and yesterday. The furniture will be moved on Tuesday. Everything else will trickle up there in the car, box by box, bag by bag, until this apartment is empty and the new one is full and waiting to be transformed into "home."

The process has been painful. The anxiety I thought I could leave behind for the summer practically flung itself back upon me. It's been hard to sleep an hard to eat and therefore also hard to stay awake when I have things to do that require... well, awakeness, and energy. Four separate times we found a place to live and began the process and then the plan got shot down. We wasted a whole month, getting run around in circles by a little old lady with an apartment on her property. And we looked at a place with bugs in it on the third floor of a creepy building, with rickety stairs. We looked at two places with a potential roommate, and then that also fell through. (It wasn't an upsetting experience, and there are no hard feelings, but it did mean we had to start over.) My trust in God has been such a rollercoaster over the last few months. We found something good and then it was taken away, and that happened FOUR times in less than two months.

You always know that if God takes something away, he has something better in mind in the future. But God also lets people become homeless. He lets their spouses die. Bad things happen to good people, bad things happen to those whom God loves. That was my fear: that God wanted to teach me something through loss, and that's why we couldn't find a place to live.

Thankfully, that isn't how it happened. Instead, I had to let go of some pride, as did my husband, and we had to ask for help from friends. Like knowing that God has a plan, you also know that God gives you friends for a reason. Not just because they're fun to be around, not just because they give us joy, but because sometimes they actually represent God's provision and grace in a tangible way.

The car is almost full. I have to carry down my picnic basket full of tea things. After dropping this stuff off at the apartment we're going to get some last-minute anniversary things, and tomorrow I will have been married for a whole year. Insert mushy comments here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Soon I'll be a stranger in a strange new place

Less than three weeks from today I will be living in a new apartment, in a new city, with new bills to pay and new people to meet. Strange as it may seem, this is as close to the real world as I have ever gotten. Living on Trinity's campus isn't exactly like living in a safe bubble--not nearly as much as people think, especially if you rent an apartment. But, it's all I've known. I have always lived with my parents or on campus. This is the first time I'm living somewhere that isn't either of those things.

It's a rattling feeling. I'm excited, but I'm also a little scared. I can't wait to move all of our stuff out of here and into the new place, and at the same time I am avoiding packing. I don't know what to pack first. I'm afraid I'll put something at the bottom of a box and I'll need it tomorrow. I'm afraid I'll put something fragile in a box, and that one box will somehow manage to fall apart and break everything inside. Also.... I really just don't know where to start.

When I sat down today and realized for the billionth time since we got approved yesterday that yes, we are moving, a song came to mind. 'Anatevka' from Fiddler on the Roof. It decently sums up my feelings at the moment. I am happy to be leaving, happy about the situation, but living on campus has been wonderful. I have loved being close to all my friends that are still on campus, and have loved going to classes. Now that I'm leaving, and I'll be student teaching this fall, everything will be different. It's just a little bittersweet..


Anatevka
A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
A pot, a pan, a broom, a hat.

Someone should have set a match to this place years ago.
A bench, a tree.
So, what's a stove? Or a house?
People who pass through Anatevka don't even know they've been here.
A stick of wood. A piece of cloth.

What do we leave? Nothing much.
Only Anatevka.

Anatevka, Anatevka.
Underfed, overworked Anatevka.
Where else could Sabbath be so sweet?
Anatevka, Anatevka.
Intimate, obstinate Anatevka,
Where I know everyone I meet.

Soon I'll be a stranger in a strange new place,
Searching for an old familiar face
From Anatevka.

I belong in Anatevka,
Tumble-down, work-a-day Anatevka.
Dear little village, little town of mine

Friday, May 25, 2012

On suffering

You know when you're experiencing something really painful, really difficult, really challenging, really heartbreaking, someone always says, "Well, it could be worse." They say, "At least it's not cancer" or "at least you look good" or "at least it's only temporary." And you agree. You accept that you don't have too much to be upset about, you accept that you have been deeply blessed, or that you had least have it pretty good. You never wish that it was worse just so you would have a reason to complain.

But I do.

See, like most women, I hide a lot. For clarification: I hide things, thoughts, feelings, from the world. I keep them to myself. I do not ask for help. I do not express my pain. Lately, I haven't even written these hurts down in my "regular" journal.

Now, I'm also unlike most women, in that I'm not afraid to ask for help. I say what I need, I am very specific, and if someone tries to tell me that what I need is not correct, I usually ignore them. I may not be old and wise but I know most of my own needs and I do not appreciate well-meaning older people telling me otherwise. This is not because I'm stubborn, because I am controlling, because I am whiny, because I am pushy. (Although I possess all of those qualities to some degree.) This is because I have learned the value of both independence, and dependence. I have spent years depending on only myself (internally), and as a married woman I have learned to force myself to depend on someone else--not for everything, but in the right times and places. I have learned to submit to someone else doing what's best for me. I have learned to just say what it is that will help me the most, instead of hoping that someone will telepathically see what it is I need and magically fulfill it.

This has been a process. Don't hate the process. There is nothing wrong with just saying what you need.

The problem is when people actually try to fill that need with something else. I want to give examples, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so I will make something up. Here. I'll tell you a story.

We see a girl in college, and she wants to go home for the weekend to surprise her mom for her birthday. She just doesn't have enough money for the train ticket. She is paying her own way through college for the most part, and will end up paying back her own student loans, so the $50 round-trip train fare is just not in her budget. The girl calls her aunt (her mother's older sister) and tells her the plan, and asks if she can help her with the train ticket. The aunt gently says that she cannot afford the ticket either, something about living on a limited income. The girl sits at school all weekend feeling sad. She mails her mom a handmade card, and calls her on the day of her birthday, wishing the whole time she could be at home. A few days later she receives flowers at her school's post office--they are from her Aunt. The flowers are inexpensive carnations. The card reads: "Sorry I couldn't help, dear. I have been thinking of you and your mom all weekend. Hope these make you smile!" The girl wonders why her aunt could not have offered to send the flowers to her mom, and say they were from her. The girl wonders how she could afford to have flowers delivered, an expense of at least $30, which could have covered more than half her train ticket. She doesn't ask her aunt, so as not to offend her, and writes a simple card thanking her for the flowers, just to be polite.

It feels like that. What I get in response to my needs, it feels like that every time. It feels like someone sees my need, listens to what I say, and then they spend time and energy giving me something I don't even want, let alone need! They replace what I need with some nicety, some Sunday-school answer, some sugary advice, some platitude, some proverb, some meaningless favor. It feels like this every. single. time.

So let me explain why I wish it was worse. Why would I ever wish something more painful upon myself, why would I want more hurt and struggle?

Because people see it. For the girl in college, wanting to go home for her mom's birthday wasn't a big enough need. Nobody thought it was that important. It was sweet, but not important. If her mother was dying, it would be a different story. If the girl needed to get home for a relative's wedding or getting her braces off or updating her driver's license, it would be a different story. Someone would fill the need.

In this same way, my needs are also unseen, and unimportant. I need to move into a new apartment? "That's easy, look at this website." I'm sick and don't know what's wrong? "Go to a doctor, they'll help!" I'm having a bad day, and would really like some encouraging words from a friend? "Here, -insert overused Bible verse looked up on some Bible site-. Smiley face."

My needs are not important enough for anything that requires effort. I can handle it myself, as long as you keep giving me advice.

At least that's what you think. That's what you see. That's what happens on the never-ending merry-go-round of Facebook. I express a feeling, I get tawdry advice in return. I express some happiness, I get questions and cynicism. I express a deep need, and I get more advice and more cynicism and nothing useful.

Although, the problem really isn't in other people. Not all of them. I know the people I have befriended on Facebook. Most of them are loving and kind, patient and gracious, and generous--to the right person, with the right need. I have struggled with health issues all year and there are only a few responses. 1. "You should see a doctor!" Because, you know, I've never been to one. I had no idea that seeing a doctor could help with sickness. Thanks for telling me, if you hadn't said that I would just sit here feeling so confused! The other response: "Maybe you're pregnant!" Let me tell you, here, on the big scary internet, that NO. I am not. It's actually unlikely that I will EVER be pregnant. I have put that in God's hands, but you have no idea how much it hurts me every time someone asks that just because I am feeling sick.

And that is just one struggle. That is one reality that has been sitting with me since I was 17 years old and every time it's mentioned (unless I bring it up myself) it's like someone jabbing you in the ribs and saying, "Nyah, nyah, you'll never get the thing you want! Remember that? Remember how much it hurts? Neener neener!"

I feel like if people knew just a third of what actually happened in the last year they would stop giving me useless advice. If people could see my heart, and how tired it is, after everything that I've been through just in the last few months even, they would probably nag me a little less about responsibility and maturity. THE WORLD sets the standard for success, the standard for health, the standard for maturity and responsibility. But GOD sets the standard for the health of my spirit, the standard for the passion in my heart, the standard for how much I trust Him. God sets the real standards. The ones that matter.

So maybe the next time I request prayer about something, just tell me you're praying. That's what I need. When we're sitting down together, face-to-face, you can tell me a funny story about how my needs relate to yours. Or tell me something like not believing in prayer. Don't mess with me, don't tell me stories. Just pray. Or don't.

And maybe the next time I say how exhausted I am, how high my fever is, you'll tell me to feel better instead of playing a guessing game of "What's wrong with Katie?" or recommending some treatment (or telling me to go see a doctor), or asking if I'm pregnant. When you are in the room with me, with my body THEN you can tell me what you think is wrong.

Maybe the next time I am hurting, and express that hurt, you'll remember that this is the surface. There is deep pain beneath it. Maybe you'll remember that whatever I say on Facebook is just a tiny piece of reality, that whatever I say I need, it doesn't even express half of what I really need.

And if you can't meet the need, don't replace it with something else--other than prayer. If you can't buy the train ticket, don't send me flowers.



PS. No, I'm not going to actually tell you (the internet) what's going on. That would hurt. A lot. And would cause more drama than anything else. The end.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The simplest explanation is the best

 Patient is as patient does:
an ideology that could speak volumes,
but patience as we know it
is often silent.
And according to the critics
it is normal for women,
a gender scorned by
those on both sides of the wall.
This comes naturally to me,
naturally I am a woman,
and due to the nature
of my feminine charms
I wait.
I am unswaying, unmoving,
unceasing,
I sit and I stay and
I wait.
But I will not be
unspeaking, unscreaming,
unintruding.
I can be patient.
I can do patient.
I cannot be silent.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pull in to the station

Some thoughts on my final finals week.

I never have to do this again. I could start by saying I've never done this before. I've never had a stress-reliever (husband) waiting at home at the end of each final. I've never experienced a finals week in which I was not also scrambling to find people to take care of half my belongings for the summer, and simultaneously packing everything into two suitcases and that ENORMOUS green backpack. I am not stressing about making sure I finish all my finals in time for the flight home. I am not measuring out meal swipes, or pawning them off to those who have used all theirs up. I am not spending my evenings at Late Night Waybright (or Midnight Melton, aw). I don't have a suite duty, which usually includes something stupid like wiping down windowsills three times over or washing walls. I am studying with no one. I am not having movie marathons with studying friends.

It's different, and it's nice. I like coming home to Joey, who brings me tea and soda from Panera and makes me coffee and buys ice cream to soothe my nerves. He holds me when I'm freaking out (which I haven't done yet, but it's still possible.) I get to study by myself, and when I stay up all night writing or pouring over facts I get to keep a couple lights on, I can go to the kitchen and make myself something to drink or munch on, and he won't wake up. It's a nice change from previous years. Things are changing all the time, and I'm adapting fairly well.

And next Tuesday May term starts. And then... who knows? The landlady hasn't made a decision yet, which is disconcerting, because whoever that silly seminary student is that she is also considering should know that he can easily get a roommate and live somewhere else, for even cheaper. Problem is, she is elderly, and when you're that old you just get to do what you want. And we're not going to be pushy.

I don't like waiting for something so obscure. It was hard enough just waiting until Monday to find out her decision. Now she still hasn't made one, and we won't know when her decision is made. I like to know how long I have to wait until I have to start waiting for something else. Yep.

It's like we're in a train station, and we're waiting for a very specific train. No one will tell us when the train is arriving, but they do know that when the train arrives, there's a chance we won't be able to get on. So it feels like we might as well go wait for another train that actually has a time of arrival. Or, we could find Platform 9 3/4 and head to Hogwarts. That sounds like a more exciting trip, anyhow.








Sunday, May 6, 2012

And the livin' is easy

I realized, possibly just a few days ago, that my summer will potentially be very quiet, mostly uneventful, and peaceful. It seems the "nothingness" I am so desperate for may actually be within reach--and in the most perfect way. Basically, the way this happened, is that Joey got a summer job, and we might get a small apartment in the middle of the woods. The rent is cheap (unbelievably cheap) and the elderly landlady seems very sweet. We'll find out on Monday if she wants us to move in or not.

 The other half of this "potential nothing-filled summer" comes from Joey's second job. It was already expected that he would get the car most of the summer for work, since he'll be a trainer soon with more expectations and responsibilities etc. etc. etc. In a fit of panic and bewilderment, (because of suddenly being told we had to move out, not having money for the rent because we paid for me to take my content area test in June, needing to see a doctor badly, more etc.) Joey applied for several jobs in the area and got one at Target. He came home from Panera early on April 27th, and told me he had a Target interview at 3pm. I went out for coffee with a friend and he called me at 4:45 to tell me he had another job!

So now he has two jobs. Which means more money. Which also means two places to drive to, more gas, and that's just for one person. It also means that any plans I had about getting a summer job for myself are out of the picture, because this car is already over ten years old and driving it nonstop all day for three months in the Chicago summer just sounds like a bad idea. AND we would never see each other, which we already did for the first 2 years of our relationship. (except then we were in different states. oy.) And the rent is cheap enough that, with Joey's two jobs and the raise once he becomes a trainer this month, we won't even need the extra income. Just extra sleep for him.

With all that said, I have concluded that I won't be getting a job. It wouldn't make any sense. AND I DON'T REALLY WANT ONE. Did I type that out loud?

I'm really looking forward to living.... well, somewhere else. I sincerely hope that the sweet landlady considers us as good renters and calls us tomorrow (yes, it's already Sunday, by George) and tells us she'll be happy for us to move in later in June. It's in the middle of a beautiful nature preserve, which we get to help take care of in exchange for crazy-low rent. I cannot wait to just sit among the trees all day, writing and drawing and just being. I also believe (and this is the first time I am admitting this to anyone but my own hopeful heart) that with the low rent we may actually be able to fly home--before my parents move out to North Carolina. Oh yeah. That's happening too. My hope is that we can fly home and help them drive back. It's a complicated idea. We'll see how it goes.

Basically I'm just in the midst of one large crisis or transition after another and I feel like after we move it might actually stop. I might get to just be.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sink-ing thoughts

Sometimes, I get so mad I actually want to throw things. Like a full cup of coffee. Into a wall. Or a gooey, crusty dish from the slimy sink--onto the floor. Somehow the thought of broken glass everywhere is so appealing, and yet the afterthought of having to clean it up is horrible. For future reference, for anyone married or about to be married or anyone who lives with another person: DO NOT put toothpicks, napkins, noodles, plastic-y garbage or ANY kind of garbage in the sink with dirty dishes. Especially if you know they won't be washed for a few days. And especially if you don't have a garbage disposal. Unnecessary dirt only leads to unnecessary violence against innocent dishes.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Until It's Over

Reading about writing just makes me want to write. I no longer have the time to sit outside in the sun (or the rain) and think about words with affection, to sketch for hours and then write about the sketching and then repeat the process. And if I do have the time, it feels irresponsible. So I'll just blog in the middle of the night instead.

For the last few months I have been seeking with complete abandon a sense of... nothingness. This is difficult for people to understand. My body has begun deteriorating in strange ways, and due to lack of funds, and because of the school's insufficient (impolite, judgmental, expensive, useless) health insurance, I am tired all the time. I know that in high school I felt tired a lot, and sometimes thought I had mono (even though I'd never kissed anyone). This is different.

So it is exhaustion. I am not suffering because of teenaged drama or annoyed with my parents or stressed about prom. I am exhausted, to the core. The stress of my new life is mostly enjoyable. (Which, in retrospect, is probably why when the doctor asked me if I was stressed I said, "No, not really.") If you take away the excessive reading of sentimentalist works and the vomit-inducing James Joyce, my classes are pretty swell. The rest of the stress is still new and exciting, because my marriage is not yet boring, and likely never will be.

And yet, as I enjoy and revel in the newness of everything, the novel sensation of being a wife, I still want so desperately to do absolutely nothing. I want the world to stop. Not for a long weekend. Not for spring break. Not even just for the summer. I want to wake up one morning and have nothing to look forward to--except the next hour. And the hour after that. And I would repeat that process until I tired of it, or until I found something so intriguing I became impassioned and ridiculous that I chased after it like a dog after a car.

I just want to do what I want, without the pressure. Because honestly, I'm doing what I want right now. I'm reading good books, classics and otherwise. I'm buying groceries with my husband, even if he's impatient. I'm washing dishes and decorating the walls and thinking about the future and writing papers and doing research and learning old languages and and and and. And none of it feels right because at this time they are all just things that I am responsible for. I must do them. I must do homework. I must look for a summer job. I must read my least-favorite Jane Austen novel. I must get a new contact prescription. I must get some blood work done. Wait, that costs $1000? Ok, back to the whole "must get a job" part.

And I don't want feminists and type-A people or my parents or my brother or my friends to shake their heads at me when I say that right now, all I want is that nothing. I want to be a house-wife for a little while. To not be in a classroom for a little while. To rule my own little world for a little while because for the longest time I have made myself SO SMALL just to get something SO BIG finished. I just want to be. Without any pressure. If I wake up feeling like a a tiny ladybug that's what I'll be. And if I wake up feeling like an Amazonian that's what I'll be.

But it hasn't happened that way yet. And I don't know when it will, because there's still something to look forward to, just around the corner. There is always that thing looming the next weekend or "in the Fall" or after things "settle down." I always have to wait "until it's over." But it never is. In this world, it never will be.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring Breaks Through

Why is weather the go-to conversation when you're talking to someone with no social skills? Why is it that, if you aren't a sports person, and you don't have children to talk about, weather is the best option?

I wonder what would happen if the next time someone mentioned the weather I said, "Yeah, and I have SADD. Winter is really difficult for me."

Yeah... that would really go places. Silent places.

In other news, the sun was shining today. It was 68 degrees. I wore a dress outside without leggings, and without a coat, and then I came home and rearranged the kitchen.

Nothing else happening here. Just enjoying spring break. (sort of.) Nothing to report. This is the most blissfully boring blog post ever.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

Nothing that happens today is real. Does that mean that all the homework I'm doing will disintegrate at midnight? Or does it mean that if I don't do it, nothing bad will happen? And if a person gets divorced or married today, does that also make it not real? There's no question about births--it just means those people age slower because they only have a birthday every four years. But what if someone dies on February 29th? Do they come back to life the next day? Or do we just forget that they died, like it never happened?

I am, of course, being silly, because I needed something to distract me. Huzzah, it's February 29th! Do something brash and exciting, like rob a bank or jump off a roof and pretend to fly! It's not a real day so nothing real happens. Yep.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The root of it

Retrospectively, this year has not been a good one for writing. I have written but one poem and half-a-handful of journals (in a real journal, with a real pen). I purchased a tiny notebook in order to force myself to write down the poetry that inevitably comes to me at the most inconvenient times, in hopes that I might return to the way I was in high school. I have a thousand notebooks. I used to have a thousand tiny notebooks, and would fill them with poetry and prose until, brimming with my adolescent spirit, they would fall apart and the wire spiral would be squashed in an accident. The notebook would be dropped into a drawer of other old notebooks which I painstakingly looked at a few months before marriage, after which they were packed away indefinitely.

In other ways, in regards to literature, and finding my "muses", this year has been a good one. I have squandered hours of sleeping time reading instead, pouring over the pages of books that I would prefer to leave alone. Russian literature, Daniel Defoe, whatever the assignment is, they are just not interesting to me right now. I have spent the last eight years of my life reading beautiful books with worn pages and written on classics and epic poems and now... now I have somehow fallen out of love with the whole concept of reading something "because it's worth it" or because I "should" because I'm an English major, or because it's "good for me." I have no inclination to let myself be pretentious and give insincere critiques of a critique of some novel that was written about 150 years ago. This is the first semester since my freshman year that I am not taking any education-related classes--all I do is read!--and I don't even want to read what I'm supposed to.

Rather than continuously make myself bored by feigning interest, I feign interest on the surface, in the classroom, in conversation with other English-y people, and when I am at home with my husband we read other things.

In the last two weeks we read The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak. The last few books we read together were things that Joey pretty much picked out, and he read them to me almost in their entirety. So I decided to take charge and do something different. Joey had never read The Giver, but I had. Four times. It was nothing like the first time I read it, or any of the others, because I had this other person listening in and feeling everything beside me--and of course, I had forgotten a few things. And the book is full of those shocking moments, sometimes I wanted to just skip over them because they are actually quite horrible.

Reading the Zusak book was another adventure. It's already established that he is my favorite author. Joey and I read his best novel (The Book Thief) over Christmas break, which he, of course, read to me. I tried to get him to read Fighting Ruben Wolfe right after and for some reason it didn't interest him. Reading it to him was the best option. What guy wouldn't want to hear his wife read a story about two brothers beating each other up?

Now we're moving on to A Wrinkle in Time. It's been about ten years since I last read it. I remember only feelings and impressions, and scattered details. I had forgotten how long the chapters are. We only got through the first one before I got tired.

It's been a nostalgic trip through these books, I can at least say that in all honesty. In a time when I have all these feelings about rushing into the future and starting new things, the words that keep me going are not translated from Russian or turned into films. They are words that held me aloft in other times of change and transition. I reveled in them once, I appreciate them now, and someday I will probably need them again.

Perhaps we'll read The Chosen next...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On words and writing.

I have heard once in a quote somewhere, its origin I cannot I remember, that real writers are scared to death of being a writer, and that it's the fake writers who are wildly self-confident and sure of themselves. However, I believe there is a bit of both in the former and the latter.

I have my moments of wild self-confidence. I was once applauded in a creative writing seminar, and I thought to myself, "Alright. I'll only write stories with endings that are almost cliffhangers, and almost totally miserable, and a little open-ended. That's the key to my success."

And then, as mentioned previously, I've hit a dry spell in the last few months, as far as writing goes, and this semester is at fault. I have a lot of reading to do, and no classes on teaching. So the part of me that loves teaching is asleep. And the part of me that loves literature is being bashed over the head with books that I definitely do not want to read (80% of the time.)

But I have come to a conclusion about myself. I know that someday, in some distant world where I don't have homework and I'm on a summer break from my glamorous teaching job, I will publish a book. I don't know if it will be poetry, or a compilation of short stories, or if someone will actually take interest in my 7-novel series and get me a contract. But someday, it will happen--but not because I think I have the most important thing to say.

My hope is not that everyone will think I am an important person with perfect things to say. My hope is that someone will find my words to have an important meaning, and that by those words, they find something important and meaningful in themselves, or in their lives, or in some decision about to be made. What I have to say won't mean anything to a lot of people, but I hope it means something to someone. It will at least mean something to me, to have been published, to have fulfilled a lifelong (albeit so far a short life) dream.

I know it will be a long time from now. I know that I will set aside that dream to be a good wife, and to have babies and be a good mother, but I have held onto this dream for over ten years now. It's not going away.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Where have I been?

Things that are bothering me today:

1. I can't pull those friggen plastic Command strips off the wall without break them, which is even more of a hassle if a little plastic hook is attached. So, just picture me with a pair of scissors reaching up with an injured shoulder to PRY some crap off the wall. Just to re-hang a shadowbox which I also had to fix today.

2. Lighting candles next to the coffee pot while coffee is being made = the sound of something catching on fire. Seriously, I came and checked on it three times because I thought something was ablaze.

3. My shoulder. It hurts. Really bad. For no reason.

4. I haven't written a poem in an extremely long time. You know when I find myself inspired to write? During class. But I am attempting to be extra studious, so I don't write during class anymore, and if I have to doodle (which I almost always do) I have a separate sheet of paper for such purposes. However, even out of class, I don't really have time to sit down and mull over how I'm feeling and write it out. I miss it. So much. Blogging is definitely not a replacement. I'm probably going to be done writing this in about 6 minutes total. It might be an emotional release but, if you know me at all, this is nothing compared to poetry.

5. One of our fish died last week and now Ruru, the male, is depressed and boring.


Things that I realized today that don't bother me:

1. I have a WordPress account. I'm supposed to be writing in part of a blog for a class, so I went to join WordPress and typed in my usual account name, and it said, "This name is already taken." So of course then I had to check, and behold, it was I who had already taken my name.

2. Since I added my maiden name to my middle name, my full name looks sort of bad-ass, if you use initials. Katherine M.F. Voss. Yeah. I'll let you guess what the initials remind me of.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Before you say anything else

Let me clarify something. Because I've never said in an outright way on this blog: I am a Christian. I believe that the Bible is the 100% divine truth. I believe that Jesus came to the earth, died for our sins, and came back to life. I believe He's coming back someday.

I also believe that in order to fully be devoted to God, and to make my belief in the Bible real and not just "convenient", I have to let my Biblical beliefs cover my whole life. My faith is not something I carry around in my pocket and take it out when it will make me look good, like chapstick that you use when your lips are dry. My faith transcends my whole life. Now, before you start yammering about hypocrisy, this does not mean I am perfect, believe I am perfect, or that I am "better" than anyone else.

I'm a sinner. I do crappy, stupid, selfish things. I make lots of mistakes. Mistakes that I should feel bad about right away, but sometimes I take a while. But this doesn't mean I'm okay. And this doesn't mean I think it's okay for other people. Stealing, lying, sleeping around, and being a flat-out jerk is wrong, no matter who you are, no matter the context. Just because I'm a jerk or whatever else you want to call me, does NOT mean that I can tell my other jerky friends, "Don't worry about it! I'm a jerk too!" If the Bible says it's wrong for me, it's wrong for you too.

And that's where I stand. On pretty much everything. I'm not going to rant about politics in this blog, because that's not how I roll. If you REALLY want to have a conversation with me about it--and I mean a conversation, not a confrontation-- you can call me or come visit me or do it in person. I am not going to be swayed by some articles you found on an internet news site, or a book. My belief is solid, and I don't care what philosophers or politicians or psychologists have to say about what I believe. I talk bout what I believe in my own spaces, on my own Facebook, on my own blog, and I don't go confronting people on his or her personal pages just because we disagree about something. I would appreciate it if you would all do the same. Like I said, if you really want to have a conversation, it's not going to be on the internet. At all.

The end. I'm going to try and sleep now.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And I don't feel any different

Happy New Year! I'm sure you just couldn't wait to read that on a blog today, because no one has told you enough. Right? Yeah, that's what I thought. You're a little overloaded with resolutions and regrets and maybe you have a hangover. So, I've decided to wander from the norm a bit today and not write about resolutions or regrets. (And I don't have a hangover, so we won't even go there.)

Today, instead of telling you what I want to do in 2012, I'm going to talk about what I am NOT going to do in 2012. Prepare to be surprised. (ever wonder about that phrase? can you really be prepared for a surprise? I mean, if you're surprised, that means you weren't expecting it. Huh.)

1. I am not going to be pressured by Illinois drivers. The drivers here are rude and impatient, and deadly. You know how when there's a green light, but no green arrow, and you can inch out into the intersection and turn left at the last minute? Yeah, I don't do that. If there's a space, I will turn left, but I don't like being in the middle of the intersection because--guess what--I might die! The other week a SEMI TRUCK honked at me because I wasn't inching out. And so I swiftly turned left in front of somebody, who proceeded to beep their wimpy little horn at me. So, there you have it. I'm not going to be pressured into being a crappy driver like everyone else in this state.

2. I will not get worked up about Facebook the way everyone else seems to. I have never taken it seriously, and I never will. If people write a lot of annoying things, I simply don't read it. I don't understand why people complain about other people on facebook. No one forces you to read a status! Someone might post something new every half hour, but that doesn't make you obligated to look at it! It also doesn't make you obligated to complain about them every half hour, which in turn causes you to be just like them. ALSO. If someone does something on facebook that you don't like, or they offend you, that doesn't mean you need to go drama-queen on us and delete your facebook, or delete that person. Get over it. It's the internet.

3. I'm not going to get a summer job in the food business. This isn't new. I've tried it, and I hated it. I would rather be a custodian. I would rather mow lawns. The end.

4. Despite the wishes of my parents, my siblings, my in-laws, and who knows who else, I am not going to get pregnant. Don't worry, Joey and I want kids. But not yet. Plus, nobody wants me to be student teaching AND have a bun in the oven. You'll all just have to wait until 2013.

5. I will not talk to people about politics. It is an election year, and I know that it may be expected of me. But I never have, and I never will. My vote and my personal beliefs will be represented by my actions and my behavior. I'm not going to talk about it. (Unfortunately, I'll be student teaching during election time, so I'll have to come up with some sort of witty response when the kids ask me who I'm voting for.)

So there you go. Five things I'm not going to do. Hope you all have a wonderful 2012 and don't get too carried away with your resolutions (or lackthereof.)